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Ridgerest in winter
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Max R
(Mantra) - F

Locale: Québec, Canada
Ridgerest in winter on 02/19/2009 11:29:05 MST Print View

Hi all,

Im going to the Adirondacks this week-end, and im unsure about which sleeping pad to use. Im gonna sleep one night and the temperature is annonced in the lower 10s. I have the Ridgerest (R value 2.6) and the POE Ether Thermo 6 (R value ???) sleeping pads.

Could I bring only the Ridgerest ? Would I freeze my ass doing so ?

What about bringing only the Ether Thermo 6 ?

Since the Ridgerest weight less id like to bring that one, but I don't want to end up not sleeping cause of coldness too...

Thanks for the help !

Joe Geib
(joegeib) - F

Locale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
Re: Ridgerest in winter on 02/19/2009 11:36:08 MST Print View

I have no experience with the Ether Thermo 6, but I know that bringing JUST the Ridgerest is a mistake.

Either both, or if the Ether Thermo 6 is good enough, just that.

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Ridgerest in winter" on 02/19/2009 11:47:52 MST Print View

I disagree with you there, Joe.

Last Winter, I went with my Troop to Farrugut State Park for the annual Klondike Derby. I was a newb to winter camping then, and all I took in the form of a sleeping pad was a worn out CCF pad. I was fine.

This year I took a new CCF pad + a CCF torso sized pad to use as a sit pad & boost comfort and warmth. It worked out fine.

The CCF pads I speak of above were all cheapie Walmart pads.

I do not recommend taking any Thermarests, or inflatable pads. DANGEROUS.

I would recommend you take 2 Ridgerests if you are unsure about it.


Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: Ridgerest in winter on 02/19/2009 12:10:28 MST Print View

Hi Max, what experience do you have with your Ether Thermo? What temps have you used it at, and what was your experience at these temps? This will provide a good reference for your upcoming trip.

Personally I would take both. A CCF pad is invaluable in cold weather and especially on snow. You can use it as a sit pad during breaks and in camp, and also if you're standing around, you will be much warmer standing on the pad.

That being said, I just can't sleep comfortably on a CCF. I use a Thermarest 3/4 over a CCF; this is a pretty popular winter setup. I've also used a Downmat 9, which is an inflatable down-filled pad; at 0F I was completely comfortable. Of course the R-value of this pad 8.0!, and it weighs over 2 pounds. Sleeping comfort, whether from a warmth or cushioning standpoint is a very personal thing. Make sure you choose a system that will ensure not only warmth, but allow a comfortable sleep without waking up sore from too little/hard padding beneath you. You're gonna need your rest for hiking!

Max R
(Mantra) - F

Locale: Québec, Canada
Re: RE: Ridgerest in winter on 02/19/2009 12:39:45 MST Print View

Hi Scott,

I have not yet use the the Ether Thermo, its brand new.
Same for the Ridgerest... lol

So thats why I need help here, I have no reference point what so ever with those pads.

As for comfort, I hope that my tiredness from a long and exhausting hiking day will allow me to sleep on whatever pad that is not cold.

Jason Shaffer
(PA_Jay) - F

Locale: on the move....
Re: Re: RE: Ridgerest in winter on 02/19/2009 14:18:10 MST Print View

Depending on the temps, the sleeping bag and shelter, I often take 2 RidgeRests (doubled up) or a single RidgeRest + a BPL Torsolite in winter. A thin Gossamer Gear pad can be a handy supplement too, depending. Those examples are for temps quite a bit colder than the teens though.

A single RidgeRest alone would be a bit skimpy for me in the teens, but doable depending on the rest of your setup. Until you know from personal experience, it would probably be more reasonable to combine a second CCF pad, cut to torso or 3/4 size, with a full-length RidgeRest. The smaller one could be a little thinner depending on what you have available. I have no experience with the Ether Thermo.

Some people seem to think you can save weight by skimping on pads in sub-freezing weather - but usually all you're doing is DECREASING the warmth:weight ratio of your sleep system. When sleeping on the snow, your most efficient opportunities for weight savings usually lie elsewhere, IMO.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: RE: Ridgerest in winter on 02/19/2009 14:42:05 MST Print View

I've slept on snow in cold temps very often using only a Ridgerest.
I prefer a ridgerest (or any closed cell foam pad of equal thicjness) combined with a thermarest or inflatable for more comfort.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Ridgerest in winter on 02/19/2009 14:55:33 MST Print View

The R-value of 2.6 for the Ridgerest is getting a bit low for sleeping on the snow. Adding a 1/4" layer of foam would probably be enough. Aim for a total R-value of more than 3.5, preferably >4.

Evan's comment that Therm-a-Rest mats are dangerous is completely wrong however. I (and thousands of other experienced winter walkers) have slept on a Therm-a-Rest on the snow for the last 20+ years. If you have a light thin (low R-value) air mat you might want to add some thin foam.

If you want to be sure of being comfortable (which is smart!), recognise that winter camping needs extra gear and bring both the Ridgerest and the POE.


te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Re: Ridgerest in winter on 02/19/2009 15:07:59 MST Print View

"The R-value of 2.6 for the Ridgerest is getting a bit low for sleeping on the snow. Adding a 1/4" layer of foam would probably be enough. Aim for a total R-value of more than 3.5, preferably >4."

You can save the hassle of 2 pads IF your ridgerest is brand new, can you return it for the Ridgerest Deluxe?
Rv: 3.1
3/4" thick
although it wont reach the 3.5 Roger encourages, its dang close.

