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  1. #1
    Senior Member stevebo's Avatar
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    pad suggestions for townsend big guy bridge

    Hey all, I am looking for pad suggestions for my new bigguy bridge hammock. For all of those out there who have this hammock, when you use a pad instead of an underquilt, what has worked well for you? Thanks!
    FYI: If you want to know what type a certain bear is, sneak up behind it and kick it. Then,
    run like crazy and climb up a tree. If the bear climbs the tree and eats you, it's a black
    bear. If the bear just pushes the tree over and eats you, it's a grizzly bear : )


    Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either, just leave me alone.
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  2. #2

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    Steve-
    Figured I'd respond here rather than email so others can join in too.
    Exped Duo 1.jpgExped Duo 2.jpg
    My favorite pad thus far is the Exped Hyperlight Duo. I have the original model and it has since been released in an even bigger size which I have not yet tried. https://www.rei.com/product/113718/e...o-sleeping-pad

    I believe what I have is now called the "Double" and the new size is the 'Long Double'. I believe the long double would fit and at 5'10" my feet do occasionally hang off the end since I use a pillow at home on top of the pad. About the only 'issue' is that you cannot sleep under the head end bar with this pad and a pillow. That said- because of the tapered shape the pad fits well and turns the bridge into a floating bed. The vertical baffles and the shape actually 'fill in' the curved sides and greatly expand the usable space of the bridge. With this pad I like it nearly fully inflated.

    Before there was a 'Big Guy' or 'Luxury' there was my personal 'me and a kiddo' bridge that was actually based around this sleeping pad. So while a few changes have popped up along the way the bridge design that became what you now have was literally built to use this pad so that I could sleep with one of my kids next to me and still have enough room in the center to do it.
    Me and a Kiddo Bridge.jpg
    (In fact if Peabody looks carefully he'd probably find this picture from 2016 pretty interesting.)

    It does limit your sleep positions somewhat... though I find that to be acceptable. In fact, after a few months of testing other prototypes I recently went back to this rig over the past few weeks and have found myself sleeping in one position all night long which I haven't done in years.

    It's pretty good to about 45-55* range when used in the air depending on wind. I can of course be dropped to the ground if needed to get closer to the freezing point. But that is true with most pads.

    At 2lbs... not necessarily the best for backpacking... but not horrible for my original person and and a half plan as it does pack down fairly small and saves me a second pad, quilt, tarp, etc for the kid. Get the schnozzel bag to inflate it if you go with an exped pad of any type. But if you are talking LUXURY then this is a pretty sweet rig overall.

    Beyond that- nearly any large (26") pad fits and works well with this bridge. Since you don't need the pad for structure it doesn't matter if you use a side to side baffled pad like an Xtherm (probably my runner up pad) or if you use a pad with no baffles like the sea to summit or Qcore pads. All air based pads will perform roughly 1 season lower in the air as they simply are not designed for convection losses since they sit firmly on the ground normally (or on the bench in the test chamber).
    Exped Large 1.jpgExped Large 2.jpg

    As you can see in the second photo with the measuring tape... there is enough room in the Medium, Lux, and Big Guy for up to a 30" wide pad which does cover the shoulders better.

    Here's a link to the 'happy medium' folder which shows the Exped pad in the medium bridges along with some extra photos of me side sleeping on it to give you an idea of coverage. https://1drv.ms/u/s!Apygyt54yYPwg8IB...QBcPQ?e=Ump8Be

    I was disappointed to discover that the Exped pads DO NOT insulate the outer edge baffles... so my attempt to buy the winter version of the exped pad (red vs orange) was a bust. It was unusable actually due to this issue in temps as high as 40*. So despite that being the most comfortable of the 'Large tapered backpack' type air pad overall for me... I have to go back to the Xtherm for winter use.

    Because of this flaw with the Exped Hyperlight series the Thermarest Xtherm is my runner up since it goes to about freezing in the hammock and to zero on the ground for about a pound in Large size. Keep in mind though... for larger folks getting my pads you could easily get a cold shoulder on your back with a 26" pad as it will follow the slight curve of the bridge body. So these backpacking pads work best when side sleeping and wrap you pretty nicely.

