Inflatable Sleeping Pad Sleepers – Tips?
Aug 22, 2017 at 9:05 am #3486454
The setup: I currently have a 2014/15 NeoAir Trekker (long). I love this pad, and I love sleeping on pads. I can’t do the Z-Lite life, as much as I want to.
Goals: I want a lighter pad and a pillow. I think I have mild sleep apnea, and I think a pillow would help get a better rest while camping.
Thoughts: I’m 5’10. I got a long pad because I didn’t want my feet hanging off the edge. But I’m thinking I could go with a regular length and use a pillow to make up the difference?
Questions: People with mats or closed cell pads do the torso-length/clothes bag/pack under the legs setup. Is there something similar for inflatable pad sleepers? Looking for some tips/possible solutions to try out!Aug 22, 2017 at 9:19 am #3486458Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
People do it, but there is more drop off and it can mess with your knees if you belly sleep.
i found it to be way colder and got a reg pad to replace torsos.Aug 22, 2017 at 9:59 am #3486464Ken ThompsonBPL Member
@hereLocale: Right there
I like my pillow on top of the pad. So the pad will be long. Sleep is too important to suffer for weights sake.Aug 22, 2017 at 11:43 am #3486476John VanceBPL Member
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
I am 5’9″ and did the pillow, torso pad, pack under the legs thing for a number of years. For me the reduction in weight on my back didn’t even come close to making up for the restless sleep trying to keep everything together throughout the night. I switched to a full length UL 7 Synmat and then a UL 7 Downmat and ultimately a Large Xtherm. I can move around, slide up and down, and keep my pillow and me on the pad through the night.Aug 22, 2017 at 12:30 pm #3486486Mina LoomisBPL Member
@elmvineLocale: Central Texas
Using a short air pad with heels hanging off the end can be a boon for sore feet. Even at home if I’ve been on my feet a lot I tend to hang my heels off the edge of the mattress.Aug 24, 2017 at 2:33 pm #3486885
General consensus seems to favor keeping the long pad. I think I agree. Thanks!Sep 12, 2017 at 4:35 pm #3490659Scott BBPL Member
Sleep apnea can go away for some when sleeping on your side
do a sleep study with a neurologist to see
then alter your sleep system accordingly
it probably means a wider pad would helpSep 15, 2017 at 12:36 pm #3491135
Not a bad idea. But….how would a wider pad help? I don’t have a problem staying on my pad at night, or rolling excessively.Sep 23, 2017 at 12:42 pm #3492775John GiesemannBPL Member
I have used both long and short sleeping pads. I have not used otrso length pads. I am 5′ 10 inches tall. I do not use a thick pad like the NeoAir. I use the Evolite pad.
I sleep much better using a pillow. I have severe sleep apnea and the pillow makes little difference. The only thing that makes much difference for me is sleeing on my side. However, I believe that sleeping inclined also makes a difference. The problem with this is getting the pad inclined enough. A backpack under a pad can incline it enough if it has enough stuff in it. I use a mouth appliance on the trail. Your dentist can make one or have one made for you.
Back to the pads. When I use the long pad I put the pillow on top of the pad. It works very well. When I use the 3/4 length pad, I put the pillow at the top of the pad. This makes the pad almost long enough for me. When I sleep on my side I pull my legs up and can fit my entire body on the pad. When I use this method, the pillow is not quite thick enough to support my head at the correct height. I add a stuff sack with clothe in it to the top of the pillow to make it the correct height. I sleep quite well this way.
Using a NeoAir which is thicker will require a thicker pillow if you put it above the pad.
Hope this helps!Sep 28, 2017 at 2:06 am #3493648Adam GBPL Member
if you think that you have mild sleep apnea, then you should see a sleep doctor to get a sleep study. There are probably interventions that can make you sleep better at home too.Sep 28, 2017 at 2:25 am #3493650Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I’m same as Scott. I did sleep study overnight. They say I have Sleep Apnea but not too bad if I sleep on my side.
At home I use CPAP machine. When away from AC I just sleep on my side with a pillow
Pillow is 3.5 ounces. 10 x 5 x 3 inches. Compresses to 2 inches with my head on it. I used some synthetic batting that’s intended for outdoor seat cushions. I think the wife bought one at the Goodwill but you could probably find batting at fabric store. I made a cover out of Supplex.Sep 28, 2017 at 5:50 pm #3493728Aubrey W. BogardBPL Member
Switching to a NeoAir Xlite will save significant weight. I’m 5’10” also and found the “Regular” pad to be long enough (72″) and had no issues with my feet hanging off, but it wasn’t wide enough for my comfort, so I reluctantly switched to the “L” size and no longer have issues with my elbows hanging off.
I tried a short Xlite (rectangular version) with my pack under my legs and didn’t like it.
I don’t know the weight of your 2014 Trekker, but the 2017 Trekker “L” version is 8oz heaver than the Xlite “L” and 12oz heaver than the Xlite Regular.Sep 28, 2017 at 7:10 pm #3493736David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
“if you think that you have mild sleep apnea, then you should see a sleep doctor to get a sleep study.”
Or, if you’re carrying any extra body weight, you could lose that and see if it helps the sleep apnea. Then, if you still are not getting restful sleep (or if you don’t want to or can’t manage to lose the weight), seek a sleep-medicine doctor.
Back to the gear: While a pillow above my pad saves the weight and bulk of a longer pad, they often get separated from each other and that disrupts my sleep. So I velcro them together, end-to-end.Sep 28, 2017 at 7:38 pm #3493741
but it wasn’t wide enough for my comfort, so I reluctantly switched to the “L” size and no longer have issues with my elbows hanging off.
Exped makes some models in the medium-wide format. I don’t know their current line-up but check them out if interested.
Thermarest air mats in the Large (long-wide) size can be cut down to the desired length and resealed with a hot iron.
I like torso-length (47″ inflated, actually) and was able to find some old-style L-W original rectangular Neoair xlites to cut down. One I found on gearswap here and, miraculously, a guy on Whiteblaze was selling 2 of them which I bought. I also got an Xtherm Max on gearswap and cut that one down to 71″ length for winter. I have resealed a few air mats and have had no problems at all with them.
And no more “Dangling Elbow Syndrome”… :^)Sep 29, 2017 at 2:09 am #3493821Aubrey W. BogardBPL Member
Thanks, Bob. I have considered cutting my Xlite L down to Regular length and may one day muster the courage to do so.Sep 29, 2017 at 12:41 pm #3493890
It does take some courage to slice into a brand new $200 air mat!
The xtherm was the 4th one I’ve done and I must admit there was still the slightest little gulp that accompanied the first incision. :^)Sep 29, 2017 at 1:20 pm #3493899BRYON LBPL Member
I’ve been contemplating shortening my TAR pad, watched a few videos on it. How did you do yours? Any helpful hints, warnings, etc?
To the OP, I now use an elastic cord to keep my pillow attached to the pad. This helped me to the extent that I no longer wake up having to re-position or find my pillow in the dark. Won’t solve all sleeping issues, but was a quick, worthwhile change.Sep 29, 2017 at 4:21 pm #3493917Lester MooreBPL Member
@satoriLocale: Olympic Peninsula, WA
At 5’9″ a 12 ounce regular NeoAir works nearly ideally for me for 3 seasons, though I do use the shoes under the elbows trick if sleeping on my back. But even without shoes, tucking both hands into the pockets of my pants when back sleeping works fine to keep elbows up on the 20″ wide pad. The ExPed inflatable pillow is kept on top the pad and there’s still enough room to stretch out. There’s also a 2 ounce 1/8″ CCF pad under the NeoAir, mostly to help prevent punctures.
Regarding the pillow, I value having a free-floating pillow that can be flipped around depending on body position (sleeping on the back or on the side). When on my side, I like the fat side of the pillow under my neck and head. When on my back, I prefer the thin side of the pillow. It’s also most comfy when only partly inflated and with a bit of clothing wrapped around it, but that’s not necessary.
