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Topic: Warm sleeping pad, what is the warmest?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 2:34 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have a BA insulated air core and no matter what, when it get's cold ( below 35/40) I freeze. My bag is a Montbell down zero degree. The mattress seems to be as cold as the ground and I'm tired of being cold in the winter. So, Christmas is coming and I want to give my kids a big hint on what I would like, are there any suggestions? I would ideally like it to be 1. warm 2. light weight 3. not too big
Thanks!
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 2:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey Bette

Points 1, 2 and 3 are totally subjective. With that in mind, I'll recommend an Exped Downmat 9. The UL7 is awesome, lighter, comfortable, and well insulated, but not as much so as the 9.

Cheers

Carl


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 2:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ditto on the Exped mat.  Warmest, most comfortable ever!
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 3:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

+3 Exped downmat 9.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 3:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Agreed, at an r-value of 8 the DownMat 9 is the warmest commercial backpacking pad.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 5:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So what is it, an inflatable filled with down? That's pretty nifty. Pretty pricey too but I guess it's hard to put a price on comfort in the bush sometimes, at least when it comes to staying warm and being the difference between getting out there and staying home.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 5:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews....strella

That is my 1st gen model. The newer ones have a built in pump.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 5:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Bette, is 35-40 the lowest temperature you camp in? I've used an Exped Synmat 7 down to about 25 degrees with no problem. It's rated for one degree F (R-value 7). The Synmat is not especially light but I find it's well worth its weight. Affordability might be a deciding factor. If not, go with the lighter but more expensive Downmat.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 6:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Looks like the Pacific Outdoor's Traditional 2/3 isn't too bad...R-value 6.8, weighs 25.5 oz, and can be had for around $45. I don't know how good of a pad it is, I just found it while looking at cold weather pads. Being a 2/3 pad it's pretty short though at 48" long.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 7:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That POE pad weighs as much as a Big Agnes Q Core and isn't nearly so cushy...

I have an exped down mat 9 and a Q Core. Unless you are going out in subzero temps, the Exped is a lot of bulk and weight for the job! The Q Core is rated 15F - R value 5. 3.5" of inflatable air mattress, and I used it often, and continue to do so. I save the Exped for winter. It's kept me warm on a concrete floor below 25F before (SAR training, we spend the night in odd places sometimes) and if you know about convective heat loss that's saying a lot.

http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews....ontious

I've heard subjective reviews of the Insulated Air Core that indicate it can be cold for some people around freezing... I think most of these things are subjective. A lady I hike with frequently borrows my winter bag and has thyroid issues that complicate her ability to self-warm at night. She started to do some of the things I've suggested and found that I wasn't just blowing smoke - staying hydrated, eating well, and making sure you're wearing dry clothes head to toe before getting in the bag go a long way to making the night comfortable. She'd been piling on restrictive clothing that doesn't allow the capillaries and veins to do their job well and not wearing a hat.

If you have tried using a second ccf foam pad with the IAC and still been cold... perhaps a medical workup is in order. Just a thought.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 8:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Fatpacking @ Nov. 08 2012, 6:00 pm)
QUOTE
Looks like the Pacific Outdoor's Traditional 2/3 isn't too bad...R-value 6.8, weighs 25.5 oz, and can be had for around $45. I don't know how good of a pad it is, I just found it while looking at cold weather pads. Being a 2/3 pad it's pretty short though at 48" long.

Correction: I misspoke above. The R value of the Exped Synmat 7 is 4.9

Fatpacking, are you looking for a mattress? It looks like you're looking to save some money. The first issue is that you might need a wider mattress, like 25" instead of 20". That adds to the weight and cost.

Unfortunately, there's a real relationship between comfort and cost when it comes to air mattresses. It's hard to find a mattress that is light, comfortable, and cheap.

A place to start might be to decide the maximum weight you're willing to carry in a mattress. Mine weighs 39 oz. (Synmat 7 LW). Many people would find that excessive. I gave up the 24-oz BAIAC for the greater comfort of the Exped. I could affordn't the lighter Downmat. I compensated for the extra weight of the Synmat 7 by shaving a full pound off my sleeping bag.

Another way to look at it is to juggle the combined weight of your empty pack, tent, sleeping bag, and mattress. If you shave a half a pound here and there, you can add weight to whichever of those four items is most important to you.

As for the cost, watch for the REI 20% off sales and search the internet for the best price.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 9:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Fatpacking @ Nov. 08 2012, 5:00 pm)
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Looks like the Pacific Outdoor's Traditional 2/3 isn't too bad...R-value 6.8, weighs 25.5 oz, and can be had for around $45. I don't know how good of a pad it is,

I don't either. But I will venture a guess. NOT.