    That said- the Exped Downmat is the king of winter pads. I don't own one but hopefully one of my customers who does will chime in. Again... you'd probably have to sleep on your back or side as they are thick enough to leave you kissing the bar... but they do the job.

    As a general disclaimer:
    Part of the simple appeal of a bridge to me was that you could just slap in a pad just like you would on the ground. I did design all my bridges to work with a pad INSIDE the bridge... but I didn't design you to, lol.

    You are changing the center of gravity and the bridge will behave a bit differently. So start with the pad half full and practice at home until you get used to it. Depending on your exact model and sleep style you may find yourself closer to a bar than normal or having to adjust the setup slightly by altering the RL. I suggest you tighten the RL an inch or two shorter than you normally prefer. This will soften the center of the bridge and balance back out the thicker pad. If you're on CCF... you may not need any adjustments. If you're on a 4" air pad... you may need to close the RL to as short as it goes and stay away from the head bar.
    Generally speaking though... with the exception of the DUO pad... most of the pads I've tried did better when about 3/4 full and for the most part the inflation amount doesn't dramatically alter the insulating value beyond the initial ding you'll get from hanging vs ground dwelling rating. Keep in my mind... you're using the pad for insuation... not comfort, structure or support.
    The pad does slightly take away from the comfort, but it makes up for it in versatility.




    BONUS-
    While this isn't something I actively promote... there are actually quite a few options with the Luxury and Big Guy bridges.
    For extra leg room- you can simply turn around and sleep with your head in the foot end. (A reverse).
    This is easy to try and I recommend simply 'spinning around' in my videos for this reason. A reverse gives you a whole new bridge and is the perfect position for any full fetal sleepers too.

    However you can also do a 'Super Reverse' if you are not pushing the weight limits.
    Super Reverse.jpg

    Generally I figure about 200lbs and under for a Luxury and 250-275 on the Big Guy model for this. I don't bring it up much because there is a minor chance you can reduce the overall life of the bridge and I haven't really tested this long term beyond my own personal 90 day test. It can also put a little more stress on your anchors if you're hanging at home.

    To do a super reverse:
    Hang the bridge normally- but put the longer pole into the foot end, and the shorter pole into the head end.
    From there- you need to raise the foot end tree strap to level the bedspace of the bridge by about a foot.
    Depending on how 'torso heavy' you are you may need to tune it further.

    What this does for you is give you a completely different bridge hammock. While not exactly an extra large version of a Ridgerunner it does give you a similar effect. Because of the more wedgeshaped bedspace it can also assist somewhat for those with sleep apnea though you are limited to side and back sleeping.

    What this also does for you- is gives you a different platform to use a thicker sleeping pad like the Exped Downmat. Since you are now keeping away from the spreader bar at what is now the head end as well as adding almost a foot of depth at the foot end there is plenty of space for you to sleep on top of a thicker pad without concern of bumping the bars or restricting your insulation. This is a very handy trick in winter too as there is room for a big mummy bag's worth of down and you create a gear storage area for your shell gear or extra insulation in the adjustable end space you are not using.

    This helps a ton if you wanted to lay a CCF pad in with an Xtherm on top and a big thick mummy or top quilt to really push your bridge into deep cold. Again the bonus fallback option with the Xtherm is that it operates to well below zero on the ground so if the wind is really kicking or you're just not quite there you can always drop it down and pick back up the extra umph you need to get through a bad night.

    Again... I don't really point it out... but this is also a good trick for lounging or reading in these bridges too.
    Some of my lighter customers will use this trick to turn the bridge into a chair by pitching the head end very high relative to the foot end. It's your stuff... so you're free to use it. Being fairly new though I didn't want to share too many of these tricks until we get a better feel on what the long term results will be.

  3. #3
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Hey JustBill,
    You often mention about how pads should be rated less warm in the air, as they are not designed for convective heat loss. In this post you mention "1 season lower". Still, some of these pads are rated for way below zero on the ground. So that might move those pds up to about zero, or maybe a tad above zero, like +5F? I'm also thinking of this thread:
    https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...ad-in-a-bridge

    But I am digressing, from what I mainly wanted to ask: is convection heat loss, in your opinion, any different with an UQ( or TQ for that matter)? Seems to me they might be the same, but I'm not at all sure. ( I mean: is there any superiority in how one handles convective heat loss compared to the other?)

