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Sleep pad for side sleepers.
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Jarod Fleming
(flemdawg1) - F

Locale: SE US
Sleep pad for side sleepers. on 04/04/2012 11:37:47 MDT Print View

I'm returning my BA Air Core for the 3rd time, and thinking about starting over with something else.

Looking for some reccomendations for side sleppers.

Stephan Doyle
Re: Sleep pad for side sleepers. on 04/04/2012 11:38:56 MDT Print View


Ryan Tucker
(BeartoothTucker) - M
2nd on 04/04/2012 11:42:54 MDT Print View

Neo Air.

Jarod Fleming
(flemdawg1) - F

Locale: SE US
Which model and how durable is it? on 04/04/2012 11:43:12 MDT Print View

The reason I' hve to keep returning the BAs is because of them leaking (however I can never find them even in a bath tub). I don't nessacarily think I'm careless with my gear.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Sleep pad for side sleepers. on 04/04/2012 11:59:40 MDT Print View

Exped SynMat UL7

Consider using a 1/8" foam pad underneath, such as the pad sold by Gossamer Gear. I might do that myself if I ever get a puncture.

Keegan D

Locale: Bay Area
Re: Sleep pad for side sleepers on 04/04/2012 12:48:19 MDT Print View

If you are worried about punctures, the nemo astro air is super durable although you pay with it with more ounces.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Sleep pad for side sleepers on 04/04/2012 13:27:17 MDT Print View

I too suffered three consecutive BA Insulated Air Core pad failures due to tiny leaks.

My wife and I have each used a Thermarest Prolite Plus for the past two years. Mine is 20 x 47 and hers is the longer woman's model 20 x 66. Both pads are 1.5 inches thick. Works like a charm. Tested and proven by us on the TRT and the CT. Great back pad/virtual frame for our packs. Very comfortable for side sleeping (and rolling). Never leaked.

Try one on the concrete floor at REI. Toss. Turn. Whatever. You can't feel the concrete with shoulder or hip (unless you fall on it that way).

Angelo Radano

Locale: New England
Another Neoair on 04/04/2012 20:02:18 MDT Print View

I tried just a Z-rest, didn't work. I tried z-rest plus torsolite, better but still didn't sleep that great. Picked up a Neoair, best sleep in the backcountry to date.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Sleep pad for side sleepers. on 04/04/2012 20:06:29 MDT Print View

+1 on the Exped SynMat UL7

John Taylorson
(heyjt) - M

Locale: SoCal
Neoair for sore hips on 04/04/2012 20:14:24 MDT Print View

I still own (and sometimes use) my old, 1984 Thermarest. My wife broke down and bought me the Prolite, which I liked, but my hips got sore from side sleeping. I gave it another week of sleeping and finally broke down and bought the Neoair. I've not had a bad nights sleep since! I did discover a tiny puncture, but I patched it and was back to blissful slumber within minutes.

The size and weight is also a plus...

Chad "Stick" Poindexter
(Stick) - F

Locale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
NeoAir on 04/04/2012 20:30:18 MDT Print View

Another vote for the Neo...

Evan McCarthy
(evanrussia) - MLife

Locale: Northern Europe
Re: Sleep pad for side sleepers. on 04/04/2012 20:31:25 MDT Print View

I rotated back and forth this spring between the Exped Synmat UL 7 and the Neoair Xlite. The Neoair, in the end, is enough for me in terms of comfort to weight ratio but the Exped is definitely far more comfortable hip-down, and also larger and sturdier.

Edited by evanrussia on 04/04/2012 20:32:32 MDT.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Use a polycryo gc on 04/04/2012 21:52:22 MDT Print View

I've had my small NeoAir since they came out. I had to sent that back as it had a pinhole from the get-go, CD sent me a new one, no issues since. I have a floorless Squall but use a medium weight GG polycryo groundcloth.

James McDaniel
Sleep pad for side sleepers. on 04/04/2012 22:07:04 MDT Print View

One word. Hammock.

