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Frameless packs and rolled foam
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Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Frameless packs and rolled foam on 07/14/2009 07:42:26 MDT Print View

I'm getting my first frameless pack and I want to switch to a closed-cell foam sleep system. Currently I use a Big Agnes insulated air core because I have a foot injury that I thought would require padding under both of my heals. Turns out the air core is probably more padding than I need.

Because the pack is frameless I plan on rolling the pad around the circumference of the pack and inserting my stuff inside of it. I will need padding under my heels, so here is my plan.

I was thinking of getting the GG nightlight torso length combined with their 3/8 inch thinlight. This would give my heels sufficient padding and add extra comfort to the nightlight (as a bonus). I could also get the full length nightlight, but this would weigh a tad more and just may not be necessary.

I'm worried though that the torso nightlight won't be long enough to create a complete cylinder (I'm getting an exodus) and that the scoring will make it more like a triangle, which is inefficient. Does anyone have experience with this? Do you think the guys at GG will give me a torso length nightlight that isn't scored? Should I get full length nightlight or the torso combined with 3/8" thinlight?

kyle davis
(fta) - F

Locale: mn, co
frameless pack on 07/14/2009 08:06:21 MDT Print View

you could just stick the torso light folded up aginst the back inside and if you need a full lenght use the 3/8 pad unrolled but you dont need an un rolled pad inside for a frame but in your case you do

Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Re: frameless pack on 07/14/2009 08:08:07 MDT Print View

Oh yeah, I thought of that, but I feel like that would push the weight too far out. I really prefer the weight in my packs to sit as close as possible to my back.

Tim F
(kneebyter) - MLife

Locale: the depths of Hiking Hell (Iowa)
Customize on 07/14/2009 09:07:01 MDT Print View

What about the full length 3/8" for the virtual frame, and cutting a full length Nightlight to the exact length you need and placing unrolled just inside the cylinder of the 3/8 pad. No scoring that way. The leftover piece of Nightlight can be used for sit pads to put in an external pad pocket (if your pack has one) or a second pad when the first one wears out.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Frameless, rolled foam on 07/14/2009 11:29:41 MDT Print View

I have an exodus and I bought a full length nightlite pad and cut it in half (and then trimmed a little further)- doing this provides two pads, each that fit the inside of the exodus once around - and these pads wear out so its not a bad idea to have a second.

Edited by ChrisMorgan on 07/14/2009 11:30:33 MDT.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Frameless packs and rolled foam on 07/14/2009 12:24:42 MDT Print View

Here is what I would do if I was considering your options:

How tall are you? The full length nightlite is 76" which is 6'4". At a max weight of 12.4oz/76=~.16oz/inch of weight. I'm 5'10", so I'd trim the nightlite 6"+ about 10" for my head. (I sleep with my head off my pad as it's on some sort of pillow (shoes, clothes, whatever)

So, for me, 76-16=60"x.16=~9.6oz of pad, and 60" is plenty to form a cylinder for a frame. I'd have the simplicity of 1 pad vs 2 at about the same weight as the torso-length pad and 3/8" thinlight. If you need more padding under your heels or torso, use your pack.

Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Re: Re: Frameless packs and rolled foam on 07/14/2009 12:47:37 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the comments so far. It definitely got me thinking. I think that I am going to order the full length, trim it in half and use it in conjuction with the 3/8" thinlight. This is more costly upfront than using the torso length, but I guess I'll have to spend more. Maybe I should just get the 1/4"...

James, your suggestion is good but I would want padding under my head so I could only picture cutting around 4" off. I am 5'8", but I would want a bit of wiggle room on each end. The full length pad would be fine, but I was just trying to save a few ounces by only having the thick padding where I really need it. You're right that it's not as simple though.

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: Frameless packs and rolled foam on 07/15/2009 04:45:23 MDT Print View

My torso length nightlight (cut down from full length) doesn't fit totally around my Zip (same dimensions as Exodus), but I don't think a bit of a gap (opposite my back) matters much to how the bag carries.

Agreed that folding it up and having it all against your back pushes the weight too far out.

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Re: Re: Frameless packs and rolled foam on 07/15/2009 05:56:51 MDT Print View

IMO it foes not need to go all the way around. In the summer I carry an old ridge rest cut really short with my breeze. It only goes around about 2/3 of the way and it works fine for me.

Dave Heiss

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Rolled foam in a frameless pack on 07/15/2009 17:52:58 MDT Print View

May I ask why some here worry about making a cylinder with foam, and then packing your stuff inside it? I have a MLD Ark, and it works just fine with my sleeping pad folded up as a back panel (only). I have the Arc version with dyneema fabric, so nothing I pack is going to poke a hole through it - maybe others are using the foam in a cylinder to protect the pack fabric?

I fail to see how the cylinder approach is a benefit, but if there is one, I'm all ears.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

What pack? on 07/15/2009 18:09:11 MDT Print View

What pack are you using? If you're using a frameless pack with a bit of foam in the back (ie. GoLite Jam2) then I vote just to forget about the faux sleeping pad frame.

There are really two reasons for a 'frame' that I can think of:

1 - To help transfer the weight to your hips
2 - To prevent stuff from poking your back.

A pack with a bit of back padding #2 makes is a non-issue if you put a bit of though into how it's packed. With any frameless pack, #1 is a non-issue if your pack is light enough. I would say with a sub 20lbs pack or for sure 15 lbs pack you don't need to boost the weight transfer abilities of the pack. IMO these sleeping pad frames aren't that effective anyways. If you are carrying sub-20lbs and nothing is poking your back then you'll probably be comfortable with no frame. If you don't have padding in the back, just put something here and forget the rolled up cylinder.

Edited by dandydan on 07/15/2009 18:12:13 MDT.

Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Re: Rolled foam in a frameless pack on 07/15/2009 18:34:08 MDT Print View

For me it's because I like the weight as close to my back as possible and a folded sleeping pad pushes the weight out. I suppose it's a matter of personal preference. I don't think rolling the foam helps transfer weight very much, but it would help with the poking back thing.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
re: Frameless packs and rolled foam on 07/15/2009 19:48:41 MDT Print View

I have found that at lower base weights and lower total weights (base of <6 lbs and food+water of <6 lbs) that a rolled 3/8" thinlight makes for great load stablization. At these weights load transfer isnt really needed (at least for me). i.e. I don't use a hip belt at all.

This all assumes your pack volume appropriately matches your gear volume.

Here is example of a pack being loaded tube style after the sleeping bag has been added...


This pack has enough structure that it stands by itself.

If packs weights go up then creating a tight structure to transfer load using a hip belt becomes more important. This means that you will need to add both a hip belt and compression system when using heavier loads. But I have never used a frameless pack with over 15 lbs so this had not been an issue.

In short I have had great success with tube style packing using loads<12 lbs.


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"Frameless packs" on 07/15/2009 22:01:47 MDT Print View

"Frameless Pack" is, IMHO, an oxymoron. Framless Lump would be a better term.


Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
I've done exactly what you describe on 07/16/2009 14:10:18 MDT Print View

I found that a full length pad was difficult to manage. Torso length was just about right for forming a cylinder. That said, here's what works better than a foam pad:

I form a cylinder with a deflated 3/4 length thermarest Pro-lite. Once I get all my stuff in the pack, I inflate the thermarest until the pack is stiff. By adjusting the pressure, I always get just the right amount of stiffness no matter how little or how much stuff I put in the pack.