Mar 11, 2013 at 10:46 am #1300325
My inflatable sleeping pad is finally starting to leak at a seam, so I'm debating about another one or to go with a non-inflatable. What are some ideas and recommendations?Mar 11, 2013 at 10:53 am #1964265
Going back to non-inflatable? Good luck!
What with aging and all — many of us start off with the oh-so-light blue foam — then "graduate" to self inflating — and finally to air pads. Unless it's a patch of soft sands — I can't even picture myself on a blue foam pad anymore. Sigh…
But maybe you are still young — in which case — go for it. A non-inflatable pad is that much simpler and more durable.Mar 11, 2013 at 10:59 am #1964270
W I S N E R !BPL Member
Don't get me wrong, I like sleeping on them, but I rarely carry inflatable pads on long trips; I don't trust them and don't like the feeling of having to baby them…and wouldn't want to be stuck for multiple nights without a pad if a fix doesn't work.
CC foam is just so easy, I like being able to throw down anywhere as well as sit on it for dinner. I sleep well enough on them as long as I make a depression for my hip. Also makes you have to be a bit smarter about site selection, which I enjoy.Mar 11, 2013 at 11:02 am #1964272
@davecLocale: The West Slope
The standard Ridgerest has yet to be improved upon in the world of foam pads. Get the thicker version and cut down to torso size.
For me inflatable pads are an occasional, necessary evil. When I know I'll be camping in designated sites in the nearby national park, with the consequent rock hard dirt, I bring the Prolite. When I'll be able to choose my campsite and thus pick a softer bed I bring the Ridgerest.Mar 11, 2013 at 11:05 am #1964274
Ben – Not so young any more. I'm hiking the JMT in July and I worry about the pad springing a leak. Don't want to get caught without a pad at all. But I love the cushion. Ugh. Decisions.Mar 11, 2013 at 11:08 am #1964276
Craig and David – I'm thinking this might be the better choice because of reliability and versatility while I'm on the JMT. But I hate to give up the cushion. So model suggestions? I'll check out the one you mentioned David, but any others to consider?Mar 11, 2013 at 11:09 am #1964278
You change comfort for the security that you'll wake up exactly as uncomfortable as you were when you went to sleep. I admit as a side sleeper I found those thin self inflating mattress thingies worse then a foam pad. Things like Synmats or NeoAirs are a different matter though. They do provide real lightweight comfort – until they break of course. Given the choice between one of them and a foam pad I'd be very reluctant to take the foam pad. I don't sleep really bad on the foam pads though and I also prefer hard beds.Mar 11, 2013 at 11:16 am #1964283
I started hiking in my 40's and used blue foam for the first few years. It was fine at first — then I started feeling aches and one arm or the other would go numb on me — disrupting my sleep time and time again. It finally occurred to me that I needed to go up a rung on the comfort (and weight) ladder — but the exchange of much more relaxed sleep was well worth it.
Go for the foam — if you can. But remember that your's is a long trip. If you won't truly feel comfortable, then IMO, it's much better sticking to a self-inflating or air pad — spending an extra minute on site inspection before plunking down, and simply stashing a repair kit — glue and adhesive patches.Mar 11, 2013 at 11:26 am #1964292
Thanks Ben. I am a side sleeper, so the inflatable has been good. The one I have now was inexpensive and I used it probably 50 nights before it started leaking – on a seam no less so I can't figure how to repair that. I can't even find the leak. I just woke up on the ground. The second night, I woke up and reinflated it during the wee hours and slept the rest of the night on it fine. Perhaps a better one would last longer?Mar 11, 2013 at 11:30 am #1964295
"Perhaps a better one would last longer?"
I believe so — else there would be a heck of a lot more bitching here about mishaps — but we don't really see that, right?
At the risk of stating the obvious — buy quality — then carefully inspect and test at home. Barring the odd lemon that even the best brands are susceptible to — a quality pad, properly cared for, should provide a few years of service.Mar 11, 2013 at 11:45 am #1964304
Greg FBPL Member
@gregfLocale: Canadian Rockies
One option would be to bring a 1/4 inch thinlight or sulak type pad for both protection and small insulation value if you do get a leak. I think the Sulak ones are waterproof so can also serve as your ground sheet.Mar 11, 2013 at 11:46 am #1964305
Herbert SitzBPL Member
@hesLocale: Pacific NW
Last year I used a Gossamer Gear Nightlite torso (foam pad) over one of their full length 3/16" rolls of foam. That worked okay. I think the pair weighed about 7 ounces.
This year I think I'm going to combine a Neoair small (47" long and 9 ounces) with the GG Nightlite (or maybe a cut-down Ridgerest or Zlite). The Neoair goes from my head down to lower thighs, the foam will be under my feet and calves. I like the idea of having foam that's big enough for my torso if the inflatable part fails, plus I like to have the foam anyway to use in my backpack's foam pocket to add structure. I think the Neoair/foam combo will weigh around 12 ounces.
The Neoair I got recently is old "rectangular" version that's an ounce heavier than newer version. Campmor still has some available at decent sale price of $80:
Neoair Small at Campmor for $80
Leslie said, "My inflatable sleeping pad is finally starting to leak at a seam, so I'm debating about another one or to go with a non-inflatable. "
Don't most inflatable pad manufacturers have lifetime warranty, so you can send back and have repaired if you can't fix a leak? Not ideal, maybe, but better than scrapping your current pad.
[EDIT: I just checked a couple manufacturers and they have "limited lifetime warranty". This would not cover fixing things like a leak from a puncture, but seems like it would cover repair of a leak from a failed seam.]Mar 11, 2013 at 11:58 am #1964313
Greg and Herbert – those seem like really good suggestions – combining the two. I'll also check into the warranty on my current one. Thanks so much for the ideas!Mar 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm #1964325
Anthony WestonBPL Member
@anthonywestonLocale: Southern CA
I have multiple fractures in my ribs and I'm a side sleeper.
