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Old 11-03-2011, 09:20 PM
FLoutdoors FLoutdoors is offline
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Default Pool raft vs. Thermarest



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I am just curious to see if anyone out there has ever considered or has used a pool raft for a sleeping pad instead of a thermarest. I bought a raft a while back and have been on 4 camping trips since then, and I LOVE IT! It only cost me about $5 or $6 at Walmart. Granted, I do not weigh that much (155lbs) so it supports me just fine. I convinced my buddy to buy one as well and he loves his too. He is a bigger guy (probably 250+ lbs.) and has used it about 3 times. His is still going strong with no tears or holes and he says it is the most comfortable he has ever slept in the woods. Just wanted to know if anyone else has had this idea, and if not you should definitely try it! They weigh about the same as a thermarest and take up the same amount of room in your pack. Please feel free to share your thoughts!

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Old 11-03-2011, 09:36 PM
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I have used pool rafts in the past, and they are comfy. I do like the Therma-Rest better though, because of the self inflation. i just unroll it when setting up camp and just before laying on it close the valve.
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:39 PM
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I know you are in Florida, but try it out in cold weather and get back to us
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:44 PM
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It can get cool depending on the climate you camp in. Prefer closed-cell foam myself but your post made me think that one of the closed cell foam pool rafts might work, too. Don't know what they price out at though compared to others. Thermarest seems pricey and not a good value in my situation.
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:07 PM
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When I was younger, the pool raft was fine. But not so much now.
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Old 11-03-2011, 11:25 PM
PapaWhiskyBravo PapaWhiskyBravo is offline
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Fine til it gets hole, and it will. I've gone thru 3 inflatable mats and the last time it happened at 3 in the morning i swore i'd never spend another buck on one ever again. Its closed cell for me now. They're cheaper, more reliable, you can use em fforchairs and you can cut them up anduse themfor multiple purposes.
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Old 11-04-2011, 01:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogmaw View Post
It can get cool depending on the climate you camp in. Prefer closed-cell foam myself but your post made me think that one of the closed cell foam pool rafts might work, too. Don't know what they price out at though compared to others. Thermarest seems pricey and not a good value in my situation.
I use one of the closed-cell foam pool rafts. It's bulkier than the regular camp pads, but that's because it's thicker/better padded. Mine also has a molded-in pillow, and it's wider than most of the cheap camp pads. Aside from the bulk (which is not that big of a problem as I'm generally camping with the Boy Scout troop, and not backpacking) the other down-side is that it is shorter. My lower legs and feet hang off the pad. Granted, that has yet to be an issue anyway. I always put a tarp under my tent, and if I'm camping in cold weather I bring an extra blanket (or two) to provide more layers and take up the extra space in the bottom of my sleeping bag.
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Old 11-04-2011, 01:33 AM
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I have been using the inflatible pool rafts to sleep on for years. They wont last forever so I buy them at the end of summer when they clear out all the pool supplies. The last batch I bought were $1.49 each on clearance. I got six of them for less than ten bucks. I dont fill them up completely so they aren't as likely to leak or puncture. Mine are used in a tent with a ground cover and will last a good while, plus they are great for kids and smaller people as long as they dont use them for a trampoline.
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Old 11-04-2011, 01:37 AM
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A foam raft will be warmer than an inflatable. Depends where you are and when. It is a good idea.
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:04 AM
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I've never used one in winter, but I have in summer and it worked great at half inflation.

Once it took a stick and popped I haven't bought another one, though.
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:09 AM
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Wait til the first time that pool raft gets a pin hole and deflates during the night while you're laying on it. Then you'll switch to a heavy duty Thermarest type pad.
I know I did and now I'll never use anything but a quality pad.
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:19 AM
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Good grief, folks. Why take a dump on the guy's idea for the pool raft???

Anyway, the pool raft idea has merit. The biggest benefit is the cost. You gotta work with what you got. Sure, it's not going to last forever, but it will work for a while. This is essentially what the Army used to issue out, albeit a more durable version. Then it went to the foam pad. Now it is going to a Thermarest-type self-inflating pad.

The pool raft is a good example of improvising.
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:15 PM
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Used the army issue one a lot, cold and hot temp with no problems. Blowing it up sucks. I think there more comfortable than a closed cell. slept on one every day for 6 months and it was fine. Closed cells go flat as soon as you lay on it. unless its really think or extremely hard foam.
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Old 11-04-2011, 04:36 PM
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I'm in SWFL I tried a "pool raft" on a winter campout. Temps went down into the 40's (mid-winter, inland). Even though I had a good sleeping bag I felt like I was sleeping on ICE. The air in the "raft" took on the temp. of the surrounding air. It was not a pleasant night. I was in a one man tent out of the wind, it didn't help.

In the summer time I don't see a problem with using one. Just keep in mind that it will take on the night temps. Otherwise, I"d spend the money for a good self inflator. I have a 3/4 length thermarest 1 1/2 inch thick) One other thing, if you're over 25 get at least a 1 1/2 inch thick pad. For real comfort and for car camping you can't beat a 3 inch thick one.

In a winter survivial situation a "pool raft" pad could contribute to your death by hyperthermia. (even in Fl.)
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Old 11-05-2011, 11:45 AM
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Personally I have a Thermarest which I have used for years. I have never used a pool raft. But if one goes to a good local backpacking store, there are all different types of thermarests these days. Also there are several other brands which are wonderful and are competing against Thermarest in this day and age.
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Old 11-05-2011, 03:23 PM
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Personally, I think that is a great idea. It insulates you from the ground, packs up small, light weight, and inexpensive. The only concern I would have would be punctures, but you have used it several times and it went well. Y'know what, you could put a small tarp under it to protect it from punctures. It would not have to be much wider / longer than the raft. Now that I think g this up !Come to think of it, in the unlikely event you had to cross a body of water, this could be a real useful item to have with you. Thanks for bringing this up ! TP
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Old 11-05-2011, 05:42 PM
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My pad is essentially a pool raft(no insulation). It's made by Big Agnes. I use it in the winter all the time and it works just fine. When the temp drops to near 0 degrees I tend to bring along a closed cell pad to use with my inflatable.
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:44 PM
George Newbill George Newbill is offline
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It is not a matter of peeing on his cornflakes, just pointing out that we have all tried out the exact same idea and have eventually switched to closed cell or thermarest.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:25 PM
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I think for warm weather camping it'd be great. Even for cold weather camping, if coupled with a foam pad, it'd be good. Just need something to keep it from conducting the cold from the ground into you.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:37 PM
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I like Exped myself, and it kinda looks like a pool float.
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