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yobtaf

Lets talk sleeping pads

Ok Im not what they call a "in shape" person. Although a circle is a shape. I am more of a side sleeper and Im looking for a comfortable pad. I do have some back issues, so I know that I might not find the perfect pad. I rented a REI trekker 1.75 self inflating pad and I tossed and turned all night. I have been looking at some of the air pads.

Here is what Im looking at.
http://www.rei.com/product/810375...-rest-neoair-trekker-sleeping-pad
http://www.rei.com/product/828460/rei-stratus-insulated-air-pad
http://www.rei.com/product/763953/big-agnes-insulated-air-core-pad
http://www.rei.com/product/691240/big-agnes-air-core-sleeping-pad

Im wondering if the neoair vs the others would be better for a side sleeper because of the side to side way it is made. I almost pulled the trigger on the REI pad because of price, weight, and r value. If you have any info lets here your .02 cents!
TIA
Hikin_Jim

I'm also a side sleeper, and, brother, the 2.5" thick Neo Air works for me.  I have the greenish-yellow colored version ("limon").  Best sleep I've had on the trail (except for a hammock, but you can't always find a place for a hammock).  The Neo Air (at least the version I have) is very light and very compact.  One of my top 3 pieces of favorite gear*.

HJ

*Oddly, none of my top 3 favorite pieces of gear is a stove.   Embarassed
jfr

My wife and I have the Big Agnes Insulated pads (along with the Big Agnes double sleeping bag) and I'd recommend getting the insulated version, or you'll feel like you're trying to heat the entire surface of the ground under the pad, thanks to air convection inside the pads.  The Big Agnes version has some sort of fluff inside that slows down the air movement, while the Neoair only has baffles.  Check the specs tab on those links. The R-value is 4 for the Big Agnes Insulated, 3 for the REI, 2 for the neoair, and 1 for the Big Agnes non-insulated.  Long ago, while a teenager, I though that I'd be smart and I brought an old inflatable swimming pool mat on a winter camping trip.  Let's just say that I melted some snow that night!

Also, I'm about 6 feet tall, so I first bought the 78" (taller) version, thinking that my feet would be happier.  I found out that it was nearly as long as the tent, so that I couldn't inflate it inside the tent without cramming my face into the corner.  I took it back and got the 72".  You might even get the shorter 66" petite version if you always sleep on your side with your knees tucked up.

The Big Agnes model also comes with a patch kit.  In order to avoid ever needing to use that kit, always clean the area under the tent of pointy objects before you set it up...

Two and a half inches thickness is mighty nice, compared to the bad old days of camping on the ground, but I'm getting spoiled: I'm now wishing they'd come up with a five-inch-thick backpacking version. Ultra-Light, Ultra-Thick, Ultra-Comfy!  Very Happy

You should note that the Big Agnes pad weighs a few ounces more than the others, but if you're going ultra-light you wouldn't be contemplating carrying a comfy bed along with you...
JeffH

I have the long version of the Big Agnes insulated pad and I love it. Previously used REI 1.5 inch insulated and also had to use a closed-cell foam with it. Even with all that my hips would feel bruised and I don't sleep on my side all that much. Surprisingly, the BA is lighter than just the REI and since I don't bring the foam it's much less space in my pack.
I also have the Big Agnes inflatable pillow, but think I may trade that in on the Thermarest inflatable.


Oh yeah, I'm 6'2", about 205 pounds.
mattmaxon

jfr wrote:
Two and a half inches thickness is mighty nice, compared to the bad old days of camping on the ground, but I'm getting spoiled: I'm now wishing they'd come up with a five-inch-thick backpacking version. Ultra-Light, Ultra-Thick, Ultra-Comfy!  Very Happy


I'm holding out for an Anti-gravity pad or hover pad oh yeah and an anti-gravity hover pack!
yobtaf

Hikin_Jim: Thanks! The only down side to that pad I can see is the price  Shocked  Although you get what you pay for is what comes to mind.