  4. #4

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    Billy Bob-
    The caveat here is AIR PADS.
    CCF is well suited to convection loss. A down filled mat is equal to an UQ and suffers no worse than an UQ.
    I talk a bit generically as these days most of us use an air pad... so chambers filled with insulation (open cell foam, down, etc) are in the minority. I had high hopes for the exped pads as they are filled with some Primaloft Silver... but the edge baffles are not insulated and it is a serious issue in a hammock due to the curve of the hammock pressing that uninsulated tube against you. On the ground... this is not such a problem.

    An air pad works the same as a thermalpane window. Sealed chambers are filled with trapped air(gas)... ideally in thin multiple layers.

    All other insulation works by filling a chamber with some type of medium (fiberglass, down, synthetic, etc) to create millions of tiny bubbles of trapped air.

    A foam pad works by literally building these bubbles of air into the material itself. Open cell foams are compressible as the air is not trapped. Closed cell foams are much less compressible as the air bubbles are suspended in the material.

    You might wonder why a window doesn't have very large air gaps between panes... wouldn't trapping 'more air' be better?
    It turns out no. Much thicker than 3/8" and the gas itself begins to form it's own micro currents and increases convection loss as the gas moves around within the pane of glass.

    The key to good insulation is actually DEAD air. Non moving air.

    Unfortunately 3/8" thick chambers of air would not make for a very good inflatable pad... really the whole reason we have these new air pads is to increase comfort. We've had excellent pads if looking at insulation values for many decades... but they were thin or filled with heavy foams and too bulky.

    So what we have is a very thick multipane window in today's air pads.
    Not the end of the world when laid against the cold hard (but otherwise quite still) ground.
    The more a pad relies purely on trapped air- the more it is affected by moving air as micro climates form inside it's chambers.

    One thing many disregard as well:
    The earth itself is rarely as cold as the air itself. Go a few feet down and the earth is a fairly steady 50*.
    While I am sure there are some extreme exceptions... generally speaking you slap your pad down and the ground is at worst the same as teh air temp... but often a bit warmer. If you are slapping your pad down on snow or even some duff... you're only adding insulation. It may be poor quality insulation but it is insulation. Most importantly... just because it is -10 with a -30* wind chill... that does not mean that your pad is truly dealing with those temps. You mummy bag is, but your pad is not.

    There are those who would point out that regardless of temps... the ground is a huge heat sink for conductive heat loss. This is true, which is why pads are designed to do well with conductive heat loss. A 1/8" off CCF foam under a three season pad is often enough for a backpacker to 'break' this conductive loss. The 'dead air' of an air pad chamber is pretty effective too. Which is why the multi-chambered Xtherm does pretty well. Add in a mylar layer of some sort and you've busted out most radiation losses. So you are highly effective against 2 out of 3 types of thermal transfer... and due to the lack of moving air between pad and ground you've basically negated convection.

    With any top quilt- heat rises. It's easier for you to get that initial heat up of your insulation of choice done.
    You're often in your hammock, tarp, or tent so the surrounding air is relatively still as well. (unless you are in a wide open bridge).

    With any UQ- heat does not rise. It is hard for you to push your heat down into your UQ to begin with.
    Your UQ may be in an UQP or partially shielded by your tarp... but it is still much more exposed overall... with a much larger surface area 'hanging out in the breeze' as well.

    With an UQ or a pad in the air. You are not dealing with simple ambient air temperature. You are dealing with the 'real feel' or 'wind chill adjusted' temps. You are also a few feet off the ground- where air movement in general is higher even if there is no breeze. You are dealing with all three types of heat loss... in addition to any moisture in the air.

    A few savvy folks- even those who don't realize they are doing it- use a different loft chart in a top quilt vs an UQ.
    And you don't need to know a lick of science to understand that a 20* UQ and a 40* TQ will get you much further than the opposite.

    There is always a hero story or tale of one we could point to.

    There is always a 'good night', an expert sleeper, an acclimated body, or just the old 'hot bodied' fella. Humans are pretty adaptable folks and let's be honest... if we were still such hard men that we curled up in a ball on bare rock with our point blanket in any temps we wouldn't be in a hammock.

