Aug 7, 2020 at 6:40 pm #3669809
I’m a back sleeper, but I will sleep on my side if my back is hurting. I have noticed when I use the flagship Thermarest product I inevitably turn over to my side at night or pull my legs into a seated position to prevent the pad from ballooning up into my spine. Adjusting pressure is not sufficient because I will bottom out before it is comfortable.
I searched through the forum and found favorable reviews of the Klymit V-shaped pads or air pads with tubes running lengthwise. Anyone else have recommendations for pads that don’t balloon so easily?Aug 7, 2020 at 8:16 pm #3669816DanBPL Member
You may need to put a pillow under your knees (when on your back) or between your thighs (when on your side). I bring one of the 1 oz inflatable hospital pillows for this purpose, because I also have serious back pain.Aug 7, 2020 at 8:44 pm #3669822
As an early adopter of the Neoair, I had similar issues. It appears that my back doesn’t play well with baffles that run across the pad. Any of the other configurations work well for me. I can sleep well on lengthwise baffles, the Static V type or the Sea to Summit/REI Flash type, my favorite being the latter. You may need to experiment a bit to find out which works best for your back.Aug 7, 2020 at 11:01 pm #3669835
Thanks for the tip. By “hospital pillow” do you mean the triangular ones they use to prop people up in bed?
How high do you elevate your legs? Sometimes I feel like I need to lift my my legs enough to curl my pelvis and lower back to feel comfortable.Aug 7, 2020 at 11:08 pm #3669837
I prefer firm mattresses. I assume those egg-crate-looking pads by Sea to summit and REI don’t deform too much?
I already have a Klymit on the way I found on sale. I think I’m gonna do some sleep tests.Aug 8, 2020 at 6:31 am #3669855DanBPL Member
By “hospital pillow” I just meant the inflatable pillows that they use in hospitals. The most common brand is Graham Medical. You inflate/deflate them with a straw. I think they are a pretty common thing to use among backpackers because they are very light and I have re-used the same one dozens of times, although in hospitals they are treated as disposable. I bought a pack of 50 at one point, so I’d be happy to send you one to try if you want. But the main thing is just to put something under/between your legs. My wife uses a foam pillow, which is obviously fine, but heavier. At home, I use a normal pillow, and it raises my knees enough to take the stress off of my back.Aug 8, 2020 at 7:50 am #3669865Geoff CaplanBPL Member
@geoffcaplanLocale: Lake District, Cumbria
You might want to try the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated range a try. the manager and half the staff at my local outlet have bought them with their own £££, which says something…
Best baffle system I’ve ever used, and by some distance. Noticeably more stable than the other brands I’ve tried, and the edges don’t collapse. Also has a good method for attaching their pillow, which is another game changer. I’ve never slept so well in the 60 years I’ve been wild camping.
Shaping up to be the most reliable pad on the market too – they use a more upmarket welding system than other brands and last time I was in touch they were claiming zero blown baffles in use. Plus the all elements of the well designed valve are user-serviceable in the field.
But nothing comes for free – it’s not the lightest pad on the market and warmth-for-weight doesn’t match the Xtherm. For me, a good night’s sleep is priceless so I’m happy with the tradeoff.Aug 8, 2020 at 8:57 am #3669873
Yeah, Mateo, that’s exactly what I like about them. Blown up all the way, the egg crate cells provide firm support to all parts of your body. But I think you’ll like the Static V too. The V-shaped baffles provide good support and the edges keep you centered on the pad, making it less likely you’ll roll off in the night.Aug 8, 2020 at 8:31 pm #3670050Christian KBPL Member
I have a theory… sleeping on your back while camping is going to be more uncomfortable for people with more pronounced backsides.
Similarly, it might be why no-butt-Nick (random name, not a BPL member lol) is plenty comfortable sleeping on a foam pad or GG 1/8” thinlight. I remember the days when I could do that… before I… you know… gained a few (dozen) pounds.Aug 9, 2020 at 10:34 am #3670091
Hey, Christian. Hope those few dozen pounds didn’t all go to your butt. But, then again, there are those who like big butts.Aug 9, 2020 at 11:08 am #3670098
Using a disposable pillow is a neat trick! I use a pillow sleeve stuffed with a down jacket for my head. I also do moderate travel so maybe I should look into an inflatable pillow to complete the Layover Look when I have to sleep on the floor of an airplane terminal.Aug 9, 2020 at 11:13 am #3670100
I will look into that product.
