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Self Inflating pad vs manual inflation
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R Petrelli
(rydia131) - F
Self Inflating pad vs manual inflation on 07/07/2012 07:22:11 MDT Print View

Ive always used closed cell foam pads but would like to make the switch based on the fact that I primarily sleep on my side. There seem to be two main pads out there in self inflating and manual inflating air pads. Is the self inflation a nice luxury or will the manual inflation work just as quickly. I like the manual based on weight but I have never inflated either so Im just looking for specifics on that. Thanks in advance!

Sunny Waller
(dancer) - M

Locale: Southeast USA
Self Inflating on 07/07/2012 07:55:52 MDT Print View

I have used these pads for years and never had good luck with the "self inflating" part. I usually wound up being the inflator...not such a big deal on the early thin thermarest&s but very time consuming on the 2.5 inch pads we have now. You cannot blow your breath into a pad with down have to use a pump. When I bought a Stephens Warmlight Down Air Matress it came with a huge stuff sack with a valve that you use to inflate just hook it up and roll the stuff sack up pushing the air into the pad. Very fast and easy. I liked this so much I bought the Big Agnes Pump House Dry Sack. This dry bag weighs 1.5 oz but it is big enough to hold my winter sleeping bag and my winter clothes. It is waterproof with a roll top closure with a nice little connector on the end that you can inflate your pad with..sweet

Edited by dancer on 07/07/2012 07:57:50 MDT.

Jen Churchward
(mahgnillig) - F
Re: Self Inflating on 07/07/2012 13:39:06 MDT Print View

I have a self inflating Thermarest pad which is super comfortable, but heavy compared to the inflatable air mattresses. I usually give it a couple of puffs of air manually to make sure it is inflated all the way before I sleep on it.

I keep meaning to try out an air mattress to see what all the fuss is about, but there are a couple of things playing on my mind about them. First off, if you get a puncture then your pad will have no insulation... at least with a self inflating pad you still have a bit of foam underneath you. Second, the way the air moves around inside the chambers feels strange... though this might just be because I'm not used to them. Also, unless you get a pump sack, you have to supply all the air yourself... be careful if you're camping at altitude and you live at sea level, or you'll make yourself dizzy!

Mike In Socal
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
Tried both self inflating and manual on 07/07/2012 14:22:37 MDT Print View

I have a Prolite Plus self-inflating pad. I take it out when I get into camp and let it self-inflate. When I am ready to go to sleep, I add a couple of breaths of air and seal it off.

I also have an Exped Synmat UL 7 - the most comfortable pad I have ever used. An Exped pump bag inflates the mat very quickly. I don't miss the light headed feeling. To add to the comfort, I don't inflate the pad all the way and I put my Gossamer Gear sit pad underneath where my hips would be so I don't bottom out on the ground. This combination works very well if you are a side sleeper.


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Altitude & "manual" inflation on 07/07/2012 14:43:01 MDT Print View

If you're at 9,000 ft. and have to fully inflate by mouth a mattress like a Big Agnes or the like you "may" become lightheaded by the time you're done - or you may just pass out briefly and have to start all over again, :o)

Plus manual inflaters lose much more volume on a cold night unless they have insulation in them.

I'll take my Thermarest Prolite reg., thanks. Been there and done the other type.

Edited by Danepacker on 07/07/2012 14:43:55 MDT.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Self Inflating pad vs manual inflation" on 07/07/2012 16:35:41 MDT Print View

Get an Exped pad and get the Schnozzel. Problem solved.

R Petrelli
(rydia131) - F
Re: Self Inflating pad vs manual inflation on 07/08/2012 15:47:20 MDT Print View

Exped sounds like problem solved except for the fact that every exped pad ive seen is very pricey. Are they really that much better than thermarest? Because Ive seen thermarest at a decent price

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
not for nothing but... on 07/08/2012 20:09:28 MDT Print View

i found myself going back to the old school closed cell RidgeRest pad. nothing to inflate once in camp, nothing to deflate at 2am, and it's light. sure it takes up some space, but it's very cheap and easy to trim to size. need more cushion on your hips? fold it in half and use your pack to support your legs.

R Petrelli
(rydia131) - F
Re: not for nothing but... on 07/09/2012 08:10:07 MDT Print View


I currently use a Z lite and have tried doubling up in sections to help pressure points, but at least for me they seem to stay just that, pressure pts. I think I would just keep using the zlite full time if it wasnt for the side sleeping pain. I want to invest in a inflatable pad but since ive never used either type its a tough decision.

Im currently looking at the Neoair trekker, great price on rei right now, or the pro lite plus. Anyone use both?

Jonathan Foley
Self-inflating+1 on 07/09/2012 19:43:39 MDT Print View

I gave up on the neoair and inflattable pads in general. In my hands and hands of other people I know they are just to darn fragile and too darn expensive. The xlite only makes this worse, you can literally see through the fabric. They aren't that easy to patch in the field either. I recently went back to a Short Prolite Plus, which clocks at 15 oz. Its marginally heavier than the original neoair and at 1.5 inches is quite comfortable. It takes a few puffs to get nice and firm. Gram weenies can have the inflatables.

Adam Klagsbrun
(klags) - MLife

Locale: Northeast US
neo air on 07/09/2012 20:52:59 MDT Print View

I liked the older neo air regulars, but now the xtherm looks like the way to go. the xlite is very fragile, whereas the original was super durable for something that light. plus the noise sucks from the xlite. if you are an accomplished hiker, heck, if you hike at all, you will have decent lung capacity. this means you will be very able to blow this thing up. don't do it too fast, but come on is it really so bad? well, ok fine if you say so, OR if you are a nut about keeping condensation and your breath out of the inside of your neo air, or use it for winter camping with its good R value, go for this:

that's right, it weighs 2.3 oz w/batteries... even with this you just saved ounces from your sleep pad while also getting up to a luxurious 2.5 inches of padding.