how do u pack TAR Z-lite?

10:22 a.m. on March 16, 2010 (EDT)
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19 forum posts

Just got a Thermarest Z-lite, but wondering how to pack it. Since I always hiking in woodland, it may broke by tree easily if i put it outside the pack.

Do anyone have a good solution about it? or just use a ground cloth cover the mat and put it outside the pack?

Thx a lot in advance!

12:10 p.m. on March 16, 2010 (EDT)
4,419 reviewer rep
6,010 forum posts

The Z-Lite, like the other Cascade Designs foam pads (Z-Rest, Ridgerest,..), is actually pretty tough. Besides, as a closed cell foam, you can't puncture it. I usually just strap my closed cell foam on the outside of the pack somewhere, most usually tucked under the top flap of my pack or with the cinch-straps on the bottom of the pack outside the sleeping bag compartment. I see people attaching their foam on the side of their packs with the side cinch-straps. And this includes hiking off-trail, brush-beating.

Don't worry about it - you are more likely to scratch yourself on the tree branches than hurt the Z-Lite.

I can see your concern, though. Cascade Designs asks a lot of bucks for their foam pads, and all their gear. I don't worry as much, since I just use the good old cheap "Blue Foam". It's pretty much the same stuff, does the job just fine, and a full-length pad only costs about $10 these days, compared to the close to $100 that the name brands cost. It doesn't have the fancy z-folding (neither does the RidgeRest) and it doesn't have the zigzags or bubbles. But it works just fine. My oldest bluie is something over 10 years old and has been to Alaska on one end of the planet and Antarctica on the other end, plus the Tanzanian rain forest halfway between.

7:13 p.m. on March 17, 2010 (EDT)
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3,956 forum posts

I have been using a Ridgerest (closed cell foam) for several years, I always carry it outside my pack and although the pad does get a little scratched up, it doesn't hurt anything.

My use of one as a sitting pad is probably more abusive than packing it outside the pack, and after several years my pad still looks relatively good.

I've never had this type of pad absorb any water as they are 'closed cell' and carrying the pad outside the pack helps make room for other gear that does need to stay dry.

12:40 a.m. on March 18, 2010 (EDT)
37 reviewer rep
749 forum posts

I carry my z-rest like Bill S does, under the top pocket of my pack.

I cut off two pieces with 3 folds each to use as sit pads and to shorten it. I use it as a winter snow chair liner, and as a backup under my air mattress so I don't need a full length one. The 3 fold sit pads are really handy and you can cut a bit off the (side) to make it more square and make it pack into a small pack better.

I'm not as cheap as Bill S and I don't like the big fat rigid cylinder made by the "blueys" so I buy the name brand product.

Jim S

June 20, 2018
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