Sep 1, 2014 at 10:08 am #1320495
So, I was curious, and didn't see this mentioned in earlier post. Can I use a regular sized blue cheap o ccf pad under a large neoair trekker for winter, or is it just too thin to make a difference as the sides of the inflatable would be exposed. I would hate to have to buy a large ccf, mostly because of the weight. But then again, it may be worth it. Any insight is appreciated. Thanks.Sep 1, 2014 at 6:51 pm #2132051Andy FSpectator
It looks like the Trekker has an R-value of 3.0. You'd want at least R 4, preferably R6. That value varies widely depending on the temperature and what you're sleeping on. You might need an even higher R-value than 6 to be comfortable. Snow insulates some, but cold, frozen ground is like sleeping on an ice cube.
I think putting the CCF on top of the inflatable would be warmer. I'd guess that combo would be around R 5.Sep 1, 2014 at 6:57 pm #2132052toddBPL Member
@funnymoLocale: SE USA
You can definitely place it on top of or beneath your Neo.
Which way is best has been debated on this site more than once, and I don't think it will make much difference in warmth.
However, comfort will be altered w/the CCF on top, so try it both ways and decide which you like best. Also, try it in the backyard on a cold night to see if it works to your liking so you don't get cold in the woods.Sep 1, 2014 at 8:08 pm #2132069USA Duane HallBPL Member
@hikerduaneLocale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Cascade Designs says to put the ccf on the bottom, which I've done for years, more comfortable too, at least for my tossing and turning old body. I use a really light Nightlite pad from Gossamer Gear, less bulky and lighter than my old blue pad, plus, if I buy two pads, one a torso length and a short sit pad for around the kitchen, I get double use. Big bonus, it does not stay curled like the blue ccf pad. This has even worked with the original, small NeoAir, although I don't recommend it. I now have the regular XTherm for snow camping to put on top of my GG pad.
DuaneSep 2, 2014 at 11:47 am #2132195Matt DirksenBPL Member
@namelesswayLocale: Mid Atlantic
I admit I could be wrong on this, but if I recall; for maximum heat resistance OVER TIME, the material with the highest "R value per Inch" should be on top. While at first glance the two different materials would add up to the same total R value, it's all a matter of how much more rapidly would one would want loose their body heat (since we don't "gain cold".) With a ccf pad on top, the heat exchange would initially start slower than with the air mattress on top. At some point, either approach should reach the same equilibrium at the same time, but less heat would initially be lost with a ccf pad on top.
While this tends to infer that most ccf pads "should" be over top of the air mattress (since they tend have a higher R value per inch), I wouldn't know how much of a difference it would ultimately make in a non laboratory environment.
Personally, I very much prefer the "firmness" of my 1/8" Insulite over top of my NeoAir. And since it has an R value of .75 (or R 6 per inch), I believe I "should" keep it on top for maximum benefit.
And I admit this may run contrary to what Cascade Designs recommends. It could be that the R value of their air mattresses drops the colder it gets (due to the impact that temperature will have on the pressure & condensation within the pad). Keeping the air mattress "warmer" might help it maintain more of an R value.
(and yes, R values of materials are NOT consistent over temperature.)
However, in cold weather camping, I never fully rely on my air mattress, no matter what.Sep 2, 2014 at 1:33 pm #2132215
Thanks for the info, people. I have read about the ccf on the top, but not sure if that would be comfy. I will definitely give both a try . And see what works best. The main concern I have, is placing a regular ccf, under a large inflatable pad. Will my edges collapse when I roll around, negating any heat gain, or is it better than nothing. I am definitely interested in the GG pads, as they seem pretty light and packable. I wish they made a 25 wide version of that pad, it would be perfect.
I would hate to have to carry the extra bulk and weight of a large sized full thickness ccf such as the ridgerest classic, but my options don't seem too great. I'm not sure the weight would be worth the r value, but Mayne a good, warm nights sleep would be worth it. I have contacted a few foam dealers, and they seem to recommend a neoprene ccf, at least 1/4 an inch, but think I could get by with a 1/8, but not sure it would provide any r value at all. HmmmmSep 2, 2014 at 2:07 pm #2132218Ross BleakneyBPL Member
Yeah, I think Matt is right. Basically, you have to ask yourself where the heat goes? Most of it goes through the pad, and into the ground. But some of it goes into the air via the sides (and uncovered parts of the mattress). Now consider two mattresses with exactly the same measured R value: A thick NeoAir, and a thin foam pad. The NeoAir will lose a bit more heat through the sides (even though both lose the same overall). Heat loss is also related to the difference in temperature. If the NeoAir is on top, then the difference between it and the outside temperature will be big, and thus it will lose a bit more out of the sides. By putting it on the bottom, you avoid this. Loss to the ground should remain the same (i. e. if you could insulate the sides of the two mattresses sufficiently, it wouldn't make any difference which one is on top).
