Ultimate Sleeping Pad Combo

10:36 p.m. on August 5, 2010 (EDT)
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41 forum posts

I thought I read somewhere on this site that if you get an inflatable, 4 season sleeping pad and put it on top of a closed cell pad like a Ridge Rest that is like the ultimate combination (I think I read you can survive in Antarctica even???? Could be wrong on that one).

What do you think? I have a nice 4 season inflatable I slept on every night for a whole summer. It's durable, big, and comfortable (which is surprisingly important if you are to be doing physically demanding activities all day long). I love it. I was wondering though what if I put a RidgeRest under it. It got below zero several times (this is British Columbia) but I always felt fine as far as keeping away from the cold ground but it never was severe. With a RidgeRest would I be invincible?


What I currently have. I have back-up valves and sealant encase of emergency breakdown which is comforting. Never had a problem however.


The RidgeRest. I think it's pretty well known.


2:00 a.m. on August 6, 2010 (EDT)
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613 forum posts

It works very well here in BC, but, Canadian Tire has a dull black, soft 5/8" thick EVA pad in their camping section, that I find even better. I use a Thermarest Prolite IV or a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core and have an Exped Deluxe 9 downmat. I have tried a lot of pad combos and have slept on the toe of Kokanee Glacier at a measured -41*....in relative comfort, but, I was 35 years younger than I am now.

I find the RRs, I have four to be rather "hard" and I prefer this CT pad, plus, I have several Gossamer Gear Torsolite pads and use these sideways under my torso....sheer bliss!

There is a Canadian source in the Maritimes for these and I will try to find the "url" and post it here. That MEC pas looks good, but, the BAIAC seems lighter and I ain't gettin' any younger.

12:35 p.m. on August 6, 2010 (EDT)
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Is it possible that the hardness and/or pattern design of RR could possibly increase chance of tear or puncture on an inflatable?

9:53 p.m. on August 8, 2010 (EDT)
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6,007 forum posts

The reason that we typically use a combination of an inflatable and a "blue foam" or other closed cell foam is (1) the insulation factor and (2) inflatables do sometimes leak, whether through puncture or freezing of moisture in the inflation valve (you really should not blow the pad up in cold weather to keep the moisture out of the open cell foam inside and the valve). And yes, as you will see if you read my article here on Trailspace about Antarctica, you will see that the combination of inflatable and closed cell foam is standard practice. Has been for decades.

10:15 p.m. on August 9, 2010 (EDT)
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623 forum posts

I use a Big Agnes iron inflatable pad on top of a traditional, bare bones minimal closed cell pad. Yes it does provide comfort since the Big Agnes is almost 3 inches thick, and it is warm because the closed cell pad reflects heat back at me.

If I'm terribly concerned about heat retention, I'll even throw an emergency blanket (which I always have) on top of the Big Agnes, which is on top of the closed cell pad. Talk about heat reflection!

I find that while it's nice to only carry one pad if you use one of those self inflating insulated pads, it's not as comfortable, and not as warm.

The Big Agnes folds up to about the length and width of a Nerf football, and about 2 inches thick - it fits into my pack with ease, and provides me with comfort which is nice on the trail.

May 27, 2018
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