- Sep 22, 2017 at 5:48 pm #3492635
Currently using a 20×72″ Neoair at a bit over 12 oz. It was a dream compared to the various self-inflating and closed cell foam pads I had been using. However, I’m looking to experiment again with something lighter. I realize I’ll probably have to go back to a 3/4 length pad to get into the 5-7oz range I seek… unless there’s a super light thin full length closed cell foam I’m not aware of. I’m also not ruling out at a short Neoair.
If you’re in my weight range, lets here what you’re using and what you think of it. Open to ideas too. Thanks!Sep 22, 2017 at 7:30 pm #3492656
Gossamer Gear sells thin closed cell foam. 1/8″ and 1/4″. 60″ long.Sep 22, 2017 at 11:47 pm #3492694
For most conditions (excepting very cold), I combine a Klymit Inertia X Lite pad with a 1/8″ EVA foam pad. If you use a size similar to the GG pad, then this would run you somewhere between 8 to 9 oz total.
You’d be hard pressed to get lighter than this and have meaningful comfort and insulation together. Perhaps when the polymer based aerogel materials come down in price and start being more marketed in different areas, then you might shave a little more weight off, but these will be quite expensive for awhile and would still need to be combined with an air pad of some kind for comfort.
Not that long ago, I tried sleeping on just a CCF for a night. It was something that I could do when much younger, but after years of using some kind of inflatable, it was quite uncomfortable, and this was a thick pad.Sep 23, 2017 at 1:27 am #3492702
Ye ol’ blue foam pads are available from Walmart for $7 – 72″ x 20″ x 3/8″, ~8oz.
Say you then go and start cutting holes out of it. Circular holes, on a hexagonal grid – think honey comb. If there were no gaps between the circles, you’d remove 91% of the foam. But it would also fall in to pieces. So put a little space between the holes and call it 80%. Now that pad weighs 1.6oz. Layering 4 would be 6.4oz and be 1.5″ thick (like the old school Thermarests). Maybe sandwich a few sheets of thin plastic film or silver mylar to reduce convection. If you offset the holes, it’ll be a lot softer than solid foam. Another mix and match option is topping it w/ a 1/8″ layer from GG. And don’t forget, those weights are for a full 6′ pad. You can also taper the thickness here and there.
How to go about cutting hundreds of holes – well, that’s another question.
Hmm – you could also weave thin strips for a similar effect in weight, thickness and firmness. Separate multiple weave layers with mylar.Sep 23, 2017 at 5:15 am #3492710
Same as Justin, the minimum I can use is the Klymit Inertia xlite which weighs 6.1oz without the little bulb inflator, which I found totally unnecessary. I supplement this with my small 21g sit pad in the shoulder/torso area, which supplies a surprising amount of cushioning and insulation. But I must add, I also still need my 55g Exped pillow as part of the system, although I have ordered one of these and hope to test it soon.Sep 23, 2017 at 11:28 am #3492765
I’ve used those. They’re medical products. Available here (and probably elsewhere) for less.
They reasonably comfortable, pending one’s tolerances. A bit crinkly – my tent mates never liked mine. But the deal breaker is I never got more than a season out of one. I bought a 3-pack of 2 sizes each, gave a few to friends, and still have a few in the closet (or maybe I threw them out). I eventually bought a 2.5oz Sea To Summit pillow – lightest I was aware of at the time. Now I want the Exped :)Sep 23, 2017 at 1:00 pm #3492781
Don AmundsonBPL Member
@amrowincLocale: Southern California
The 5-7 oz range is in the dreaming range unless R value isn’t a desired factor and you have a tolerance for sleeping on “firm” surfaces. I agree with the suggestion of combining a short pad with a 1/8″ GG CCF. I used to use a Neoair short with a 1/8″ pad and then went to a Prolite X Small with the pad. That system worked fine but with age and bony hips I now use the Neoair Women’s Xlite that has a higher R value at 3.9 than the regular Xlite. The shorter length at 66″ doesn’t bother me since I sleep with my head on my pack that I put 2 of the Flexair pillows in.
