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#168204 - 08/04/12 01:33 AM Mattresses
Barefoot Friar Offline

Registered: 01/23/09
Posts: 176
Loc: Houston, Alabama
G'day, mates.

So I'm a pretty happy hanger, most of the time, but I've come across a couple situations where it would be nice to have a mattress.

One is that my fiancee says she'll do some small trips with me, but she doesn't like the idea of hammocking by herself -- even with me a few feet away. Neither one of us particularly likes sleeping on the cold, hard ground. So this is one time I'd like a mattress.

The other is that my brother and I are going to hike the Pinhoti at some point. There are shelters on part of it, and I'd like to use them, if possible. I'm about as happy sleeping on a shelter floor as I am the bare ground, so I'd need a mattress.

I am a side sleeper at home, and snore too bad when on my back to spend much time there. So I need something that will give a bit to my hips, but support me.

I own a RidgeRest CCF pad, and it's slightly better than nothing, but not by much. I've only taken it out a couple times, since I generally am in my hammock, but the times I've used it ended up being livable but not particularly comfy. Less uncomfortable than bare ground, but not the best thing.

I briefly tested a ProLight Plus in REI a few months ago, and I liked it. But the cost and weight are putting me off. Especially considering I'd have to buy two of them.

I'd like something that I could use as insulation in my hammock on cold nights, if possible, although I'm not opposed to using a blue pad from Wally World specifically for that.

I'm not opposed to a shorter-than-full-length pad, but I don't know how short is too short. Nor do I know if I should put my pillow on the pad or on the ground right next to the pad, thereby maximizing the useful length of the pad.

Oh, and I don't want to be separated from my pad in the middle of the night because it's slippery. It needs to be able to accept me rolling over (with my whole bag), but yet not slide off. This last requirement is not as important as other considerations.

So what do you think? Is the ProLight (or ProLight Plus, for that matter) worth the cost? Are there any that are cheaper but offer the same benefits?
"Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls."

#168205 - 08/04/12 02:22 AM Re: Mattresses [Re: Barefoot Friar]
lori Offline

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
You're spoiled by the hammock, as am I.

The air mattresses (not self inflators) are the best bet. Right now I am testing the Big Agnes Q Core - a heavyweight but with 3.5 inches of depth and some insulation it's a real nice ride, if you must sleep on the ground. Inflating it about 2/3 gives me some nice cushion and some slack to not bounce around on it, as air mattresses tend to do when fully inflated.

The NeoAir I have been using for the past four-five years has been a good choice for me, nearly as comfy as the Q Core. It weighs a full 14 oz less than the BA mattress. Not as good an R Value on it but it has kept me warm to below freezing before.

I never had any luck whatsoever with the self inflators. 1.5 inches just does not keep my bones off the ground. I think I averaged an hour and a half of sleep, sometime in the wee hours of the morning when totally exhausted from all the tossing and turning on the one I used to have.
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

#168225 - 08/04/12 06:34 PM Re: Mattresses [Re: Barefoot Friar]
PDA Offline

Registered: 10/05/10
Posts: 75
I have a Big Agnes Sand Mountain Insulated Air Core. R value 4 and 2 1/2 in thick for comfort. I bought it on sale on RREI Outlet for $35. Not there anymore, so BA Insulated air core would be a more expensive alternative. Get an air mat rather than self inflator, but make sure it contains insulation. Lots of people swear by Eped down mats, but they are heavy and expensive.

#168233 - 08/04/12 09:42 PM Re: Mattresses [Re: Barefoot Friar]
Steadman Offline

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 513
Loc: Virginia
I've had good luck (so far) with the Big Agnes products.

I have an uninsulated pad for summer, and an insulated air core pad for "winter" (I'm in the mid-Atlantic - we don't do winter like the Rockies and Alaska).

I bought 25" wide pads (before I saw the light - now I'd probably buy 20" short ones) and am stuck with them for the time being. Unless you and your fiance want to be plastered together while you are stinking and sleeping, a 25 inch wide pad is NOT wide enough for you to share unless you are of smaller stature.

I am also a side sleeper and have had good luck with this set up - so far - but I am a novice backpacker compared to lori and this gear has not been used hard enough for long enough for me to tell you how good it REALLY is.

I'd private message balzacom and ask them how they work out their sleeping arrangements, as he and his wife have backpacked together for YEARS and sleep on the ground.