jfr: The big agnes is the pad I first thought about, but the REI air pad comes in weighing about 10 ounces less. I want the wide, I didnt care for my shoulders being off the mat when I was on my back. But maybe the 25 inch wide wouldnt matter if I slept even more on my side. And as far as 5" thick, put two together and leave some food at home  Laughing

JeffH: Thanks for more input on the Big Agnes. One of the guys I talked to at Little Jimmy had that pad and he loved it too.

mattmaxon: when I read your post I just got done looking at antigravity gears site and they had the Klymit static v http://www.antigravitygear.com/klymit-static-v-sleeping-pad.html but then my brain caught up to the joke  Wink If your done with the tyvek ground sheet, put it in an envelope and send it to me  Wink

Thanks everyone for the info!
Hikin_Jim

mattmaxon wrote:
I'm holding out for an Anti-gravity pad or hover pad oh yeah and an anti-gravity hover pack!
Heck, why stop there, go with transporter beams and we won't even have to hike anymore.  Wink

On a more serious note, if you really want comfort, try a hammock.  Best night's sleep on the trail I've ever had bar none.

With regard to the Neoair, it's insulative qualities are pretty good.  I've slept on one down into the high 20's at night and had no sensation of cold beneath me.

HJ

thermarest prolite plus works pretty well for me (side sleeper, 200 lbs)

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Hikin_Jim

wrote:
thermarest prolite plus works pretty well for me (side sleeper, 200 lbs)
I have both the Prolite Plus and the NeoAir.  I bought the Prolite Plus for a winter trip a couple of years prior to the NeoAir.  The Prolite Plus is definitely warmer, but there's no comparison when it comes to comfort.  The NeoAir is hands down the more comfortable for me.  Some people don't like the NeoAir because it sounds "crinkley" when you move around.  Doesn't bother me.

The NeoAir is also super compact and ultra-light.  It's one of my top three favorite* pieces of gear.

HJ

*My top three favs:
1.  NeoAir pad
2.  Isuka map case
3.  Western Mountaineering Summerlite sleeping bag
Dragon

I have been using one of the Prolite Plus pads from thermarest for a while now and I have to say I wish it was a little thicker. I don't like feeling the hard ground when I am readjusting myself on the pad. I did discover this past "winter" (if you even want to call it a "winter") when I was camping at Little Jimmy in the snow that by using a standard ground pad under the Prolite, I can eliminate the feeling of the ground when I am adjusting myself on the pad. Since that trip I always bring both of the pads just for the comfort of having them. As a bonus I can use the standard ground pad when taking breaks on trail so it serves a double function.
robnokshus

I use a regular old Thermarest pad and I am normally pretty comfortable.

If you sleep on your side a lot, consider digging a "hip trench" before you throw down your  groundcloth or tent. It's pretty much what it sounds like; a horizontal depression an inch or so deep where you suspect your hips will wind up. The ground just doesn't give like a mattress and the inch or two of lift you get from your pad won't keep you hip bone from connecting with the ground. The hip trench just gives your hip a little somewhere to go.
Hikin_Jim

The problem with digging a "hip trench" is that camp site may get a little chewed up.  The next guy's tent may not line up with yours and such.  I guess I understand the idea and all, but I'm a little uncomfortable with people digging up sites.   I guess if you put the dirt back afterwards, it's no big deal.

HJ
yobtaf

Ok REI got some more of my money  Mad  I bought two pads. http://www.rei.com/product/810375...-rest-neoair-trekker-sleeping-pad  and this one http://www.rei.com/product/828460/rei-stratus-insulated-air-pad. First thoughts of just using in the house is the Neoair is better. I was really hoping the other would be better. Maybe just for price reasons. On the REI pad I feel like I have to blow it up full. The side tubes are 2.5 but the center tubes or more like 1.75. The neoair I put the same amount of air in and found myself letting a bunch of air out. I think the side to side tubes feel a bit better too. I did look at this one http://www.rei.com/product/829851...-a-rest-neoair-xlite-sleeping-pad but the price and the mummy style I dont think will work for me because I move around so much.
Ill see how things go in the next few days. I hate buying one knowing I will take it back, but at least its just in the house on carpet. Its a big chunk of change so I have to be sure.
Thanks for all the input so far.
Hikin_Jim

I've had my eye on that x-lite, but dang is it expensive.  My regular NeoAir will have to do.  I'm a side sleeper, and I roll around a fair amount, but the mummy style pads have never been a problem for me.  YMMV of course.

