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Sleeping Pads for Women

2:18 a.m. on June 19, 2007 (EDT)
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22 forum posts

I'm having trouble pinning down which sleeping pad to invest in. I've done some car camping and have a big thick foam pad that is suitable for that. I want to start backpacking and maybe do some "kayak-packing" trips as well. I've read through the reviews posted here as well as looking for other gear reviews online. It hasn't helped me choose in one direction or another, especially as some of the pads that have intrigued me haven't had a review posted. I'm looking for a little more comfort - I seem to be a little more sensitive to the ground. I think I sleep a little warm. I've been looking at the Thermarest Prolite 4 Women's, POE's Ether Thermo 6 (did this used to be the Max Thermo??), POE's Eco Thermo 6 (like the eco philosophy behind it's development), Exped's Airmat 7, POE's AO-series (Lite and Mtn), and just don't know which way to go. I did go to REI and Kirkham's (local Utah gear shop) and laid on the Prolite 4, the Thermo 6, the Exped 7, the Eco Thermo 6...I wanted to try out the AO series, but neither place had a tester pad. The Prolite 4 seemed pretty good, though I wondered if I'd start to feel the ground as the night wore on. Both Thermo 6's and the Exped were really comfy, but I'm concerned about the durability of them being so much more "airy". Weight-wise I think all of these are in packable ranges...though I wish I could've tried the AO seris on for size and comfort...

Anyone out there that can help direct me one way or another based on what I've already mentioned and the fact I am pretty new to the backpacking world???

Thanks!
"Waffling in Salt Lake" -
lizard

11:42 a.m. on June 19, 2007 (EDT)
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2,913 forum posts

Hi Lizard,

This will be a quick reply since I'm packing for a backpacking trip right now, but here are a few thoughts.

ProLite 4 Women's: I have one and like it a lot. I bought it to use in conjunction with a closed-cell pad in winter or for car camping any time of year. I just got a ProLite 3 (small, since the women's one didn't come in a 3/4 length) to use for three-season backpacking. Both ProLites get very good reviews and are lightweight (1 lb. 8 oz. for the women's regular ProLite 4):
http://www.trailspace.com/gear/therm-a-rest/prolite-4/
http://www.trailspace.com/gear/therm-a-rest/prolite-3/

I haven't personally used any of the other pads you mentioned, so I can't give personal feedback on them. I do think the Eco Thermo is good for its environmentally-friendly materials and would love to see more people buying eco-friendly gear (provided it meets their needs) so as to encourage more manufacturers to make less harmful gear.
http://www.trailspace.com/gear/pacific-outdoor-equipment/insulmat-eco-thermo-6/

If you're looking for comfort, the Exped Downmats are supposed to be quite comfy. The trade-off (there are always trade-offs) is that they're a bit heavier and more expensive. I haven't used one personally though:
http://www.trailspace.com/gear/exped/downmat-7/

It's great that you tried out pads in person, since "comfortable" can be very subjective. If you have friends with pads that you can borrow, try that as well. Also, if comfort is most important to you, you'll probably prefer a full length, versus 3/4, pad. Pads obviously differ in materials and weight. Heavier *might* mean more comfortable to sleep on at night, but it also means heavier to carry all day. So, like with choosing all gear, you have to find your own balance between comfort/preferences in gear and cost and weight.

I'd take all of the reviews, product info, weights, and so on into account and then go with whichever one to which your guts leads you. Sometimes there is SO much information and choices that it can be overwhelming to make a decision, but it sounds like you'll select something appropriate for yourself.

Good luck and let us know what you pick out.
-Alicia

4:41 p.m. on August 5, 2007 (EDT)
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22 forum posts

I ended up going with the Pac Outdoor Equip AO Lite for women...and I think I like it. It's hard to say since the first trip I used it on was so warm at night that I don't think I would've slept well no matter what pad I had! I do like the weight and compressed size, though, and despite the uncomfortably warm sleeping conditions (exacerbated the next night by 15-20 jabbering French students in the campsite right next to mine...), I do like it.

I was still intrigued by their Ether Thermo - and just so happened to luck into a deal on one at a local gear shop that had stopped carrying the PAC camping pads but had a tester still out for people. No stuff sack or repair kit, just one of those serendipitous moments. That one's really comfy and also packs small and light.

Neither have gone to a seriously tough camping situation yet (both times have been at established campgrounds) (figure start there and work my way into more seriously "out-there" backpacking...), so...

What I've done so far they've worked just fine for...now to start going farther afield...probably ought to write a gear review once I do, eh??

Bummer to hear about the PI - though thanks for sharing your story...

Liz in UT

3:16 p.m. on August 7, 2007 (EDT)
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2,913 forum posts

Liz, thanks for letting us know what sleeping pad you eventually bought. I always wonder what gear people end up choosing and how it works out.

And yes, you absolutely should share some reviews with others once you've tested your POE pads, especially the Ether Thermo, which I think others will want to know more about.

As for the poison ivy, it's been a lesson learned, the lesson being beware of poison ivy no matter what your history with it is, I guess.

April 18, 2014
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