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Yoga Mat vs Sleeping Pad

Old 04-15-19, 07:37 PM
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kansascity
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Yoga Mat vs Sleeping Pad

In past tours, I always brought a old sleeping bag (probably 5+ lbs). Last Fall, I did a two night trip with just a sheet and this yoga mat. This seemed fine because the weather was warm, I was tired, and I like firm mattresses in the first place. However, I am concerned with this pad over multiple nights.

This Summer, I am planning a Chicago, Detroit, Toronto trip with mostly tent camping.

Has anyone compared yoga mat vs sleeping pad? Thoughts?
Will this area be too cool for just mat/ pad and a sheet in late June/ July?
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Old 04-15-19, 07:56 PM
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Decades ago before Thermarest pads were invented, we all used closed cell pads of about 3/8 inch or maybe a half inch of thickness. My first Thermarest pad was like instant luxury. And the newer air mattresses they now make are pretty good too. I can't imagine using a yoga mat, that is about half of the cushioning what we used to use. For biking I usually use an air mattress instead of the self inflating pads like a Thermarest because an air mattress is much more compact when it comes time to pack it into a pannier.

Summers, I like a sleeping bag liner for warm nights, that is similar in warmth to your sheet. And as it gets colder, I can pull a sleeping bag partly over me like a blanket. And if it gets really cold, use the sleeping bag the way it was intended to be used. In summers I usually carry a 40 degree rated bag with down insulation. I also have an older 40 degree synthetic bag, but the down bag packs down much more compact than the synthetic bag, thus it fits in a pannier better. That down bag without stuff sack is 920 grams, or roughly 2 pounds.
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Old 04-16-19, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Decades ago before Thermarest pads were invented, we all used closed cell pads of about 3/8 inch or maybe a half inch of thickness. My first Thermarest pad was like instant luxury. And the newer air mattresses they now make are pretty good too. I can't imagine using a yoga mat, that is about half of the cushioning what we used to use. For biking I usually use an air mattress instead of the self inflating pads like a Thermarest because an air mattress is much more compact when it comes time to pack it into a pannier.

Summers, I like a sleeping bag liner for warm nights, that is similar in warmth to your sheet. And as it gets colder, I can pull a sleeping bag partly over me like a blanket. And if it gets really cold, use the sleeping bag the way it was intended to be used. In summers I usually carry a 40 degree rated bag with down insulation. I also have an older 40 degree synthetic bag, but the down bag packs down much more compact than the synthetic bag, thus it fits in a pannier better. That down bag without stuff sack is 920 grams, or roughly 2 pounds.
Kansas, my take on this is pretty much what Tourist said.

lets face it, getting a good nights sleep and not feeling like The Spanish Inquisition has stretched you out on a Rack is pretty darn important on a long trip.

There are more comfortable, light, closed celled mats, roll up blue ones, or the accordion ones, or the self inflating ones that are very reasonably priced.

really though, you need to Get thee to a nunnery, or an REI or whatever, and look at all the tons of mats and prices that are out there, and figure on a budget you want--but taking into account that money spent on a mat that will give you a good nights sleep, night after night, is worth the money spent.
Like tourist said, going from even a blue foam mat is going to better than a super thin yoga mat, going to the thermarest style is a step up, and then inflatable ones are a step higher still, simply because of the thickness---I would add that the inflatable ones are more comfortable if you tend to sleep on your side, thicker, so less pressure on your shoulder area and hips, its that simple.

but some people have no issues sleeping on a 1cm thick blue foam, so only you can know this, and the easiest way to find out is to lay down on mats in a big outdoor store where they have their mats hanging on the wall, so you can take them down and try them--especially comparing back to back to back to feel the comfort differences.
Better yet would be if you could borrow a mat or two from friends if possible, and actually sleep on them.
No amount of internet stranger opinions can help you there, other than giving some experienced opinions.

good luck, personally I put a high value on a good nights sleep, more now than when I started touring 30 years ago, but even then it made a difference, but you decide.
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Old 04-16-19, 08:49 AM
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With today's large size Thermarest coming in at only 1 lb and with so much less bulk than rolled up foam, other than initial cost, I can see no advantage. (Well I guess you don't ever have to worry about your yoga mat developing a hole)
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Old 04-16-19, 08:54 AM
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My closed cell foam pads, and my Thermarests, are all more comfortable for sleeping and weigh less, than my yoga mat. I think the closed cell pads only cost about $10. I always trim some off the side, and the length, to get a trimmer fit and save some space and weight.

update - Yeah the Ozark Trail brand closed cell foam sleeping pads are $9.44 at Wal-Mart. They work great.

