Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol vs. NEMO Switchback: The Ultimate Comparison

If you’ve spent time backpacking, I’d be willing to bet my next pizza that you’ve seen either a Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol (henceforth referred to as Z Lite) or a NEMO Switchback at some point.  Maybe you carried one yourself.  Their low weight and price point, combined with exceptional ruggedness, make these closed-cell foam (CCF) sleeping pads a favorite choice of thru-hikers and weekend warriors alike.

Four thru-hikers. Four Z Lite Sol’s.

For many years, the Z Lite remained the unchallenged monarch of the CCF market and thus came to define the genre.  It is iconic.  However, for 2019, NEMO released the Switchback, a CCF pad that looks remarkably similar to the Z Lite despite claiming to “redefine the classic closed-cell foam sleeping pad.” 

On paper a screen, the two rivals appear to be essentially the same.  So which do you choose?  Sure,  the color choices are different, but do they differ in performance?  I snagged one of each to find out.

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol At-a-Glance:

MSRP:  $44.95
Type:  Accordion-style closed-cell foam sleeping pad
Material:  Proprietary, dual-density crosslinked polyethylene
Thickness (measured):  0.75 inches (0.76 inches)
R-value:  2.0
Weight (measured):  14 ounces (14.4 ounces)
Packed size (measured):  20 x 5.5 x 5 inches (20 x 6.3 x 5 inches)
Country of origin:  USA

NEMO Switchback At-a-Glance:

MSRP:  $49.95
Type:  Accordion-style closed-cell foam sleeping pad
Material:  Axiotomic, dual-density polyethylene
Thickness (measured):  0.9 inches (0.87 inches)
R-value:  2.0
Weight (measured):  14.5 ounces (14.2 ounces)
Packed size (measured):  20 x 5.5 x 5 inches (20 x 5.4 x 5 inches)
Country of origin:  South Korea

Why They’re Popular

CCF pads will never compete with the comfort of an (unpunctured) inflatable sleeping pad, but their other characteristics keep them relevant in an increasingly crowded gear market.

Closed-cell foam pads are great for any occasion, including this on-trail wedding in the Winds.

CCF Pros:

Rugged: Compared with inflatable sleeping pads, which become unreliable or totally useless with a pinhole leak, CCF pads can take abuse without degrading performance.  The comfort might not be top-notch, but it is reliable. 

That said, CCF pads don’t last forever.  With extended use, the foam will compress, the comfort-giving dimples will flatten, and the heat-reflecting shine will dull.  This is why I choose the word “rugged” instead of “durable”.  

Inexpensive:  CCF sleeping pads are the cheapest available.  The Z Lite and Switchback each cost less than $50 and will save you $100-$200 versus popular inflatable options like the NeoAir XLite. 

And again, CCF can’t pop, so you can be sure that your modest investment will be around for the long haul.

Lightweight:  At just under one pound, the Z Lite and Switchback qualify as “ultralight” sleeping pads.  There are lighter pads out there that even boast higher R-values, such as the NeoAir XLite and UberLite, but those risk quickly turn to deadweight when punctured. 

And for shorter hikers or gram-weenies, shortening these CCF pads is an easy way to shave off a few ounces—a difficult, albeit possible, option with inflatables.

Multifunctional:  The ruggedness of CCF, combined with the ease of access that comes with strapping a pad to the outside of a pack, make these pads convenient to whip out for trailside comfort throughout the day. 

They can double, triple, or even quadruple as a sit pad, yoga mat, or pack back panel, and probably a bunch of other things that my tiny human brain can’t imagine.  Let us know in the comments other ways you like to use your CCF sleeping pad.

New Triple-Crowners Crunchberry and Rooster are crowned with crowns cut from a NEMO Switchback.

Easy to Use: Save your breath.  Setting up camp is one step easier with a CCF sleeping pad.  At the end of a long day on trail, puffing up an inflatable pad is one of my least favorite chores, especially dizzying if I’m at elevation. 

The next morning, folding it carefully and rolling it up is equally lame.  The contrast with the Z Lite or Switchback could not be starker.  They literally take two seconds to pack or unpack, and I legitimately enjoy doing it.

But Here’s The Catch

So if the Z Lite and Switchback are so amazing, why are there so many inflatable sleeping pads on the market?  Well, CCF pads, as great as they are, do have their limitations.

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol vs. Nemo Switchback

No one will call these pads compact. However, the Switchback nests together better than the Z Lite Sol.

CCF Cons:

Comfort:  This is the big one, the deal-breaker.  The Z Lite and Switchback are 0.75 and 0.9 inches thick respectively, significantly thinner than the 2.5-inch thick NeoAirs.  For some backpackers, that is just barely enough.  For others, it isn’t even close. 

That means campsite selection is crucial for a good night’s sleep when using these pads.  And that still only works for the hardiest of sleepers.  People who sleep on their backs or bellies will fare better than side sleepers. 

That said, I think that sleeping close to the ground is a welcome change from feeling precariously perched on a skinny marshmallow.

Bulk:  These pads, even with their ingenious and satisfying nesting-egg-carton accordion form, are huuuge when packed.  For that reason, they are almost always carried on the outside of a backpack, which is great for advertising, but terrible for looking sleek.  However, for the majority of users, this issue rarely extends beyond aesthetics. 

Practically speaking, most backpacks come equipped with one or more ways to strap bulky gear to the outside that are perfect attachment points for keeping a CCF pad handy.

The large packed size of CCF pads inevitably forces hikers to strap them to the outside of their backpacks.

Warmth:  Your sleeping pad’s ability to insulate you from the cold ground complements the temperature rating of your sleeping bag or quilt.  This is a pad’s R-Value, given on a numerical scale from 1 (least insulating) to 7 (most insulating). 

The Z Lite and Switchback both have an R-value of 2.0, which is on the low end of being suitable for three-season excursions.  For comparison, many inflatable pads boast R-values closer to 4.0 or more.  Skimping on your sleeping pad R-value will stretch the limits of your sleeping bag temperature rating, which is measured using a sleeping pad with an R-value of 4.8 (ISO 23537).

Of course, comfortable sleep temperature is highly dependent on the individual.  The Z Lite or Switchback might work perfectly well for warm sleepers even when the mercury drops.  It is important to understand your own body and to look at your sleep system as a whole. 

Note:  R-value is additive, meaning that you get to add the R-values of stacked pads.  This makes CCF pads a great addition to boost the warmth of an inflatable pad on winter trips.

The dual-density foam of this Switchback isn’t as supportive after extensive use, but it still works after I took scissors to it. Rugged, not durable.

Durability:  While CCF may be rugged, I hesitate to call it durable.  It can handle punctures, but heavy use will compress and deform the material over time, just like the midsole of your favorite trail shoes.  Conversely, inflatable pads can’t handle punctures but will maintain performance and comfort for many years if leaks are avoided.

The Z Lite and Switchback rely on their dimpled shape (traps warm air) and a reflective layer (reflects body heat) for comfort and warmth.  Both of these will degrade with use, even if babied.  That already low R-Value may dip lower with extended use.  That marginal comfort might become more suspect.  

Unfortunately, neither Therm-a-Rest nor NEMO were able to provide any data about long-term performance degradation, particularly R-value, but expect that the warmth and comfort won’t be the same at the end of a thru-hike as they were on day one.

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol vs. NEMO Switchback

These sleeping pads are eerily similar.  Both share the same rectangular footprint (72”x20”) and dimpled accordion construction.  Both are made from dual-density CCF and a warmth-boosting reflective surface that works to achieve identical 2.0 R-values.  However, there’s more to it than that.  Let’s see how they compare on the things that matter.

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol vs. Nemo Switchback

The Switchback (top) and Z Lite Sol (bottom) seem similar, but the differences matter. Check out the different dimple patterns.

Side-by-Side Comparison


The Z Lite Sol (left) is overweight, the Switchback (right) is underweight.

Official specs from Therm-a-Rest and NEMO, give the  Z Lite a tiny, half-ounce advantage in weight over the Switchback.  However, using my own scale, I found this to be the opposite of reality.  The Z Lite came in overweight at 14.4 ounces.  The Switchback was underweight, and less than the Z Lite, at 14.2 ounces. 

I think this says a lot about manufacturing variability and does little to inform consumers about which pad is a better choice.

I’d be willing to bet that weighing a second pair of Z Lite and Switchback would yield different numbers.  The tiny variance in weight (<0.5oz) is so minimal that it borders on insignificant. 

Long story short, weight is not a distinguishing factor between the Z Lite and Switchback.  If a small fraction of an ounce matters that much to you, perhaps try taking a pair of scissors and rounding out the corners of whichever pad you choose.


