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#205191 - 01/11/21 09:50 AM Worst Sleep Ever
Sponge Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/01/20
Posts: 12
Loc: Georgia
So, I went out Saturday night here in North Georgia. It was cold (~20°F low, never really got above 35°) and I had a decent, but not overly difficult hike to get to my spot. Long story short, I couldn't sleep because of excruciating pain in my shoulders and back to the point that I chose to make 2 trips back to my car the next morning rather than try to carry the full load.

More details: I went to bed colder than I should have and have a World Famous UL inflatable pad (read: very much not insulated). It was really cold and I was really in pain the first couple hours. My body heat finally overwhelmed the pad and I was warm the rest of the night and around 3 am my back pain subsided, but the shoulders still hurt today even. I'm 33 and have some previous injuries so it's not going to get any easier as time goes on.

I've used this setup twice before down to the high 30s and had one good night's sleep and one bad, so this was the rubber match, so to speak. It seems like if I'm warm enough to sprawl out and toss and turn I can get by. The pad is 1.5" thick and I'm left questioning whether going to a 3" pad would really make things any more comfortable. Insulated pad would obviously help temperature wise, but not comfort. The other pads I'm looking at are much smaller which may also be detrimental. My wife would prefer to sleep in the same tent from a mental comfort standpoint, so I've been trying to make this work but when I got home yesterday the first thing I did was setup the pad on hard ground and the hammock nearby in the backyard and asked her to lay in both for awhile.

So what would you do? Spend $200+ on the latest and greatest air pad or buy the $500 Hammock Gear Wanderlust kit and convince the wife that hammock camping is where it's at?

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#205194 - 01/11/21 01:28 PM Re: Worst Sleep Ever [Re: Sponge]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2924
Loc: NorCal
Ugh, nights like that seem endless.

Comfort and insulation (R value) can be considered together or individually. If you have a mattress/pad that is comfortable in milder temperatures, then you can simply tote a foam pad to add to your mattress for the needed extra insulation. Or, look for something with an R value of 4 or so, and use that instead. The pad type is personal preference and will generally be a foam self-inflator or an air mattress with some kind of insulation scheme, usually either reflective baffles or fiber insulation. My favorites have been the Thermarest Neoairs and Sea to Summit Ulitrlite Insulated. They pack much smaller than foam.

Hammocking can be super comfortable but insulation for winter is its own topic. Suspended in air you're losing convective heat on all sides and many hammocks compress the sleeping bag on the sides, meaning wraparound insulation of some kind and maybe substituting a quilt for sleeping bag.

Good luck!
_________________________
--Rick

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#205196 - 01/11/21 02:24 PM Re: Worst Sleep Ever [Re: Sponge]
BZH Online   content
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 1075
Loc: Madison, AL
I look for sales at REI for sleeping pads and look for 3" thickness minimum.

https://www.rei.com/rei-garage/c/air-pads?ir=category%3Asleeping-pads&r=category%3Asleeping-pads%7Cair-pads%3Bpad-thickness-in%3A3+to+4.9%3Bweight-lbs%3A0.5+to+0.99%7C1+to+1.49

I think this is my current pad: https://www.rei.com/rei-garage/product/171107/big-agnes-insulated-axl-air-sleeping-pad

... actually mine is the wide version:

https://www.rei.com/rei-garage/product/171108/big-agnes-insulated-axl-air-sleeping-pad-wide

I find the wide pad particularly good for tossing and turning. I pack light but I am too old to have a terrible night sleep. I also pack a proper pillow:

https://www.rei.com/product/719843/therm-a-rest-compressible-pillow

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#205198 - 01/11/21 11:19 PM Re: Worst Sleep Ever [Re: Rick_D]
Sponge Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/01/20
Posts: 12
Loc: Georgia
Originally Posted By Rick_D
Ugh, nights like that seem endless.

Comfort and insulation (R value) can be considered together or individually. If you have a mattress/pad that is comfortable in milder temperatures, then you can simply tote a foam pad to add to your mattress for the needed extra insulation. Or, look for something with an R value of 4 or so, and use that instead. The pad type is personal preference and will generally be a foam self-inflator or an air mattress with some kind of insulation scheme, usually either reflective baffles or fiber insulation. My favorites have been the Thermarest Neoairs and Sea to Summit Ulitrlite Insulated. They pack much smaller than foam.

