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Sleeping Pad Options
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charles mcmillan
(pmcmillan99) - F
Sleeping Pad Options on 04/05/2006 15:40:35 MDT Print View

What is the best sleeping pad for conserving space in the backpack?

David Passey
(davidpassey) - F

Locale: New York City
sleeping pad options on 04/05/2006 17:04:55 MDT Print View

the balloon bed :)

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
gotta agree - balloon bed smallest on 04/05/2006 17:15:26 MDT Print View

it's pretty comfy to, at least when I tested it out at home

first trip this weekend - I'll post how the sleep goes

even with enough baloons for 1 week trip, it's very small & under 6 oz. for baloons, sleeve, pump & bag (and all just fits in bag)

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: gotta agree - balloon bed smallest on 04/06/2006 15:36:01 MDT Print View

I would agree that the balloonbed (or the DIY equiv) is the most compact option. I am not sure I would call it "comfy". Keep in mind that the balloonbed product is only around 16" wide when inflated. This feels signficantly more narrow than a typical 20" wide pad.

I wrote up a brief review which can be found at

I suppose I should get around to updating the review with additional experience.


Dylan Skola
(phageghost) - F

Locale: Southern California
Balloon bed - R value? on 04/06/2006 16:23:12 MDT Print View

I would imagine it provides little insulation from cold ground, since the balloons are nice little convection cells. Similiar to a plain inflatable air mattress, just much lighter.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Balloon Bed - MYOG on 04/06/2006 16:52:29 MDT Print View

This is posted on a thread here someplace but I can't find it:

Back in the fall of 2004 I had a lot of fun making a Balloon Bed and it worked OK. Weight was 5oz.
My first one used a bag/sleeve and 5 poly tubes. The total Air Mattress weight is just under 10oz. The size of this Air Mattress is 78" long, 24'' wide and 3" thick.

Then I found a Poly Tube material that was 5" wide and made out of 2Mil material. It can be cut to any length, heat sealed completly on one end and sealed about 80% on the other end. This lets you blow it up easy by mouth or with a small balloon pump and then tie a knot or use a clamp to hold the air in. You can take the knot/clamp out/off when you want to pack up and use it again next time. This material is about 4" in diameter and I was cut to 78" long. This stuff can be used over and over. If you get a small hole in it Duct Tape will stick to it. The duct tape should seal any small holes and maybe a small tear. One of these tubes weighs 26grams vs 4grams for a (one time only) balloon.

The idea of using the Poly Tube material moved on to become a home-made Down Air Mattress(DAM).

Here are a few pictures of my home made Balloon Bed.
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Mark W Heninger
(heninger) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Balloon Bed - MYOG on 04/06/2006 18:00:24 MDT Print View

Why is it made out of a shower curtain? Just kidding.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Balloon Bed - MYOG on 04/06/2006 18:23:18 MDT Print View

It is made out of some $1 a yard stuff from Wal Mart. I got a lot of it and you can't beat the price.

It weighted about 1.4 oz a sq yard and before Cuben that also wasn't to bad.

If you make your own Balloon Bed you can make it any size you want. Mine had two balloons in each sleeve to give me a total length of 78" long.

Travis Songer
(tsonger1979) - F
Re: Balloon Bed - MYOG on 05/29/2006 06:47:39 MDT Print View

Hey Bill,
Do I remember in your origional post an offer cut some lengths of the poly tubing? My apologies if i'm remembering wrong. I'd like to play around with making one of the balloon style beds, but I don't want to buy a 1500' foot roll of poly tubing. Send me an email at


Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Balloon Bed - MYOG on 05/29/2006 11:36:18 MDT Print View

Travis, This is where I got my Poly Tubing. I was asked your question by several others back then and the person I got mine from said he could provide small amounts to others if they wanted it. Here is what he provided to me. You can ask about cutting the tubing the lenght you want and I don't think that will be a problem.

I have nothing to do with this business.

I will also add this to the MYOG Materials list.


--- Michael Joseph <> wrote:

10 tubes for bedding. Inflates to 3"+, diameter Flat is 5" x 80" sealed on one end 100% / other end 80% sealed air hole left for inflation. Must be folded and clamped.

Price is $8.00 Plus Shipping & Handling Shipping in US is $5.00 Priority Mail no tracking / $9.00 FedEx Ground w/tracking

Please email this information:
Sold To:
Ship to Address:
Phone Number:

Credit Card Info
Name on Card
Billing Address if different than above
Card Number
Expiration Date xx/xx
CCV (last 3 numbers on back of card)

Will ship within 1 business day of receipt of order.

Best Regards,
Michael Joseph

Michael Joseph, Owner
Clowning Around
P.O. Box 691181
San Antonio, TX 78269

210-696-0992 Fax

Michael Wands
(walksoftly) - F

Locale: Piney Woods
Bubble Wrap on 05/29/2006 21:33:10 MDT Print View

An old idea from Bob Gross - used to have one of the first ultralight websites years ago.

Use bubble wrap packing material to cushion from shoulder to hip. 1/4" bubbles recommended. Light and comfy. Not very wide and doesn't pack up too small, but it is light.

As an added bonus, popping the bubbles will frighten away things that go bump in the night.

Travis Songer
(tsonger1979) - F
Re: Bubble Wrap on 05/30/2006 04:31:07 MDT Print View


Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: Bubble Wrap on 05/30/2006 05:10:50 MDT Print View

The adventure racers in the UK have long used bubble wrap for races like the LAMM and the KIMM/OMM.

Edited by Arapiles on 04/23/2007 16:03:29 MDT.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: "SunFriendly Leisure Mat" on 05/30/2006 05:16:09 MDT Print View

I posted this over on TLB a while ago - basically the Leisure Mat is a commercially made balloon bed. Unfortunately there's no web-site and I don't have a digital camera, but I'll see what I can arrange ...

And just to note - that weight of 12.7 ounces/360 grammes is for a pad that's 31 inches wide versus the 20 inch Thermarest.

"Dear All

Was browsing in the supermarket here in Tokyo today and came across the "SunFriendly Leisure Mat". Cost was 980 Yen - about US$9.00.

Basically it's an air bed with a top made of the aluminium foil used in emergency blankets - blown up it's 184 cm long x 80 cm wide x 3 cm deep and weighs 360 grams. If it was 51 cm wide - standard Thermarest size - it'd be about 230 grams.

It has 60 tubes that run width-wise rather than lengthwise. The tubes are connected to each other by four gaps but the air doesn't move that easily between the tubes, meaning that the tube your weight's on doesn't completely flatten out.

There are two valves for inflating it, which wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

I tried it out in the house and it's actually very comfortable, if a little crinkly.

Durability? Well .....

I recently bought a 40+ litre pack designed with a rear mesh pocket so that you can put a sleeping pad down the back, like a Mariposa etc. It's meant to be for earthquake kits. Usually sells for about US$40, I got it for about US$25 using membership points.

I'm thinking of doing an ultracheap overnighter ...

Edited by Arapiles on 04/23/2007 16:04:55 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: "SunFriendly Leisure Mat" on 05/31/2006 19:59:25 MDT Print View

Damian said, "I'm thinking of doing an ultracheap overnighter ..."

Call 206-555-1234 and ask for Suzy. DOH!