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Topic: At what temp do you add a foam sleeping pad?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2013, 9:56 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm curious what temps/conditions lead folks here to add a foam pad to their sleep system (assuming an appropriately rated and fitted sleeping bag).  

I have a Mont Bell super spiral 15 degree down bag.  In the past I used an uninsulated Big Agnes Aircore and added a foam pad in Spring and Fall in Colorado (so figure nights well below freezing).  I just bought an REI Air Rail (R value 4.2) and am wondering how to decide when to add a foam pad.  My wife is in a similar situation, except she has an Exped Synmat 7.  We're planning some winter backpack trips in the mid-atlantic (no longer in Colorado) and I expect some cold nights (especially in Dolly Sods) and snow.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2013, 11:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I always use an insulated pad. I add an EXTRA pad (Thermarest Z-Rest) to supplement my Thermarest Prolite Plus as soon as snow/ice is on the ground.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2013, 11:18 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

When there is snow on the ground I too  add a closed cell foam pad.

Less about the air temp and a lot more about the ground.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2013, 11:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Anything under about 20 degrees F I will add a little pad if needed.
Being in Tn, that doesn't happen too often.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2013, 12:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I use just a torso size foam pad..so perhaps this winter I will add a full length z rest or my neo-air to accomidate the torso pad?  Like others have said, I think it depends more on the ground then the actual air temperature. If the ground has snow and/or ice on it..then u may consider adding it..last winter I slept in my yard to test my quilt rateing. There was snow and ice covering the ground. I used my regular size neo-air with a small size z-rest on top of it. My smartwool medium weight base layers and my 20 degree quilt..that's it..no tent or tarp. Just layed it down on the snow and went to sleep.  The temps dipped down to 10 degrees and I was as warm and cozy as I would have been in my bedroom...so everything worked for me.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2013, 12:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Usually when it gets down around 32 or below that. Then I add a closed cell foam pad to my BA Insulated Air Core pad.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2013, 5:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The commonest gear mistake I come across  is using an inadequate mat .
See the numerous threads about a 32F sleeping bag not warm enough at 32f , never mind that they use a 1R mat....
Possibly because unlike with sleeping bags most manufacturers don't give a temperature value but just the R value and then is up to us to figure that out.
So these are the suggested temps , by Exped, for various R values :
R 0.7  52f
R3.1   25f
R4.9   1.4f
R6     -11f
(some clever chap could work out a formula, I just guess the in-between temps..)
If you have an R1 mat on top of an R4 you get R5
A non insulated mat is typically R1 or less, so rated at around 45f at best.
The relevant temperature for a mat is the ground not air temperature.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2013, 6:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I carry my Z-rest year round and it goes under my thermarest prolite.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2013, 7:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I almost never add a closed cell pad as I have pads to take me to where I want to be. That said I always carry a Z-lite (the Sol these days) as a sit pad/ kneel pad (something us old sore guys use to crawl in the tent...;-) which is my back-up for if I have a failure or need more insulation. Last winter I was using a NeoAir that would not quite go as low as I needed so I layered the Z-Lite once it hit -20 F.

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

It really depends on your pad and its R-value. Add a closed cell pad whenever you feel cold, no matter what the temps. To me nothing wrecks a hike faster than a cold uncomfortable night. Ask Dave... :-D


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2013, 9:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've  been cold in the 50s with an uninsulated air mattress and a 35F sleeping bag, and warm in the 20s with the same sleeping bag and an R7 mattress like the Exped Synmat 7.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2013, 10:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I was just out in the low 20s on ice and snow using a full-length Thermarest. That's also all I used when I was still mountaineering and sleeping on glaciers in sub-zero (but I sleep warm anyway).

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2013, 10:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Collama
To possibly make my comment a bit easier to understand, your uninsulated BA mat has an R1  value .
If by foam mat you meant the usual blue type, that is around R1.4, so those two combined give you roughly R 2.4.
Your new REI R4.2 mat will give you almost  twice the insulation you had before.
This has nothing to do with comfort, just insulation.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2013, 11:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Q Core (Big Agnes) has an R value of 5 and is rated to 15F.

The Exped Downmat 9 has an R value of 9 and a rating of -39F.

I've not added a foam pad to either - but have started taking a Z rest torso length when using my aged Neo Air, simply because I believe that all good things must come to an end, and certainly this plastic bag lined with mylar must leak some day.... I have the original Neo Air, which was rated (I think) somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5 R value, but has been okay for me to the mid-high 20F range... it depends on the surface you're on. Folks with Neo Airs and BA insulated air cores were all cold on a concrete floor of a garage in winter (this was a SAR training) while I was toasty on my Exped and in a 0 degree down bag, as everyone who brought their 3 season gear shivered.... Concrete is one of those surfaces that adds to the problem, as it will conduct heat away from you faster than ground.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2013, 8:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I use a Exped Synmat 7 year around in Wyoming. I have added Ridgerest regular 72x20" when it starts around 10, then an old eggcrate closed cell 72X 24" closer to zero and below for sure. A lot of my winter packing is in the basins that are often snow free frozen grit, not unlike concrete. The extra 4" keeps the dangling hands and extras off the floor.

