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?
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.