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Most comfortable CCF pad for side sleeper
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Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Most comfortable CCF pad for side sleeper on 12/23/2008 15:45:45 MST Print View

I think "comfortable" and "CCF" are diametrically (or you could argue diabolically) opposed terms. I'm pretty sure that comfort and "thin foam pad" just can't be found together. I also have back problems, sleep on my side, typically get the sore hip/shoulder. I found that if I don't sleep well at night the trips are kinda miserable. A relatively sleepless night to save even a pound in my pack seems pointless. Theoretically I'm getting my pack weight down so that carrying it is... more comfortable. If I spend 1/3 of my time uncomfortable, it seems like I'm screwing up somewhere. I've found the Exped down mats and don't see myself changing anytime soon (although I'm eager to see that Neoair). I'll cut the weight of everything else in my pack, but there's no messing with a good nights sleep. I'd stick with some kind of insulated air pad, preferably in a shorter length. As for inflation, you can easily make a pump sack out of a valve fitting and a dry sack for ~2 ounces. Cheers-

Tim F
(kneebyter) - MLife

Locale: the depths of Hiking Hell (Iowa)
re: air mats on 12/23/2008 16:27:55 MST Print View

Sounds like I need to look at the thick air mats again. I guess I lumped them all together and wrote them off after the BA pad. I might get near a store that carries the Clearview in the next few days. Living in Iowa, I'm not sure there is anyone in the entire state that carries the POE or Exped mats. I'll have to do some checking. I might just try a Ridgerest since they are not too expensive.

Has anyone tried a balloonbed?

On the hip question, my down hip, shoulder and espcially ribs are what bother me. My lower back is a secondary source of pain when on my side; on my back it is the primary problem.

Tony Fleming
(TonyFleming) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Side sleeper comfort on 12/23/2008 17:32:21 MST Print View

Hi Tim,

I have the BA air core(8 tubes)and the P.O.E. max thermo(6 tubes). I didn't sleep comfortably on either one.

The answer for me was a Stephensons Warmlite down air mattress (D.A.M.)coupled with an Expid pillow pump, to blow it up easily.

This weighs more than the new pads coming out, but it is very comfortable.


Edited by TonyFleming on 12/23/2008 17:33:27 MST.


Locale: New England
side sleep options on 01/15/2009 17:53:54 MST Print View

I'm an UL hiker convert. So I refuse to carry heavy pads.

I used the GG 3/4" thick NiteLite Torso waffle style pad + waffle sitpad to extend length for my thru on the AT, but I'm more of a side sleeper at home. This made me more of a back sleeper, which certainly didn't help me limit my snoring - Ask Ryan! - I drove him outta an AT shelter one nite! (He soon forced me to carry earplugs to distribute free to my cell mates)

With some experimenting doubling up pads especially in my hip area and/or shoulder area as well as making a better pillow with stuff sack & clothing encouraged me to side sleep. This limited my snoring somewhat (after threat of suffocation whilst I slept - and they didn't)

Now I bought a Bozeman Mountain Works TorsoLite Inflatable 10.5oz
This added to even my thinner GG 3/8" pad is even more comfortable encouraging me to side sleep, especially with more clothing stuffed in my stuff sack "pillow". I don't always carry it as it weighs double the GG NiteLite Torso pad, but it's definitely more cozy for side sleeping. It's a compromise vs. my Prolite3 3/4 Length which weighs 13 oz and is not as thick or cozy to side sleeping on.

ps-it's definitely the bottom hip driving into the hard shelter floor or ground that wakes me and makes me keep tossing and turning!

Edited by garyhebert on 01/15/2009 17:55:14 MST.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
re: air mats on 01/15/2009 19:31:07 MST Print View

Tim F -
I've got a POE Thermal I can loan if you'll cover shipping. It weighs in a 22 ounces, plus a box, so it'll be rounded up to 2 pounds for UPS, or about 1.5 via USPS. Probably $10 total.