(rps76) - F
Re: Sleep pad for side sleepers. on 04/04/2012 22:47:02 MDT Print View

How does a hammock work for a side sleeper? That doesn't sound comfortable at all.

Edward Jursek
( - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
side sleepers on 04/04/2012 23:06:03 MDT Print View

I am a side sleeper and moved to an inflatable Neo Air two years ago. Due to the cost and reliability issues, I bought it at REI. While REI can cost a bit more, their return policy is excellent. My Neo Air failed on a trip last summer with the typical slow leak that was impossible to find in my bath tub, much less find and patch in the field. I returned it to REI and spoke with the staff. They suggested I try the Exped UL 7, as it was appearing to be returned less often then the Neo Air. I know this is purely anecdotal, but I regularly cruise the gear garage at the REI Seattle Flag Ship Store in Seattle, and see a lot of Neo Air returns being sold but never any Expeds. So far so good for my UL 7. I take along a torso pad (a cut down old Z Rest) as a back-up that doubles as my frameless pack's back pad and as a sit pad. When my Neo Air failed in the middle of the Pasayten Wilderness the torso pad was less than luxurious but help salvage my trip.

Edited by on 04/04/2012 23:08:27 MDT.

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
Hammock on 04/04/2012 23:18:38 MDT Print View

A hammock works for side sleepers as well as it works when there are no trees.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Hammock on 04/05/2012 07:07:30 MDT Print View

Side sleeping comfort in a hammock depends on the user and which hammock is chosen.....just like CCF pads vs inflatable, etc.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Hammock on 04/05/2012 07:10:42 MDT Print View

On the ground, Neo.

A lot of side sleepers, myself included wind up sleeping on your back in a hammock. Since it is not like sleeping in a bed with pressure points, you might as well. Try it.

Hammocking for 12 years.

Edited by kthompson on 04/05/2012 07:11:41 MDT.

Corey Miller
(coreyfmiller) - F

Locale: Eastern Canada
Neo on 04/05/2012 09:17:04 MDT Print View

Another +1 for the NeoAir Xlite or Trekker.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Sleep pad for side sleepers. on 04/05/2012 09:23:50 MDT Print View

Trying a hammock is a great idea. You'll either love it or wish you loved it. :)

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Sleep pad for side sleepers. on 04/05/2012 10:40:21 MDT Print View

OK, you side sleepers; how do you sleep w/o getting a numb arm after ½ hour?
I always get a numb arm on my neoair (and prolites and all CCF) so I’ve just been sleeping on my back or front.

Charles P
(mediauras) - F

Locale: Terra
rei stratus? on 04/05/2012 11:23:37 MDT Print View

has anybody tried rei's new insulated inflatable pad, the stratus? 20 oz with R value of 3, but regular size is only 75 bucks.

Ben H.
(bzhayes) - F

Locale: So. California
Re: rei stratus? on 04/05/2012 15:28:59 MDT Print View

I just bought it. It seems like a real steal compared to the Neo air. I haven't tried it out yet though. I am a little concerned, its construction suggests it will have cold spots. The guy at rei said when you lay on it, the gaps squish together and prevent cold spots. Compared to the Neo Air trekker it is cheaper, lighter, and has a higher r-value. The other neo air's are better in one of the metrics but not the other two. Durability is hard to quantify at this stage for any of the mats.

Combined with the 20% off coupon and REI's guaranteed I figured I will give it a try.

Charles P
(mediauras) - F

Locale: Terra
should've added... on 04/05/2012 16:03:58 MDT Print View

That i'm going to get one too, with the exact same reasoning. Why not? REI will take it back if its not quite satisfactory, and if that happens, then hey, I'll be halfway to having enough for a synmat UL 7.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Sleep pad for side sleepers on 04/05/2012 17:21:58 MDT Print View

This is starting to remind me of Whiteblaze, where the answer to any question is "get a hammock".

Get a Synmat UL7, or POE Ether Thermo 6.

Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
POE Elite AC on 04/05/2012 21:07:48 MDT Print View

Side sleeper here, and I really feel it in at the hips and knees without the right pad.
I cant use CCF pads anymore. I was using a Thermorest Prolite Plus (the 1 1/2" one) and it worked very well, no complaints. I switched to a POE Elite AC to save some bulk and weight and its been working great so far. Much lighter than the Thermorest at 11.5 oz (on my postal scale, regular length pad) including the sack and patch kit, The trade off is that I'm more paranoid about it puncturing, as it feels pretty thin. No problems so far though and I find the POE to be close to the same comfort level as the Thermorest.

Someone posted about their arm going numb when sleeping on their side. My arm goes numb too if I sleep with my head on my brachael artery, which my head naturally falls on when I fold my upper arm under my head. I have to make a conscious effort not to do that, and to sleep with only my hand under whatever I'm using as a pillow.

Edited by DaFireMedic on 04/05/2012 21:09:35 MDT.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Re: Sleep pad for side sleepers. on 04/05/2012 22:22:26 MDT Print View

I use an Exped air pillow.

Strange, my quote of the above poster's question about how to keep your arm from going to sleep doesn't show least looking from my phone. Anyway, that's what I was answering with this post.

Edited by dkramalc on 04/06/2012 08:31:45 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Sleep pad for side sleepers on 04/06/2012 01:55:09 MDT Print View

I have a 3.5" thick well-insulated pad from Kooka Bay, which weighs only 12.9 oz. Unfortunately, this firm is now out of business. I just hope that someone will take up where they left off! If I were still looking, I'd check out the Exped Synmat UL or new Downmat UL. I tried the NeoAir and it didn't work at all for me. I kept rolling off the horizontal baffles and I never could find the "sweet spot" between having it too hard and having my hip bone on the ground. YMMV, of course!

Whatever pad you get, try it out on the floor at home for several nights. Don't get carried away with the light weight as I did with the NeoAir; make sure you can get a good night's sleep! In retrospect, a good night's sleep is far, far more important than a few ounces less weight in the pack!

Edited by hikinggranny on 04/06/2012 01:57:33 MDT.

Jarod Fleming
(flemdawg1) - F

Locale: SE US
Klymit? on 04/06/2012 12:38:46 MDT Print View

I'm intrigued by the Klymit Inertia pads. Anyone ever use them with a quilt?

Ben H.
(bzhayes) - F

Locale: So. California
Re: Klymit? on 04/09/2012 10:35:33 MDT Print View

"I'm intrigued by the Klymit Inertia pads. Anyone ever use them with a quilt?"

I haven't but company rep was on one of the forums once and I asked him. His response was that people have done it but the pad is not designed to be used with a quilt. The pad is designed such that the bottom of your sleeping bag fills in the holes in the pad and creates consistent insulation underneath you. Actually he said they have found the gaps filled with your sleeping bag are warmer than the rest of the pad.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Exped Synmat UL on 04/09/2012 13:18:43 MDT Print View

Synmat UL 7 and Pillow for me.

Very comfy for a side sleeper, far more so than the Neoair (and the Neo was very good)

Barry Cuthbert
(nzbazza) - MLife

Locale: New Zealand
Re: Exped Synmat UL on 04/09/2012 13:29:31 MDT Print View

Exped Synmat UL7 short and a pillow on my pack works really well for me. I've used a 3 season prolite and CCF previously and have always been uncomfortable.

Steve B
(geokite) - F

Locale: Southern California
Exped Downmat 7 on 04/10/2012 11:58:01 MDT Print View

I'll be the odd one here, I went with an Exped Downmat 7. The extra small version (47x20") and weighs 22oz, just 7oz heavier than the smallest Synmat UL. With that extra weight I get

no noise, more durable fabric, more warmth, an integrated pump (no hassle or added weight of a pump bag)

Didn't need the extra length over the shortest Synmat UL. The extra small version isn't listed anymore on the exped website. Maybe those interested can find some remaining ones.


Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Exped Downmat 7 on 04/10/2012 13:52:20 MDT Print View

I just got the XS DownMat 7 myself (still rolled up with the plastic on at this point, though) for the same reasons you list above. I'm anxious to try it out. Do you have any problem with the length and 2.5" height, in terms of your legs being uncomfortable b/c of the drop-off?

