The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

Air mattress or sleeping bag mat

This will be my first RAGBRAI, and I’m wondering which one to bring along.   Going with PBV if I can, with the tent service and don’t think they supply any thing but the tent.

51 Replies

SSC1, January 16, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Last year I used an airless mattress – you unroll it and it fills with air, and when you roll it up, it squishes the air out.  Not great for Ragbrai.  This year, I’m thinking of using a lightweight cot with a bedroll.  Someone – please – convince me not to!!!

#9568

mclousing, January 16, 2012 at 8:15 pm

You are correct that PBV tent service is only the tent.  I have been using just a sherpa’s mat the past 2 years without a single issue and always a good night sleep.  Some will suggest an inflatable bed but I haven’t needed one yet.

#9569

Gypsy Rose, January 16, 2012 at 8:29 pm

The KISS philosophy is often noted in threads relating to the bicycle itself. I feel the same way about outdoor gear. Keep it simple. I’ve spent decades sleeping on Thermarest backpacking pads. They’ve served me well and I sleep well on them. (When I was “in the biz” up until not long ago, I’d often spend more nights sleeping under the stars each summer than in a bed at home.)

Now, I’m sure you’ll hear plenty from fans of full-on air mattresses, but, the basics – a pad and a sleeping bag – do just fine.

Best,
~ Kevin

#9570

Thoreau, January 16, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I used a big Therm-a-rest and felt fine.  I would only change this if someone invented a refrigerated sleeping pad.  You never sleep as well as you do at home (and I say this with just one year’s experience), but somehow I never felt exhausted during the day. 

#9571

jwsknk, January 16, 2012 at 10:52 pm

I went with the bigger air mattress a couple years ago. Space isn’t an issue for us on RAGBRAI. Have a thermarest for self contained. The mattresses is really micron colder weather and when it rains and your tent leaks.

#9572

Michrider !!!, January 17, 2012 at 6:48 am

Russ said: This will be my first RAGBRAI, and I’m wondering which one to bring along.   Going with PBV if I can, with the tent service and don’t think they supply any thing but the tent.

Russ, PBV & tent service is a great option.  You’ll find that PBV provides excellent service!  I’ve used both a Thermarest and an air mattress and prefer the air mattress.  It’s a personal choice with no right or wrong.  I’ll see you under the PBV big tent!!!!

#9573

RonB, January 17, 2012 at 7:49 am

It really depends on what YOU are comfortable (relatively speaking) on.  Some people can sleep just fine on a thin closed cell pad, others need an inflatable bed.  If you’ve got either or both, try them out at home.

#9574

Sandaltan ., January 17, 2012 at 8:29 am

RonB said: It really depends on what YOU are comfortable (relatively speaking) on.  Some people can sleep just fine on a thin closed cell pad, others need an inflatable bed.  If you’ve got either or both, try them out at home.

Excellent advice.  Whatever your final decision is………try it out at home at least a couple of weeks before the ride.  Then, if there are changes to be made, you will have time for those changes.

RIDE RIGHT

#9575

DallasBob, January 17, 2012 at 11:13 am

Sandaltan said:

RonB said: It really depends on what YOU are comfortable (relatively speaking) on.  Some people can sleep just fine on a thin closed cell pad, others need an inflatable bed.  If you’ve got either or both, try them out at home.

Excellent advice.  Whatever your final decision is………try it out at home at least a couple of weeks before the ride.  Then, if there are changes to be made, you will have time for those changes. RIDE RIGHT

Russ….I stumbled onto a self-inflating matress last year and it worked great.  It’s an REI house-brand in a wide size.  It was incredibly easy to use, and as importantly – easy to pack up in the mornings.  I’m a side sleeper and neither my hips or shoulders touched hard ground when sleeping.  A worth while investment for sure.

#9576

SSC1, January 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm

SSC1 said: Last year I used an airless mattress –

I meant to say self-inflating…..oops.  Didn’t work well for me. 

#9577

trek2300, January 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I use a Therm-a-Rest for backpacking but not for RAGBRAI. As others have said, you have a lot of space so think comfort. I use a twin sized  6 inch deep, very thick air mattress. It is a twin sized version of the mattresses you see designed for weekend visitors. The darned thing even has a battery powered pump.

Remember, you deserve a good night’s sleep!
Tom

#9579

CyclingRoberto, January 17, 2012 at 6:27 pm

I rock the Luxury-Lite cot.  Can’t beat it.

#9580

Phil1961, January 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm

PBV and their tent service is the greatest. They even put your bags in the tent everyday. I have been with PBV the last two years and used their tent service. I bought a new walmart air mattress each year and used a battery operated pump. I just need to get a better tent fan and everything will be perfect!

#9581

giantron, January 18, 2012 at 8:04 am

I just bought a Big Agnes sleeping bag that has a slot to hold an air pad in it. It’s kind of like one of those cheap air mattresses you blow up for a pool. But of course much better grade. It’s also insulated. So the theory is, you can’t slip off the pad since it’s inside the slot on the bottom of the sleeping bag. I just got it so I haven’t used it yet. But everything sounds good in theory! 😉

This is for when I bag it, but I don’t bag RAGBRAI.

#9582

madison5302, January 18, 2012 at 4:02 pm

If you do the air mattress, you must consider how it will be inflated.  Will you use tons of batteries that ultimately end in a land fill or will you drag the mattress to an outlet, or will you carry the bulky hand pump?

#9583

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