PM, or greg AT smgm DOT org

Edited by greg23 on 01/15/2009 19:33:09 MST.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Most comfortable CCF pad for side sleeper on 01/15/2009 19:55:36 MST Print View

I suspect this is a very hot topic for many of us. Especially those of us who get only a few short trips a year- I prefer to sleep well starting the second night out!

A decade or more ago I upgraded from a 1-3/8" standard Thermarest to to 1-7/8" LE. Unfortunately it's 27 oz. I tried the 1" thickness and they didn't work for me. I really like how my 60" LE covers my knees as well. I don't like the lack of padding under my ankle bones.

Too heavy though. I ordered a 20 ounce, 48"x 1-1/2" Pacific Outdoor Equipment AO Mtn pad from REI's sale. I can't decide whether to pick it up for a tryout or simply return it so they can resell it as new and start saving lunch money for the new NeoAir pad. 2.5" x 72" at 14 ounces sounds mighty promising.

For an occasional hiker like me the sleeping pad is one of the most critical pieces of gear for having a good time.

Of course I'm not UL. I take great pride in dropping from my "old" baseweight of 30+ to 17 last summer.

s k
(skots) - F
Re: re: air mats on 01/15/2009 21:33:30 MST Print View

Hi, Tim,

After I scrolled back to your first post and found that you were relatively comfortable with a 21 ounce pad, I was hesitant to bring up another 21 ounce solution. But.. like Tony above, my date and I recently popped for a pair of Warmlite DAMs, I believe the 22" X 66"ers.

I'm used to frequent waking as I turn from side to side, but on our first night out, I enjoyed an uninterrupted five hour stretch of sleep. The pattern continued through the week long trip. My side sleeping date was just as impressed. She had never experienced the subtle warmth and comfort that the DAM added to ground sleeping. The downside of the mats is a fabric "squeak" or "squawk" as you move on them; but we were usually too deeply sleeping to notice.

I had often thought of purchasing the DAMs, but since we share a double quilt, I was unsure about holding the two together as one unit, and I was uneasy about the integrity and sleepability of the center seam or join. Fortunately, a small roll of self adhesive hook and loop fastened nicely to the seam flange of each pad and securely held the mats as one. The center join is hardly discernible while sleeping. We couldn't be happier.

Daniel Fosse
(magillagorilla) - F

Locale: Southwest Ohio
...... it is actually our 'up' hip that wakes us on 01/16/2009 09:08:43 MST Print View

I am a side sleeper. I have the “up” hip issue. In my case it is due to the “up” leg being misaligned. It took me years to figure this out. I used to wake up in a lot of pain, even at home. Then I would experience numbness in the glute on the effected side all day. Simple solution, put a pillow between your knees to align your legs. After sleeping on my side with my legs parallel for a few months the pain is mostly non-existent. For camping I just use some extra clothing between my knees.

I also have very broad shoulders so I have to use some kind of neck support when side sleeping. Again, spare clothes usually do the trick.

I have used a ridge rest for over 10 years and I am very happy with it. I cannot sleep on my back as it causes me snoring/breathing problems. I sleep on my side with my knees up, fetal position, so the ridge rest short is perfect. Sometimes, on hard ground, my down hip gets uncomfortable. I’ve considered placing a small extra piece of CCF under the hip. I won’t use inflatable pads. After popping 2 and getting 1 that just wouldn’t stay inflated, they weren’t worth the hassle for the extra weight and price.

I also have always used a mummy bag. I go to sleep on my side and don’t tend to move much. If I do roll I just roll the whole bag. It has never been a problem for me.

Michael Cheifetz
(mike_hefetz) - MLife

Locale: Israel
other ideas on 01/17/2009 07:06:14 MST Print View

you didint really state what kind of issues you have with your back (does your back ache or hips?) or for how long you hike (i would guess there is a diff btw 4month thruhike and 2 nights out)

I have a ruptured disc and some knee issues that make my backcountry sleeping less than ideal - but i have chosen to ignore it and sleep badly! after a night or two im so tired i just crash and thats it. (use either prolite3short or GGtorso with sometimes thinlight under)

but what i want to tell you is that there are other tricks i use that sometimes help:
- be really tired - best advice i can give you. it might mean hiing longer days or into the night
- make sure all your limbs are positioned correctly - i use a UL inflatable pillow (BPL..16g) between my knees, another for my head that is wrapped with fleece and make sure my feet rest at just the right angle on the rucksack. These things feel minor when you start the night but they make a big diff after a while and if you dont do all this correctly it might explain you difficulties
- try Advil PM...might just make the difference
- 80% of people are side sleepers - but you might be able to discipline yourself to sleep on your back (i find the most serious issue here is position of the feet - need to be raised a bit so no pressure on lower back) if you manage this it will be MUCH easier since the load of your body's weight is now distributed over a much larget surface


Chris Harvey
(CCH) - F
Side sleeping on 01/17/2009 11:11:32 MST Print View

I'm battling a similar challenge. I sleep on my side and frequently encounter hip and to a lesser extent shoulder pain on the down side. I used to use a Prolite 4 which was an improvement over my old TR Ultralight provided I didn't over inflate it. I'm now using a Big Agnes bag that requires the BA mummy shaped pad. I tried the Insulated Air Core and didn't find it appreciably more comfortable but did find it MUCH colder (I'm a very cold sleeper). Limited to the Big Agnes offerings due to the fit requirement, my hopes of a lightweight yet warm and comfortable solution are dim.

As to using the BA system and being a twister and turner, I love it. I simply turn within the bag rather than getting all tangled up in a standard bag and generally ending up off of it at some point.

My envy for those of you who lie down and sleep through the night on your backs without twitching is immeasurable.

Ed Barkowski
(edbarkowski) - F
new Therm-a-rest on 01/17/2009 12:17:50 MST Print View

You should consider waiting for the new Therm-a-rest Neoair pad, due out this spring. Here is one link to it.

It is thick, warm and extremely light.

Downside: price

Tim F
(kneebyter) - MLife

Locale: the depths of Hiking Hell (Iowa)
re: side sleepng on 01/17/2009 15:10:21 MST Print View

Thanks everyone. There is a lot here for me to think about. Seems like there are some other side-sleepers ot there that haven't settled on something yet. The sleeping pad is the reason I don't think I'll ever get sub-5 (not that I'm anywhere close right now, but I have goals!).

Greg- thank you for that VERY generous offer. That would certainly help the decision. I'll email you soon.

James- I don't get out often either because any good hiking is so far away from me. Consequently, I also see the pad as one of my most critical pices of gear, and you can see I've gone through quite a few iterations so far. I want to be able to sleep the first night out.

S K- Ideally, I would like to drop weight and increase comfort, but comfort is the priority as long as it doesn't ADD weight. I can live with 21 ozs if I have to, but I am trying to find a lighter system.
I really like the size of your DAM. The 2 extra inches of width would be perfect, and I think 66" length would be sufficient for me. I think that the 48" mats would be uncomfortable with that much of me hanging off the end.

Tim F
(kneebyter) - MLife

Locale: the depths of Hiking Hell (Iowa)
side-sleeping comfort on 01/17/2009 15:39:29 MST Print View

Daniel- I use a pillow between my legs at home and was thinking of getting a Flexair for this use on hiking trips. I also have very broad shoulders and have had much trouble finding a good pillow for my head. Currently it is the MontBell UL pillow. I also have to have it on the pad with me to be high enough. In colder temps I'll add the Cocoon small down pillow (2.4 oz) on top. Regarding layering two ccf pads: if the Thinlight pad is significantly softer than the NightLight, I might have to try it on top of the NightLight.

Mike- all-of-the-above hurt. Mainly hip, ribs and shoulder , but my lower back inevitably starts too. As far as hike length, my sleep is bad from night number one, but it doesn't affect me too much until after night 2. I wasn't out for more than three nights in the last two years, so I don't know if it would get better after that. I have used Benadryl and Advil PM and both left me feeling 'dopey' in the morning.

Ed- that's the new Thermarest we've been discussing. We'll see if it turns out to be the holy grail of sleeping pads or not (better be for that price!).