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Back Issues - Thickest/Lightest pad?
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(OBOZ) - F

Back Issues - Thickest/Lightest pad? on 05/06/2008 16:13:23 MDT Print View

OK I'm falling apart; between tearing both lateral and medial meniscus in my left knee last year & having back issues (bulging disks) for over 10 years. Knee surgery and therapy has done the trick. But I will always have a bad back.
Enough about me being 36 years old and feeling
I have a 2.5 inch Insulpad that is 20 ounces. It's a full mummy. I want to go lighter. I have done my own research, but want to here more input and opinions.
What do you recommend? Thank you for your time and reply.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
back problems on 05/06/2008 16:37:33 MDT Print View

I too have back problems and switched to a 2.5" Pad. weighs in at 20 ounces too. I have found though, that ever since I have switched to a thicker pad (and this on is just a blow up, non insulated 3 season pad) that my sleep has improved. Big Agnes has the clearview available now and it weighs less than what you have

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
"Back Issues-Thickest/Lightest pad?" on 05/06/2008 16:39:18 MDT Print View

Having had back fusion surgery, the injury being the result of an auto accident, I can relate to your situation. For me the firmer the surface the better so a thin pad works well. I try to find a fairly smooth and flat surface to set up on and I use a Prolite 3 short pad.

(OBOZ) - F

Pacific Outdoor on 05/06/2008 16:49:45 MDT Print View

Thank you for your replies. It looks like I will be sacrificing weight versus comfort. Pacific Outdoor has the best selection from 3 season Uberlite 3/4 only 9 ounces but only 1 inch thick. To the Insulmat 3 season 2.5 inch insulated air mat for 20 ounces( the one I have already). SIGH...


(Thom)"For me the firmer the surface the better"
I think I will experiment with this. It actually scares me. For those that can relate.

Is there a "ultralight" 2.5" insulated short pad out there that I don't know about?

Edited by OBOZ on 05/06/2008 16:57:34 MDT.

nathan frisch
(nathanfrisch) - F

Locale: Southern Appalacians
Pad on 05/06/2008 16:59:05 MDT Print View

The POE ether thermo six is available in a short length. It is a 2.5 inflatable with synthetic insulation and ways only 16 ounces. This is my pad of choice.

(OBOZ) - F

Nathan - Ether 6 on 05/06/2008 17:16:11 MDT Print View

I was debating on this one.I have the regular Ether 6. Actually 21 oz. I see. I just can't justify paying $50 to save 4 oz.

Edited by OBOZ on 05/06/2008 17:29:43 MDT.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
"Back Issues - Thickest/Lightest Pad" on 05/06/2008 18:11:54 MDT Print View

The Exped Downmat 7 short is a very nice mat (and is 2.5 thick), but is a little heavier then some others you've listed.

It's listed as 2.8" thick and 17 oz.

Edited by thomdarrah on 05/06/2008 18:15:32 MDT.

Mark Hurd
(markhurd) - M

Locale: South Texas
Re: Back Issues - Thickest/Lightest pad? on 05/06/2008 18:15:46 MDT Print View


I know this is a little off topic, but not really. --> Have you considered a hammock? Just a thought. I've recently been trying out a Hennesey Hammock and have been impressed with the improved back comfort. Hammocks have their own issues, but I've been lurking on some hammock forums and note that several people with "back issues" swear by hammocks. Just a thought.



Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: "Back Issues - Thickest/Lightest Pad" on 05/06/2008 18:23:22 MDT Print View

I used to own the Downmat 7 short - it weighs 24 oz with stuff sack, but it is pure luxury to sleep on. I sold it and had warmlite make me a custom length DAM.
Inflated Pad

Pad on Scale

Timothy Roper
(lazybones) - F

Locale: Alabama
Re: "Back Issues - Thickest/Lightest Pad" on 05/06/2008 19:36:05 MDT Print View

I'll second the hammock for a bad back. I find that not only is a hammock more comfortable than the ground, but the 'curve' tends to stretch my hamstrings out a bit as I sleep resulting in a lot less muscle stiffness the next day.

I go to the ground when it's below 40 because it's just too much hassle and weight to stay warm in a hammock, but above 40, I really like it.

