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sleeping pad for insulation
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Mary R
(pietimer) - MLife
sleeping pad for insulation on 05/06/2011 15:39:13 MDT Print View

Hey folks,
I'm out to buy a new sleeping pad since my husband stole my old one. I'm a very simple sleeper and during the summer I often go backpacking without a pad--comfort is not a big factor for me. However, early spring backpacking this year proved to me how valuable the insulation property of a sleeping pad is.
So, is the GG thinlight 3/8" enough to keep me warm on a 15* night? Or should I go for a z-lite? Or something else?


Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Pad on 05/06/2011 16:44:35 MDT Print View

I would want something warmer than a 3/8 Thinlight for 15 degrees. The 3/8 thinlight has an R value of about 1.4 if I remember correctly.

I would get a 48" long Ridgerest Solite. It's lighter than the Z-lite, much warmer (R2.8 vs R2.2) and rolled up it is about the same size as my wife's 52" Z-lite. I have one and it weighs in at 8.9 oz vs. 10.4 for the Z-lite.

I would also bring an 1/8 Thinlight for 15F, but if you are a pretty minimal sleeper, you would probably do OK with just the ridge rest.


Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: sleeping pad for insulation on 05/10/2011 11:41:07 MDT Print View

EN test standards, R-5 for 20*F & thermoneutral (ie not losing heat). 4 or 5 thinlights stacked would get there. Might look at a shorty downmat 7 @ 21oz. Exped synmat ul7 at 15oz R 3.1 seems like it'd be warmer than big agnes' shorty insulated air core of R 4.1 (exped has insulation top & bottom vs top only). You could also combine a couple of solites... maybe a reg & a 3' section?

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: sleeping pad for insulation on 05/10/2011 15:37:10 MDT Print View

I don't think a 3/8" pad, z-lite, Ridge Rest, or Ridge Rest Solite will be warm enough, but they might be worth a test if time and temps allow.

As Brad said, look at the R value and get something around R 5 or greater. I use a full-length Exped Downmat 7 (R 5.9, 32 oz) once temps get in the 20's (F). A full-length pad is nice for colder temps, although a 3/4 length one might due depending on your height and typical sleeping position.

If you don't mind carrying a bulky pad, consider the Ridge Rest Solar, which has an R value of 3.5. It might not be warm enough, but it worked for Andrew Skurka in Alaska in temps below 0F. That was on snow, which provides some insulation itself.

Another pad to consider is a Thermarest Prolite Plus Women's at R 4.5.

You could of course always use evergreen boughs or piled up pine needles, leaves, or dead grass if you have the time and these are available without impacting live trees. :)

Edited by AndyF on 05/10/2011 15:38:39 MDT.