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Jam2 Pack: Sleeping Pad as Frame?
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Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Jam2 Pack: Sleeping Pad as Frame? on 05/26/2008 22:43:28 MDT Print View

I just purchased the Jam2 as my first frameless pack.

When using the Jam2, do you use your sleeping pad in a barrel shape inside of your pack to create a frame for it?

When I loaded all my gear into it, it crimped in the middle of back.

Doesn't look right or feel right, but the weight is resting on my hips.

Thanks for any tips.


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Jam2 Pack: Sleeping Pad as Frame? on 05/27/2008 01:17:49 MDT Print View


The "round" method seems to be the most popular. However, for me, I like to fold my pad flat and then insert it into my pack, flat against the back. To me, the three advantages of folding flat are:

1. more layers to the back make for a firmer "virtual" frame.

2. more efficient space utilization than a round tube

3. more "normal looking" pack (subjective, of course)

You can give both a try and see which method you prefer.

Edited by ben2world on 05/27/2008 01:24:44 MDT.

Christopher Holden
(back2basics) - F - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Jam2 Pack: Sleeping Pad as Frame? on 05/27/2008 09:01:38 MDT Print View

I use the barrel method you mention. I've only used my Jam2 pack once, but it worked well with about 19 pounds of gear, food and water. I have a 48" RidgeRest I roll up for a barrel "frame" and stuff everything else inside and on top of it.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Jam2 Pack: Sleeping Pad as Frame? on 05/27/2008 10:12:53 MDT Print View

Forgot to ask... what pad do you use?

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Jam2 Pack: Sleeping Pad as Frame? on 05/27/2008 10:30:06 MDT Print View

I have the original Jam which is very similar to the new Jam2 and use a closed cell foam in the barrel configuration successfully. I think the trick to that method is to pack the void space inside the "barrel" very dense so that it puts outward pressure on the pack all around and all the way up to your shoulder strap attachments.

IMO this method doesn't work as well with a smaller load, but, then again, if your load (weight) is small, then it's not as important.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Hmmmm... on 05/27/2008 10:40:26 MDT Print View

I've yet to try a "framless" pack the uses a closed cell foam sleeping pad for a "frame" the can truly carry more than 20 lbs without becoming just a lump, not a pack that transmits the load properly to the hips.**

What is needed is for a packmaker to take the time to develop a proper "pad pocket" that can be internally or externally tensioned (tightened) AND the proper connection made between the "pad pocket" and the hipbelt for, you guessed it, that crucial weight transfer to the hipbelt.** In addition the pack needs to be able to compress the load against the pad.

When all this is properly accomplished I doubt that the material used to this end will weigh LESS than the two hollow aluminum frame tubes in my REI Cruise UL 60 pack - so until that day what's the point of frameless packs?


Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Jam2 Pack: Sleeping Pad as Frame? on 05/27/2008 10:59:22 MDT Print View

I agree with your thinking in general.

I have found my use of the Jam limited to overnight winter trips when there is very little food and water involved but a lot of "fluffy" insulation bulk without the weight. I'll pack most everything for the wife and me in the Jam to fill the volume and let her carry the dense items like food in a small pack.

For other trips/weather conditions I either carry an appropiately small pack or my heavy duty Nimbus Ozone depending upon the situation.

john flanagan
(jackfl) - F

Locale: New England
packing the jam on 05/27/2008 11:50:38 MDT Print View

I use Bens approach and agree that it works well. I've found the "barrel" approach hard to pack well. The trick is to pack it tight and to avoid odd 'breaks' in the load that can be caused by over packed stuff bags. If you use stuff sacks and try to pack 'em tight to save volume, try packing them loosely so that they easily conform to each other in the pack. Another trick that appears from time to time here is to make a light backpanel out of corregated plastic (often used in polical yard signs).

My experience with the Jam has been positive up to 20-25 pound...

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Hmmmm... on 05/27/2008 12:01:13 MDT Print View

"So until that day what's the point of frameless packs?"