Based on thickness alone, the Switchback appears to have a comfortable advantage.  NEMO also throws around some fancy terminology like ‘hypnoelastic zone’ to legitimize their claim to superior comfort.  However, I was skeptical that I would be able to notice any difference at all between the Z Lite and Switchback, so I enlisted the help of my partner, SpiceRack, to conduct a very scientific blind comfort test. 

Blindfolded, and wearing ski gloves and poofy socks, we lay on each side of each pad, placed on a hard, composite deck.  The order was picked at random by the unblindfolded person.  Not only was this fun, but it was amazingly informative.

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol vs. Nemo Switchback

Our super scientific Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol vs. NEMO Switchback comfort test.

The result?  The Switchback was shockingly more comfortable than the Z Lite.  SpiceRack and I guessed right every single time.  The difference in comfort was that obvious.  While I didn’t bottom out regardless of sleep position on the Z Lite or Switchback (I’m a small dude, and results will vary), the Z Lite was significantly less friendly to my hip and ribcage while I was on my side. 

Both pads supported my weight, but the Switchback did it comfortably and the Z Lite hosted uncomfortable pressure points.  Even on my back and belly, the Switchback felt significantly thicker with more cushion than the Z Lite.  Honestly, I thought this test would be a wash.  We were both surprised by the clarity of the result.

Other observations:

  • We agreed that the colorful side of each pad was grippier than the silver side, which made it slightly more pleasant to lay on.  SpiceRack was big on this point because she sleeps in strange contortions.  I hovered near indifference while still acknowledging the phenomenon.
  • The insulating properties of each pad were obvious when our elbows hung over the edges, above the cold deck surface.
  • The new pads were noticeably more supportive than our ratty Switchback sit pads that we carried, sat, and slept on for half of the CDT in 2019.  The new Switchback was better all round.  The Z Lite provided more, yet harsher support than the old Switchback, which allowed us to feel the hard deck below.


Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol vs. Nemo Switchback

The official packed size of these pads is the same, but the Z Lite (right) is about an inch oversized.

Although Therm-a-Rest and NEMO list the same packed size for their pads, the Switchback is the clear winner.  It folds down to 5.4 inches, unaided.  The Z Lite, on the other hand, puffs up to 6.3 inches.  Chalk that discrepancy up to a broken ruler at Therm-a-Rest if you want. 

Both pads can squeeze a bit smaller, but the unique dimple pattern and shape on the Switchback indisputably nests better with less wasted space, despite their extra thickness.  Does that extra inch matter when the pad is strapped to the outside of a backpack?  Probably not, but I wish Therm-a-Rest would fix that dang ruler!


New Switchback (left) vs. thrashed Switchback (right). Not as comfortable, but still better than a popped inflatable.

Neither the Z Lite nor Switchback will pop if you drop your knife on it.  That’s the good part.  CCF pads are reliable if nothing else.  Unfortunately, comfort does degrade with use, and both the Z Lite and Switchback are susceptible.  That’s the bad part.  Like I said above, I wish I had some hard data to quantify this effect, but instead, what I have is merely anecdotal. 

CCF pads look thrashed after a long thru-hike.  SpiceRack’s PCT Z Lite wasn’t cutting it on the CDT so she replaced it, and my CDT Switchback just isn’t the same anymore.  The support of the dimples is severely degraded, though the foam is still comfortably squishy.  With that said, based on the comfort test, the Switchback is starting at a place of higher comfort, so perhaps its ‘thrashed’ comfort is better than that of the Z Lite.


Both the Z Lite and Switchback have a tested R-value of 2.0.  That number is on the low end of being suitable for three-season use.  Both companies helped develop the ASTM F3340-18 testing standard used to produce these numbers, which is a quantifiable and the least subjective way to compare sleeping pad insulating performance. 

If you want to know more about R-value and how it’s tested, here is a thorough explanation from Therm-a-Rest and NEMO.  Unlike with inflatable pads, I am suspicious that the R-value of the Z Lite and Switchback degrades with use.


Like the weight difference, the price gap between the Z Lite ($44.95) and Switchback ($49.95) is marginal, barely enough to buy a cheap burrito.  Whichever pad is currently on sale could be the deciding factor here.  With either option, you can save $10 if you’re willing to sacrifice 21 inches and four ounces by purchasing the short size.  Whatever the pad or size, these prices are hard to beat.


The Z Lite comes in Limon (yellow) and Blue (blue).  The Switchback is available in Sunset Orange (orange).  Hiking during hunting season?  Choose yellow or orange.

