most durable sleeping pad

11:55 a.m. on April 5, 2013 (EDT)
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For you multiple day packers, what do you recommend for longevity and comfort for a 200 lb guy.

12:17 p.m. on April 5, 2013 (EDT)
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 I have used a Ensolite Pad since 1978, still have the one I bought at Gary King's Sporting Goods store in Anchorage AK in 1978. Its blue closed cell foam, wears forever I guess. Still cheap too, I've seen them for $5-10 in department stores like Walmart, Kmart,Target. Been using mine 35 years. I tried a couple Therm-a-Rest pad's, but always managed to get a hole in them, makes them useless especially if you don't carry a patch kit for it.


My-35-year-olf-Ensolite-pad-in-2009.jpg

This is my old pad. I shot this in 2009 when someone else was asking about a good longlasting pad here at Trailspace.

They are light too at about a pound maybe and mine's 6 x 2 feet. I weigh between 208 and 235 lbs depending on the time of year.


Ensolite-pad.jpg

Unrolled. Used to have another, seen above. Found it at Goodwill, gave it to a friend.

 

4:18 p.m. on April 5, 2013 (EDT)
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closed cell foam pads (ridgerest, for example, or the ensolite foam pad pictured above) are hands-down the most durable option.  a lot of people find the inflatable pads more comfortable, but they are vulnerable to getting punctured. 

9:01 p.m. on April 5, 2013 (EDT)
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my ridgerest pads are twelve years old and just as good as the day I bought them.

9:13 p.m. on April 5, 2013 (EDT)
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I'll second (third? fourth?) the closed-cell foam for durability. I have one even older than Gary's (it was my dad's), still in great condition. Eventually I went with the Ridgerest for the extra comfort, those ridges are squishy and the reflective surface is warm.

Seems to me, though, that the heavier a person is, the more likely they are to find CCF uncomfortable. Makes sense. Given the weight of them, you could double them up. Bulky, that's all.

I have a self-inflating pad from MEC in Canada (the Reactor) that's rated 3.8 and weighs 23 ounces. If I ever manage to puncture this thing, I will be shocked. Tough as an old boot. $65, too. So now I carry this AND the Ridgerest. Decadent luxury, and I won't be in trouble if the inflatable goes pooft.

10:23 p.m. on April 5, 2013 (EDT)
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I have had many different mats over the years. Inflatables, insulated, CCf, blah blah blah...

It is kinda ironic that this subject actually came up. I was looking at mats this morning(5am) before work.

Yes, I sleep, eat, and breath gear. I am a gearhead. 

Anywho, I came across Exped's "Multimat" and I have to say I am probably going to be ordering one here shortly being it is a multi-functional item.

I know, items that serve multiple purposes usually do not excel at anything but this mat seems like it would be good to have for multiple reasons.

It is a foam mat so no worries about it "deflating" as some experience with inflatable mats.

Here is a video from Exped on the mat. I think others will find this model intriguing as well:

 

As far as durability goes CCF is the way to go but doesn't do much as a stand alone item when the temps drop. In regards to inflatables I really like my Exped Downmat 7M a lot.


Exped-DM-7-009.jpg

12:13 a.m. on April 6, 2013 (EDT)
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I used to have the blue ensolite but the ravages of time ate it up and the last bits are getting use today. I am talking late 60's to now.

I thought everyone used 2 pads at the same time. I do. I use a ridgerest the same one for 40 years i guess, and a almost that old Thermarest with it.

Recently i bought a new  Thermarest called Prolite because it packs smaller and weighs less and I am getting older, but i will still keep and use the old rectangle pattern at car camping events.

The way i see it the ridgerest being closed cell foam acts to soften the ground and is insulation, and with a thermarest on top you have adjustable comfort. The self inflating pads have worked well for me over many years,a nd only one began to leak and i could not find the leak bubble testing either. I sent that in and got another back at around year 25, about the time i met my 2nd wife. 

Now i have 2 of each and a 3/4 solo. That solo is older than everything else from the early 70's

12:19 p.m. on April 6, 2013 (EDT)
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Lodge Pole said:I thought everyone used 2 pads at the same time

 

I have been thinking of getting a second ensolite pad as my hips now seem to complain when I use my old one. Two one one top of the other. Maybe put velcro on it to keep em from sliding apart at night?