Last edited by riverdrifter; 04-16-19 at 09:00 AM. Reason: added info
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Old 04-16-19, 09:08 AM
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-the indestructible accordion one is about 60bucks, 2cm thick, 400g
-indestructible closed cell roll up ones (bulky) about 25 bucks, 1cm thick (ish)
-and then the self inflating ones start at about 50, and other good ones under 100, at different weights
-and lighter, nicer ones are 150-250

so basically, you try diff ones out and choose your budget.

but one night in a hotel or a few restaurant meals will nearly pay for a reasonable one that is hands down going to be more comfortable than a yoga mat.....
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Old 04-16-19, 10:06 AM
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A bit more detail on what I use, the old blue closed cell foam pads I used before Thermarests were invented, I always used a shorty length. Full length was too bulky. You need good padding from your shoulders down to your hips, if you are using clothing or other soft stuff for a pillow under your head, the pad does not need to extend above shoulder height. Knees and feet, I always found that soft soil or grassy soil was soft enough. But if on gravel or hardpack like some commercial campgrounds, then I would need to put some of my clothing down for extra padding under my knees and feet.

When I started buying Thermarest self inflating pads (there are other competing brands too), I always bought the shorty versions, as I thought that was good enough. I did not want to pack the extra bulk on a canoe trip.

Air mattresses, I always got the full length because air mattresses are thick enough that a shorty one would feel like my knees and feet fell off of a cliff.

Some people opt for full length self inflating mats or closed cell foam mats instead of shorty.

Only you can know what you think is best. In a good camping store, they often have some demo pads you can put down on the floor and lie down on to try them. Go to the store during hours when they are not very busy if you want to test some of the mats, during busy hours there are more people trying to walk down the aisles that you are using to test the pads.
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Old 04-16-19, 10:25 AM
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the yoga mat is thin , its just to be non slip on a polished floor of the yoga class room,
so not much ground insulation

Self inflating thermarest when its rolled out is dead air space insulation

you may find some insulation filled air mattresses which will pack smaller.. ...

Exped is a brand that comes to mind..







....

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-16-19 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 04-16-19, 10:58 AM
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I backpack. Have not bikepacked yet. But I've been moving to lightweight backpacking gear. I use a down quilt instead of a sleeping bag (compresses smaller and is lighter than most bags), and have embraced the new inflatable sleeping pads. Not self-inflating. That's so 80s/90s. The insulation offered by your sleeping pad is extremely important for quilt-use in the high Sierra, but it cannot hurt for lower levels. Plus these new pads come in 2-3inch thicknesses, weigh around a pound, and roll up into a small package. I use a Thermarest Neo Xtherm, full length. It is mighty comfortable. Thermarest (which i highly recommend) offer cheaper but slightly heavier options. The Neo line of pads offer reflective foiling inside that actually reflects your body's heat. I can feel the warmth simply trying it out on my living room floor. The earlier models were crinkly, but they have quieted down as designs have improved, especially if you do not go with the ultra lightweight models (Neo Air).

A down quilt offers the choice of using it like a blanket, you can allow your legs to spread out and manage warmth. plus at 1-1.5lbs, extremely lightweight.

A good night's sleep is so important, especially at my 52-year old age. I've seen yoga mats. I think they would offer almost nothing for comfort.

eric/fresno, ca.
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Old 04-16-19, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by kansascity View Post
In past tours...
I'm going to echo previous commenters and suggest you ditch the foam pad and get a modern air mattress (Thermarest Neo, Big Agnes). They are more comfortable, provide insulation from the cold ground, and highly compactible so that they take up about as much space as a 1L water battle. Negatives are cost, susceptibility to punctures and some are slick so that you may wake up half way off the pad. Also you have to inflate them with your lungs or a pump.

Self-inflating pads (classic Thermarest design) are a bit tougher than air mattresses and cost less, but they're heavier and more bulky. Foam pads are the least desirable in terms of comfort and packed space requirements, but their advantages are low cost and reliability (pinholes do not render them useless), which is why some backpackers still use the Z-lite pad today, 30 years since it's introduction.

A 3-season lightweight sleeping bag or quilt is your best bet for the top side. Goose down provides the most warmth for the weight, plus it packs down very compact compared to the cheaper/heavier synthetic insulating materials. Down does not insulate if it gets wet and dries slowly, so it is imperative that you use down products with a proven waterproof stuff sack. Down bags/quilts cost more than synthetic . Down is often rated by it's "fill power", 500 fill down is the lowest quality you'll find in sleep gear and ~1000 is the highest. Units for "fill power" are cubic inches per ounce, so 1000 fill does the same job as twice the weight of 500 fill. Western Mountaineering and Feathered Friends make some of the best down bags, but if you can not afford >$400 for a down bag then look at REI or Campmor. Whatever you do, don't head out with just a cotton sheet. A down quilt would weigh only ~1 lb more than a sheet but offer greater comfort range. There are a number of "ultralight" backpacking gear makers who make/sell quilts. I found a few down quilts for <$200 on Amazon.
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Old 04-16-19, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
A bit more detail on what I use, the old blue closed cell foam pads I used before Thermarests were invented, I always used a shorty length. Full length was too bulky. You need good padding from your shoulders down to your hips, if you are using clothing or other soft stuff for a pillow under your head, the pad does not need to extend above shoulder height. Knees and feet, I always found that soft soil or grassy soil was soft enough. But if on gravel or hardpack like some commercial campgrounds, then I would need to put some of my clothing down for extra padding under my knees and feet.

