Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Sleep Pad Recommendations

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Sleep Pad Recommendations

Old 05-22-22, 10:38 PM
  #1  
MAK
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Delaware
Posts: 1,653

Bikes: Yes, I have bikes.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 250 Post(s)
Liked 95 Times in 60 Posts
Sleep Pad Recommendations

I've done a BF search and found scant information specific to specific sleeping pads. I've used a blow up pad (Big Agnes) and a self inflating pad (Therm-a-Rest) and both have failed eventually. I do take care not to be abusive but never-the-less, the Big Agnes sprung a leak and the Therm-a-Rest delaminated and developed lumpy bubbles. They both honored their warranties but that didn't help the nights until the trip was over.

I'm considering trying a closed cell foam pad solo for warm/hot weather trips and the foam pad with a self inflating pad for cooler/cold weather trips. I know I'm giving up some comfort and they're bulky, but dependability and indestructability is important too. Does anyone use a closed cell foam pad that you're happy with? REI has their annual Anniversary Sale going on and they carry Therm-a-Rest, Nemo and Exped pads so I'll get there this week. A Google search showed a few brands I'm not familiar with, other than Ozark Trail, but they looked just like the Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite or they are roll-ups which I don't want. I'd rather spend a few bucks more to get quality.

I saw a post here on BF from 2021 where someone used two stacked Nemo Switchbacks, but no other real specific use comments or threads. I'd prefer a wide pad as I'm not the thinnest guy around (5' 11"/200 lbs.) and I'm a side sleeper. Exped makes the only one I've seen that goes to 25" wide.

Any constructive comments would be appreciated. Thank you.
MAK is offline  
Old 05-23-22, 04:32 AM
  #2  
robow
Senior Member
 
robow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,714
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 517 Post(s)
Liked 201 Times in 136 Posts
I value comfort 1st, packability 2nd, durability and weight 3rd. That being said, I have two Thermarest Neo Air mattresses in size Large that I have been very pleased with for many years now. Neither have required any repair or replacement but I always carry a patch kit just in case...... and now that I have stated this publicly, I'm sure to need it next time out.
robow is offline  
Likes For robow:
Old 05-23-22, 05:19 AM
  #3  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 9,625

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2806 Post(s)
Liked 956 Times in 777 Posts
Most of my self inflating pads and air mattresses were bought at REI scratch and dent sales with leaks. At home when I find the leak point, a tiny dab of Seam Grip works great. If it is a larger hole, I use the Seam Grip to glue on a small bit of nylon as a patch.

And if I get a leak on a trip, I discovered that self adhesive inner tube patches work great, photo of one of my air mattresses with the new patch. Later at home I peeled off the patch and used Seam Grip to do a proper repair. I now make sure I bring a few self adhesive patches on all my trips including backpacking, canoe, and kayak trips.




I made the mistake once of using something other than Seam Grip, the permanent patch became a temporary one on a trip.



So, when you take your self inflating pad on your colder trips, I suggest you have some patches along.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Likes For Tourist in MSN:
Old 05-23-22, 05:28 AM
  #4  
GhostRider62
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 2,843
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1670 Post(s)
Liked 1,382 Times in 875 Posts
I am a side sleeper and in the past used an old therma rest on top on half length closed cell pad and always inside a tent. I have hundreds of nights on that setup. Now, I use a Neo Air in large but only about 20 night on it, so, I cannot say if it is reliable although much more comfy than my older and heavier two pad deal. I carry Park stick on tube patches just in case but so far, not had to use them.
GhostRider62 is offline  
Old 05-23-22, 07:23 AM
  #5  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 12,422
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2432 Post(s)
Liked 734 Times in 615 Posts
mak, get thee to a nunnery, and then to a good outdoor store where you can actually open and lie down on closed cell mats.
this is the only way for you to get an idea of which one feels better for you, cuz this is all about what will work best for you.