    The Xtherm pad has some serious trail cred behind it as experienced folks have pushed that pad into obscene temps well below zero.
    As mentioned though... there are some very solid reasons that is simply not the case. It is a zero degree pad.... with a degradation in performance when removed from the ground.

    Can someone do better in real life with a given piece of gear I say may not quite get there... sure somebody can.
    But then again if you are asking the question... the answer is no you cannot.

    My answers aren't simply conservative- they are average.
    My body is vastly different now (office jockey who drinks too much and got soft) compared to my body when I was an athletic long distance hiker. Even sleeping in the back yard for thirty days straight makes a huge difference. If I get off the couch from my climate controlled existence and hit the woods... my gear is suddenly going to really suck. Though miraculously if I can stay out for more than a week... my gear will suddenly improve and work again.

    BUT... the gear didn't change, work better, or get better. I did.
    Your gear is only breaking down as you use it... not getting better.

    That is something to keep in mind when you hear about people 'working on' this insulation thing or solving insulation problems. After the basic mistakes, busted drafts, and troubleshooting is done... more often than not your body is simply acclimating to the conditions you are exposing it too. We're all warm in the spring and cold in the fall. 40* is only 40* in a lab. A lab doesn't understand 40 and sunny or 40 and misting. 40 and hungry or 40 and full of hot tea. After a hard winter of working on gear... your pad doesn't go from a zero to a negative 20 anymore than your UQ starts growing more down.

    I don't think anyone is being malicious or trying to make any grand claims, especially here. So no offense to the thread you mentioned is intended. Just some hard won and realistic skepticism tempered by reality.

    Years ago there were a few backpacking cottage vendors, and one in particular who didn't get this. They got mad at their customers and blamed their lack of experience on problems with their top quilts. These folks had thousands of nights of use and knew what they were doing very well. Except for one important thing; their customers were not them. They were not experienced long distance hikers who slept outside for years on end, in peak condition. In fact these folks believed their own ******** so much that they even convinced an entire niche community of backpackers that the gear was properly rated and they must simply be 'cold sleepers'. They were not using the quilt properly so it must be letting in drafts, blah, blah, blah.
    I used to write articles about 'pushing gear' and encouraged folks to 'adapt to less'.

    Generally speaking if a single user reports conditions well outside the norm... kudos to them.
    But them is not you.

  5. #5
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Thanks, Bill. Very helpful info.

    "The caveat here is AIR PADS.
    CCF is well suited to convection loss. A down filled mat is equal to an UQ and suffers no worse than an UQ..........".

    Although we usually don't have R values for our quilts(there probably is table somewhere), it seems an R5 is an R5, on the ground or in the air. The trouble with in the air is(like you said), the air is often colder than the ground, PLUS WIND. Even the slightest wind- or let me call it air movement, with the assumption that the great majority of the wind is blocked by a good tarp. There is still going to be some air movement inside the tarp, and under that pad or UQ. Hence, as you pointed out, on a given day we might get by with a 40F TQ, but no way we are getting by on that same day with a 40F UQ.

    Although when adjusting warmth expectations by removing the extra warmth and zero wind chill of ground placement, at which point (again, as you point out) a 3" down mat(or less thick CCF pad) will be as warm in a hammock as a 3" UQ, I have been suspecting at least 1 other(maybe more) weather resistance benefits to pads compared to UQs: wind and moisture resistance.

    When I lay in my UQs with no tarp, or a not big enough to block all wind from all directions tarp, and no UQP, I can easily go from a nice and warm back to an uncomfortably cool back with a gust of wind. Even if not enough dif to call it uncomfy or not warm, I can often still feel a dif on those big gusts, even if most of the wind is blocked. I imagine, because even with most wind blocked, air is still moving inside the tarp and under the UQ. I have felt this effect many a time.

    Now, am not going to claim a 100% wind proofing, as I have never put it to a had core test(perhaps you have? Or some one else?). But, if I have any sort of pad under me, including the OCF pad of HHSS, protected by the sil-nylon under cover(UQP), I essentially never feel the wind. Now, I sometimes think that when the biggest gusts of wind hit, that I can tell a very slight dif, but never enough to even be sure if I am actually feeling the dif, much less be a problem. Conversely, I have had my back go from nice and warm to unpleasantly cold with an UQ not protected by an UQP in the same circumstances. I have even swapped out(from UQ to pad) during the same test at the same time to note the dif.

