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Torso only pads, Yay or Nay?
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Richard May

Locale: Swamplands.
under the right conditions on 09/03/2013 10:22:11 MDT Print View

With a full length pad you can dispense with a groundsheet and even the bivy. But that all depends on the conditions you expect.

I use a short Ridgerest myself. When visiting tropical coastal regions I use just the bivy and leave the sleeping bag at home.

Edited by richardmay on 09/03/2013 10:23:31 MDT.

Stephen Murphy
(sjtm) - F
Above 50 degrees on 09/03/2013 11:31:40 MDT Print View

I put together my semi ul kit for summer weekends. WM Megalite with Klymit X-lite ( this is the short version.) I can put the Klymit inside the bag ( which is cut large so ventilates better in summer) so it does not shift around. I am a side sleeper, yet, despite reports from others, this pad is quite comfortable for me. I do not count on it for insulation, just comfort. I found the Klymit on sale ($45 for the heavier denier version) and this has proven a good sub 2 lb summer sleep system.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
NAY on 09/03/2013 12:25:55 MDT Print View

Been there, done that and never liked it.

I now love my Thermarest regular ProLite.

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Yay on 09/03/2013 13:40:12 MDT Print View

Been doing it for 40 years. Now a 36" ridgerest under a 36" Thermarest Prolite, 14 oz. total. Pack under the legs. Way comfortable and no worries about a puncture leaving me on the cold hard ground. Full length ridgerest when temps get below 25 degrees or so or on snow.

Edited by abhitt on 09/03/2013 13:41:05 MDT.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Torso only pads, Yay or Nay? on 09/03/2013 13:46:02 MDT Print View

If I was in the desert or Sierra, I would probably give it a try. If I used a full tent, I would probably give it a try. Full size pads are a bit heavy.
But I primarily use a tarp in southern Appalachia. In my circumstances, a full length pad is nice to keep me off the wet ground. And we have wet ground a lot.
Int the end, my preference would depend on climate and the rest of my system. Then you have to make sure its comfortable for you.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: torso pads on 09/03/2013 15:00:44 MDT Print View

I use torso-length pads exclusively, both foam and inflatable. A 20" by 20" foam pad for the feet. In winter, add an additional full length pad (either foam or puffy, depending).

I do not own a groundsheet, and using the above, my pack and good site selection do not find wet ground to be an issue.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: xtherm on 09/03/2013 15:56:55 MDT Print View

"this is why although I'm continually tempted to shave the 8oz for an xlite torso, that I've stuck with the full lenth neo air xtherm as my all season pad. "

This is exactly where I came out as well. With the xlite I will use my shoes and often my food bags to level me feet, even raise them a bit higher than my pad. No way would I do this in the winter, full length is my answer.

Shawn Bearden
(ShawnB) - F - MLife

Locale: SE Idaho
Full length on 09/03/2013 16:53:32 MDT Print View

Full length Thermarest All Season. For me, the comfort difference is significant and the extra weight is well worth it.

mik matra
(mikmik) - M

Locale: Allways on the move
Re: Above 50 degrees on 09/04/2013 03:56:59 MDT Print View

"WM Megalite with Klymit X-lite ( this is the short version.) I can put the Klymit inside the bag"

Hmmmmm, wonder if I can put my Synmat Ul 7 Regular inside my Megalite.......

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Above 50 degrees on 09/04/2013 04:58:29 MDT Print View

I am not sure about the Megalite. You might find there is no room for your feet, unless the pad is seriously underinflated. The Klymit pads (even the full size ones) are designed (or happily coincidental) to be used like this. But, I don't use it anymore, because of the holes...I was constantly putting my foot or arm through one and getting all sorts of screwwed up.

I used to put the NeoAir inside of a MontBel SuperStretch (now days, it is the SuperSpiral) #0 long. It really cuts down on heat bleeding away from the pad keeping the pad (and you) much warmer. Klymit's "loft pockets" do a better job, but I toss and turn too much, I guess.

Terry G
(delvxe) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
2/3 length on 09/04/2013 15:50:03 MDT Print View

I have a bunch of pads including the torso length bpl pad, a 2/3 length POE pad and a full length neoair. I will always choose the POE over the others.

torso pads on 09/04/2013 17:48:58 MDT Print View

depends on how cold, and for how long

Usually I have some additional CCF with torso pads, at least a 1/8"x60". Sometimes a 3/4 ridgerest solite.

I will go out for 7 days with an xlite Small (7.53 oz) in a couple of weeks, not planning on taking anything else. Ill stuff dry (hopefully!) leaves in my pack for my legs, and I have a small foam pellet filled pillow that weighs 1.1oz for my head that is very warm. I can rest it on top of shoes. My body should be totally supported well.

Edited by livingontheroad on 09/04/2013 17:50:01 MDT.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Torso Pads on 09/04/2013 18:26:34 MDT Print View

Have always used the shorter pads, around 4 feet, to save weight.
Currently, the Nemo Zor because it is the lightest, is more comfy than the Thermarest, and got a good review from Roger for R value.

Can't sleep on air mattresses of any kind - they drive me nuts - like floating on a bubble. Good on those who can.

More useful than a pad to go under the feet are thinsulate surplus booties that keep the feet warm where there is no pad under them. They are especially helpful when my sox are damp, and get used at least half the time. Yes, in a pinch, the pack, rain jacket, or whatever can go under the feet.

The Zor cushions from my shoulders to just above the knees. Am a side to side sleeper.

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F

Locale: SoCAL
Torso pads with something extra on 09/04/2013 21:20:01 MDT Print View

I've been using the GG torso pad since 2008. I normally combine it with one of their 1/8" thinpads unless I'm camping in a hot humid environment (not often). I don't really like using my pack under my feet/legs since I'm a side sleeper as it always seemed to put my legs to high up rather then in line with my body and because I like to store my gear inside it since I'm normally cowboy camping (I push my luck often so it helps keep it dry as well as easy to find everything in the predawn light as I pack up).

So the thinpad gives me something to keep my legs warm when the temps are below the 60s. If it gets colder I fold the thinpad in half to double the thickness under my legs. If we are talking about freezing temps, then that is still a little cold. I can either add some of my clothing under my legs which does work (even in AT shelters in the fall where the cold wind blows up through the cracks to steal body heat more then the ground), but what I found that works better is to add a GG sit pad (or a section of an old torso pad which is the same thing) to the combo (basically adding a 4th section that can be moved to an optimum place). I turn the sit pad 90 degrees to the torso pad and place it several inches below the torso pad. As I sleep sideways, my knees make a V across the sit pad which keeps almost all of my leg off the ground. I've slept while it was snow hard on my tarp and never felt cold.

Everyone is different, but I find I get use to it after a nights sleep. As a tarp user, I don't sleep in heavily used spots where the ground has been compacted into concrete hardness since water will often pool there if it rains so you don't need as much padding in your pad on softer ground. Though I don't have any issues with the wooden floors of the AT shelters either except for those baseball bat floors in some of the ones in Maine (what are those Sadist thinking building a floor like that?).

I've slept on a torso pad the way I described above for 4.5 months straight on the PCT in 2009 (finished in 4 days of off and on snow in early October) and 2 months in 2012 for the northern AT in late summer/early fall. And plenty of short trips as well over the last few years. And yes, I do find it comfortable and warm enough or I'd have changed it by now.