I lost my first reply. Short version Try a insul-mat air matterass over a z-rest pad. Very lite weight. The z-rest will give added protection and insulation for the insul-mat air pad. IMO a decent therma-rest pad just weights and costs to much for what you get. A couple different companies make quality backpack traditional style air-mattresses .
Lori and the rest of you are abolsolutly right. A hammock will adapt to almost any situation. I really have never been uncomfortable in a hammock. I slept in one in the 60's in Nam. And I have continued to use one since then. Above frezzing it is a no brainer. Below that you need to make some adatations.
A few months ago I went camping with my two sons, the first night I slept in MY hammock and they slept in the back of my truck with a hard topper. My sons are 17 and 22. It was sleeting for two days, I offered to switch.....and never got my hammock back all week.
I have just completed an experiment. For the last four trips I used different sleeping pads. My ranking of comfort are:
1) therma-rest or similar brand air-pad -- the size and thickness really did not matter much (probably because I only weigh 115 pounds).
2) flexible blue pads with an extra for my hips
3) Z-rest -- I did not like the feel of the little bubbles
4) WallMart blue pad -- hard as a rock! even though thicker than REI flexible blue pad
The funny thing is, that regardless of sleeping pad, two Advil taken one hour before bed mititaged a lot of aches and pains. And selection of sleeping surface (find a nice indentation for hips) helps too!
I conclude that for us old folks, there simply are aches and pains that have nothing to do with the softness of the bed. I am even achy on my bed at home! Granted, the softer sleeping pads help, but do not eliminate all aches. I also find that my night aches increase with the mileage, ups and downs (ironically, more aches with down-hill) and the speed I hike each day. I am less achy at night when I take more rest breaks during the day.
I personally have had a horrible time keeping my thermarests from leaking. I have now gone through 5 (even sent two back to REI for repairs at $15 a shot). I spend about 50+ nights a year out backpacking, so I am not sure if they simply are not intended for heavy use. I do not get big holes, just slow leaks - the kind that I can never find and that require blowing up the pad about every 3 hours. Very annoying.
Nice post WD <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
Maybe try Montbell pads instead of the Trest again in the future? I know Cascades Designs will repair the Trest for free, but you have to ship it to them <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
I'm surprised that you are'nt/have'nt found the Trest pads to be that durable in frequent use <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> They are the most heavily advertised brand, and you know what they say about that... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> it's the gear you don't see ads for that folks are using that gives one pause for thought in my book <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Due to a bad back I can't sleep on any of the hard pads; only inflatables when on the ground. That's why I went back into the trees (ok, punned myself for all my detractors out there <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" />). Hammock sleeping has really given me less issues regarding restless nights when I can hang one up.
It also matters the region and weather on the ground with a pad. Once up in NH I slept out on a really nice granite outcropping with little more than a very thin hard pad under me, and sleeping bag. Constantly woke to being cold and uncomfortable. The idea was great but not practical <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> It's a place I call 'my office' looking off the West side of a rather large New England peak <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
Even on a pine needle duff layered forest floor, I can't sleep well on a hard pad, has to be an inflatable. Some day I'd like to try one of those syn filled pads like the down filled ones in a side by side extended trip trial deal to see which one works for me, if either.
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!
Daisy, you've just got to try an insulated air mattress (Big Agnes or Exped). It doesn't get more comfortable. A torso-length evazote pad is insurance against extra cold or an air leak you can't fix in the field.
Hikerduane Do try to adjust the pressure, it does make a big difference, you don't want to overfill it, but you want your hips off the ground, and it most likely go down a bit in the night as it cools off. It should feel soft under you. Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Hi Jim, I only use my Exped pad on car trips, (rarely), or in colder conditions. I'll fiddle more next time, I try to let some air out when hitting the sack, just don't want to let too much, as I don't get out of my bag until morning for anything, even to pee. The morning shock is enough.:)
I have thought some about a hammock, but the trees aren't always located properly in the Sierra. I will have to take more notice on my trips to see, if when I visit again, a hammock could be used. No new gear for over a year now, time to spend some $$$.
I've been a POE 3/4 fan for a while ..... but I've found something a bit different.
I bought a Gossamer Gear torso sized nightlight pad that weighs in at 3.1 ounces. Then I bought the Big Agnes inflatable air core pillow, which is 16 x 12 x 2.5 inches and 3.5 ounces.
I put a piece of 2 inch velcro on both the pad and the pillow in a straight line on either side of the pad, then I cut a longer piece of the matching velcro to fit each side and hold the two pieces together.
