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Patrick Craddock
(pcraddock) - F
Sleeping pad choices on 01/15/2008 14:14:17 MST Print View

I'm hiking the PCT. I'm working on getting my pack down to a very light load so I can bring a couple of luxury items. I really want to sleep on something more than a 1/8'' half length foam pad. I'd like some comfort as I get back pain, and as I sleep on my stomach and side a lot. Suggestions? I'll be using a WM alpinelite bag.

Steve McQueen
(cpholley) - F

Locale: Minnesota Transplant
UL Comfort System on 01/15/2008 14:19:54 MST Print View

Check out the Montbell UL Sleep System... I have the UL Comfort System 120 pad (12.7 oz, $65) and the attached UL CS Pillow (2.3 oz, $30). Sort of heavy by the Ultra-liters here...but a great system...super comfortable...esp if you can sacrifice a few oz.

http://montbell.us/products/disp.php?cat_id=33&p_id=1124274

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: Sleeping pad choices on 01/15/2008 14:23:39 MST Print View

I, too, have decided to get a bit more comfort than the Nightlight Torso on my upcoming Colorado Trail thru. I chose the Montbell 90 UL pad and the UL pillow, but the pillow won't be available until March from Montbell online. I' buy it elsewhere, but can't find it available... anywhere.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Sleeping pad choices on 01/15/2008 15:42:37 MST Print View

Another vote for the Montbell UL 90 @ 9.8oz paired with the UL pillow @ 2.4 oz. I just went to this system last year after the torso foamie started to kill me :). If you are having trouble sourcing stuff, this goes for you too John, try to contact "Brett" here on the forums. He has sent me a number of montbell items straight from Japan. Better prices and faster shipping - hard to beleive but true!

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Pad and Pillow Combo on 01/15/2008 15:59:43 MST Print View

The Montbell pad and pillow are under close scrutiny to be added to my “to purchase” list but I am curious as to how the pillow connects to the pad. Does anyone know if the space between the top of the pad and the pillow can be adjusted? A gap of 6” to a foot would be ideal for how I use my sleeping pad.

Andrew King
(drewboy) - F

Locale: Arizona
Ether thermo 6 on 01/15/2008 16:14:29 MST Print View

You might want to check out the POE Ether Thermo 6. For the 2/3 length pad, 16oz will get you 2.5" of luxurious insulated comfort. Thicker material and better durability than the BA inflatable pads too. Depends on the comfort/weight point you are looking for I suppose.

http://pacoutdoor.com/2007/index.cfm?action=product&productID=132&groupID=23&familyID=1

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Pad and Pillow Combo on 01/15/2008 17:45:15 MST Print View

John,
The distance between the pillow and the pad is basicaly nil. They are butt right up against each other and hold tight no matter how much you move. I guess you could extend the line between them, but the pillow would move around a lot more.
HTH

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Pad and Pillow on 01/15/2008 19:07:43 MST Print View

Well Steve, that’s too bad. I guess I will skip the pillow. Before going lightweight, stuffing my pack with extra stuff, mainly jackets and clothes, worked great and provided a good night’s sleep but now there is not enough stuff and thus the need for some extra elevation for the noggin. The BPL pillow was good except mine would never completely deflate.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
RE: Ether thermo 6 on 01/15/2008 21:43:50 MST Print View

Andrew, that pad is beyond impressive. It states an R value of 6.8 and 7.8 (variable depending on different sections of the pad). With that rating, and at 16 oz, that has to be the lightest winter pad around? I might have to get one if I can get some feedback on it. My DM7 is a 1/2 pound heavier and rated at 4.9! Tell me I'm dreaming?

Edited by Steve_Evans on 01/15/2008 21:44:33 MST.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: RE: Ether thermo 6 on 01/15/2008 23:25:11 MST Print View

I would second going with an insulated air mattress if you want real luxury.

The previous version of the thermo was approx the same insulate as the BA insulated air core, ~R4. The new model claims to be more than 50% more insulating which put it very close to the Warmlite DAM when it comes to r-value/oz. I wonder if the specs are a bit off. Now if a bit of aerogel was being used, but I doubt that based on the moderate cost. This is when having an outside testing org would be really nice.

If the thermo 6 is really R6-7, and I had to replace my BA Insulated Air core, I would certainly think long and hard about switching pads. When the pads were equal warms I prefered the BA's flatter surface (8 tubes rather than 6) but of extra insulation would be tempting.

Especially if I get one of the BA Clearview pads (12oz) for my birthday. I could use the Clearview for 2 seasons and then switch to thermo 6 and most likely ditch one of the two foam oam pad I bring on winter trips since R7 would match what I am getting from my BA insulated aircore + foam.

--Mark

Edited by verber on 01/16/2008 10:38:45 MST.

Patrick Craddock
(pcraddock) - F
pad durability on 01/16/2008 00:39:12 MST Print View

what do you guys think about the durability of your pads? I'll be hiking long distance, and having been a victim of 2 separate blowouts, I hesitate a bit on insulated pads.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F - M

Locale: British Columbia
Sleeping pad choices... on 01/16/2008 00:49:57 MST Print View

I've used the BA Insulated Air Core for a couple of years and it's the Gold Standard for comfort in my opinion. That said, you should be aware of a few things that I find bothersome about the air mattress style of pad. If you choose a narrow pad (mines 20" wide), your arms will hang off the side (dangle unsupported) if you pull them out of your bag or sleep with a quilt. I've heard a few people complain about this and I find it really annoying. You also need a fairly large pillow to compensate for the 2.5 inch thickness of the pad.