But as Matt said, you also have to worry about the NeoAir being deflated, and how that will effect things.
Generally speaking, I wouldn't worry about it too much. You are likely to lose most of your heat through the ground. I think this is especially true in you are camping on snow or ice (someone correct me if I'm wrong) since you will likely melt a bit of it, and thus be transferring heat from the pad to water. This will transfer heat much faster than pad to air (or solid ground).Sep 2, 2014 at 2:08 pm #2132219Roger CaffinModerator
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Foam may be more comfy on top, but putting the foam underneath protects the air mat a lot more.
CheersSep 2, 2014 at 2:10 pm #2132220Ross LBPL Member
@rossLocale: Beautiful BC
My solution to frozen ground is to carry two 1/8 ccf's and sandwich my Xlite between the two. Seems to work.Sep 2, 2014 at 6:29 pm #2132294James holdenBPL Member
Mec blue foam pads have a R 1.4
Simply add that to the R of yr current pad
Over or under works … Foam under though protects the pad better
;)Sep 2, 2014 at 6:48 pm #2132299Chad “Stick” PoindexterBPL Member
@stickLocale: Southeast USA
IME, ccf on top for noticeable warmth bump, and under for extra protection… Of course being under, it will likely provide a little more warmth too, but I couldn't tell it until I moved the ccf pad to the top.
As you can see though, we all have different methods, so the best is to just find the one that works for you.Sep 2, 2014 at 7:55 pm #2132319Todd TBPL Member
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
Yes, R-values in series sum, so it matters not which is on top, at least not under ideal conditions.
The decision of which to put on top is a function of practical, not theoretical, considerations. Moving around can cause air to move in and out between the two pads, short circuiting the resistance to heat flow, so an active sleeper might prefer to put the higher-R pad on top. That way the short circuit is farther from your body. On the other hand, putting the foam on the bottom is safer from the standpoint of puncture protection. On another hand, one of the pads might have a tendency to "lift" on the edges when it's on top of the other, in which case it would do better on the bottom. On yet another hand, one of the pads might feel better against your body, so it should go on top. On still another hand, one of the pads might slide too much on the tent floor, so the other would do better on the bottom.
In other words, try it both ways and see which works best for you.Sep 2, 2014 at 9:29 pm #2132334Ozzy McKinneySpectator
what temps? In the PNW, 1/8 inch under an inflatable is more than enough, generally down to 5-10deg. Probably different elsewhere.Sep 3, 2014 at 7:14 pm #2132568John GBPL Member
@johng10Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
Is Very noticeably warmer feeling in the winter on cold ground. Not sure on snow because once I noticed this, I didn't try it the colder way when it snowed :)
To see for youself, just lay on the pad both ways – without being inside your sleeping bag. The difference will be quickly apparent.
Personally, I think an inflatable pad suffers from convection. Ie: your body is warming the air on top, but the air on the bottom is cold, so the air constantly rotates and the ground cools off any air your body heated up.
This sems to be the case for air pads with a thin layer of synthetic insulation inside. It doesn't seem to be the case for self inflating pads filled with foam. It probably isn't the case for a down filled pad, as long as there is enough down inside.
I put down the synthetic insulation air pad to provide comfort, and then put 1-2 CCF pads on top for insulation.
The synthetic insulation air pad works fine by itself when it's only cool weather.Dec 16, 2014 at 9:14 am #2157090
I have both a Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Sleeping Pad (R-value 2.6) and a self-inflating Therm-a-rest ProLite (R-value 2.2). I'm thinking that I should put the Z Lite (silver reflective side up) under the Prolite for the best combined insulation. The combined R-value of 4.8 should work pretty well down into the teens I would think?Dec 16, 2014 at 10:22 am #2157100Aubrey W. BogardBPL Member
Not all inflatable pads are the same. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir relies upon reflective internal surfaces, so it may depend upon what type of insulation (or lack of) the inflatable utilizes when we choose foam on top or bottom (or both).Dec 16, 2014 at 10:23 am #2157101Katherine .BPL Member
regarding the width of the CCF being narrower than the inflatable..
do you care/does it matter that the CCF pad be all in one piece?
wondering if you could cut 25" lengths of the blue foam and use as many needed to get the length you need. (Might also make it easier to pack, and give you some sit pad double use).Dec 16, 2014 at 4:18 pm #2157201
Thanks for the ideas everyone. I will have to try that katherine, that sounds luke a good option to me.I recently went on a trip in the twenties, and i put the blue ccf under my exped mw, and had no problems at all. I was actually pretty suprised i didn't roll off during the night, but i stayed in the center throughout the entire evening. I was pretty happy with it. But as with anything else, i will need to test it more. There was really only an inch or so hanging over the ccf on each side.Jan 14, 2015 at 10:08 am #2164537
Regarding my previous post above:
"I have both a Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Sleeping Pad (R-value 2.6) and a self-inflating Therm-a-rest ProLite (R-value 2.2). I'm thinking that I should put the Z Lite (silver reflective side up) under the Prolite for the best combined insulation. The combined R-value of 4.8 should work pretty well down into the teens I would think?"