Edited by mikeinfhaz on 02/19/2009 15:13:33 MST.

Jason Shaffer
(PA_Jay) - F

Locale: on the move....
Re: Re: Re: Ridgerest in winter on 02/19/2009 15:16:44 MST Print View

Agreed, the Deluxe is a very useful pad as well. CCF's are great b/c it's so inexpensive to build up a decent selection of different ones cut to different sizes. I prefer two pieces just so I can keep a sit pad handy.

I wouldn't worry about inflatables though, except perhaps on very long trips without resupply. Repairs are a bit easier indoors if it's really frigid out.

Edited by PA_Jay on 02/19/2009 15:24:28 MST.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Ridgerest in winter on 02/19/2009 15:36:12 MST Print View

I say, "Take both!" I have the P.O.E. pad and while comfortable (I won't leave home without it) I find it begins to lack enough insulation value in the 20's. I use both it and a 3/8" CCF pad in New England winter camping.

Others have suggested that the best warmth-to-weight ratio is to pile up enough CCF pads to match the temperature and that is true; however, remember that winter nights in New England are very long. That air mattress is going to feel like it was worth it by morning! :-)

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Ridgerest in winter on 02/19/2009 19:22:07 MST Print View

I've actually used just a ridgerest and it got down to -15C. For one night, you'll survive...but it won't be long before you wish you brought more. Take both.

My personal experience is a 3/8" CCF (GG Torsolite) and a torso inflatable (MB 90) is the minimum for having a comfortable sleep in winter - pack under legs for lower body. Of course, you can go with less if your back is made of thick leather.

Stephen Klassen
Ridgerest needs floor on 02/20/2009 01:18:30 MST Print View

If you have to ask, take both.

As for the ridgerest, I thought R. Nilsey indicated on another thread that it requires maerial underneath it (and on top?) to achieve the 2.6 rating (air pockets?). If you are sleeping directly on the snow, I'm guessing the snow will pack into the ridges, reducing the r-value. If using a quilt, may result in lower value?

Or just wrap the whole thing in cellophane. A ccf air mattress.

Edited by SteveYK on 02/20/2009 09:22:32 MST.

Joe Geib
(joegeib) - F

Locale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
Re: "Ridgerest in winter" on 02/20/2009 07:35:53 MST Print View

Summing up the advice of some experienced BPL Members (and Roger):

Single Ridgerest? Risky and uncomfortable.
Double Ridgerest (or CCF)? Good
Inflatable and Ridgerest? Great

I know it's a personal preference on ground comfort and temperature comfort. Some of us are cold sleepers, some of us are more realistic with our cold gear, while others try to push the envelope and sleep in near-freezing temps without a sleeping bag.

Edited by joegeib on 02/20/2009 11:08:11 MST.

Jeremy Gus
(gustafsj) - MLife

Locale: Minneapolis
RE: Ridgerest in winter on 02/20/2009 07:48:47 MST Print View

I personally got by with a Z-rest recently with low temps 25F-35F for two nights and was fine. I had a 32F bag with my down jacket draped over me for reference. I'm really not sure how I got away with that as I am a cold sleeper, but also had a guy sleeping on each side of me which may have helped.

Colder temps, I take my old thermarest and throw that under my z-rest. That has worked out really well. Typically I would be pulling a sled and don't mind the extra weight at those temps.

If I were you, I would go pick up a CCF pad from Walmart and add that to your ridgerest. That way you can keep your weight down and still get the extra insulation... just not sure what you will do with all that bulk. Guess you'll have to strap it on the outside.

What temperature do you think you will see?

Edited by gustafsj on 02/20/2009 07:49:30 MST.

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Ridgerest in winter" on 02/20/2009 17:48:35 MST Print View

"Thermarests, or inflatable pads. DANGEROUS."

What I meant by this was that it risky without something to insulate IT from the ground. In IMO, the air in the Thermarests just doesn't insulate well enough to be used by itself in temps below 20F.


John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
re: winter pads on 02/20/2009 18:31:05 MST Print View

I've used a full length thermarest all winter in the White's of NH and found 95% of the time it was fine. On a few extremely cold nights I've wished I had more insulation.

I went up on Denali with a single ridgerest and that was a huge mistake. I had to go back to base camp and have another pad flown up with the next batch of incoming climbers.

I think a good solution that would work for almost any winter conditions in the lower 48 would be a ridgerest or thermarest paired with a GG 1/8" thinlight pad. The thinlight weighs only 2 ounces and isn't very bulky at all.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
"Ridgerest in winter"- a good thing on 02/20/2009 22:36:13 MST Print View

Evan, I think you have the whole Thermarest thing totally backwards.
There are some old threads about the Thremarest as one the single best options for cold weather camping. As said above when it get colder you need to double up most anything- I would add a CCF to my Thermarest when the temps drop, but I always start with the Thermarest in cold weather.
Do a search on the subject- there is a lot of great information about it on BPL.

Max R
(Mantra) - F

Locale: Québec, Canada
In the end on 02/22/2009 19:40:26 MST Print View

I ended up doubling my Ridgerest with an Evazote CCF (R value of 0.66) and didn't get cold.

Thanks for the advices everyone !!

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Ridgerest in winter" on 02/22/2009 19:41:29 MST Print View

Good, Max!

I'm glad you listened to the wise soul of CCF...