If anyone is interested I’ve been selling the Flexair pillows for years to support my gear purchases. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted BPL specials but since the subject came up here goes:
Two sizes available: Large 19″ x 12.5 inches deflated Small 14.5 x 10.5 inches deflated
Large: $2.75 Small: $2.25 Free Shipping any quantity (I ship without the inflation straw that is a common drink straw to avoid outrageous package rate shipping costs) PayPal
PM me if interestedSep 25, 2017 at 8:49 am #3493067
Thanks for the replies, everyone. Very helpful!
Rene – We’re on the same page. I’ve been thinking along those lines for a long time. The problem for me is space. My pack is quite small. I could carry a pad on the outside but would prefer not to. Still though, I’ve been intrigued with the idea of drilling holes (easy with a hole saw – I’ve done it) enough that I may end up doing that on a single layer pad that goes under my legs if I go with a torso air pad.
Bob – Curious. Have you actually weighed that “21 g sit pad”? Looks great! However, the specs further down that page list the weight as 2.4 oz.
Re the pillows that Don sells. I can vouch for them/him. I purchased from him a few yrs ago. Very good deal and I’ve been pleasantly surprised how long my pillow has lasted.Sep 25, 2017 at 9:24 am #3493073
Hmm… good to check — actual weight is 28.3g! I don’t know what exactly the 2.4oz is… perhaps shipping weight.Sep 25, 2017 at 2:28 pm #3493143
A hollow punch might be quicker?
Even if you put a bunch of holes in a foam pad, while you’ll reduce the weight, you won’t really reduce the overall volume it takes up, so it’s still more practical to put it on the outside unless you have a large pack with plenty of extra space.
Also keep in mind that foam insulation (especially CCF) is much more efficient at insulating than largish air spaces, even if they are lined with light films to reduce convection. If you have swiss cheese pads, not only will you decrease the overall long term durability, but also the overall insulation efficiency per volume and weight some. If you go with offsetting the holes and using multiple pads, this will help with the insulation, but won’t completely overcome the higher thermal efficiency per weight and volume of foam over dead air space.
What might work a bit better is a combo or synthesis of materials and ideas. So take Rene’s essential idea. Say take two 1/4th CCF pads with offset holes cut in. You can do larger holes, say with a small, rim sharpened can or the like. Bond/glue an outer frame of CCF to one of them. Take a thin piece (but at least 1/4th thickness) of low density, open celled foam that can be easily compressed. Put that in between the two CCF pads–particularly fitted between the outside frame. Sew a fitted sleeve out of UL fabrics (maybe one waterproof on the bottom and one somewhat permeable, but highly WR on the top) and put it inside the sleeve.
It won’t solve the volume problem, and likely the CCF foam will have to go outside the pack (not a big deal imo), but it should be fairly comfortable and warm for the weight. And unlike an inflatable, hassle and worry free.
That is quite a difference there Bob! Good thing you checked. You’re about in Rusty’s sought weight range, if not counting your pillow.Sep 25, 2017 at 3:42 pm #3493155
Good idea with the sharpened can punch. Laser or water jet cutting may be an option for some. I was thinking fill with 2.5osy Apex, seal with .34 Cuben and mylar. Some rough numbers say you can get a full length 1.5″ pad down to 7oz – more if you do some body mapping and less insulation. But it’s still bulky, even on the outside of a pack.Sep 25, 2017 at 4:06 pm #3493159
Apex could work, but I wonder how comfort would be affected by using something a bit less compressible vs Apex which is quite compressible? The “border frame” of CCF and two layers of CCF might not be enough in and of itself to provide adequate cushion though it will help in an overall system with a sandwiched material.
Yeah, bulk would definitely be an issue with anything primarily composed of CCF.Sep 25, 2017 at 7:16 pm #3493190
There is lower density CCF. Pretty much everything sold for camping is ~2 lb / cu ft. Here’s a source for 1.2 lb: http://www.foambymail.com/PE12-_1/polyethylene-foam-sheets-1-2lb-green.html
Open cell foam is available in 1.3 lb / cu ft.Sep 25, 2017 at 8:11 pm #3493192
Thanks for the additional info, everyone. Keep the ideas coming!
