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Thread: Air Mattress Question

  1. #1
    Member SperBear's Avatar
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    Default Air Mattress Question

    Wondering if its just me, or if in fact my Big Agnes air mattress sucks some heat right out of me when sleeping on it. Hate to switch to a thermorest, but I have definitely slept warmer on those vs. the Big Agnes. Late season overnighters are cold!
    I've thought about sleeping on an emergency blanket on top of the Agnes, but that might create less sleep due to sound. Haven't tried it yet, but was also pondering the use of a sheet or towel between sleeping bag and air mattress. But I really like packing compact and light...
    Has anyone else experienced this? Do you have any advice/suggestions?
    Thanks in advance.

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    Member mod elan's Avatar
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    Do you have the INSULATED air core? I know someone who got a good deal on BA air mattresses on SAC just to find out the same thing. Oops! Turns out it wasn't such a good deal. If it's the insulated one then I'm not sure what to say. Mine has done just fine on some nasty, wet, cold sheep expeditions.

  3. #3

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    I think I may know that person mod elan! And no, it wasn't a great deal! I am guessing also that you don't have the insulated version. Yes, you will freeze your arse off with the non-insulated version!

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Just to add to the pileup... the insulated aircore is the bomb. I love mine, it's plenty warm, and it's heading into it's 6th season.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

  5. #5

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    If you are not counting ounces, errrr I mean pounds, and size is not much of an issue the REI XL 3.5" pad is the most comfortable pad I have used. I can sleep on my side all night long and wake up without every inch of my body in pain.

    http://www.rei.com/product/778153

    To top if off I am adding a new pillow to my system. The pillow is typically overlooked and substituted with rolled up clothes or a stuff sack full of whatever. BLAH! Not comfortable. If I don't sleep well at night I'm not as mobile during the day. I've researched just about every camp pillow and I went with the Big Agnes air core pillow with foam case. Hopefully BA pillow lives up to my expectations.

    http://www.bigagnes.com/Products/Det...moryFoamPillow

  6. #6

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    WG, that pads look nice, but at 6#'s, I will have to pass!

  7. #7
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SperBear View Post
    ...I've thought about sleeping on an emergency blanket on top of the Agnes, but that might create less sleep due to sound. Haven't tried it yet, but was also pondering the use of a sheet or towel between sleeping bag and air mattress. But I really like packing compact and light...
    Man, the only constant is that there are ALWAYS tradeoffs with gear. Sometimes the weight matters more, but sometimes the insulation. One night camping up the Talkeetna River, I put all my clothes on, plus my pack and stuff sacks under me and still went to sleep shivering... changed my thinking.

    Looking at some insulation/weight/cost comparison info (REI and Cabela's are good for this), from an R-value of 1 ($50) to 4 ($80) going from a regular air mattress to the insulated version if I have the right pad (http://www.rei.com/CompareProduct/User?storeId=8000). Sounds like R-4 (insulated air core) works for most guys.

    Add Space Blankey? Thermarest NeoAir, which uses the space blanket-reflective thermal barrier you mentioned, gets R 2.5 in the end (http://www.rei.com/CompareProduct/User?storeId=8000) - so you could approx double the insulation value of your air pad that way.

    Go plush- if you can and insulation matters most? Water Gremlin's REI 3.5 Camp Bed - my all-time favorite for a good night's sleep - scores (near) perfect 7's; R-7 and near 7 pounds. Yowzah.

    Good luck.

  8. #8

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    I've used a thermarest pro-lite for years. It does a great job keeping me warm from the ground. I am looking to upgrade to the Big Agnes insulated though. 6#'s for a sleeping pad is a bit much for sheep hunting, but would be great for winter hunting.

  9. #9
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    I have REI's 3.5" Camp Bed. It's warm, and comfortable, but heavy. I switched to an Exped Synmat 9 because it weighs less than half, packs to less than a third and is nearly as warm (R6 compared to R7). It's also more comfortable; not that the camp bed is not comfortable, but the Synmat is more so. It also has a rather ingenious pump built in. I also find pumping up an insulated air mattress is not much more difficult than trying to get the air out of the thicker self inflating pads. http://www.rei.com/product/780369

    Uninsulated air mattresses are cold. Insulated ones are great.

  10. #10
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    WaterGremlin- I am also a side sleeper. It's the biggest reason I went with a BigAgnes bag and insulated aircore pad. My Encampment bag is large enough for my big butt to get sideways in and the fact that the aircore matress fits in a pocket in the bag is better yet. I can sleep on my side in rocks with the aircore matress and not feel a thing. The pad rolls up into a package almost as small as a qt. Nalgene bottle.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

  11. #11
    Member polardds's Avatar
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    Use the Big Agnes Insulated air core pad. Also carry the memory foam cover for base camp or winter camping. Talk about luxury.