I too splurge on the sleeping tools, so I think if I move to a lower r-value pad I’ll add a foam pad or reflective sheet to the winter kit.Aug 9, 2020 at 11:58 am #3670112Alice HengstBPL Member
@moondustLocale: Southern Sierras
Last trip I didn’t bring an extra pillow so I put my backpack under my knees. Worked great – my old back was quiet for 10 hours!Aug 9, 2020 at 8:01 pm #3670186dirtbagBPL Member
Try getting off the ground and switching to a hammock. It takes all the pressure points off your body when laying down.. i use a Dutch Chameleon hammock.. oh boy.. can sleep for 12 hours no problems or aches at all.Aug 10, 2020 at 1:56 pm #3670256Matt DirksenBPL Member
@namelesswayLocale: Mid Atlantic
I had precisely the same issue with the Neorest back when it first came out. (And I had never had this issue with old-school self-inflating Thermarests.) After lots trial and error, I concluded my back pain was due entirely to the lack of firmness in the mattress, and it’s inability to “absorb” my weight. Due to my conclusion I also speculated that I would experience the same issue with any air-only mattress. My solution: I added a thin ccf foam pad on top of the NeoRest and I’ve never had any issues since. I’ve now use X-Lite and X-Therm without any issues either. As a side sleeper, I had always used a Flex Air pillow between my thighs, but this still wasn’t enough support on the NeoRest to help my back. I simply needed something firmer and something which could better distribute my 185lb frame.Aug 10, 2020 at 5:27 pm #3670278Geoff CaplanBPL Member
@geoffcaplanLocale: Lake District, Cumbria
I think if I move to a lower r-value pad I’ll add a foam pad or reflective sheet to the winter kit
Yup – that’s my plan too. If it’s too cold for the Ether Light’s rating, I’ll simply carry a torso-length closed cell pad to boost the insulation. Not much extra weight, and I like the pad well enough that I feel it would be worth the minor inconvenience.Aug 14, 2020 at 3:10 pm #3670783
I tried your tip and put a suitcase under my legs one evening as a test. I slept great without having to alter the pad, but I still had a minor tension in my back in the morning. I think elevating the legs and using a stiffer pad will do the trick!Aug 14, 2020 at 3:12 pm #3670785
I haven’t considered hammocks before, is there a good place to get info about researching that technique?Aug 14, 2020 at 6:18 pm #3670797dirtbagBPL Member
Hammockforums.netAug 16, 2020 at 7:28 am #3670950Kelly CBPL Member
Couple of thoughts—
I’ve tried the Neoairs and have the same issue. Same with Ryan Jordan’s beloved Nemo Tensor which also has horizontal baffles. When I go to ground I found the Exped Synmat UL to be the most comfortable pad I’ve used. Vertical baffles. Not exactly UL at 21 oz (LW), but comfort beats weight here.
Second, the idea to try a hammock is a good one. I have a hammock set up as well and although it’s fairly on par weight-wise than my ground setup it’s noticeable more comfortable. I use a Warbonnet Ridgerunner bridge style.
As suggested hammockforums.net is a good resource. There’s an excellent book called “The Ultimate Hang 2” by Derek Hansen that you’d find helpful. The vendor websites are helpful too..warbonnetoutdoors.com, dutchwaregear.com, dreamhammocks.com, Hammockgear.com, and simplylightdesigns.com to name just a few. And don’t forget Youtube as a source. Look up “Shug.”
Just try not to get too overwhelmed!Aug 19, 2020 at 1:12 am #3671549Andrew IBPL Member
I also used to get bad sleep on the ground. No back pain but I’d wake up all the time or toss and turn. The hammock was a game changer for me for comfort. Totally worth borrowing one for trying it out. Watch Shug’s videos on YouTube entertaining as well as informative!
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