Do any the R value junkies have a good tech reason for which layer on top? I am a foam side bottom on the pad-bag sandwich. Packing in pin cushion cactus range lands have been one influence.

I have six decades on the oldometer and only use a short Prolte 3/4" x 42 x 20" on very quick and dirty over-nighters with a bivy when real sleep and rest are unlikely. I have tried using a cut up Ridgerest 40" to supplement but no avail for me. That was twice this last summer. I did love the pack weight with fair weather with some good miles and adventure but I was another night  in recovery of hips and sleep after each outing.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2013, 9:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

TT the Exped Synmat 7 has a value of 4.9. Were you thinking of the Downmat 9?
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2013, 9:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yes, with Exped the number is the hight in cm.
DM 7 =7cm
DM 9 =9cm
same for the sym...

according to the "experts" makes no difference wich one goes on top, the R value remain the same.
So you should base your choice on comfort and/or on safety
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2013, 11:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(paula53 @ Oct. 19 2013, 9:22 pm)
QUOTE
TT the Exped Synmat 7 has a value of 4.9. Were you thinking of the Downmat 9?

Sorry, I did get it wrong. Meant to say Exped Synmat 7 with R value of 4.9.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 21 2013, 5:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Franco @ Oct. 18 2013, 5:43 pm)
QUOTE
The commonest gear mistake I come across  is using an inadequate mat .
See the numerous threads about a 32F sleeping bag not warm enough at 32f , never mind that they use a 1R mat....
Possibly because unlike with sleeping bags most manufacturers don't give a temperature value but just the R value and then is up to us to figure that out.
So these are the suggested temps , by Exped, for various R values :
R 0.7  52f
R3.1   25f
R4.9   1.4f
R6     -11f
(some clever chap could work out a formula, I just guess the in-between temps..)
If you have an R1 mat on top of an R4 you get R5
A non insulated mat is typically R1 or less, so rated at around 45f at best.
The relevant temperature for a mat is the ground not air temperature.

If that scale is linear - and based on those points, it is - you can apply the following:

Temp in F° x -0.0833 + 5.08 = Recommended R value

In my experience R=3.2 is good down to a bit below freezing, for -25 I found R=7 to be insufficient as snow melted into ice and I wasn't cold but it felt a little cool underneath me. I suspect once you get below a certain point the scale might change and it will require disproportionately more insulation (i.e. become a exponential relationship).
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 21 2013, 7:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Regaurdless of which insulated air mattress I choose to bring, I always use a closed cell if there is snow on the ground.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 21 2013, 8:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(kcwins @ Oct. 21 2013, 4:53 pm)
QUOTE
Regaurdless of which insulated air mattress I choose to bring, I always use a closed cell if there is snow on the ground.

+1

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 22 2013, 6:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks folks. Good info.

So for a given air temp, snow is colder than the ground to sleep on?  What if air temp high for the day is 25 and night time low is 5.  The ground (with no snow cover) would be very cold. Would snow covered ground in similar conditions be colder for sleeping purposes?  Does snow result in more heat transfer?
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 22 2013, 10:40 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In temps below freezing, I've noticed ice being worst, snow is not as bad, then rock and finally dirt/duff being best. If you think about it from a material standpoint, it makes sense.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 22 2013, 1:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I always use a closed cell foam pad in coordination with an inflatable sleeping pad, regardless of temperature. However, I do switch which inflatable sleeping pad I bring according to the temperatures and amount of snow expected to be on the ground.

The closed cell foam pad is a 3/4 length Thermarest RidgeRest.

In warmer temperatures (above 40* for the low) I typically bring a 3/4 Thermarest NeoAir to use on top of the RidgeRest.

In colder temperatures I use a full-length NeoAir All Season on top of the RidgeRest.

I've used this system for the past two years and see no reason to change. The closed cell foam pad serves as a back-up pad in case my inflatable pad suffers a puncture that I can't repair in the field, as well as working to prevent a puncture from occurring in the first place. It also increase comfort when camping on rougher ground (rocks, roots, etc.)

I also use the close cell foam pad as a pad to sit down and stretch out on when cooking, taking an extended break and it is perfect to lay on when stargazing. Just a win-win-win-win situation for a minor increase in weight (9 oz).


