Strava Widget

Topic Discussion - Sleeping Pad

Sleeping pads are a split decision that every hiker will have to make.  Several characteristics will help determine which one you will choose.  There are 3 main categories.
  1. Closed Cell Foam or CCF
  2. Self inflating pads
  3. Air pads
I have tried 2 of the categories, and have yet to test out CCF.  However the pluses for CCF are without a doubt one of the biggest pluses for all ground pads.  They cannot deflate, because they do not require any air inflation.

Above are two examples of CCF.  The Gossamer Gear thin light pad is grey.  The Thermarest Z lite pad is orange and folds instead of rolls.

In the middle of the road there are the self expanding pads.  These pads are filled with open cell foam.  So when you unroll them and open the air inlet nozzle they begin to expand inside.  This draws a good portion of  the air needed to inflate them.  However, this could take a few minutes depending on what type of pad, and how long it has been rolled up.  You might have to give a few breaths after 20 minutes just to top it off and make sure it is firm.  But we are talking 3 maybe 4.

On the other hand, if you want what is considered the maximum in sleeping luxury, combined with the maximum ultralight and ultra packable design, you need to consider air based sleeping pads.  They pack up very small, and they are extremely comfortable when sticks or rocks are poking you in the back.  I currently have the Neoair regular.  I like it... in fact I love it... however, there are drawbacks.  I have suffered from numerous air leaks and punctures and have lost most of the faith that this design is reliable in a thru-hike type scenario.

When inflating you have to use between 15 and 20 breaths to fill up the pad.  This can be extremely taxing after a long day of hiking or getting caught in a dark situation running out of light.  Maybe you are at a high altitude and you might get light headed trying to inflate this sleeping pad.  Plus, you cannot leave the sleeping pad unattended in specific situations.  As noted in the picture above, this is what happens when the pressure in the air inside EXPANDS and breaks the baffles that are the key to the patented construction that Thermarest uses.  This will cause a full failure in the sleeping pad and you could end up on the cold hard ground.  I have actually seen this happen to the 2nd Neoair that I had.  Lucky for me it inflated only a portion that honestly acted like a pillow.  I learned my lesson on that one.  If you are going to leave camp unattended for a day hike, open the valve and let it equalize.

In the end, I have decided to use the Neoair despite its shortcomings.  However, I am going to upgrade to the newest Neoair that has a much heavier duty material and construction.  It is called the Neoair Trekker and I just purchased it today.  Here is are 2 links, one to purchase and one to a German review with upclose photos:

Buy here:
Review here: