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Old 07-08-11, 06:44 AM   #1
Smrachek
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sleeping pads

Next month I'm attempting my first tour, 12 days thru the Colorado Mts. I'm slowly getting prepared but just realized that the sleeping pad I already own is 29" x 78" and makes the bike look like an airplane when put behind the saddle. I would appreciate any advice and I think I will end up buying new one and just use old one on regular camping trips. Any advice on new ones would also be appreciated.
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Old 07-08-11, 07:17 AM   #2
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I like the thermarest Prolite series OK, but love my Thermarest NeoAir (size regular). It weighs 12 ounces, packs to the size of a water bottle and is extremely comfortable. It is one of my favorite pieces of gear. The only drawback I have found is that it is kind of pricey.
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Old 07-08-11, 08:24 AM   #3
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Thanks, Is yours the NeoAir "Trekker" and I'm 6'2" do you think regular size would be OK
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Old 07-08-11, 08:51 AM   #4
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No I don't have the trekker. They were not making that one when I bought mine. On the size... It depends on you. The regular measures 20X72. The large measures 25X77. Do you mind your feet hanging over the end? If not it saves some weight and is faster/easier to inflate.
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Old 07-08-11, 09:11 AM   #5
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I like the thermarest Prolite series OK, but love my Thermarest NeoAir (size regular). It weighs 12 ounces, packs to the size of a water bottle and is extremely comfortable. It is one of my favorite pieces of gear. The only drawback I have found is that it is kind of pricey.
I bought the Neoair sometime back largely based on your recommendation.
You were spot on. Love it.
One trick - If you forget a pillow, you can let a bit of air out, fold over one end, and sleep like a baby.
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Old 07-08-11, 09:21 AM   #6
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One trick - If you forget a pillow, you can let a bit of air out, fold over one end, and sleep like a baby.
I'll have to try that.
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Old 07-08-11, 09:44 AM   #7
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Thermarest's ridge rest is popular, it is made to fold up, /\/\/\/\/
smaller than rolling up, the equivalent closed cell foam pad.

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-08-11 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 07-08-11, 10:01 AM   #8
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I'm a big fan of the Big Agnes inflatable Air Core pads. At 2.5" thick, they are absolutely luxurious compared to a standard half-inch foam pad, and they pack smaller than a foam pad as well. I'm 6'3", and I use the 20" x 72" size (the missing few inches at my feet don't bother me, but they also make a 78" size if you want head-to-toe support). You do have to blow them up, but it only takes a few minutes, and then you're on your way to a good night's sleep. I have the insulated version, which is more comfortable if you're camping in colder weather.

EDIT: Inflation time for me is 5 minutes, tops. Time well spent for sleeping in comfort.

Last edited by AlanSmithee; 07-08-11 at 02:26 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 07-08-11, 10:10 AM   #9
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The wife and I REALLY tried to like the Thermarest type pads in our backpacking life. But, even on the best nights, it's only an inch or so of light foam and air. I'm 6'3" and come in at about 265--not much comfort/support. Plus, like the OP stated, it isn't exactly compact.
We finally declared the Thermarest a failed bit and decided to look elsewhere.
Our criteria was this:
1) Comfort
2) Weight
2a) Pack size
We settled on the Big Agnes Air Core. We went with the insulated model to help with cold seeping in from under us. (Since our bags are also Big Agnes and they have no insulation on the bottom.)
These pads are GREAT. The are MUCH more comfortable than the Thermarest, pack down into a stuff sack that is just slightly larger than a Nalgene bottle and are lighter than the Thermarest.
The only down side is you have to blow them up. I was a bit concerned about hot, moist breath blowing into a closed space--the possibility of mildew--so I went with the optional stuff sack/"pump" thingy. It is not the quickest option in the world--the Thermarest self-inflating types beat this one hands down in ease of setup. But, for us, the 10 minutes it takes for one of us to inflate these is well worth the added effort.

EDIT: Just saw that I am not the first to extol the greatness of the BA Air Core--I should have typed a bit quicker!
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Old 07-08-11, 11:06 AM   #10
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I've slept pretty well on a 25" Prolite for years. Based largely on the 5 star rating of tne Neoair, recently bit the bullet in hopes of sleeping 'really' well. Not field tested yet, but I do like the way you can adjust the inflation so that it's just right.

It pays to read these forums. I ordered the regular size from Amazon because they described the large as 20" wide, not 25". I wanted the 25 in width. Got on the phone with Amazon a few minutes ago. They are sending me the large overnight, no shipping charge. Width was my only issue with the regular Neoair.
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Old 07-08-11, 11:21 AM   #11
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Another BA Air Core user here. After 5 years mine started losing air slowly throughout the night.....just received a replacement (new) from BA free of charge, awesome customer service!
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Old 07-08-11, 11:22 AM   #12
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I use a Thermarest self inflating pad and find it very comfortable. You can get the low end "Trail-lite" version, or one of the more expensive models which are lighter and fold more compactly.
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Old 07-08-11, 11:27 AM   #13
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Both the Thermarest Neoairs and the Prolites are pretty darn tiny and light.

I got the torso length versions of both these pads, and like both of them a lot.

