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Thread: Inflatable Sleeping Pads for field use, recommendations?

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  1. #1
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    Inflatable Sleeping Pads for field use, recommendations?

    Looking for recommendations on inflatable sleeping pads thay meet a few criteria. Small form factor when packed down, neutral non high vis color, durable and easily field repairable. I'm also pretty tall, but I'm used to my feet hanging off the end of cots/bunks etc so thats not a huge deal. Mainly just looking for an inflatable pad thats easy to pack out in a ruck and can fit inside of a lightfighter tent. What are ya'll using?

  2. #2
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    Maybe a Therm-a-rest NeoAir XTherm NXT MAX? That being said, it's not the quietest of pads, if noise discipline is an issue, and at the end of the day, while it might be tough for an inflatable sleeping pad, it's still gonna need some babying. I have the last generation of that pad, and I'm on my second one in over a decade, first one developed a couple of pinhole leaks through the years. It's quite warm, packs down decently, fairly light, but definitely crinkly if you move on it.
    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

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  3. #3
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    No experience with full on inflatables, but there are tutorials that show Seamgrip + Tenacious Tape being used for fast field repair on them.

    https://www.gearaid.com/products/sea...oof-repair-kit

    I have used the combo on self inflators and Seamgrip in other applications and give the kit a thumbs up.

  4. #4
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    I’ve been using Thermarest for over 25 years and have been happy with it. Combination of closed cell foam and inflatable gives decent comfort and great insulation from the ground. It rolls up tight enough to strap onto a pack with no issues.
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  5. #5
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    There are a lot of good ones out there now a days. Therm-a- rest, Nemo, Exped, Sea to Summit…They will all be a bit noisy. If you’re looking for one that’s not a bright color, check out Zenbivy. I have their light version and I’m very happy with it. Their largest size is 30”x80”. Whatever kind you get, I recommend something with at least a 4r value and no less than 25” wide. Mine rolls up pretty small. If I’m packing a lot of stuff, sometimes instead of rolling it, I just fold it flat and then it takes up almost no space.

    I would also recommend a pump for inflating. Some have a stuff sack with a valve that you can use to inflate it. Moisture from your breath can make the insulation get funky. Also if it’s cold and you blow it up with your breath, after the air from your lungs cools down to the air temperature your pad will feel like it deflated some. I just got this pump and I love it!

    https://www.flextail.com/products/zero-pump

  6. #6
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    I've been backpack hunting for 10 years and used a handful of pads...to me the best all around is the sea to summit pads. Various models depending on season/temps and different sizes.

    I'm curious why the need to have neutral colors?

  7. #7
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    I've used Exped & Nemo inflatable sleeping pads for over a decade mainly because they're more comfortable & significantly lighter. Before that used the self inflating type of Thermarest, before that closed-cell foam pads. All of the inflatable pads I've used have been noisier than the foam & self inflatables (old Thermarests). But for me are much more comfortable.

    Both Exped & Nemo make models that are muted colors, although I think the lightest models from both are bright colors.

    The Nemo pad I currently have came with it's own inflation bag. The Exped pads don't - I had to purchased separately (a "Schnozzel"). Either is so much fast/better than inflating by mouth.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironman8 View Post
    I've been backpack hunting for 10 years and used a handful of pads...to me the best all around is the sea to summit pads. Various models depending on season/temps and different sizes.

    I'm curious why the need to have neutral colors?
    Need muted colors as I'm active duty mil and will be using it at work so I have to make sure its muted and not high viz. We have issued sleeping mats however they are extremely thin and I already have hip pain resulting from an injury. When sleeping on the ground I need more lift off the hard surface otherwise I'm in a lot of pain the next day.

    Been looking at the suggestions so far and its a ton of great information. Thanks guys
    Last edited by danieljmaunder; 02-07-24 at 18:57.

  9. #9
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    When they don't leak or have holes the old Vietnam-era GI air mattress (the "Rubber Bitch") was pretty comfortable (especially if you have hip issues). I still have mine.

    When you eventually develop a leak or hole you'll have to hold the inflated mattress down in your bathtub to find the bubbles, dry, then patch with Shoe Goo or Gore-Tex waders glue and a patch

    The grey GI Ensolite closed-cell roll-up pad replaced them because they weren't / aren't especially durable. The brown Marine folding accordion pad stores better but isn't any more comfortable.

    For me the Thermarest pad is just OK. A cot is nicer, but not if you're dismounted and packing it in your ruck.



  10. #10
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    You can also stick something like this under an inflatable to give extra protection.

    https://mountainlaureldesigns.com/pr...-1-8-foam-pad/

    If the main gets punctured it would also be nicer waking up on 1/8" of foam instead of 1/64" nylon/polyester.

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