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Gear talk: knocking the grams off a sit pad

For the great majority of my years of hiking, I never carried a dedicated sit pad. It is probably only the last fifteen years that I have been slipping a thin foam pad or some sort of small inflatable pad, into my pack.

Bespoke and Z Seat
Bespoke and Z Seat sit pads

Prior to including a sit pad in my pack I usually got a wet, cold and dirty arse, or sat on my map case. Then the epithany– why aren’t I carrying something to sit on at breaks on trail? Or to kneel on in the vestibule of the tent, to use as a windscreen for the stove? Everything that’s obvious, doesn’t necessarily start out that way… Those were pre-Reddit days you know.

A windscreen is usually achieved these days by a small metal screen, or simply propping my pack on it’s side. I used a couple of terrific inflatable pads for a few years, really comfy but a tad heavy. After the second of these punctured I concentrated on simple folding bits of closed-cell foam. Dirt cheap, l even used one that was given away on the cover of a magazine one month. Then I followed the crowd and purchased a Z Seat. Beyond their cost and bulk, it is difficult to fault these pads. But at 59g, they are not the lightest of affairs.

Top of bespoke, with Z Seat, sit pads
Top of bespoke, with Z Seat, sit pads
Bottom of bespoke, with Z Seat
Bottom of bespoke, with Z Seat

For longer hikes Three Points of the Compass uses one of the Gossamer Gear packs. These have a removable pad in sleeves that can then be used as a sit pad at breaks. I looked at these here. So I have no need to carry an additional sit pad, consequently I only now carry a sit pad on day hikes, and much appreciated it is too. Messing about with bits of 3mm thick Evazote to tuck under my inflatable pad at night, I eventually got round to also cutting a piece as an alternative for the Z-Seat for use on day hikes. A return to the simple bit of foam used a decade ago.

Folded Z-Seat compared to the much simpler, lighter and considerably smaller folded bespoke foam pad

There really isn’t anything fancy about this pad. 3mm thick and measuring 520mm x 315mm, with some curved corners. It weighs 11g, so 48g lighter than the Z-Seat. I could easily have cut it smaller but never felt the need. Admittedly it only has an R-Value of around 0.5, but that is fine for most of the year. I might swap out again for the Z-Seat in the colder months, but for the very great majority of my day hikes, this’ll do for now.

Gossamer Gear 2019 Mariposa with ‘eggcrate’ back pad/sit pad and G4-20 with back pad/sit pad

3 replies »

  1. Darwin On The Trail has an interesting idea I was going to try. He cut a section of Yoga mat big enough to lie back on so goes from your rear end to head however you can then fold it to use as a seat.

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    • Yes, I agree. You may have noticed that I did similar myself with a piece of 3mm Evazote. I covered that when I looked at Zote foams and the Gossamer Gear back pads. A lightweight multiple use item. My cut down ‘shoulder to glutes’ pad weighs 35g. Links to both blogs are on my ‘Gear’ page or here

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