The pillow stays put because I’m either using a mosquito net tucked all the way around the NeoAir, or everything’s in a bivy sack and the backpack is next to the head of the NeoAir. Either way, there’s a barrier that keeps the pillow from slipping off the top of the NeoAir.
This winter I plan to try out the NeoAir small size with pack under the feet. Best way to know what works (or doesn’t) is to try it. But as Ken sagely said above, “Sleep is too important to suffer for weights sake.”Sep 29, 2017 at 4:36 pm #3493924
I used the info in this video and took it from there. However, I discovered that I didn’t need to use the method of clamping the yardstick to the ironing board. I used a simple 18″ steel ruler to hold down the edges firmly while ironing, which worked for me. I did the ironing on a glass range top in the kitchen.
I have a small iron that is used for applying heat shrink film to radio-controlled model aircraft, so I used that, but a standard clothing iron works fine as well. Whatever iron you use needs to be pretty hot. You can use the large scrap piece you cut off the air mat to test-seal and check the bond… after letting it cool a couple of minutes, of course.
Make sure to inflate the air mat when deciding upon length because they are substantially longer when deflated, which might leave you a few inches short of your intended length.
I do the main cutting with the steel straight-edge mentioned above and a new X-acto #11 blade.Oct 13, 2017 at 5:49 am #3496482Nick SmolinskeBPL Member
@smoLocale: Rogue Panda Designs
I do full length insulated air pad for the winter, and for the summer I go for uninsulated head-to-knees-when-I’m-curled-up (so a few inches longer than a torso pad). Not as much weight savings but I’ve found that as a side sleeper my knees need padding almost as much as my hips and shoulders.Nov 27, 2017 at 9:51 pm #3504379
Just picked up an Exped Synmat HL 7 during REI’s sale. Regular length (72), so it just holds me with not room to spare. Will try and place gear around my fee for any hanging off. Weighs 12.6 on my scale with the sack. Gonna try it out this weekend in some colder temps! Optimistic, especially since it’s 8oz lighter than the NeoAir Trekker.Dec 3, 2017 at 10:33 pm #3505360Steve CollinsBPL Member
@chicagomooseLocale: The Windy City
I have been using a BA Q Core SLX in long wide for cold weather/canoe camping. The extra thickness is great for a 6’3” big guy who like to sleep on his side sometimes. But wow, is it heavy compared to a CCF pad! I’ve always been thinking of cutting down an air pad for 3 season use.
Happened to be driving past one of the local REIs this weekend and saw they were having a garage sale. Low and behold an SLX was left that had a leak in the bottom and it was…$12.88. So I got crafty. Because of the bonding BA uses to tack the top and bottom of the tubes and run the insulation through it was a little challenging but even cutting a little more off after R&D (failed sealing attempts) it works, long enough for me to be on my side with my legs pulled up a bitDec 6, 2017 at 9:55 pm #3505946
That’s sweet, Steve!
Tried out the Exped pad, and the length and warmth was great, but the width was hard to adjust to, especially since it was cold. Was used to a wide rectangular pad where my arms could splay a bit, but not so much on the exped.Dec 7, 2017 at 9:19 pm #3506110Katherine .BPL Member
“Questions: People with mats or closed cell pads do the torso-length/clothes bag/pack under the legs setup. Is there something similar for inflatable pad sleepers? Looking for some tips/possible solutions to try out!”
I’m not totally sure what you’re after, but maybe some of the options from Klymt could help: The shorty pad? The one with the built in pillow?Dec 7, 2017 at 9:24 pm #3506111
@katherine, I’m not really sure what I’m after, haha. I mostly wanted a lighter inflatable sleeping pad option, to offset the possibility of adding a pillow. I think I found that with this Exped. What is your current setup?
After seeing steve’s post above, a short air pad with a zlite extension for the legs sounds pretty attractive. I’d love to try something like that out.
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