    And since we are talking wind- that might get past a tarp, we might also be talking about wind driven moisture, or splash up, or with no wind: fog. I'm pretty sure the pad is going to resist any of that better than an UQ as well, though I have never put it to the test.

    So I see this as 2 possible advantages of a pad over an UQ on some of my rather remote wilderness trips where a quick bail out is difficult., with the understanding that the pad probably won't be as warm in the air as it is on the ground. But, it might still be as warm as my UQ, plus a lot more wind and water proof. With no concerns of loosing loft from condensation in the UQ on longer, less sunny trips. Plus, as you say, I can always go the ground if it is all just too difficult. If I can be warm enough with pad X in a hammock, and comfy enough(bridge and 90* hammocks), this seems like stout pad advantages to me. In addition, it seems the volume of my Neo Air pad is not much more than my UQs, though of course CCF pads would be different.

    SteveBo, sorry, I did not mean to hijack your thread about what makes a good pad for JustBill's hammocks. It just occurred to me I am doing so. If you want me to, I'll be glad to move all of this.





  6. #6

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    This is a highly complicated subject- and I think you tend to go much deeper into your own set of weeds on top of that.

    Your house is pretty windproof- certainly moreso than a tent or tarp.
    But you run your furnace in the winter right?

    Heat loss is heat loss. The greater the differential between two bodies... the faster the loss.

    That's it really. Honestly.

    When you put a pad on the ground... the piece of ground you lay on stays fairly constant and is even warmed slightly by your pad. Plus it's more or less got your body in direct contact with it pumping heat into it.
    Your pad doesn't get any warmer if you are in a tent or cowboy camping... it's on the ground. The thermal body it is reacting with is the ground... not the air.
    That's my point about your house, or your wind sock or UQP, or whatever mysterious thing you'd like to examine. It's just heat loss.

    When you put your pad in the air... no matter how nicely you create your little bubble of stuff or pile on your UQP or wind socks... you still have an infinite amount of moving air to interact with just outside your bubble.
    The more air moving across the surface of your bubble... the more quickly it strips away the heat. You could literally be in a hermetically sealed bubble with no air permeability at all... the convective loss comes from the fact that rather than warming the adjoining air outside your bubble with your warmth... that air is immediately replaced with new cold air to leach the heat away.

    Windows use something called 'U value', walls use 'R value'
    Pads use R value
    Synthetic insulation uses CLO
    Down uses loft and voodoo.

    1 R= .88 CLO.

    This works okay as you are used to using Apex (.82CLO per ounce)... which means roughly that 1 ounce per square yard Apex also equals .88R.

    The Thermarest Xtherm has an R value of 5.7
    5.7/.88= 6.47 CLO
    6.47CLO/ .82= 7.89 ounces of Apex.

    That means on paper that 8 ounces of Climbashield Apex is equal in insulating value to a Xtherm mattress.

    Does that seem correct to you in real life?

    Despite some claims here... Enlightened Equipment goes by the 2/4/6/8 system for Apex which nets you 50/40/30/20 respectively and is accurate across a wide range of users.
    They also discontinued building zero degree Apex. I also agree with their system and used Apex for many years prior to PLG. So lets just call it a good system.

    So if you want the simple math-
    8 ounces of Apex is generally rated at 20*.
    But per the math it should go to at least zero if we convert it to an R-value.
    However if you listen to your old pal Just Bill... who claims an easy 20* ding in the air based upon real world testing then this 20* rating gap makes decent sense.

    I am familiar with the highly misleading R-value charts pad makers put out.
    I spelled out above part of the reason why we might be able to reasonably fib about ambient air vs actual rating with a sleeping pad.

    I am also aware that there are very good reasons that different products are tested with different systems.
    That reason is usually marketing and ultimately money.

    If you tested a window for R-value.... it would does horribly.
    But a good insulated window does much better than a plain pane of glass... so how do you promote your product? Come up with a new test!
    A test that compares windows directly and favors their design... and to be fair... lets you compare what you're buying more accurately if you actually understand it.
    Course most don't so we put a dumbed down tag on it.
    Something like 'Low-E', Energy Star, or things like 'three-season' or 'four season'.

