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Primaloft-insulated sleeping pad

Old 12-10-06, 06:18 AM
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Primaloft-insulated sleeping pad

Anyone use one of these? I am thinking of getting one. Would welcome any experience with them. I am a huge fan of primaloft jackets, and sleeping bags, so the pad seems like a sensible idea.

Also, sleeping pad chair kits -- I have never used one but think it would be a welcome addition to my touring/camping kit. There aren't many picnic tables over here.
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Old 12-10-06, 08:12 AM
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What brand-model are you thinking about?
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Old 12-10-06, 09:24 AM
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I like my thermarest'r chair. Not very heavy, and you can even sit in your tent.
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Old 12-10-06, 11:58 AM
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What keeps the primaloft from compressing underneath your body to render it's insulation worthless?
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Old 12-10-06, 12:32 PM
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LP's probably talking about something like this.

Seems like a good idea to me. No downsides as far as I can tell, other than weight, potentially. The difference between the pad I linked to and a Foam Z-Rest (one of the lightest pads available) is only a few ounces, though, so I wouldn't sweat it. There are also down versions available, but they are $$!

Also, sleeping pad chair kits are the bomb. Not sure how compatible they are will the filled air matresses, though.
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Old 12-10-06, 01:08 PM
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Lolly, there's some bikepackable chairs that keep you up off the ground. The patent on the Slinglight chairs I told you about before must have expired, Crazy Creek is now making a 18 ounce EDIT: 23 ounces, not 18 sling chair available for 50 bucks USD. It's called the Crazy Creek Cradle Lounger.

I strapped one on my touring bike for a four day tour this October. Very very comfortable, almost comfortable enough to sleep in. The sleeping pad chairs are all very SQUEEZY around the middle after you sit in them for a while.

They are still a big bonus if you've got no place to sit, but the cradle lounger outs you a few inches off the ground in an amazingly comfortable lounging position.

I have no input on the primaloft pads but doubt they are as compressible as the lightest thermarests.

Last edited by Bekologist; 12-10-06 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 12-10-06, 02:37 PM
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these seem to work well

https://www.rei.com/product/47994878.htm

mine weighs 25 oz, not 21 as claimed. typical mfg exaggeration.

i have slept ~10 nights on it, but NOT in the cold. no leaks. cover material seems pretty tough.

compresses much smaller than any thermarest (i have several, even the teensiest one). stuff sack is ~5x8". takes some work to squeeze out the air to get it this small.

sleeps better than all my bacpackable thermarest pads because it has ~3" thickness to work with.

my favorite sleep pad is a one-off 30x80x3" pad made for an exhibition - for camping only, weighs 6 lbs.

i eventually will get the lightest thermarest chair (10oz i think) to use with the BA pad.
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Old 12-10-06, 03:04 PM
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Thanks for the feedback everyone.

Bek thanks for the name of that chair -- I see they are now widely available. I can't believe how light they are! Sounds perfect.

As for the sleeping pad, my main interest is comfort. And what keeps the primaloft from compressing, supcom, is that these pads generally inflate.

This is the one that caught my eye: Big Agnes Dual Core It's the rectangular version of yours, seeker. It weighs 680g, which is less than my current one, an Alpkit Airic (969g), which is quite good. Downside is that it is still quite big once rolled up. Also, I still feel the ground underneath. It's a bit like the Princess and the Pea. Made worse because I prefer to sleep on my side, so my hip bone and shoulder take the pressure.
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Old 12-10-06, 04:25 PM
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The BA you mentioned is my favorite, but I don't use it. Well, I used 3 of them and all 3 leaked after about the 3rd time out. It is by far the most comfortable, but it just won't stay inflated. I now use https://tinyurl.com/dt8rx long in the summer, and https://tinyurl.com/ym9knd in the winter. The BA would work year round if they could make it more dependable.
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Old 12-10-06, 05:13 PM
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Curious. Did you send them back to BA?
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Old 12-10-06, 05:42 PM
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Sorta. Back to REI. I did contact the factory and they acted like they were aware of the problem, so I thought the last one I got may have incorporated any upgrades. Same problem. Definetly the most comfortable. If you get one from REI and you have the same problem, take it back. Maybe you will get a good one. The other 2 brands have held up well.
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Old 12-10-06, 06:19 PM
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I have a Thermarest Ultralight (1") of older generation and the BA air core 72*20 is lighter, packs smaller and is a lot more comfortable. The newer Thermarest Pro-Lite 4 (1.5") weighs the same but packs a bit bigger.
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Old 12-10-06, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Lolly Pop
Anyone use one of these? I am thinking of getting one. Would welcome any experience with them. I am a huge fan of primaloft jackets, and sleeping bags, so the pad seems like a sensible idea.