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Sometimes 2 pads are better than 1 on 05/06/2008 20:13:02 MDT Print View

I find that the combo of a Montbell UL 90 inflatable pad & GG torso length foam pad works great. The total weight is only 12 oz or so & it is especially comfy if you are a side sleeper.

Mark Hurd
(markhurd) - M

Locale: South Texas
Re: Sometimes 2 pads are better than 1 on 05/06/2008 20:39:10 MDT Print View

James, I use the exact combo when I'm in a tent. Very comfy!

And Timothy, as far as the hammock below 40 degrees-- I really haven't had a chance to try it out that low. But I am pretty new to this hammock thing.


Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Re: Back Issues - Thickest/Lightest pad? on 05/06/2008 21:25:16 MDT Print View

If you're willing to consider the unconventional, then how about 2.9 oz / 1.7" thick pad?

Here's the review:

Good luck, back problems on outings are tough.

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
Back Issues - Thickest/Lightest pad on 05/06/2008 21:32:29 MDT Print View

I too will recommend the hammocks. I've found the asymetrical designed ones from hennessay especially comfortable. Below 40 degrees however you do need some form of insulation on the bottom or include a pad in your setup. Gossamer Gear has a wide pad that is excellent for hammock camping or you can go the down underquilt route from Jacks R Better which while being more expensive opens up even winter conditions in the hammock as well as wonderfully comfortable shoulder seasons.

I've slept in hammocks as low as 5 degrees. If I had the system I have now I would have been wonderfully comfortable.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
bad back... what to do? on 05/06/2008 21:37:08 MDT Print View

I also have an enlarged disk that flares up about 3x a year. if you are ever interested in a hammock, or the philosophy behind these wonderful backcountry tools, ask away. There are many here that can help you sleep well below 40° without unnecessary weight. (im good down to 30° and still remain under 6 lbs base weight :) ) there is a such thing as ultralight hammocking.
*ironically (I suppose) the Big Agnes air core pad gives me the most trouble. a good pillow is the true answer... yet a hammock forms its own pillow. so that's what works for me.

Edited by mikeinfhaz on 05/06/2008 23:31:20 MDT.

(OBOZ) - F

Great people - Great replies on 05/07/2008 17:36:33 MDT Print View

Thank you all for your replies. Hammocks huh, hmmm , makes sense! For those of you who do this, is it like sleeping in a cocoon? I did the bivy/tarp combo on the AT last year and it was alittle too snug for my taste. I'm a roll sleeper and don't know if the hammock will do it for me. BUT if it takes me to learn not to roll to save my back I will. Mike that is true about the pillow vs the pad. Raising my head to flatten my back to the pad makes a world of difference. I will definitely do some major researching into hammocks. Prepare for Thank you all again.

Edited by OBOZ on 05/07/2008 17:38:05 MDT.

Kyle Hetzer
(Ghost93) - F

Locale: Western MD
Re: Great people - Great replies on 05/08/2008 10:03:22 MDT Print View

If you want to go the hammock route, then Give Hennessey Hammocks (HH) a try. With a HH you dont have much shoulder squezze and with the side pullouts you get plenty of room inside the hammock. Be warned though, A HH is the gateway Hammock to the Hammock haning culture. Soon you find your self sitting behind a sowing machine making your own version of what ever style suits yout fancy that particular week.

The one thing Im not to keen on about the HH is that it is a royal pain to try and use a GG 1/4 wide thinlight inside the hammock, that's why I went and made a Risk zHammock, but did whats called the Hennessy Whipp to bring the ends of the hammock together. That way I get the ASYM design of the HH, but with a top loading design, and a double layered hammock, so I can stick my pad between the layers and not deal with wrestling the pad.

Also If hammocking is right for you, you should consult for more information on many different types of hammocks and techiqunes about hammocking in general. Happy Hanging.

(OBOZ) - F

Finished a AT GA/NC section - not much sleep at all on 05/22/2008 08:38:31 MDT Print View

OK it's official, I am going to get into the hammock world of hiking. I had a TERRIBLE time with my back and trying to sleep. Now trying to go the UL way of hammock hiking is my concern. Time to do research and find out what I need and what I need to do. I think I will start a new thread just so others can find info easily that have the same issues.