I'm tired of being cold in the winter

The OP is asking to be warm, not save weight. 2/3 pads do not belong in winter in my opinion. Sure you can place your parka, backpack, and hiking partner under your legs to stay warm. But what if you find you need that on top of you to bolster your warmth?

I kept my Downmat 9 for my son to use and I have a custom r-9+ down-filled pad of my own now. To me there is no better expenditure than a good pad (and bag) in winter.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 9:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TrailTramper @ Nov. 08 2012, 8:44 pm)
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[quote=Fatpacking,Nov. 08 2012, 6:00 pm]

Fatpacking, are you looking for a mattress? It looks like you're looking to save some money. The first issue is that you might need a wider mattress, like 25" instead of 20". That adds to the weight and cost.

No, actually I have a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core mattress that works pretty good for me. Granted I haven't had it out in cold weather, but I plan to give it a try soon with some backyard camping just to see how my sleep system fares in temps down in the low 30's to high 20's so that I can reevaluate my cold weather camping capability. I only threw out that mattress because I saw it while checking out the other ones that were suggested at the top of the thread. I wasn't sure how it stacked up, only saw that it had a decent R-value, was fairly light, and was inexpensive.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 09 2012, 12:14 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Exped Downmat everybody's raving about worked great for me to around -20 to -30*F at night, camped on the Greenland Ice Sheet for a week on a field science expedition.  With a -20F bag and some clothes, I slept beautifully.  Other guys in camp were complaining about the chill come early morning on the coldest day out there, but I had no complaints all night once I warmed up inside the bag.  (Getting out to pee is another story.)

I'm taking the same Downmat pad to Greenland again this coming April/May for 3 weeks, if that's any indication.  I'm also bringing a foam pad as a fail-safe backup.  Just in case.

For warmer temps (positive 20-30*F) you could go with a much wider range of pads that would work fine.  I would however heed Ray's recommendation and stick with a full-length pad.  2/3 pads work for me in summer with my pack under my feet, but camped on snow, you really want some unbroken insulation beneath you, or the potential gaps and cold spots will keep you up at night.

My $.02 anyway.

- Mike


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 09 2012, 12:22 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Fatpacking @ Nov. 08 2012, 8:42 pm)
QUOTE
I haven't had it out in cold weather, but I plan to give it a try soon

I only threw out that mattress because I saw it

Yeah,

Thanks for trying to help, but we prefer to hear from people that have used what they are recommending. Anybody can be a Google Ninja.

We love real experience though. Please share those all you can.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 09 2012, 12:40 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ray, I understand why you think his suggestion wouldn't work well, but personally I'd stop short of trying to "shoo him off" like that.  I think all input is welcome if provided honestly, as Fatpacking did (he didn't try to pass it off as something he used, just a possibility he'd found and wondered if it'd work).  Seems like whoever reads it can determine what amount of value to give it.

Anyhoo, just my personal input, worth every penny ya' paid for it.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 09 2012, 12:49 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I am not trying to "shoo him off". I am saying, 1: answer the OP's question, 2: answer from experience.

If you don't know what you are talking about, make sure you say that it is just an opinion should you feel the need to contribute.

Neither you or I ever talked about Caldera Cone systems before we used one. Know what I mean?


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 09 2012, 1:28 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

From really studying the OP's plea for help...  she is sick and tired of being cold, and I would bet that she is a cold sleeper, as many gals are.  She asked,"What is the warmest?"

With that in mind, I agree with those who recommended the Exped 9.  Better to recommend a pad that will keep her warm, instead of one that might.

I have been using Exped's ever since they showed up at the OR Show, and haven't found anything yet that was warmer.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 09 2012, 1:29 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well, I was providing an alternative to look at. There's this thing called research...maybe you've heard of it. Someone suggests something, even if they don't have personal experience and the person that it is being suggested to can make the decision whether or not to pursue further inquiry into that item. See how that works? But if it would make you feel better, I'll just troll from now on and keep my inexperienced mouth closed.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 09 2012, 2:39 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The problem is, since this is all so very dependent on so many variables... research is limited use. Which is why people come to forums. What are some real reviews from real people who used it more than once then posted two lines on the REI webpage?

I've used the Q Core for 25 nights plus and would trust it to the rated 15F it's advertised at. The Exped DownMat 9 is rated to -39F (yes, that is a negative number) and weighs a bunch. Both of them are very comfortable and durable.