When I started buying Thermarest self inflating pads (there are other competing brands too), I always bought the shorty versions, as I thought that was good enough. I did not want to pack the extra bulk on a canoe trip.

Air mattresses, I always got the full length because air mattresses are thick enough that a shorty one would feel like my knees and feet fell off of a cliff.

Some people opt for full length self inflating mats or closed cell foam mats instead of shorty.

Only you can know what you think is best. In a good camping store, they often have some demo pads you can put down on the floor and lie down on to try them. Go to the store during hours when they are not very busy if you want to test some of the mats, during busy hours there are more people trying to walk down the aisles that you are using to test the pads.
good to mention going in when its not busy. Nice to be able to take your time and look at the many many many models and companies available nowadays.
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Old 04-16-19, 02:02 PM
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re late june july for sleeping bags.
while there are all kinds of light, compact sleeping bags or quilts, as stated, a lot of them are pretty expensive. What I can say from personal experience is that for summer bike touring, unless you are high up where it will be colder, the places you want to ride in are generally going to be regular summer temps, maybe a bit cool at night, but not too much.
I have used a summer bag for ages, the same one for over 25 years. Its synthetic, could be a bit warmer the odd time, but then I always have a fleece with me, and tights or leg warmers, and warm socks, so really, every year when I think, "oh, its about time I looked at a new sleeping bag...." I then figure, what the heck, my old one is fine for what I need, the zipper is in perfect shape, and so why spend X hundred dollars on a new one?
It is fairly compact, which is nice, so my point is that there are plenty of economical summer bags out there that are not bulky, but will work for your trip.

Obviously look at bag options in outdoor stores, and make the decision on how much budget you have for camping gear, and go from there. Who knows what the weather patterns will be like for you at that time, but chances are they will be ok.

good shopping
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Old 04-16-19, 03:31 PM
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And if you do decide on an inflatable mattress, I can't recommend this little gizmo highly enough. I used to dread night after night having to blow up my mattress and this little beauty does it for you so you can be working on something else, and you don't have to watch it closely because it doesn't produce enough pressure such that your mattress can over inflate or burst. It does take a few minutes to fill but it's less than 2 inches long and weighs next to nothing. Also, I don't know that this really matters but you're not filling your mattress with warm moist air from your lungs all the time so you're not as likely to be growing things in there that only your child could appreciate come science project time.

https://www.thermarest.com/neoair-mini-pump
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Old 04-16-19, 04:01 PM
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In case anybody is considering a down sleeping bag or quilt, yes, you should take extra precautions to keep it away from moisture, but these days, many companies offer treated down filling to help resist water. That, plus a waterproof or resistant stuff sack can reduce most if not all issues. they also make cuben fiber dry rolltop sacks for compete water proofness.

I used to shop Massdrop often. They have partnered with Enlightened Equipment in the past to produce their own down quilts. I picked up a 35 degree 800-fill quilt for $203 a couple of years ago (no longer offered), and they often offer a 20 degree bag made in china to their tight specs for about the same price. I think it was being offered as recently as 2 weeks ago, but not now. I imagine it will come up again. It's free registration to Massdrop, and relies on "group buys" to reduce cost. Not all are great deals, but some can be found, and the items they partner with, with other outdoor companies, can be a great bargain.

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Old 04-16-19, 07:47 PM
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Wow, a lot of comments today.

My memory was not working last night, I do have a cheap coleman air mattress that also previously used. I wasn't really excited about how it packed up and the weight 5.5+ lbs.

These thin, light, and easy to roll up mats have me excited.
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Old 04-16-19, 07:54 PM
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This one works well. Keep an eye on the R-Value for indicating warmth. Cheaper than the Thermarest NeoAir XTherm (which apparently is good enough for snow camping with an R-Value of 5.7), this one is an R-Value of 3.
https://www.backcountry.com/therm-a-...r-sleeping-pad

You just missed out on REI's 20% off sale, and Backcountry typically offers a similar 20% sale at the same time to compete (i imagine). But if you have an REI, they encourage you to lay out sleeping pads (and bags) to test on the floor. But as someone else noted, it's nicer to go when there's low traffic, so you don't get stepped on while testing.

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Old 04-16-19, 08:46 PM
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5.5 pounds for an air mattress? Sounds like a keeper for car camping use only.