HJ
yobtaf

Hikin_Jim wrote:
I've had my eye on that x-lite, but dang is it expensive.  My regular NeoAir will have to do.  I'm a side sleeper, and I roll around a fair amount, but the mummy style pads have never been a problem for me.  YMMV of course.

HJ


yes very expensive  Shocked
jfr

Buying two and returning one after trying them out on your carpet at home seems fair enough; it's basically in "as new" condition.  Also, I think you'll probably like that trekker pad.  It appears to be made from stronger material than the x-lite.  Did you get the 25x47 version? That sounds like it might work if you like being in that fetal position on your side.

When I think of how expensive these pads are, I try to justify the expense by comparing it to a night in a hotel.  Without the mini-bar. Smile

And now, just when you thought you had everything comfort-related for sleeping, I'm here to remind you that you probably should get one of these:
http://www.rei.com/product/830617/exped-air-pillow
or maybe one of these:
http://www.rei.com/product/799192/cocoon-hyperlite-pillow

My wife and I bought one of each, figuring that we could trade them back and forth to check them out, and we each liked one.  She prefers the exped and I use the cocoon.  She's a side-sleeper and I do a bit of everything.  I've used my extra clothes as a pillow for years, but they are nearly always lumpy, or you end up with a zipper or a seam making indentations on your cheek.  Not anymore!  And they roll up with the air mattresses, so you never even notice them.

When you start shelling out $$ for an inflatable pillow, you know that you've reached a new plateau in your endless quest for more gear. Smile
yobtaf

No I didnt get the short. I tried a short pad one time and I didnt like the feeling on my knees if my legs were straight. I think I will sleep on the neoair when I goto bed  Wink
And yes I did have my eye on the coccon pillow Cool
Hikin_Jim

The short but thick air pads aren't worth it in my opinion.  The short vs. regular Neo Air has a weight difference of about 1 ounce as I recall.  Not a material difference to me.  But the edge feels a little weird since it's 2.5" thick.  With a 1" thick pad, I don't notice it too much, but with a 2.5" thick pad I do.

HJ
jfr

I just read about the Instaflator and the microburst on another forum, and I thought you might want to check them out.  

Now, I don't mind blowing up air mattresses.  I usually read my book while lying in the tent, slowly filling the pads one breath at a time, never breathing too fast or getting lightheaded.  But the part I hate is thinking about all the moisture collecting (and condensing) inside the pad.  You know that it's got to be getting nasty in there, but you can't see it.  Or so I think.  I can't smell anything evil when I deflate the mattress, so maybe it's only pure water inside.  But that still doesn't change the fact that you eventually begin to carry around more water weight.

I don't have either one of these nifty inventions, but I'm going to buy one of the instaflator's today, as I'm heading to SanG tomorrow morning to do the 9 Peaks Challenge.  For three bucks!  I'll let you know how it worked when I get back.  I like that I can get one right now at the local pool supply place and don't have to pay shipping.  Leslie's stores are all over SoCal.  People on the net have reported that they work on the Neoair and Big Agnes pads.
yobtaf

jfr wrote:
I just read about the Instaflator and the microburst on another forum, and I thought you might want to check them out.  

