Air filled Sleeping Pad HELP!

9:39 a.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Hi everyone, I though I would ask for some help with this from this great community.

So the problem: I can't stay on my Big Agnes Air Pad!

Details:  I was using the Alps Comfort 1" pad and it was OK, the only problem I had was side sleeping, my hips would start to hurt in the night and wake me up, roll over repeat, repeat, etc.  You get the idea.  So it was suggested I get a thicker pad.   2" to 3".

So off to REI I go!  And found this new pad that was nice and thick and I could afford it!  Set it up a few night back and with the nylon pad and the nylon bag I was sliding all over the place and woke up many times in the night.  Not good.  That was something I liked about the Alps pad, it has a felt like fabric on one side and little dots of stuff on the other to keep your bag from moving around.

Pad Info:  Big Agnes Air Core Pad - 20" x 78" x 2.5" 25 oz.

Solution?? HELP!

I was thinking about putting some thin lines of clear silicone across it to make it "Non-Slip" but not sure it that would work.  Also thought about taking the Alps pad too and strapping them together, but that seems like a lot of extra weight. 

A long term solution may be to make or buy some kind of bag that will hold both the air pad and the sleeping bag, but that won't help for next week! 

Any thing that you guys can think of?  

Thanks for the help,


12:27 p.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Well, no help in fixing your existing pad but I'm a side sleeper too and the Thermarest NeoAir works very well for me. I'm thinking that any pad with the ribs or "baffels" running width wise instead of length wise will do better for folks like us.

2:19 p.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Just had some other thoughts, maybe you could try a non-slip product to either affix to the bottom or even just insert between the pad and tent floor:


6:25 p.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks Patman

Cute Socks!  :D  But it would take a LOT to cove the pad.  When I tried it out is seemed to work OK, just kept waking up on the floor! 

I will be in Seattle on Friday so I will stop by Seattle Fabrics and see what they have, maybe something not quite so heavy.  :) 

I am also having a email conversation with Big Agnes, of course they suggested that I by one of their bags.  But with 3 bags already I think I will pass on that.  :) 

I am thinking about some kind of "Water proof" spray on coating that would make it a lot less slippery, but I am waiting to here back how that will effect the warranty and if it will react to the product.  Good thing about REI, I can always return it and try something else. 


8:39 p.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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1/8" (or thinner) non-skid carpet padding, the mesh kind used under area rugs, might be a viable option. I've used it between the pad and tent floor, it should work equally well on top of the pad.


10:04 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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I had a similar problem with sleeping on my new air pad, NeoAir Therm-A-Rest Sleeping Pad.

I put a couple of dozen appropriately placed dots of Shoe Goo on the bottom of my pad as on the first couple of uses I found the pad moved around inside my tent.  This helped the pad stay a little more stuck to the tent floor.

Recently I changed my positive review to a negative.  As I too was having trouble staying on the pad.  I even wrote a suggestion of a second nipple to fill another tube that ran the eaterior side, thus to enhance inward roll once nearing the edge.

But,,,,, as of a recent camp out I change again and will continue to use this pad.  I have the ShoeGoo dots on the bottom and now use more air pressure which does help.

The other thing that I did was to lay on the pad at home, e.g. while watching the TV (note take off sharp objects).  I found that laying on it at home provided a better understanding of how it works and how to use it.

10:32 a.m. on August 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the suggestions folks.  Given that I may end up returning this to REI, If it just "dose not work for me", I think I will try the carpet pad for this upcoming trip to the beach. 

I think I will get a 3' x 5' cut it in half and put one on top and one underneath.  It the pad dose work out and I get some decent sleep, them I will probably try the dot method or a coating.  Again thanks for the suggestions.  


10:41 a.m. on August 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Cascade Designs (Thermarest) and a couple other companies make a "sleeve" that slips over the inflatables that takes care of the slipperiness. The sleeve is about 18 inches wide, which is just enough when set at about hip level to solve the problem. It also comes with a checkerboard/chessboard/backgammon pattern so you can use it for games when stuck in the tent in a storm.

1:23 p.m. on August 6, 2011 (EDT)
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You might try using a rubber band approach--safety pin elastic strips on the end and middle of the edges of the bag, and slip the mattress inside it -- make the straps *just* snug enough that they don't make the pad taco, but not so loose that the straps become decoration--just something to keep the two together. I've got the Big Agnes, and have had a little bit of the problem, and have thought to do something like that myself.

9:20 a.m. on August 8, 2011 (EDT)
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If all else fails I saw the Alps Comfort series 2" thick for $56 on Check out if you want to try the steepandcheap route.   I slept on some fairly bumpy ground on the AT (mowed field with sticks and roots) and couldn't feel ANYTHING through the pad. My daughter and her friend didn't have pads (I honestly didn't have time and money to get two more) and my daughter was rather peeved when she laid down on mine.