    Ultimately Billy Bob... you know what you're doing and what works.
    And most people know male cow droppings when they see them.

    If you want some science....
    You put the pad on the ground... R-value is an appropriate test.
    You put the pad in the air.... CLO value is a more appropriate test.
    You compare it to a down UQ... and the reputation of the vendor you bought it from is as good as it's going to get as there is no great test.
    We have some loft charts for guidance but ultimately what we have is a vendor who wants happy customers, no returns, and things to look pretty.

    There are constant efforts to come up with new and innovative ways to test gear... some of it is genuine... some of it is meant to exclude companies who cannot afford to test.
    These tests are rarely valuable to the general public, and often only mean anything at all to the designers of these products.

    None of them are anywhere near as accurate nor valuable as the simplest method of all-

    The most accurate rating system is 'rating by common acclaim'.

    XYZ vendor makes some stuff... and we agree said stuff works.

    Provided XYZ vendor stays in business long enough... enough votes are cast in the form of complaints and returns (counted at a 10:1 rate) vs positive comments and satisfied customers.
    Once XYZ vendor is around a good decade or so... then all proclaim that the brand has achieved the coveted status of 'TRUE TO RATING" and the people cheer.

    Also perfectly acceptable is 'A few degrees off, but very nice (or very light)'.
    Apparently many in the hammock world do find 'Not very accurate, but cheap as hell' to be a good rating as well.

    And of course... there is no test that tells you that your down will crap out X days into a trip due to body vapor accumulation and you should leave it home and employ an alternate insulation system.
    You don't need any real science to sort that out as it's a well known piece of common wisdom in the community at large.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    OK, Bill, thanks for you thoughts!

  8. #8
    Senior Member stevebo's Avatar
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    Bill thanks for all the great info! (And billybob I don’t mind you hijacking the thread- it’s better to have all that great info in one place anyway!). Bill, one question- has any one ever tried a full length pad, augmented with a torso length uq? If it works, seems like you would have lots of options- just the hammock, to ground with the pad, just the pad in the hammock, pad and uq etc. I’m not even sure it would work-“ just throwing the idea out there!
    FYI: If you want to know what type a certain bear is, sneak up behind it and kick it. Then,
    run like crazy and climb up a tree. If the bear climbs the tree and eats you, it's a black
    bear. If the bear just pushes the tree over and eats you, it's a grizzly bear : )


    Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either, just leave me alone.
    --unknown

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevebo View Post
    Bill thanks for all the great info! (And billybob I don’t mind you hijacking the thread- it’s better to have all that great info in one place anyway!). Bill, one question- has any one ever tried a full length pad, augmented with a torso length uq? If it works, seems like you would have lots of options- just the hammock, to ground with the pad, just the pad in the hammock, pad and uq etc. I’m not even sure it would work-“ just throwing the idea out there!
    I tried that some this winter. Met Grizz a few winters back at our local winter hang and he had a really neat hybrid system of CCF pad and Down UQ.
    (one that BillyBob would find fascinating as it employed vapor barriers- but it's not my system to spoil)

    I tried using a Z-rest pad with the silver layer right at my back and an UQ over it.... and wasn't impressed. I recall one night in the 20's where I had that pad (full length 30") with a 20* incubator over it and I was still a bit chilled. Mainly the issue was that I was throwing almost zero heat into the UQ because of the pad itself. So it wasn't that it was doing nothing, but that the thermal gradient was basically at the pad.
    I suspect my choice of this pad was partially to blame. If I had been using a torso sized pad I would have been 'leaking' more heat into the UQ and balancing things out better I think.
    I did get it to work okay once or twice but it really took most of the night to get enough umph in the system... so it does work... but it is so slow to react that it's a tough combo.

    That said... it does work with something like a Neo-air a bit better though I personally haven't really found a good system yet.

    All insulation does is trap your heat... So for the UQ to really do much you'd almost have to warm up the UQ (by laying in there without the pad) then slip the pad in.

    Quilt stacking works very well, but pad plus quilt hasn't been as effective for me in terms of payoff.
    You can get quite a big jump stacking quilts... the 'payoff' by stacking an UQ over a pad is fairly low for me thus far. More along the lines of taking a pad on the edge of it's use and buying a few degrees more. When stacking a quilt the formula is 70*-quilts rating= the bump you get. So a 40* quilt is (70-40) bumps the quilt you stack it with 30*. Me personally- I modify that formula and cut 10* off for fit issues and another 10* off when going below zero.

    There are others though who have gone with this combo you suggest though with some better luck.
    I think a more promising combo might be those new Thermarest Uberlight models.
    With my original micro bridges they were based upon a Women's neo-air pad as the best mix of insulation, size, and compact versatility.

    Something else to consider-

    A decent combo may be a small torso pad with a 3/4 length UQ.
    That lets you use the UQ on your torso and your small pad on your legs in the air.
    And reverse that on the ground when needed.

    I actually had a very bad night at harriman in NY one year where we stayed up at some elevation and the temp was zero with windchill pushing us well below that. Too much for the hammock I had.
    I spent the night on my small CCF torso pad (24"x20"), with my pack under my legs and my UQ and TQ on me. Was it the best night ever- nope- but I didn't have to bail as a few with me did and I did actually sleep.
    (another point in favor of the argument about the ground being warmer than we think)
    Point being... There is a pretty wide range of options if you want to get extreme.

    For most of us though...
    Follow the 80% rule. What are you going to do 80% of the time and gear for that.

    I'm a gram weenie at heart. So at some point I always evaluate things at the scale and by pack volume.
    So for me when I start looking at that Zrest and full length UQ combo and still don't have a great system; I consider that a failure. I'm compromising on too many fronts at once as I don't have a good system for anything even if I can claim versatility. The zrest isn't great on the ground and the UQ could've done the job on it's own so pairing them up didn't add anything. I could keep combining parts and pieces in different combos... but all of them come with some trade-offs and versatility issues... plus dings to the wallet, scale, comfort and volume.

    Ultimately for me- Pads are a compromise. And it's the compromise that makes them ideal for many trips.
    A good pad on it's own though may not be the best ever in the air 100% of the time... but it does do the job well enough most of the time.

    80% of the time most of us are not out below freezing... so I think we often make a bigger deal of this than needed. For that odd night that pops up here or there where the temp is lower than we planned... a pad does offer a solution. Even if you consider this 'forced to ground' by the temps... I consider it a win. If 80% of the time my pad is warm enough... I don't want to carry anything more when it offers an acceptable solution I only need to employ 5% of the time. An UQ does not offer this 'bonus warmth' feature.

    If I am on a trail that offers shelters... or hit a horrible storm and happen to sleep on the floor in a bathroom, hut, or urban stealth camp... I can do that and have a much better night (and following day) having dodged a real rough night with drying out likely the day.

    Most important to me:
    If I come on that meadow, bald, or exposed treeless view and have the freedom to just slap a pad on the ground and take advantage of one of those nights that you go backing for in the first place and dream of back in town for the rest of the year that follows... an UQ would rob me of that chance 100% of the time.
    Walking by that opportunity just to be a bit more comfortable in my hammock would make me 80% less happy with my hammock.

    So a short weekend at the state park or to a place I know I'll just be hanging in the trees... an UQ is the winner.
    In deep cold... UQ wins again.
    For pure comfort... UQ is still the champ.

    But for 80% of the backpacking trips I like to take the pad is the only choice for me.
    For some backpacking is safety, comfort, and knowing they have all the bases covered.
    For me... backpacking should have a little freedom and unpredictability... with a kit that can keep up with both without going overboard.

  10. #10
    Senior Member stevebo's Avatar
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    Well said! I always hang, but.......there have Been a few times when it would have been nice to have the option to go to ground, and do it comfortably! Im thinkinh your idea using a torso length uq w a pad under the feet is a winner
    FYI: If you want to know what type a certain bear is, sneak up behind it and kick it. Then,
    run like crazy and climb up a tree. If the bear climbs the tree and eats you, it's a black
    bear. If the bear just pushes the tree over and eats you, it's a grizzly bear : )


    Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either, just leave me alone.
    --unknown

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