I use a THERM-A-REST – RIDGEREST SOLAR, large (so my arms have pad under them)
that I cut short to save on weight, 3.5 R value so it's warm.
I also bought on sale a small xlite thermarest pad which I cut and sealed with my iron
just 25 inches by 20 inches, it weighs just 4 oz and I can inflate it to used under my shoulders.
So I get the best of both worlds, with the RIDGEREST SOLAR I don't have to worry about leaks and with the xlite I get some cushion for sleeping on my side.Mar 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm #1964330
Peter SustrBPL Member
I just ordered my first inflatable pad ever this morning. I've always slept on a 3/4 length CC foam pad which was the backing for my pack as well. I'm hiking the CDT this year and figured that for some many miles and how important a good nights sleep will be I needed to upgrade. Not happy about the weight penalty but, it will be my luxury item. I went with the Nemo Zor pad short. At only 10 oz it was the longest, thickest, and lightest inflatable pad I could find.Mar 11, 2013 at 1:45 pm #1964349
Mike MBPL Member
I don't see myself ever going back to a ccf pad, to augment r value w/ an inflatable-yes, to replace not likely
I do carry a couple gram repair kit in the unlikely event it were to go, but knock on wood three years going strong on my neoair w/ nary a leakMar 11, 2013 at 5:16 pm #1964439
John HarperBPL Member
@johnnyh88Locale: The SouthWest
I found the Ridgerest Solar to be more comfortable than the normal Ridgerest – it has more cushion in it. Neither is as comfortable, however, as my "self-inflating" pad, a Nemo Zor. I have never tried the Z-Lite CCF pad though.
If an inflatable pad gets a leak, how reasonable is it to count on repairing it in the field? It seems my chances of finding the leak and successfully patching it in the dark are pretty slim.Mar 11, 2013 at 5:29 pm #1964443
Mike MBPL Member
I haven't had to patch my neoair (knocking on wood :) if it's much of a leak, pouring water over an inflated pad should produce noticeable bubbles at the leak site
there are dozens and dozens (100's??) of inflatables that have lasted the entire length of the PCT, CDT and AT- if a person is overly worried about a leak then by all means sleep on a ccf, just don't poke me when I'm sleeping like a baby on my inflatableMar 11, 2013 at 5:37 pm #1964445
Jennifer MitolBPL Member
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
While I wish to have the skeleton of a 22 year old, alas I do not. There is absolutely no way no how I could ever sleep on the ground anymore without an inflatable.
As the previous posters mentioned…good luck with that!!
I'm taking my exped downmat UL7 with me on the jmt…and hopefully, one day, on the pct. Along with a patch kit.Mar 11, 2013 at 9:22 pm #1964557
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I love self-inflating pads and dislike Neo Air mattresses.
My current summer pad is a Prolite and it is warm to well below freezing.
I have a thin (3/16") closed cell foam pad cut from underlayment flooring foam I can put under my Prolite if I expect continual cold temps.
I REALLY want a self-inflating mattress made with Aero-Gel to go with my Unobtainuium hiking poles to complete my high tech gear.Mar 12, 2013 at 6:08 am #1964645
Alex HBPL Member
@abhittLocale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Ridgerest on the bottom for protection, insulation and non-puncturability and a prolite XS on top for my old side sleeing shoulders and hips. Discussion hereMar 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm #1964865
@barbaraLocale: So Cal
I'm a 63 year old side sleeper. I use a Prolite Women's which has a higher r-value than the regular Prolite, and is 5'6" long. I like being able to unroll it and let it self-inflate rather than me having to blow it up or pump it up. I like being able to sit or kneel on it without it bottoming out. I've used it along most of the JMT and I've been warm enough (20 degree FF egret women's sleeping bag). I've tried the original Neoair and the Xlite, and just wasn't comfy, and was cold on the Expend Syn 7, which was weird. Just wish it rolled up smaller for carrying. Oh well.Mar 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm #1964866
Stephen MBPL Member
@stephen-mLocale: Way up North
For 3 season I use a regular Exped Symat UL 7 and carry a half Ridgerst Solite (often use it as a frame sheet depending on which pack I use)
For winter use its a regular Dowmat UL 7 with a full Riderest Solite.Mar 13, 2013 at 9:12 am #1965056
Brian LindahlBPL Member
@lindahlbLocale: Colorado Rockies
Similar to Alex – except I use the Nemo Zor (9.1oz) rather than the Prolite XS (8oz). I'll pay the extra 1oz for more insulation (shoulders to knees), and use a thinner CCF pad – either a 1/8" or a 3/8" depending on temperature.Mar 13, 2013 at 9:29 am #1965062
Nico .BPL Member
@nickbLocale: Los Padres National Forest
I've taken to using an inflatable pad for a while now (at the moment I'm using the Synmat UL 7). I greatly appreciate the comfort of an inflatable pad and happily accept the weight penalty of it.
On longer hikes (in terms of days), or when temps will be colder, I bring a CCF pad to supplement the inflatable, either for back-up reasons, supplemental warmth or both. The CCF pad is usually either 1/8" or 1/4" depending upon the anticipated temps. On quick overnights in nicer weather, I accept the "risk" and go with just the inflatable.
I've only once had a total pad failure in the field; my dog punctured a prolite pad in several spots with his claws. It was easy enough to patch with a couple small swatches of silnylon and a mini tube of seam grip that was in our repair kit. I would think a blown seam would be a lot harder to adequately fix in the field.
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