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Gossamer Gear Thinlight Foam Pad Review

Gossamer Gear Thinlight Foam Pad Review

The Gossamer Gear Thinlight Foam Pad is an ultralight and ultra-thin closed-cell foam pad that can be used to completely eliminate sleeping pad slip on camping tent floors and a gazillion other ways. A true multi-purpose item, this 1/8″ foam pad can also be used as a dog bed, a windbreak for your stove, a sit pad, a freezer bag cozy, camp chair insulation, a yoga mat, a nap pad, an insulated skirt, or padding for a wilderness first-aid splint, among other uses. This closed-cell foam pad does not tear, does not wear, does not weaken at crease points, and does not hold dirt, water, or mud. It’s pretty amazing stuff.

Gossamer Gear Thinlight Foam Pad

Weight
Durability
Packed Size
Ability to Customize

Multipurpose Foam Pad

Gossamer Gear's Ultralight Thinlight foam pad can be used in a wide variety of ways to improve your comfort and backpacking efficiency. The closed-cell material is fully waterproof and easy to cut into custom pieces for different applications.

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Specs at a Glance

Preventing Sleeping Pad Slip

The surfaces of most tent floors, bivy sacks, and inflatable sleeping pads are relatively slick. Even a slightly inclined campsite can result in the pad sliding around during the night. Placing the Thinlight between the tent floor and the sleeping pad is a simple and foolproof way to completely eliminate the pad slip problem. The stuff acts like sleeping pad cement.

But there’s no need to use an entire Thinlight foam pad for this purpose. You can cut a small portion of one, say torso-sized, and lay it under an inflatable sleeping pad to prevent it from sliding on your tent floor. If you look at the specs, you’ll see that the Thinlight is shorter and narrower than most regular-sized inflatable pads as well, and most people trim them for different applications before use.

Another common method of preventing pad slip is to apply dots or lines of seam sealer to either the tent floor or the bottom of the inflatable pad. Compared to the Thinlight, this is messy and time-consuming and must be repeated with every new tent or pad purchase. It also doesn’t exactly help the resale value of those items.

Foam pad to prevent sleeping pad slippage
Most backpackers cut down a Thinlight pad for specific applications. For example, Philip uses this 1.3 oz torso sized piece under an inflatable pad to prevent pad slip, as well as a sit pad.

Other Uses

As a closed-cell foam pad, the Thinlight has a variety of other common uses. Many backpackers use a Thinlight as puncture protection when placed under an inflatable sleeping pad. It also makes a handy sit pad. The Thinlight is also available in a pre-creased folded form (98g) so you can use it as a pack frame for a frameless backpack or as padding for a backpack with a sleeping pad sleeve such as the Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 or the Gorilla 40.

Some people also use the Thinlight as a sleeping pad, but I’d advise caution in doing this. This pad is so thin that it provides very little insulation value by itself or in combination with another sleeping pad. Gossamer Gear hasn’t tested the R-value of the pad but estimates it to be around R=0.5 which is pretty dam low.  Snow has an R-value of 1 for example.

Carrying

Unlike bulky accordion-style foam pads the Thinlight can be rolled up or folded as you see fit which means it can be carried in a variety of ways:

  • Inside the pack’s main compartment
  • Beneath the roll-top closure or brain
  • Vertically in a side pocket
  • Rolled-up around a trekking pole or water bottle
  • Folded into a square and carried on the bottom of a backpack

Recommendation

The Gossamer Gear Thinlight Foam Pad is a worthy companion to any inflatable sleeping pad, preventing pad slip on slippery tent floors while providing added puncture protection. Using a Thinlight in this manner also eliminates the need to apply the messy silicone stripes or dots to your tent floor or pad, that are typically required to prevent pad slip on sloped or uneven tent pitches. For those already carrying a dedicated sit pad, the Thinlight also serves as a multi-functional replacement for a negligible weight penalty. Highly recommended!

Disclosure: The author purchased this product.

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22 comments

  1. I’ve been carrying one of these for ten years. It’s a truly remarkable,versatile piece of gear.

  2. Thank you for pointing the lack of insulation: I use my foam pads as second pads under inflatables, mostly for winter / snow camping, so this would be totally useless for that purpose.

    • Absolutely useless for winter or non-winter sleep insulation, but good enough to keep your butt warm and dry in 3 season conditions without snow.