Country of Manufacture

For the American market, all Therm-a-Rest sleeping pads are built in the USA, using potentially imported materials.  This is a point of pride for the company, as it says it benefits both the environment and product development.

NEMO manufactures the Switchback in South Korea, not the worst and not the best.  From what I can find, NEMO takes sustainability seriously and has completed the Higg Index, which evaluates environmental impact throughout the supply chain.  Therm-a-Rest also uses the Higg Index to inform process improvements.

Reflective Side Up or Down?

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol vs. Nemo Switchback

The Z Lite Sol goes shiny side up, while NEMO recommends pointing it at the ground with the Switchback.

Both the Z Lite and Switchback have a shiny, metallic layer on one side.  Therm-a-Rest claims this boosts warmth by 15%.  NEMO doesn’t quantify the benefit, but the companies agree that it works by reflecting radiant heat back to the body.  Curiously, each company provides different instructions about which side points up, and which side hits the dirt.

Therm-a-Rest instructs using the Z Lite reflective side-up.  NEMO says the metallic film points to the ground.  In a lab setting, I bet it doesn’t make a difference, but I think it might in the wild.

The outer reflective layer dulls with use, even if it never touches the ground.  The Z Lite depends on that easily tarnished layer for warmth, whereas the Switchback relies on the other side of that shiny layer.  The internal side still reflects radiated body heat even though it can’t be seen, but it is protected by the orange foam and, therefore, potentially remains shinier and more reflective for longer. It also turns the whole pad into a heat sponge that retains body warmth.

The fuzzy remnants of my engineering degree tell me that NEMO has it right, but heat transfer was far from my strongest subject.  However, my recommendation is to follow the manufacturer instructions.  That’s how the pad was designed to be used, with the most abrasion resilient side down.  Whatever you do, just remember to be consistent or risk getting your sleeping bag covered in sap and/or mud.

Final recommendation

If you made it through this article, you won’t be surprised to read that I recommend the NEMO Switchback over the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol.  And believe me when I say that I was amazed that I formed such a strong opinion about a seemingly inconsequential subject. 

The Switchback is simply a better pad.  The boosted comfort might be the most important difference, but I appreciate the better-than-advertised weight and packed-size.  It is clear that NEMO put a lot of nerd power into improving on an icon, and it paid off.

I definitely prefer the Switchback, but the Z Lite Sol is still trail-worthy. More important than the differences is that they both allow us to get out a do cool things, like hike the CDT. Photo: SpiceRack

However, even with clear differences, the Z Lite and Switchback are closely matched.  Also, I’m willing to admit that I may undervalue the environmental benefits of manufacturing in the USA rather than in South Korea.  After all, there are few causes more important than preventing excess harm to our planet

And remember that these CCF pads share a polarizing list of pros and cons versus inflatable sleeping pads.  As always, I heartily recommend trying out any new gear if you can.  Even the more comfortable Switchback might remind you of thin cardboard.  But if you do choose one of these sleeping pads, wear it on your pack proudly, and measure the joys of the backcountry by the fading shine of the silver side.

Shop the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol

Shop the NEMO Switchback

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Comments 22

  • Shannon Ramsey : Nov 17th

    Awesome article! I really appreciate how thorough and detailed this review is. I had my eye on both of these pads but it looks like the SwitchBack is the way to go! Would it be fair to say that you’ll likely go through two of these for an AT thru-hike or would one probably suffice? Thanks again for the great review!

    • Owen Eigenbrot : Nov 17th

      No problem, Shannon. It was a fun review to write!

      I think it is definitely possible to complete the AT or a longer thru-hike while only using one of these sleeping pads. The padding is guaranteed to compress, making it less comfortable than a new pad, but there are probably thousands of thru-hikers, hundreds at least, who have made it five months on the same pad. That said, I have seen many cruddy Z Lites in hiker boxes. Did these people get off trail, buy a new Z Lite, or upgrade to an inflatable? Who knows.

      Ultimately it comes down to the individual. There are plenty of backpackers who would have trouble sleeping on a new CCF pad, let alone one that is well-used. On the flip side, some hikers could probably sleep on a bed of nails. I will hypothesize that by the time a CCF has lost significant cushion, perhaps the hiker has become accustomed to sleeping with minimal support, and thus won’t notice much difference.

