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Favorite Sleeping Pads? (especially for short guys?)

Old 04-22-17, 03:57 PM
  #1  
BlarneyHammer
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Favorite Sleeping Pads? (especially for short guys?)

I've used a Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite, an accordion-style closed-foam pad (11 oz, after chopping off the extra length). Thinking of upgrading to a thin inflatable pad, largely to save space, would like to stay lightweight if possible. Strange that a pad mostly made out of air is still twice the weight of one made out of foam. Foam is light, I guess!

I've mostly researched Therm-a-Rest. For the most part, it looks like the best options are the Prolite Plus (22 oz) and the NeoAir XLite (12 oz). Both of them come in a women's version, which is six inches shorter, weighs exactly the same, costs the same, and provides more insulation. Since I'm 5'5", this is likely the best option.

I don't need the extra insulation, so a better option would be the normal one in a shorter length, and therefore lighter and packed smaller. Somehow a 6'0" unisex pad is "regular" even though the average man is 5'9", the average woman is 5'5". Even a 5'9" pad would be excessive since it's OK if your head hangs off the edge and onto whatever pillow you've fashioned (I've chopped my foam pad to about 5'2"). Therm-a-Rest makes most of their pads in a 6'6" version (for Shaq and who else?!?), but none for average people or anyone shorter, except the 4'0" one for Tyrion Lannister.

OK, rant over. Does another manufacturer make a good light pad for average-sized people? One that's between 5'0" and 5'6" long?

I've heard bad reports about how loud the NeoAir XLite is. I don't like anything noisy, but I'm a hard sleeper, so once I fall asleep, I probably won't wake myself up. Is it as bad as it's made out to be? If so, is there something similar that's not as noisy?

I'm also concerned about mold. Is there any good light inflatable pad that can be inflated with a frame pump (since I'll be carrying one anyway)? Or an adapter that can do this?

Last edited by BlarneyHammer; 04-22-17 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 04-22-17, 04:35 PM
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I'm into ultra-compact and use an original/early NeoAir 3/4 - I think it's 8 or 9oz and smaller than a 16oz beer can. I find it really comfy at 2.5" thick and R3, good to ~freezing (I use a quilt/wear long UW). I also have the the Kylmit Inertia Xlite and Xframe, which can get you down to soda can size, but didn't find it as comfortable or warm, and a valve popped off.

I'm 5'8" and prefer 3/4 lengths - I like using my pannier (or backpack) with spare clothes as the last 1/4 pad for my feet. They only need ground insulation and that frees up tent storage space for my bag/clothes.

My Neo is a bit crinkly, but it doesn't bother me at all. There are quite a few aftermarket pad pumps (I also have a down Exped that uses its stuff sack as a pump) but I'm not worried about breath moisture/mold if there's no fluffy insulation inside it.
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Old 04-22-17, 04:57 PM
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NeoAir XTherm always warm & comfy+++, 15 ounces. Packs small. Not noisy IMO. Very tough. Only down side is price.

Last edited by BigAura; 04-22-17 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 04-22-17, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
NeoAir XTherm always warm & comfy+++, 15 ounces. Packs small. Not noisy IMO. Very tough. Only down side is price.
I'm researching sleeping pads also...just looked at the NeoAir XTherm you recommended...they are very spendy but have great reviews.

Last edited by BicycleCrazy; 04-23-17 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 04-22-17, 05:17 PM
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Ive had a neo air for a bunch of years now and like that I can sleep on my side with it. I would say though that you really need to visit a REI or something that has lots of mats and take the time and actually lie down on all the various ones. In the REI equivelant here in canada, MEC, they tend to have open mats hanging beside each other so you can really see and feel, and lie down on, all kinds of diff mats.
I figure this is the most important thing to do, to experience them in person.

I also havent been bothered by the noise of the neoairs, although I am a bit hard of hearing in one ear, so that helps, and Ive found that the sleeping bag reduces the sound a lot (maybe take your bag with you to the store also)
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Old 04-22-17, 05:52 PM
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For inflatable pads, the type that have open cell foam in them so they auto inflate, I use the shorty pads. My feet and knees do not need that much padding. If I feel I need any more padding under my knees, a few articles of clothing under my sleeping bag works.

The pads that auto inflate do not have any problem with mold since they draw in atmospheric air. I usually blow in one more puff by mouth before I close the valve, but I have not had any problem with them.

I have been bringing an air mattress on cycle trips for the past three years instead of the auto inflate pads. The air mattress is thick enough you need full length, thus it is a bit heavier than the self inflating pads. But it packs down tiny so it is easy to get into my panniers. But, you have to inflate those, they are not auto-inflate. I prefer the REI Flash model air mattress, it has two large valves, an inflation and deflation valve. It is easy to get the air out to roll it up. Other pads that have a single small diameter valve are harder to pack up in the morning.

A friend of mine has a tiny little air pump for his Thermarest air mattress, I think it takes AAA batteries. That is one way to reduce moisture from getting into your air mattress. Thermarest made the pump.
https://www.backcountry.com/therm-a-...oair-mini-pump
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Old 04-22-17, 06:20 PM
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Any one of the Sea To Summit Pads are the best pads I have ever used or tried. For you I would go with the Ultralight or the ComfortLight in probably small or maybe extra small.