6:17 p.m. on August 8, 2011 (EDT)
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I saw a guy take a regular tube of outdoor GE silicone ($6 a tube) and put some lines of silicone across both sides of his pad so the pad did not slip on the tent bottom (floor) and so that the sleeping bag did not slip of the pad.  Put lines of silicone across the pad about every 2 inches or so. Wet you finger and flatten out the lines so they are flat, wait was that redundent...........  Do this on both sides of the pad.  $6,, problem solved.  Oh yea,  you will also have about half the tube left over so it's really a $3 fix.  To keep your tubes of silicone and such sealers that come in a tube:  Seal the top, put in 2 ziplock bags removeing the air in each one and put in the fridge.  It will then last for years some times.  However,  do not mistake for a burger condiment.

3:45 p.m. on August 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Hi All, Just wanted to give a update from my week on the beach. 

The pad really did not work; for several reasons

  • I just could not stay on the pad, even with the carpet non slip pads.  The one under the pad worked great, but on top....  Not so much.
  • Still had a very hard time sleeping, and thus moved around to much, leading to the first problem.
  • It would have been OK if I could sleep in my back and not move...  But that is not how I sleep. :)  So I need to find a different solution. 

I returned it to REI, I really like that store.  And am now looking at several of the larger blow up pads, Like the Exped DownMat and the Exped SynMat.  I am also interested in any recommendations that you may all have. 

Conditions or Requirements:

  • Thick pad, 2 or more inches of pad, more the better.
  • Usable for back packing, less then 3 lbs.  (Hopefully)
  • Non Slip top, something to keep me from sliding off the mat! 
  • Blow up or self inflating.
  • Comfort, Comfort, Comfort, for me it all about getting a good nights sleep.  UL be damned.  :)
  • Cost, Lower the better!  :)  (Yea, I know, Good luck with that!)

Thanks for any suggestions!


7:34 p.m. on August 21, 2011 (EDT)
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This is perhaps "too little ... too late" ....  BUT --

I do a LOT of bike-riding.   Hence; lostsa flat tires.  I usually do a temporary repair with a blow-out patch.  

Eventually, I replace the tubes with new ones.   "Thorn-proof" KEVLAR tubes are a HUGE improvement.

Here's a "tip" --  Save the old tubes.

I use 'em for all sorts of things.   Can be used as great bungee cords (you need some S-hooks).   Also, can be used in the middle of two shorter bungee cords, to make one real looooong one, like you might need when trying to secure a regular bed mattress on top of your car, when moving.

Anyhow, you can use 'em "as is", or fashion them into big rubber-bands, by slicing them around the circumference with a razor knife or box-cutter.  I cut out the valve stem with a pair of dykes or 'end-nippers' or tin-snips.

As they generally are 20" (kid's bikes) ... 24", 26", 27", and now 29", you will have a good selection to keep out in the garage or shed. 

I often repair / replace tubes for neighborhood kids, so I have plenty.

You can hit-up the local bike shops for these used tubes.   Otherwise, they throw 'em in the Dumpster.

I have used a couple of these, cut into narrower strips, around my sleeping pad to hold it in place.

Many, many other uses.  Keep one-or-more in your car's trunk.


11:30 p.m. on August 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the Idea R2.  I will keep that in mind, but the pad i tried was just not enough for me.  Some time ago I started sleeping on my side, probably when I had some bad back problems, but any way it hard for me to sleep on my back now, so I am a side sleeper.  And the Big Aegis pad I tried was just not up the the task of supporting me.  This is one of the reasons I tried the non slip carpet pads.  No permanent effect to the pad.  If I find one that works but is a little slippery, I will probably go with silicone dots to add grip. 


10:41 p.m. on August 22, 2011 (EDT)
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I have two 25" x 77" x 2" Alps Mountaineering Lightweight Air Pads.  These fill up the bottom of my tent so I don't have to worry about them sliding around and they definitely would.

I recently went hiking on the AT.  The second night's site was in a field that had been mowed recently.  I am a side sleeper also (see Side sleeping and mummy bags) and it would not have been comfortable to sleep on without a pad. Roots, small rocks, finger sized branches were underneath the hay. My daughter and her friend did not have pads and when she laid down in my tent she was extremely peeved that I had not gotten them pads.  The site was almost level and I didn't have a problem sliding on top of the pads. All I did was put a couple of extra puffs of air in them before sleeping and neither my wife or I could feel anything through them. My wife even commented that we could use them car camping instead of the big air mattresses.    

Alps also makes a Comfort Series air pad. They have a felt like top and silicon dots on the bottom.  They can be found on often for about $35-$45.  The only draw back to them is the are a little on the wide side for hanging off the bottom of a pack and they are not the lightest.  Mine are 3lb 15oz. 