Now, I don't mind blowing up air mattresses.  I usually read my book while lying in the tent, slowly filling the pads one breath at a time, never breathing too fast or getting lightheaded.  But the part I hate is thinking about all the moisture collecting (and condensing) inside the pad.  You know that it's got to be getting nasty in there, but you can't see it.  Or so I think.  I can't smell anything evil when I deflate the mattress, so maybe it's only pure water inside.  But that still doesn't change the fact that you eventually begin to carry around more water weight.

I don't have either one of these nifty inventions, but I'm going to buy one of the instaflator's today, as I'm heading to SanG tomorrow morning to do the 9 Peaks Challenge.  For three bucks!  I'll let you know how it worked when I get back.  I like that I can get one right now at the local pool supply place and don't have to pay shipping.  Leslie's stores are all over SoCal.  People on the net have reported that they work on the Neoair and Big Agnes pads.


I pass by two Leslies pools on the way home. I think Ill get one as well. I saw a video on it by Jason Klass, looks like it worked good.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJ...p;index=28&feature=plpp_video
Hikin_Jim

I guess I'm a curmudgeon -- looks like too much faffing about to me. Laughing   Blowing up a Neoair is a bit of a pain, but it's not that big of a deal, and it beats carrying a heavier pad.

HJ
JeffH

I'm interested to see how it works too. Takes a while to blow up my mattress but oh the comfort when it's done.
yobtaf

well Im home and picked up two. They were .99¢ at that price its worth a shot. Ill post back later on the results, or my faffing. Laughing
yobtaf

Ha! laid on the Neoair that was already inflated to watch a movie with the kids, woke up 3 hours later! I think it was very comfortable! Ill try the instaflator later.
yobtaf

Ok for 1.5 oz its not bad. It took two times to fill the large neoair. For .99¢ I will carry it just for that little bit of ease to inflate the pad. as always YMMV  Cool
Hikin_Jim

yobtaf wrote:
Ha! laid on the Neoair that was already inflated to watch a movie with the kids, woke up 3 hours later!
I think we'll call that the Yobtaf "seal of approval."  Laughing

HJ
Burchey

Hikin_Jim wrote:

*My top three favs:
1.  NeoAir pad
2.  Isuka map case
3.  Western Mountaineering Summerlite sleeping bag


summerlite FOR TEH WIN
Hikin_Jim

Burchey wrote:
summerlite FOR TEH WIN
One pound, three ounces with a 32F rating and stuffs down to almost as small as a loaf of bread.  What's not to like?  Smile

Combine it with a NeoAir pad, and you've got a 32F sleep system that comes in at two pounds.  NICE.

HJ
jfr

yobtaf wrote:
Ok for 1.5 oz its not bad. It took two times to fill the large neoair. For .99¢ I will carry it just for that little bit of ease to inflate the pad. as always YMMV  Cool

Well, I used the Instaflator last weekend.  Four nights in the San Gorgonio Wilderness.  Two pads inflated per night.  Two rounds of inflation per pad.  No problems whatsoever.  Only took one or two actual breaths to get the pads up to full pressure.  I also chopped off those extra inflation adapters that come with it since they're only good for pool toys (so now it's even lighter).

Hikin_Jim wrote:
I guess I'm a curmudgeon -- looks like too much faffing about to me. Laughing   Blowing up a Neoair is a bit of a pain, but it's not that big of a deal, and it beats carrying a heavier pad.

I hate to say this, Jim, but your pad IS getting heavier.  Have you ever seen the spit valve on a trumpet?  Maybe you should install one on your Neoair!  Razz Razz Razz

A few more inflation cycles using nice dry mountain air with this Instaflator and my pads will dry out inside, and will weigh a lot less than the weight of the device.  And I'm going to believe this despite all evidence to the contrary! Smile

Just the same, I still miss lying around, relaxing in the tent, blowing up the pad the old fashioned way.  Maybe I'm a bit of a curmudgeon, too...
yobtaf

ah me too. I thought it worked great. did the same cut off the extra's and away we went.
Kinda looks like a cheech and chong prop

Hikin_Jim


yobtaf wrote:
Kinda looks like a cheech and chong prop
 Laughing
Tim

That Instaflator is pretty clever! I went to my local Leslie's Pool Supply store and they had them on clearance for $.99.

