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Sleeping on my side: What sleeping bag/mat?

Old 01-06-07, 09:03 AM
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Sleeping on my side: What sleeping bag/mat?

I'm a bit uncomfortable in my sleeping bag(mummy shape) and sleeping mat(Therma-rest Prolite 3 ).

The primary reason for being uncomfortable is that I'm a side sleeper, often in almost fetal position, and I also turn/twist a lot(like most fetus do ). Consequently, the most annoying aspects of my current setup are:

Mat is too narrow
Mat is too thin, causing excessive pressure on my shoulder.
(A bit obvious those two)
Not easy to turn from left to right side inside bag
Bag is too narrow in the middle

Are there any fellow side sleepers out there who sleeps comfortably?
Any gear suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 01-06-07, 09:09 AM
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My wife and I got Big Agnes bags and pads. The bags are way more roomy than a traditional bag. My wife hated the feeling of a traditional mummy so we looked at these and like them a lot so far. Their pads are air pads and are about 2.5" thick and very comfy. The bags are easy to turn in and the pads slide into the bag itself so you won't roll off the pad when rolling around.

Have a look here: www.bigagnes.com
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Old 01-06-07, 09:33 AM
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Im a side sleeper that recently found out how to sleep on my back. I found it curious that I could easily sleep on my back on a couch but not a bed. To immitate the support I got for a couch, I put a pillow under a shoulder and hip, I was able to sleep on my back.
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Old 01-06-07, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by tajsss
My wife and I got Big Agnes bags and pads. The bags are way more roomy than a traditional bag. My wife hated the feeling of a traditional mummy so we looked at these and like them a lot so far. Their pads are air pads and are about 2.5" thick and very comfy. The bags are easy to turn in and the pads slide into the bag itself so you won't roll off the pad when rolling around.

Have a look here: www.bigagnes.com
I'll second the Big Agnes pads. They are small enough and light enough to carry two if you want to live in pure decadence
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Old 01-06-07, 10:22 AM
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I have a Big Agnes pad too. It is incredibly comfortable and small. The only thing I didn't like about it is having to blow it up at the end of a long day, I just wanted to lay down already! It is still probably the most comfortable backpacking style sleeping mat out there.
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Old 01-06-07, 11:30 AM
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Thanks for the Big Agnes info.

Roominess and stability is just what I need, I reckon. And the decadence I could learn to endure i think, given some time.

At first glance I found that at least Amazon are shipping overseas, but there might be better options.
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Old 01-06-07, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by tajsss
My wife and I got Big Agnes bags and pads. The bags are way more roomy than a traditional bag. My wife hated the feeling of a traditional mummy so we looked at these and like them a lot so far. Their pads are air pads and are about 2.5" thick and very comfy. The bags are easy to turn in and the pads slide into the bag itself so you won't roll off the pad when rolling around.

Have a look here: www.bigagnes.com
+1 for agnes
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Old 01-06-07, 07:45 PM
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Try and Exped down matress and a Jacks 'r' Better quilt

www.exped.com
www.jacksrbetter.com
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Old 01-07-07, 12:09 PM
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I'm also a side sleeper and have always used a mummy bag and Thermarest. The mummy bag stays because I've never had a problem with it. Sure, it's a bit inconvenient to turn over and stay "right", but it can be done. I like the design. I think it's warmer and lighter than a similar rectangular bag. The Thermarest, however, always leaves me with a sore back in the morning. It goes away when I get up, but I hate it. I just bought a Big Agnes air mattress. I'm going to try it this year. It's a bit thicker than even my thickest Thermarest, it's as long as my full size Thermarest, and it's as light or lighter than my 3/4, thinner Thermarest. I agree that blowing it up will be a pain (I used conventional air mattresses throughout my childhood and early adulthood. I've blown them up hundreds of times and would be fine if I never had to blow another one up) but if it conquers my "camping back" it will be well worth it.

