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The search for a perfect 1+ season air sleeping pad continues...
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Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
The search for a perfect 1+ season air sleeping pad continues... on 12/08/2013 13:38:21 MST Print View

I posted about this not too long ago and got crickets, but have yet to be entirely satisfied with the choices that I have been able to evaluate, so let's try again.

Problem: I bushwhack fairly often and am sick of buying new CCF sleep pads about once a year due to wear and tear. It's not just bushwhacking either, when you have something strapped on your pack it will get dinged up eventually--on the trail or even in the city (I often take public transportation to trailheads, for example). Also, let's face it, bulk sucks.

In the spring and fall months I take my regular sized Neoair Xlite, and I am very happy with it. In the summer I will use it if temps are lower (I live in Sweden after all) but usually go for foam. The foam pads I take are around 150-200g (5-7oz) and are between .5 and 1 R value. I'd like to get an air pad to come close to or match both that kind of weight and R value. I use a frameless pack in the summer, and have a small torso foam pad in my pack that acts as the back support, sit/kneel pad, and to supplement my sleep system. So I am fine with uninsulated or low R value pads, because I will have a bit of foam with me anyhow to put under it for added comfort/warmth. I am 6 foot tall so I need a pad that is more than 45 inches or so.

After doing a lot of searching, this is all I have come up with that comes close to what I am looking for:

Original Neoair Small - 9oz, R 2.5, 47 inches, 80 bucks new. This is the front runner still, but is kind pricy and I'd be buying an older piece of technology.

Exped Basic UL Small - 11.3oz, R .7, 64 inches, 50 bucks new.

TAR Prolite Small - 11oz, R 2.2, 47 inches, 50 bucks new.

GG Airbeam Medium - 9oz, R ? (I'd guess around .5?), 48 inches, 90 bucks new.

Multimat Superlite Air - 10.6oz, R .9, 70 inches, 100 bucks new.

I'm not interested in any of the Kylimt pads (holes in my pad, no thanks), or a small Xlite (expensive, already have a reg size one!). Are there any other pads out there to suit my needs that I may have missed?

Maybe this will help those of you that are also looking to buy a 1+ season air pad. I've been doing a lot of Googleing and searching and seem to have exhausted my options. It looks like currently the market does not have what I think is a realistic yet ideal product, which would be a 7oz, R 2, 21in x 50in air pad. If you are reading this Cascade Designs, get on this ASAP!

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: The search for a perfect 1+ season air sleeping pad continues... on 12/08/2013 14:33:47 MST Print View

Not an answer to your question, but I slip my z-lite foam pack into my pad and use it as more cushioning so it doesn't get torn up on branches.

Edited by justin_baker on 12/08/2013 14:34:25 MST.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Re: Re: The search for a perfect 1+ season air sleeping pad continues... on 12/08/2013 15:02:36 MST Print View

Yeah, I know. I've done trips where I have just slept on my small torso foam pad that doubles as my pack back frame. But my go-to pack for 1+season is 33 liters, so not much room to put a longer foam pad in--and yes, I've tried. I made my own triple folded foam pad with a cut up, three panel foam pad and duct tape. It was too bulky.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
The search for a perfect 1+ season air sleeping pad continues... on 12/08/2013 18:12:59 MST Print View

Do a little more research on the Klymet pads. They make several styles.

I know I tried one of the pads with holes in it in the store and found it quite comfortable.

The concept is good for sleeping bags, because it incorporates the insulation of the bag. Less effective with quilts, but you can combine it with a thin foam pad for colder weather.

I personally like to combine a blowup pad with a thin CCF pad and pack both inside my pack. So no damage from bushwacking.

I use a CCF pad that is slightly larger than my blow up pad and put it on the bottom to help protect the blow-up from punctures.

I usually put both pads inside my UL bivy to hold everything in place, but there are other ways to hold them together.

I'd guess you've probably used a similar setups, but it does work, right?

Oh also, the new Gossamer Gear pads have potential.

