How do you keep your foam sleeping pad dry?
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Mike V
(deadbox) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
Re: found this on 08/07/2012 19:15:36 MDT Print View

I have never noticed any water being absorbed by either my blue foam CCF or my ridgerest and have never had a bag wet out as a result of using one that has been in the rain.

Also, just curious if you were camping in a hammock with nighttime temps in the 50’s why bother with the pad? I imagine if it is cold enough to require a pad or an under quilt, an open cell pad would not cut the mustard so to speak.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Low of 40 on 08/07/2012 19:17:59 MDT Print View

I am a cold sleeper, and leave it to me to sleep in a hammock for the first time in the White Mountains, haha. The projected lows could of gotten down to the 40s so I wasn't taking chances as a cold sleeper. Also as light as he white foam pad I had, as long as I could fit it in/on my pack I figure it was still worth it, I was still under 5lbs base weight.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
CCF and OCF pads on 08/07/2012 22:15:26 MDT Print View

To summarize a few points:

*) By definition of what CCF means, a CCF pad will not absorb water. If it did, then its cells would not be "closed". It can, of course, hold water on its surface. If it gets wet, it needs to be wiped off before I'd want to put a sleeping bag on it.

*) An OCF pad is like a big sponge. You must keep it dry. Back when OCF pads were more popular, the products were OCF inside a coated nylon cover.

*) CCF does not compress very much. That is why your major choices for carrying it are either to make a tube inside your pack or to roll it up and carry it externally. Because they have limited compressibility, they tend to be "hard" -- something vendors try to address with clever geometry of the pad. That is also why they do not need to be a thick as an OCF pad for the same R-value -- they will not thin out much when you lie on them.

*) An OCF pad is very compressible. I feels soft and "cushy", but you need a much greater thickness than a CCF pad of the same warmth -- because when you lie on it you will make it much thinner under your body pressure points.

*) Because a CCF is compressible, you can compress it enough to carry inside your pack, where it will not get rained on.

The OP said that his white foam was packing in a package -- I have never seen CCF used that way -- always OCF.

John Almond
(FLRider) - F

Locale: The Southeast
Poncho? on 08/07/2012 22:16:57 MDT Print View

Another option is to perhaps move over to a poncho for your rain gear. You can get multi-use out of it: rain gear, pack cover, ground sheet for breaks (as long as it's not raining hard), "front porch" for your hammock, and improv Grizz Beak for your tarp (increasing your rain coverage with a small hex tarp). You can, with some modification to it, even use it as an underquilt protector if you eventually wind up going with a down underquilt.

Hope it helps!

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: found this on 08/08/2012 04:23:30 MDT Print View

Water gain on ZLites, RidgeRests or Nightlites will be minimal. All are water proof. CCF pads by nature do not absorb water to any significant degree.

Sctratches, open sides, and cut edgs will allow the "CLOSED" cell foam(CCF) to pick up a few grams, but the material IS waterproof. Generally, wiping down with a bandana is all it takes to remove visable water.

Most packing foam is NOT suitable for backpacking. As you found, they do pick up water...like a sponge. I would look for a different source of water not your pad, if you are waking up with a wet bag (not damp, bags seem to be damp all the time in the NE.) Just hang them out (if possible) for 5-10 minutes.

BTW: Thermarest pads are NOT CCF. They use an open cell foam inside a waterproof liner. Required for blowing them up.

A liner and open cell foam is almost always heavier than a CCF pad for any durability.

Mike V
(deadbox) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: found this on 08/08/2012 07:06:23 MDT Print View

My understanding and according to the manufacturer's website, theramrest foam pads (Ridgerest, Z-lite) are closed cell foam. Their inflatable pads such as the prolite are open cell foam inside an airtight shell. I have cut/trimmed several ridgerests and z-lites and never noticed that the fresh cut edges absorb any measurable amount of water.

To the OP, I would think that trying to keep the pad dry is moot since it likely does not provide enough insulation to justify carrying it. If you are looking for an UL pad option get a piece of 1/8" thick Thinlight from GG and trim it down to torso size, you could prob get it sub 2oz relatively easily.

*Edited for spelling*

Edited by deadbox on 08/08/2012 07:08:11 MDT.

Steven Adeff
(TinCanFury) - F

Locale: Boston
damaged CCF can absorb water on 08/08/2012 08:38:28 MDT Print View

when you cut a roll down you've damaged the edge cells, they are now capable of absorbing water.

the reason the zlite, and it's ilk do not have this problem is they are molded into their sold shape, so there is no cut edge to damage the cells.

scratches, tears, etc. can damage the cells, which can then allow them to absorb water. don't let your CCF pad get damaged!

The edge of the CCF pad I carried had absorbed a small amount of water, which is what brought this question up.

It sounds like if I had rolled it out, wiped it off I would have been fine to sleep on, the minimal edge absorption would not have been enough to worry about.

How difficult is it to wipe dry a zlite/etc after being soaked in a driving rain? I imagine more so than a flat CCF pad due to the crevices?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: damaged CCF can absorb water on 08/08/2012 09:21:41 MDT Print View

I've never had a problem with cut down CCF pads absorbing water, but I haven't used them all by any means. I wonder if they could be sealed/repaired with Seam Grip or silicone?

An open cell foam pad is identical to a synthetic sponge and would be very good at absorbing water. I would wring it out and hope it drys completely from there.

The foam insulation for the Hennessy Super Shelter is open cell foam and needs to be protected from rain. When in place, it is covered by the under cover and Hennessy recommends using a space blanket on top for added insulation and I imagine the space blanket also avoids absorbing perspiration/condensation too. It comes with an open ended stuff sack, so adding a plastic bag helps to keep it dry.

For a larger open cell foam pad I would just use a trash compactor bag. You could stash your pack in it overnight or use it as a bear bag.

Daryl Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Couple more thoughts on 08/08/2012 12:16:24 MDT Print View

I carry my closed cell sleeping pad rolled up on the outside of the pack exposed to the rain. I also use it as a back pad and as a raincoat so it is often wet and usually sweaty. Here are a few more suggestions for dealing with the surface moisture that gets onto the pad.

(1) The surface of these pads aren't all the same. I look for pads that have a harder slick surface rather than a soft rougher surface. The former is much easier to wipe dry with a hanky than the latter. The cheap pads often have the surface I prefer.
(2) I avoid the pads with ridges, bumps or waffle patterns. They collect the water and it is harder to wipe the surface dry. If left for 3 days filled with water I could envision a mosquito hatch.

(3) Foil surfaced closed cell foam pads are the easiest of all to wipe dry with a hanky but the foil eventually wears off and tears.

(4) If the pad is too wet for your comfort, covered with pitch or mud, impregated with poison ivy (happened to my wife) or covered with bear scat you can always slip it under the floor of your tent rather than bringing it inside with you.

Addison Page
(Nihilist_Voyager) - F

Locale: Down the Rabbit Hole!
Two Solutions, Minimal Weight Gain on 08/08/2012 13:03:58 MDT Print View

Small thin office sized garbage bag:
-Weight Penalty: ~0.5oz
-Keep it packed until it starts raining to prevent tears

Silicone Waterproofing Spray:
-Weight Penalty: A gram tops
-Fairly inexpensive, and waterproofing things around the house (sneakers, aprons, dogs, etc.) is hours of fun.
-Easy to maintain, if you're out say 150 to 200 days a year, you would probably have to touch this up every six months or so
-Only bad part is if you miss a spot, and it gets wet, you could be promoting mildew grow in the foam (think rain on cars' leather seats)

I bet latex paint would also work very well for this specific application at a fraction of the price of silicone spray (but I can't think of any other piece of gear I'd trust that with)

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Closed Cell Foam on 10/12/2012 19:43:51 MDT Print View

Sorry, I'm late on this. I missed it before.
Closed cell foam can absorb some water. Not a lot, but enough to make things damp if it can't be allowed to drain and air out before you lay your quilt/bag on it.

In 100% humidity conditions like you experienced, it probably wouldn't have dried out.

The texture of most closed cell pads is rough and the rough texture has more surface area to hold water. The slick surface of some pads help, but this goes away when they start getting rough spots from wear.

Rubbing it with a dry cloth would have helped a lot, but who has a dry cloth on such a trail:-(

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Closed Cell Foam on 10/12/2012 22:11:24 MDT Print View

If it is 100% humidity(raining), said CCF pad will have gained weight anyways on its surface. Same with your sleeping bag/clothes etc.

On a CCF pad, you gotta shake it out, likewise this is why I carry my CCF pad on the BOTTOM or TOP my pack, not generally strapped on the side. This guarantees I don't even have to shake it out as there is a guaranteed dry surface at all times. Note I do NOT carry those crappy CCF pads made by Thermarest with all of there moronic cups and ridges just waiting to open their arms and catch all available free water.

PS. In summer and no rain, I will take a half Z-rest as they make quick wonderful chairs, sunshades, cooking wind screens, but in rainy season or a long treck? NO!

If it is raining that hard, then you better have a rain cover/poncho to go over your pack. If you have one of those nice WP packs or just use a packliner like most folks do, then a single end cap bag that tucks under the strap holding your CCF pad rolled works as well. I will admit I did this way exactly once and decided to ditch the weight as a tightly rolled up CCF foam pad will maybe be wet on the outside 1-2 inches on the ends even in a downpour if carried under your pack or on top of your pack. Key, CCF pad MUST be TIGHTLY rolled. If you are trying to carry your CCF pad without a strap and just "get by" by using the straps on the bottom of your pack, you sir will be SOL generally.