Incidently, another person posted on this same issue and suggested digging a "hip hole". I'm planning to try that also. Maybe that will be the miracle cure. It's a bit frustrating when your favorite activities involve sleeping outside for days on end, and every night you end up with a sore back.
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Old 01-07-07, 03:25 PM
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A mummy bag is like wearing pyjamas, one doen't insist they be loose enough to turn inside of. The bag turns with you. A Mummy bag, however, is designed for cold climates, when it's warm I uzip it to the knee and sleep under it like a duvet.

I sleep on the side but not curled up and can use pretty much anything. What would you do on el cap in a hammock? Or for that mater, at home when a couple of kids pile in and push you over so you are sleeping on the rail? If you are tired enough you will sleep. The thing that makes it easy on me is that my regular bed isn't luxurious, it's very hard and somewhat narrow, so when I hit the road I don't notice much difference.

When I am travelling with my wife we use a double bag, and I will admit that is solid comfort compared to either the home bed, or a mummy.
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Old 01-07-07, 07:32 PM
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I'm a side-sleeper & used similar equipment (Thermarest Prolite 3 & Mountain Equipment Firewalker U/L bag). I find it's the "pillow" that makes all the difference in reducing shoulder pressure (except when I found I'd got a puncture in the mat in the middle of one night ). Like most people, I use clothing to build up the height then top it with a fleece garment.

One idea I had, before my first (& only) tour last year, was to use one of my WXtex 25l bags and inflate it fully, wrap it in a fleece top then adjust the firmness/height by opening the valve (same type as Thermarest) to let some air out. Then you sleep very well

The bags make great compression bags which allow you to remove all the air out, thereby reducing pannier volume. And they're completely waterproof like an Ortlieb pannier. Well worth it.
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Old 01-07-07, 07:46 PM
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Thanks for the information. The Jacks 'r' Better quilts seem to be close to what I'm after. It would be interesting to try one of those or a Big Agnes bag in combination with the thickest or next to thickest Exped pad. Pillow information noted.

Originally Posted by Peterpan1
A mummy bag is like wearing pyjamas, one doen't insist they be loose enough to turn inside of. The bag turns with you.
I've never worn a pyjamas missing its arms and legs, with a big confining hood on and annoying zipper in the side, so I can't compare. Sorry, couldn't resist.
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Old 01-07-07, 11:34 PM
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From my impression, the Jacks r' Better quilts are made for hammocks, so they're pretty narrow and side sleepers usually don't quite get covered. If you're feeling spendy, the Nunatak quilts are all custom jobs and there are others out there that make quilts for sleeping on the ground that are wider. thruhiker.com sells quilt kits if you want to make your own, so you could make one as wide as you need.

Honestly, though, you side sleepers are the princess and the pea of the camping world.
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Old 01-08-07, 03:11 AM
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Old 01-08-07, 12:18 PM
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I have a Sierra Designs mummy bag with two pair of loops on both bottom sides of the bag. I ran straps between them so the pad slides between the straps and bag and you can't roll off of the pad. That works great and webbing loops could probably be added to most bags with out too much difficulty. I'm still looking for a good pad though. My 3/4 inch ultralight Thermarest doesn't cut it on the hips for side sleeping.
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Old 01-08-07, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by 8bit
From my impression, the Jacks r' Better quilts are made for hammocks, so they're pretty narrow and side sleepers usually don't quite get covered. If you're feeling spendy, the Nunatak quilts are all custom jobs and there are others out there that make quilts for sleeping on the ground that are wider. thruhiker.com sells quilt kits if you want to make your own, so you could make one as wide as you need.

Honestly, though, you side sleepers are the princess and the pea of the camping world.
Jacks 'r' Better have quilts for both hammocks and tents.
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Old 01-08-07, 12:47 PM
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Excellent thread. I have the same problem with sleeping on my side, freakin' kills my shoulder. Just ordered a Big Agnes Insulated Air Cor Pad. Can't wait to test it out.
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Old 01-08-07, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by 8bit
Honestly, though, you side sleepers are the princess and the pea of the camping world.
Peas? Hah. What about the unidentified rodent messing around under my pad all night, narrowly escaping my dozens of blunt object thrusts through the night? Sleeping pad is important. But when you mention it, peas certainly are terribly annoying under my Therma-rest Prolite 3.
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Old 01-08-07, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by eric von zipper
Just ordered a Big Agnes Insulated Air Cor Pad. Can't wait to test it out.
Will be interested to hear whether it solves the problem.