You won't really know for yourself until you give it a try. A blue foam pad is just about the best material for a "virtual" frame. Too bad it isn't comfy enough for me as a sleep pad anymore, which is why I "graduated" to a self-inflating pad. Luckily, the latter also works well as a frame.

Using either pad folded flat and inserted into my pack -- I have not found the need for a pad pocket. YMMV, but here's why:

1. With the pad in flat, you pack a frameless exactly the same as an internal. Once you are done, you cinch the pack tight and everything stays in its place. No need for a pocket. For me, such a pack is comy to 20-25 lbs. -- better when closer to 20.

2. With a half-empty pack (say on the outbound leg) -- you can still maintain a pretty tight load by simply letting your sleeping bag take up any available space. In fact, I never use a stuff sack for my bag -- I let it "self compress" as needed.

Now, maybe a pad pocket can extend carrying comfort to beyond 25 lbs -- in which case then it would be a great feature. But reading the different posts, I haven't read much feedback saying this is so.

Edited by ben2world on 05/27/2008 12:03:19 MDT.

Phil Brown

Locale: Traverse City MI
Re: Jam2 Pack: Sleeping Pad as Frame? on 05/27/2008 13:09:25 MDT Print View

I use a Jam2 pack and have a GG torso pad which folds flat to form a decent backpanel. My pack is modified, as I have removed the hydration sleeve, the foam backpanel and the pocket that holds it, so all I have left in the back of the pack is the dyneema. The egg crate foam on the torsolite makes a very comfortable frame with the pack loaded, and stays in place all day. I'm guessing what I do is very similar to Ben's method.

Edited by pbrown19 on 05/27/2008 13:47:05 MDT.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Thermarest Prolite 4 Sleeping Pad Used with GoLite Jam2 on 05/27/2008 13:26:56 MDT Print View


I sleep cold, so I use the regular size (72" inches)Prolite 4, which gives me 1.5" thickness.

Flattened out, I am guessing that it is 1" thick.

I am expecting to carry a load of up to 25 lbs, but have a base weight as low as 12.83 lbs.

I plan on using this pack on the Tahoe Rim Trail in Sept of this year.

(Side note: I am toying with the idea of using the Torso Light pad sold on BPL and the Jam2 under my legs, but I sleep so well on what I have now that I am hesitant to change...any thoughts or experience from the cold sleepers with the Torso Light Pad?).


Edited by Valshar on 05/27/2008 13:29:15 MDT.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Sleeping pad on 05/27/2008 13:39:17 MDT Print View

I have used the BPL torsolite many times but only with one night of use. A good night of sleep is so important to me. I can put up with one uncumfortable night of sleep- but my hiking is effected [GRUMPY]. A good large sleeping pad is LUXURY!!- its worth every once or pound. Sleep happy and hike happy- sleep like a KING!

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Thermarest Prolite 4 Sleeping Pad Used with GoLite Jam2 on 05/27/2008 13:58:35 MDT Print View


My pad is an REI Lite Core -- which has the same thickness at your Prolite 4. However, mine is 2/3rd length, which I augment with a section of blue foam pad at the foot end.

The Prolite should work very well for you -- just fold it in half length-wise, then fold down to the size of your pack. If the Prolite is still too long for the pack, try inserting it like an "L" instead of a flat "|". To me, 25lbs approaches the outer limit of the comfort zone of a frameless pack -- but as they say YMMV.

Let us know how that compares with the barrel method for you.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Thermarest Prolite 4 Sleeping Pad Used with GoLite Jam2 on 05/27/2008 15:07:04 MDT Print View

I have the Prolite 4 and the first generation Jam. I've tried Ben's approach and the barrel method. They both work. The trick is to leave some air in the mattress and close the valve. This gives structure similar to ridged foam. I've even blown more air in the pad after my pack is packed to adjust the feel. If you don't close the valve then the air mattress will probably not provide the needed support.

