JourneyHugger vs Sea to Summit

8/2/20 Update: I never did hear back from JourneyHugger about getting a refund. My brother and I just finished a 5 day/4 night trip in the San Juan Mountains, and my brother tried out the JourneyHugger pad. It held up for the entire trip, and he seemed to really like it, so he bought it off me.

4/30/20 Update: I sent JourneyHugger an email on 4/26 requesting instructions for returning the sleeping pad. I also sent them a message on 4/28 using the contact form on their website. I have yet to hear back from them. If I end up hearing back from them, I’ll provide another update, but it looks like they may not live up to their promise of a full refund within 30 days. So buyer beware! As my brother said, at least I got the product, although I’m not sure I’ll use it. Haha.

For the last couple years I have used a Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Air Sleeping Pad on my backpacking trips. It has been fantastic, and the only knock I have on it has been the noise when I’m moving around. I’m always worried that I’m going to keep my brother awake when I’m backpacking with him. On my Idaho trip this past year, I was camped pretty close to some other backpackers, and I was worried it would be annoying to them. I may be making it worse than it really is, but it’s definitely noisier than a roll up or fold up foam pad.

A little while back, I saw an ad on Facebook for the JourneyHugger JourneyMattress. It was half off, and I could return it within 30 days of receiving it for a full refund, so I thought I would give it a shot and see if it happened to be quieter than my Sea to Summit pad. This brings me to this past weekend.

Over the weekend I set up my backpacking tent in my living room one afternoon, set up both pads in it, and then rolled around on both pads to compare the noise. Unfortunately, the noise seemed to be pretty much the same between both of them. However, while I had the JourneyMattress, I figured I would try to sleep on it for a night just to see how comfortable it was. Saturday night I set up my non-backpacking tent in my backyard and slept in the tent overnight. I started out with the JourneyMattress, but after about 30 minutes or so, I decided I better get my Sea to Summit pad and pillow. The JourneyMattress was actually really comfortable, but the built in pillow did not work for me for a few reasons.

First, the firmness of the pillow isn’t adjustable. I generally don’t inflate my standalone pillow as much as I could (more of a soft pillow feel vs a firm pillow feel). However, with the JourneyMattress, you have to inflate it until it’s firm since it’s part of the entire mattress.

Second, I generally drool a little when I sleep. Since I didn’t want to drool on my sleeping bag, I tried to put an empty pillowcase between my head and my sleeping bag. Not sure if that would stay in place all night or not, and it was a big hassle when I tried to cinch down the opening of my sleeping bag.

Third, I generally like to put one of my arms up next to the pillow (but not on it) when I’m trying to go to sleep. I couldn’t do that with the JourneyMattress unless I wanted to be at the edge of the mattress, which doesn’t work well with the mattress part.

If you take the built in pillow out of the JourneyMattress, I think it’s right there with the Sea to Summit pad as far as comfort goes, and if I remember correctly, all the other stats (R value, weight, size, etc) are all very similar to the Sea to Summit pad. I didn’t test it in cold weather, so I can’t say if it would keep me as warm as the Sea to Summit pad, but based on R value it should. One other thing I didn’t like as much on the JourneyMattress was the inflation valve. It wasn’t quite as good as the Sea to Summit valve, but not a dealbreaker by any means.

So, overall, if the built in pillow works for you, then I think this is a great pad, especially if you can get it on sale for $60 like I did. But mine will be getting returned.

What sleeping pad do you use on backpacking trips?

The Australia Journals: Apr. 25, 2010

Picture from the ANZAC Day march in Melbourne while I was studying abroad.

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.


This was a really cool cultural experience I got to have while I was down in Australia. ANZAC Day is the equivalent to Veteran’s Day in the U.S. It was really neat to experience the ANZAC Day celebration in Melbourne. If you ever do study abroad (or really any traveling for that matter), I would encourage you to look into cultural holidays/celebrations taking place while you are there and try to take part. 

