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Neoair and snow caving?
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Dustin Judd
(ddujnitsud) - F
Neoair and snow caving? on 01/30/2013 11:01:42 MST Print View

So I'm heading out with the scouts to join my son on his first snow cave experience. I am wondering if my standard Neoair will insulate enough with my 20 deg bag or will I be better of with a 1/2" ccf and reflectix combined?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Neoair and snow caving? on 01/30/2013 13:17:17 MST Print View

My rule of thumb for winter camping is that I need twice the sleeping pad that I would use in the summer.

So, take the Neoair plus the 1/2" CCF.


Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Neoair and snow caving? on 01/30/2013 13:22:46 MST Print View

I agree with Bob. You'll probably need more padding to insulate yourself from the ground than just the Neoair.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Neoair and snow caving? on 01/30/2013 13:24:18 MST Print View

If you're snow caving, the interior temperature of the cave should be at 32 degrees. I've taken a Neoair below that and felt comfortable. If you're concerned or need something which can take more abuse around boys, then take both.

Mitchell Rossman

Locale: Minneapolis-St. Paul
Re Neoair and snow caving on 01/30/2013 13:25:31 MST Print View

Although it is quite warm in a snow cave (about 32F), I always like two pads under my torso when sleeping on snow in both winter or summer.

CCF is great. However, to save a couple of ounces and some space, I used a second pad consisting of a torso length piece of aluminized bubble wrap under my main pad.

However, if you do take only one pad, double it up under your torso and use your backpack as your pad under your feet.

Brett Rasmussen
(ascientist) - MLife

Locale: Grants Pass, Oregon
Re: Neoair and snow caving? on 01/30/2013 13:39:31 MST Print View

I was just snow caving a week ago with my Neoair Xtherm (obviously was warm enough) which was amazingly slick on the snow. I normally don't have much trouble with a Neoair slipping even on silnylon as long as I find a fairly flat surface and set things up right, but on packed snow it was a whole different story. If you use the Neoair alone be sure to dig the bed a little lower where you want the pad to settle. I don't think you will have any trouble at all if you have a closed cell foam pad under it.
In terms of temperature I have slept on snow with the original Neoair several times and do notice the cold coming through, but consider it a comfort issue more than a real problem as long as my sleeping bag and other gear are not underrated.

Dustin Judd
(ddujnitsud) - F
Thanks for the help everyone. on 01/30/2013 13:42:11 MST Print View

Looks like I'm off to Walmart to pick up some CCF pads.


Mitchell Rossman

Locale: Minneapolis-St. Paul
Neoair on 01/30/2013 14:02:08 MST Print View

Always better to take a little extra weight and sleep warm, than to scrimp and be cold. Nothing worse than doing push-ups in your bag at 3 am.

Dan Lee
(scoutbuff) - MLife

Locale: Colorado
SNOW CAVING... on 02/01/2013 16:39:47 MST Print View

I just completed an OKPIK weekend (snow caving) with my scouts a couple of weeks ago. As a stage setter, daytime temp was 5F, dinner at -10F, and night temp dropped to -20F. Fortunately, no wind... (BTW, an Eagle Scout Paul Siple coined the phrase "wind chill" but I digress)

The technique is to put down a tarp/vapor barrier, your camp pads and then your bag. Lesson learned is that you need to be aware of what plastic is used for a vapor barrier. We had a few boys who used plastic drop cloths that simply broke apart because of the cold.

CCF is much better, albeit bulkier, than any inflatable in cold weather. I have a Big Agnes dual air core and always find it cold below 40F. If you need to use an inflatable, I would put that on the bottom of your camp pad "sandwich".

We had a few cold toes and fingers but as long as the boys followed instructions, this was really minor under very "varsity" conditions. Hope this helps!

Edited by scoutbuff on 02/01/2013 16:41:58 MST.

Nelson Sherry

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Re: Neoair and snow caving? on 02/02/2013 00:54:30 MST Print View

I find the neo air adequate except in all the little pressure points like my hips and shoulders when side sleeping, where it then gets very cold. I use my neo air on top of my z pad and do very well. Z pad alone would probably be adequate.

Dustin Judd
(ddujnitsud) - F
pad inside bag. on 02/02/2013 17:12:59 MST Print View

So after taking in some of your responses I headed to Walmart and picked up a CCF pad for my son and myself. I placed a tarp down, then the CCF and placed the Neo inside the bags and finally wrapped the excess tarp over the top like a taco. This worked very well with minimal extra layers of clothing. We both stayed very warm but comfort levels kinda sucked, we both hammock camp so laying on the ground isn't ever going to be as nice.

Thanks for all the input.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Neoair and snow caving on 02/09/2013 10:50:57 MST Print View

Dustin, I just switched from using a blue ccf pad to a ligher pad, the Gossamer Gear Nightlite torso pads, two are still short, but I can use my sit pad too, they are much lighter than my thick blue ccf pad AND the biggest improvement, they lay flat whereas my ccf pad curls up and is a pain to keep flat. I've also used a short, regular NeoAir on snow into the low 20's and on dry ground to the single digits F.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Neoair and snow caving on 02/09/2013 11:43:11 MST Print View

As a general rule, most air-filled mattresses do poorly when they are placed on snow. Convection in the air chambers works against you. If a mattress were solidly packed with down, that might work better. Traditional Thermarest open cell foam with an air cover will work OK, but if they leak, it is a problem. Most closed cell foams work much better in this application. If you want to go for a double thickness of something, then put the closed cell foam on the bottom next to the snow. Then put the air-filled mattress on top of that.

Personally, I just go with two layers of closed cell foam pad.