(Conductor) - MLife

Locale: Sierra Nevada
Jam2 Pack: Sleeping Pad as Frame? on 05/27/2008 15:44:42 MDT Print View

I took a ridge rest, cut it to torso length, and then slit it half-way through. I placed the slits so that the sections would fold into themselves without bunching. I reinforced the slits with 3/4 fiberglass strapping tape. This arrangement allows the pad to fold very flat and become very stiff. I left the factory backpad in because I use the pack for insulation under my legs. I have found this system to work exceptionally well at 25 lbs.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Hmmmmm again on 05/27/2008 16:38:13 MDT Print View

Eric Noble's idea of leaving air in the Thermarest mattress was similar to what I was thinking when reading Ben's posts.

Can an internal "pad pocket" of lightweight ripstop be made that will permit just about any inflatable mattress to be inflated AFTER insertion in the pocket to make the back panel rigid yet pliable? Methinks this avenue should be explored by packmakers. Possibly closed cell pad afficiandos may not like it as well unless such a "pad pocket" would work fairly well with their pads as well.


Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Jam2 Advice using Sleeping Pad on 05/27/2008 23:01:28 MDT Print View

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read my post and for taking the time to give me your advice.

Definitely going to be playing around with my pack this weekend to see what works out best.

I took the Jam2 out two weekends ago on a leisurely 3 day hike to Lake Vernon in Yosemite and the pack felt okay with 26 lbs in it, but I did notice that the top of the bag hung back off my shoulder blades quite a bit.

I am used to having the stabilizer pull straps to pull the top of the pack closer to my pack on my Gregory Z55, which the Jam2 does not have.

Will a full pack, I guess it acted sorta like a frame, but using it this weekend as a day pack, I found that I would have benefited from some sort of frame/internal support. usual, great insight on how to do things a different way that I had not thought of or hear of before.

Thanks again.


Chris Warman
(cwarman) - F

Locale: Central KY
Just got a Jam2 myself on 05/28/2008 08:57:22 MDT Print View

My Jam2 just came in the mail on Tuesday, and I got my first chance to practice pack it last night. Because I had no idea how to go about packing it, I went with the "barrel method" in that I wrapped my Therm a Rest self inflating pad and filled the center with my gear. Now, I still have my stupid heavy Eureka tent, but even with that, I was very happy with how the pack held up using the sleeping pad.

I do have a bit of a problem with the shoulder straps not exactly hitting my shoulder blades where I want to, but also it was my first time packing it up with all the gear I typically take with me. I'll probably be happier with it the more I use it.

Overall, though, I love the little guy and am very happy with the purchase. The barrel method seems to work well, but as I plan to replace the ground pad in the next year, I'll have to play with it more.

Jane McMichen
(jmcmichen) - F

Locale: Maine, DownEast Coast
Big Agnes? on 05/28/2008 10:13:35 MDT Print View

Anybody have experience with a Big Agnes memory foam pad? I have a Jam 2 and I'm thinking about getting the big agnes pad since I sleep so well on a memory foam pad in general, it's relatively inexpensive, and it's versatile (see below). I realize it's open cell, so won't insulate as well.

The pad is called a "kit" because it has a full-length pocket that can be used for an inflatable mattress(or a thin closed cell foam mat, or other mat ad nauseum). Here's the info on REI

Any opinions, tips or suggestions?

Edited by jmcmichen on 05/28/2008 10:19:03 MDT.

victoria maki
(clt1953) - F

Locale: northern minnesota
big agnes pad on 05/28/2008 10:39:13 MDT Print View

hi,jane. i have had a big agnes system for many years. the quality is excellent. i have a 72x22x2 mummy style that fits in my horse thief bag. i love it. have never had any problems with either the bag or pad. the pad is insulated which works well in minnesota. i did get a new pad for this year, through big agnes. a insulated inflatable because it is thicker, as my hips were bothering me. i tried it out and worked just fine in 35 degree nights. it takes about 20 good size puffs to blow it up, which isn't a problem for me. hope this helps....vicky p.s. the first pad i had was an thermarest type pad which inflates on it's own, so guess memory form is different. sorry

Edited by clt1953 on 05/28/2008 10:42:18 MDT.