View Full Version : sleeping

11-30-2004, 11:41
anybody have any opinions on self inflating air mattresses? how they work? any pumps etc. needed? they look comfortable abit heavy. big agnes has one that weighs 32oz . is it worth the weight or not? if not could you help with a good sleeping pad/mattress any help is appreciated.:banana

Lone Wolf
11-30-2004, 11:46
Get a Ridgerest and sleep on Mother Earth. They're cheap and light and won't pop. Don't sleep in shelters. They suck.

11-30-2004, 12:01
I started off with the Ridge Rest (closed cell foam) and have since moved to the ThermaRest. I use the 3/4 model, which isn't as heavy as the full length version.

You have to spend several nights on the ground before you can know for sure if the RidgeRest will work for you. Don't base your decision on what anyone else tells you ...try em both out.

I got to the point where the RidgeRest just didn't give me enough cushion. The ThermaRest works for me and I've never had a problem with inflation or leaks. Guess it could happen but I'm a bit careful where I put it and how I handle it.

As a PS I must add though that I do carry a 4-section piece of the Z-Rest (like the RidgeRest but folds instead of rolls) and use it as a seat and also at the foot end of my ThermaRest to keep my feet up off the ground.

AT 2003

11-30-2004, 12:37
I tried a RidgeRest (foam) on my carpet at home and it hurt my shoulders, so I switched to an inflatable mattress and am so much more comfortable. The full-length one I found is too heavy, so stay with the 3/4 and figure about 1.5 pounds for weight. I consider it one of my luxuries and it is well worth the weight for me.

You don't need to buy a pump, they're self-inflating. Go to an outfitters and check them out.

11-30-2004, 12:51
This past section hike, I started with a hammock, using a Target thin blue 24" wide pad, supplementing with a Thermarest Ultra-Guide 3/4 on cold nights. Toward the end, I used a shelter once and tented, with this combination, usually not using the Thermarest which I keep mainly as a pad for my backpack.

I was really surprised how well that very thin closed cell pad worked, for only $9. I've used Z-Rests, Ridgerests and full Thermarests. I wouldn't expect to be comfortable on that combination the first night or two of a hike, but once tired and accustomed to a flat harder bed, I sleep very well.

11-30-2004, 13:04
The Prolite 3 Short (http://www.thermarest.com/product_detail.aspx?pID=42&cID=1) is a great pad. Quite comfortable and only weighs 13oz. Unless you're 6'8" don't get hung up on the 48" length. I'm 5'10", with my head/neck off of the pad, it comes down to my knees. I put my pack under my feet to help reduce lower back pressure.

The pads self-inflate fine if you are willing to wait. I usually end up adding a puff or two of air to make it extra firm.

If you want light consider...

NightLight (torso (http://www.gossamergear.com/cgi-bin/gossamergear/nightlight_torso.html)) -- 3.7oz
NightLight 3/4 length (http://www.gossamergear.com/cgi-bin/gossamergear/nightlight_3_quarter.html)-- 8.5 oz
Or a combo of NightLight (torso) with a ThinLight Pad (http://www.gossamergear.com/cgi-bin/gossamergear/thinlight.html) -- 6.4oz
The NightLights are thicker, lighter and cheaper than a Ridgerest.

I just purchased the later combo (well actually my Grandmother did) for Xmas for those times when I don't want to lug around the extra 8-10oz of the Prolite 3 Short and/or for winter camping.

My brother ('04 thru) spend 90% of his nights in shelters. Used a pad for half of the trip, but later switched to the Prolite 3 Short.

11-30-2004, 18:30
I've heard that a lot from other hikers this year, too, that the foam pads were hard to get used to at first, but their bodies got used to it after a while.

11-30-2004, 19:57
Well, some good replies to your original question.

First, how does a self inflating pad work? Go to your local outfitter and check them out. REI is in Reading. EMS is around many places also. Just to name two outfitters that sell Therm-a-rest.