      Either way, if you need to buy a second Switchback, you’ll still be saving a ton of cash by not buying a quality inflatable. If you can get away with the minimal comfort of a CCF sleeping pad, they really are a great option!

      • Shannon Ramsey : Nov 18th

        Thanks so much for your response, I really appreciate it! You are spot on when you say some hikers can’t tolerate a new CCF pad while others could sleep on a bed of nails haha. I probably fall in the latter category so I’m excited to try out the Nemo SwitchBack. I’ve never taken to inflatable pads so I’m excited about this option and the fact that it’s significantly cheaper doesn’t hurt either! Have you done any other gear reviews/comparisons? Would love to read any other articles you have out there! Thanks again for the thoughtful and helpful article!

        • Owen Eigenbrot : Nov 19th

          That’s great! If you can get away with using a CCF pad, the rewards you reap will be many.

          All my other work for The Trek can be found on my author page (linked under the picture in my bio). There aren’t any other direct comparison reviews yet, but there are plenty of other gear reviews, among some other things. Additionally, you can check out my personal hiking website,, where I have written more words than anyone will ever want to read.

          Again, glad you enjoyed the CCF comparison article. I hope the Switchback works out for you!

  • Shannon Ramsey : Nov 20th

    Thanks, man! I got my Switchback yesterday, excited to try it out for a section hike on the AT next week! And I’ll definitely check out your other reviews and your website, I dig your writing style and you clearly know your stuff (unlike me!). Thanks again and best of luck on your next adventure!

    • Owen Eigenbrot : Nov 20th

      Awesome, have fun out there! I think you’ll find that you learn things pretty quickly just by getting outside and seeing what works best for you. That knowledge is more valuable than all the gear reviews on the internet.

      • Shannon Ramsey : Dec 3rd

        Well…you hit the nail on the head, Owen! Last week I section-hiked through Shenandoah National Park from Front Royal to Waynesboro, roughly 100 miles, and the Nemo was a game changer! I’ve definitely found my new pad and am excited to bring her along for a (tentative) AT thru-hike next year. I’m mainly a stomach (sometimes side) sleeper so it had just the right amount of support and felt natural under my bag unlike my inflatable. I cheerfully bid farewell to my inflatable pad and have you to thank for helping me find a solid sleep system. Thanks again for the awesome review, I’m excited to check out some of your other reviews! Next on the docket is a new water filter…

        • Owen Eigenbrot : Dec 3rd

          Nice, I’m stoked that the NEMO worked out for you! And congrats on making it 100 miles out there. I’m not sure what it’s like hiking on the East Coast this time of year, but I know that out West it is freaking cold!

          I haven’t written any water filter reviews yet, but I must say that the Sawyer Micro Squeeze should be avoided. If you do decide to go the route of the Squeeze, I recommend the original. Mine made it through the whole PCT, but my Micro broke catastrophically after 500 miles on the CDT.

          • Shannon Ramsey : Dec 4th

            We had an unusually mild week of weather here, it’s typically much colder in the mountains of VA this time of year so we lucked out! If you ever find yourself on the East Coast this time of year I’m happy to recommend some great spots, other than the AT, but I’m sure the West Coast has all you could ask for and then some! I’m hiking part of the Colorado Trail this summer and visiting some family in Montana so I’m really looking forward to experiencing the beauty and terrain out there! And thanks for the heads up about the Sawyer Micro, that’s good to know. I’ve heard similar sentiments that despite the drop in weight and convenience, it doesn’t hold up for long treks. Everyone seems pretty enamored and satisfied with the original Sawyer so maybe I should go for that given its reliability and durability. Do you have any thoughts on Steripens or on the Katadyn filter? One of my friends even recommended using a dropper of bleach as a simple, effective filtering method. There are so many options out there and I imagine my LifeStraw just won’t be sustainable on a thru-hike so I’m on a hunt for something new. Thanks again and I’m sorry to keep asking you gear questions, I really do appreciate and value your advice!

            • Owen Eigenbrot : Dec 5th

              Oh man, you’re going to love the Colorado Trail! And Montana is such a special place, lonely, wild, and beautiful.

              I haven’t used a Steripen in about eight years, but I wasn’t a huge fan and ended up returning mine. Mainly I didn’t like carrying another electronic device (plus batteries). However, I imagine they’ve improved quite a lot since then (lighter, smaller, rechargeable). Maybe I should revisit the technology to see how it’s progressed.

