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  1. #1
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    I've read too many threads on pads

    And there isn't much information, unfortunately.

    Everybody gushes about 1/4" Evazote, (sold by GG and JRB), but user experiences vary all over the place. One guy says he takes 1/4" Evazote into the 20's, while another freezes at 50*f and someone else posts a spreadsheet, devoid of supporting data, that states it is only good to 57*f.

    Then we have people talking about Minicell and Landau Foams, but nobody posts their user experiences. So I can only conclude that both foams suck.

    The only moderately useful posts are the ones where somebody takes a regular ground pad and modifies it for hammock use. Either with the SPE or some clever cutting and sewing. Mainly because most of us have ground sleeping experience with the cheap CCF and also because they are easily available and cheap to experiment with.

    My point is that for a noob, looking for data to determine the Good, Better, and Best pad system is a waste of time. It's a total crap shoot.

    Or am I wrong?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bomber's Avatar
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    I think it's because of the differences in "how hot you sleep", what takes me to 50f might take you to 30f.... and our individual comfort limit is also very different.

    Just one way to find out - get out there and try it while on the trail, experience will be your best teacher.
    /Bomber.LTD
    Member of the infamous "Hyperborean Hang Gang"
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  3. #3
    Senior Member oldsoldier's Avatar
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    Bomber is right-I have taken a 40* UQ down to 25*, and been fine. Pads are the same way. Most folks will start off with the cheap blue ones found in the outdoor section of superstores. Then, you can modify it to fit your needs, without breaking the bank. And, if it doesnt work for you, you are only out about $10-and you know you need something more.
    All pads work the same though, essentially-they block the wind underneath you, and reflect your heat back to you. It really comes down to how much you want to spend, and how you plan on using it. a 1/4" CCF pad from one maker isnt going to differ a whole lot from one made by another maker-particularly when you are hanging. Ground sleeping may be a little different, as stiffness & compression play more of a factor when protecting you from the ground. But, overall, I think the 1/4" CCF is 1/4" CCF when hanging. Thats just my untested opinion though

  4. #4
    Senior Member bear bag hanger's Avatar
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    The other thing not mentioned is a 1/4" pad from one source is not always the same thickness as a 1/4" pad from another source. I have two 3/8" pads, but when compared side by side, one is almost double the thickness of the other.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Fiddleback's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dla View Post

    My point is that for a noob, looking for data to determine the Good, Better, and Best pad system is a waste of time. It's a total crap shoot.

    Or am I wrong?
    Maybe. Partly. Mostly?

    A pad is one part of a sleep system. And in that system, when one part changes, the entire system performs differently. Comparisons of pads only come close to working when all (or virtually all) of the other system parts are as close to being the same as can be. And even then there are the uncontrollable variables of 'how' the hanger sleeps, what the weather and climate is like during the hang (temp, wind, humidity, etc.), the condition of the hanger (well fed, hydrated, rested, etc.), and on and on.

    IMO, the three biggies of a sleep system are under insulation, sleeping bags/quilts, and sleepwear. Comparing pads, without also describing the rest of the system, doesn't do much for someone looking for specific details and help. A good post should either describe the sleep system or at least qualify the statements with a, 'in my system', caveat. A fourth sleep system biggie, shelter, may be assumed to be fairly constant here in the hammock forum but it'd probably be helpful to name the hammock model too.

    I'm one of those that love my " Evazote pad. I'm also one of those that find it perfectly comfortable down to the low/mid-20's...in my system. Why do I love it so? It weighs 7oz and cost less than $25 (Oware)...and I've never tried anything else.

    FB

  6. #6
    in it for the naps oldgringo's Avatar
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    I agree with Fiddleback, with one exception: shelter. A good hammock sock makes a significant difference in the performance of a sleep system, and in fact, should be considered a part of the system.
    Dave

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  7. #7
    Member Magoober's Avatar
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    Here is what I used to do before I got an underquilt. I laid a sheet of JRB foam in my hammock so that it would wrap around my torso. Then I put my thermarest on top of that and slept on the thermarest (the two pads formed what looked like a cross in my hammock). I did this because i liked the idea of a SPE but was too lazy to make one. The JRB foam is tacky enough that it didn't slide around under my thermarest, and the thermarest prevented it from getting all bunched up and uncomfortable underneath me when i rolled over. It worked quite well and I got into the 20s with this system without any problems at all. Plus I already had the thermarest and the JRB pad was only ~$10... pretty cheap solution.

    My point is, I took a lot of the info i read about and mashed them up into a single system that ended up working pretty well. Don't know if that is helpful, but it's my two cents.
    I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I have not lived.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member eflat7's Avatar
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    I have always been a critic of pads. I have a couple of thermarest 3/4's and one half. They suck IMO in a hammock. They slip and and slide and seem to want to shoot out from under you.

    This past weekend I didn't want to pack my heavy underquilt and ended up almost freezing in unexpected 50 degree weather. My buddy let me borrow his Thermarest Z-Lite and I expected to fight with it until morning.

    Let me just say that that pad is incredible. It didnt slip or slide and because it folds accordian style, I could leave half folded for a pillow. Granted it wasn't in the 20's, but the point is that it was actually usable.

    For only 29$ you might want to try the z-lite and test it a little. I got a little real world experience with it this weekend and am purchasing one this week.

  9. #9
    Senior Member stefprez's Avatar
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    I agree with Fiddleback. I have two total hangs with a pad under me ever. My first hang, overnight low of 39 degrees, Walmart CCF pad below me (pad unmodified) and a North Face Cat's Meow 20 degree bag. As most of you would guess, I was quite warm. I slept most of the night with the bag unzipped and my arms out of the bag, hood off. At one or two points, I slid off the pad, getting a cold butt and shoulder, where I woke up and readjusted. Also, at one point I got cold in general, so I zipped the bag up and tossed the hood on. Super cozy then.

    The next night, overnight low was 46 degrees. I used a Mountain Hardware Ultralamina 32 degree bag with the same pad, but I modified it to make it wider for the shoulders. (Basically an SPE made by cutting the pad and using duct tape to hold the modification together.) I know I have overcompressed the life out of this bag too many times (before I knew it was bad to do that...) but nonetheless, I was pretty dang chilly. I blame it on the bag. Perfect example of how the system is important, not just the pad (or any other singular aspect of the system).

    My recommendation to you is to go buy one of the Walmart CCF pads. I think mine was $7. Is it light? Nah. Mine weights like 15 oz. But it's a good way to figure out of pads are something you want to even bother fiddling with, or if you should just make the jump to an underquilt.
    "Get busy living, or get busy dying."


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  10. #10
    Member
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    The average backpacker is a 2-season sleeper (summer & fall). Spring usually still has too much snow (and crappy snow at that). I do all of my backpacking at higher elevations (7000 - 10000 feet), and it is very common to get 30* night-time temps.

    I think what is missing on this site is the equivalent of Shug's videos for noobs. Shug put a lot of time into videos and folks would be hard pressed to find a better source for basic info. But Shug didn't spend a lot of time on pads, and Shug focussed a lot on winter hanging.

    What is needed, IMHO, is a good, better, best rating of bottom insulations. That way a person can understand better what they are getting for their money. And avoid mistakes.

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