Rene – That foam you linked to looks exactly like the stuff the Coleman Rest Easy pad is made from. I’ve had a couple now. The lightest has been 8.16oz for a 3/8x20x72″ pad. $10
Sep 25, 2017 at 9:21 pm #3493211
- This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Rusty Beaver.
Hmm – your spec’s work out to 1.63 lb / cu ft. But looks can be deceiving.
Instead of cutting holes out of a foam pad, I thought about assembling a pad like a bed of nails, w/ little foam pillars glued between upper and lower fabric layers. Actual beds of nails are built on a 1″ square grid – let’s assume this spacing qualifies as ‘comfortable enough’. If the foam pillars are 1″ dia., spaced 1″ apart (edge to edge, not center to center) that works out to 19% coverage by area – same as my initial estimate cutting out circles. If you use 1/2″ dia. pillars w/ 1″ edge-edge spacing, that figure, unsurprisingly, gets cut in half. Pending height of the pillars, I start to worry about buckling. One benefit of this over the cut-outs is that if you were to roll the mattress, you would get a lot of pillars from one layer of the roll nesting between pillars of the next, to make a more compact roll.Sep 26, 2017 at 5:14 am #3493237
James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
1) Pads are a necessary item. Insulation from the ground an comfort while sleeping are two points making them that way. Soo, make your pad do double duty. Connect it to the backpack at the top, 1/3 point, 2/3 point and the bottom. This will keep a standard CCF pad in a fairly stiff alignment for loads up to about 30lbs.
2) 1/8″ foam can be used in built up layers. Starting with 21″x10-1/2″ pieces, you can add blocks between two 1/8″ pads. Contact Cement can be used to bond the whole thing together.
Note you can add a space blanket (aluminized mylar) to improve thermal resistance.
The design is for three layers. But, you can use 1/4″ foam to make a thicker pad or add another layer of spacers and cover sheet. Many options there.
By leaving some airspace, it should be rather self supporting and stiff. Simple spacing will do that.
Now you can use an 7 layer pad at a thickness of ~2.5″ at about a weight of 9oz, once it is taped together. ( But, half the weight can be applied to the the pack since it does double duty as a pack frame.) Going with a light frameless pack (I use a 12oz Murmur or 15oz MiniPosa from Gossamer Gear) it is capable of about 30lbs comfortably. The pad becomes the frame, improving the packs carry capacity.
Comfortable on my back and comfortable to sleep on. The total weight applied to the pack system and sleep system making your overall base weight less. Not about the weight of the pad, it is making it do double duty, splitting the weight over two items. And, I never plan to hike in my sleep (constraint.)Sep 26, 2017 at 3:46 pm #3493392
It’s too bad no one seems to be selling backpack air frames anymore. Here’s an ebay listing for one (I have what appears to be the same: 24″x9″ inflated, 4oz). Klymit is still selling air frame packs – maybe they’d sell you a pad if you wrote them?
Here’s another approach to foam pads. The center rail was cut from the edge. The rail and slats were notched to interlock so the rail holds the slats vertical. This is 1″ thick. You’d need a fair number of rails to keep the slats vertical under body weight. You still have the bulk problem. If you dis/assemble it for every use, it will roll smaller. You could glue it together.
I suppose there are other cut/fold/slot patterns to consider.Sep 26, 2017 at 5:17 pm #3493430
Aaand another foam trick: diy z-rest. Some what more involved.
Polyethelyne foam melts somewhere between 180F and 450F. Yes, quite a range. A $20 heat gun on amazon does 750F on low. It can be compression molded and vacu-formed once heated.
Make a mold similar to zrest, but with taller/deeper bumps. Build a hot-box around a heat gun to soften a sheet of blue foam, place it between your two mold halves, press and let it cool. Fold like a z-rest.Sep 29, 2017 at 1:40 am #3493812
Serge GiachettiBPL Member
@giachettLocale: boulder, co
Not to backtrack here, but I think the weight/comfort of the xlight short is tough to beat. Mine weighs 7 oz and compresses to nothing. I lay my GG kumo with the backpad down for my feet. Works great and I don’t even mind the drop.Sep 29, 2017 at 6:21 pm #3493949
Search the forums on some combinations of: air mattress sleeping pad DAM diy myog.