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Strutz View Post
    I have REI's 3.5" Camp Bed. It's warm, and comfortable, but heavy. I switched to an Exped Synmat 9 because it weighs less than half, packs to less than a third and is nearly as warm (R6 compared to R7). It's also more comfortable; not that the camp bed is not comfortable, but the Synmat is more so. It also has a rather ingenious pump built in. I also find pumping up an insulated air mattress is not much more difficult than trying to get the air out of the thicker self inflating pads. http://www.rei.com/product/780369

    Uninsulated air mattresses are cold. Insulated ones are great.
    Wow. 42oz...2.6 lbs. $150.

  13. #13

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    I'd love to try the Big Agnes aircore sometime or do a side by side comparison. I actually planned to buy the BA pad but REI didn't have any in stock to test at the time, once I tried the rei 3.5 pad I knew it would be perfect for hunting/camping off the wheeler. I sleep better on the rei 3.5 pad than I do at home in my bed.

  14. #14
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SperBear View Post
    Wondering if its just me, or if in fact my Big Agnes air mattress sucks some heat right out of me when sleeping on it.
    Sounds like it is not insulating you from the cold ground. Consider putting a closed cell foam pad like the Therma-rest Z-lite which has an R-value of 2.2 under the air pad you currently use. When camping in warm weather, skip the closed cell foam pad underneath. In cold weather, utilize both pads together. I have used this system on several arctic float trips and it works well. I usually put the closed cell foam on the ground under the sleeping bag, and put the air matress inside the bag so I am not rolling off it all night. One nice thing about this two pronged approach is that if your air pad fails and can't be repaired, you still have some insulation (and comfort) in the way of the closed cell foam pad. As a side benefit, the closed cell foam pads make great protection from TSA gorillas if you are flying to a destination. I usually keep priority items like water filters, stoves, liquor, inside the closed cell pads during transport. Food for thought perhaps.

    http://www.cascadedesigns.com/therm-...z-lite/product


    -Dan
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6XLeech View Post
    Wow. 42oz...2.6 lbs. $150.

    Compares quite well to Big Agnes Long, Wide Dual Core pad, but the SynMat is an inch thicker, half pound lighter, and one "R" warmer for only $5 extra. The BA pad also lacks the pump. Hard to beat the SynMat. And like BA, they have smaller, lighter & less expensive versions. They also have an R8 version for $200.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Strutz View Post
    Compares quite well to Big Agnes Long, Wide Dual Core pad, but the SynMat is an inch thicker, half pound lighter, and one "R" warmer for only $5 extra. The BA pad also lacks the pump. Hard to beat the SynMat. And like BA, they have smaller, lighter & less expensive versions. They also have an R8 version for $200.
    +1 for the SynMat. I balked at the price but when I tossed in my REI points in conjunction with a sale it wasn't so bad. As someone who sleeps on his side (and back and stomach) I do like the "I beam" cross section of the SynMat and BA pads. I'm not entirely sold on the internal pump but its not a deal breaker. My wife, with her smaller hands, has much more trouble with it than I do.

  17. #17
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    I agree that $150 (not to mention $200) is a lot of money to pay for the SynMat pad. I choked for quite a while before pulling the trigger. It also took me a while before liking the internal pump. The main issue I have with it is that the left hand acts as the one way valve over the air entry port, and my carpal tunnel problems keep me from bending my wrist far enough to work while it's on the ground. I have to put the pad on a table, bench, etc., to work it. But I've used it enough now to think it's a pretty good feature.

  18. #18
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Some gear IS worth it.

    It is funny about gear, and maybe why we keep in touch on what's new - how sometimes $150 can look so big when you drive up on it, but recede into the rear-view skyline once you've used it. Plus, gear is seldom a one size fits all needs deal. What it offers needs to fit your needs at the time. Synmat offers a lot of performance in a durable package - and sounds worth a premium price. Some gear is.

  19. #19
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6XLeech View Post
    sounds worth a premium price. Some gear is.

    You said a mouthful man. Reminds me of a purchase I reluctantly made after growing tired of carrying duct tape and 550 cord to fix the inevitable broken camp chairs on float trips. At 6'6" 300, I was breaking them left and right. I bought my wife and I some Kermit chairs a few years back to remedy this problem. Like $100 each, but I would buy them again in a heartbeat. Value is relative when it comes to gear. Sometimes you get what you pay for.







    http://www.kermitchair.com/

    -Dan
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  20. #20
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    Ya, when you sitting in the woods with piece of gear that failed or doesn't work, but you "saved" 50 bucks. That 50 bucks in the bank sure ain't doing you any good at that moment. Granted, there are times when you either make do with what you have or stay home (which I've done) but, buying good stuff pays off.

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