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#167418 - 06/30/12 09:51 PM Big Agnes Q-core/searching for a pad.......
MountainMan49 Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/10/10
Posts: 3
Loc: Rocky Mountains of Northern NM...
Hi all!

I have been backpacking since I was a teen, and I'm now in my early 50's, and having sleep issues in the backcountry.....

Ahh, the good ole days when I was a kid, I would sleep directly on the ground in the summer, no problemo. Pad? For sissies only!

Then in my 20's moved onto a blue foam pad......worked great back then!

In my 30's doubled the Blue foam pad.....started to have some issues....

Starting in my 40's, I started having more problems with my back, neck, hips, you name it, typical aging mountain man, and my sleep started to suffer in the back country, I haven't had a good nights sleep in the woods for years, yet still love to backpack.....but man, talk about being a physical wreck after a week of no sleep and hiking 100 miles......yikes....

I have tried many different pads/mattresses in recent years nothing yet has solved my sleep issue. Personally, I hate the bouncy slippery feel of every air mattress I have tried, including the Thermo-rests. I need a more firm sleeping surface. The only thing that works fair for me is a 5 (!!!!) POUND 2 inch foam rubber pad . and of course, sleeping on basically a sponge but would be a pain in wet weather....I have lucked out in recent years with all the drought in the west.....

Well, I'm just about to cough up the dough and try the new Big Agnes Q-core, after reading all the good reviews and I'm going to give 'er a go on a trip next week, and see if I can "train" myself to live with the "bounce"......

Anyone out there that has tried it? Anyone have any other ideas for a pad under 2lbs that isn't bouncy? Ok, since I'm dealing with a 5lb sponge for now, how about something under 3lbs? Oh, and as I camp in high alpine areas above timberline - forget about hammocks.....

It sure seems somehow in today's world/technology someone could come up with a nice closed cell type sleeping pad, that is comfortable and lightweight......we have been stuck with these blue pad things for my whole life it seems!

I'm a pretty pitiful site on my trips in recent years, with all my latest top-o-the-line light gear, my Osprey pack, my Western Mountaineering bag, my Black Diamond tent, etc etc....and then strapped to all this, in good ole hillbilly fashion, my monster pad! Yikes!

Thanks for any and all suggestions!


Edited by MountainMan49 (07/01/12 04:02 PM)

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#167422 - 07/01/12 03:48 PM Re: Big Agnes Q-core/searching for a pad....... [Re: MountainMan49]
Dave H Offline
member

Registered: 06/02/10
Posts: 57
Loc: Charlotte, NC
I agree with you totally about getting a good nights sleep. As I have aged I have found the smaller pads just don't cut it as well. I purchased the Big Agnes Qcore at the end of May with the REI members discount. I was going the end of May and I went to my local REI to pick one up before I left, they didn't stock them in the store. So I had to go with out it. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet, hopefully soon though. I have a Big Agnes bag so it slids into the sleeve so I don't notice the slippery aspect. I have used the Big Agnes insulated air core mattress for a couple of years now. Once you think it is fully inflated let some air out you won't get that bouncy feeling and its just more comfortable. I'm not sure if that applies to the Qcore or not. Don't wait to the last minute like I did and find it has to be shipped to you. Nice thing about REI if I don't like it I can return it.

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#167423 - 07/01/12 05:22 PM Re: Big Agnes Q-core/searching for a pad....... [Re: Dave H]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Re inflatable pads--they should be squishy, not bouncy! I let enough air out that my hip bone is almost but not quite touching the ground. That way my spine is level when I'm on my side.

You might want to look at Exped insulated air pads, too. Be sure to spend several nights on the floor at home before deciding whether or not to keep it.


Edited by OregonMouse (07/01/12 05:23 PM)
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#167428 - 07/01/12 08:27 PM Re: Big Agnes Q-core/searching for a pad....... [Re: MountainMan49]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I'm in the initial few weeks of a four month review of the Q Core.

It's not comfortable for me unless I let some air out. At 3.5 inches it's a pretty cush ride. It is heavier than my favorite, the NeoAir, but also rated to 15F so will be going with me into alpine conditions in July.

Oh, and the hammock? Worth having for any below treeline adventure. Best sleep you can get. I still wake up multiple times at night, even on my Exped, or the Q Core, or the NeoAir - all awesomely cush - but I can sleep a solid 10 hours through without disruption in the hammock.

NeoAir is the lightest and most compact of the mattresses. The Q Core I have is 27 oz for a 72" model. The Exped (mine is a DownMat 9) is my winter pad and quite hefty at 2 lbs 4 oz - that's heavier than my 3 season tent.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#167467 - 07/02/12 01:07 PM Re: Big Agnes Q-core/searching for a pad....... [Re: MountainMan49]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 829
Loc: Torrance, CA
1) as others have said above, let some air out of the mattress to make it more comfortable.

2) Have you thought about getting the best of both worlds? Get a lightweight air mattress and put a thin foam mattress on top. You could do that for under 2 lbs. The foam mattress on top, could give you some rigidity that is comfortable for you and the air mattress would give you the thickness. If you have a problem of them slipping against each other, you can paint on thinned out silicone rubber. and they should be pretty stable.

