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Old 09-01-2010   #1
Blue River, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 17
paco pad vs. landing pad

I want a paco pad but the savings on the Aire landing pad really suites my budget. Are the landing pads built well?

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Old 09-01-2010   #2
Osprey's Avatar
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 683
the landing pads are very well built. bomber cover which also makes them pretty heavy but I have zero qualms using it to float or as a water slide for the kids to slide down the beach on. running and jumping full speed even the buckles on pfd's don't even scratch it. I don't know if the foam is as high quality as everyone attests the Paco's to be, but I'm over 4 seasons of use on mine and zero issues. plus, they have the summit valves which is nice. comfortable pad, for the money it's a great value.

I could be tempted but the only one I would probably replace it with would be the 4" paco silverback. I haven't tried the Maravia and it's also a 4". (also called silverback) that paco is a pretty huge price different though.

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Old 09-01-2010   #3
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Silt, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 193
I agree with Osprey. Have had mine (3 of them) for 4 years now and they are very well built. I like the thickness, 3 inches, as Osprey said the only way I would trade them is to go thicker. Love the price on them as well, I got mine from a sporting goods store going out of business-all 3 for $200 out the door. If you really want to spend the extra money get a paco, but the landing pad does the same job at half the price.

Happy floating.
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Old 09-01-2010   #4
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Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 481
I don't know if this is still the case, but the non-JPW pads that I saw had the standard raft valve, which is a one way valve that lets air in when "closed". This is great for rafts, but with a pad, you often want to roll all the air out and have the valve keep it sealed. The paco valve seals air out.

But maybe my info is outdated or applies to a different company.
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Old 09-01-2010   #5
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 683
I think the only way a raft valve lets air in when closed is when there is enough air pressure to depress the valve, overcoming the spring holding it shut. This only happens with a pump blowing air into it or if you push it. this is the same. if you roll the pad and close the valve the air stays out with the pad. plus the valve cover provides a second seal which definitely seals it out and prevents accidental depression of the valve. at any rate, it's not a problem and works fine.

I see what you are saying though when I think about it. for example, you wouldn't want to float down the river on one without the valve cover on just for protection of accidental depression of the valve letting water in. I always carry an extra cover in my kit just in case since I have had that happen and those covers can break on occasion from mishandling. it's generally fine though.
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Old 09-02-2010   #6
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 93
The biggest difference I have seen between Paco pads and the others that are out there is the foam. The foam used in Paco pads seems to last forever. I have had two Paco Grandes for 5 years or so and they still self inflate just like the first day I bought them. I have seen lots of Paco Pads that are ten years old and the foam just does not seem to get worn out in them. I have seen other pads' foam compress after one year.
The construction of the pads is the easy part, the foam is where a lot of the price is. I have not seen more than 2 or 3 of the other pads out there after they have been used for more than a year or so, so I would love to hear more from Landing Pad and Maravia Silver Back owners. Does it seem like your foam has compressed over time?
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Old 09-02-2010   #7
Ponchalida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 32
I agree with osprey, we've had landing pads for 4 seasons now and tons of use with no wear or foam degradation. We use them on the river and car camping and they have held up great so far.
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Old 09-02-2010   #8
timbuktu, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 679
Landing pads are made by chinese people working for fifty cents a day. Paco Pads are made by a man you can actually call and chat with named Jack in New Mexico, right here in the good ol' USA. That's all I needed to hear. Buy the soft foam though, the firm stuff hurts.
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Old 09-02-2010   #9
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
In response to Zboda's post.

many years ago coming off a Selway trip where one of the guys had a Silverback pad, I purchased one of the Maravia Silverback pads thinking it was a Paco Silverback. Foam was useless after maybe a year of off and on use by me. Called Jack to complain and found out about the Maravia policy of made in China outsourcing at that time and Maravia's using the name Silverback. On the spot ordered a Paco Silverback made in New Mexico by either Jack or one of his staff and have never regretted it. Lost count of the great nights sleep this pad has given me. Jack does use expensive made in America foam and that is one reason the paco's work so well for so long.
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Old 09-02-2010   #10
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Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 453
I've never had the Air pads, but I have to say that I absolutely love my pacos. They are some of my most prized posessions. I have a single silverback and a double 3". Both are fantastic. They are both soft foam. I've had the silverback for about 7 years and I've had zero issues other than poeple trying to walk away with it. It's been rolled hundreds of times and still inflates and sleeps the same as day 1. JPW is fantastic when it comes to customer service. Both of my pads were customized to fit my space and I actually paid a little less than the normal sized pads. You will get your money's worth, so I would spend the extra $ and go with JPW.


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