Home Forums Bows and Equipment To sleep, perchance to … sleep?

Viewing 25 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      So here’s a challenge for Crocodile Jim, the Hammer and our other resident gear-heads: Sleeping pads. All I’ve ever owned or used across the past 30 years and more are a pair of ultra-light inflatable pads, 3/4″ thick by 48″ long, with many patches by now. Even doubled they’re hardly luxurious. But whether backpacking or car camping, that’s all we have. Time to upgrade for a bit more comfort, since anyone who comes to visit here (the few, the confused, the regretful) have to sleep on a cot and these things too.

      What I’m looking for and can’t seem to find on the net are full-length sleeping pads that are thick enough to be comfy, yet which will roll or fold sufficiently for backpacking and don’t weigh a ton. I prefer inflatable pads NOT, since they’re so prone to springing leaks. And price is always a strong consideration. Or, I could keep the old pads for backpacking and buy a couple of those thick eggshell foam sleeping pads for truck camping and guests … but I can’t find those affordable either. Your advice most welcome, thanks. Dave

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      So, let’s see….you want:

      1) Full-length

      2) Thick enough to be comfy

      3) Able to roll up to take backpacking

      4) Inflatable? Couldn’t tell if that was a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ on that one

      and

      4) Not expensive?

      That kind of reminds of some friends of mine who had a contracting company. The motto they had on their t-shirts was, “You can have fast, you can have cheap, you can have quality. Pick two.” πŸ˜†

      Seriously, though. It’s hard to find a good quality, full-length pad that is light/collapsible enough to take backpacking for less than $80-$100 minimum, in my experience. If you don’t want to pay at least that much, I would stick with closed-cell foam. If you do want to spend that much, then there are a number of solid brands – Therm-a-rest, Klymit, Big Agnes, etc.

      I’d also recommend checking Sierra Trading Post and backcountryoutlet.com for seasonal closeouts. Sometimes there are some really good deals on those sites.

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      I’ve had the same Therma-rest for over a decade, and it only has one patch on it (courtesy of loaning it out…). But I’m very careful about where I put it down, and I usually carry an ultralight piece of nylon to use as a ground sheet between the pad and the ground. I think that has gone a long way toward preventing punctures, especially when using it without tent floors, as I often do.

      But for the past year or so I’ve been using a Klymit ‘Static-V’ which is relatively inexpensive ($60-ish). It’s completely inflatable – no core material like most pads have. As a result, it packs down to less than the size of a Nalgene bottle. But it also has less “R” value than beefier pads. With care, it has so far proven to be pretty durable – it even survived several of my wife’s expeditions :wink:. Everything is a trade-off.

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Thanks, Hammer. It was a big NO on inflatable, given my experiences with my paleo-era Therm-a-rests (though factory service for finding and patching leaks is laudable, maybe even good :lol:).

      Tell me more about “closed-cell foam,” please. To me that means “Insolite,” which I’ve never seen thicker than about 3/8″. Even doubled it was never as good as even a thin Therm-a-rest. Except it never leaks.

      Time to toss some buffler burgers on the grill …

      PS: The lurker called “cantremembermyid” … man, I relate! I think you’d fit right in here. 😳

    • Col Mike
      Member
      Post count: 911

      Dave

      From the faded letters on ours–Ergo Mat, by basic designs. They are over 15 years old and have backpacked through CO and AK. Last year served as my face down bed on the living room floor as I recovered from back injury.

      They have some kind of foam in them and 3 individual panels with valve that you open to let air in–no huffing and puffing. Open the valves and you can roll up to fit under the backpack. Only downside is they don’t have a non-skid surface on bottom so you do move around on tent floor or ground cloth if it ain’t level:shock: Oh yes the pillow area is a blow up that you adjust to your preference.

      Don’t have a clue as to what they cost or even if they are still out there but might be worth a search. Course back then I was still on active duty so price wasn’t an issue but comfort was—when not working:D

      Semper Fi

      Mike

    • Fallguy
      Member
      Post count: 317

      Check out the Thermorest Z-lite. It is a closed cell foam pad that has the egg crate type design and it folds up accordion style. I have never slept on one but I have laid on one in the store they seemed way better than the standard foam ones. I sent a PM with a link to look at it on line.

    • jason samkowiak
      Post count: 141

      for car camping or “not too far in camping” I have really become a big fan of the small air mattress. comfy, easy to repair, but not as insulated, but very comfy.

      When I do use a thermarest pad or foam pad I do a little trick that helps me. you guys might do it already but thought id mention it.

      Before I set up my tent I use my foot or a stick and dig out a 3 to 4 inch deep depression with nice tapered edges. It looks like someone took a big heavy beach ball and made a dent in the ground. This is where I want my butt to go when im sleeping. its easier on my back and if I roll onto my side its easier on my hips. Works good and I sleep much better with that depression made.

