When to use two sleeping pads

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When to use two sleeping pads

Postby mts4602 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:52 pm

I have a thermarest prolite 4 that I pretty much use year round. I hear a lot of people talking about using a closed cell pad with another air pad on top in the winter for warmth. Is there a temperature range should I think about using a closed cell pad with my prolite 4 or is that mainly just when camping on snow?
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Re: When to use two sleeping pads

Postby d_baker » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:01 pm

I use two pads when on snow. The ridge crest (closed cell foam pad) on bottom to stop cold coming through, the insulated air pad (I've been using a Big Agnes insulated air-core) on top for the insulating properties. A nice warm down bag too!
EDIT: I don't look at any certain temps before going to the two pad system. If it's cold and late fall or winter, or even spring, I'll use both.
I've even used two pads in summer just for added comfort. Overkill maybe, but it sometimes proved useful because the Big Agnes didn't hold air all night. I returned it.
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Re: When to use two sleeping pads

Postby Derek » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:20 pm

d_baker wrote:I use two pads when on snow.

Agree. Even in cooler temps I don't mind 1 pad (with 0 degree bag) but with snow on the ground, a second foam pad makes the night much more comfortable.
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Re: When to use two sleeping pads

Postby Andymcp1 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:35 pm

It is all personal discretion. I use two pads year round when car camping and have the luxury of the extra comfort. If you sleep cold, or have noticed your chilly while sleeping with just the one pad, add the second. I have a Big Agnes insulated air core, and a ridgerest solite closed foam pad. The system works great and weighs just a couple pounds together. Play around with it and find what suits you best and that will be the best answer you can get.
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Re: When to use two sleeping pads

Postby susanjoypaul » Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:43 pm

I use a closed-cell foam pad in the winter, underneath my down Exped pad, to keep the down pad high and dry. The greater variance between air temps inside and outside the tent creates a lot of condensation on the tent walls, and the tent floor can get wet. Down absorbs the water quickly and loses its insulating and cushioning qualities. Also, snow can get kicked into the tent in the winter, and then melt on the tent floor and get the down pad wet. I usually have a down pad and sleeping bag, and a down jacket for a pillow, so I take great care to keep it all as dry as possible. A closed cell foam pad adds another layer of protection, basically, between all that warm down and a potentially wet floor.
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Re: When to use two sleeping pads

Postby RoanMtnMan » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:09 pm

Fortunately, pads have progressed far enough to not have to carry two anymore in my opinion. I used to use two for really cold weather, but now I use one of the Expeds or Prolite plus women's version (it has a higher r-value than the men's, though it does have a more female color). You can also save weight by throwing fleece garments under the pad to increase your r-value when not on snow or in rain. I carried two pads on my first Denali climb and then just a Prolite on my second and had no complaints. But as the previous poster wrote, it is very subjective. For longer expeditions you can buy a sheet of 1/8 or 1/4 inch closed cell foam, cut it to match the floor of your tent and use it under your air pad. It adds a lot of warmth and protects your tent floor. Also doesn't weigh much, but is bulky.
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Re: When to use two sleeping pads

Postby ed20320 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:44 pm

i never felt the need to carry 2 pads. several others have mentioned Exped pads and thats what i use in the winter (down 7M). the R value is 5.9. with that kind of insulation, i see no reason to carry the extra bulk of a foam pad. But, we all sleep at different temperatures. if your getting cold at night and you leave the nice big ice divit under your sleeping bag, bring one. they aren't that heavy.

good luck
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Re: When to use two sleeping pads

Postby pvnisher » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:51 pm

I have a small ,thin section of foam that I cut to go from shoulders to hips. I use it year-round in addition to a full-length pad. Weighs almost nothing.

My "main" pad is an exped insulated air core, and if it's going to be really cold or I'm using sharps I always carry a second pad, either a full-length for winter, or the shorty pad for summer glaciers. If that air pad gets cramponed/axed/etc I don't want to be hosed.
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Re: When to use two sleeping pads

Postby davebks » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:03 pm

"Weighs almost nothing."
It's funny how many times I say that before leaving for a trip to my same friend and every time he puts my pack on the scale, weighs it, then tells me, take out all those things that add up to nothing... so I do and usually its almost 4lbs. hahaha... ](*,)

What can I say? I like my jalapenos and advil.

I use my exped 7 deluxe in the winter and it's been great. Sure you can put something under it to keep it drier but overall it has done pretty well.
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Re: When to use two sleeping pads

Postby carson_h » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:28 pm

foam --> R2.8, 19oz
prolite --> R3.8, 30oz
downmat9 --> R8.0, 43oz

So the top of the line Exped downmat is lighter than the foam+prolite combo (43oz vs. 49oz), it has a better R value (8.0 vs. 6.6), and it's a much lower volume solution.

The foam pad can't leak/pop so it's a safer solution, but the numbers for the Exped are compelling...
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Re: When to use two sleeping pads

Postby Alan Arnette » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:46 pm

FWIW, I used to use the combo Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite (closed cell) plus a Thermarest air but switched to only Exped for all 7 Summits including Denali and Vinson where I was on snow 100% of the climb. Love the comfort as a side sleeper and never felt the cold seep through. The bottom of the ExPed does get wet but didn't seem to matter and dried quickly. One down side in addition to the already mentioned puncture risk was the ExPed was a bit bulky but still smaller when compared with the other two mats combined, however, you can split these up with one lashed to the outside of the pack.
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Re: When to use two sleeping pads

Postby Fisching » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:37 pm


Spoon with surfnturf.
Peter Aitchison on the risks of rock climbing and mountaineering: "That's life, isn't it? We think the challenge and satisfaction you get from doing this is worth the risks."
"Respect the mountain. Train hard. Hope you can sneak up when it isn't looking."
"The mind is always worried about consequences, but the heart knows no fear. The heart just does what it wants."

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