View Full Version : Sleeping pads...

11-13-2005, 01:29
I've witnessed some, but not much, talk about sleeping pads. I've never used one, but I've never done any long-distance hikes. :datz

Judging from the fact I've never used one, I think I may be able to go really light here. Am I wrong? What's in your pack?:-?

Old Spice
11-13-2005, 02:19
In my opinion, a sleeping pad is just as much if not more for warmth then comfort. Your bones can get so cold just sleeping on the ground even in the summer.

11-13-2005, 02:23
I'm going to need a pad, mostly for insulation as you mention. But can I go light here... I want to know what other people are carrying, and how they've been served by what they have.

Thanks again!:clap

11-13-2005, 03:15
I carry a thermarest prolite 3. full length. So far, so good!

11-13-2005, 08:04
i carry a zrest 3/4 lenth pad weighs less than a pound. its no therma rest but works for me

11-13-2005, 09:16
I use a collection of closed-cell foam pads. The type, length, and weight I use varies with the season, from about 4oz to about 10oz. If you can sleep decently on them, they're the lightest way to go. The usual pick is a Ridgerest chopped down to 6oz or so.

11-13-2005, 09:22
For summer and spring/fall use in the south, I carry part of a pad from Wal-Mart. It has a thin yellow closed-cell bit on one side and on the opposite side there's an open-cell egg-crate foam bit. I cut the pad to half length and then trimmed the width to be as wide as I am. I can fold it up very small and put it inside my pack. I think the whole pad cost 7 or 8 dollars, and I made two camping mats out of it. I think it's more comfortable than the standard WM blue pad.

If I know I'll be sleeping on a really hard surface, like a shelter floor, I carry that plus half a closed-cell foam pad. I have them overlap under my hips for extra padding there.

In below-freezing weather, I carry a full-length closed-cell foam pad (an old RidgeRest), for insulation, so I don't melt myself into a puddle of icy water.

Inflatable pads are excellent, until the night they go flat.

My sons, who are roughly your age, sleep so heavily that they always roll off their sleeping pads and end up sleeping on the ground. If this sounds like you, I agree that you should save weight and money by going as light and cheap as possible.

11-13-2005, 09:28
In summary:

Closed cell sleeping pads, such as Z-rest, are lighter and cheaper than an inflatable pad like Therma-rest, but are bulkier.

Younger bones are usually comfortable with a closed cell pad. Older bones appreciate the additional padding with a Therma-rest.

My advise is before buying a therma-rest, why not buy a closed cell pad, and then sleep on it for a few nights on your basement floor, and see it it works for you.

11-13-2005, 09:41
For me I've got a RidgeRest Delux on my list to buy. Its got a higher R value than the regular RidgeRest.

One of the handiest things I have gotten in my gear search travels was the Thermarest brochure that has this handy chart in it.

I've scanned it in here for anyone interested -you need to view it at full page size to read it http://www.geocities.com/cynjendrejcak/images/thermarest.jpg

11-13-2005, 12:03
Cheap blue foam pad! Cut it in half and you'll have two!

11-13-2005, 15:37
wow... this threads gone almost 14 hours without a hammocker chiming in! (until me!)actually, back when i HAD a back, i just used a blue foam pad (actually, an army green pad, but they were pretty much the same thing). after awhile, i got tired of it being so hard and bought a green thermarest, which was a lot better, but eventually that got 'hard' too, and i sleep in a hammock now, with a pad, for warmth, as has been suggested... the lightest thing i've ever seen anyone sleep on was a young infantryman using just a piece of MRE box cardboard between him and the cement floor of a hanger.... realistically, the cut down blue foam pad is hard to beat, price/weight-wise, as long as your back can handle it. have heard z-rests, while light, lose their 'loft' quickly, but maybe someone else can write about that...if i couldn't sleep in a hammock, i'd carry a 3/4 length thermarest.

11-13-2005, 15:48
I carried a cheap-o blue foam from a Wal-Martish type store. I cut in about half and rounded the shoulders and such to make it lighter. Not so comfortable but it's bearable.

Mother Nature
11-13-2005, 20:16
I have old creaky bones and have found a combination of a full length z-rest plus an ultralight 3/4 Thermarest works best for me. To address the z-rest loft issue addressed above.. my z-rest did compact somewhat after 1000+ miles last year but it is still servicable to take with me for the second half of my hike this year. Nothing short of an epidural makes shelter floors comfortable for me :bse

Mother Nature

11-13-2005, 22:10
i been using my 3/4 length ultralite therma rest more lately,works great in my hammock:cool: neo

11-14-2005, 05:31
I have old creaky bones and have found a combination of a full length z-rest plus an ultralight 3/4 Thermarest works best for me. To address the z-rest loft issue addressed above.. my z-rest did compact somewhat after 1000+ miles last year but it is still servicable to take with me for the second half of my hike this year. Nothing short of an epidural makes shelter floors comfortable for me :bse

Mother Nature

your setup is very close to what I am planning for my husband - he shattered his hip in '97 in a mt. bike accident and ground sleeping will be miserable for him without a good pad system for both insulation and cushioning.