9:42 p.m. on April 6, 2013 (EDT)
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GaryPalmer said:

Lodge Pole said:I thought everyone used 2 pads at the same time

 

I have been thinking of getting a second ensolite pad as my hips now seem to complain when I use my old one. Two one one top of the other. Maybe put velcro on it to keep em from sliding apart at night?

 Yeah you could place a bit of velcro on 2 ensolites and stack them both. here in NH Wallmart has a interesting 8 dollars and change green pad they are selling. Sort of thinker than a blue ensolite and softer. I am thinking of picking one for day hikes as a seating place for on wet ground or snow.

Here is summer in the back country its either wet, roots or rocky. In some place you simply must get off the ground too. These kinds of pad can work in hammocks too.

I tend to close it all up n matter the season not matter if there is a tent in a bivey bag, which holds all the sleeping parts stacked up.

9:43 p.m. on April 7, 2013 (EDT)
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I agree that the most durable is Ensolite. That said, it is bulky. I have an NRS pad that is very heavy duty and comfortable, but it is bulky as well, almost as much as the Ensolite. Self inflating or inflating pads are always subject to holes. That said, I have some old Thermarests that I used climbing(metal Schrader valves) and they still work well. Finding pin holes can be next to impossible.

9:58 p.m. on April 7, 2013 (EDT)
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Erich said:

I agree that the most durable is Ensolite. That said, it is bulky. I have an NRS pad that is very heavy duty and comfortable, but it is bulky as well, almost as much as the Ensolite. Self inflating or inflating pads are always subject to holes. That said, I have some old Thermarests that I used climbing(metal Schrader valves) and they still work well. Finding pin holes can be next to impossible.

 I have 1 with that metal valve and 2 more that don't, plus 2 new ones.

One of the plastic valves is an irregular because i sent it back after 20+ years of use. The original began to leak and I could not wrasel that thing into water enough to discover the leak and fix it.

Thermarest folks were great and just sent me a new irregular, and I can't see what is wrong with that.. if i could have fixed it i might still have it, but i just wasn't bigger than that air mattress no matter how hard i tried.

6:50 a.m. on April 8, 2013 (EDT)
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The foam pads are by far the most durable, but are also far from the most comfortable. Many of the inflatable pads on the markey nowadays are 'tough enough' to get the job done with the best of both words. You can carry a few small pieces of tear aid patches (these usually come with many inflatable pads), they are inexpensive and don't even weigh 1/8 of an oz for like 5 of them. I carry a small assortment of sizes.

I have had 2 punctures in inflatable pads, one was an ember burned a hole in a sit pad/my dogs bed. (rei dog dream bed? i think thats it anyway) and one in a friends EMS inflatable, don't remember the brand name. Both took just a minute or so to find the leak, and the patch can be applied and the pad ready to use again in less than 2 minutes. Its as simple as putting a sticker or piece of tape on something and pressing it in/rubbing it on good.

I was always hesitant about getting a pad rupture/leak, but ever since having to use the tear aid patches It is barely a concern of mine any longer. I am still obviously careful with my pad to purposely avoid potential dangers.

But basically what I am saying is go for comfort. A comfortable nights sleep is far more important IMO than worrying about the occassional/rare pad leak. Just carry some patch material and don't sweat it. Those patches are permenant too. I have been using the one on the dog bed/sit pad for about a year plus now since being patched and its holding up like a champ.(probably 40-50 nights of use since the leak).

7:47 a.m. on April 8, 2013 (EDT)
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Islandess said:

Seems to me, though, that the heavier a person is, the more likely they are to find CCF uncomfortable. Makes sense. Given the weight of them, you could double them up. Bulky, that's all.

 Us skinny people are pretty bony around the hips and shoulders, but I don't know if that cancels the weight effect. I have recently gone from years of using thermarest self-inflating pads of various thickness to insulated inflatables and love the extra comfort and compactness. Not as durable, but way more comfortable.

11:07 a.m. on April 8, 2013 (EDT)
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Rambler said, "Both took just a minute or so to find the leak, and the patch can be applied and the pad ready to use again in less than 2 minutes."

