Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Sleeping Pads, Bony Hips, and Bubbles
Display Avatars Sort By:
Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Sleeping Pads, Bony Hips, and Bubbles on 01/18/2011 00:19:56 MST Print View

I got some interesting ideas out of these threads but thought it might be interesting to revisit the topic.

I'm on my 5th sleeping pad setup since I started backpacking 2 years ago. I went from a cheap blue foam pad, to a Ridgerest Deluxe, to a Prolite short, then a Prolite short/Ridgerest Regular combo, and now to a Neoair short. I guess I just have bony hips or something.

With the blue pad I had problems with pain in my hips and shoulders. I resolved to train myself to sleep on my back. I attributed the pain to not enough padding and tried the slightly thicker RR Deluxe. I took the latter back to REI after a mere 2 nights of trying to use it - it had the same problem.

When I returned the RR Deluxe I bought a Prolite short but I'd still wake up with pain in my hips unless I inflated the pad all the way. However, I slept longer between waking so I was happy for a time. If I inflated it all the way then I'd have lower back pain from the bulge of the sleeping pad pushing up into me just above the hips and by sometime in here I learned to sleep on my back some and found I encountered a similar problem; the pad still pushed up into my back.

Then, not wanting to shell out for a Neoair and needing more R value anyway, I coupled the Prolite with a RR Regular and was quite pleased with everything other than the weight. This was a very comfortable setup IMO.

But in an effort to trim some weight off my pack when I didn't need the R value I invested in a Neoair short. I love this pad and initial impressions were good. However, after a while I start to notice the same problem with it bulging into my lower back (it doesn't matter whether I'm on my side or back the pain is in pretty much the same spot).

What would you try next or what worked for you?

Some ideas: Dig a hole for your hips or rear end when able to and just deal with it otherwise (obviously one would disguise it the next morning when breaking camp)? Add foam to the pad just above the hips to take the pressure off? Add foam under the hips in order to try to line things up and take the pressure off? Take Tylenol PM or other drugs? Someone mentioned elevating the feet for back sleepers? Or a pillow between the legs (that just feels weird to me)?

I think the reason the Prolite/RR combo might have been so comfortable was because only the Prolite part of the system was capable of bulging up and I could deflate it more to eliminate the problem when I combined it with the RR pad.

Edited by veriest1 on 01/18/2011 00:22:24 MST.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Sleeping Pads, Bony Hips, and Bubbles on 01/18/2011 09:01:36 MST Print View

Larry, you dont HAVE to sleep on a pad, on the ground. There are other options, that attracts dozens of campers every day.

since you asked..

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Sleeping Pads, Bony Hips, and Bubbles on 01/18/2011 09:19:52 MST Print View

I use a NeoAir large in summer, the NeoAir with a Ridgerest under it in winter. This works for me, though I do toss and turn most of the night, though mostly on my side. I do ensure the NeoAir is fully inflated before actually going to bed (always seems to lose air between first blowing it up and going to bed a few hours later).

If you're trying to stay on your back, put a 'pillow' of some sort under your knees to elevate them some. By elevating your hips you're only contributing to your problem.

And lastly, I'll echo te-wa's comment. For three seasons I use my hammock more than anything else. As a chronic lower back pain sufferer, I've never slept better. Any time I ground dwell I toss and turn and wake up with some level of discomfort. Almost every time I sleep in my hammock I climb in, lay on my back, go to sleep, and don't wake up til morning. With no pain. You might at least give it a shot if ground dwelling continues to cause you pain.

shane sibert
(grinder) - F

Locale: P.N.W
Sleeping pads on 01/18/2011 11:00:47 MST Print View

I took a Gossamer Gear ¾” length Nightlight pad and adhered a small section of their Thinlight 3/8” closed cell foam to the bottom of the pad where my hips reside. The extra padding works great, my pad weighs only 10.5 ounces. I used 3M # 77 contact spray adhesive and have not had a problem of it separating.

