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Old 11-23-2017, 12:51 PM   #1
Dave Bourque
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 69
Sleeping Pads

It's time for me to replace my sleeping pads. As I've gotten older I have found I need a more comfortable pad to sleep well in the woods. When I was young, a thin ensolite pad was enough. Now I'm using two Therm-a-Rest pads and, being a side sleeper, I realize it's time for an upgrade. I have been looking at the Big Agnes Q-Core Deluxe pads. Any thoughts and experiences with sleeping pads would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 11-23-2017, 01:36 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Schenectady, NY
Posts: 3,681
Mr Bourque,
I would look at any of the Neo-Air mattresses and others like them.
Mine weighs next to nothing (13 oz?), packs as small as a nalgene bottle, and is far more comfortable than any self inflating pad that I've ever owned.
Oh, and they have great insulating properties too!
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Old 11-23-2017, 01:45 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 251
I have a Big Agnes Q-Core SLX and i love it! I'm a side/stomach sleeper and it is super comfy. I stay completely elevated, no hips digging into the ground. I've used it in temps down to the mid 20's and have stayed cozy warm (with a 20 degree bag and warm clothing). The raised side rails help to keep you from rolling off of it.

I previously had the orange Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SL which is basically the old version of the SLX and it ended up getting a leak that I couldn't find. I sent it in under warranty and they replaced it with the new SLX.

I love that the SLX is lighter and the new inflation valve is a huge improvement. Much easier to inflate without losing air when you take a breath and WAY easier to deflate in the morning. I also think it's nice they offer a wide version in both the regular and long lengths (20 inches wide vs 25 inches wide). If I knew I'd never be sharing my 2 person tent with someone else, I probably would have went with the wide version for more comfort, but my tent only fits two 20 inch wide pads.

It looks like the main difference between the SLX and the Deluxe is the weight. Personally I'd pay the extra $10 to save a half pound of weight. I'm sure your knees and back would thank you
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Old 11-26-2017, 07:46 AM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Burlington
Posts: 109
I recall the neo air being noisy. Am I remembering correctly? We love our Exped 9 pads. Heavy, expensive, warm, comfortable. Wonder if the Exped 7 might be an alternative for you.
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Old 12-02-2017, 02:46 PM   #5
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 164
Fwiw, here is my 2c:
I have tried several different sleep systems and the older I get the more difficulty I have being comfortable. I still have my original Coleman pool float I used as a kid when camping on the LG islands. Those were the best sleeps of my life. For backpacking I switched to a thermarest self-inflator and hated it. Then came the original Big Agnes pads and life was good again. (side note, I recently pulled out my original BA pad, and it had an extra baffle compared to the ones made today. Despite being listed with the same dimensions. Its also much heavier, thicker material and crinklier then the latter ones).

I had a few of them over the years and when the Q-core first came out I bought one. The improvement in comfort was not overwhelming. Better, but not a miracle cure-all.

Then I read something that advocated for switching to a 25" pad over a 20" pad for comfort. I also read that horizontal baffles were much more comfortable than vertical. Since I was in the market for a new pad I gave it a try. I bought the Nemo Astro Air Lite which was only 17oz making it the same weight as the TR NeoAir in a 25" size but it was about $100 less.

Well this is now my favorite mattress by far. I don't know if it is the baffles or the 25", but I think the both contribute equally.

The other thing I really like about this mattress is the built in pillow. Unfortunately it is not high enough to be a satisfying pillow, but it is big enough to keep the pillow I bring from sliding off the top of the mattress. It's like a tiny headboard.

There is no insulation in this air mattress and I wouldn't take it winter camping. However, in the shoulder season I have two workarounds. First, when backpacking I always bring my crazy creek chair. When going to bed I open it flat and lay it under the pad. This provides a noticible improvement in warmth.
Second, when car camping, I have an eggcrate foam topper I cut to the same size and I just bought the Nemo Strato Loft bag with a built in pad sleeve. The Astro and eggcrate is more comfortable than my bed at home, no exaggeration. I was going to post a gear review on here of the Strato Loft, but it appears they just discontinued it so it's probably not worth it.

Check out Outdoor Gear Lab. They have done extensive reviews of sleeping pads and it will give you a good idea of some of the tradeoffs. (It's a great site for lots of things, but I have noticed there seems to be a bit of bias in the conclusions. It seems as if the reviewers tend to favor the site founders preferences to an unhealthy level. Group think?)

In the end, unfortunately, it seems everyone is different when it comes to pad preference and the only way to know what's best is to try them all.
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Old 12-06-2017, 07:26 PM   #6
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 36
Sleeping Pads

Stop in Mountainman Outdoor Supply 490 Broadway Saratoga Springs. There is a good assortment of sleeping pads. Sure you can find one there
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