11-14-2005, 09:28
First trip out this year was with a hammock-less friend so I was back on the ground sharing a tent. I took a 25-year old ThermaRest and the Oware I use in the HH. I folded the Oware in half lengthwise and inserted the ThermaRest taco style...and discovered the most comfortable combination of pads I've ever used! And no slipping and sliding!!:clap


11-14-2005, 11:21
I shall avoid the almost manditory praise of hammock camping and just stick to the topic of sleeping pads:D.

For ground sleeping, I bought a full length ridgerest and cut it down to fit me shoulder to just past the knees and tapered it a bit. I used part of what I cut off as sort of a camp seat, knee rest for cooking or setting up my tent, etc.

I sleep on my side when not in the hammock, never could quite get comfortable on my side in the HH and the only body part that was ever bothered by this was my hip, which would just scream at night. I found that if I tossed that extra piece I was carrying under the ridgerest where my hip hits, the little extra padding would help immensely.

I'd definately avoid the thermarest in the future (I started with one), between the weight, bulk and mysterious overnight deflations it just was not worth the hassle.

11-14-2005, 18:44
Cheap blue foam pad! Cut it in half and you'll have two!

That's what i do. I usually sleep on the floor after a thru-hike for a few months as it gets go be so normal i prefer it. I only use a pad for the insulating value, the ground with it's different contours everynight are fine with me. Keep it simple (and small) I want a pad to be under my shoulders to my knees. ( I elevate my feet with my food bag)
the only time i use a thermarest is when i go winter camping in the snow. ( i won one back in '95 at trail daze or else i probably never would've had the opportunity, as their heavy and expensive)

the goat
11-14-2005, 18:51
3/4 thermarest w/ my sandals to rest my feet on......

11-14-2005, 23:11
I use a 3/4 Thermarest UltraGlide wrapped around the pack stays for back cushion, and a blue Target pad, 24" wide in my Speer Hammock. The combination is too hot until temps are below 50F. It is plenty comfy for the rare times I'd sleep in a shelter.

When tenting in my Nomad, I've used Ridgerest Delux and the 3/4 Thermarest for extreme comfort during significant cold weather. Otherwise, the 3/4 mat is plenty after the 2nd night.

11-15-2005, 07:00
1996 hike I carried a 3 pound...that's right 3 pound !!!!! Slumberjack "Comfort Camper" self-inflating pad.
It never got a single puncture, made it the entire trip and was the envy of all. I slept like a baby in shelters, hostels, campsites and concrete porch floors. Sleeping pads obviously was something that I wasn't going to skimp on. Yeah the thing was heavy but it was worth it's weight in gold every time I sat or slept on it.... Oh yeah...it worked great in lakes and rivers as a "lounger boat" too.

:D Hammocks ? well...lets just say that my pack is lighter and I sleep better since I found it's better to "hang out" than sleep on the ground.

12-26-2005, 16:48
does anyone know anything about the "Big Agnes" sleeping pads? I'm looking for something a bit above my thermarest and wondered if anyone had any reports on them.

12-26-2005, 17:40
I use a 3/4 therma rest LE, which is an older classification meaning Luxury Edition, Its thick baby. It weighs less than some full length. easy to repair in the field, I have done That three times now. This piece of equipment has almost three thousand miles of use and its great.

12-26-2005, 19:04
Great input, but the quest for gear continues!:)

Bubble Toes
12-27-2005, 13:43
Their sleeping pads compare to the Thermarest Pro-lites weight wise but are ridiculously thick. You can sleep on rocks and never feel it. Their customer service while on the trail was exceptional. They also pack quite small. Only draw back, you have to blow them up. It is similar to blowing up a small pool raft every night. Some people find this a worthwhile trade off.

12-27-2005, 16:29
it takes me 14 breaths to blow up my big agnes. less then a minute. a small price to pay for the amazingly good sleep I get with it. I have very little padding on my hips and always had to sleep flat on my back with a thermarest. any sleeping position is comfortable while laying on big agnes.

12-27-2005, 16:58
I've got the Pacific Outdoor Equipment Insul-Mat Max Compact inflatable. 2.5" of cushy sleeping happiness. 18 ounces, packs down to quart bottle size. If I expect cold I add my insul-mat chair (closed cell foam) between me and the air matt. No, this is not an insul-mat commercial

12-27-2005, 18:23
sounds like the Big Agnes is a winner. at the risk of being flamed by the tree hangers i'll have to say that while the HH was very confortable, i did wake up in the morning with a chill on my back after a night when it barely got to freezing. i do sleep rather cold so others might not have the same problem. thanks for all the info on the big agnes.

05-13-2006, 19:52
I use a 3/4 thermarest backpacker (now) and my backpack as a full length pad with my hh as a pillow (if i am sleeping in a shelter) and if in the HH i use the pad.... i'm pretty happy with this system because I can do anything short of winter (real) camp with it..
Happy trails

05-14-2006, 16:09
I've been a fan of Gossamer gear pads (gossamergear.com) i've used thier nightlight torso and thier thinlight (1/8") pads, they make a mean combo together. but if comfort isnt a big factor you might be able to just get away with the 1/8" thinlight, if not, the 3/8" thinlight should work.