John McAlpine
(HairlessApe) - M

Locale: PNW
Raise your knees up on 01/18/2011 11:55:52 MST Print View


I had Bender make me an inflatable knee pillow that I put under my knees to elevate them approximately 8 - 10 inches. This relieves my lower back pain. It's 20-inches long and around 10-inches in diamter. It's simply a tube that I blow up. It weighs 3.5 ounces.

If I'm using my quilt I can feel air come in from under my knees. I resolved this by putting the knee pillow under my sleeping pad. When I use a closed bag I simply put the knee pillow on top of my pad.

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Hammocks on 01/18/2011 12:02:52 MST Print View

I had considered the hammock idea but having tried in the yard I have just never been able to get comfortable in them. I used a neighbors generic spreader or bridge hammock. It's something about sleeping in a V-shape combined with the way they rock when I move.

I guess between that uncertainty of being able to sleep in one, wanting to do more desert camping, and not wanting to spend the extra money right now I'm rather opposed to the idea. I had however completely forgotten about them when I posted this thread so thanks for bringing them up and feel free to discuss further since not all of my backpacking is or will be in a desert.

I'm predominately a side sleeper and understand little about the art of placing things under/between ones knees. I'm assuming those of you who place things under your knees are predominately back sleepers right?

Edited by veriest1 on 01/18/2011 12:05:26 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Hammocks on 01/18/2011 12:06:26 MST Print View

Not sure what you mean by "sleeping in a V shape." If you mean the hammock sides coming up around you, can't say much to that. But it you mean that you are in a V shape, you're using the wrong hammock! I sleep nearly flat in my Blackbird. FWIW.

Mike S
(MikeyLXT) - F

Locale: Maryland
Re: Re: Hammocks on 01/18/2011 13:04:54 MST Print View


I use a Big Agnes Air Core (cant spend the money on a NeoAir yet and i hate they don't have a long non-wide version). I find that it is the best option for me. I dont know if a full length pad would solve part of the problems you are having. There may be an issue because your lower body is on a different level then your upper body. In my opinion. If there is one thing you want to spend a couple more ounces on it would be your sleep system. You will be able to hike further and faster if you are well rested(even if you carry 6 more ounces).


As far as your pad losing air between when you inflate it and when you go to bed. When you inflate your pad you are doing it with hot air from your body. Remember that hot air takes up more room then cool by the time you go to bed the air in your pad has cooled off and it appears to have lost air.

Edited by MikeyLXT on 01/18/2011 13:07:41 MST.

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Re: Re: Re: Hammocks on 01/18/2011 13:25:32 MST Print View

"If there is one thing you want to spend a couple more ounces on it would be your sleep system."

So true! However, there was one time (on hard ground at that!) when I got the Neoair inflated just like Goldilocks likes it and slept like a baby. I have since been unable to replicate that. I just remember it looked rather flat the next morning so I'd like to keep working with it. I figure a shallow hole <1 inch under my hips may give me some wiggle room on getting the pad inflated just right.

EDIT: The neoair short hits me right below the knees so it's just my lower legs and feet hanging off. I wouldn't think this would cause a problem on both my side and on my back. I find that if I sleep to long on a really soft bed (4 or 5 inches of memory foam) I get the same problem.

On the other hand I may just have to bite the weight bullet and give the Prolite/RR combo another chance. But instead of the whole RR I'm really thinking about adding the velcro to one side of a Prolite xs so I can attach pieces of RR there when I don't want to carry the whole CCF torso pad. In one of the threads I linked a poster said the BPL Torsolite is thicker than the Prolite but the specs on both say 1 inch. Can anyone confirm this?

As far as hammocks go it was the slight rise of my head and feet that drove me nuts. I might be able to get used to it but I'd rather dial in a ground setup. I can keep using my <2000 cubic inch packs that way too.

Edited by veriest1 on 01/18/2011 13:28:32 MST.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Re: Re: Re: Hammocks on 01/18/2011 17:16:44 MST Print View

i dont even know how to respond, to your neighbor's spreader bar hammock setup..
but, im sure of one thing.. it would fare very low when compared to a hammock made for camping.. like the warbonnet traveler and a whoopie sling suspension.

not to start a neo-air vs. hammock argument at all. but, ive tried all those things. never slept good on them. as a side sleeper and occasional back sleeper, i will not go back to the ground. once i found what worked, i found what worked.

good luck on your gear testing. may your night's slumber be the best ever - from here on out.


john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
Absolutely Flat on 01/19/2011 04:34:08 MST Print View

The JRB Bear Mtn Bridge Hammock lays absolutely flat and straight... No bananna...No side, asym torque.


Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Re: Absolutely Flat on 01/19/2011 05:28:36 MST Print View

Good to know the hammocks made for backpacking are pretty much flat. I'll tuck that away as a last ditch option. I'll probably go Prolite/RR combo for cost, weight, and space over a hammock though. I've slept really good on that setup in the past but I'm reluctant to give up on the weight savings of the Neoair just yet.

It'd be really nice if I could find someone nearby with a nice hammock to check out though.

Edited by veriest1 on 01/19/2011 05:32:04 MST.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Absolutely Flat on 01/19/2011 06:19:47 MST Print View


I use the Bridge hammock mentioned from JRB and can vouch for its flat lay and comfort. I sleep more soundly in it than any other system, FWIW.


Don Selesky
(backslacker) - M
Re: Hammocks on 01/19/2011 06:52:51 MST Print View

"I'm predominately a side sleeper and understand little about the art of placing things under/between ones knees. I'm assuming those of you who place things under your knees are predominately back sleepers right?"

FWIW, I'm normally a side sleeper, but have no issue sleeping on my back in a hammock (and I've tried a few). If fact, sleeping on my back seems more comfortable than trying to sleep on my side. Best rest I've ever had.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Re: Absolutely Flat on 01/19/2011 11:41:57 MST Print View

enjoy your purchase Larry. get what works for you!
SYOS (sleep your own sleep)
im sure you are making the right choice, only you would know.

i will however, leave you with this last argument... hehe...
my te-wa 3/4 length underquilt, the 3 season "Freeze" will get you into a blissful warm sleep for 13 ounces. use a pack frame "leg pad" like the Sitlite, and youre good for the same weight as the Regular NeoAir.

here's where the ground dweller systems lose tho..

a camping hammock like the Warbonnet Blackbird in a single 1.1 layer with whoopie slings comes in at under a pound. mine has been modified with said suspension and weighs exactly 15.1.
Not bad for all year bug protection!
the WB Traveler i have comes in even less..(no bug screen) at 9oz total.
add a cuben tarp w/ stakes at 8oz total (zpacks) for a total system.

this is how us hangers stay UL and SUL and do it in comfort and style.

my total 3 season hammock (NOT including the top quilt) is
hammock: 15
tarp: 8
underquilt: 13
leg pad: 2
38 ounces.
2lbs, 6oz.

you'll be hard pressed to find a roomy shelter, such as the pitch of a hammock tarp provides, for that weight.
even in winter when i have to shut the doors so to speak, its still roomier than my old tarptent cloudburst. and making coffee from bed? priceless!

so i guess i did start an argument on hammock vs neoair.. oops!
anyway, like i said. SLOS.

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Argument? on 01/19/2011 13:03:56 MST Print View

Are we arguing? Really? I still have issue concerning the lack of trees in one of my favorite places in the world.

If you want to argue my (soon to be) revised "3 season list" still has you beat weight wise. I'm just waiting on Ron @ MLD now. My gearlist is in my profile. :P

Edited by veriest1 on 01/19/2011 13:22:59 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Argument? on 01/19/2011 13:08:09 MST Print View

Starting to read like "my toys are better than your toys and I am getting more new ones"! :)

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Re: Re: Argument? on 01/19/2011 13:21:24 MST Print View

If we're going to argue we might as well do it with style! And like 5 year olds.... :)

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Argument? on 01/19/2011 13:22:15 MST Print View


Know that you are in good company. :)

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Re: Re: Argument? on 01/19/2011 13:24:58 MST Print View

And when I scrounge up the extra funds (and don't spend it on gear) I'm getting a lifetime membership too. So beat that! lol

And then... and then... I dunno....

I guess I might go backpacking?

Edited by veriest1 on 01/19/2011 13:26:52 MST.