I wonder what Big Agnes or Exped pad thickness is the minimum for sleeping comfortably on the shoulder and hip and for those not being unpleasant pressure spots.
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Old 01-09-07, 05:01 AM
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I also sleep on my side on a thermarest 3R and find it a little on the thin side (but manageable, I like hard matresses).

One thing to be aware of with the Exped down matresses is that you can't blow them up (moisture would wreck the down, you use a bag that comes with the mat; not sure if you could use your bike pump, probably won't work with the valve) and they are *expensive*. Comfy, though; I'm ordering a Big Agnes on the basis of trying an Exped (how's that for marketing gone wrong?).

I agree with Peterpan about using the mummy bag unzipped, I always do this (although with a tapered rectangular) and you get heaps more room. Also, with the bag more-or-less upside down the hood covers your head without having to be cinched tight, this is also less claustrophobic for me. What bag are you using? Some mummy bags (eg. Mountain Hardware) are much wider than others (eg. Marmot or pretty much any Aussie or NZ bag I have tried).

Have you tried using clothing / bubble wrap / empty panniers / foam / whatever under your thermarest to increase the thickness a little?

Putting something under your knees makes sleeping on your back more comfortable and easier on your lower back.
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Old 01-09-07, 06:56 AM
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With the bag Zommaz, just remember that a sleeping bag itself doesn't generate heat (unless you set it on fire), so the warmth the bag provides, depends on how well it insulates you. Mummy Bags generally insulate better than Rectangular Bags because there's less area in them for you to be heating up, and because there is less material, they are smaller and lighter than a Rectangular Bag designed to provide the same warmth... so if you're considoring getting a different bag (I'm not sure that you are though) then remember to get the same warmth, you're looking at a slightly heavier, slightly less compact bag. Unless its a super light Mummy Bag for fairly warm temperatures, I've got one say for 7 - 11 degrees, in which case, if its that warm, you could pretty easily just unzip it (though if it is a really light weight one the zip may well only go down a little way)... Sorry I went on a bit there... I guess I was just trying to say that if you are moving away from a Mummy Bag, remember a rectangular one will be bulkier and weigh more...

Also, I don't know where you live? But if you're in Australia, keep in mind that there is no standard for prescribing how warm a bag is, its up to the manufacturers, and they can basicaly say whatever they want...
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Old 01-09-07, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Zommaz
Will be interested to hear whether it solves the problem.

I wonder what Big Agnes or Exped pad thickness is the minimum for sleeping comfortably on the shoulder and hip and for those not being unpleasant pressure spots.
I'm not betting that it will completely cure the problem, but it's a good excuse for a new sleep pad. The one that I have now is a 7 years old therma-rest.
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Old 01-09-07, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Cave
What bag are you using?
Originally Posted by Flic
Unless its a super light Mummy Bag for fairly warm temperatures,
Mainly McKinley mummy, has a comfort limit of +15 degrees celsius.

Originally Posted by Flic
Also, I don't know where you live? But if you're in Australia, keep in mind that there is no standard for prescribing how warm a bag is, its up to the manufacturers, and they can basicaly say whatever they want...
The european EN13537 standard is widely used in Norway. I don't know if I sleep hot or cold relative to the test person or dummy or whatever.
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Old 01-09-07, 11:31 AM
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I've just bought a Exped matt to replace my Thermorest as it's thicker (9cm) and warmer as it has Goosedown inside as well as the air. Great price too at £60 with free p&p as they are usually £100.

www.climbers-shop.com
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Old 01-11-07, 03:48 PM
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Looks like they've run out. :/
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