Mine weighed 1.6 oz by itself and 1.8 oz total with the adapter piece that goes on the sleeping pad valve.

It took me 1 and 1/2 length of Instaflator to fill up my Pacific Outdoor Insulmat. It was definitely a lot less work than huffing and puffing, but I noticed two things: if you like a firm pad, you have to add that last bit of air the old fashioned way. The Instaflator isn't rigid enough to exert enough air pressure to firm up the pad. Secondly, the plastic is pretty thin, almost the same as a grocery bag so I'm not sure how durable it will be. The lightness of the plastic does make it easy to fill up the bag with air, but I'm worried about ripping it or puncturing it.

But hey, it's $.99 so I can't complain too much. The biggest benefit is not putting all that moisture into your sleeping pad.
Hikin_Jim

Tim wrote:
The biggest benefit is not putting all that moisture into your sleeping pad.
Yeah, you might have a point there.  

With a "traditional" (self inflating) Thermarest, I just store it with the valve open.  

It's my NeoAir that I wonder about about.  You can't air them out as easily.  What's the impact of the moisture inside?  

HJ
jfr

Hikin_Jim wrote:
Tim wrote:
The biggest benefit is not putting all that moisture into your sleeping pad.
Yeah, you might have a point there.  

With a "traditional" (self inflating) Thermarest, I just store it with the valve open.  

It's my NeoAir that I wonder about about.  You can't air them out as easily.  What's the impact of the moisture inside?  

HJ

The biggest impact of moisture condensing inside would probably be the growth of mold.  Most molds are harmless.  Some fuzzy mold might improve the insulating R-Value. Smile  Pure water wouldn't grow mold on the pure plastic interior of the neoair, but a tiny bit of protein (etc.) from the accidental introduction of saliva might help foster some growth near the valve area.

A good way to get rid of the moisture would be to inflate it with an instaflator at home on a nice dry day, let it get hot in the sun to help evaporate any liquid water that is inside (don't over-inflate and explode your pad), then let out the warm moist air.  Rinse and repeat until you feel that it's dry inside.  I suppose that you could weigh it on a very sensitive scale if you are truly obsessed.  And this way you can blow it up the old fashioned way while backpacking and thus avoid carrying the extra ounce or two of the instaflator's weight.

Like HJ says:  When it comes to lightweight backpacking, there are "ounce-counters" and "gram-weenies."  The instaflator is in the ounce-counter camp, while the water weight in the pad is more in the gram-weenie range.
Hikin_Jim

Just a status update of sorts:

Slept on my NeoAir the last two weekends in a row (French Gulch for two nights and Little Basin for two nights).  Great pad as always.  I've useed a Thermarest product of some type since 1987 and the NeoAir is by far the most comfortable I've slept on.  Wish I'd gotten the full length though.  Saving one ounce by going with a 3/4 length isn't worth the 1 oz savings.

HJ
rebo

ultra expensive vs ultra light

Laughing
Neo Air is super crinkly sounding.. It surpasses the sound of the old squeeky spring mattresses and the price is prickely....
I have both the 4 season core-light and 3 season core-light by thermarest. No crinkly noises when turning over.
The 3 season core-light is lower to the ground then the 4 season core-light. The 4 season gives much more on temp when packing a lighter weight and temp sleeping bag or quilt ...the price is still a thermal price which is how they got their name Thermacost...lol....
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Teejate

Always like reading about others choices.

To toss it out there, I picked up a Nemo Astro Insulated pad recently and it's really working for me. It's 2.5" with an R value of 4 and comes in at 24 ounces. Easy to inflate, quick to deflate and no "crinkling" sound which I love. It does have a built in pillow which some might not like but it works for me.

Nemo is making some really good stuff but it's costly. I got this on sale at Campsaver and, as long as it shows some durability, has been a really good buy.
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