Back to School '14Back to School '14

Description

Maybe you don’t need a new sleeping bag after all.

It’s hard to improve on a classic Ridge Rest, but the folks at Therm-a-rest have managed to do it with the Ridge Rest Solar Sleep Pad. With an engineering feat that will keep the folks at NASA up at night scratching their heads for years to come, the Ridge Rest Solar weighs about the same as classic Ridge Rest, yet actually retains more warmth. How’d they do it? By adding a new aluminized coating to the surface of the pad, the Ridge Rest Solar effectively radiates body heat back to you instead of letting it dissipate away, thus making it 10% warmer than traditional closed-cell foam pads.

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Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest Solar Sleep Pad

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Here's what others have to say...

4 5

RidgeRest Rules

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have been thoroughly pleased with this pad, despite its slightly larger size. When using, there is certainly a notable difference between the area of my body that lacks a pad, and the area that doesn't.
One notable concern, as others before me have noted time and again, is the size. While it is not the end of the world, it does make for a bit of an inconvenience if you are attempting to travel small and compact.
However, on the other hand, I believe this is a more suitable option for people who bruise easier than others or who do not deal with uneven pressure being applied to their body for sustained periods of time (i.e. if you sleep predominately on your side, perchance).
I must deduct one star due to the larger size of the pad, but it does roll well enough to stay decently small, and it is comfortable each and every time I use it. It will without a doubt remain a key part of my backcountry armamentarium.

Responded on

Why would you deduct 1 star for size when you could easily puchase the regular which is more narrow? Did you mean the mean the thickness of the pad was an issue? If length is the issue you could easily cut off the some of the end to better suit your needs.

Cheers

Responded on

Cameron,
When I was discussing the size of the pad as being an issue, I meant that it was just a tad bulky, comparatively speaking, to say, a Z-Lite or any number of inflatable alternatives. For instance, while I find the Z-Lite pads to be less comfortable but more packable (in terms of both weight and bulk), conversely I find inflatables to be more comfortable but oftentimes not worth packing unless you have an ultralight option available (such as a NeoAir XLite or an Exped SynMat, something along those lines), and even then it can be tough to justify the extra few ounces that an inflatable may cost you. To answer your question, though, there was only one size available in this pad when I purchased it, and while I'm glad I did, I could have gotten an inflatable for around the same weight (albeit quite a few more dollars), and been a bit happier, I believe. Moreover, I actually did end up cutting the mat in half and giving the other section to a guy who did some trail magic for me in southern California, though I regretted it over the next few months - it is surprising how much that little bit of cushion can make when you've been long-distance hiking and you feel like you're going to break in half at the legs.
Inflatables and closed-cell mats, as with any category of gear, are going to have pros and cons; my issue with this mat in particular was that it didn't get as small as I would've liked, but it did the job well enough. Did I answer your question, or miss my mark? Feel free to shoot back with a reply or a riposte.

4 5

Tough Comfort

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Does what it needs to do and the price is right. After puncturing two blow up pads two weekends in a row I pull the trigger on this pad. I've used it in Zion wall climbing and I've used it backpacking and in both cases I slept through the night just fine. It's not so bad sacrificing a little comfort for the piece of mind you get knowing it's not going to puncture and leave you sleeping on the ground.

Tough Comfort
4 5

RidgeRest > Ground

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

When the battle comes down to it, RidgeRest beats the ground anyday. See that sucker trying to sleep on the left in the picture? Yeah, she's cold even though she's wearing a blanket. That bearded gent on the right? He's toasty warm and dreaming of sugar plum fairies. The RidgeRest ain't gonna be the most comfortable pad around, but it does a damn good job of insulating you from the ground. Super lightweight, but also a little bulky.

