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which pad for 20 F
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Jay Trent
(jay590) - F

Locale: blue mountains, Australia
which pad for 20 F on 12/11/2008 03:22:21 MST Print View

I did a search and couldn't find anything so I'm going to ask. What pad is suitable for use with a nunatak arc alpinist in 20 F?


Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
insulated pads on 12/11/2008 06:08:12 MST Print View

Check out insulated pads at Big Agnes and Pacific Outdoors Equipment.
Google " pads".
Another site for pad comparisons is here:

Edited by rambler on 12/11/2008 06:22:31 MST.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Down mat on 12/11/2008 07:53:24 MST Print View

If you are willing to add a few grams/ounces consider a down mat. My Exped DL7 adds twenty degrees F to any bag and my bag stays on top. Well worth the extra weight in my opinion (which appears to be shared by most reviewers at this site). Stephenson's of New Hampshire makes down mats too and will make a custom size at no extra charge.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
ExpedDownmat 7 on 12/11/2008 08:09:26 MST Print View

Another vote for the Exped Downmat. I have used mine to 4* on snow and it feels like it is actually creating its own heat it is so warm!

P. P.
(toesnorth) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: which pad on 12/11/2008 08:19:25 MST Print View

I'm a comfort hog. I use an exped downmat 9.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: which pad on 12/11/2008 10:21:04 MST Print View

I'll second the DownMat 9. Love it. It's a heavy beast but worth every ounce for me. R-value of 8.

Lighter weight alternative, R-value 5.1, still suitable for your 20*F temps, Therm-A-Rest Trail Pro Women's. It's a 66 inch pad instead of 72 inches like the mens; the mens version only has a R-value of 3.8. Either Trail Pro weighs 2 pounds. (Incidentally, plan on your head being on balled-up clothing, not your pad, and the 66" pad works to ~6 feet tall.) You could get a ProLite 4, R-value of 3.2, weight of 1.5 pounds, but in my mind would definitely want to supplement with a foam pad--adds weight and ~60% less warm than original example.

In large part determines on the level of comfort and warmth you want. For some people here weight is significantly more important than comfort. You could stack a RidgeRest and RR 3/4 for combined weight of 1# 7 ounces and R-value of 5.2. Bulky, but might be a compromise.

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: which pad for 20 F on 12/11/2008 11:29:53 MST Print View

I use a cut-down, tapered Ridge Rest Deluxe pad for those temps -- 13 ounces, R 3.1. I just stuff my pack under my feet.

An Arc Alpinist itself by itself won't get you down to 20 degrees, though. At those temps, I'd add something like a Nunatak Shaha Plus down sweater, BMW cocoon pants, and Integral Designs Hot socks. :)


Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: insulated pads on 12/11/2008 11:41:40 MST Print View

Do not use the Big Agnes AirCore pads. they will suck the heat right out of you at anything under 30*F, especially 20*!
I'm speaking from experience.

Patrick Browning
(optimator) - F
Re: Re: insulated pads on 12/11/2008 12:01:28 MST Print View

I'm just the opposite. I've used my BA insulated pad in the low 20's with no problem. I AM a warm sleeper so YMMV...

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Hyper High Mountain on 12/11/2008 12:09:33 MST Print View

What's up with the P.O.E. Hyper High Mountain. A buddy of mine is interested in one, but I think they're over-Hype-d. Pun intended.

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: Re: insulated pads on 12/11/2008 12:11:33 MST Print View

I agree with Tad on the BA Air Core, however the Insulated Air Core is reasonably warm at 20F. I haven't used mine in awhile, but at it's rating limit (10F to 15F) it worked fine with a Thinlite underneath.

On many occasions, for really cold conditions I, too, have gone to an Exped Downmat. I feel almost Hedonistic when I use it.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: insulated pads on 12/11/2008 12:23:37 MST Print View

The one I have is an Insulated AirCore. I used it w/o anything else and it was cold!

Jay Trent
(jay590) - F

Locale: blue mountains, Australia
Re: Re: Re: Re: insulated pads on 12/11/2008 14:47:35 MST Print View

is there something lighter than an insulating mat? Will a closed cell foam mat work? And i wont be sleeping on snow. This is the absolute minimum temperature it gets down to in winter. It usually only gets down to 0 C (32F)

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: insulated pads on 12/11/2008 15:13:55 MST Print View

Hey, Jay-
The RidgeRest I mentioned is a closed-cell foam pad. I'd be... cautious, I guess, about taking the thinnest, lightest pad on a winter trip. You can lose about a third of your body heat to the ground, which kinda nullifies a big chunk of that down on top of you. Not to mention the cold ache in the bones, but maybe that's just me. Cheers-

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
which pad for 20 F on 12/11/2008 18:07:16 MST Print View

Jay, Each person is different but I use a Gossamer Gear thin light 3/8" sleeping pad trimmed to 38" long and it weighs 3.45 oz. I use it now with a Golite Ultra 20 quilt that weighs just under 19 oz (so proabaly similar to your quilt). I use it in temperatues just as you describe...temperatures down to 20 degrees with the expectation to be around 32 degrees without snow (under tarp, but in bivy). I try to find ground that has some natural insulation (i.e. leaves or grasses) but I dont have issues with cold and I am a person that tends to get cold fast.