The Journal Entry

Today was a pretty good day. I got up at 6 and got ready. I met Erin out in the parking lot at about 7:15 to walk down to the bus loop. Once we got there we had to wait a few minutes for the bus. We took the bus to Huntingdale, and then caught a train to Flinders St. station. After we got off there we got lined up to watch the Anzac Day march. We just got lined up right outside Flinders St. station. That was nice. The march started at about 9. It was pretty cool. They had a bunch of really cool old vehicles. It was really cool to see all the people clapping for the soldiers as well. The only bad thing was that it was so long. Erin and I left at about 11:15 and it still wasn’t done. Of course, right when we got down on the train platform they had a flyover. That was a bummer. Anyway, after that Erin and I took the train back towards Huntingdale. I got off at Okleigh so I could go to Volcano Joes, but Erin went back to Monash. It took me a little while to get to Volcano Joes. It was a pretty cool place though. It had a big waterfall in it and was decorated in a jungle theme. That was pretty sweet. It is an all you can eat buffet place. The food wasn’t the greatest, but they had a good variety and the food was still good, so I was glad I went. I was definitely full by the time I was finished. The bus came about a minute after I got out of the restaurant, which was nice. I took the bus back to Chadstone, and then got off so I could catch the 900 back to Monash. There was 20 minutes until the 900 got there, so I went around the shopping center for a few minutes and got some pictures. I took the 900 back to the bus loop and then walked to the dorms. After I got back I checked email and all and then read/watched video on the big tornado they had in Mississippi today (the 23rd in the U.S.). There was a monster of a tornado that went all the way across Mississippi and killed at least 10 people. They had a huge severe weather outbreak in the southeast. It looks like it was nuts. Anyway, after that I read some articles for my 2211 article. After that I got dinner. I had some leftover spaghetti. I probably should have had something smaller, because by the time I was finished, I was so full. I haven’t been that full in a while. After dinner I worked on saving some soundings and radar shots from today and then worked on writing my essay. After that I looked into when I need to leave for the footy game tomorrow, and then started writing this. It is now 9:15, and I think I’m gonna get ready for bed. I’m pretty tired already, and I gotta get up at 7 so I can run in the morning. 

The Australia Journals: Apr. 16-17, 2010

Kookaburras in a tree during a camping trip at the Candlebark Camping Area in Lake Eildon National Park.

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.


One of the meteorology classes I took at Monash had a mid-semester two-night camping trip as part of the curriculum. It was meant to be a field learning experience with taking different meteorological measurements. I love camping as it is, but this allowed me to do camping with a bunch of Aussies in Australia, mix in some meteorology learning during the trip, and I got to finally spend some time with Melinda. It was one of my favorite experiences during the whole Australia trip. I already mentioned Celine in an earlier post, and mentioned there was one other woman who really caught my attention while in Australia. Melinda was that other woman. I had class with Melinda, but this was the first time I got to spend any sort of time around her. By the end of the camping trip, I was kind of wishing I hadn’t got to know her. Haha. She’ll make an appearance in one more post in a couple weeks. 