I've recently purchased a Thermarest Prolite 4 (short) which is 1.5 inches thick and weighs in at exactly 16 oz. on my scale. The R value is not as high as the BA Air Core but it's very comfortable and weighs 8 ounces less.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: pad durability on 01/16/2008 01:46:16 MST Print View

There are some people who have reported problems with BA durability. Most of these reports have the mat failing pretty quickly. I know several people who have hundreds of nights on a BA, with the pad showing no signs off problems. I haven't heard any reports of the PAC pads failing.

As to the prolite 4 short -vs- insulated air mattress... the PAC 2/3 length would be the same weight, and the petite length of the BA is just 2oz heavier for a longer and warmer pad. Not to mention more comfortable. No contest as far as I am concerned.

--mark

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
BA vs POE on 01/16/2008 10:19:35 MST Print View

Okay, I have owned the POE Ether Thermo 6 and currently own the Thermarest Prolite 4 Regular and Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Regular. The Thermarest is just junk compared to the other two. I sleep on my side and I pretty much have to inflate it fully so that I don't bottom out on my hip. I didn't see any real differences between the POE and the BA. Someone above said that the POE is more durable and warmer but it did not seem that way to me.

Andrew King
(drewboy) - F

Locale: Arizona
POE vs BA vs Thermarest on 01/16/2008 11:16:13 MST Print View

I own and have used all 3 pads as well. No question about the improved comfort with the 2.5" inflatables. And while the BA has not failed me or any of my hiking companions (yet), I have more confidence in the POE pad constructed with the thicker 70D bottom. You can go over to the BPL user reviews to see numerous examples of BA pads that have developed leaks in the field. Perhaps the BA quality issue has been fixed in the more recent builds? For me, I will still go with the better specs and improve my odds as much as I can.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Exped on 01/16/2008 11:43:18 MST Print View

For comfort and warmth you might also look at the Exped Downmats.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F - M

Locale: British Columbia
Sleeping pad choices... on 01/16/2008 11:47:01 MST Print View

Since sleeping comfort is very subjective, saying the Thermarest is junk is just useless info.

My experience with Thermarest is that they produce good quality pads but they tend to be heavy. I've read many user comments that suggest the BA Air Cores are leak prone but mine has held up well for 2 years of use without requiring a patch (but I'm very careful with it).

High rise pads (Air Core Style) are comfortable but I find they have their own set of problems. The BA Air Core slips badly, is noisey and can be annoying if you sleep on your back (arms hanging over the side). This is all subjective stuff but at least it's useful input.

I agree that the 3/4 length BA Clearview pads sound interesting... they are lighter/longer than the Prolite 4 and roll up smaller. The Prolite 4 rolls up to exactly the same size as my BA Air Core full length, which is another negative point for the Prolite... I wish it was smaller. I still like the lower profile and lighter weight that it offers so I'll use it for a while until something better comes along.

My first thought about the Clearview is that I wonder how fragile it is... I'll look forward to hearing the long term reports.

Mike Hinsley
(ArchNemesis)

Locale: England, UK
Sleeping Pad choices on 01/16/2008 11:54:02 MST Print View

I've started to move away from Thermarests and back towards the standard foam mats - it's lighter and warmer.

The one I use is a NATO issue thick foam mat which is surprisingly comfortable (for a foam mat). I have contoured the pad to be more of a thermarest tapered shape - merely to shed a bit of weight. It now weighs in about 220g for an all-year pad.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
How do you sleep? on 01/16/2008 12:13:16 MST Print View

Your sleeping style is probably the most important thing to take into consideration here. My partner (a hard core side/front sleeper) and I have 2 full length Stephenson's DAMs @ around 24 oz each. This should be the ultimate lap of luxury pad, and it is for my partner. But for me (a 100% back sleeper) I hate it. My arms hang miserably off the pad, I feel a bit sea-sick at times because of the way it wobbles when I move, it's heavy, and it's prone to punctures. The last is in theory as we've never had the problem (yet), but I always worry about going from 4 inches of insulation to virtually zero due to a leak.

My pad of choice for most situations is a Ridgerest cut down to Torso size. Or a Ridgerest of any size really, but that's as a back sleeper....

Edited by retropump on 01/16/2008 12:14:22 MST.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Combination Maybe? on 01/16/2008 12:49:06 MST Print View

You might try a combination of pads. I've found that a straight GG nightlight (http://tinyurl.com/8whqu) is often not enough padding for the lumpy ground (mostly roots) of many a Northwest camp spot. I combine it with a thinlight or two. My wife combines a short thermarest with the thinlight to get both extra warmth and cushioning. Maybe combining a Montbell pad with a thinlight and/or a section or two of nightlight might work. I haven't experimented, but it seems like you could just lay them next to each other (with the Montbell pad just in the shoulders to hip area and the other foam pads below). The nice thing about the Montbell is that they come in various sizes (as do the closed cell pads since you can always cut it). If you go with just closed cell pads, I definitely recommend the GG pads.