              I’ve never used the Katadyn (BeFree), but have heard mixed reviews. It sounds great at first, with a faster flow-rate than the Squeeze, but then slows down with use, as do all filters including the Squeeze. I think the big criticism with the Katadyn is that it is not compatible with standard-thread bottles like the Squeeze. This doesn’t seem like a big problem to me on shorter trips, but the soft containers will surely fail at some point during a longer hike and might be hard to replace. If this happens with the bags included with the Squeeze (and it will, they’re terrible), you are virtually guaranteed to find a cheap bottle that will work for you.

              I can’t recommend bleach. It’ll work in a pinch though, and I actually carried some on the CDT after my Sawyer Micro failed until I could find another filter. It’s hard to know how much bleach is needed to kill pathogens and it will vary from water source to water source. The age of the bleach is also an important variable. It can lose a lot of power with time, which again, makes it tough to know how much to use. I’m also against long-term use of chemicals in my drinking water, period. It just doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. For shorter trips, I often use Aquamira drops which is my choice for chemical treatment, but for a full thru-hike I’ll always take a filter.

              I hope that helps! And don’t worry about the questions. Keep ’em coming!

              • Shannon Ramsey : Dec 7th

                Thanks so much for your thorough and informative response, I really do appreciate it! Having each filter explained helps a ton since it seems that there are (understandably) pros and cons to each of them but from what it sounds like the Sawyer Squeeze ranks supreme in your opinion? Would you say that the Sawyer is as effective as the Steripen claims to be regarding killing water-borne illnesses and viruses? And thanks for your perspective on bleach/chemical tablets, I totally understand where you’re coming from with the downsides of using those long-term or on a thru-hike, I can see how that could be tricky territory. Thanks again for your time and help, I know I’m overanalyzing this so forgive my absurd amount of questions!

              • Owen Eigenbrot : Dec 8th

                I think that filtering water will always be a lame chore. The Squeeze is one of the better filter systems available, especially for solo hikers. I also really like the Platypus GravityWorks system, which is what I used for the majority of the CDT. I definitely recommend that if filtering water for more than one person, and I use it solo anyway because it’s so easy to use. It weighs more than the Squeeze for sure (~8oz vs. ~3oz), but depending on my mood and the type of trip, I think it’s worth it. It comes down to personal preference, really.

                RE: Sawyer vs. Steripen, the Sawyer does not remove/kill viruses. The Steripen does if used properly. In North America the Sawyer (or most filters for that matter) will be perfectly fine. Viruses can be an issue with international travel. Only the fanciest filters ($$$) remove viruses. So will UV light (Steripen), chemical treatments (Aquamira), and boiling the water.

                As you’re based in North America, I would recommend ignoring viruses in your decision-making process. It’s super easy to bring along Aquamira if you do end up somewhere with waterborne viruses at some point.

  • todd : Dec 7th

    You write well. I appreciate that. And you’re funny, that too.

    I’m an every-night hammocker hoping to thru-hike the PCT in 2023. My trekking poles hang my hammock, but I’m a little nervous about no backup for the treeless stretches, so pads… that could also serve as chairs (I fear my Flexlite Air chair will destine me to a cruel trail name), yoga mats, or boost the insulation of an UL underquilt.

    • Owen Eigenbrot : Dec 8th

      Thanks for to compliments, Todd. Much appreciated!

      I’ve never seen a trekking pole hammock setup before! That sounds awesome, but I know that I’d never have the patience for that, haha. I think a CCF sleeping pad is a great option for you. Its chair capabilities certainly won’t be up to Flexlite Air standards, but it will feel more and more luxurious the longer you’re out there! Yoga mat: check. Insulation boost: check, I’ve read about many hammockers such as yourself having success pairing CCF with their setup.

      You’re right to prepare for potentially sleeping on the ground for treeless stretches on the PCT. I think it’s inevitable that you end up joining us dirt-rollers for a handful of nights at least!

  • Mat Brisk : Oct 23rd

    Great write up, you’ve convinced me! I’m looking for a backup foampad to put under my air pad (etherlite xt ins) for winter camping. Do you feel like I could get away with the shorter version since it wouldn’t be my ‘only’ layer and more of an added insulation ? Thanks!

    • Owen Eigenbrot : Oct 25th

      Hiya, Mat. The short version will probably work just fine for that purpose. Obviously you won’t get the boosted warmth benefit for your feet, but your etherlite should take care of that. I’ve only ever used a shortened CCF pad to supplement my inflatable. Peace.


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