I ran into a hiker who had done about 450 miles this year and she had Therm-a-rest neo-air which she said was very comfortable.

Therm-a-rest also makes a TrailPro which is same size as the Alps for $99 but only weighs 2lb 12oz. They apparently cut the weight by cutting diagonal channels in the foam. The only question I would have about this doing this is how much support do you lose with the channels.

2:59 p.m. on September 2, 2011 (EDT)
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On sale at is Pacific Outdoor Equipment's Adventurer AC Reg Pad for $29.98

Description from site:

The next evolution of our award winning insulated air-loft tube pad focuses on versatility, comfort and packability.

"Soft Touch" brushed 75D polyester top fabric for added comfort and Durable 75 Denier Ripstop polyester on bottom.
Oversized outside tubes for cradling you in the saddle to keep you from shifting off the pad at night.
Insulated tubes for maximum warmth.
Relaxed mummy shape saves weight, bulk, and provides more comfort.
DWR finish to help protect from stains and make pad water resistant.

Size (in): 20 x 72 x 2.5
Size (cm): 51 x 183 x 6.3
Weight (oz): 22
Weight (g): 615
Packed Size (in): 4 x 12
Packed Size (cm): 10 x 30.5

Sale is for 4 days starting 9-2-11

11:48 p.m. on September 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the info but I just got the Exped SynMat 9 DLX

from REI, I hope it works!  I think it's the thickest pad that I can carry for backpacking.   I wanted the Comfort 10 DLX pad but I think it is just a little to big for backpacking.  :D

I am heading out on Saturday for a 3 or 4 day hiking trip up in the local mountains.  I will let you all know how it goes and I also plan on posting a trip report. 

Again thanks for the help.


7:36 p.m. on September 4, 2011 (EDT)
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To Quote Bill Murry from Scrooged, "Did you try staples?"

I have the same air mattress and the same problem. I think that "Operant conditioning" has helped he to resist twisting and twirling in my sleep. At home, do all your covers end up on one particular side of the bed, or floor? I'm told that other styles of pads are slightly rubberized to resist creeping. I've notice this is "wicked bad" on uneven terrain. Should I have to "stake down" my bag?


9:33 p.m. on September 4, 2011 (EDT)
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The only time I have issues with sliding off my Big Agnes pad is when I over fill it. Leave it a little soft so it can conform to your body.

1:32 p.m. on October 8, 2011 (EDT)
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Hi all, I thought I would give any of you that followed this thread an update on my sleeping pad issues and what I finally went with.  I will also be posting a review of this pad in the gear section.   As some of you may know, I am a little on the big side (i.e. I could lose a few pounds, say 75+) and was having a hard time sleeping on my other mats.  Sometime over the last few years I went form sleeping on my back to sleeping on my side.  I realized that I have been sleeping like a pregnant woman, tummy resting on the bed, man I really need to get back in shape!!!  (No offense to the mothers of the world.)  But back to the pad issue.  So my normal 1.5" pad was just not letting me get any sleep, not very conductive for happy trails. 

I tied several blow up pads but because of one problem or another none seemed to work very well, i.e getting a good nights sleep.  It seem that the SynMat 9 pump DLX has solved this problem.  Now to lose some much needed weight too.  :)

Final pad:  Exped SynMat 9 Pump DLX

Pro's: Big, thick, not very slippery, did I say thick! Hot real heavy (By my standards, but not a UL pad.)

Con's:  Big (Maybe to wide), Weight (Though still less then my old pads)

Size:  77.5" / 26" / 3.5" (197 / 65 / 9) It's one BIG pad!! And thick TOO! :D

Insulation value: -25 C or -13 F (R value of 6) Have not tried it in the cold yet but when I do I will update the review.

The Mat is very large in size compared to most mats, almost to big.  At 26" wide and 78" long it it as big a me.  I'm 6' 6" and 24" across at the shoulders.  It also takes up most of my 2 person tent.  Just enough room for my pack and stuff.  The big advantage of this pad is the thickness of the pad.  At 9cm or 3.5 inches it is quite thick and very comfortable to sleep on. 

When un-inflated, which is very easy to do, it rolls up to about 4" x 13" (folded in half) it weighs in at 41 oz, so just over 2.5 lbs.  Most UL hikers would find this way to much weight, but for a lot of regular back packers that may not sound like a lot of extra weight for a good nights sleep.  I know for me it is worth every ounce.  

Inflating the pad is a little different then the normal plow up pad, but not that hard to do and is fairly quick for such a large pad.  I would recommend that you try it out at home before your first trip though, just so you have the hang of it in the field. 

Finally this is not a inexpensive pad, at $149 plus sales tax (For Washington) mine cost just over $163, but how much is a good nights sleep worth to you?  To me it was worth it in every way.