This sums up most of what works: https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/56903/
There’s a vacuum bagging film called Stretchlon, that can be heat sealed with a home iron. The 200 series product weighs 1.2osy. Kiteboarding valves weigh 0.5oz. With a ~0.9osy skin, the link author made a 64″ x 19″ x ~4″ pad weighing 7.85oz (excluding the 8oz down he added).
I saw a lot of talk about using Cuben as the air bladder, conflicting opinions on developing leaks over time, and no successful builds. Poly tubing also works, and requires less sealing since it’s already a tube. Not sure why it seems to have gotten less use than Stretchlon.Sep 29, 2017 at 7:26 pm #3493968
J RBPL Member
I picked up a cheap ($11 w/shipping) foam pad from eBay that might work here. The foam is the same thickness and seems the same density as what’s used in the TAR Zlite Sol, and it has the same egg carton design. It does not have the reflective coating or the latex-ish yellow coating that the Sol has on its two respective sides. But the one I got is bigger (22.5×75) and lighter (a touch under 11 oz). It folds up z-style and has 12 panels, this is the one:
If you cut off 3 panels it would be 56″ long and weigh about 8oz, cut off 4 panels for 50″ and about 7 oz., or cut off 5 panels for 44″ and a little over 6 oz.Sep 29, 2017 at 7:52 pm #3493971
Thanks for the additional replies, everyone! And Rene… it is obvious you are passionate about sleeping pads! :-) Some yrs ago, I made a 20×48″ balloon bed consisting of 10 party balloons, sliding into syn silk sleeves. I placed a 20×59″ Coleman Rest Easy pad over that. Those two pads plus enough balloons for 2 nights and spares, the dollar store balloon pump, and sil-nylon stuff sack came to 10oz. Cost me $15.
The torso section was super comfortable… probably more so than a Neoair. The fiddle factor was high though (~10 mins to setup) and I soon discovered that the balloons must have no quality control during their making. Some were more durable than one would think while others would pop for no apparent reason. And at least 1 would pop per night, waking friends and myself.
But I digress. Though I love making stuff, I can’t help but be intrigued with the little Klymit X Lite…placing it inside my bag and using a thin and modified CCF pad under my feet/legs.Sep 29, 2017 at 11:19 pm #3493997
Don BurtonBPL Member
@surfcam310Locale: City of Angels
<p style=”text-align: left;”>The short xlite plus your legs on your pack is great if you’re a back sleeper (not me). Big Agnes is supposed to release a 10 oz 72″ X 20″ X 3″ pad in the spring.</p>
Mammut Alpine Pad
I have one of these cut down to about 18″ X 42″ for a sit pad/relax pad around camp which weighes 1.8oz. It’s pretty amazing. This true to spec (5oz) and is a full size foam pad 72 x18/20 X .3. It’s the best thing I found for weight. GG Thinlight pads are a joke to me. I’m just bringing it up because it’s similar in weight.
I’ve always been surprised I never heard these mentioned on BPLSep 30, 2017 at 3:23 am #3494030
Thanks, Don! That looks like one heck of a pad! Wish it didn’t cost as much as it does. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find someone willing to sell me their used one.Sep 30, 2017 at 12:56 pm #3494051
I received the Flex Air pillow (hospital pillow) and added a 1.2mm shock cord with tiny cord lock for adjustment, attached with Cuben repair tape. Total weight 28.8g.
I’m thinking about doing an overnight trip tomorrow to field test it with the Klymit inertia Xlite. A tick over 7oz for the pillow/mat combo.
The inertia xlite is only 18″ wide but dangling elbow syndrome doesn’t bother me nearly as much because it is so thin and thus there is very little drop-off. However, in order to be reasonably comfortable I find that the inflation has to be juuuuust right… such that the highest pressure point in the hip area is only a few mm’s above the ground. This is why I don’t need the bulb thingy to “top off” the air pressure.
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