What weight are you and do you sleep on your side?

My weight varies a lot through the year. It goes from 140 to 155lb. Right now Im at 144.5. I sleep on back, side, and stomach despite what my chiropractor tells me. He says the best position for your spine is on your back with the knees up. This relaxes all tension along the back. I used to never be able to sleep on my back. About 4 years ago, I just started practicing in my own bed. It was hard for a couple of weeks. Now I can do it with ease. Out in the woods, I sleep mostly on my back but I will flop around the first couple of nights (stomach and sides). Vitamin T minimizes that and helps me wake up refreshed <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />.

Again, that Womans prolite 4 allowed me to sleep on my side. On my back, I love that open cell pad.

What about the large air tube mattresses?

A lot of people love them! Try them. Our whole family tried them and found they were harder than the regular prolite 4 or womans prolite 4. We even let the air out a little to give more flex. But we found the surface tension is still too hard when we lay on it. Thats where self-inflating pads excel. We also dreaded the inflating ritual after only a couple of nights. I think Im in the minority here.

Does REI sell those open cell pads in store so I can try it out on the floor?

No. I bought twin bed open cell egg crate pads at Walmart, Target, and Kmart. An actual bed store should have some high quality versions. Then I cut it to backpacking size. If you try pads at REI, an option my wife likes is: Womans Prolite 4 on bottom (24oz), Z-lite on top (15oz). I think it feels better reversed. If we put in 20 mile days, she wont take the additional z-lite. But on short trips, shell take the z-lite or an 15x1.5x70 open cell mat (16oz). And if you ever have a puncture, you have backup pads (combine it with pine needles <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />).

(from your other post): I was even thinking about making two foam strips. One under the hips & one under the shoulders.

Spock does this with CCF pads and has a lightweight comfortable pad.

Its tricky to find the most comfortable lightest weight pad. All in all, you can try various mats at REI but you dont really know if its helping or hurting until you lay on it for about 4 hours. Everyone has a different feel for a pad so you really have to try it yourself. Hopefully, I can give you a few options out of a million to try.

May everyone find their sleeping zen <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />