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Random Bits from the Outside World => General Outdoor Stuff & Camping Equipment => Topic started by: mule ears on December 27, 2008, 05:50:33 PM

Title: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: mule ears on December 27, 2008, 05:50:33 PM
For those new to this thread make sure to also see the updates, with pictures, below

In an earlier discussion on sleeping pads for the hard desert I had mentioned using a combination of a Cascade Designs/Thermarest Ridgerest closed cell pad under a Prolite 3 short inflatable pad for extra insulation in the winter when it is really cold. When using this combination on the hard wooden shelter floors, here in the east, I sleep great.

On this last trip to the Bend I tested it out in this way: I took a 47" Ridgerest and cut it down to 36" to fit my Thermarest lite chair kit, then I put my Prolite 3 on top. This gives not only great cushioning of 1.66 inches but great insulation as well. It also gives a puncture proof pad incase something happens to the inflatable one (like happened to Ay Chi on his last trip).

I have increasingly become a side sleeper and with this combo I can deflate the Prolite a bit and get the old hip and shoulder hole effect we used to do when sleeping in the washes. At 52 my hips, back and shoulders really appreciate it. I slept better on this trip of 6 nights on mostly rock surfaces than I have in years.

I also just have to have my chair and this way I get it and when it's time to lay down I just loosen the side webbing struts and it's done. Same in the morning just in reverse when I sit up to have that cup of coffee as the sunrises while still in the warmth of the sleeping bag.  :icon_biggrin: I am working on a new chair that may be 4 oz. lighter than the current 10.5 oz.

Here is the inspiration that sent me in this direction finally. Thermarest is coming out in January with a 36" Prolite that will weigh 8 oz. and fit in the chair kit great. Combined with the cut down Ridgerest at 6 oz. that brings the combo in at only 2 oz. heavier than my old Prolite 3 short alone. I tried, in vain, to get one of the new 36" pads for this trip but they said there weren't any around yet, even sample pads.

Now I know that 36" sounds short but I am 6'2" and have plenty of room to spare to get my hips and shoulders on the pad. I have always used short pads and just put my pack under my feet and legs. If it is really cold I take a full length Ridgerest instead. At 14 oz. for the new combination I can't find any other pad that will give the toughness, insulation and padding.  

Here is the info on the new Thermarest Prolite 36":

Quote
For three-season use, Therm-a-Rest has streamlined the shape of their existing Prolite 3 pads and renamed them, simply, "Prolite." The new pads are tapered slightly more aggressively and feature rounder tops and bottoms. These changes reduce the amount of material used for a given sized pad and result in weight reduction - always a plus for lightweight hikers. The new Prolite pads will be offered in three unisex sizes, plus a women's size. The smallest and lightest pad in this series is the torso-sized extra-small version, measuring twenty by thirty-six inches, and claiming an eight ounce weight. This makes it one of the lightest self-inflating pads commercially available. MSRP's range from US$59.95 to US$119.95, depending on size. Available January 2009.
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect sleeping pad set up
Post by: TexasGirl on December 27, 2008, 07:49:53 PM
Thanks for the info.  Sounds like you have nearly perfected your own set up.  Last winter I took a blue foam pad and used it under my women's model Prolite 4 (chosen over the 3 for warmth).  It worked out very well.  I too am a side sleeper.  I don't know whether I'd go to the extra trouble for backpacking but for car camping it was nice to have the extra warmth and cushioning.  TG
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: Neville on December 28, 2008, 08:40:34 PM
Check out the Big Agnes Air Core pads.  I too am a side sleeper and those pads are a blessing.

Recently I picked up one of their new Clear Core pads.  It seems a bit fragile by the feel, but it has held up pretty well thus far.  Not bad at 14oz either.
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: catz on December 29, 2008, 01:59:12 PM
Check out the Big Agnes Air Core pads.  I too am a side sleeper and those pads are a blessing.

I totally concur, especially for backpack use.  Not only is it extra thick (2"+) but it folds down to next-to-nothing and will easily fit in your pack.
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: Ay Chihuahua! on December 29, 2008, 03:28:59 PM
Thanks for sharing, Mule Ears.  I may need to try this out.  I'll be looking for the 36" Prolite.

Quote
It also gives a puncture proof pad incase something happens to the inflatable one (like happened to Ay Chi on his last trip).

Actually, I've sprung a leak the past 2 of 3 trips out.  :icon_frown: :icon_frown:

Also, by my math, your Ridgerest should weigh about an ounce more than stated, if you cut it from 47 to 36 inches...6.89 oz. to be overly precise.   :icon_lol:

Looking forward to hearing about the weight-reduced chair.
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: mule ears on December 29, 2008, 04:31:32 PM
Check out the Big Agnes Air Core pads.  I too am a side sleeper and those pads are a blessing.

I totally concur, especially for backpack use.  Not only is it extra thick (2"+) but it folds down to next-to-nothing and will easily fit in your pack.

I have stayed away from air mattresses for the puncture issues and they are horrible insulation. 95% of the time I am sleeping out near or below 32 degrees so they would not be very warm. But you are right about the comfort above freezing.

Thanks for sharing, Mule Ears.  I may need to try this out.  I'll be looking for the 36" Prolite.

Quote
It also gives a puncture proof pad incase something happens to the inflatable one (like happened to Ay Chi on his last trip).

Actually, I've sprung a leak the past 2 of 3 trips out.  :icon_frown: :icon_frown:

Also, by my math, your Ridgerest should weigh about an ounce more than stated, if you cut it from 47 to 36 inches...6.89 oz. to be overly precise.   :icon_lol:

Looking forward to hearing about the weight-reduced chair.

Technically your weight is correct, mine came out 6.24 oz. I guess it depends on which side of the ridge you cut on.  :icon_wink: I may also round the corners down a little too.

The Big Anges Cyclone chair is 6.5 oz. but all the reviews are that it is not very durable and I think they have recalled them to beef them up some. It is also shorter and I think a shorter back would not be very comfortable at least at my height.
http://www.rei.com/product/763954# (http://www.rei.com/product/763954#) read the reviews and you will see what I mean.

I may start by cutting some of the top corner materials off of my 15 year old Thermarest chair and maybe some narrower webbing and smaller buckles. I will wait until I see the actual shape of the new Prolite. That should shave at least a couple of oz. off.
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: Ay Chihuahua! on December 29, 2008, 06:10:54 PM
Quote
I may start by cutting some of the top corner materials off of my 15 year old Thermarest chair and maybe some narrower webbing and smaller buckles. I will wait until I see the actual shape of the new Prolite. That should shave at least a couple of oz. off.

I just weighed my Thermarest chair and it comes in at 9.8 oz.  Surely it is the four stays that add the most weight, but I'm not eager to tear my chair up to find out.  Mule Ears, if you're interested in sacrificing your chair, you might try weighing the stays.  I'd be curious if replacing them with something like aluminum arrow shafts might be a weight-saving option.
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: homerboy2u on December 29, 2008, 08:14:06 PM
Some images i found on the internet,but this could change once the pad goes out on the market,thought it could help on the visualization of the product:

(http://www.penroseoutdoors.co.uk/acatalog/Prolite_Three.jpg)
(http://mirror.altrec.com/images/shop/photos/TRM/16773_d.jpg)

 An  REI LINK  (http://images.google.com.mx/imgres?imgurl=http://www.rei.com/zoom/708471_2074Lrg.jpg/150&imgrefurl=http://www.rei.com/search%3Fcat%3D4500026%26sortby%3DPrice%253A%2BHigh%2B-%2BLow%26hist%3Dcat%252C4500026%253ACamping%2BSleep%2BPads&usg=__prZBx4ITVqYxs0kb_1R4KLP_jq0=&h=150&w=150&sz=6&hl=es&start=18&tbnid=mUwO4bGNva-ajM:&tbnh=96&tbnw=96&prev=/images%3Fq%3DThermarest%2BProlite%2B36%2522%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Des%26sa%3DG) to the pad.

Saludos


Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: mule ears on December 29, 2008, 09:32:51 PM
Quote
I may start by cutting some of the top corner materials off of my 15 year old Thermarest chair and maybe some narrower webbing and smaller buckles. I will wait until I see the actual shape of the new Prolite. That should shave at least a couple of oz. off.

I just weighed my Thermarest chair and it comes in at 9.8 oz.  Surely it is the four stays that add the most weight, but I'm not eager to tear my chair up to find out.  Mule Ears, if you're interested in sacrificing your chair, you might try weighing the stays.  I'd be curious if replacing them with something like aluminum arrow shafts might be a weight-saving option.

Mine weighs 9.92 oz. and the stays are fairly easy to get out (there is a slit at the near the end of the sleeve that hold them and you can get the stays out that way. My 4 stays weigh 3.2 oz. so I am not so sure how much weight can be saved there.

That is one reason the Big Agnes chair is lighter but it's mostly because the  bottom stays are considerably shorter and then don't give as much support.


From Backpacking Light.com:
Quote
The Cyclone chair design is very similar to the Therm-a-Rest chair kit (both my older UL version and the current Trekker version). Weight savings are achieved by making each component lighter than what is used in the Therm-a-Rest chair. Fabric is lightweight Cordura rip-stop nylon instead of a heavier nylon, the stays are aluminum tent stays rather than composite rods, the webbing is 5/8 inch instead of 1 inch with correspondingly smaller buckles, and reinforcement where the two stays meet is less substantial in the Big Agnes chair.

Big Agnes did not stop with lighter materials, but also employed some clever redesign to reduce chair weight. The pad pockets are significantly shorter, but most notably, the stays forming the Cyclone seat bottom are four inches shorter than the back stays (instead of equal length as in the Therm-a-Rest). The Cyclone back stays are about 3/4 inch shorter, and of course the bottom stays are considerably shorter, than those on the Therm-a-Rest
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: Ay Chihuahua! on December 30, 2008, 05:05:19 PM
Therm-a-Rest Compack Chair  (http://www.basegear.com/thermarest--compack-chair.html)

And more goodies coming soon from Cascade Designs.

Quote
New Therm-a-Rest® Innovative Air Mattress Design Announced (http://www.thermarest.com/news.aspx)

NeoAir™ mattress offers warmth, comfort and stability in ultra-light, compact package

SEATTLE, Washington – Cascade Designs, Inc., the Seattle-based industry leader in the design and manufacture of premier outdoor equipment, today announced the April 2009 release of the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir mattress as part of the brand’s Fast & Light® series. The ultralight NeoAir mattress is a compact air mattress designed with patent-pending technologies that make it warm and comfortable when inflated for sleeping in the outdoors.

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir mattress packs to the size of a one liter bottle and weighs only 14 ounces for a regular size, making it the perfect choice for people with strict weight and space limitations. When inflated, the NeoAir mattress is warm to sleep on, thanks to a patent-pending Reflective Barrier that reflects heat back to the user’s body and reduces convective heat loss to the ground. A second patent-pending technology, the Triangular Core Matrix, contributes to the warmth by creating a multitude of air cells that minimize air movement and convective cooling. This matrix also creates an internal truss system that virtually eliminates the instability generally found on large tube-based air mattresses and assures that the user will shift less while resting comfortably on a 2.5 inch-thick mattress. Since thermal efficiency is achieved without the aid of down or fiber insulation, the NeoAir mattress can be blown up directly, without the added weight of an air pump or having to worry about exhalation moisture wetting insulation and decreasing performance.

“Nearly forty years of hands-on mattress-building experience has been utilized to create the NeoAir mattress,” said Doug Jacot, Therm-a-Rest Business Director. “That experience has been key in engineering the unique design and manufacturing process it takes to make this truly innovative air mattress.”

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir mattress will be available in four sizes, ranging in retail price from $119.95 to $169.95 USD.

In addition to the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir mattress, the entire Therm-a-Rest Fast & Light series of mattresses and accessories are new, re-designed or updated. New products include the Therm-a-Rest Compack Chair, the lightest and most compact chair sleeve available for regular-width Therm-a-Rest mattresses, and the Therm-a-Rest SimplyDry Sack, an ultralight and waterproof roll top stuff sack for all Therm-a-Rest mattresses and accessories. The Therm-a-Rest ProLite 4 mattress is redesigned—now called the Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus™—the mattress features innovative die-cut foam, making it 20% warmer than the original four-season ProLite 4 of the same weight. The Therm-a-Rest ProLite 3 mattress is also redesigned—now called the Therm-a-Rest ProLite™—the mattress features a new streamlined shape along with lighter fabric and foam, making it even lighter than the original Therm-a-Rest ProLite 3 mattress.
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: mule ears on December 31, 2008, 01:36:47 PM
Therm-a-Rest Compack Chair  (http://www.basegear.com/thermarest--compack-chair.html)

And more goodies coming soon from Cascade Designs.

Quote
New Therm-a-Rest® Innovative Air Mattress Design Announced (http://www.thermarest.com/news.aspx)

NeoAir™ mattress offers warmth, comfort and stability in ultra-light, compact package

I knew about the NeoAir but blanched at the price and again the non-insulative properties of an air mattress. The new chair I did not know about, hmmm. :eusa_think:
Made out of silnylon may make it too flimsy, not durable enough. We'll have to see.

Thanks Ay Chi!
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: mule ears on January 13, 2009, 09:19:47 AM
Looks like BackcountryGear.com is the first to have the new mattresses, even the 36" Prolite. No NeoAir's available until April though.

http://www.backcountrygear.com/catalog/accessdetail.cfm/CA15510 (http://www.backcountrygear.com/catalog/accessdetail.cfm/CA15510)

and Thermarest has finally updated its website including the new Compack chair but not the 36" Prolite.

http://www.thermarest.com/product_detail.aspx?pID=42&cID=1 (http://www.thermarest.com/product_detail.aspx?pID=42&cID=1)
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: partsdude on February 15, 2009, 08:16:48 AM
Gonna say something here,may sound silly to some of ya,but... Ever heard of a Vellux blanket? They used to sell them everywhere but not anymore,kinda hard to find. Do a google search if interested. They are a SUPER lightweight material yet very warm. If memory serves they were originally designed for space flight. I found that sleeping on an air mattress in the cold that you get cold from the bottom side. One night,sleeping on a friends floor that didnt like to run the heater, I took my blanky & put part of it between me & the mattress. WOW,hell of a diff. So I took a Kingsized one,cut it down,sewed it too fit & VOILA.A cheap light warm Sleeping bag actually. You can do various things with it,tho.My next project is to glue it somehow to a pad,maybe sew it. I am telling you these things are AWESOME. My nickname for it is the FABULOUS blanket. They weigh nothing. They use to sell them at Wally world, Sears Target but now you have to mail order but JC Penneys may still keep them. Machine washable too.
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: mule ears on May 28, 2009, 06:14:31 PM
So here is the update, with pictures, to the first post above. I finally got my hands on one of the Prolite 36" short pads and the new Compack chairs. I have not had a chance to use it other than on my hardwood floors but thought some pictures would make it come to life.

First this is the bottom of my old Prolite 3, 47" long, 12 ounce pad. If you look close you will note there are 6 patches done at the factory and several more goop fixes done by me and the factory. Hence the search for a lightweight, comfortable, warm and durable pad set up.

(http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/pad7.jpg)

Next here is the comparison of the 47" and the 36", yep it sure looks small but it easily takes care of my hips and shoulders at 6'2".

(http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/pad6.jpg)

Then the side and top views of the new 36" on top of the cut down 36" Ridgerest. 1.66 inches of puncture proof (almost) resistant [edit for trtlrock] comfort and 4.8 R-value of warmth (remember I mostly hike in the winter with night temps below 32 degrees).

(http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/pad5.jpg)

(http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/pad4.jpg)

Now in the chair kit in sleep position, note the new chair side straps unclip to lay flat.

(http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/pad3.jpg)

A shot of the chair in siting position, there is a strap across the pad where the hinge is but I think that it can probably be cut off to save some weight, I think it must be for when people use longer pads. In this picture I have it completely loose and the pads don't move at all.

(http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/pad1.jpg)

Finally a shot of the perfect chair/pad system in use at an awesome Big Bend camp, just what the doctor ordered (and maybe some bourbon too). Yes this is the old pad and chair but you get the idea  :icon_wink:

(http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/campmuleearssunset.jpg)

The 36" Prolite pad came in at 8.5 oz. the 36" cut down Ridgerest closed cell pad at 6 oz. and the new chair at 6.4 oz. The whole thing at 21 oz. but might could drop another ounce with some trimming. I will let you know how it works in "the field".
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: dkerr24 on May 28, 2009, 07:05:31 PM
Great idea for a chair/pad setup.  The Ridgerest closed cell pad is pretty tough and should keep the inner pad from getting a hole in it.
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: trtlrock on May 28, 2009, 07:25:19 PM
Great shot of the ME sunset.  I hope this setup works for you.   :crossedfingers:

I'm a bit dubious, simply because we've found that our Ridgerests & Z-Rests get punctured through quite a bit.  They always need to be checked for impaled spines & hitch-hiking glochids before sitting, folding, or rolling.  Can't really see them protecting any air mattress longer than a week or two.

Looks awful comfy though, and my hips have already pre-registered their strongly-worded   :pissed:  request for more padding on the next BB trip...
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: mule ears on May 29, 2009, 06:33:29 AM
Great shot of the ME sunset.  I hope this setup works for you.   :crossedfingers:

I'm a bit dubious, simply because we've found that our Ridgerests & Z-Rests get punctured through quite a bit.  They always need to be checked for impaled spines & hitch-hiking glochids before sitting, folding, or rolling.  Can't really see them protecting any air mattress longer than a week or two.

Looks awful comfy though, and my hips have already pre-registered their strongly-worded   :pissed:  request for more padding on the next BB trip...

Yeah nothing is totally puncture proof, like the spine that came right through the sole of my shoe on this last trip, but with the normal care given in preparing a sleeping or sitting site for an inflatable Thermarest this set up has been good so far. The high level of comfort is really the biggest reason my hips and shoulders started talking to me about it.  :eusa_naughty:

Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: trtlrock on July 01, 2009, 02:59:03 PM
So Alex -- I'm beginning to buy into your concept here. :icon_smile:

I got a short (47") NeoAir recently, and I'm wondering if you think it will mate well with the new Compack Chair? TAR doesn't seem to know or have an opinion.  :eusa_think:

Did you or can you try the Compack with your 47" ProLite & no other padding? I'm primarily interested in whether the 47" needs to be folded, or whether it will work well simply extending up & out of the 'top' sleeve of the Compack. And then maybe you can extrapolate from there keeping in mind the major differences between the NeoAir & the ProLite:

* NeoAir 2" thick, although some deflation when in the chair might be desirable. Do you think it would be necessary, or just desirable?
* NeoAir horizontal baffles should mean less flexibility in exactly where one would choose to fold it, and then there's the question of whether a (partially deflated?) NeoAir will fit into the Compack sleeve when folded.

I'm not sure I'm ready to risk the NeoAir in BiBe yet, but we're heading to the antithesis of BiBe soon (New Zealand) and I'm hoping the 47" NA + Compack will work in some fashion.

edit -- not worried about keeping NA inside Compack when sleeping, just wondering about NA in Compack for back support & comfy seating.
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: mule ears on July 03, 2009, 07:10:59 AM
So Alex -- I'm beginning to buy into your concept here. :icon_smile:

I got a short (47") NeoAir recently, and I'm wondering if you think it will mate well with the new Compack Chair? TAR doesn't seem to know or have an opinion.  :eusa_think:

Did you or can you try the Compack with your 47" ProLite & no other padding? I'm primarily interested in whether the 47" needs to be folded, or whether it will work well simply extending up & out of the 'top' sleeve of the Compack. And then maybe you can extrapolate from there keeping in mind the major differences between the NeoAir & the ProLite:

* NeoAir 2" thick, although some deflation when in the chair might be desirable. Do you think it would be necessary, or just desirable?
* NeoAir horizontal baffles should mean less flexibility in exactly where one would choose to fold it, and then there's the question of whether a (partially deflated?) NeoAir will fit into the Compack sleeve when folded.

I'm not sure I'm ready to risk the NeoAir in BiBe yet, but we're heading to the antithesis of BiBe soon (New Zealand) and I'm hoping the 47" NA + Compack will work in some fashion.


trtlrock, I think it would work fine, might have to adjust the inflation a bit.  When I use a 47" prolite in the chair I fold the extra up, in the pad pocket, under my legs.  With the NA you would have too much thickness to fold there so you would just have to let the extra stick out the top of the chair.  As to the fold I am sure you can move it slightly to make it happen between baffles.

I happen to have two 47" prolites so I put them together in the chair to show you what it might look like (it is only 2" thick instead of 2.5" but...) Front view

(http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/dblpad1.jpg)

Back view

(http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/dblpad2.jpg)

It looks very tall above the chair but feels just fine sitting in it. I would order a chair from REI and if it doesn't work take it back.

We are going to be in New Zealand this fall too, early Nov. not backpacking though, part business, part nontraditional tourist.  :icon_wink:
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: trtlrock on July 03, 2009, 07:53:46 AM
Cool -- thanks for the pics. Looks like the extended 10-14" sticking out of the top will stay rigid enough for it to work.

ps -- just PM'd you about NZ...
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: mule ears on November 15, 2009, 08:56:32 AM
Here is the final field testing update.

On my last trip to Utah the 2 pads and new silnylon chair worked perfectly. This picture is of a camp on solid sandstone, no sand or other material to help. My partner had an 1.5" Thermarest Prolite 4 (17 oz. for the 47" model, 14.5 oz. for my two pads together) and complained a bit about sore hips and shoulders (he is 6 years younger than me by the way). I just deflated my pad a little to give hip and shoulder relief but still had the closed cell padding underneath that to give a bit of additional comfort. I slept like a baby for 5 nights.

(http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/chairbuckskincamp.jpg)

Of course the chair is invaluable to enjoying long evenings in camp and the long views from camp.  :icon_biggrin:

(http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/chairthehole.jpg)

The lightweight chair held up well on the abrasive sandstone surfaces (no signs of wear) but I did mostly have it on a groundsheet. I did cut off that middle strap, no need for it that I can see, at least the way I use it.
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: PacingTheCage on February 03, 2010, 03:55:49 PM
I must confess.  I am amazed that you are not using a tent. I've gone "tentless" in other places but I'm a little scared, no downright scared, of doing that in the Bend.  You know, rattle snakes, tarantulas, scorpions, etc.  But, I've never been there either so I'm sure I my imagination is having a lot of influence. I'd like to lose the weight of the tent though. 

Great info on the sleeping pads.  I'm 54, 6'3" and my knees, shoulders, and hips are always talking to me.  And I prefer to sleep on my side too.

I'm heading out to BB for my first trip in 7 days!
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: randell on February 03, 2010, 04:58:41 PM
I must confess.  I am amazed that you are not using a tent. I've gone "tentless" in other places but I'm a little scared, no downright scared, of doing that in the Bend.  You know, rattle snakes, tarantulas, scorpions, etc.  But, I've never been there either so I'm sure I my imagination is having a lot of influence. I'd like to lose the weight of the tent though. 

Great info on the sleeping pads.  I'm 54, 6'3" and my knees, shoulders, and hips are always talking to me.  And I prefer to sleep on my side too.

I'm heading out to BB for my first trip in 7 days!

If you are going in the winter there are not rattlesnakes and not really any insects.  I slept on the ground in January last year in the park and did not hear or see anything at night.  I mean nothing.  Not even a bug singing. 
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: Robert on February 03, 2010, 05:06:42 PM
Quote
You know, rattle snakes, tarantulas, scorpions, etc.

Most of us do our backpacking in the winter months when the weather is milder. With the shorter days and cold nights the "critters" are not as active as in the spring and summer. That goes for the insects and rodents as well.

Randall is right, the nights in the park are usually very quiet.
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: CactusFlower on February 03, 2010, 07:30:47 PM
We usually don't use a tent in BiBe but bring a tarp in case of rain.  Last Fall, at Pinnacles, we learned we should have one tarp per person because it rained and we were a little squished.  Lesson learned!  My mom read somewhere that laying a rope around your sleeping bag will keep snakes away because other snakes will think the rope is a snake and not cross it.  Not sure I believed it, but it brought her piece of mind.  :-)  We are doing Banta in about a month and have discussed taking tent poles and rain fly for the group.
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: txhiker on February 04, 2010, 01:17:27 AM
Here is my setup which I do suggest. OR nighthavent
(http://iris.backcountry.com/userimage/view_resized/3612/440/440)
It weighs just over 2 pounds and is for 2 people. It doesn't have a floor and uses your hiking poles. It is covered all around to protect from insects and has several vents. I have slept tentless a few times but I stopped because in the cold, a tent makes the indoor temperature warmer, so you can get away with a lighter sleeping bag. In all other seasons there are mosquito's (even in Big Bend) so I don't dare to go without something to protect me from the vampires. And then you don't have to worry about the rain.
As far as padding, I just got a Pacific Outdoors Ether Thermo 6
(http://www.rei.com/skuimage/751065/220)
which is lighter than a Thermarest prolite 4 and gives more cushing since it is 2.5 inches tall.
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: mule ears on February 04, 2010, 07:33:13 AM
I must confess.  I am amazed that you are not using a tent. I've gone "tentless" in other places but I'm a little scared, no downright scared, of doing that in the Bend.  You know, rattle snakes, tarantulas, scorpions, etc.  But, I've never been there either so I'm sure I my imagination is having a lot of influence. I'd like to lose the weight of the tent though. 


I'm heading out to BB for my first trip in 7 days!

This is the definitive thread on  sleeping without a tent (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/hiking-the-desert/sleeping-without-a-tent-t4891.0.html) from the early days of the board, some good stuff here.

Like the rest say, in the winter all those cold blooded critters are just not around.

Have a great first trip to the Bend and make sure to give us a report and pictures for Homero!
Title: Re: Maybe the perfect lightweight sleeping pad set up
Post by: PacingTheCage on February 04, 2010, 09:54:54 AM
Many thanks!