I've not used an Insulated Air Core, mostly because a lot of people who've gone backpacking with me have had them, I've tried 'em out for size, and I didn't like the vertical tube baffles - and they seem to be replaced with regularity for various reasons. The used gear sales at REI have a whole box of repaired Air Cores in it. And I have read reviews here about them for a long time, from folks who've used them. So, I don't have one. That isn't to say I wouldn't use one, if given a chance to review it - but I'd probably take a ccf pad with me to use under it, given the accumulated reviews from users I've heard/read.

The Insulated Air Core... is rated to 15F, same as the Q Core, which I have plenty of experience with. So I take posted ratings with a grain of salt. I only know the stuff I'm using. So I don't talk much about the Air Core, but I also don't use it.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 09 2012, 6:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My wife and I both have the Big Agnes IAC pads and have no problem with them in colder temps. Although when it gets down below 32degrees we do add a closed cell foam pad to the top of the IAC and use a sleeping bag liner over both the IAC pad and the closed cell foam pad and use our 0 degree down MH bags as quilts.
Plus the OP could always change what she is wearing to bed and be warmer too. besides buying a new more expensive pad.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 09 2012, 7:27 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I use two pads in the winter.  One is my normal pad; a full length Pro-Lite Plus.  The second is a closed cell foam pad that I use under the Pro-Lite pad.  I have been comfortable to below 0 F in this configuration.  

I agree with the comment that the use of 3/4 length pads in cold weather is not a good idea.  I now use full length pads regardless of the season.  (I spent several LONG nights in the Spring with a 3/4 length pad and will not do that again)
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 09 2012, 8:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(QCHIKER @ Nov. 09 2012, 6:53 am)
QUOTE
My wife and I both have the Big Agnes IAC pads and have no problem with them in colder temps. Although when it gets down below 32degrees we do add a closed cell foam pad to the top of the IAC

The BAIAC is rated to 15 degrees. If you have to add a closed-cell pad on top of it to achieve that rating, I would say that's a problem. It indicates that the rating might be overly optimistic, at least for you personally.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 09 2012, 9:26 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(AlmostThere @ Nov. 09 2012, 2:39 am)
QUOTE
... research is limited use. Which is why people come to forums.


I've not used an Insulated Air Core, . . . I'd probably take a ccf pad with me to use under it, given the accumulated reviews from users I've heard/read.

I only know the stuff I'm using. So I don't talk much about the Air Core, but I also don't use it.

The question of who can post what comes up periodically.

I would say that this, like all forums, is a mixed group of users––different levels of knowledge and experience, different preferences, and so on. When we come across a recommendation we all know to take it with a grain of salt, NO MATTER WHO IT COMES FROM.

I sure can’t agree that research is of limited use. In the internet age we have a thousand times more information at our fingertips compared to the days when all you knew about was the products in your local store and what it said on the label. Direct experience “may” be the best kind of expertise, but internet research certainly contributes to expertise in a very real way.

In fact your example of the BAIAC shows that. You most likely checked the specs in addition to reading the reviews. That information indicated some possible problems with comfort, durability, and temperature rating and led you to a different product, which you probably researched in the same way. By the time you made your purchase you in fact had some degree of expertise NOT ONLY ON THE PRODUCT YOU BOUGHT, BUT ALSO ON THE ONES YOU REJECTED.

AlmostThere, even though I used the BAIAC for about a year, your “nonexperience” with it is still useful for me to read. It confirms why I eventually got rid of that mattress in favor of an Exped.

If I’m looking for, say, a sleeping bag, and another forum member has spend tons of time researching materials, their insulating properties, how much loft you need, what EN ratings are, which manufacturers are well respected, and so on, it would definitely be helpful to me to hear what that person has learned. If that person comes across a great sleeping bag at a great price that sounds like it might meet my needs, I want to know that. Perhaps the person has never come within 100 miles of that sleeping bag. I still want to know about it. Then I’ll do my own research on it.

Now, it’s also possible for someone to have direct experience with a product but be so ill informed about its technical properties––for lack of research––that the person’s recommendation is useless. Many people become big fans of the things they buy whether they understand the product or not. In many cases I trust my internet research more than reports from actual users.

It would be “nice” if everyone would start out their recommendations with, “I’ve only been backpacking three times in my life and I’ve never actually seen this tent in person” or “I’ve been backpacking for over 30 years and am a professional tent designer,” but the loose structure of internet forums doesn’t require that. So it’s up to readers to draw their own conclusions about someone’s suggestion.

