Keeping a Z-rest dry?

4:46 p.m. on February 25, 2012 (EST)
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Hello

I have found it hard to keep heavy rain out of the folds in a z-rest (z-lite?) when strapped onto a pack. I have never seen anything like a (square?) stuff-sack for these things, so I presume you would have to just use a plastic bag or make your own? Or is there another trick to keeping the rain out (and out of the tent eventually)?

I don't remember having such a problem with the ridge-rest but I think I used an old stuff sack on those occasions.

It's possible that I am getting condensation instead of introduced rain water. This is being compared to my partner's inflatable, which was bone dry underneath, and my own experience with the self-inflating mats, which were also dry underneath, inside the tent.

Thanks, Jon.

6:37 p.m. on February 25, 2012 (EST)
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Hi Jon!

When are you discovering the moisture?...In the morning after a night's sleep, at night when you lay out the Z-rest, or some other time?

If it's in the morning, that's a pretty common phenomenon with those pads. I had one for a while, and every time I used it solo I would find water in the little pockets the next morning. Doesn't happen so often with the ridge-rest because those ridges eventually lead to the edges of the pad, whereas the Z-rest's design creates those pockets that never get exposed to outside air.

The only times I did not get condensation was when I used it in combination with another pad...lt's all temperature gradient, you know? So, get yourself a 1/8"-thick CCF pad from Gossamergear.com or Suluk46.com, ditch your ground sheet to offset the weight, and enjoy being warmer and more comfortable...

And yeah, if it's due to rain, keep your plastic ground sheet and wrap your Z-rest in that, or wipe it off with your camp towel once you get your shelter up. Multi-use FTW!!!

7:23 p.m. on February 25, 2012 (EST)
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Making a square stuff sack wouldn't be that hard.  A yard of sil-nylon or PU coated polyester/nylon that is wide several inches wider than your pad. Take it to a seamstress/tailor with a long piece of cord for a drawstring if you can't sew.    

7:29 p.m. on February 25, 2012 (EST)
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I used to have this same problem.  I assumed that becuase it is "closed cell" foam it wouldn't absorb any water.  Mine doesn't absorb much, but enough to "fizz" when I lay on it, and enough to dampen my spirits a bit.  I have a pretty short ridge rest, and fold it in to a flat rectangle which does inside my pack.  I use large (4000CI) golite frame-less pack, and the sleeping pad is essentially the frame.  Now, the pad stays dry, my back doesn't get poked by my kettle, and I'm a happy camper.

1:21 p.m. on February 26, 2012 (EST)
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Pack vertically

1:21 p.m. on February 26, 2012 (EST)
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or in an eVent stuff sack

1:22 p.m. on February 26, 2012 (EST)
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or a Costco meat bag with a rubber band 

1:22 p.m. on February 26, 2012 (EST)
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or drain the water into your mug and leave your water purifier at home

1:38 p.m. on February 26, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks for all the replies. I am thinking it must be mostly condensation then - the sleeping bag was not wet underneath and there was a rectangular patch the next day, which is consistent with that.

I do shake off any rainwater (which I think was enough to stop the tent getting wet when using a ridge-rest) just before I lay it down; it didn't make any sense however, the last times I used it, as it was still raining when setting up camp.

In photos, these things are strapped to the outside of packs without a cover, so that had me puzzled when I just did the same.

It is possible that the closed-cell foam does absorb significant water (like foam ear plugs if you drop them in the sink) and one day I will get around to testing the weight difference after a one hour soak of this z-rest.

So I will use it during the dry weather in future, where the accumulation of dampness won't matter so much.

Thanks, Jon.

2:21 p.m. on February 26, 2012 (EST)
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It is possible that the closed-cell foam does absorb significant water (like foam ear plugs if you drop them in the sink) and one day I will get around to testing the weight difference after a one hour soak of this z-rest.

This would be a pretty simple test - one I'd love to see the results of.  Just to be clear, my closed cell pads don't absorb much water, just enough to dampen me slightly. Perhaps it's just surface water - but there seems to be a bit much for that?

2:41 p.m. on February 26, 2012 (EST)
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If I don't carry my oversized pack cover, I keep my Z-Rest in my MSR Hubba tent bag. Since I roll my tent and fly up tighter and store them in a smaller sack, the original one that came with the tent is freed up.

5:27 p.m. on February 26, 2012 (EST)
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Ok Seth, in the interests of science:

Z-rest (lite?) dry: 405g

Z-rest after half a minute submerged, then shaken: 434g

Z-rest after one hour , 3/4 of it submerged, in luke warm water, then shaken: 435g

So, give or take a gramme, a fairly new z-rest is not absorbing any water. Surface scratches might make a difference but I doubt it. I am going with the idea that my sleeping bag was absorbing some of the residual rain water on the top surface and the rest combined with condensation is what showed up the next day underneath the mat.

9:13 a.m. on February 27, 2012 (EST)
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Pathloser - 30 grams is about 1.5 ounces.  So -  a bit more than a shotglass worth.  That makes sense.

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