Kevin Schneringer
(Slammer) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
"The search for a perfect 1+ season air sleeping pad continues..." on 12/08/2013 19:21:16 MST Print View

I have the Exped Basic air mat and it is a decent piece of equipment.
In reality it is an 1" narrower than advertised but it sure beats a CCF pad to me.
I use mine in the summer on a tyvek sheet and haven't had any failures.

On a scale of 1-5 stars........ It's a four

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: The search for a perfect 1+ season air sleeping pad continues... on 12/08/2013 20:14:52 MST Print View

Prolite seems the closer to what you are looking for.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
re on 12/09/2013 03:50:14 MST Print View

I have tried quite a few pads. For comfort the exped ul7.

For ease of use, price, and durability, the ridgerest solite.

Weight and comfort, the xlite, still only 2.5 ounces lighter than the ul7.
All in all ice sold my air pads, I use the Ridgerest now. I like not blowing it up, I like not worrying about punctures. I like the low profile and no drop off when sleeping, it feels wider then everything besides the ul7.

Edited by M.L on 12/09/2013 03:50:46 MST.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Re: all the feedback on 12/10/2013 12:46:23 MST Print View

Thanks everyone for your feedback. I am still surprised that there are no pads that meet what I think are doable specifications and still be durable and reasonably priced. I wish that the Mulitmat Superlite Air came in a size medium/small (i.e. around 50 inches long), as it would be pretty much exactly what I am looking for. The math is easy too because it's 300g, so 100g per third, so a 2/3rds size is about 47 inches for a cool 200g/7oz.

Does anyone have any news or heard any rumors of any new pads coming onto the market anytime soon? You would think this would be the place that would know, if any. I read good reviews of Kooka Bay pads, a shame they are no more.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: The search for a perfect 1+ season air sleeping pad continues... on 12/10/2013 21:15:34 MST Print View

+1 on the Prolite size small. This pad has been a nice for me by being lightweight, comfortable, and durable. I used a TAR self inflating pad in the infantry where it was beat to $%!+. It'd spring the occasional leak but at worst, I might have to add a couple breaths of air in the middle of the night and then repair it in garrison.

There's always going to be a compromise imo.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Finally made up my mind on 06/18/2014 13:39:08 MDT Print View

Last week I got my new 1+ season pad in the mail. Got a Nemo Zor short, a pad I didn't include in my list of choices because I didn't find much info on it. But after reading a few reviews and comparing the specs with the other pads it won me over.

It came with a stuff sack, repair kit, and a velcro strap. The stuff sack I won't be using with the pad, the repair kit is 10g and I added it to my diddy bag, and the pad and velcro strap on my scale is 272g or about 9.6oz--pretty good weight when stacked up next to other pads of it's size and type. It does not list its R value on the official Nemo site--instead it notes that its mimimum temp is 15 to 25F / -9 to -3C--but Outdoor Gear Labs lists the older model (2013?) at 2.3. I have the newer model, but it seems very similar to the older one, so I'd be willing to guess it has the same R value. Since I don't plan on using this pad beyond freezing, it should be more than enough for my needs.

I slept on it in my backyard one night and it was quite comfortable. Much more comfortable than my generic foam pad, but of course not quite as comfy as my Neoair Xlite. I like the feel of the top fabric, and on the bottom are several lines of silicone to prevent it from sliding around, which I thought was a nice touch.

I really like its inflation tube. Very easy to use, and the pad itself is easy to inflate--which is actual a plus when compared to my other go-to air pad, the Xlite. You twist it a bit and pull it out to let air in, and you can blow it up and like 10 seconds. Rolls up to about the same size (maybe slightly smaller) as my size reg Xlite, but then again, it's a self-inflating pad, so no surprise there.

I have a section hike planned for next week and will bring it along. I'm very satisfied to have finally sovled this tricky gear puzzle. I doubt I will never use a foam pad again, but I think I may have found a go-to pad for warmer months (May-September), and don't have to worry as much while bushwhacking/off-trail hiking. Yeah foam pads are cheap, and yeah you can fix em up pretty well with duct tape (mine have several patches), but the time and energy it takes for all this is annoying.

I'm surprised I haven't seen more UL peeps using/discussing this pad--and no, I'm still not sponsored by anyone. Very positive first impressions.