Pads as insulation
Hey Guys, as I am considering a hammock and tarp, I'm intending to put off an underquilt until later. So my question is, how well will I fare with a Thermarest self inflating pad as insulation. Most of my backpacking is between May and October in Virginia.
ETA -- the pad is also 25" x 77"
You should be fine most of the time, depending on your sleeping bag. You may have to wear all your warm clothes for early or late camping. If your pad isn't full length, you'll need a sit pad under your heals, or they'll get cold. Most pads are too narrow all by themselves, so look into a segmented pad extender. A pad and sleeping bag is the way I had to start and they work fine. I'll still use a pad to get below zero because, I don't do enough winter camping to make a 0 degree underquilt worth while.
I am not a fan of the self-inflators in the hammock. If you do choose to use the self0inflator, you will want to keep it less than full. How much is dependent on you. Trial and error. You will likely need something for around your shoulders where the hammock wraps around you and the pad doesn't. A section of ccf placed in the width of the hammock will provide all you need. For $10, get a wally world ccf (3/8 inch). I would suggest two... one for the width and one to use instead of the self-inflator. The are lighter, warmer, and stay put better.
You should be fine with the pad you have. Don't fully inflate it so that it will better conform to you in the hammock. You may also need to add small wing pads for the sides of your shoulder and thighs as well. Small bits from a blue Walmart car pad work well for these.
Check out the SPE for a good way to keep it all together. Or you could also purchase the Eno Hotspot for the same purpose.