Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sleeping On Air

                             Sleeping on air

                My first sleeping pad was a blue foam pad that was bulky yet thin and never thought of any other option.  You sleep on the ground and felt the rocks or your hip compressing the foam until you found the hard unforgiving ground.  Since then things have changed.  The original Thermarest was mind blowing,  you mean it is a sleeping pad that self inflates while I do camp chores and is comfortable to sleep on?  I'm sold.  I was able to stuff it in my large backpack vertically so as to protect it from Arizona bushes like cat claw.  My tattered blue foam pad proves that the Arizona shrubbery is not forgiving of things left outside the confines of my pack.  I then, one year,  purchased the next step,  it was a present for my wife.  A sleeping mattress that was still full length and had half the bulk.  The price to pay was a pad that was not as thick.  The next step for them was to further decrease the weight and bulk.  The options were to move to a thinner shorter pad like a 3/4 length or half length.  Now with more competition with companies like Big Agnes and others, the advances in sleeping pads continue.  Sleeping pads now have dropped the self inflating to save on weight and now have insulation ratings.  The Neo Air full length pad now is under a pound, has an R value of 2.5, and is now small enough to fit in my old small pillow stuff sack.  But fully inflated at 2" is thicker than the original thermarest.

                  After a long day of hiking and swimming through clear creek Scott one of the guys on the trip asked me what my criteria for a camp site was.  We were all exhausted and ready to stop and setup camp to rest.  We spent a night on a rocky yet some what flat screed of rocks that was a better option than the boulders,  The next year I took a Hammock and had a hard time finding enough trees in a group for everyone  to use for a night of sleep, but sandy beaches were every where.  With hammocks being as light and comfortable as they are and sleeping pads as light, small, and thick as they are, my criteria for a campsite is broadening.  I can sleep on uneven terrain in the hammock or find a nice flat spot for my sleeping pad. 

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