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Any recommendations on sleeping pads?

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Any recommendations on sleeping pads?

Postby BearCrawl » Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:07 pm

I'm looking to start some hike in camping with my son, 11, who's an absolute trooper with whatever I seem to throw at him in the outdoors. I want to keep him warm and relatively comfortable, but don't want to spend a fortune if possible. Any recommendations?

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Re: Any recommendations on sleeping pads?

Postby RobertKay » Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:59 pm

I think a good night's sleep is critical to having a good time the following day and having the energy to do what you need to do. I believe the energy consumed carrying the slightly increased weight of a good sleep system vs a crummy one is more that regained with a good sleep. This means you need to be comfortable and warm. I have an ExPed sleep pad and love it. They make various sizes and thicknesses and use either down or a synthetic for insulation. I've used it in warm weather and in extreme cold such as Antarctica, etc. and it's always been great. I do use a Z-Lite pad under it most of the time to protect it from sharp objects on the ground and also to add a little extra insulation in severe cold. I don't think that you really need to use the Z-Lite but as I said, I value my sleep! I also have a Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm mattress. It's not quite as luxurious but is a lot lighter. It's biggest flaw is that it is noisy. You make a lot of crinkling noises as you roll around.

As far as sleeping bags are concerned, I find that you do get what you pay for, although even a basic bag from one of the higher end brands will be good in all but the coldest weather. Money buys compactness, light weight and a modicum of creature comforts like fabrics that feel better on your skin so you need to balance your budget with the types of trips you will be making. My current favorite bag is a Marmot Plasma 15.
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Re: Any recommendations on sleeping pads?

Postby SkaredShtles » Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:04 pm

11?

One of these:

Image

Comfy (relative), warm, cheap, and light.

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Re: Any recommendations on sleeping pads?

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:09 pm

Depends on what you're looking for.

Me personally, I like to stay warm and go light. So I use a Thermarest NeoAir All-season pad for most times of the year, and an Exped Downmat 7 in winter. These items are pricey, but that's what it takes to get fairly low weight, warmth, and comfort.

If the kid is an "absolute trooper" and can handle a foam pad, like a z-rest, you might do ok with it, and it would be a lot cheaper.

There are lots of folks who have a lot more experience with different pads in between these two extremes, so I hope they'll chime in. Especially anyone who's tried some of the newer NeoAir pads, like the X-Therm, which claims a 5.7 R-value and a plush 2.5" thickness for only 15 oz. Hard to believe. I guess a lot of it is whether you sleep warm or cold.

Edit: RobertKay, I see you've weighed in (no pun) on the Xtherm. Does it seem as warm as the Downmat 7 at less than half the weight? Thanks!

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Re: Any recommendations on sleeping pads?

Postby RobertKay » Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:52 pm

Edit: RobertKay, I see you've weighed in (no pun) on the Xtherm. Does it seem as warm as the Downmat 7 at less than half the weight? Thanks![/quote]

I think it is about the same warmth, but I always put a Z-Lite under any pad when it's really cold. I used it on Everest when it was super cold and I was comfortable. I have also used an Exped Downmat 7 (it eventually burst one of the seams and REI replaced it) but prefer the Synmat. They have almost the same R-value, the Synmat is an ounce lighter but most important isn't as fussy about moisture and has some insulating ability if it is deflated.

My current method is to use the super big Exped Synmat at base camp and use the smaller and much lighter Xtherm up high or whenever I need to carry it a bigger distance and weight becomes more important. The only real comfort differences are due to the smaller size of the Xtherm and the fabric it's made from doesn't feel as nice on your skin and is noisy. It has a slightly tacky or grippy feel to the fabric which I find helps a bit to keep me from sliding off it in my sleep if the tent isn't level.
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Re: Any recommendations on sleeping pads?

Postby rickinco123 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:11 pm

I sleep like a baby on my expel synmat UL but it is pricey. Check out the Klymit pads, they seem to be a good compromise. Is he short enough to get by on 3/4 pad?

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Re: Any recommendations on sleeping pads?