I picked mine up recently at Sierra Trading Post, but I just looked before posting this and they are gone. : (

Steve B
(geokite) - F

Locale: Southern California
Height on 04/10/2012 16:27:01 MDT Print View

Not so much because I don't inflate it to 2.5". Cushy so I sink into the pad, and my legs are not as high as you might think. I use my pack under my feet.

The bigger issue is my head. My pillow has to go on the pad; off the pad and the pillow just isn't tall enough.

I do use 1/4" eva type foam under the pad to further protect it, but it goes under my bivy as a ground protection. This leaves the pad directly in contact with, and sliding on, the sil nylon floor. Two small pieces of 1/4" eva foam are placed under the foam to keep it from sliding around, and these are actually my sit pad (0.5oz total).


Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Height on 04/10/2012 17:02:36 MDT Print View

Thanks, Steve.

I guess I hadn't really thought of the fact that the pad probably will not be inflated to an actual 2.5". I sometimes carry a Z-Seat and also have a 3/8" eva foam pad, so my set-up for the DownMat should look work like yours.

Aaron Burda
( - M
CCF with added hip support on 11/25/2012 13:02:19 MST Print View

I'm currently on a NeoAir but would like to move to a CCF pad primarily to reduce setup and take down time (and worry less about punctures). I'm a side sleeper and am curious if anybody has tried creating additional hip support (besides a second CCF mat as this won't work for me). I'm imagining something like an elastic band worn around my hips running through a thick sponge (it sounds a bit crazy). It seems insane to have to go through all of the hassle of an inflatable mat for the sake of several square inches of support on my hip and yet this is basically what I am doing.



Re: Sleep pad for side sleepers. on 11/25/2012 22:43:49 MST Print View

Can anyone with an inflatable comment on whether they side sleep AND toss and turn a lot?

I've tried my girlfriends Synmat UL7 a few times and always feel my hips and elbows hit the ground when I roll over. Maybe I have really pointy bones....

Prolite Plus Regular for me. I never feel the ground through that at all.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: CCF with added hip support on 11/25/2012 23:24:37 MST Print View

Just takes "practice." After a few nights I get used to pads. The first two nights are not wonderful. GG Nightlight pads are better than flat pads. As I get older I take a NeoAir about half the time these days.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Klymit? on 11/26/2012 05:00:32 MST Print View

"I'm intrigued by the Klymit Inertia pads. Anyone ever use them with a quilt?"
Yeah, they do not work too well for quilts unless it is very hot and you need the ventilation. As was said, they are really designed for sleeping bags.

I toss&turn a lot at night and found them to be less usefull than I thought. I took one on a 5 day outing, assuming I would get used to it...didn't happen. One night it was fine, I kicked up a bunch of leaves under it. I stuck my Sitlite pad under my hips and was comfortable. In lean-to's it didn't quite provide enough padding... I tried it inside and got my foot through one of the holes. On another night, it was outside and I half rolled off of it a couple times. I was hoping, because I like the idea that it would work well to keep me warmer than a pad for about the same weight.

Elizabeth Fallin
Neo again on 11/26/2012 16:30:18 MST Print View

NeoAir + Exped air pillow FTW. I can now go backpacking again. And if that's not a rave review, I don't know what is :-)

Bob Salcedo
(Baughb) - F

Locale: So Cal.
Side Sleeper... on 12/05/2012 12:03:27 MST Print View

Exped UL7 and whatever is handy for a pillow.

I toss and turn and so I awake a few times a night to re-adjust my quilt and tuck myself back in. But I really enjoy using this pad. I have 2 other Exped pads for car camping.


)p.s. Thanks for letting us post!!)

Edited by Baughb on 12/05/2012 12:11:17 MST.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: Sleep pad for side sleepers on 12/05/2012 13:42:55 MST Print View

"Exped UL7 and whatever is handy for a pillow."

I'm with Bob on this one. As an old geezer and side sleeper, my Exped UL7 is as close to ideal as I expect ever to get. Almost as good as my own mattress at home!