from what you say, closed cell mats are really your only option as you don't have to be careful with them.
djb is offline  
Likes For djb:
Old 05-23-22, 07:33 AM
  #6  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 10,907
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 873 Post(s)
Liked 317 Times in 261 Posts
Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
I am a side sleeper and in the past used an old therma rest on top on half length closed cell pad and always inside a tent. I have hundreds of nights on that setup. Now, I use a Neo Air in large but only about 20 night on it, so, I cannot say if it is reliable although much more comfy than my older and heavier two pad deal. I carry Park stick on tube patches just in case but so far, not had to use them.
FWIW, by now I have many nights on both the older self inflating models and on the Neoair. Certainly plenty to make some conclusions about reliability. Any way. I have had better luck with the neoair in that regard. The few caveats are that I used the self inflating models in my younger years. I probably used the neoair more in the west and the self inflating more in the east. I don't think I have become more careful with my gear, in fact I have abandoned using ground sheets having used heavy duty ones in the old days.

All of the old self inflating ones of mine or family members seemed to have patches and some had holes at the seam where they were difficult or impossible to patch. I only recall ever patching a neoair once and my current one has no patches. I did have the problem where a big blister formed from sleeping on it with bare skin against it (body oils, sunscreen, DEET?). That one did have a single patch if memory serves. It was replaced under warranty for the blister (while still usable). I started sleeping with a tech tee on after that which also stopped the noisy sleeping according to tent mates.

I would have expected the opposite. The self inflating models seem heavier duty. Maybe I have just been really lucky with the neoair, but it has been an awful lot of use for luck to hold out.
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is offline  
Likes For staehpj1:
Old 05-23-22, 10:31 AM
  #7  
niknak
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Reno, NV
Posts: 812
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 105 Post(s)
Liked 31 Times in 26 Posts
I have holes in both my Thermarest Neo Air pads. It has been easy to find the holes and patch them. To me the comfort is worth it, just like I'd rather deal with the occasional tube/tubeless puncture than ride solid tires.

I tried one backpacking trip with a closed cell pad and vowed never again to make that mistake
niknak is offline  
Likes For niknak:
Old 05-23-22, 11:35 AM
  #8  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 35,135
Mentioned: 203 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16052 Post(s)
Liked 10,495 Times in 5,102 Posts
Originally Posted by niknak View Post
I have holes in both my Thermarest Neo Air pads. It has been easy to find the holes and patch them.
I recently got a leak in my Sea to Summit mattress, which I love. It's a very, very slow leak. A few days before before my tour this past weekend I put a good amount of water in my bathtub and tried to find it. Couldn't. Not one air bubble. I think it only loses air when subjected to the weight of my body. I had to put a few breaths in it one night this weekend after several hour of sleeping on it. REI is having another 20% off sale right now. I think I am just going to suck it up and buy a new one.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 05-23-22, 11:50 AM
  #9  
M Rose
Full Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: Northeastern Oregon
Posts: 260

Bikes: 2021 Trek Verve 2 Disk

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 123 Post(s)
Liked 103 Times in 70 Posts
I use a military issue Therm-a-Rest Self inflating pad as my base pad and a cheep Amazon blow up pad ontop of that. If both pads should fail, at least the Therm-a-Rest is foam so will offer both protection from the lumpy ground, and some insulation without having air.
M Rose is offline  
Old 05-23-22, 12:08 PM
  #10  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 9,625

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2806 Post(s)
Liked 956 Times in 777 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I recently got a leak in my Sea to Summit mattress, which I love. It's a very, very slow leak. A few days before before my tour this past weekend I put a good amount of water in my bathtub and tried to find it. Couldn't. Not one air bubble. I think it only loses air when subjected to the weight of my body. I had to put a few breaths in it one night this weekend after several hour of sleeping on it. REI is having another 20% off sale right now. I think I am just going to suck it up and buy a new one.
I had a very slow leak that was hard to find. The way I found it, I inflated the self inflating pad and sat on one end of it, that provided the weight for pressure. And used a sponge with soapy water to go over it to find the leak. The soap makes the bubbles easier to see. It was hard to see but did it slowly and found it.

