[pct-l] Sleeping mats

Eric Lee saintgimp at hotmail.com
Sun May 3 23:21:18 CDT 2009

Mike wrote:
I'm looking for ideas/brands for a sleeping mat. Any wisdom from the trail?

A lot depends on what your body will put up with.  Many hikers use very
light foam pads of one sort or another, as Mags said.  They don't work for
me.  I don't sleep well on a thin pad and if I don't sleep well, I don't
hike well, so a bit more weight is a net positive for me.

I carried a Thermarest Prolite 3 Short (3/4 length) for a few years but it
still wasn't really adequate for a good night's sleep.  Two years ago I met
a thru-hiker carrying a Big Agnes Air Core pad (mummy cut) and he swore it
was worth its weight in Snickers bars. I tried one last year and I heartily
agree!  It's not self-inflating so you have to spend a minute or two blowing
it up every night, but it's 2.5 inches thick, full length, and soft enough
to let my weary bones rest without aching too much.  Totally worth it.  The
biggest drawback is that if you put a hole in it you *have* to repair it
immediately because otherwise there's no padding at all.  A bit risky in the

For reference, here's weights for some popular pads (all regular length,
shorts are lighter):

Thermarest Ridgerest:       14 oz
Thermarest Z-Lite:          15 oz
Thermarest Prolite 3:       20 oz
Big Agnes Air Core (mummy): 21 oz

Thermarest has a new line, the "Neo Air", which appears to be a
non-self-inflating pad like the Big Agnes Air Core.  It's 2.5 inches thick
and only 14 oz (same as a Ridgerest!), but is insanely expensive at $150


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