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Backpacking sleeping pads for side sleepers


Original Post
Daniel T · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 35

I am wondering what you guys use for backpacking sleeping pads/mattresses?  I am currently using an REI Trecker 1.75, I also have the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol sleeping pad.  I have a sea to summit inflatable pillow.   My issue is I'm a side sleeper and I can not get a comfortable night sleep.  I have tried to train myself to be a back sleeper but I just can't get there. 


What do you side sleepers use to make sure you get a good night sleep on the trail?


Im thinking of upgrading to REI camp bed 2.5 or Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pad.  Anything else thats lower weight and thick enough to sleep on my side.  Also Im located in the deserts of SoCal if that helps at all.


Joe Leach · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 5

I have a Big Agnes Q-Core SLX and it is DAMN comfortable for sleeping on my side. Only complaint is that i have rather wide shoulders and would prefer it to be an inch or two wider, but not a big deal.


It also weighs like 17 oz in long so its well worth it. 

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Joe Leach wrote:

I have a Big Agnes Q-Core SLX and it is DAMN comfortable for sleeping on my side. Only complaint is that i have rather wide shoulders and would prefer it to be an inch or two wider, but not a big deal.


It also weighs like 17 oz in long so its well worth it. 

Yeah, I wish inflatable pads came wider than 20 inches, without having to buy a long one.

David S · · Lewiston, NY · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 0

I side sleep at home but i converted to sleeping on my back when I'm climbing. I feel it helps me breath better at altitude, and it distributes my weight more evenly over the pad... So it's more comfortable. I place my pack under my knees to take all the pressure off my spine. 

Tylerpratt · · Litchfield, Connecticut · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 35

The female Therma-rests have more padding than the male counterparts. 

ScoJo · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 120

I wonder if you can use jackets or other soft gears to reinforce some areas to make yourself more comfortable on your side.

DR · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2014 · Points: 675
FrankPS wrote:

Yeah, I wish inflatable pads came wider than 20 inches, without having to buy a long one.

https://www.nemoequipment.com/product/tensor/

The Nemo Tensor comes in regular wide. One of the few I have found that offer that size. I agree with you I wish more brands offered 25in width and not always long length.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
DRusso wrote:

https://www.nemoequipment.com/product/tensor/

The Nemo Tensor comes in regular wide. One of the few I have found that offer that size. I agree with you I wish more brands offered 25in width and not always long length.

Thanks. Yeah, I'm looking for a wide in what used to be called "3/4 length." Short. They just aren't available, as far as I can tell.

Joe Leach · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 5
FrankPS wrote:

Thanks. Yeah, I'm looking for a wide in what used to be called "3/4 length." Short. They just aren't available, as far as I can tell.

The Big agnes does come in a regular/wide, 25"x72", extra 4oz over the reg/reg.

I did think about upgrading... maybe when this one dies.

It does come in 40"x72", so you can cuddle while sleeping on your side ;)

jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 5
FrankPS wrote:

Thanks. Yeah, I'm looking for a wide in what used to be called "3/4 length." Short. They just aren't available, as far as I can tell.

I'm not sure if you're willing to hack an expensive pad, but the NeoAirs are pretty easy to shorten and reseal with a typical household iron. How to videos are available on YouTube. I have a long (wide) Xlite I shortened, it's great. 

Gavin W · · Langley, BC · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 181

Big thing for side sleeping is a pad with horizontal baffles (going the width of the pad rather than the length). I have the Big Agnes Air Core pad, and it doesn't work well for sleeping on your side with baffles going the length of the pad because your body falls in between them.

stolo · · Shelby, NC · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 120

I also normally sleep on my side. If there are trees around a hammock is more comfortable than a sleeping pad. I don't exactly sleep on my side in the hammock, I just find it more comfortable than being on the ground and generally get a great nights sleep. 

Josh Cameron · · California · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 1,120

Two words: pine duff.

Sean Peter · · IL · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 80
Josh Cameron · · California · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 1,120

Ha! Sean Peter's got it right. Vitamin I, my friends.

r m · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

I found with a regular thermarest (prolite 4) I needed to put another mat on top, like a zlite, to get a good nights sleep when I was sleeping on it for many nights in a row.

I've had pretty good luck with the thermarest xtherm alone - it's 2.5". I only layer a closed cell mat on that for warmth reasons.

I find it impossible to sleep on my back, as convenient as it would be.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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