    • James Harvey
      Member
      Post count: 1130

      Sorry Dave, I’m about the worst person to ask. I sleep on a disgraceful excuse for a sleeping pad that’s been cut down to the length of my torso and isnt even as wide as my shoulders. It’s thinner than a copy of TBM and probably less comfy but it does add a layer of insulation from the dirt.

      Those thermarests are very popular, even the cheap knock off’s with a puncture in them are orders of magnitude comfier than mine.

      My wife and I have a ridiculous self inflating double mattress for tent camping. Picture a thermarest that’s been cornfed and injected with steroids then double it. It rolls up to the size of a medium sized cannon and is packable by a team of ox. It’s as good as a real bed though πŸ˜‰

      Jim

    • Charles Ek
      Moderator
      Post count: 563

      Grab your beverage of choice and start reading:

      The Best Sleeping Pad Review from Outdoor Gear Lab

      Pads and Air Mattresses reviews from BackpackGearTest

    • sinawalli
      Post count: 222

      I’m with Smith on this Dave! I have a Therma rest for many years now, and have beat the crap out of it. Still going strong. Slept a few times on gravel, to no avail. I also have a Downmat 9 DLX, expedition mat. Inflates about 2.5″ thick, has goose down insulation in it,carry bag is used to inflate it in cold temps, and rolls up like a dry bag and is waterproof. Can be stuff for a pillow as well.Weight isn’t real nasty.

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      David Petersen wrote: Thanks, Hammer. It was a big NO on inflatable, given my experiences with my paleo-era Therm-a-rests (though factory service for finding and patching leaks is laudable, maybe even good :lol:).

      Tell me more about “closed-cell foam,” please. To me that means “Insolite,” which I’ve never seen thicker than about 3/8″. Even doubled it was never as good as even a thin Therm-a-rest. Except it never leaks.

      Dave –

      If you definitely don’t want an inflatable, then you are looking at some sort of closed-cell foam, such as ensolite. I’m not aware of any other alternatives to an inflatable besides foam.

      But I agree with you – closed-cell foam pads are pretty minimal comfort, they tend to compress with use over time and also don’t offer much insulation (“R” value) when it’s cold. Which is why I stick with an inflatable pad. They’re less bulky, offer more insulation and as long as you’re careful with them, I don’t find that holes/leaks are common.

      Sinawalli also mentioned the Exped pads, which are really nice. They up the “R” value even more by adding down into the mix. But, they are not cheap. No good quality pad is, in my experience. Comfort, durability and lightweight generally come at a cost.

    • sinawalli
      Post count: 222

      Sinawalli also mentioned the Exped pads, which are really nice. They up the “R” value even more by adding down into the mix. But, they are not cheap. No good quality pad is, in my experience. Comfort, durability and lightweight generally come at a cost.

      Did forget to mention that they aren’t cheap! Mine was a Xmas gift. I have used it in some very cold winter camps, and found it awesome. A bit of a pain to inflate using the bag, and you have to make sure the valves are screwed tight.

    • grumpy
      Member
      Post count: 962

      I have 4″ memory foam on my mattress, and we love it. On it right now, and it is very comfy. It would work very well in a camper/car. Cost about $100 for queen size. The excess was big enough to cover Arwen’s twin bed.

      For backpacking I use a closed cell foam pad (3/4 length) and about 1″ thick. Brand? It’s blue and I got it at Wallmart for about $10. NOT comfy, but survivable. Like closed cell foam. Water can’t get in, everything else seems to soak up water. OK, 3/4 length is down past my knees, and wouldn’t reach your waist.

    • tailfeather
      Post count: 417

      I’ve been using a full length Ridge Rest pad (closed cell foam) when backpacking for the last 20 years or so, sometimes for months at a time.

      It’s not as comfy as a therma-rest or other inflatable, but its light, virtually indestructible, and pretty cheap. At least they used to be…..dunno how much they are these days. You can roll it up and use it as a little camp seat or ground pad.

      Gotta admit though, when truck camping these days I use an air mattress. 8)

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Thank you, gents. I’ll start exploring all these possibilities tomorrow. I tried and tried to recall what we used in the Marines, but all I can come up with is … nothing. They always were “do more with less” cheapskates. πŸ˜†

    • wahoo
      Member
      Post count: 415

      DP I also use a thermarest inflatable but a few years ago I started using a thermarest z lot sol and it seems to work good and is real light for packing – When boating we use pocho (spelling) pads and for car camping they are big inflatable pads used to sit on when in the raft and sleep on in camp – they are real spendy

    • Steve Capps
      Post count: 85

      David Petersen wrote: Thank you, gents. I’ll start exploring all these possibilities tomorrow. I tried and tried to recall what we used in the Marines, but all I can come up with is … nothing. They always were “do more with less” cheapskates. πŸ˜†

      We called them “rubber ladies” guaranteed to be flat before morning πŸ˜€

    • Stephen Graf
      Moderator
      Post count: 2371

      I’ll latch onto the requirement for something that guests can sleep on when visiting…

      I’ll suggest that maybe you need two solutions, not one. And for guests, the self inflating air mattresses are getting pretty good these days. You can get a pretty cheap queen sized air mattress that’s pretty thick for pretty cheap. And they fold away pretty small when not in use. Very comfy stuff.

      Which may not be what you are looking for since it might encourage guests to stay too long… And you know what they say about fish and company, they both start stinking after a few days.

    • Col Mike
      Member
      Post count: 911

      stchunter48 wrote: [quote=David Petersen]Thank you, gents. I’ll start exploring all these possibilities tomorrow. I tried and tried to recall what we used in the Marines, but all I can come up with is … nothing. They always were “do more with less” cheapskates. πŸ˜†

      We called them “rubber ladies” guaranteed to be flat before morning πŸ˜€

      48 is right on. Of course Dave being a former aviator likely never slept on one–:D. Scuttlebutt had it if you sliced a rubber lady into strips and laid it on the ground around your fighting position it would keep the snakes out.8)

      Semper Fi

      Mike

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Very well then! While I really appreciate all of your good input, Eidsvolling and Steve G. seem to know my needs (and cheapskate personality) best. Steve reminded me–very important!–of the folly of making house guests overly comfy. (In all our years here, not a single in-law, all of whom are womens, has spent a single night in the Doghouse and I wouldn’t want to spoil that record. :twisted:). Happily, the first of the two comparison websites linked by Eids, above, has a graph that offers price/value comparisons at a glance. I think I’m going with the Therma-Rest insolite Ridgecrest SOLite full-length el cheapo for a paltry $20 each. (Seriously, I am not “cheap” by nature, but live mostly on Social Security and give as much of that as possible away, mostly to to the local brew pubs, so I must be parsemonious with my luxury purchases.) I still have my Paleolithic-era Ultra-lite knee-length inflatables, and with the foam pads beneath those, it should do the trick both for my camping uses and any cot-sleeping guests. As we said in the Marines, “f@#% ’em if they can’t take a joke!” Thanks again, Dave

      PS to ColMike … well, yes, you have a point. But I did go through all the infantry training they could throw me into, about a year’s worth in all, and several survival schools. Seems I do recall a few less-than-comfy nights “sleeping” on the snow with only a leaky tarp beneath my worn-out Korean-era prickly feather bag, before taking the high road. Of course, nobody was shooting at me with anything but blanks. Could it be that you’re jealous??? :P)

    • Col Mike
      Member
      Post count: 911

      Jealous–no, envious–no, respectful yes. Anyone who flew the CH-46 has my total respect. Survive today because of your compatriots. But I can still pick on you:D

      Semper Fi my friend

      3bravo2xray–I need pick up–now! And to just keep on thread the 46 is indeed a trad weapon:(

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Seriously, Mike, you and all the other “dumb grunts” (to use your own jokingly self-effacing term) who did dodge bullets and sleep in the cold mud are the ones deserving of respect. I had it shamefully easy by comparison. Knowing you, I know I’d have been honored to serve with you, which alas is more than I can say for some CO’s I had. You done good hard work for a very long time and maintained humility and humanity through it all, and it’s an honor to be your friend. Of course, if you shot wheels or an x-gun … but then, for some, that’s just not possible.

      “Corpsman up!” Now, you wanna talk about some seriously brave crazy heroic guys who saved lives!!! Without them, there would be nothing to load onto a dust-off but zipped-up body bags.

      But, ooh, sorry Mom, we won’t do it again (fingers crossed under the table).

    • Col Mike
      Member
      Post count: 911

      Mom–well of course we will again:D

      Why, because we who have seen the basement of humanity, enjoy the wild more then most.

      Dave as you know our place here is a revolving door of visiting friends mostly former Marines officer and enlisted but our two favorite guests are two of my Doc’s. More campfire stories.

      Mike

    • grumpy
      Member
      Post count: 962

      Fought in the sexual revolution.

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Back on topic … I ordered two Therma-Rest Ridgecrest SOLite sleeping pads for a total $59.90 from Zappos, with free shipping. They are 20″ wide by 72″ long and 1.5″ thick. With that thickness they should be dandy, and the rate higher in several categories than more expensive pads. Three sizes: small $20, regular (what I got) @30, and large $40. I’ll let you know if they suck or not. Thanks again for all the good leads.

    • wahoo
      Member
      Post count: 415

      thats what I have and it works great- works well in hammocks also . Good luck

Viewing 25 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.