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 23 2013, 9:51 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(markweth @ Oct. 22 2013, 1:15 pm)
QUOTE
I always use a closed cell foam pad in coordination with an inflatable sleeping pad, regardless of temperature. However, I do switch which inflatable sleeping pad I bring according to the temperatures and amount of snow expected to be on the ground.

The closed cell foam pad is a 3/4 length Thermarest RidgeRest.

In warmer temperatures (above 40* for the low) I typically bring a 3/4 Thermarest NeoAir to use on top of the RidgeRest.

In colder temperatures I use a full-length NeoAir All Season on top of the RidgeRest.

I've used this system for the past two years and see no reason to change. The closed cell foam pad serves as a back-up pad in case my inflatable pad suffers a puncture that I can't repair in the field, as well as working to prevent a puncture from occurring in the first place. It also increase comfort when camping on rougher ground (rocks, roots, etc.)

I also use the close cell foam pad as a pad to sit down and stretch out on when cooking, taking an extended break and it is perfect to lay on when stargazing. Just a win-win-win-win situation for a minor increase in weight (9 oz).

The closed cell pad also does double duty as a seat during breaks and in camp.  I've lightened my load enough to allow for the extra convenience, comfort and security that comes with a 10 oz foam pad.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 25 2013, 5:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Carry a Prolite Plus (either a shorty or 72, depending...mostly the short) and always a closed foam pad too. With smaller packs and still 10-day trips, extra food space is an issue. My Prolite stays safe, rolled up inside the blue foam, and strapped to the outside of my backpack. With my tent fitting in a side pocket, the only thing inside of the pack is the pot, bearcan, and sleeping bag.

Better question might be:
At what temp do you change to your winter blow-up pad?


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 27 2013, 10:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I find it depends not just on the temp, but also the surface I am sleeping on.  There's a big difference between sleeping on a bed of leaves/grasses/etc versus packed down dirt or rock.

For example, one of the local parks I backpack at has specific tent locations at their camp sites.  The tent locations though are so packed down it's like camping on top of concrete.  As a result, you need extra insulation; I've been chilled using an Exped synmat in about freezing temps in that park because of that.

OTOH, if I'm camping in the woods and am on top of leaves, pine needles, looser earth, etc, I don't have an issue.

I also like to carry closed cell if I am around freezing or below.  I've had pads deflate on me in the night and w/o closed cell foam, that could have become extremely uncomfortable if not dangerous.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 27 2013, 11:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hmm.  I really am not keen,  after spending mega-bucks to get a pad that cushions my cranky hips and doesn't weigh a ton, to add in another 9 or 10 oz (and significant bulk) in the form of a closed-cell pad.  Any thoughts about what else can help? The one night (in the teens) that I was really cold, I noticed a difference even just layering my rain gear under my bag.  Seems like since the issue is conduction, though, not much besides thick insulation can really solve the problem.  (I know,
Tigger--when it is that cold, I have to stop using my fleece for a pillow and wear it to bed).


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 8:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I recently woke to temps in the mid-thirties. I was in an old, (read: loss of loft,) 20* synthetic mummy bag with my BA Iron Mountain non-insulated mummy pad inside my bag, and we were in a lean-to. It really works great. The pad's sides remain insulated by the bag, and because of the design of BA pads, the sleeping bag can decompress a bit under you, providing a bit more insulation. The only drawback is that any of the hood and collar functions won't work as well. Wear a hat and scarf or something. If it's really cold, a CCF pad and/or one of these:


I get these for a buck at my local dollar store. I use it to make koozies for FBC, as well.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 9:42 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RebeccaD @ Oct. 27 2013, 10:27 pm)
QUOTE
Hmm.  I really am not keen,  after spending mega-bucks to get a pad that cushions my cranky hips and doesn't weigh a ton, to add in another 9 or 10 oz (and significant bulk) in the form of a closed-cell pad.

Same here. It doesn't get cold enough here for me to add to a r-4.1 Insulated Air Core, but there's always the concern about an irreparable leak leaving me with no insulation from the ground. I hate having a bulky pad outside my pack, and usually just take my chances, since I'm mostly out for just a night or two. For longer trips on vacation, it's become a source of debate for me, though. I keep thinking I'll carry my Klymit X-Lite and Thermarest Z-Lite as a combo, but so far always get tempted away from giving up the full length inflatable and carrying extra bulk.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 10:30 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

A basic (R 1.0) blue cell closed foam doesn't add too much weight or bulk; mine weighs only 5 oz or so, and you even go smaller if you trim the length down a bit.

But it's not something I'd want to forego because being cold @ night is far more uncomfortable than having to carry a little extra weight and bulk.
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