2009 Schleeping Pad Smack-Off

I know that my hiking “partners” Frank and McL are looking for less spartan sleeping solutions in 2009. By spartan, I’m referring to the closed-cell foam pads that we’ve carried in years past. There are some benefits to a closed-cell foam pad: apart from being very light, they make for a good base insulation in wintery conditions, they provide for structure in a frameless pack, they are extremely durable, and they make a makeshift cozy for freezerbag cooking. One thing that they are not is comfy! In order to help a brotha out, I’m providing some details on the state of the sleeping pad market for 2009.

For the smack-off, I’m not including any super-heavy self-inflating pads. These are too heavy to be considered for lightweight backpacking. All but one of these options have been around for some time; there’s one new entry for April 2009! Note that I’m not in the running this round: I have too many pads already and will be rocking a 2/3 length Ether Thermo 6 for the 2009 hiking season!

Sleeping Pad Option Weight Size (in.) R Val Cost Notes
Balloonbed Inflatable 3.5 oz 17x47x1.7 ~1.0? ~$30 Hella light, hell to inflate, balloon animals!
Thermarest RidgeRest (short) 9 oz 20x47x.67 2.6 $19.95 The most comfy of the spartan!
Big Agnes Clearview (petite) 11 oz 20x60x2.5 1.0 $47.95 Comfy & long, but no insulation value
POE Ether Thermo 6 (2/3) 15-16 oz 20x48x2.5 6.8 $65 Good mix of comfort and R value
Thermarest NeoAir (small) 9 oz 20x47x2.5 2.5 $119.95 Lightest ultra-comfy pad; horizontal tubes

Where cost is no consideration, the NeoAir is the winning option for this smack-off! To save weight, it uses a reflective barrier instead of insulation to reflect the warmth back to one’s body. Even the regular size @ 72 inches long weighs a paltry 14 oz, but costs a staggering $149.95! Something that I’m particularly interested in is the horizontal tubes which make for a flatter sleeping surface.


So you be the judge . . .. What is your pad of choice for a comfortable 2009?

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1 Response to 2009 Schleeping Pad Smack-Off

  1. Mike says:

    My 2 Cents/Pence worth.

    Used a closed cell foam for many year then the finally upgraded to a Thermarest Prolite 4 – Too heavy for you guys but work brilliantly with a Theramrest Compack chair – http://www.cascadedesigns.com/therm-a-rest/seating/fast-and-light-seating/compack-chair/product

    I have a NeoAir as well and this is the mutts nuts of sleeping pad – expensive yes but you get more than you pay for.

    For me the hike is about the journey, but that journey can turn quickly sour with a a bad nights sleep. A NeoAir has increased my comfort factor by over double from the Prolite 4 and saved me weight.

    If you can take the hit on the money side you wont regret it.

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