RidgeRest > Ground
4 5

Warm, great for the price

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

Been using this pad for a while now when I am camping with friends. Much too bulky when I head out backpacking. Super light weight, but not practical to hike with. Definitely keeps me very warm. I usually put a footprint down under my tent and with this in my sleeping bag as well, I hardly ever feel cold from the ground, even over light snow. Also, adds a very slight amount of padding to provide a little extra comfort on top of hard ground. If you're on a budget yet want something to help keep you warm when camping, this is a great choice.

4 5

Warm and Comfortable!

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I use this pad in two different ways. For 3-season camping, I use it solo and it works great. It keeps you very warm off the ground and adds a bit of comfort as well. I've never really had a problem with it other than it packing a bit large when you roll it up. For 4-season camping, I tend to use it in tandem with a therm-a-rest to add a bit more warmth. It really depends on the weather that day. For some winter trips, it may be just fine on its own.

5 5

A classic

I used to sell tons of these when I worked at an outdoors store. I have used them, my buddies used them, almost any camper has some experience with them. They're lightweight, super durable and affordable. They never fail to inflate, never get holes in them and if you loan it to a friend and never see it again( like I did) you may not go crazy like you would over a super expensive sleeping pad. This is one of those products that has been around forever because it works well and the value is great.

4 5

Solid pad for summer months

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Note: this reveiw is for an original "Ridgerest", but my comments are still relevant to this newer version.

10+ years of use on mine using it on a tonne of winter and summer trips in the mountains,now the padding is compressed/ compacted in the hip area meaning that it isn't very warm or comfortable anymore- but with 10 years of use I am satisfied- that's a reasonable lifespan for a sleeping mat in my opinion.

One issue I think is worth noting is that closed cell pads with lots of undulations, like this and the "Z lite", can be unsuitable in the snow in my experience. The ridges can collect small amounts of snow which then melt and leave your sleeping bag damp- with a smooth closed cell pad you can brush of the snow and keep things dry a bit easier.

I highly recommend it for summer though

Review

Posted on

Responded on

this was really helpful! it made me reconsider and look at the z pads long and hard instead, and then I ended up with an air pad after all that for space reasons. Thanks for posting!

4 5

So far, so good

Currently, the only times I've ever put this particular item into field use are when I'm going on a 1, 2, or 3 day backpacking trip and I can couple its use with my Therm-A-Rest Prolite inflatable sleeping pad, so when regarding comfort when used solely for a sleeping cushion, I cannot claim to know how that would feel.
However, using with my inflatable pad, it has served splendidly and I am glad I made the purchase.
One downside in particular that I have a qualm with concerns the size, and I can see by previous reviews that others have similar, or identical, sentiments - it is definitely larger than a folding sleeping pad, and it does make it a bit awkward to carry on one's pack. The straps on my Osprey Aether 70L will barely contain it, and that will occur only if I take the time to carefulllllyyy roll it as tightly as the total mass of the thing will allow it to be, without being vacuum sealed or something along those lines. Other than that though, I am happy with it, though the size is definitely a major issue if you are not wanting a sleeping pad that will bulk up the overall size of what you're humping on your back through some brush or thick wilderness. I intend to update once I have a few nights using it as a standalone sleeping apparatus.

5 5

last for years

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

my backpacking days are over i,am 55 and bad back rift and car camp now.now i us JACK PLASTIC PACO PAD 10LB.AND $250 +SH,BUT THERM-A-R PADS ARE THE BEST PAD FOR YOU. MY GRAND KIDS US THEM NOW!
dale ashfield pa

3 5

Good insulator but....

Provides awesome insulation against cold snow. Can't feel the cold coming through it at all when camping on snow. Could save your life by insulating you from the ground. Got this to replace my lost z-rest. 2 problems though (almost dealbreakers) - 1. It's huge and hard to carry unless you are using a monster pack. I'd only use it with my 90 liter pack. 2nd problem is that it's like sleeping on concrete. After spending 2 nights on it on hard packed snow I've concluded that I can't sleep on this thing as I'm constantly tossing and turning every 10 min. Side sleepers forget about it. After laying on my side for a while my hip throbs in pain. Not good. From now on I will use this in combination with my inflatable pad. I can't ever spend another night on this torture device. I thought my z-rest was uncomfortable but this thing is a lot worse in that regard.