One footnote;  It REI had the option I may have got the SynMat 9 Pump which is 77" x 20" x 3.5", I think this pad would have done just as good, maybe, with my sleeping, but all that I was able to find was the DLX at any of the local stores and I did not have time for a internet purchase.

Good Sleeping, Wolfman

7:47 p.m. on October 8, 2011 (EDT)
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Glad you found a pad that works for you.  It certainly sounds comfortable. Now you can take longer hikes and that'll help you lose some weight.

5:02 a.m. on October 9, 2011 (EDT)
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I must vouch for Exped. 

JUST invested in this and used it on a recent trip. At first I was a little sad about paying $145 for this pad but as Wolfman said, it is worth it!! I got older and heavier ;) so I might as well have slept on the ground with my old 1.5" thick pads.

lol I think my favorite part about this is inflating it :) (I have the Small UL version so I bought the mini-pump as well as the air pillow - talk about luxurious sleeping!)

the pad is in a Mountain Hardwear PCT 2 tent.

plus one vote to Exped!!!

9:52 a.m. on October 14, 2011 (EDT)
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I am not at all knowledgeable about pads...but when I bought my Big Agnes bag, I saw that it had a place to insert the pad, thus making it tough to roll off of. I bought the pad made for it and am going to test it soon. I anticipate it going ok unless I just need a thicker one because I am no tinette myself. I remember 30 years ago just getting a bag and a pad and living with it.....but I was 20 then so these things really didn't seem to mean as much as they do at 50!

2:45 p.m. on October 14, 2011 (EDT)
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you don't look 50

5:00 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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giftogab, what kind of pad did you get?  I tried a plow up Big Agnes pad but I just could not stay on top of it.  Big Agnes said to by one of their bags, a...  I already have 3 bags I don't need a forth! :) 

One thing I noticed at REI when looking at bags and pads the Big Agnes bag did not have any insulation on the bottom, I don't remember what rating it was, but it had the cavity of the pad.  I guess it all depends on how much R value the pad has.  I will say this, those Exped SynMat pads sure are nice!  Let us know how it works out.


9:53 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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The reason they don't put insulation on the bottom of the bag is that it is useless because it is compressed when you lie on it, therefore they don't put it there to save weight. Hammock users have this problem and use an under-quilt so the insulation is not compressed.

11:25 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Yea that was what was explained to me, I just don't know if I completely buy it.  I mean even compressed their has to me some value, at least for keeping your body heat in. 

I remember sleeping on a air mattress once with just a blanket, it was hard to sleep, what ever side was on the air mattress was always cold.  Given this was the kind you use on a lake, and it was many years ago, and I don't think I had much on other then shorts.  But....   Anyway I am just not convinced that the insulation dose not help some.


11:24 a.m. on October 16, 2011 (EDT)
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I helps very little.  The way most insulation in sleeping bags and mats works is by preventing the air from circulating. This is an illustration from Exped's site.


Air is the insulator. That's why loft is so important. The lake type mat you had had plenty of loft but the air was free to circulate inside of it.  The material used to make the "insulator" doesn't have to be a bad conductor of heat. Think of fiberglass. Glass stinks as an insulator but when you make it into a fluffy fiber it prevents the movement of air. If you compress the fiberglass or any other kind of "fluffy" insulation it loses it's R value.   


9:38 a.m. on October 17, 2011 (EDT)
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It is their pad that auto fills and is 2". I had already got their bag so it fits in the sleeve on the back of the bag. I had read that you already had a bag or three so that does make a difference. I am going to try mine out soon...just been too hot to use the bag. If I need more pad, I will get a thicker one and will likely stick with the BA simply because of my bag.

CALLAHAN: Why thank you, sir!

11:15 a.m. on November 24, 2011 (EST)
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I wonder what the difference among people is.  I never roll off my sleeping pad.  I have a 20" x 72 x 1" Thermarest and a similar REI lightweight that's 1 1/2" thick.  The REI pad is better on snow. 

Anyway, I do wish that we could know how to train ourselves to just not roll off the pads.  And, I don't like a pad that I have to inflate.  I don't like the feel of them and if they don't have a pump then I have to blow them up, which I don't enjoy.  And each inflation adds a little more moisture inside the pad.  Eventually they will freeze in the winter.

At least we're getting out there!

5:57 p.m. on November 24, 2011 (EST)
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Un-zip your bag 3/4 of the way open, or all the way if it is a 3/4 length zipper.  use the bag as if it were a quilt and fit the pad into the bag.

Use a bivy, it should be breathable on the top, put both your bag and the pad into the bivy.

A bivy will help keep the bottom of your bag dry in rain, too, especially if you are sleeping under a tarp.

It took me awhile to convert to a bivy.  I thought they would be claustrophobic, but they are not and I use them year round.  Plus, since they are lightweight, they make a nice emergency shelter to carry on a day hike.

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