On a trip several years ago, one of the party insisted on sitting near the fire with her pad stuffed into the chair arrangement. Several embers burned holes. These were easy to patch. On a three week expedition last year, I got several pin holes, probably from having to pitch in an area full of wild roses. I was able to find and patch several, but in the end still had a slow leak that would deflate the pad in about 3-4 hours. It is very hard to find that sort of a leak, especially if the only water is a fast moving river.

11:39 a.m. on April 8, 2013 (EDT)
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My main reason for sticking to my ensolite pad is I hike in the desert southwest 1/2 the year and even a uninflated thermarest gets punctured and its useless. I pack my pad on the back of my pack and so it catches all the stickers,needles and thorns from the cacti I walk past. But it never deflates!

3:33 p.m. on April 8, 2013 (EDT)
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7:03 p.m. on April 8, 2013 (EDT)
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I bypass the whole issue nowadays by just using my hammock!

12:10 p.m. on April 9, 2013 (EDT)
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I am skinny and my hip and other bones are pretty tough I guess after 36 years sleeping outside 6-9 months a year. It usually takes me a few nights to get comforatble again on my Ensolite pad but like getting used to a backpack, I do eventually. I often find a soft mattress back in a bedroom harder to get used to after 6 months on the road or trail.

And a hammock would be nice I guess, are they warm enough with air being able to pass all around you?

4:08 p.m. on April 9, 2013 (EDT)
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good info, i've had various puncture issues and massive pin holes with inflatable mattresses, but am also interested in comfort at age 57.

5:16 p.m. on April 9, 2013 (EDT)
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woodsy said:

good info, i've had various puncture issues and massive pin holes with inflatable mattresses, but am also interested in comfort at age 57.

 In 40+ years I have owns 6 thermarests and after about 30 years one of them pin holed and i could never find it. i sent it back and they sent me a new one.

I do tend to take care of my things. I make sure they are not exposed to fires and or sharp pointy things. That does include CATS!

Given care these pads may out live me..... That's a little scary huh?

6:40 p.m. on April 9, 2013 (EDT)
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Erich said:

Rambler said, "Both took just a minute or so to find the leak, and the patch can be applied and the pad ready to use again in less than 2 minutes."

On a trip several years ago, one of the party insisted on sitting near the fire with her pad stuffed into the chair arrangement. Several embers burned holes. These were easy to patch. On a three week expedition last year, I got several pin holes, probably from having to pitch in an area full of wild roses. I was able to find and patch several, but in the end still had a slow leak that would deflate the pad in about 3-4 hours. It is very hard to find that sort of a leak, especially if the only water is a fast moving river.

I've found the best way to find the leaks out in the field is to overinflate the pad and then take soapy water (dish soap works best) and pour it on the pad.  It will bubble up where ever you have a hole.

6:48 p.m. on April 9, 2013 (EDT)
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apeman said:

Erich said:

Rambler said, "Both took just a minute or so to find the leak, and the patch can be applied and the pad ready to use again in less than 2 minutes."

On a trip several years ago, one of the party insisted on sitting near the fire with her pad stuffed into the chair arrangement. Several embers burned holes. These were easy to patch. On a three week expedition last year, I got several pin holes, probably from having to pitch in an area full of wild roses. I was able to find and patch several, but in the end still had a slow leak that would deflate the pad in about 3-4 hours. It is very hard to find that sort of a leak, especially if the only water is a fast moving river.

I've found the best way to find the leaks out in the field is to overinflate the pad and then take soapy water (dish soap works best) and pour it on the pad.  It will bubble up where ever you have a hole.

 That is the way to to it. I was used to throwing a tire in a tank, and that way won't work on a thermarest.

11:39 a.m. on April 10, 2013 (EDT)
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Yep, that is the best way to find a leak. Couldn't find that last one, though, so out it went.

2:17 p.m. on April 10, 2013 (EDT)
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I just use my ridgerest pad. no leaks to worry about. I always did like a firm mattress anyway.

8:34 p.m. on April 10, 2013 (EDT)
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I tend to go the other way, and use a Big Agnes insulated air core.  Not as durable as a foam pad, but way more comfortable.  My first one lasted 4 years, then developed a slow leak I couldn't find.  Sent it back to Big Agnes and they sent me a new one under warranty.  So I guess that's pretty durable for a blow up.

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