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Author Topic: newbie in bicycle touring looking for advise  (Read 2235 times)

diegotailwind

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newbie in bicycle touring looking for advise
« on: January 02, 2010, 03:32:42 AM »
Hello;
I am not sure if this forum works since there are almost no post on it but I decided to give it a shot.  :P
Is it a new forum?
I already posted this question on other forums but I was wondering what people think here.
I'm planning a 6 month journey in SE Asia and I'm still in the process of selecting gears. I'm having trouble to choose the right pad. It seems that there is a lot of different opinions on thermarest pads. Some love it some hate it.
What do you guys think? Are they really self inflated? Are they reliable? Comfortable? What about the short versions (3/4 lenght)?
thank you.

travleur

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Re: newbie in bicycle touring looking for advise
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2010, 10:43:52 AM »
I am very surprise to read that there are people who don't like therm-a-rest. Everyone I met who travel with one was certainly happy with it. My wife and I used them almost every single day during our 5 year trip around the world and never had a single problem. both still inflate as quickly as they used to (to answer your question, yes they are self inflated, it takes about 5 min. but you might need to give them an extra blow or 2 for extra firmness). Very comfortable in our opinion. We actually still have them and use them once in a while. My sister in law just slept on it last night because we were running out guest beds and was surprise how comfortable it was (and she is definitely not an outdoor person). We never had to patch them, no puncture (although we didn't use them directly on the ground - and we used the tent footprint all the time). They even came up with a anti-puncture version and i saw people using them directly on the ground without problem (they might be heavier though). I truly believe they were fantastic and I would definitely recommend them! Maybe it depends on the model? I have an older version, 2.5 inch and i actually used the 3/4 lenght - never bother me, but I used my jacket and a fleece underneath my feet when it was very cold (O°F in Europe). I forgot the name of the model. Therm-a-rest came out with the neo-air who won the backapacker 2009 award. It looks really good but quiet expensive and not self inflating. I would be curious to hear any feedback on that one.
cheers
travleur

petervanglabbeek

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Re: newbie in bicycle touring looking for advise
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2010, 03:39:47 AM »
I have been using a therm-a-rest mattress almost every day for the last 4.5 years. As far as I know they are the best mats. I got some problems with delaminating (when the upper layer separates from the inside cells and you get a huge bubble.) But both times I got a new mattress for free with the life time warranty. I sleep very comfortable on the mattress and the insulation qualities are great. And just like travleur, I never had a puncture. It is still self inflatable, I usually give it one extra blow before I go sleeping.
A friend from Chile once bought a cheaper brand of self inflatable. It lasted about a week and the replacement not much longer. We shared my mattress for the rest of the trip.
Peter van Glabbeek

Ablejack

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Re: newbie in bicycle touring looking for advise
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2010, 08:10:50 PM »
Yeah, the de-laminating is a rare issue with "self-inflating" pads.  Never happened to me but a friend's de-lammed on a trip once.  I have although busted a Therma-rest next to the valve and considered it shot.  Anyway, Therma-Rest was still the brand I got (prolite3) when I went on an AT thru-hike.  For my bike touring trips I grab my Big Agnes Clearview.  It's just a vinyl bladder that you blow up with your mouth.  Seems to have the same specs as the Neo-Air as far as weight and folds down to the size of a business envelope.  It doesn't inspire confidence because it's just a flat beach ball and I imagine someday I'll pop it and spend the rest of the ride on the ground.  No big whup. It's a no brainer for S24Os and week-enders but I even took it on a ten day ride with no issues. If I ever do destroy it, I'd get another because (unlike the Neo-Air) they are relatively cheap.  Most of the time on any bike trip it is tucked in a pannier being small (2"x7") and (14oz) light ...  which is more than I can say for any strapped on ridge-mess or football sized self-inflatable pad. 

Arcticpunk

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Re: newbie in bicycle touring looking for advise
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2010, 05:51:37 AM »
I use the Therm-a-rest Z-light foam pad.  The "eggcrate" style is very comfortable and warmer than the self inflating pads if you find yourself sleeping in below freezing temperatures.  I never had an problems packing it on the bike since i ran front and rear racks with full cargo decks, I'd just strap it on first and then pack the rest of my kit on.  They are incredible lightweight and 100% failure-proof.

Stephane

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Re: newbie in bicycle touring looking for advise
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2010, 10:39:57 AM »
Also, I would like to add that the thicker the pad, the better the insulation from the ground is going to be. And it is helpful not only in cold weather (very helpful, actually) but also when it is really hot. I crossed the Mojave Desert, and I realized how nice it was to have a 2-inch pad. There was SO MUCH heat coming out of the ground, it was insane. No wonder they have the "sidewalk egg-frying contest" on Oatman, AZ!
« Last Edit: January 28, 2010, 09:40:56 PM by Stephane »
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Stephane

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Re: newbie in bicycle touring looking for advise
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2010, 11:10:51 AM »
No! I never tried, but I can see how that would work. Unfortunately, deserts are usually more rocky than sandy...
« Last Edit: January 28, 2010, 09:39:13 PM by Stephane »
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LHT

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Re: newbie in bicycle touring looking for advise
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2010, 05:23:59 AM »
If you're interested in a cheaper alternative to a Therm a Rest. Look into an ensolight pad. Though they are thinner than a self inflating pad, they can't deflate, offer great insulation form ground temps and last for years. I have been using ensolight since the 70's and while it is old school, it works very well and has nothing to break, delam or leak.