#168238 - 08/04/12 11:38 PM Re: Mattresses [Re: Barefoot Friar]
phat Offline

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By Barefoot Friar

So what do you think? Is the ProLight (or ProLight Plus, for that matter) worth the cost? Are there any that are cheaper but offer the same benefits?

I own both a prolite and prolite plus *short* mattress, and I use them the most when not in my hammock.

I just got off about 17 trail nights on my prolite plus. I use the shorty to save weight, it's only 410 grams or so for the plus. I am typically a side sleeper and toss around a bunch. the key with the plus is not to inflate it to bouncy levels, but to let it self inflate, get on it, and puff into it a few times untill your hip just gets off the ground. surprisingly comfortable then - yeah it's not a hammock, but works pretty good.

When using the shorty, I normally put my blue foam "butt pad" that is also the top of my backpack, and my backpack itself, under my feet. Your better half may or may not be ok with the shorty.

Do you have "joined" sleeping bags or different ones? I have taken my wife out on some shorter trips, but when doing so I don't worry too much about "joined" pads or bags. As I sleep warm and she cold, typically, I put her on my winter big agnes pad, and I sleep on my prolite shorty, she uses my western mountaineering -10 bag and zips it up completely, I normally have my -3 down bag on, unzipped and half off of me wink

Basically, if you have bags that zip together, you may want two of the same pad to be able to cuddle close - if you don't, I'd not worry too much about having the same pad.

And you won't be able to both sleep on a 25 inch wide pad. It'll do fine for "amorous activities" in the tent, but you won't be able to both sleep on it wink
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
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#168252 - 08/05/12 08:17 PM Re: Mattresses [Re: phat]
Barefoot Friar Offline

Registered: 01/23/09
Posts: 176
Loc: Houston, Alabama
Ok, thanks folks.

I knew I'd have to buy two mattresses, because I take up some room. ;-) I may get a short for me and a regular for her, and then if I want to take the regular out for whatever reason on a solo trip I can. I highly doubt she'll be ok with a short pad, at least not at first.

I'm trying to ease her into these sorts of things, lol.

Thanks for the advice. I'll take a look at the BA pads, and if I can test one I will.
"Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls."

#168259 - 08/05/12 09:48 PM Re: Mattresses [Re: Barefoot Friar]
Glenn Roberts Offline

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1551
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I think they make "couple" kits that use a strap or two to link two pads into one wider pad.

#168269 - 08/06/12 11:26 AM Re: Mattresses [Re: Barefoot Friar]
finallyME Offline

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I am sorta in the same boat as you. I like my hammock, but my wife wants to sleep next to me. I have a BA insulated air core that works much better than any self-inflator. However, my wife, who has ample hips and side sleeps, wants a little more. So, I plan to buy her the Exped downmat 9 this Christmas. She has tried it out at REI and liked it.
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

#168276 - 08/06/12 12:40 PM Re: Mattresses [Re: Barefoot Friar]
BZH Online   content

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 908
Loc: Torrance, CA
Check out the REI Stratus. A cheap competitor with Neo-air or exped UL7. They seem to hold up and if it doesn't, you've got REI's guarantee.

#168548 - 08/17/12 04:27 PM Re: Mattresses [Re: BZH]
Samoset Offline

Registered: 07/04/08
Posts: 429
Loc: Newnan ,GA
There's always the double nest. And a couple of blue foam pads! Or on large home made UQ;)
Some peopole live life day by day. Try step by step.

#169024 - 09/05/12 04:15 AM Re: Mattresses [Re: Barefoot Friar]
Dcsouthgw Offline

Registered: 08/21/12
Posts: 14
I am assuming that you still need insulation...if not I got a simple air matress at rei that was 7 in thick, 29 wide and only 4lbs to carry. I have also owned ba insul air core 2.5 in thick and they are pretty nice at 1.5lbs. A couple years ago I upgraded to expeds synthetic insul air mattress at 3.5 and it is heaven at only 2.5 lbs. Exped makes the best mattress I have ever used. At thickness for the weight, I couldn't buy any better at the time and their valves are the most bomb proof too.

#169899 - 09/28/12 02:06 AM Re: Mattresses [Re: Dcsouthgw]
Brian10956 Offline

Registered: 09/28/12
Posts: 2
I have the Exped down mat 9 xl. Im a side sleeper and I'm over 6'and 220# It is as good as my home mattress easy to inflate and packs into a 6x11 sack. No problem with sliding off


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