How Wide is enough?
I've tried to do my homework and read past threads but they mostly consider various foam pads. As a Kayaker, my concerns are different than when I was hiking. Weight doesn't make any difference. Packability is a bit of a concern but I can get creative. You try not to have anything on the deck - if a wave washes over you, you won't have anything on the deck - and inside can get ... tight. So inflatables, thermarest works pretty good.
Also, they seem to have good R factors, R 4-5 for a thickness of 2-3 inches.
I'm only 5' 6" so most short lengths work. But I see different widths; 20 inches, 25 inches, 30 inches. Is there really a difference between a 20 inch and a 25 inch pad?
When I get into foam, I see widths of near 40 inches but the thickness is only 1/4 inch with smaller R factor.
I'd be using this with a BlackBird and/or RidgeRunner, maybe a Hennessy.
The thermarests are more expensive; around $50 - $60. But to even get close to the same insulation it looks like I'd need two foam pads.
I'm considering just getting a 25 x 77 inch thermarest pad with R5 properties.
Should I look further?
The big thing is to make sure it comes up around your sides and shoulders. When using a pad I like them to kind of wrap up around me a bit. That helps reduce the chance of cold spots.
As mntman said you need something to cover not just your back but up and around your shoulders to the side.. REI has a unit to slip your thermarest in and wings to put other insulation in.
So your going to put your thermarest on the deck??. An UQ takes up so little room,,,even synthetic ,,and into a dry bag,,,into the bulkhead.???
I can usually roll my 3/4 thermarest up so it snugs inside somewhere. The CCF pad is more difficult. I usually end up leaving it out. But I can imagine different geometries inside the boat. My Mariner doesn't have bulkheads (old school, the designer didn't believe it them). So it is easy to pack because I don't have fit bags down a hatch. I tried have the pad form to the inside circumference but it was so "sticky" that it was difficult to slide other bags past it.
But more to the matter - it seems thermarest style inflatables have a large advantage on insulation factor - which is why I'd use a pad in a hammock. I really don't need it to soften the ground.
Brandon didn't give me a Max width for the BlackBird. He just said 20-25 inches (most common widths) would work there an maybe a pinch under 30 inches for the Ridge Runner.
When I use the Hennessy with the undercover, there is no issue at all because I am not trying to fit a sleeve.
The sleeve is also my concern with the wings device. I got a BB double because I figure the pad would be less hassle and stay put better in a sleeve.
In the past, I've used a thermarest in the Hennessy undercover and was never cold - admittedly also in warmer summer. I tried a CCF pad in the BB and could feel a little chill.
Unfortunately - it is sort of a race now. Each day the nights are getting colder so the comparisons aren't fair.
I have a Really Wide thermarest that I use for car camping. No way I can fit that in the boat (and I don't want to fit it "on" the boat). So I'm in the market for something better than my 3/4 length old "guide" model.
Youtube HF member shugs how to vids.. he has a video on whats called a SPE. segmented pad extender... this allows you to put your thermarest down in the hammock with "wings " to cover your shoulders and hips.
I used to use a similar system with my big agnes mummy and was fine into the 20's. Then I discovered underquilts....
I am a sea kayaker as well. The inflatable pads can have all sorts of multi uses from first aid, to lounging, and even rescue. I have a hoard of Therm-A-Rest pads. I can Pro-deal them cheap. Several recent spinal surgeries sent me on a pad quest. I paid full price for a Nemo Cosmo I loved it so much! You can get the memory foam topper (more R value), and the pad itself packs small and has an integrated foot pump. It works fine in most hammocks and if I MUST go to the ground, with the topper on, it feels better than my tempur pedic bed at home! Just my 2 cents from my recent quest.
Best of luck!
Also using an inflatable you do not want to fully inflate, not looking for padding so much as the insulation. Had a buddy that was new to hammocking and I forgot to tell him about that and his pad kept popping out from under him all night. He was unhappy to say the least and the next night he let almost all the air out and never had a problem :)
Also to add to lattie11581 the SPE is a very easy DIY project
Thank you for your suggestion about the "wing" design.
The mind is a funny thing. It latches on to something and doesn't want to let go.
In my case, the reason I got the double layer hammock was to put a pad in the sleeve and not carry an under cover like I do with the Hennessy. I could be mistaken but I don't think the sleeves in the BlackBird or RidgeRunner would be wide enough for any construction with "wings". That is, such a style would live in the hammock and not in the sleeve.
So I am initially looking for a sleeve solution. All my camping in the past has been on the ground and there I usually put a ground "cloth" - black plastic - then a foam pad, then the tent, then a thermarest in the tent. The plastic keeps the pad clean, the pad protects the bottom of the tent and the thermarest protects the inside floor and is admittedly overkill.
The undercover on the Hennessy, holding a pad (usually a thermarest), creates a good barrier against convection heat loss. The BlackBird, with just a CCF pad in the sleeve felt a little chilly with a min. temp of 30 degrees. Admittedly my coldest night out so far.
So I'm thinking an inflatable with larger R factor (5 vs 1 for a pad) would do the trick.
If I were just rolling it up and putting it on the top of a backpack, that's easy.
But storage in a kayak is a little different. It would be like carrying your pad inside your backpack - and still making room for everything else - instead of on top of your backpack.
Just part of the fun challenges of life.
"Quote; I could be mistaken but I don't think the sleeves in the BlackBird or RidgeRunner would be wide enough for any construction with "wings". That is, such a style would live in the hammock and not in the sleeve.Quote".
I have a blackbird, but it goes for all double layer gathered end hammocks, that is, the layers are full width which in the blackbirds case means you can put in a foam pad, SPE, whatever 4' wide if you wanted. That wide is not necessary . When you put any pad , spe, winged unit whatever in the pocket/sleeve it won't move around the way it does when between you and the hammock. Just a clarification. I have a thermarest and my UQ takes up about 1/3 the volume,,,,but hang your own hang . Hope it all works out for you.
Thank you for the update on Sleeve width. Can you tell me a little more about using the thermarest AND the underquilt. Is it like a temperature increment - start out with a Thermarest, as the nights get colder switch to an UQ, as the nights get colder still - use both?
I now undestand I can add "wings to what ever pad/thermarest I want to use (as long as the pad fits in the wings sleeve) but I'd probably just get a wide pad.
I'm leaning towards the thermarest because they have the larger (5+ vs 1-ish) R factor. But then, when I see the cost of a wide AND thick Thermarest getting near $100, I think .... maybe I should save a little more and invest in the UQ.
Lots of options.
You can see in the For Sale forum that I have getting rid of my COLD down bags (-40 and -20) and the combination TQ and UQ looks like they would total around $400 investment. In my mind that's a lot for cutting a sleeping bag in two. But I do know there is much more to it than that. And they are built in the USA and not by some per-adolescant in China.
What Temp rating did you get for your UQ and/or TQ? Do they live up to it, go warmer, etc.?