Now if temps get much below that you might want to consider the 3/4 length GG Night Light pad that is 3/4" thick with the little "bumps". I've trimmed mine just a bit and it weighs 6.05 oz.

Both of these pads are comparatively inexpensive, dont inflate ie. can not be punctured which means you dont have to carry a repair kit or any special pump. Ive not found anything simpler except just sleeping right on the ground. The only drawback is the longer Night Light pad is rather bulky, but both pads make great frames for a frameless pack.


Jay Trent
(jay590) - F

Locale: blue mountains, Australia
Re: which pad for 20 F on 12/11/2008 18:52:02 MST Print View

ok thanks. I have the same problem as you, I get cold very quickly. Thats the sort of thing I was thinking of just didnt know if it would be warm enough.


Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
which pad for 20 F on 12/11/2008 19:15:49 MST Print View

Jay, One more thing to consider, I think the ground has memory. What I mean by that is a 20 degree night during times when the nightime temps range from 20 to 40 degrees is different then a 20 degree night when the nighttime temps have been -5 to 20 degrees. I also think the ground tends to get colder into the winter season as it is exposed to more colded temps for longer times.

I guess what I am saying is that the ground can be different temperatures depending on the recent weather. I also think camp site selection and bed location can help out significantly. So all this being said my advice probably fits better with cooler winter temps that only occasionally drop down to 20 or a bit lower so the ground might still be only 32 degrees....just a guess.

I'd be curious if anyone else thinks this is logical.


Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: which pad for 20 F on 12/12/2008 10:33:32 MST Print View

Jay- The 3/8" Thinlight has an R-value of 1.4; that's distinctly not a 4-season rating for a pad, especially if you tend to get cold. What Jamie's saying about temperature memory in ground has merit. I think most people would agree that you need more insulation under you for a winter-ish pad, though. Bottom line? Best way to find out is by trying a couple set-ups in your backyard and seeing what works for you.

Paul Davis
(pdavis) - M

Locale: Yukon, 60N 135W
sleeping pads for winter popsicles! on 12/13/2008 10:52:14 MST Print View

After much research, being somebody who freezes easily, I replaced my long-serving (10 yrs plus!) Thermarest LE (1050grammes-40oz R.4.1) with a Women's Pro Lite 4, extra-long (750grammes-27oz R.4.1). This was the warmest I could get for the weight.

While the Pro Lite 4 is a tapered design, it will fit in my bivi-sack, whereas the square LE will not. You may want the bulk and size of a square pad if you roll around a lot when you sleep, as tapered-foot pads let your feet fall off more easily, then they freeze!

In high humidity (80% and up) winter camping at -10C/8F on snow I use an aluminized space-blanket tarp under the tent to keep body heat from freezing the tent into the snow, a Bibler I-tent, an 18mm purple Evazote foam pad (full length) and the full-length LE. Then a -5C down bag, recently cleaned by Kluane Mountaineering after 18 years of service, with a bit of new down added, down pants, down jacket, balaclava, pile long underwear, contact gloves and insulated hut booties from MEC. This takes me to about -15C/+5F. I look at the Pro Lite 4 women's XL size (in hi visibility pink!) for summer-fall use and then will experiment with it in my back yard before using it in the winter! Taking a pee bottle with you also saves a trip outside!

This 'spring' (-15C/+5F) am going to experiment with a vapour barrier liner made of orange garbage bags, and also some of the Stephenson Warmlite VB undies.

Stay warm!
135W 60N

Jon Rhoderick
(hotrhoddudeguy) - F - M

Locale: New England
Re: Re: which pad for 20 F on 12/15/2008 18:39:29 MST Print View

20* is well within the range of stuff like ridgerests, Zlights, POE classic pads, and the lot. I have slept in these conditions on cold stone and frozen sand down to ca. 10 with just a crazy creek for the feet (virtually impervious to cold) and a frameless backpack with nice padding (stripped Deuter air contact 90) I think its best going foam, because having a deflated pad STINKS and if you think it won't happen to you eventually it WILL, especially if you enjoy sleeping out wihtout a groundsheet. As for the Big Agnes Insulated Air Core, its awesome, I use it comfortably for winter camping. I personally think that the sleeping pad market is "overinflated" and you don't need have the stuff they recommend bringing out into the field. This epiphany came to me while hiking on a 30 day trip in southern Utah starting with a Torsolite and ending with just the backpack and hte occasional borrowed camp chair when we did not anticipate cold snaps. Climbers often bivy with ropes instead of pads, and cowboys and soldiers used to just lay down a blanket.