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Have a gear hack? (get started with a migrating sleeping pad!)

I recently splashed out on a Thermarest  Neoair Xtherm sleeping mat (agonized over the Sea To Summit Comfort Plus Insulated due to it's inbuilt redundancy but Xtherm won on weight and R value), and as expected it skitters around my tent floor, which when combined with it being already relatively narrow makes for an unsettling nights sleep. I *also* shelled out on a Thermarest Questar bag which attaches, so at least that was one less variable, but I was still chasing my sleep around in circles.
I read that some people put lines of seam grip on the floor of their tent, but I 1. want to reseal my floor soon and that would get in the way, and 2. would prefer not to have permanent ridges on my tent. So I asked around on a free giveaway group and got my hands on some supergrip/nonslip rubber mesh material - and it works! A length under the middle of the pad has stopped it floating off where it pleases!
It's super light, can be rolled up in the mat, and is cheap (for me, free!). I might experiment with different lengths and placements for s**ts and giggles, but thought I'd pass the hack on!

Now I just need to anchor my Fillow down so *it* stops wandering (I don't think the same solution will work without glue or stitching which I'm nervous about) but any hacks on that front appreciated!

Also, any other gear-hacks out there??

21 Replies

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@BortEdwards What a great topic, thanks for posting it!

While it's not a gear hack in the sense of modifying or improving gear, when I was first getting started backpacking and mountaineering I used the empty bladder from a box of wine as my pillow for a couple years. It was surprisingly durable and comfortable and it fit perfectly into the pillow pocket of my sleeping bag. I had to remember to empty the air outside the tent in the morning or else the tent smelled like we were partying all night. Although, now that i think about a few of those nights at altitude I'm know we looked and felt we had been partying, too!

I'm happy to say I have grown up to a legit backpacking pillow now, although I do look back fondly on some of the things I used to think were such good ideas at the time.

Thanks for posting, I can't wait to see what else the community comes up with!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Oh, super cool hack!
My family used to use old wine bladders for water on the trail, which always had a satisfying tang to it no matter how often you used it 😉
In fact (and sorry @REI-JohnJ you might have just put yourself out a sale!) I was vaguely looking at bladders to gravity feed/collect my Sawyer Squeeze but might see if I can get my hands on an old wine bladder instead 😉

No one else has chimed in with hacks yet but determined not to let the thread die 😛
Here's another:
Buying laminated maps for every hike is expensive so I print my own, but a hint of water and normal paper disintegrates (not good). Map pouches cost $$ and can be bulky/awkward.
BUT double zip freezer/storage bags (10 9/16 x 10 3/4 inch) are the perfect size for a sheet of paper! They are cheap, you can use them for multiple other camp things, are extra light, seal well, and are flexible so that you can just fold them into your pocket or wedge them under your harness strap!E6A49208-E913-44EB-94CE-0E52339B2B70.jpeg


I'm a big fan of plastic freezer bags (ie making pillows, doing laundry, cooking in them, etc.), but you DO realize you can buy waterproof printing paper, yes? Custom topo' maps whenever you please! (and the paper is durable!)

My sleeping bag/quilt has a pocket for my pad, but I use a hammock, and I like moving around unencumbered. So I made a separate pad pocket which I secure at either end.

I modify/improve just about EVERYTHING in my pack (including my pack).


Oh, yep! I have used waterproof paper in the past, but as I usually plan/pack at the very last minute, and promptly forget all the things I meant to get when I get back, being able to dash across the road to the supermarket (they were even half off!) and grab freezer bags (or liberate one of my house-mates 😄 ) is my go-to. It's also just a good hack to have in the back pocket 🙂

I wish I could habituate to hammocks, but so far no dice 😞



AH! I usually plan my next outing during my last outing. Also, I always have a notebook (waterproof paper, of course) in which one of the things I write down is a "to-do" list.

I always sleep best in my hammock!

I mean, I have the next 5 weekends planned in terms of location and transport, its the finer points, like what to eat, do I have a map, will I wear clothes, that I usually don't manage to devote brain-space to until about 24 hours beforehand >.<

*resists the hammock mafia*


That's brilliant!

So I decided to take it one step further and used my vacuum sealer to make it permanent (a Ziplock bag could potenitally open a bit and let moisture in. So the sealed vacuum bag resolves that concern.

However, the vacuum bags are one-use and, therefore, not a great environmental option for every hike. So if I am going on day hikes, I'll use your Ziplock suggestion. But for an overnight or two (or if I really need to ensure my printed map doesn't get wet), then I'll use the vacuum sealer.



“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

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