My NeoAir air mattress is 370 grams without the stuff sack. Mine is the really crinkly sounding one, has a slow leak I can't find so do not often use it.

I also use an older style REI Flash air mattress, now discontinued and replaced with a different design, my older style one is 505 grams without stuff sack. Of my air matresses, this is my favorite one, it has a large flap type valve to empty it so it empties to roll up quite quickly, much faster than the ones with a tiny little valve.

Backpacking I use a shorty Thermarest lightweight self inflating pad one is 425 or the other one is 465 grams. Not a bike trip, but the blue pad attached to my backpack is one of these shorty Thermarest self inflating pads.

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Old 04-17-19, 04:19 AM
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Love my Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated pad. Not self-inflating, but takes maybe 12 blows to fill it. They have several other models that are less expensive.
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Old 04-17-19, 08:49 AM
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Thermarest Scout is another good economical mat. 1.6lb's 3.4 R value https://www.atmosphere.ca/product/33...9659=331559684
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Old 04-17-19, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
My NeoAir air mattress is 370 grams without the stuff sack. Mine is the really crinkly sounding one, has a slow leak I can't find so do not often use it.
mine is one of the early more crinkly ones also, but it doesnt bother me or my wife really at all.
re the leak--have you pumped it up and put in in a bathtub or water? Ive only had to patch a thermarest once, and I think I did the bathtub routine to confirm that there were no other holes than the obvious one I could hear air coming out of.
I reckon its like with a bike tube, that if you dont have enough pressure, its harder to get the air to come out of a teeny tiny hole with it under water, and also to be slow and methodical when doing it.
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Old 04-17-19, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Mine is the really crinkly sounding one, has a slow leak I can't find so do not often use it.
Have you tried inflating it to the max and submerging it in a filled bathtub? I had a TR ProLite that had a very slow leak in it. That's how I found the leak.
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Old 04-17-19, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
mine is one of the early more crinkly ones also, but it doesnt bother me or my wife really at all.
re the leak--have you pumped it up and put in in a bathtub or water? Ive only had to patch a thermarest once, and I think I did the bathtub routine to confirm that there were no other holes than the obvious one I could hear air coming out of.
I reckon its like with a bike tube, that if you dont have enough pressure, its harder to get the air to come out of a teeny tiny hole with it under water, and also to be slow and methodical when doing it.
I have several air mattresses and Thermarest self inflating pads, every one was bought at an REI scratch and dent sale. (I think they now call them garage sales, I never go to them any more.) Thus I have lots of experience with patching pads. Inflate and put in the tub is first pass for the obvious leaks. The less obvious leaks, inflate it and sit on it to put pressure on it while I wipe over it with a sponge and soapy water, the soap will make the bubbles more visible where it leaks.

But the NeoAir was a in-store demo pad for people to try, I suspect when sales staff noticed every week or two that it took another puff of air to keep it inflated, they put it in the sale. The leak is so slow that I can't find it. Middle of the night, part of me will be on hard ground, one breath is enough to re-inflate it but that is more than I want to do in the middle of the night.

Speaking of leaks, when I was in Iceland for a month and saw a patch start coming loose from my REI Flash mattress, I was really starting to worry because I do not carry a tube of SeamGrip on a bike tour. But it did not lose any air and I was careful to avoid accidently peeling off the patch. Repatched it when I got home. Since then I have heard that self-adhesive bike tube patches work but I have never tried one.
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Old 04-17-19, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Have you tried inflating it to the max and submerging it in a filled bathtub? I had a TR ProLite that had a very slow leak in it. That's how I found the leak.
Yup, see my post immediately above.
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Old 04-17-19, 10:34 AM
  #24  
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I mentioned patching a pad and leaks above - - a gal I used to work with was camping with her boyfriend. His pad developed a leek. So, they had to go to a store so he could buy another pad. That pad developed a leak in the same place. They inspected the tent floor closely or maybe it was the tent footprint, and found the thorn that punctured his two pads.

Moral of the story is if you get a leak, spend a bit of time trying to figure out why it is leaking and look to see if there is an obvious reason for a leak.

In the few posts above, Djb, Indyfabz and I mentioned our methods of finding leaks. I patch the leaks with a bit of Seam Grip. If the leak is of significant size, I cut a bit of nylon fabric from something and use the Seam Grip to glue that nylon over the leak. Let the Seam Grip set as long as practical. I have heard that self-adhesive inner tube patches work but I have never tried one. Perhaps if anyone has experience with the inner tube patches, they will comment?
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Old 04-17-19, 11:06 AM
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robow
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I always carry some Gorilla tape with me, wrapped around a tire lever or pencil and have used it before with good results to patch a mattress. Also works well as rim tape or a tire boot if ever needed. I never leave home without it.
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