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  1. #1

    Default Sleeping Pad recommedations from those with back problems

    I have two bulging discs in my cervical spine, and a double herniated L4/L5 which is the disc most people blow out. It's gotten alot better lately but it never really goes away - the pain.

    I'm looking for recommendations from those with back issues. This means I'm not interested in any opinions coming from anyone that does not personally understand back issues and living in chronic pain.

    The best I've found is the Thermarest Pro-lite plus, an older model, 13 ounces. Or a Naturehike Zpad ripoff that is 22 inches wide instead of the standard 20. I don't think I can use an air mattress but open to the idea if others have had success.

    What systems have you tried and what have you landed on?

  2. #2

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    Prolite plus is an air mattress. The foam is only for self inflating, insulation, pad structure. It provides no support.

    I have back issues, but no problem with any inflatable. Ymmv. Thin pads have little sag, unlike soft or old mattresses. I sleep in a lot of hotels, ive had problems from sleeping on side on some matresses, or even rolling to side...
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 06-12-2019 at 08:24.

  3. #3

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    Coming from spondylosis and scoliosis myself I can relate to bad backs, and bad sleeping pads. I have used an exped synmat 7 ul in wide long for about 5 years now and I dont think I will be leaving it anytime soon.
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  4. #4

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    Exped or the newer Sea to Summit Etherlight in wide long. Super comfortable and very supportive. I liked the one I bought but sadly I was sold a demo/pro example with a fault in it (leaked)...I've not heard of anyone else with problems though. Nice pad for the weight and size...slept awesome on it the first night

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Watson View Post
    ...
    The best I've found is the Thermarest Pro-lite plus...
    I'm having back problems on and off like most office people do, and this is the pad thats sleeping me better than anything else.

  6. #6

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    OK thanks everyone, I'm going to try to hunt down a few of these, cheers.

  7. #7

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    How much I inflate the mat can make a big difference in how I sleep and feel in the morning. When I use a prolite plus (mostly canoeing since mine is a bit heavy/bulky), it works out a lot better for me being slightly underinflated, but ymmv

  8. #8

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    My back started to bother me about 5 years ago. I thought I'd have to give up backpacking/camping. Fortunately, I tried a hammock and haven't looked back. I sleep better in the hammock than anything or anywhere else. I doubt if everyone who has made the switch has experienced such a dramatic improvement but, for me, it has been remarkable.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by orthofingers View Post
    My back started to bother me about 5 years ago. I thought I'd have to give up backpacking/camping. Fortunately, I tried a hammock and haven't looked back. I sleep better in the hammock than anything or anywhere else. I doubt if everyone who has made the switch has experienced such a dramatic improvement but, for me, it has been remarkable.
    This.

    I'm not an experienced backpacker by any means, but I plan on heading NOBO in 2021 and have started purchasing my gear. First purchase? A Warbonnet Eldorado. In fact, discovering that hammocks are viable on the AT is what rekindled my interest in hiking it in the first place because there was absolutely no way I could make it sleeping on any of the pads I've looked at.

    I've always dealt with lower back pain (a bit of scoliosis and some minor arthritis) and sleep fairly well on my memory foam mattress at home but most hotels and all Navy mattresses on the ships lay me low. I walk like a feeble old man until midday sometimes, and it's persisted most of my adult life across all my fitness levels over the years. Even naps in my (nice) recliner can make me sore, and the only reason I've been able to complete my heavily seagoing oriented Navy career is by cutting expensive memory foam mattress pads to fit my mattress on the ship.

    I haven't tried an overnight in my hammock yet, it's too buggy and hot and I don't have a tarp or quilts, but I've had several "post yard work" naps and not once have I had any issues with my back. A small, perhaps incorrect data set, yes, but I'm encouraged enough by it to keep planning.

    There is a steeper learning curve with a hammock than with a ground system, and the choices available to you will make your head spin, but the info contained in the book "The Ultimate Hang 2" and at hammockforums.net is invaluable. I'll also throw out a strong recommendation for the youtube videos of "shugemery" (Sean Emery), a Minnesota-based entertainer, hiker, and hammock enthusiast. He's an extremely good-natured, helpful individual and his videos really go a long way toward simplifying and explaining all the ins and outs of hammocking.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/shugemery

    Good luck with whatever you decide on!
    Last edited by MuadDale; 06-14-2019 at 07:42. Reason: Wrong book title

  10. #10
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    Double post, sorry.

  11. #11
    Registered User meat803's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    Coming from spondylosis and scoliosis myself I can relate to bad backs, and bad sleeping pads. I have used an exped synmat 7 ul in wide long for about 5 years now and I dont think I will be leaving it anytime soon.
    I used a version of this pad for all 3 trails of my triple crown, Exped Synmat 7 regular width. I have yet to find a pad with as much width, comfort, and cushion from the ground. I am always looking and trying new gear, but this is one of those items I cannot find something better for myself. The key to this mat to me is the baffle design which allows me to sleep on me to sleep on my back without my arms falling off the sides and the high/thick baffles which have lots of give without touching the ground.

    The key to air mattresses is inflation level. Aside from personal comfort, too much and you are sleeping on a rock hard matress. Too little and your hips or butt hit the ground or you have back pain from too much "sink". Other light weight air mattresses aren't tall (or wide enough) to allow a low enough air pressure to achieve a soft matress without having hips or butt touch the ground.

    There are only a handful of items I have carried on my entire Triple crown journey. I am very critical and always looking for lighter or better. This pad in my opinion, cannot be beat for size, weight, or comfort. Dont get the one with integrated pump. The shnozzle bag weighs nothing and works amazing.
    2014 Foothills, 2015 AT GA-ME, 2016 LT SOBO, 2017 Art Loeb, 2017 Loyalsock trail 2017 Cranberry 50, 2017 PCT SOBO, 2018 CDT SOBO, 2018 Foothills
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  12. #12

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    I suffer class I spondy and fully endorse a hammock. Exercise, turmeric, stretching....

  13. #13
    Super Moderator Ender's Avatar
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    I threw out my back about 15 years ago, and have had problems with it ever since. The NeoAir, or a hammock, has worked well for me.
    Don't take anything I say seriously... I certainly don't.

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