It would be best to just allow people to post freely and assume you’re going to get a wide range of people here. If you disagree with what’s been said it’s easy enough to counter it by referring to your own expertise, whether you gained that through research, direct experience with the specific product, or accumulated experience with related products.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 09 2012, 9:45 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Have you considered the NeoAir™ All Season?  I have used the less warm NeoAir xLite model (R3.2) into the teens F and been fine so I would think that the NeoAir™ All Season (R4.9) should be quite warm in fairly cold conditions.

I have found the NeoAirs to generally be extremely comfortable, extremely light, and they pack extremely small.  The only draw back is that they are expensive.
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(TrailTramper @ Nov. 09 2012, 9:26 am)
QUOTE
AlmostThere, even though I used the BAIAC for about a year, your “nonexperience” with it is still useful for me to read. It confirms why I eventually got rid of that mattress in favor of an Exped.
...

Now, it’s also possible for someone to have direct experience with a product but be so ill informed about its technical properties––for lack of research––that the person’s recommendation is useless. Many people become big fans of the things they buy whether they understand the product or not. In many cases I trust my internet research more than reports from actual users.

I think you're under the impression I'm trying to say who can and can't post. I'm just trying to explain that experience with the item the OP is probably more useful than research the OP is perfectly capable of doing on his/her own, since there's someone here who thinks throwing random items in the mix is a good thing. I came to forums long after becoming a research machine - objective doesn't cut it, with this stuff, because the skill and the knowledge of a backpacker lies in tweaking things on the fly. Like adding the CCF foam to the IAC, and if it fixes the issues, you know it's the IAC. If it doesn't fix the issue, why spend more than 200 smackers on an Exped? Go to a doctor, look at what you're doing right before bed, and revamp. Then try it again. See if it fixes the problem, whatever "it" is.

You don't get that advice from someone who just saw "some pad' on the internet. That's not why I'm here, and I'd bet that's not why the OP is here. She has the same internet. She needed help just the same.

Of course, not everyone is so dedicated to backpacking as to take suggestions like adding another pad - but I'd guess going through the trouble of posting here says the OP is not one of those who will give up just because of a pad failure.

I started a backpacking class at the local adult school. It routinely frustrates people that I put forth the importance of understanding that the gear is only as good as your use of it. It is unreasonable to expect a single item like a pad to be useful in all situations, but, some folks (as you say) don't realize why a 2/3 pad in winter is probably a bad idea. But understanding is work, of course - "just give me something that works. Don't ask me where I'm going or when. Tell me what to buy. What do I buy?"

Well - okay, if the parameter is something that keeps me warm - what is warm to you? What are you doing before you go to bed? are you doing that famous trick where you stop drinking fluids so you don't have to get up to pee in the middle of the night? That may be a big part of the problem.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 09 2012, 11:22 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Point taken folks. I won't post anymore. I'll be moving on to a different forum. You won't need to worry about my inexperienced posts any more or my attempts to help.

Thanks for the help I did manage to get in the short time I was here. I do appreciate that. Anyways, good trails everyone.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 09 2012, 11:47 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My self-inflating has a 3.8 value, and I have found that adding a Thermarest Ridgerest SOLlite lets me take it very far below freezing. Some say the foam goes on top, but I personally think the trick is letting the air in the inflatable warm up, which is accomplished by putting the foam under, silver side up. On a few occasions I've taken the inflatable alone in conditions that turned out too cold, and ended up putting a mylar reflective emergency blanket underneath it. This actually worked like a charm.
I would also suggest checking out MEC, Mountain Equipment Co-op, in Canada. They make their own branded gear, and a pad rated 6.5 is only $101. My 3.8 is from them, it has a brilliant valve, is non-slip both sides, and is extremely tough and durable. Haven't found anything of better quality, and certainly not for the price. It's an inch and a half thick, cost $60.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 09 2012, 11:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Fatpacking @ Nov. 09 2012, 11:22 am)
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Point taken folks. I won't post anymore. I'll be moving on to a different forum. You won't need to worry about my inexperienced posts any more or my attempts to help.

Thanks for the help I did manage to get in the short time I was here. I do appreciate that. Anyways, good trails everyone.

I Hope not.

We all start somewhere. The forum changes, people change, and i am certain you have something to offer.

One thing that is called out here by veteran mountaineers is safety issues. Having the wrong gear in winter is one.


--------------
All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
     Friedrich Nietzsche
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 09 2012, 12:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(AlmostThere @ Nov. 09 2012, 10:32 am)
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I think you're under the impression I'm trying to say who can and can't post.

Actually no, I wasn't under that impression. With respect to what you posted, I wanted to offer an alternative viewpoint on research as a good way of learning.
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