Hammocking can be super comfortable but insulation for winter is its own topic. Suspended in air you're losing convective heat on all sides and many hammocks compress the sleeping bag on the sides, meaning wraparound insulation of some kind and maybe substituting a quilt for sleeping bag.

Good luck!


Really the only difference temperature made Saturday night was forcing me to use the mummy bag as intended rather than my usual sprawl where I end up half on top of my backpack and other gear trying to get comfortable. Most of the pads I see that are insulated and reasonably light are also smaller than the pad I have now which is already too small for me. I'm worried I'd end up half on the ground anyways. The one night I was comfortable on the pad was the night spent on softer ground with a bit of a side slope where I ended up propping my backpack and clothes bag under the pad to stay off the sidewalls of the tent. In retrospect, that probably added some padding to how I slept that night. On the two flat, level campsites it's been my shoulders digging in that's giving me fits. Maybe worth trying again with a $20 CCF pad under this one to see if it helps any. I certainly like that better than spending big money on what may be a lost cause for me.

The good thing about that kit is it comes with 20° insulation, so seems straightforward enough.

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#205200 - 01/12/21 01:12 PM Re: Worst Sleep Ever [Re: Sponge]
BZH Online   content
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 1075
Loc: Madison, AL
Originally Posted By Sponge
Maybe worth trying again with a $20 CCF pad under this one to see if it helps any. I certainly like that better than spending big money on what may be a lost cause for me.


It seems counterintuitive but the standard recommendation is to put the CCF pad on top of the inflatable pad. The reason is that the initial coldness you felt was your body warming up the air inside your pad. If you put the CCF pad on top you buffer that cooling process and more effectively insulate yourself from that pad.

It took me a while to figure out why so many people were reporting that it is much warmer for the CCF pad on top, but experienced backpackers almost universally report it is true.

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#205202 - 01/12/21 03:42 PM Re: Worst Sleep Ever [Re: BZH]
Sponge Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/01/20
Posts: 12
Loc: Georgia
Originally Posted By BZH
Originally Posted By Sponge
Maybe worth trying again with a $20 CCF pad under this one to see if it helps any. I certainly like that better than spending big money on what may be a lost cause for me.


It seems counterintuitive but the standard recommendation is to put the CCF pad on top of the inflatable pad. The reason is that the initial coldness you felt was your body warming up the air inside your pad. If you put the CCF pad on top you buffer that cooling process and more effectively insulate yourself from that pad.

It took me a while to figure out why so many people were reporting that it is much warmer for the CCF pad on top, but experienced backpackers almost universally report it is true.


Mind. Blown.

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#205203 - 01/12/21 04:18 PM Re: Worst Sleep Ever [Re: Sponge]
DustinV Offline
member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 45
Loc: Lakewood, CO
It sounds like while you were cold underneath, your muscles were contracting to generate heat and you couldn't relax. No wonder you woke up sore.

If the pad you're on is comfortable when it's warmer, then it sounds like you need more insulation for when it's colder. More insulation underneath doesn't cause overheating nearly as much as insulation on top, so don't worry about a new pad or pad combo being too warm. Venting or using less insulation on top is a much better problem to have.

A foam pad may be a good intermediate step to prove the concept before you sink money into a warmer pad. Also, they're good multi-use gear: sit-pad, protection for the air pad, staging area for gear...

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#205225 - 01/20/21 02:58 PM Re: Worst Sleep Ever [Re: DustinV]
Sponge Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/01/20
Posts: 12
Loc: Georgia
I decided to take a "why not both" approach. Purchased the wanderlust kit which will be my base for solo and am going to rent a 3" insulated pad from REI for the next trip. The wife can try them both and see which setup she would prefer for a 6 day trip, assuming I can stand sleeping on the ground again myself, then will kit out from there. I prefer spending the stimulus money on gear than on paying for more rotator cuff surgery, so probably going to end up with 2 hammocks.

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