This past weekend we took out Scout Troop backpacking for three days. The weather was nasty (32 degrees at night with a steady cold rain and about 36 degrees during the day with intermittent rain) so we got a good chance to try out some various sleeping pad arrangements.
I gave my son the Z-Lite Sol and the Prolite and he was fine with both. He had a 20 degree dri-down mummy and it kept him warm the first night. The second night the fly on their tent became loose during a heavy downpour and their tent got soaked on the inside. Needless to say, it made for a miserable night. However, the dri-down bag dryed out quickly so we learned that it works as described. Of course the key lesson that he took away from this campout is to not get your bag wet in the first place.
On a side note – the other Scout with him in the tent had a synthetic bag that also got wet. However, it did not dry out fully the next day. Everyone has always touted synthetic over down in case they get wet. I don't think that argument holds anymore with this new treated dri-down. Plus, no bag is good if it gets wet.
Next, I took a Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core Inflatable Sleeping Pad along with a blue CCF REI pad. The first night I wanted to see if the Q-Core alone would suffice – it didn't. After about two hours I could really feel the cold ground underneath. I got up and put the CCF pad underneath the Q-Core and the problem was solved. Stayed warm for the rest of that night and all of the next night too. The REI pad is about a 3/8 inch thick so it would be interesting to see if a thinner CCF pad would have sufficed. Any experience or comments regarding that would be appreciated.Jan 14, 2015 at 10:58 am #2164553Katherine .BPL Member
Sorry your son & friend had a miserable night.
But hey, is this the first in-the-field anecdote we've heard on how dri-down performs?
Glad to hear the treated down is meeting expectations. Interesting that it dried out more easily than the synthetic.
So thank your son for gathering that data point for us!Jan 14, 2015 at 3:44 pm #2164631Mark RiesBPL Member
Ah but did the down bag get as wet as the synthetic bag.Jan 14, 2015 at 6:33 pm #2164673
They are 13 years old so a miserable night for them is something soon forgotten. In fact the next morning all the boys were laughing about it, but they did agree it was a lesson learned (that's what Scouting is all about anyway) and that next time they would stake out their tent fly better. Regarding which got wetter, both bags were laying in the same amount of water as it had pooled in the bottom of their tent. when we saw it the next morning there was a good 1/2 inch of water in the tent. Me personally – I would not have stayed in the tent that night – not at those temps, but being boys they just toughed it out. Again, a good lesson learned by all that will hopefully one day prevent something even worse from happening.
Like I said though, I am impressed with how quick the dri-down bag dried out, and I guess it still provided adequate loft and warmth even though it was wet. We got him this bag based upon it being selected as a "Gear of the Year" award winner by Outside magazine. Here is the link to the bag he was using, a Kelty Ignite DriDown 20 – http://www.kelty.com/p-648-ignite-dridown-20-en-16.aspxJan 14, 2015 at 8:21 pm #2164700
I can appreciate this little bit of info. I have had a marmot helium eq, or whatever you call it for a few years now. They say it has a water resistant membrane, and or, barrier, but of course, I have not been brave enough to test this out yet. It is encouraging to hear this that the down dried out faster. Reason being, because if you are like me, all you have ever heard about synthetic bags are that the weight penalty is worth how fast it will dry out when wet. Of course, I am sure this result varies from bag to bag. I am sure there are not too many people willing to throw their down bags in the bath tub to see how fast it can dry the next day. lol
In regards to the ccf pad under my inflatable pad, I definitely prefer the ccf under my inflatable. For me, it is just more comfortable, and I did not experience that much difference in heat loss. OF course, my temps. were only down into the twenties, so I am eager to test it out in colder temperatures. I stayed toasty warm, and very comfortable. Also, the added benefit of knowing I was providing a protection layer to my inflatable made me a bit happier.I was sleeping under a tarp during one trial, and in a shelter in the other. The ground was definitely frozen, but I was not laying on snow. So, I would like to test that out as well. Like others have said, I really do think this is personal preference. At least, in my temperature range I have tested it in anyways. If I was to get cold in the night, I would definitely experiment with the ccf pad on top, just to see if it kept me warmer some how.
I appreciate the different opinions, and perspectives that have been supplied, one reason I love this site so much.Jan 14, 2015 at 8:35 pm #2164709jimmer ultralightSpectator
Thanks for the report!
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