Also, sleeping pad chair kits -- I have never used one but think it would be a welcome addition to my touring/camping kit. There aren't many picnic tables over here.
The sleeping pad sounds like a terrible idea. Synthetics don't deal well with extended compression, and as a sleeping mat is compressed as much as possible for extended peridods, the fill will die pretty quick. Down lasts much longer (at least 3-4 times) than synthetics. So if you want a filled mat, consider getting an air filled down mat instead.

Stephenson has been hand making down mats for decades and I think you can get them separate from their sleeping bags (don't open their site from work they are nudists), and Exped started making them several years ago.

I like the idea of chair kits. I've got one, and it works. I generally don't use it as much as I thought I would as I am just as happy to sit on a log or on the sleeping mat.
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Old 12-11-06, 12:48 AM
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It's no worse than synthetic filled sleeping bags, or foam in thermarest-type of pad. BA uses synthetics so you can inflate the pad with the lungs instead of the stuff sack like Exped does.
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Old 12-11-06, 08:40 AM
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Actually, it'd be worse than sleeping bags. A sleeping bag isn't all that heavily compressed for storage unless you use a compression stuff sack. A sleeping mat is typically rolled up as tightly as humanly possible, if their carry-sacks are anything to go by.

Looks like the Exped mats costs x2 what the primaloft mat costs, and should last pretty much indefinitely. A synth bag lasts okay for a couple of years of hard use, and by which time it has degraded noticably. So it's like the usual down vs synthetic question of what's more important- cheap upfront investment + short life, or expensive upfront investment + long life.

You're right on the foam mattresses- they do seem to last well over time. Mine's been going strong for the last 9 years.
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Old 12-11-06, 09:57 AM
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OUTDOOR 101: (I know many of us know this already but bear with me)

Primaloft (designed as a synthetic down)and down filled airmats won't have the same cushioning or support characteristics of foam filled mattresses. Primaloft is not a 'structural' material, it is insulative. Foam is insulative and can also be structural.

Sleeping bags, even arctic weight bags, have less insulation on the bottoms because the sleeper compresses the insulation beneath them. On a winter weight bag with 8 to 12 inches of loft, usually only 2 inches or so are used on the bottom.

Putting primaloft or down for insulative value in an air mattress is going to be counterproductive if it becomes compressed.
Add 50kg of person (Lolly) or more on top, and that persons' pressure points might compress the insulation beneath them more than a foam filled mattress.

Thermarests are designed with foam cutout to add structure to the mattress, a feature impossible with down or primaloft. all air mattresses still have more chances for failure or compromise than closed cell foam though. Too bad closed cell evazote or ethafoam is so bulky.

Putting sleeping bag insulation in a airmat sounds good in theory, but getting it thick enough to provide significant R-value is going to rely soley on the air pressure in the mat and all the compression issues/ air leakage/ valve failure/ slow leaks are still present.

In SERIOUSLY arctic conditions, the R-value of what you have underneath you becomes increasingly important. maybe a primaloft filled pad would be handy on a month long Alaska mountaineering trip or at a Himalyan base camp. And a thick one might be extremely plush and useful, but likely also heavy and bulky. (Primaloft isn't THAT compressible!)