Now, there is the question about a closed cell foam pad or an inflatable foam pad. Generally speaking, young bones can get away with the closed cell pad. Older bones usually prefer more padding. Which one are you? Closed cell pads are cheap enough to buy one and try it out. Just try sleeping on a concrete basement or garage floor for a night or two and see how you feel in the morning.

12-01-2004, 02:53
When I hiked the trail in 1996 I carried a 3+ pound Slumberjack "Comfort Camper" self inflating pad. Yeah....some people thought I was nuts (which I am by the way) but nobody thought I was nuts after they tried out the pad for a second or two. There are some things that are worth their weight in gold.
Would I carry that beast again ??? Colder weather yup...Summer...Nope.

12-01-2004, 12:00
When it came to sleeping pads, I had no clue to what I needed on the AT. I went to REI in Northern CA and was told I, ďAbsolutelyĒ needed a Therm-a-Rest Expedition Ė Large. The weight, 2 lbs 15 oz. ($80.00), and add an oz or two for the $20.00 cover, which of course doesnít come with it.

I had gotten a hammock for the AT and figured it would be great if it got cold and also for nights in the shelters.

But, after a few months it got heavy, (After a few months, everything gets heavy) and I got a thin Ĺ mat and sent the Therm home. However, the weather never did get warm enough for the thin mat in the hammock, and it was hell on me in the shelters. So, I got a Big Agnes, Insulated Air Cord, 20"x72"x2.5" (mummy) that did fit better in the hammock. (Takes about 2 minutes to inflate manually) (Real nice after huffing and puffing all day long climbing hills) However, after a week, it developed 2 leaks near the valve.

To make this short, (Ya, I know, a little to late for that now) I was able to exchange it ($20.00) and get an insulated one to keep halfway warm in the hammock. However, all I could find was a 20"x78"x2.5" (Very Long) - (Which, getting on it in the hammock is like making love to a crocodile) - (Not that I've been with any crocodiles or any other large mammals) - (I swear on my snakeskin boots I haven't) Anyway, Big Agnes is replacing it (Itís in the mail) with a 20"x72"x2.5" (mummy) Insulated Air Cord.

Iíve been off the trail for a month now and will be heading back in February to go from Harpers Ferry to Vermont to finish the AT. Iíve been sleeping outside every night (Temps in high teens to low30ís) to try and find something that will work for the hammock, shelters, or ground and wonít freeze my butt off. Iím trying everything.

So far, Iíve tried the following:

* A Thin blue mat with a reflective pad.
* A Big Agnes 20"x78"x2.5" Insulated Air cord with blue mat and reflective pad. (Warm, but sweat like a pig and sleeping bag is drenched)
* A thin mat w/ reflective pad (Reflective pad on bottom) and a vapor barrier sleeping bag with a 20-degree bag. I stay warm, but inside of vapor bag is a sauna, (Fills with sweat and can get cold) plus, the bottom of my bag gets wet from the reflective pad.

For the hammock, what works best so far is a thin blue mat, with BA Insulated Air Cord and my 20-degree bag.

Reading the posts here, I like what Yellow Jacket said about the Prolite 3 and ThinLight Pad. So, now Iím going to try, the Prolite 3 short, 13 ozs with a ThinLight Pad Ė 6.4 oz. Total 19.4 ozs.
The BA Mummy Insulated, 20x72x2.5 is 21 oz. Which would be a big 1.6 oz savings. However, to stay warm in the hammock, I would still need the ThinLight Pad, which would put it up to 27.4 ozs.

For the hammock in cold weather I know there is the Jack-R-Better nest (20 ozs) $200.00, but does little good on the ground and shelters.

Yes, the choices are endlessÖ. Iíll let ya know what ends up working out bestÖ

To be honest, after 6 months on the trail, getting sick as a dog, 1 month sleeping outside here, and Iím about to say to hell with it all, get myself a real bed, a big fat down quilt, 4 fluffy pillows, a big screen TV and a bag of donuts.