I had a mindless tv show playing in the background that I was going to watch anyway, thus the time served two purposes.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 05-23-22, 01:44 PM
  #11  
LeeG
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 5,049
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 105 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 37 Times in 28 Posts
It’s been awhile since I camped/toured but every inflatable I’ve had eventually leaked so the combo that worked the best has been 3/4 length 1” inflatable on top of folding z rest camp pad. The inflatable only went on the camp pad and the camp pad was ready to toss down for any use.
LeeG is offline  
Old 05-23-22, 01:55 PM
  #12  
andrewclaus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO and Tucson, AZ
Posts: 2,555

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread, 1983 Trek 520

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 580 Post(s)
Liked 439 Times in 299 Posts
I've used Z-rest and Ridgerest pads for over 25 years, after my first inflatable failed on a long trip. Reliability, low cost, and low futz-factor are high on my criteria list. In winter I add a layer of Reflectix duct insulation.

On my first trips in the 70s, I'd never heard of a sleeping pad, so anything is a luxury compared to that. After a normal day of cycling or backpacking, I can sleep well on almost anything except concrete or stones.
andrewclaus is offline  
Old 05-23-22, 01:56 PM
  #13  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 35,135
Mentioned: 203 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16052 Post(s)
Liked 10,495 Times in 5,102 Posts
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I had a very slow leak that was hard to find. The way I found it, I inflated the self inflating pad and sat on one end of it, that provided the weight for pressure. And used a sponge with soapy water to go over it to find the leak. The soap makes the bubbles easier to see. It was hard to see but did it slowly and found it.
I was thinking of doing something like that. Maybe 15 years ago a tire place sprayed a tire of mine with soapy water trying to find the source of a flat. Turned out to be a problem with the valve stem. Thing is, I am hoping o go away in less than two weeks. Not sure I am going to find the time to go that route before I need to order a new one.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 05-23-22, 02:09 PM
  #14  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 9,625

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2806 Post(s)
Liked 956 Times in 777 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
... Not sure I am going to find the time to go that route before I need to order a new one.
REI Anniversary Sale on now.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 05-23-22, 02:39 PM
  #15  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 10,907
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 873 Post(s)
Liked 317 Times in 261 Posts
Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
In winter I add a layer of Reflectix duct insulation.
That sounds like a great way to add some extra warmth to a pad for cold weather. I think I recall that a piece to fit under my neoair (72x20) was about 8 ounces and obviously a 3/4 length piece would be less. It is pretty cheap compared to buying another pad in most cases.
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is offline  
Old 05-23-22, 02:44 PM
  #16  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 10,907
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 873 Post(s)
Liked 317 Times in 261 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I recently got a leak in my Sea to Summit mattress, which I love. It's a very, very slow leak. A few days before before my tour this past weekend I put a good amount of water in my bathtub and tried to find it. Couldn't. Not one air bubble. I think it only loses air when subjected to the weight of my body. I had to put a few breaths in it one night this weekend after several hour of sleeping on it. REI is having another 20% off sale right now. I think I am just going to suck it up and buy a new one.
Did you get in the tub and kneel on it? That ought to do the trick for most slow leaks..
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is offline  
Old 05-23-22, 03:39 PM
  #17  
cassel
Member
 
Join Date: May 2022
Location: Cincy
Posts: 29

Bikes: Opus Counterpoint(1986), Guerciotti Jet(1983), Bob Jackson(1972), Atala Pro(1973?)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 5 Posts
+1 on Thermarest Neo. Been using them for 25 years I think. Great comfort as both a side and back sleeper.