Lolly, I would honestly compare it to a Thermarest guidelite (the ones with the sunrise gold color top) 3/4 or full length for packed size and overall performance. I honestly can't see how primaloft would roll up as light and compact. I seriously doubt it does, but haven't seen one in a shop. I might have to go spin by REI today and check them out for you.

Last edited by Bekologist; 12-11-06 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 12-11-06, 10:03 AM
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There's a lot less insulation in a pad than in a sleeping bag. I doubt the compression is much different. It doesn't matter that much anyway, the pad will just be a little colder, like synthetic bags. It's not like they desintegrate.

My comment on foam pads was regarding the foam in self-inflating pads (Thermarest). I was saying they don't last. Closed-cell foams are pretty much indestructible though.
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Old 12-11-06, 10:12 AM
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i honestly think a camper gets most of the R-value underneath them from their mat system, not their bag insulation. particularily in colder conditions.

hence the limitations using sleeping bag insulation in a mat system. it needs air pressure to maintain R-value.

Last edited by Bekologist; 12-11-06 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 12-11-06, 10:19 AM
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Thermarest used not to have foam cutout. They were all foam. That's how my Ultralight is made. They took foam out to make it lighter. They don't brag about that anymore because it also makes them colder.

I have both BA with primaloft and Thermarest and the BA packs quite a bit smaller. The newer Thermarests pack smaller but still the same or bigger than Primaloft pads. I've seen them in shops. Plus the Thermarest were rolled really tight in plastic while the BA were in their sack. Only the 3/4 Thermarests are actually smaller and lighter, and maybe the most recent 1" full length. One inch doesn't cut it for me. I'd rather use a closed-cell, which is lighter, warmer and worry-free. They're damn bulky though.

Try it. If it doesn't leak like mtbtn' experience, your life will change. Well, maybe not that much. lol I've always thought self-inflating pads were a gimmick but to be fair to Thermarest, I'll say their 1.5" Pro-Lite pads are interesting.
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Old 12-11-06, 10:23 AM
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Bek, you have to inflate the primaloft bags. That's their downside. It takes 1-2 minutes.
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Old 12-11-06, 10:25 AM
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Closed cell foam has been my fav for the last 25 years, I wish Evazote pads were widely available in the US.

The gold topped thermarest Guidelite 3/4 are very tiny and light though. My problem is I hate having to rely on air for good R-value beneath me. I want my systems to be BOMBER.
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Old 12-11-06, 10:38 AM
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I don't worry much about warmth for bike touring. I've tried the BA at freezing point and slept like a charm. In winter, I use a closed-cell. I'll try the BA this winter, with and without a closed-cell. I've tried just a Thermarest and it wasn't good. I had lent my closed-cell to my friend and he didn't take the bait when I proposed to change pads. It's more comfortable, I said That's why I don't like self-inflated pads much. Too cold, not comfortable enough, expensive, heavy, and until the Pro-lite 4, anything thicker than 1" was too bulky. At least the primaloft are comfortable. Maybe I'll change my mind if poke a hole but then a hole in a Thermarest would be just as bad.
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Old 12-11-06, 11:33 AM
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BTW, someone posted about a cheaper version of the Big Agnes pads a while back: here.
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Old 12-11-06, 05:43 PM
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I have seen some folks complain about their inflatable being cold. Upon closer inspection they had the regular air mattress, not the insulated model. Big difference. I use the insulated models year round in a hammock. Not quite as critical in a tent in the summer.
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Old 12-11-06, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
Closed cell foam has been my fav for the last 25 years, I wish Evazote pads were widely available in the US.
Gossamer Gear sells Evazote pads in various lengths widths and thicknesses.
https://www.gossamergear.com/cgi-bin/...ad_matrix.html


I liked the theory of the BA dual core pads with Primaloft but ended up returning two in early 2006 after they deflated in initial use. I have gone back to my Thermarests which have worked well for decades w/o <letting me down>.
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