Sleeping pad suggestions?

Excited newbie here. I was wondering if anyone has any comfortable, yet packable sleeping pad suggestions? It can be for two people or one. I recently went camping and my old therm-a-rest sleeping pad wasn’t cutting it. For more background info we will be flying in and using Pork Belly Ventures. Is the Exped MegaMat overkill? Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

14 Replies

David Mackinnon, May 15, 2019 at 12:00 pm

The Exped provides me a sleep as good as my Sleep Number bed. I too use PBV and one duffel with my sleeping pad, pillow, sheet and blanket/fleece is perfect.


Geoff Butland, May 15, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Hi! Considering you don’t have to lug it around (much) anything that fits in your luggage is fair game. I have a couple of therma-rest mattresses, but the one I take on RAGBRAI is a “basecamp” model that is wider and thicker than the one I take backpacking. Not quite plush, but plenty comfortable for a week, and it fits in my duffel with the tent. I see a lot of air mattresses on the ride too. The campsites have been universally flat, level, and grassy. Think church lawns, town parks, golf courses….that is the kind of “campsite” you’ll be dealing with. Have a great ride!


davekilloran, May 15, 2019 at 1:58 pm

I think the Exped is fine. I am also with PBV, this will be 4 years now. I pack one duffel with a Thermarest Dreamtime pad, sleeping bag, pillow, Helinox zero camp chair, fan ( with extra batteries) and headlamp. 2nd duffel is for all my riding gear. PBV takes care of the day to day tent and bag transfer. Enjoy the ride!


Craig Parson, May 17, 2019 at 7:08 am

I like my Klymit pad. In fact I bought more than one. Packs small inflates easily and they are reasonably priced. No reason to pay for high R-value in summer.


CyclingCyclone, May 17, 2019 at 9:16 am

If you don’t mind another suggestion. For 34 RAGBRAI’s I slept on either some sort of pad or air mattress. Last year on this forum, someone suggested the Go-Kot. I checked it out, bought one direct, and loved it. Some of best sleep I’ve had on RAGBRAI. It sets up,and tears down in a minute, it’s fairly light weight, and took up less space than my air mattress. I’ve used it a few times outside of RAGBRAI. It’s made in the US too. I’m glad I made the switch. Enjoy your first RAGBRAI.


Barry Schnoor, May 17, 2019 at 10:39 am

Last year I hammock camped the whole week of RAGBRAI. There were a dozen or so of us out there. We had to be creative on where we slung our hammies (there are only 9 trees left in Iowa, it seems), but it’s a GREAT night’s sleep. Not one of those wide rope back-yard hammocks, but a ENO or Bear Butt. They pack up to be a little larger than a softball…and weigh about as much.


Larry Klaaren, May 17, 2019 at 11:50 am

I should have hammocked it last year, since I had a cousin or classmate with a house and trees in all but one town. Maybe not, they gave me beds and air conditioning! :-) .


BillSpriggs, May 17, 2019 at 5:38 pm

For the last 4 years I’ve used an REI Camp Bed 3.5 XL. I travel with PBV so weight is not a problem. For a sleeping bag I use a fleece sleeping bag liner that is more than enough warmth. I use a twin bed sheet folded in half and stitched across the bottom and about a third of the way up the side.


Danielle Bradley, May 18, 2019 at 4:07 pm

Thank you all so much for the responses! It’s good to know that it’s ok to go a little cushy.

I wish I could hammock camp. I admire anyone that can. I just don’t think I could fall asleep feeling so exposed. Though maybe not after a day of RAGBRAI! ;)


klkoopman, May 18, 2019 at 5:31 pm

Just wondering, where does one change their clothes when hammock camping?


Barry Schnoor, May 19, 2019 at 8:16 am


That’s a good question. I used a fly with my hammie…for rain and privacy. It takes a little contortion, but it’s possible to dress and undress under the privacy of the fly. Or, if you happen to wake before your neighbors, there’s always the great wide open, in the dark of pre-dawn. Not sure I’d have the fortitude to do that after sunrise. But, it’s RAGBRAI. Nobody cares. I just wanted to not traumatize the young’ns in the campground.


jwsknk, May 20, 2019 at 2:30 pm

I have used an inflatable mattress for the past few years, 4 D batteries. doesn’t take too long to inflate or deflate, could use something small as it does take up space in a bag. But we can take 2 so that goes in the “dry” one , Tent and ground cover go in the other.


Amanda, May 21, 2019 at 12:55 pm

I usually take a twin size air mattress and our club had a pump that was powered by the lighter in the vehicle. Last few years, I took a double decker twin mattress with a built in pump. I just had to plug it into electricity to blow it up. And to let the air out the next day. This year I have a small Coleman cot. We will see how that works. I think my Princess sheets might be too big for it…
Of course, we have our own support so I take too much stuff along. Just because i can! LOL


jdeutmeyer, May 27, 2019 at 11:21 pm

I have used a Thermarest self inflating the past 3 years.


The forum ‘RAGBRAI XLVII – 2019’ is closed to new topics and replies.





Gatherings & Meetings

Lost and Found


Clubs, Teams & Charters

Friends of RAGBRAI