The Journal Entry

Written on April 18 about April 16-17

The past two days have been good. Yesterday I got up at 7 and got ready. It was a normal morning. We had a test in 3360. I don’t think I did too well on it. I’m hoping for a 50. I’m not sure I’ll even get that though. Elizabeth doesn’t think she did too well either. It will be interesting to see what the scores are when we get the tests back. After 3360 Elizabeth and I went to Menzies and hung out there until 3040 tute at 10:30. We started earlier yesterday so we could talk about the assignment a little bit. After the tute I came back to my room and got lunch. After lunch I chatted with John a little bit and then started getting ready for the camping trip. It was such a pain trying to figure out what to take and what not to. Actually packing was really quick. I was gonna try to fit everything in my backpack, but that wouldn’t work. I ended up using my small suitcase and having that packed full. I talked to Mom for about 10 minutes while I was packing. At about 1:50 I met Elizabeth and we walked to the pick-up point. We left at about 2:30. We took a big charter bus. I sat with Elizabeth. We stopped in Yea on the way up. Elizabeth and I both got a muffin at a bakery. They didn’t want us to eat it on the bus, though, so I had to eat mine real quick. That was a bummer. After that we went to the camping spot. We are staying at Candlebark camping area in Lake Eildon State Park. I got my stuff after I got off the bus and then had to find someone with a tent. A guy named Sheldon said he probably had room. I helped him set up his tent. After we got it up, we realized we could get 3 people in there, so a guy name Allen ended up staying in our tent as well. We got our stuff set up in the tent, and then I went and visited with Elizabeth and Melinda. Elizabeth and Melinda are staying in a tent together. They actually got the tent from our 2020 professor. After a couple minutes we went down to the campfire and hung out until dinner. I was glad there was a campfire because it got cold pretty quick after the sun went down. Dinner was pretty awesome. I had 3 sausages and a hamburger. I probably could have had more as well, but I didn’t. After dinner we had a meeting where they went over safety and stuff and then we got into groups. Elizabeth, Melinda, and I got into a group with Jane, David, and Luke. I was kind of skeptical about them at first, but they have turned out to be pretty cool. After we got into our groups they assigned us group numbers. We got group 8, which meant we had to do the hill climb at 3 A.M. That wasn’t cool. I probably would have rather gotton any other time. A group did it every 3 hours from 9 P.M. that night. After we got our group numbers we all went to the bathrooms, which were the “base station” for the hill climb measurements. Richard showed everybody how to use the measurement device. After that we all walked to the base of the hill so we all knew how to get there. It was a pretty good walk to the base of the hill. It took about 20 minutes I believe. When we got to the bottom the 9 P.M. group started their climb while the rest of us came back. On the way back, we went past some bathrooms that looked identical to the ones at our campground. Everybody thought they were ours, but then figured out they weren’t. Nobody noticed them on the walk to the hill though. It was really weird. After we got back my group got ready for bed pretty quickly since we had to get up at 3. I just brought my silk sleep sack and a blanket from my room to sleep in. I slept in my jeans and a hoodie and all. I was warm at first but ended up being pretty cold. It was hard to stay wrapped up in the blanket. It was just too small. I didn’t really get to sleep until about midnight. I woke up at 2, and didn’t really get a good sleep until 3. Our group met at the bathrooms at 3 and started our walk. I was the time person, Luke did the measurements, and Dave wrote it all down. The hill was really steep. We stopped about every 4-5 minutes to get a measurement. Jane had to stop that often to rest anyway. Nobody really complained about it though, which was nice. There was a part of the climb where it levelled out, and we thought we were almost to the top, but then it got even steeper than it was before. That was funny. We got to the top at about 4. We stayed up there for about 15-20 minutes looking at the stars and just hanging out. The stars here are awesome. You can see so much. It’s amazing. I tried to get a couple pictures. I’m not sure how they turned out. We started back down about 4:25. We stopped a few times on the way down to get some measurements. It was so much faster coming down. I couldn’t believe we were at the bottom when we got there. We got back to the bathrooms at about 5:15. We put the stuff up and then went back to our tents. The two other guys in my tent had their walk at 6 A.M. I wasn’t able to get back to sleep before they left. I think I finally fell asleep at about 6:15. I slept ok until my alarm went off at 8. It was so cold in the morning. I was really wishing I had a sleeping bag. I got up at about 8:10 and came to the campfire area to get breakfast. They had pancakes for us. They didn’t have syrup though. They just had jam, sugar, and lemon juice. So I had my pancakes with apricot jam. It was pretty good. After I finished eating I got my camera and started getting some pictures around camp. A bunch of Kookaburras had started hanging around so I got a bunch of pictures of those. They are pretty awesome looking birds. They are really annoying though. Occasionally a big group of them will start making a lot of noise all at once. It’s especially annoying when you are trying to sleep. Anyway, at about 9:30 or 9:45 we started our experiment station stuff. Our group had pibal first. We got a ride a couple of km away and then they had to get the theodolite set up. We only had a few minutes to do measurements. I tried to do it first, but lost the balloon once I had to read the Vernier scale. The second pibal group lost it real quick as well. We tried a second one. This time I tracked and Elizabeth read the scale. That was so much easier than doing it by myself. The other group lost it, and so the guy showing us how to do it said we needed to get back since we were running late. I was bummed that we couldn’t see how long we could track it for. We got back to camp at about 11. After we got back Elizabeth, Luke, Melinda, and I went on a walk to the lake. Our group had a break until lunch at 12:15. It’s amazing how much higher the lake used to be. It has gone down so much. It didn’t take very long to get to the lake. We hung out there for a few minutes and then came back. After that I just hung out in the campfire area for a while. At about 12:30 I ate my sandwiches. They did a radiosonde launch at about 1. After that I noticed some specks in the viewfinder of my camera. I spent a while trying to get that to go away, but never could. That bums me out. I guess I’ll have to try to find a place to take it in the city to get it cleaned. At about 1:45 we got back to going to our stations. We did the wind mast first, then the tethersonde, then bowen ratio, and then radiation. The tethersonde was pretty crazy. They had showed us pictures in measurements class of those, but it was cool to actually see one. There wasn’t anything too interesting about any of the other ones. We finished at about 4:45. After that I got this and started writing in it. I wrote in it until dinner was about ready. I didn’t get too far though. I put it up and then we had dinner. They made chili for us. It was pretty good. It was pretty amazing they had made that here. After dinner we had a trivia night. We competed in our teams we had been in all weekend. By the way, our team name was the Climates. That was pretty awesome. Anyway, we had trivia for a while. That was really fun. Our team did pretty bad, but that didn’t really matter. That finished at about 9:15. After that I just hung out in the campfire area. I ended up visiting with Melinda and a couple other guys until about 11:15. That was really cool. Melinda seems pretty awesome. She is really pretty. I have wanted to meet her ever since the first day of 2020 class, so it’s been pretty cool to get to do that this weekend. Last night while we were visiting she said she doesn’t drink because she is a Christian as well. That’s really cool. She swears every once in a while, though, which is a turn off for me. I hate it though because it would be cool to go on a date with her sometime, but I’m only here for about 2 more months. I’m not really sure she is as strong of a Christian as I am looking for though. It’s so frustrating. Seems like the story of my life. We’ll see what happens though. Maybe we can visit some more in class and stuff after this weekend. I don’t really forsee anything happening between us though. Anyway, at about 11:15 I had to go to the bathroom really bad so I just decided to get ready for bed as well. It is now 9:50 A.M. on the 18th. I’ll probably try to write about today when I go to bed tonight. I just wanted to get the past couple days out of the way since I had some spare time. Anyway, that’s it for now.  

