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Lightweight comfortable sleeping pad?

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Re: Lightweight comfortable sleeping pad?

Postby bobby49 » Mon May 21, 2018 9:41 am

oldranger wrote: Wait until you are 70!


Why wait? Some of us are already there.

I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I get really old.



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Re: Lightweight comfortable sleeping pad?

Postby longri » Mon May 21, 2018 10:02 am

bobby49 wrote:
longri wrote:For many people a 2cm thick foam pad isn't comfortable. The OP writes, "thin pads mean sore hips and pretty crappy sleep"


There are ways around that problem that some of us discovered decades ago. It's partially a training issue.


Could you elaborate, please?

If it's possible to be comfortable on a thin ensolite pad I'd really like to know how to do it.
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Re: Lightweight comfortable sleeping pad?

Postby AlmostThere » Mon May 21, 2018 12:36 pm

John Harper wrote:
AlmostThere wrote:
Just got back from another trail crew weekend. I usually carry the hammock. When you're sawing stuff and digging and flinging branches around all day (red fir branches can weigh 50-80 lbs all by themselves) there's absolutely nothing like a hammock, in which you can stretch and bend in ways that a pad won't let you, and that underquilt moves right along with you keeping you warm...

I'm taking the inflatable when I'm going where hammocking is less practical (not impossible, just not practical) but it's not quite the same.


If there aren't any trees close enough together, it's definitely not very practical. I spoke with a guy from the east who had brought a hammock with him. He said the trees are much closer together, and the ground much wetter back east where they are more popular (and practical). He couldn't find two trees close to each other that were within 200 yards of the rest of his group.

John


I can hammock camp just about anywhere in the Sierra, when backpacking. Even in the high country. I can't necessarily in redwood forests, where they are banned. I generally don't in car campgrounds as there are no guarantees of trees. But my significant alien can't get in the hammock with me as that would exceed the load limits of the suspension. So we have a Tarptent for those occasions. And going to the Lost Coast, I'm taking a tent with sand anchors.

I can suspend my hammock between trees that are 12 - 30 feet apart, since I planned appropriately for various scenarios... And you need longer straps than you do back east. I've hung from pines that are twelve feet in diameter, and frequently between trees that are 15 - 20 feet apart. So it's less impractical than most people think.
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Re: Lightweight comfortable sleeping pad?

Postby bobby49 » Mon May 21, 2018 12:47 pm

longri wrote:
bobby49 wrote:
longri wrote:For many people a 2cm thick foam pad isn't comfortable. The OP writes, "thin pads mean sore hips and pretty crappy sleep"


There are ways around that problem that some of us discovered decades ago. It's partially a training issue.


Could you elaborate, please?

If it's possible to be comfortable on a thin ensolite pad I'd really like to know how to do it.


Define "thin."

I practice at home. I get a sore back from sleeping in a soft bed, so I sleep on the floor. After a while, that feels perfectly normal. Then when I go on a backpacking trip, the Gossamer Gear foam pad feels pretty good. I don't camp on solid rock, and I don't camp on solid earth. Where I camp is someplace where somebody has probably camped before, so there is often a depression or sand. Then I can augment the foam pad with clothing underneath it.
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Re: Lightweight comfortable sleeping pad?

Postby John Harper » Mon May 21, 2018 1:17 pm

AlmostThere wrote:I can suspend my hammock between trees that are 12 - 30 feet apart


30 feet? Wow. Quite an engineer as well. Hope your hiking companions don't "clothesline" themselves in the dark.

John
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Re: Lightweight comfortable sleeping pad?

Postby longri » Mon May 21, 2018 2:47 pm

bobby49 wrote:There are ways around that problem that some of us discovered decades ago. It's partially a training issue.


bobby49 wrote:I practice at home. I get a sore back from sleeping in a soft bed, so I sleep on the floor. After a while, that feels perfectly normal. Then when I go on a backpacking trip, the Gossamer Gear foam pad feels pretty good. I don't camp on solid rock, and I don't camp on solid earth. Where I camp is someplace where somebody has probably camped before, so there is often a depression or sand. Then I can augment the foam pad with clothing underneath it.


So by "training" you mean acclimating your body to harder surfaces. I used to practice that as well, sleeping on a backpacking pad at home. With hindsight I'm not convinced it was really doing all that much. A soft bed hurts my back as well and the floor is preferable to that. So I got a really firm bed.
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Re: Lightweight comfortable sleeping pad?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon May 21, 2018 7:49 pm

What determines your sleeping pad need is YOUR specific body type, how you sleep and the level of stress you put on your body during the day. Age only plays a role to the extent that most older people get some osteoarthritis and stress muscles more for the same activity vs. when they were younger. You do not bounce back as quickly from a hard day on the trail.

There is no one size fits all here. For example, I can easily have shoulder comfort on a hard closed cell pad, but not hips because I sleep on my side. I have yet to become able to sleep on my back or stomach. Women have wider hips so when sleeping on sides, more stress is placed on the hips. If your waist and hips are not that different, then the weight is distributed better between hips and shoulders. Those who can sleep on their backs, have it made! I am very comfortable on my back on a thin pad, but never can get to sleep! Often in the middle of the night I will roll onto my back and just "rest" to give my hips a break.

