Sep 21, 2016 at 11:25 pm #3427452
So I have been 4 season backpacking and even spent one night in 16 deg F daytime temps (not sure overnight temps). I’m trying to decide if I can improve my sleeping pad situation.
I have the Thermarest NeoAir small. The older one, not the x-lite. I like the pad and it’s only 9 oz with the Zpacks ditty bag. It’s roughly 3/4 length. The inflating nozzle sticks up (poor design) instead of being in-line with the pad like new models. R value of 2.5?
I also have a thin foam pad I bought from BPL back in the day. I no longer remember the rated R value. It is 3oz and is full length.
I think I was supposed to put the foam pad on top of the neo air, but I didn’t, I put it under. With my 15 deg bag I was cold, especially where my legs hung over the air mattress.
I was considering an X-therm (r value = 5.7), but they are expensive and heavy! I’m wondering if I can get close to the same R value. The regular is 15oz, but to be fair I’m at 12 oz with my two pads combined.
I was considering a piece of emergency blanket on the floor of the tent, under the sleeping pad. Will this do anything for me?
I realize I could put hand warmers in my socks before bed, or I could purchase down pants, or wear vapor barrier pants/socks. (will this contribute to sweating that will reduce the effectiveness of the down sleeping bag?)
I have a synthetic down pull over: Nano Puff, and a synthetic down hat/neck warmer. I have midweight SmartWool long sleeve top and pants.
While I have considered converting to hammock camping for solo sleeping, I would still like to keep a flexible tent setup.Sep 22, 2016 at 12:42 am #3427458Franco DarioliSpectator
@francoLocale: Gauche, CU.
The original Neo Air was indeed rated at R2.5.
Can’t remember the type of mat BPL sold but this will give you an idea of the R values according to size :
3/8″ = ~1.36 *
1/4″ = ~.90
1/8″ = ~.45
add one on top of the other and you know the R value of your existing system.
*From Richard NisleySep 22, 2016 at 1:14 am #3427460Justin BakerBPL Member
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
I use an x therm, it’s one of the best gear purchases I have made. I don’t consider it heavy. The x lite is 12 ounces with an r value of 3.2 and has a 30 denier bottom. The x therm is 15 ounces with an r value of 5.7 a 70 denier bottom. So for 3 more ounces I get a 4 season pad with a very durable bottom. I have talked to people who have lots of holes in their 30 denier x-lites. Totally worth the extra 3 ounces for a solid do it all pad. The x therm is the only pad I own and I don’t see a reason to get a slightly lighter pad for warmer weather use.
For your purposes it would be by far the most weight efficient way to stay warmer sleeping on the snow.Sep 22, 2016 at 1:30 am #3427461
For summer use though, I can’t justify the extra 6 oz. FWIW, I don’t have the xlite, I have the previous version. It has held up wonderfully, so no complaints there…and I may just swap to hammock solo camping in the summer…Sep 22, 2016 at 10:29 am #3427514Chad “Stick” PoindexterBPL Member
@stickLocale: Southeast USA
I always found that by putting the foam pad on top of the NeoAir it was noticeably warmer, as opposed to under the NeoAir. With my older NeoAir and a 1/8″ CCF pad on top, I was warm at 20F. At around 15F I would feel cold spots while moving around. Much lower than that and it was time for a 1/4″ pad instead of the 1/8″ pad. Maybe try putting the foam pad on top.Sep 22, 2016 at 10:48 am #3427516Lester MooreBPL Member
@satoriLocale: Olympic Peninsula, WA
+1 on putting the foam pad on top – it makes a noticeable difference. Seems to add at 10 degrees worth of sleeping comfort with my setup using a newer NeoAir and 1/8″ pad doubled up for the torso.
As to vapor barrier pants/socks, I would skip those in favor of a 3 ounce home-made vapor barrier liner (VBL). Provided that you can tolerate using a VBL, it’s the lightest way I’ve found to add sleeping comfort in lower temperatures. My 3 ounce VBL made from trash bag heat sealed together adds at least 10 degrees of comfort to my sleep system and I only get moderately clammy inside it. If you sweat a lot, then a VBL may not work for you – it’s a very personal thing. Only way to know if you like it is to try it out.Sep 22, 2016 at 2:06 pm #3427536Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
The first problem is that you don’t know what the nighttime temps were but at 16*F daytime temps you were probably at or below 0*F in a 15* bag, so both your pad and bag may be inadequate.
It is amazing how many people skimp on ground insulation and a testiment to how far we have come that you consider a full length 2.5″ thick 15oz pad good to below zero heavy. A few years ago you would be well above 20oz for a similar pad.
If you don’t want the Xtherm you may exparament with the cc foam pad on top and see if that helps. I have found cc foam warmer than its r value implies (it could just be me) but I think you will need at least a 1/4″ or 3/8″ pad to get the warmth addition to your neoair you are looking for. If that doesn’t work the Xtherm is an excellent (but pricy) pad.
You might also look at your bag in those temps as you were obviously well below the bags rating. Supplementing with clothing makes sense if you need extra warmth occasionally but if you do it often a warmer bag is probably in order.
I have only tested the Xtherm down to single digits but it was very warmSep 22, 2016 at 4:20 pm #3427567
Sorry, the 16deg was actually the windchill, so at night it may have been around 15 deg. I typically think I sleep hot, but definitely the 3/4 length pad simply doesn’t work in the winter for me, even with the foam pad.
I think I want to start camping more in the winter, so either I need to pick up an Xtherm or consider a hammock quilt that is sufficient. I’m not sure which is more cost effective.Sep 25, 2016 at 11:12 am #3428004
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