12-06-2004, 10:43
Reading the posts here, I like what Yellow Jacket said about the Prolite 3 and ThinLight Pad. So, now Iím going to try, the Prolite 3 short, 13 ozs with a ThinLight Pad Ė 6.4 oz. Total 19.4 ozs. The ThinLight might be a bit too flimsy for a hammock. I'd bet it will bunch up under your person through the night.

Check out the 40"x60"x0.25" pad from www.owareusa.com (http://www.owareusa.com) for a hammock pad. Fold it to make it 30x40x0.5" for hammock use. Or 20"x60"x0.5" for ground/shelter use.

12-06-2004, 11:20
I use a Ridge Rest, that I cut up a bit to save on weight. I used it on a 9 day section hike, and on onvernite trips, its comfy enough for me. Don't go crazy with a sleeping pad in my opinion, have it be comfortable but not heavy and make sure its easy to pack away. Plus its hiking, its suppose to be tough on your body, its the outdoors not a holiday inn.

12-07-2004, 07:51
When it comes to sleeping pads I feel they are more for insulation from the ground (especialy in winter) than for comfort in terms of making your spot bed like. Like many others I use a ridge-a-rest after using therm-a-rests for awhile. I use the plural because they always seemed spring leaks and are expensive. Closed cell foam wont pop,is cheaper and has many other camp uses after they break down which is not for a while.

02-27-2005, 19:55
To be honest, after 6 months on the trail, getting sick as a dog, 1 month sleeping outside here, and Iím about to say to hell with it all, get myself a real bed, a big fat down quilt, 4 fluffy pillows, a big screen TV and a bag of donuts.

Make sure to carry the powdered sugar donuts. They are much lighter than the chocolate covered. You can also use them to powder your face and pretend to be a Yeti, to scare people away from crowded shelters. Of course, then the mice won't leave your face alone, all night long.



02-27-2005, 20:20
i sleep much better since i quit sleeping on the ground or in shelters

i love my hammock:sun neo

02-28-2005, 09:19
anybody have any opinions on self inflating air mattresses?I use a 3/4 inch thick thermarest self inflating mattress. During spring, summer, and fall I use the 3/4 lenght, but during winter I use the full length model to get my feet up off the ground so that they stay warm. For me they are comfortable and work good. Add to the mattress a small inflatable pillow and I'm gonna sleep like a baby.

02-28-2005, 09:34
When it came to sleeping pads
I had gotten a hammock for the AT and figured it would be great if it got cold and also for nights in the shelters.
I am still a novice re: hammocks; but, think I have learned how to stay warm in the back yard tests. 3/4 Thermarest AND full length blue foam under me. 20 degree sleeping bag, polypro long johns, and a balaclava (or however you spell that Greek candy).

Warm and toasty sleeping in my DIY Zhammock (Thank you, Rick!) with the above down to 14 degrees and wind one night in the back yard. The above gear would be fine for much lower temps if I had to "Go to Ground".

02-28-2005, 10:07
I just switched froma 3/4 thermarest (http://www.thermarest.com/product_detail.aspx?pID=42&cID=1)to a gossamer gear nitelite torso pad (http://www.gossamergear.com/cgi-bin/gossamergear/nightlight_torso.html). I cut about a pound off my pack weight (I had the older thermarest version) and do not notice a difference. The pad is a bit bulkier, but rides nicely on the outside of my pack.

Tim Rich
02-28-2005, 10:14
I use a 3/4 length original thermarest. It's heavy at 1-10 (there are lighter versions available now - the Thermarest Prolite 3 3/4 lenght is about 13 ounces), but I've carried it for about 15 years and never a leak. An important thing to remember about "self inflating" mattresses is that they usually require topping off by simply blowing into the valve. If you're bottoming out somewhere when you're in various sleeping positions, add air. Whatever you choose, make sure your pad keeps you reasonably comfortable on hard surfaces (if you plan on sleeping in shelters). As LW said, the ground's a whole lot more comfortable than a shelter floor. Almost every major equipment/gear choice is a comfort/convenience issue. It's about what you're willing to safely do without to lighten your load (comfort while hiking), and about what you want to have in camp each evening (comfort in camp).