They have allowed me to really reduce the volume of the load I carry, to make camping gear fit in a saddlebag and handlebar pack. Everything except that second set of bluejeans strapped to the lid of my Carradice - just kidding!
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Old 07-08-11, 11:50 AM   #14
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Thanks for all the suggestions, I wasn't so concerned with length but didn't know whether I should go with the wider pad. Also in ref: to the BA, I saw that you mentioned 10 minutes to inflate it, I'm hoping that is just an exaggeration.
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Old 07-08-11, 11:52 AM   #15
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I've always liked my Therm-a-rest mattresses, but, if it's bumpy enough, the small ones don't quite cover the bumps. I recently got one of these:

http://www.rei.com/product/780365/ex...-pad-with-pump

It doesn't inflate by itself like a therm-a-rest, and takes a bit of effort to pump up. It's also bigger than the tiny therm-a-rests. The good part is that it's almost as good as sleeping on a real bed. If you've got the room to carry it, it's great.

Chris
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Old 07-08-11, 12:03 PM   #16
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Don't know about the BA. Do know a regular Neoair takes me 50 blows and 3 minutes to fully inflate it. But, a fellow with healthier lungs could probably do it with 30-35. In actuality, I only need about 35 to get it to sleeping tension.

My Prolite takes about 8 blows to fully tension after it has self inflated.
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Old 07-08-11, 12:04 PM   #17
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Thanks for all the suggestions, I wasn't so concerned with length but didn't know whether I should go with the wider pad. Also in ref: to the BA, I saw that you mentioned 10 minutes to inflate it, I'm hoping that is just an exaggeration.

For me it takes about 5 min....can take longer depending i guess.

Not really that big of a deal. We usually blow it up part way to use with our BA camp chairs, and then blow it up the rest of the way before sleeping.

Pad is so comfy it is worth it, for me at least. You have to decide what comfort level you want vs convenience.
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Old 07-08-11, 12:33 PM   #18
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Don't know about the BA. Do know a regular Neoair takes me 50 blows and 3 minutes to fully inflate it. But, a fellow with healthier lungs could probably do it with 30-35. In actuality, I only need about 35 to get it to sleeping tension.
I must be full of hot air! It takes me 16 deep breaths and about 35-45 seconds to inflate my size regular NeoAir to where I like it. Sometimes I inflate it 20 breaths (pretty full) and then let some air out until it feels right. It still takes less than a minute.

One thing is that I think some folks fight against the valve. There is kind of a trick to it. If I remember correctly, I think that you need to press the outer part of the valve in. I do remember that if you don't do it right there is a good bit of resistance. Also I maintain the seal with my mouth while I inhale through my nose.

The prolites have gotten better wrt self inflating. The one my daughter bought recently self inflates to a useable pressure or at least very close. While our older ones always needed several breaths.
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Old 07-08-11, 12:41 PM   #19
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FWIW, I am pretty wide and find the 20" pad fine. That said I am usually pretty still and don't move around all that much in my sleep. Personally I wouldn't even consider the large NeoAir myself. Everyone is different though.
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Old 07-08-11, 01:16 PM   #20
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Thanks for all the suggestions, I wasn't so concerned with length but didn't know whether I should go with the wider pad. Also in ref: to the BA, I saw that you mentioned 10 minutes to inflate it, I'm hoping that is just an exaggeration.
10 minutes to inflate a Big Agnes is way too long. If anything, the Big Anges regular width pad should take less time than a Thermorest because it's got less volume to fill.

The Big Anges has several things going for it that the Thermorest doesn't. It's longer by about 2" for the long pad. It's cheaper than the Thermorest by about $30. And it's a Colorado company. They make excellent gear from tents to sleeping bags to pillows to pads.
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Old 07-08-11, 02:02 PM   #21
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They make excellent gear from tents to sleeping bags to pillows to pads.
Yeah, I'll admit to being a total BA *****, got a tent, sleeping bag, pad, camp chair......love them all and their customer service, as stated in my above post, is outstanding. Go BA!
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Old 07-08-11, 02:42 PM   #22
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Exped is another insulation filled air mattress, Poly fill or Down ,
now with a built in air pump.

Packs in to a small stuff-sack. Outdoor Research is the US distributor so easy to find.

http://www.exped.com/exped/web/exped_homepage_na.nsf
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Old 07-08-11, 02:53 PM   #23
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Thanks for all the info, seeing as I will be solo, I need things to past the time by so why not blow up a sleeping pad, ordered the BA
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Old 07-08-11, 02:55 PM   #24
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Another BA Air Core user here. After 5 years mine started losing air slowly throughout the night.....just received a replacement (new) from BA free of charge, awesome customer service!
I had similar situation where I used one for 4 years pretty regularly and at the end of last year it developed a leak at the base of the valve where it interfaces with the material. So they sent me another one no problem. Six weekend backpacking trips this year and the same problem with the replacement. If you Google Big Agnes and leak, you can see that other people have had this problem too going back to 2005. Seems like a design flaw that they don't have under control. As someone else wrote when they work, the work really well but they don't always work. Because of this I just bought a Thermorest Prolite Plus.
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Old 07-08-11, 03:19 PM   #25
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Interesting. I did google it and it seems they have the issue under control with a new valve. I guess I will see soon enough.
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