    • Thanks Phil, love the site I look forward to about 11ish am (LA) to get your new post.
      I have been looking at one of these for a few years to do just what you have mentioned, didnt think about helping with slipping. sounds like now is the time.
      For all of us gear heads your site has so much useful info, keep up this great site.
      I’ve been a subscriber for many years

  3. How do you feel this compares to the 1/8″ pad now sold by mountain laurel designs? It seems to be the same but you can purchase from MLD in a variety of sizes.

    https://mountainlaureldesigns.com/product/goodnight-eva-1-8-foam-pad/

    • It’s a foam pad for crying out loud. I don’t think it really matters which one you get. They probably buy them from the same supplier.

    • I have both. I prefer the GG one since the MLD EVA material tends to cling to itself a substantially more. It will work, but I find packing it up harder to do and less versatile.

  4. Good review, but it oversells the attributes of the pad, (padded the review?).
    Pad works, just not as well as reviewed.
    First, on durability, my pad ripped first time out. Rip in middle of one end, happened when i rolled pad and secured with rubber bands and then strapped to bottom of pack. You’ll want to consider a bag or sac, maybe an old tent pole bag or something. Anti-slippage, yes big improvement over not using the pad, but “glued to the tent floor” is a bit of an overstatement. I found the pad went everywhere except under my inflatable pad, but once i got it there, it mostly stayed put.
    i’ve since switched to the exped double mat, cut into two pads and trimmed, so i have backup. The exped feels stronger and more dense than the GG. diff density foam perhaps? i’ve added a thin strip of seam seal at the ends, painted out and spread into thin, 2cm band to try and forestall a rip in the exped. if you have the GG, may want to do something similar. the exped pad has some sort of sealant on the exposed edges as well which GG doesn’t have.
    only prob w/ exped is that it is waaaaay more expensive, even factoring getting 2 pads if you cut it in half. also couldn’t find it in Canada and US store (Campmor) wouldn’t ship up here so had to order from Germany.

  5. Thanks for a great review again Philip. For a multipurpose (door mat, sit pad, etc) which do you like better, this or something like a Thermarest Z seat?

  6. I wish that the retailers would bring back the 25” version of these pads. I have been using a 25” by 77” pad for years. For camping on snow I love to “carpet” the floor of my tent by using two pads. My primary reason is to protect my large air pads from punctures. Most of the punctures I have seen on the air mattresses have been on sides near the outer 3-4 inches.

  7. I’ve had one of these for several years, and I carry it on every trip. It’s probably the most versatile thing I carry. Sit pad. Throw it on the ground for post-hike stretches. Additional insulation if my underquilt feels drafty. Emergency rain skirt. Soft splint or padding for a splint made from poles/branches. With the exception of the splint, I’ve used it for all of these things plus keeping a mattress from sliding around inside my tent. I’ve not had any issues with it being too delicate, but I’ve not subjected it to abuse or a situation in which it’s likely to tear.

  8. I move around a LOT all night and my REI Flash sleeping pad is so noisy! I pitch my tent further away from most folks. But I’ve still been accused of keeping people up at night who want to kill me in the morninng! Have you tried placing the pad between your sleeping pad and sleeping bag to decrease noise as well as slippage? Thanks for any suggestions.

  9. You can buy the same foam (EVA or Evasote) off Amazon in varying sizes if you’re looking for a wider option. Thicker pads of this type of foam are offered as well. Apparently, for a given thickness there are different densities of this foam available so another option to consider. I use the pad sold by MLD. It works great under my Thermarest pad (earlier version) and I believe serves to quiet it down some when I turn over. It does help with slippage but if there is enough slope I still slide some.

  10. Spot on review for one of the most versatile pieces of gear I own. For hammock sleeping tt makes a very lightweight supplement to an underquilt and sometimes has made the difference in marginal temperatures where the underquilt just isn’t quite enough. Like you said, it would be madness to use the this pad alone, but its minimal R-value can make a difference at times, especially if folded over and doubled up.

  11. I use a couple of strips of anti slide mesh and that works really well. aka toolbox liner, drawer liner and used a lot by sailors to increase friction on cabin tables. Its cheap and effective for anti slide purposes.

  12. I also like it for that little bit of extra protection for the inflatable pad from stickers and pine needles and other little pokies.

  13. I tried doubling one of these over as a sleeping pad for my dog while backpacking, but found it was too delicate. The dog’s claws went right through it. Live and learn.

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