Touring - Sleeping pad recommendation
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03-22-07, 05:49 AM
I'm getting ready for my TX tour in a few weeks. I have a Kelty Crestone Tent and a small, lightweight sleeping bag already. Both are small and won't take up much space in my bag. However, I don't have a sleeping pad yet. The lightweight ones I'm finding are almost $100 and I hadn't budgeted that much for a sleeping pad. Any recommendations on something that is fairly small and light but won't break the bank? Or....do I just make the investment in a good night's sleep and bite the bullet on an expensive one? Recommendations?
I did some checking and found out that the old style closed cell foam (cheap blue foam) pads are lighter than the self inflating $100 pads, and my own experience is that they are perfectly comfortable to sleep on. These are still available at Wal-Mart for $5 or so. The problem with these pads is that they are bulky, which is why I went with a Therma-Rest ProLite3 for my trip to Italy last May.
If you want to get a little fancier, Cascade Designs (the ThermaRest people) makes a foam pad called the Z-Rest, which folds up accordion style and is corrugated to provide a little more cushion and insulation. The accordion fold makes it easier to pack than the ThermaRest or the old style blue foam pad, although it still takes up more space than a deflated ThermaRest.
Everyone has their own definition of what makes for a good night's rest. If you prefer a firmer bed to sleep on, the old style foam pads or a Z-Rest should be just fine. If you're the type of person who wants the softest mattress he/she can find, you'll probably need the extra weight and expense of a self-inflating pad.
03-22-07, 07:16 AM
Big Agnes Insulated Air Core (http://www.rei.com/online/store/ProductDisplay?storeId=8000&catalogId=40000008000&productId=47828402&parent_category_rn=40001452). $70 at REI. They are lighter, thicker and pack much smaller than any of the Thermorest pads. They pack down to about the size of a 1 L Nalgene bottle. Spend a little extra on your pad then the old closed cell foam pads 'cause you'll need your rest.
03-22-07, 07:30 AM
I also just purchased a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Mummy Pad. Weight and pack size convinced me. Now that I have it and have tried it here in the house, I do believe that I will be happy with it.
03-22-07, 11:36 AM
I also just bought a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core pad at REI for 54.95 and in a overnight trial on my floor it is more comfortable than the 1" thermarest I used to use. My thermarest folded in half and packed close to the size of the Big A but was just too thin. The extra time to blow it up should be worth it.
One note on the Big Agnes pad is that it is kind of slippery and you have 2.5 inches to drop if you slide off. I have a Sierra Design bag with straps underneath that hold the pad tight so I don't have a problem. I would suggest a similar set up or a Big Agnes bag with the pocket for the pad built in.
I weighed the insulated version against the standard one and found a number of complaints with leaks on the insulated ones because the material is thinner. I opted for the standard since I saw no such complaints.
I go to the local dollar store and buy those children's play squares, they are 12"x12" ensolite, and they interlock at the edges. You can buy just the squares you need and they pack flat in your paniers or on your rack.
03-22-07, 12:33 PM
Here's some different one's to consider.
You can get 40% off the MSRP by using the link.
The Big Agnes one looks really good too. I bought the Alp Mountaineering one, but it's not compact when rolled up. good deal for 25 bucks though, very comfortable too.
This one looks good too.
03-22-07, 03:50 PM
Don't forget the deeply discounted Insul-Mat Thermo Max from Sierra Trading post. Just $32! I posted a link a few weeks back.
03-22-07, 03:53 PM
Cool link Robert! Using your link, the Insul Mat I mentioned is only $22!
03-22-07, 04:57 PM
It would be 22 if it were the current item at www.steapandcheap.com (http://www.steapandcheap.com) Since it isn't. instead you get 40% off, which is like 34 bucks.
That site always has cool stuff. Here's a link that shows the amount of items left for the current item.
Right now it's a nice long sleeve jersey but once the amount runs out another item will be up. They ship quick too through UPS. Great site.
I have spent 30 days recently on a Thermarest Pro Four - awesome pad - awesome price to though. Headed out for a 70 day trip in 3 weeks but with this pad not sweating it only tempting me would be a Exped Pad from Outdoor Research. Heard good things out the Big Agnes as well though.
03-23-07, 12:11 AM
I agree about the Big Agnes. I do a lot of backpacking, and have never slept really well. I've tried 1" self-inflating pads, 1.5", 1" w/ closed cell foam below it... Big Agnes has by far been the best. I'm also kinda OCD about weight - my last trip my whole pack was ~16 pounds before food. After a ton of research and trying a bunch of different things, I stuck w/ the Big Agnes.
I'm also thrifty/a cheapskate, but a good pad and good sleep is worth it to me.
Someone mentioned it being slick, and you have 2" to fall off of, which are both things I have noticed, but I'd still recommend the pad.
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