I love Therm-A-Rest and Big Agnes as brands, they make great products and have great customer service (as does StS) but for my comfort StS is the way to go plus they have some of the lightest pads I have seen and used.
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Old 04-22-17, 06:51 PM
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It seems that I have a different take then others do WRT sleeping pads. I like full length ones. Self inflating but with additional breaths of pressure. I long ago stopped worrying about gear weight and bulk and chose stuff that lets me have a peaceful experience. Andy.
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Old 04-22-17, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
It seems that I have a different take then others do WRT sleeping pads. I like full length ones. Self inflating but with additional breaths of pressure. I long ago stopped worrying about gear weight and bulk and chose stuff that lets me have a peaceful experience. Andy.
that was certainly why I suggested going to a store and actually lying down on stuff.

I certainly value a good nights sleep waaaay up there, and so far I am lucky in that the neo air gives me a good sleep and is fairly compact also.
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Old 04-22-17, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
It seems that I have a different take then others do WRT sleeping pads. I like full length ones. Self inflating but with additional breaths of pressure. I long ago stopped worrying about gear weight and bulk and chose stuff that lets me have a peaceful experience. Andy.
The NeoAir XTherm I mentioned in Post-3 is extremely comfortable, full length, and in fact better than any self-inflating I'd used previously. Comfort is top-top. The weight & compactness is a bonus!
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Old 04-22-17, 08:59 PM
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I'm very much interested in the answers to these questions (and was going to post a similar thread).

In my case, I am a side-sleeper. I am also interested in any pump adaptor that lets you pump up the pad with a bicycle pump.
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Old 04-22-17, 09:33 PM
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Featherlite Air Mat / ALPS Mountaineering
https://www.thermarest.com/catalog/p...v/category/13/
I like pads that have horizontal lines and not vertical like the BA brand. Vertical annoy me as a side sleeper and i feel like im on a pool floatie.

The 2 links above are my most used mats. I like em both a lot to the point of not caring which i use

I am tall and lile having a 24/25" wide mat. Neither, to me, is big when rolled up. They take up little room and the size or weight savings for a half size or whatever just wouldnt be worth it to me.

Anyways, i linked these 2 since they hadnt been discussed yet.
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Old 04-22-17, 10:05 PM
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I have both the NeoAir Trekker and the NeoAir Xlite, definitely my favorite design in sleeping pads to date. And btw, this 2 ounce pump is really the berries for these things

https://www.thermarest.com/mattresses/neoair-mini-pump
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Old 04-22-17, 10:21 PM
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I like the rei co op flash insulated pad a lot.
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Old 04-22-17, 10:32 PM
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Xtherm & Xlite are just about the best money can buy, unbeatable in weight and warmth. As another already suggested the new 2017 REI Co-Op Flash Insulated Pad is a great buy. Along the same lines is the Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Pad, this is my personal pad and I do prefer it to the Thermarest's because I feel the welding pattern reduces the unstable awkward feeling of air pads. I am a side sleeper and the Sea to Summit always provides me with a good nights rest.

(Obligatory Transparency: I am an REI employee)
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Old 04-23-17, 07:06 AM
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I'm a side sleeper, so the wider pad (25") was important to me. I've heard that some pads can be cut down and resealed with a clothes iron. I don't have the nerve to try it though.
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Old 04-23-17, 08:29 AM
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The NeoAir noise is like snoring. It bothers other people. I had my own door-less room at Xmas and my family made sleep on a different mattress after the first night because of the noise.
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Old 04-23-17, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Erick L View Post
The NeoAir noise is like snoring. It bothers other people. I had my own door-less room at Xmas and my family made sleep on a different mattress after the first night because of the noise.
chuckle. Good comment, although I suspect they are not as noisy as the first ones.
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Old 04-23-17, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
chuckle. Good comment, although I suspect they are not as noisy as the first ones.
True, the first Xlites were terribly noisy, the second version that I purchased is slightly less noisy and for me, more tolerable (still loud though). My Trekker that is 8 ounces heavier for the Large size is definitely more quiet and I like the material a little better as well.
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Old 04-23-17, 09:23 PM
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I suspect mine is an early one, but I can say that in the tent with my wife, she has specifically told me that for her it's not a disturbance problem for her.
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Old 04-24-17, 07:26 AM
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Exped Downmat UL7. Weighs about630 grams with the schnozzle (inflator). It is quiet to sleep on, has an R value of 5.9, has down in it for a warm layer between you and the ground, and when inflated is about 3" thick. Deflated, rolled up in its stuff sack about 4" x 10". Toured all across Canada and slept on it 72 nights, never waking up with an ache or pain in the morning. In fact, I sleep better on it than I sleep on my sleep number bed! At a significantly lesser cost too. But these are still expensive as far as sleeping pads go.
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Old 04-24-17, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I like pads that have horizontal lines and not vertical like the BA brand. Vertical annoy me as a side sleeper and i feel like im on a pool floatie.

+1. Never liked my BA Air Core for that reason, among others.


I also had a bad experience with the valve of my Nemo. It sticks something awful. Ended up with a small leak around where the valve attaches due to having to pull so hard to get the valve open. I though I had successfully patched it but it started leaking again during my Easter weekend trip. Good thing it only got into the low 40s the first night and was warmer the second night. I might have gotten hypothermia and died.
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Old 04-24-17, 09:36 AM
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I have one of the original style therm-a-rest pads that roll up and are self inflatable. This pad is ok but if you are wide in the shoulders its a tough lay.

I also now have a Nemo Cosmo 25L which is longer than I need it to be but I find I slouch on my pads and tend to lay not at the top very often. The pad is thick at 3.5in, weights 2.4lbs and has a foot pump built in. I am a hammock sleeper so it does not even need to be pumped all the way up and its very comfortable.
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