Postby Lady McClimbsalot » Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:46 pm

I agree you should be energized and feel good for any climb... But I honestly use the cheapest piece of crap sleeping pad with chunks taken out of it (as I've used the same one for 6 years). Honestly, it depends on what you find "comfortable." It sounds like you're looking for something that is more bed-like than camping-like. For your 11 year-old, I'd say good call. No one likes a cranky kid ](*,) haha But I guess I don't consider a sleeping pad a vital piece of equipment. Hell, I've just wadded up my extra clothes to cushion myself before... so your call here :wink: Everyone's different........... I personally thank God I sleep like a rock \:D/
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Re: Any recommendations on sleeping pads?

Postby sunny1 » Sat Oct 26, 2013 5:54 am

Depends on what seasons you plan to backpack in - how warm you'll need to be - backpacking/camping in the winter or cold requires different equipment.

I personally use a ThermARest NeoAir Trekker pad, but I'm more of a late spring-autumn backpacker and camper. Happy with it.

I agree with RobertKay, a good night's rest is critical to having a successful day in the mountains.
A good pad and bag are crucial to ensuring a good night's sleep!

Kudos to you for getting out with your son! :-D
The older you get, the better you get, unless you're a banana.

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Re: Any recommendations on sleeping pads?

Postby Andymcp1 » Sat Oct 26, 2013 7:25 am

As others have already mentioned your intended use and purpose will be the biggest driving factor as to what you need/ want. I personally use a thermarest ridgerest closed foam pad under my Big Agnes Insulated Air Core. That system seems to work very well in both warm and very cold conditions, and in terms of comfort to weight works well for me.

With that said. If you plan to car camp for the majority of the time you cant go wrong with a big thick foam pad you can roll out. You can also throw a comforter folded in half on top of that and it pretty much feels like a bed at home inside your tent. It weighs more, but if your not backpacking with it then you are golden.

Play around with it. The best way to figure out any gear is by trial and error and figuring out what works best for you with your given needs and desired experience.

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Re: Any recommendations on sleeping pads?

Postby uwe » Sat Oct 26, 2013 7:26 am

I have used an Exped successfully for winter Colorado, Rainier, Aconcagua, Denali.
Great pad, but 'heavy' 2.2 lbs.

I am participating in a THERM A REST project evaluating their Antares 20 degree bag (< 2 lb and NeoAir 4Season R 4.9 pad, (1lb, 3oz),
The Antares bag was a 2012 Outdoor Industry Award winner.

http://thermarestsleepingbags.com/our-thermarest-dreamers-favorite-fall-hikes/

Can give a high five 100% recommendation for THERM A REST's sleep system. They have a neat trick that allows you to 'slip' the bag over the pad, so NO MORE SLIDING. It was great to turn over through the night without twisting up the bag or slipping off the pad. Sweet.
Going to see how far I can take it into the winter.

I have (3) 20% coupons for any of you who may want to upgrade your sleep system.

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Re: Any recommendations on sleeping pads?

Postby BearCrawl » Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:02 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. I say "absolute trooper" because there really hasn't been anything in the outdoors that we've done that he hasn't just fallen in love with. That said, I don't want to find out how he'll adapt to a miserable night because I chose wrong on a pad or bag. I've been cozy in a variety of situations and on hikes/camps in Colorado and Peru from the mountain jungles to waking up in a snow storm in the Andes. That said, what I can stand as a dad and what I want to expose him to voluntarily are two different things.

Early on, we'll try to avoid extreme cold and try to anticipate, (the best that one can in Colorado) good weather conditions. I'm considering doing the Inca Trail with him late next summer and so some good practice stateside will be a good start. Having done the trail a couple of times and once with his mama, I think that the conditions we're likely to see there are within the confines of exposure that we'll see here in Colorado.

I'm not looking for bed like comfort, but finding the line of balance that keeps him coming back for more is important to me. Thanks for all the advice.

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Re: Any recommendations on sleeping pads?

Postby SkaredShtles » Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:27 am

To elaborate a bit - I'm speaking from experience on this.

I currently have a 12, 11, and 8yo (all boys) - we have backpacked as a family since the youngest was ~5. Kids (again, in my experience) sleep like the dead in the wilderness - esp when you're "hiking in" to camp. Can I assume this means backpacking?

Keep the kid busy all day hiking, fishing, mt climbing and he'll come back to camp and crash.

My kids have all slept on Ridgerest/plain old blue closed-cell foam now for years and I've had nary a complaint. If they want to go comfy when they're older... they can pick whatever comfy mat they like and buy it. :mrgreen:

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