Technology

Microburst Technology

Its simple. A fan blows air to fill a mattress, right?

Not quite. You see, almost all backpacking mattress inflation points have small restrictions that only allow fast inflation when the inflator has significant pressure behind it. Most conventional fans are designed to move large volumes of air, not to create pressure. The Microburst from Camp-Tek is designed to create pressure, which is very different. Similar technology has been used for years by the jet aircraft industry, since Jet engines need to create sufficient internal pressure to support combustion and create thrust. They do this with a set of fixed blades called “stators” that alternate with rotating blades called “rotors”. The Microburst applies the same principle, with a rotor and two stators placed before and after the ROTOR. This architecture, coupled with high speed rotation, creates the high continuous pressure needed to quickly force air into a mattress and inflate it to a comfortable level.

As the mattress fills, the air flow slows down, causing the air arriving to the rotor to become turbulent. This condition drops the efficiency, slows the rotation, and uses excess power from the batteries. The Microburst solves this by providing pressure relief points around the outside of the intake that reduce turbulent drag and keeps efficiency up even at maximum pressure output. You can feel this by blocking the output and feeling the air start to move through these vents.

Finally, the motor itself is custom designed to match its maximum efficiency point with the torque required to maintain high speed operation. This reduces the power draw on the batteries, and allows one set of AAA batteries to last through the longest backpacking trips. Camp-Tek recommends lithium-based AAA batteries available at most retail outlets as these are half the weight of traditional alkaline batteries and last far longer. On a single set of lithium batteries, the Microburst remains useful for more than 100 minutes. At even 4 minutes per inflation, that’s 25 or more inflations, enough for any reasonable backpacking trip.

All this technology requires a effective way to deliver air into the mattress. The flexible adapter accomplishes this with a design that allows quick connection to the standard intakes used by popular mattresses from Therm-a-rest and Big Agnes. For the Stephenson’s Warmlite mattress, we provide a special adapter which opens the one way valve, to reduce the restriction and give a quick connect point that matches the other mattresses. Because the restriction is removed, Microburst ban inflate a large Stephenson’s Warmlite bag, 28 inches wide by 80 inches long and 4 inches thick, in only two minutes. This is faster than the smaller ones, even though the volume is much larger. Finally, the flexible adapter can be collapsed into the body of the Microburst for easy storage.

Camp-Tek of course wants to be sure the Microburst can’t turn on accidentally. The last thing you need is to have the motor running in your pack and draining the batteries before your next night’s use. We are well aware that there are no battery stores in the wilderness! To make sure this does not happen, we designed the Microburst so it will not turn on unless and until you open the back door. If the door is closed, the Microburst simply will not turn on. When you store Microburst in the provided bag, the back door has no room to open, which assures that no matter how you cram it in or move it in your pack, your Microburst will always be ready for your next inflation.

The result is a highly efficient compact inflator.

  • Proven rotor/stator jet engine technology
  • Pressure relief ducts to maintain high efficiency with low air flow
  • Matched high speed motor that is tuned to the torque range of the rotor
  • Compact, light, and durable design