Last edited by cassel; 05-23-22 at 03:40 PM. Reason: Corrected for readability
cassel is offline  
Old 05-23-22, 04:31 PM
  #18  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 35,135
Mentioned: 203 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16052 Post(s)
Liked 10,495 Times in 5,102 Posts
Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Did you get in the tub and kneel on it? That ought to do the trick for most slow leaks..
Good idea. My tub in not full size, but maybe I値l try standing on it.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 05-23-22, 04:38 PM
  #19  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 10,907
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 873 Post(s)
Liked 317 Times in 261 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Good idea. My tub in not full size, but maybe I値l try standing on it.
Yeah, just be careful not to over do and pop it. I have had good luck kneeling on other inflatable stuff including self inflating pads in the tub to find slow leaks.
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is offline  
Old 05-23-22, 06:19 PM
  #20  
Pratt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 745
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 272 Post(s)
Liked 298 Times in 184 Posts
I have a Sea to Summit inflatable. It takes me about 7 full breaths to inflate. It packs up into its own stuff sack and is about as big as a 12 oz beer can. I have been happy with its performance.
Pratt is offline  
Likes For Pratt:
Old 05-23-22, 07:54 PM
  #21  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 35,135
Mentioned: 203 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16052 Post(s)
Liked 10,495 Times in 5,102 Posts
Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Yeah, just be careful not to over do and pop it. I have had good luck kneeling on other inflatable stuff including self inflating pads in the tub to find slow leaks.
Maybe I値l sit on the edge of the tub ledge and press down with my feet.to keep my full weight off of it. That could be a good middle ground.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 05-24-22, 07:16 AM
  #22  
Mrpotamus
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 14
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
As you can probably tell from many of the responses, the Therma Rest Neo Air is the way to go. After screwing around with other pads trying to save a buck, i bought the Neo Air I should have purchased the first time. I spent far more money in the process. Bring a patch kit and you will be fine. The closed cell pads are fine for adding insulation on cold trips, but they don't pack well on a bike. A lot of people strap them to the top of their rear rack between their paniers, but that is about the only place they fit. If you are using frame bags, forget about it.
Mrpotamus is offline  
Old 05-25-22, 01:30 PM
  #23  
rifraf
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Perth Australia
Posts: 1,006

Bikes: Surly Ogre, Extrawheel Trailer

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 122 Post(s)
Liked 33 Times in 29 Posts
Whilst I currently utilise a Sea To Summit Ultralight Insulated inflatable mat, and its super durable, I recently spent just over a year on one, residing in a campground in a Macpac Minaret tent, I can still remember the superior comfort offered up by my Exped Synmat 7
Exped seemed to go through some delamination issues some years back with multiple reports of mat failures, whilst people were on tour, in a local touring forum.
Having already utilised my Exped for a couple of extended tours, I was paranoid about the potential for catastrophic failure whilst out touring the back blocks of Western Australia.
I replaced it with the Sea2Summit mat whose durability is now for me unquestionable, but is no where, in my eyes, as comfort offering as my memory suggests the Synmat7 was.
Ive found myself too often awakened off the mat to be a true fan of my S2S mat, but after years of service, I sincerely appreciate it痴 longevity.
If it makes any difference, I知 a side sleeper.
I知 too old and soft now to consider a closed cell mat.
rifraf is offline  
Old 05-25-22, 01:43 PM
  #24  
zandoval 
Senior Member
 
zandoval's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bastrop Texas
Posts: 3,346

Bikes: Univega, Peu P6, Peu PR-10, Ted Williams, Peu UO-8, Peu UO-18 Mixte, Peu Dolomites

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 530 Post(s)
Liked 803 Times in 525 Posts
Back in the day all of my sleep pads eventually ended up being just for ground insulation. Closed foam being the best as it can also be a flotation device.

For sleeping comfort I think the hammock is best even though they can be difficult to set up.

I am one of those guys who stays up till he cant so I have always been able to sleep anywhere, lying down, sitting, or even standing. In the Field (before we called it Down Range) sleep was always a true luxury...

I would suggest getting a closed foam military sleeping pad (for insulation) and learn how to effectively use a camp hammock (not a small chore) for sleep...
__________________
No matter where your at... There you are... Δf:=f(1/2)-f(-1/2)
zandoval is offline  
Old 05-25-22, 05:40 PM
  #25  
rifraf
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Perth Australia
Posts: 1,006

Bikes: Surly Ogre, Extrawheel Trailer

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 122 Post(s)
Liked 33 Times in 29 Posts
More than a few people swear by looking for escaping air bubbles in warm water as opposed to cold .
Forum member Aushiker (Andrew) being one if memory serves.
Good luck
rifraf is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright ゥ 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.