If I'm lucky and find a nice thick pine duff bed I use the pillow as a pillow. If I'm on hard pan I turn it around and use the inflatable pillow under my hips, just like I would the normal POE mattress. I then take a 2.4 L platy with 1 L of water in it, and put it under the nightlight at my shoulder, making in essence a water bed under my top end. The platy adds less than an ounce to my carry weight over the normal 1 L platy that I used to carry.
So ... for under 8 ounces I have a 2/3 length pad with 2.5 inches, with air let out to my max comfort level, under my hips, a shoulder pad that is filled to whatever level is most comfortable, and the Nightlight is more than comfortable for the spaces in between.
I'm very pleased with the solution and also have a nice foam sit pad to hang around the fire with, as well as some water to quench my morning thirst that isn't freezing cold.
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
I was in Lassen VNP with another member of NorthCA Hiking and with all the gawking at the smoke from fires on the short drive there and my quick summit of Lassen peak and the looking here and there while hiking up and jogging down, my neck really acted up. Friday afternoon, the first day in the Park, about 3:00 PM or so, I had to lay down as I was getting vertigo and got sick to my stomach. Anyway, my friend set up my tent for me and put out my bag and DAM pad out. Well she didn't inflate the pad, thinking it was self inflated so I had to sleep on the hard ground more or less. Surprisingly, only my hips hurt that night, my shoulders were fine. I left on Saturday as I wasn't a whole lot better and still couldn't keep anything in my stomach. No water since Friday at lunch time. I was able Saturday night around 6:00PM to keep some Gookinaid down, so at 9:00PM that night I ate a few pretzels and a fruit pie from the store and went back to bed. My hips quit bothering me but my shoulders were hurting. Man, no rest for the wicked I guess. Slowing back to normal on Sunday and the pain in my neck went away.
Loc: Hervey Bay, QLD Australia
I have found that I am willing to carry some extra weight in order to get a good nights sleep. I am a cold sleeper, a side sleeper and I flop around alot. Here is the system that works for me:
PAD: Insulated Air Core (with sac and repair kit) = 24.8 oz with a 3/16 inch foam sleeve that I made out of that white packing material (used for packaging electronics) Increases the warmth of the aircore by quite a bit (it can be used 4 season with the sleeve) I slide the aircore into the 3/16 sleeve. When not sleeping on it - I use the sleeve as a sit pad for sitting around the fire. Leaned up against a log it makes a very comfortable seat. Sleeve weight = 11.5 oz
BAG: WM Versalite long with 2 oz overstuffing (I'm a cold sleeper, but I've never had a cold night in this bag) = 39.7 oz
Total Weight = 76 oz or 4.75 pounds - and worth every once.
i really don't think that applies to me.
Your sleeping habits sound very similar to mine. I mostly use a hammock but I like the idea of using the white foam you described. Did you glue it? And where did you find a piece big enough for a sac or sleeve? I'm thinking that it would work for insulation under my hammock as well.
Loc: Hervey Bay, QLD Australia
I had to call around quite a bit before I found what I was looking for. I finally found it at an art dealer (they use it for shipping. What I use is 3/16 inch thick by 2 feet wide white packing foam (it normally comes in very long rolls - so you need to find someone willing to cut you a piece). Be sure you get the kind without the slits in it. You want the solid stuff. I believe the slits are so that the packed object breathes - alot of electronic dealers use the slit stuff.
I then tape the edges together with SCOTCH 3710. 3710 has special adhesive that sticks really well to that white foam. You will have to google it - I can't remember my source. But, I did try regular packing tape before figuring out the 3710 and the packing tape does not stick well at all.
At the top of the white foam sleeve I left a 6 inch tab on one side that I use to seal the open end by rolling it over the mat and tucking it into the open end of the sleeve. I also added "wings" to the sides becuase I like to have my arms out of my sleeping bag and they get cold and uncomfortable on the hard ground. The wings are maybe 3 feet long and 8 inches wide and are attached where your arms would lay at your side.
The whole thing weighs 11.5 oz, but some of that weight is offset since it doubles as a sit pad. I can tell you that the whole system is quite comfortable and significantly warmer that the (insulated) pad alone.
I hope that helps.
i really don't think that applies to me.
Lots of responses here - sleeping comfort obviously a subject of interest to us 'greybeards'! One tip I don't think has been mentioned (especially for side sleepers) is that your comfort can be increased on hard terrain if you sleep so as your hip lies in a slight depression. You can scoop out a shallow depression to make one if one is not already there. As far as 'mattresses' go, I use a 3/4 length Thermarest supplemented by a light closed cell foam Ridgerest pad that I place under the Thermarest and extended to lie beneath my feet.