Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest Solar
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $22
I will go without TP before I go without this pad.
- Ridged for sleeping pleasure
- WILL NEVER DEFLATE
- Makes a good pillow
- Ridges catch snow
This is one of those iconic pieces of gear that came along and made the world a better place and will never go away. The bad thing for Therm-a-Rest is that, this works so well that I will never go back to an iffy inflatable mattress. I can buy enough of these to outfit my whole family for the cost of one super-light pop-able pad.
I did my first 72 mile hike in my teens with no pad at all. Then I graduated to the ubiquitous blue foam pad. Next I upgraded to an inflatable pad that popped on me one night in the snow so I switched to the RidgeRest Solar.
Never again will I have to wake up at night to re-inflate my leaking sleeping pad!
I can wipe my butt with snow, it's not that bad; its actually quite refreshing. I will NOT sleep in the snow without this pad! The ridges keep you in place at night, trap warm air and provide enough comfort for my 200+ pound body to sleep soundly. The reflective material is a nice addition which, with no weight penalty, reflects a few more calories back to me so I stay warmer.
I hike with kids and end up carrying a LOT of gear. The last thing I need is a heavy inflatable pad that might spring a leak on me some night. Oh, I know that lighter ones exist (a hundred bucks for a sleeping pad?? Seriously?) and that, with proper care an inflatable will offer dozens of nights of comfort before it pops but I have kids, I sleep on rocks, I'm not wealthy, I don't always sleep in a tent.
I have slept on this thing in snow, rocks, dirt and even inside the occasional tent. Last month my son put a crampon spike through it. Did I cry? He11 no! It still sleeps me fine and will continue to until I have to burn it to signal rescue planes. I could shoot it with a MACHINE GUN and it will still be sleep-worthy. Got any piece of gear that can do that??!!
Druthers: It collects stuff like snow in those ridges, which will melt and get you wet and cold. Shake it out before you sleep on it. What? It doesn't fit inside your minimalist 600 cubic inch pack? Lash it to the outside (with two pound monofillament of course to save weight) YOU WILL NEVER KNOW IT'S THERE!
So unless you medically require a pad that resembles the softness of your bed at home (why are you hiking?) this is the deal! In a world where gear technology cost and complexity are increasing exponentially, the humble RidgeRest remains.
The Ridgerest sleeping in the man cave. Notice the bulk compared to the Z-Rest (which I inherited; did not buy)
The cool shiny stuff in wearing off. I hope it shows up in your screen. Before it started wearing off after three seasons, it made a great reflector for tanning!
The boy stomped it with his crampons on. Ridgerest don't care, Ridgerest says, "Bring it on," 'cause its tough. This is why I eschew inflatable pads as a rule.