3 5

Standard. Solid. Thick.

Pretty solid, as in, not terribly giving. Its the equivalent to a very stiff mattress. A z-rest will give much better. I use this under my Z-rest to help get rid of the bumps...kind of like a box spring. It's light, its easy. Took off some stars for the fact that I wouldn't ever use this on it's own.

4 5

Good, but NOT for bushwacking!

This pad, let me first say, insulates from the cold ground VERY well. I cut mine down to about 2/3rd's of this original length and just prop my head on some clothes (my standard makeshift pillow)and throw my feet up on my pack. I was literally cooking in 40 degree weather at night. You can feel it radiate heat back up to you! Had to actually totally unzip my mummy bag a couple of nights. I went on a volunteer backpacking expedition to Isle Royale National Park, for the 52 year running Wolf and Moose Study. We did a lot of bushwacking and were hardly on the trails. The Island is very dense with thickets and spruce forests, and those very thickets SHREDDED the edges of the pad. I simply prefer foam pads for durability and life saving ability! If I was in an emergency I wouldn't trust an inflatable, one little rip and you're done for! If I had an inflatable straped to the outside of my pack for this expedition it would have been over before it started. Isle Royale chewed up my pad, but all things considered it withstood the damage well, but another 3 weeks of that and I'd be worried.

Responded on

I've found the Ridgerest to be very durable. I spend my time bushwhacking and scrambling all over the Eastern Sierra for work, with my pad strapped to the bottom of my pack. The pad has been shredded up over time, but still functions great. I've used the same pad for two summers running now and I am pretty darn hard on my gear. Plus- these pads are not that expensive in contrast to pricey inflatable pads.

Responded on

Update: End of 2012 and this thing is still going STRONG! I'd give it 5 stars if I could rate it now. One of my few pieces of gear I haven't had to replace! Wholeheartedly endorse this product! I'd buy it again in a heartbeat

3 5

Just a thicker & heavier RidgeRest

Let's compare some numbers:

1. This pad is 540g vs. 400g for the standard RidgeRest. So it is over 35% heavier.

2. I also don't understand why they claim it's 10% warmer, since the R value increases from 2.6 to 3.5 (also 35% more).

3. This pad is 2cm thick, the standard RidgeRest is 1.5cm. Guess what? Also about 35% more. This basically explains the increase in weight and warmth. The aluminized coating probably doesn't do anything.

4. The only thing which is not 35% more is the price, $25 vs $40, a 60% increase.

Responded on

The RR solar is actually a RR deluxe. They are both 0.75" thick, whereas the regular RR is 0.625" thick. Therefore, you are comparing the Solar to the wrong pad. Therm-a-rest has simply added a reflective coating to the RR Deluxe to boost R-value at no weight gain and given it a new name.

Responded on

Yes, you've compared the wrong pads. For a true comparison of the ridgerest, look at the solite pad. The RidgeRest Solar is a beefed up RidgeRest Deluxe, as the previous poster mentioned

Hi! I haven't seen any reviews on this...

Posted on

Hi! I haven't seen any reviews on this new product and wonder if 10% is that much of an improvement over a goose down sleeping bag? Have any of you gear guys tried this yet and what do you think?

May all your trails be crooked
Cathi

Best Answer Responded on

First and foremost, it is a sleeping pad...the 10% is just a perk of the pad. A goose down sleeping bag will do little to offer comfort over a rough sleeping area. Also, while I have not invested in a top of the line sleeping bag, the purpose of the pad is to get you off the ground, so that it does not suck the warmth out of you. Any bag I have been in on bare cold ground does little to keep you comfortable. Hiking is not about comfort...but resting is!!!