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#167468 - 07/02/12 01:20 PM Re: Big Agnes Q-core/searching for a pad....... [Re: MountainMan49]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

I have an older version BA pad, and sleep on it very well - it's sort of my goto system in deep winter, but in that case I actually put a blue foam on top, (or on top and underneath).

I do find with inflatables, I need to have it *not* inflated all the way - I back it off a bit so my butt and shoulders are not hitting the ground, but also there's some "sag" to it. If I feel I'm bottoming out - put a bit more air in.

Honesly, I find this works well enough for me even with a thermarest prolite plus (the 1.5 inch thick version) So this is what I typically carry. I do "not bad" on a short length prolite plus, with my backpack under my feet. That weighs about a pound. (430 grams or so?) I've tried the non-plus (only an inch thick) and it's not cushy enough - I can do it, but lose too much sleep, even though it's lighter (310 grams).

I've not yet bit on the neo-air bandwagon. I may try one soon for more cushyness, but my problem is they only sell the full length here at mec - which weighs as much as my prolite plus shorty.. If I get a shorty I may try it.

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#167473 - 07/02/12 02:08 PM Re: Big Agnes Q-core/searching for a pad....... [Re: phat]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1343
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I also start out with my pad fully inflated (usually because it's been in a chair kit, and firmer is better), and then let air out as Phat and others describe.

I went the Neoair route - and then retreated. I'm now back to a 48" Prolite Plus,simply because it's more convenient to use; it doesn't have to be blown up, and it let's me store my pack under my feet. The Neoair was comfortable, but I found the only one I liked was the all-season, which was 60" long. That forced me to store my pack less conveniently. Since the all season weighed the same as the Prolite Plus, I decided to stay with the Prolite Plus, and have not regretted my choice even once.

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#167478 - 07/02/12 03:47 PM Re: Big Agnes Q-core/searching for a pad....... [Re: OregonMouse]
Paulo Offline
member

Registered: 01/27/11
Posts: 158
Loc: Normally Pacific Northwest
I recently saw a bunch of expeds and they have my attention right now. I'll probably bite the bullet next summer. I just turned 30 so I'm still forcing myself to keep my closed cell foam pad for a bit longer!
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Without a doubt, the hardest thing of all in a survival situation is to cook without the benefit of seasonings and flavourings. - Ray Mears

http://theoutdooradventure.net

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#167488 - 07/02/12 06:03 PM Re: Big Agnes Q-core/searching for a pad....... [Re: Paulo]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By Paulo
I recently saw a bunch of expeds and they have my attention right now. I'll probably bite the bullet next summer. I just turned 30 so I'm still forcing myself to keep my closed cell foam pad for a bit longer!


Don't be afraid to try a hammock tho - On my trips where the terrain and temperature work for it - a hammock is fantastic - I sleep better in it than on any pad.
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#167536 - 07/03/12 08:49 AM Re: Big Agnes Q-core/searching for a pad....... [Re: phat]
Paulo Offline
member

Registered: 01/27/11
Posts: 158
Loc: Normally Pacific Northwest
Yah, Once I get back from Bolivia I have plans to get my hands on a hammock. The biggest issue is that I'm used to hiking up to subalpine and trees there don't cut it.

I was chatting with the author of the ultimate hang and he gave me a bunch of good ideas for getting around that though. I'll have to pick up his book at some point.
_________________________
Without a doubt, the hardest thing of all in a survival situation is to cook without the benefit of seasonings and flavourings. - Ray Mears

http://theoutdooradventure.net

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#167537 - 07/03/12 09:18 AM Re: Big Agnes Q-core/searching for a pad....... [Re: Paulo]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Paulo
Yah, Once I get back from Bolivia I have plans to get my hands on a hammock. The biggest issue is that I'm used to hiking up to subalpine and trees there don't cut it.

I was chatting with the author of the ultimate hang and he gave me a bunch of good ideas for getting around that though. I'll have to pick up his book at some point.


Subalpine? I think we have two different ideas of what that is. I have to take long straps to hammock in subalpine - the trees get real big around 7,000 - 9,000 feet.

You may be thinking of alpine, where there can be little trees that are springy, short, and unsupportive of a hammocker. I've tried - you end up on the ground, in the hammock.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#167568 - 07/03/12 05:14 PM Re: Big Agnes Q-core/searching for a pad....... [Re: MountainMan49]
wildthing Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/02
Posts: 982
Loc: Victoria, B.C.
MountainMan49, I would try a Pacific Outdoors Equipment pad. The one I'm currently using is the Elite, which at 15oz has core insulation only and probably only good to freezing. There is a warmer pad, the Peak Oyl Elite, which is apparantly really good when cold. I found one on Backcountry:

http://www.backcountrygear.com/pacific-outdoor-equipment-peak-oyl-elite.html

I'd highly recommend these pads and the price is right! If you enter the BackcountryGear site via the connection off this site to the right, you'll make everyone happy!


Edited by wildthing (07/03/12 05:15 PM)
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