Yes you can somewhat "train" yourself to sleep better on a relatively thin backpack pad, as long has it has sufficient R-factor. I spend quite a few backpack nights in temperatures in the teens and 20's. As I get older, I sleep much colder, so I have noticed that I need a pad with a higher R-factor.

Currently I use a Prolite (thin blow-up with some insulation) x-small primarily to add padding to my hips; on top of a closed cell foam. The Prolite weighs 8 oz. the foam 6-8 oz (I have several configurations of foams: single sheet, three cubes, even a sheet of aluminum bubble wrap home insulation). What I like about the foam, is that I can cut it into any shape and size I need. I really would prefer an egg-shaped pad!

It took a long trip with my kids that made me slow down enough to realize that most of my aches were from over-doing during the day, NOT the sleeping pad! Also have slept much better since I started using ear plugs and a sleep mask. I think one of those little blow-up pillows would also really help, but I have not crossed that bridge yet. My pillow is still clothing in a stuff sack.

If you prefer a beefier pad, you then just have to shave off the equivalent weight by eliminating something else. Often the beefier pad will allow you to be warm an a lighter sleeping bag. Each of us prioritizes our gear differently. With all the diversity of backpackers, it still miffs me that size choices are so limited. The only way you can get extra width is if you also get extra length. The 20-inch pads are designed to fit snugly for two side-by-side sleepers. But as a solo backpacker, 20 inches is not wide enough.

Bottom line, the question as to what is a "light-weight comfortable sleeping pad" is different for each person and each specific backpack location. If it is easy to find smooth surfaces, then less thickness is fine; if you camp a lot on lumpy and rocky terrain, then you need more thickness. Night temperatures will determine the R-factor you need. And hammock camping is different from tent camping.

Whatever pad you buy, try it out at home on the carpet and on a hard wood or tile floor, several nights, before deciding. Then return it if it does not work. The only way to pre-determine if a pad will leak, is to read some reviews. I like REI because I once had a leaky pad, turned it in, got fixed, still leaked, so they let me choose any pad free. Not sure I would buy a pad from any other store.
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Re: Lightweight comfortable sleeping pad?

Postby bobby49 » Mon May 21, 2018 9:11 pm

Once we get the old age handled, and once we get a good sleeping bag and pad, the sleeping medication comes next. I try to avoid all serious sleep medications, since most have the effect of depressing the central nervous system which slows respiration, and that often creates something like a hangover by morning. The easiest medication that I've found is 3mg melatonin. After a hard day on the trail, as soon as the sun goes down I take one of those, and I will be sawing logs within minutes regardless of my sleeping pad. Then I seem to wake up automatically 30-60 minutes before sunrise.
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Re: Lightweight comfortable sleeping pad?

Postby Pulpit » Tue May 22, 2018 7:12 am

John Harper wrote:Just got back from another trail crew weekend. I usually carry the hammock. When you're sawing stuff and digging and flinging branches around all day (red fir branches can weigh 50-80 lbs all by themselves) there's absolutely nothing like a hammock, in which you can stretch and bend in ways that a pad won't let you, and that underquilt moves right along with you keeping you warm...

I'm taking the inflatable when I'm going where hammocking is less practical (not impossible, just not practical) but it's not quite the same. If there aren't any trees close enough together, it's definitely not very practical. I spoke with a guy from the east who had brought a hammock with him. He said the trees are much closer together, and the ground much wetter back east where they are more popular (and practical). He couldn't find two trees close to each other that were within 200 yards of the rest of his group.


Being an east coaster, I've found this to be exceptionally true. There is nowhere I've backpacked in the east where a hammock not only was practical, but most certainly preferable. I've had the same Clark's jungle hammock for 15+ years and it is certainly one of the most outstanding pieces of gear I have ever owned. The advent of the EMU straps for hanging it up made it even better. I'm doing a little 2 nighter this coming weekend up near the Appalachian Trail and I will certainly be leaving the tent home. Just had the hammock out in Mojave Preserve last month and had this beautiful setup:

Hammock 2.jpg


Being a golfer, runner, athlete for the last 40 years I also suffer from back pain and I can't begin to express how much better my back feels after spending 5 nights sleeping in that hammock. Unfortunately, it has never been practical to hang one in the places I've backpacked in the Sierra and both times I brought it I wound up having to just bivy on the ground, so I just bring a small lightweight tent in the Sierra now.

Which brings me back to the original topic, I got a NeoAir a couple years back and I couldn't be happier. I am a side sleeper and it's the only pad I've ever owned that I didn't feel like I needed double hip replacement every morning.
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Re: Lightweight comfortable sleeping pad?

Postby thegib » Tue May 22, 2018 9:19 am

"If it's possible to be comfortable on a thin ensolite pad I'd really like to know how to do it."

It's called hydrocodone.
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