The Australia Journals: Apr. 6, 2010

My first (and I think only) time to eat Kangaroo while I was in Australia.

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.


Renting bicycles and going for a ride in the city was a great experience that I would recommend. Once again (just like renting a car and doing a road trip), it allows you to get out and see areas that you might not see otherwise. 

I’m not a very adventurous eater, so I didn’t eat a whole lot of different food while I was in Australia. This was one of the days I was a little bit adventurous and tried some kangaroo. If you are an adventurous eater, studying abroad would be a great opportunity to try some different foods.

Even though we didn’t get to go to all the places we wanted, and the kangaroo wasn’t a big hit, it was still a great day.  

The Journal Entry

Today was a pretty good day. This morning I got up at 8 and had my normal morning routine. After I had gotten ready I started looking up possible articles for my 2211 essay. I did that until about 11, then got stuff together to go into the city. After that I got lunch and then left for the bus loop. I caught the 11:50 900 bus. I got off the train at Parliament station. I got off there so I could go to the DIAC office to get a visa label. When I got into the office, there was a sign stating they only did the visa labels between 9 A.M. and 11 A.M. That didn’t make me too happy. I got to the office at about 12:45, and I was supposed to meet Vivien at Fed Square at 2, so I had an hour to waste pretty much. I took the train to Flinders St. station and pretty much hung out at Fed Square the entire time. That was a real bummer to have to do that. Vivien showed up at about 2:15. We went to the bike place and rented a couple bikes. It was $20 for 2 hours. We decided to head over to the Docklands/Port area. We followed the river for a little while, and then got lost for a little bit. We eventually made it to the street we needed. We rode to the port and I got some good pictures of the cranes and ships and stuff. The cranes and ships were so huge. It was amazing. There were so many shipping containers there as well. I don’t know how they keep track of them all. Anyway, we headed back to the Docklands area, and Vivien wanted to go somewhere else. However, it said it would take 40 min, and we only had 40 min to get the bikes back, so I told her we better not. I felt so bad. I still feel pretty bad about it. Anyway, we ended up riding back along the river on the opposite side. We rode a little past the bike place and then came back and returned out bikes. After that we headed towards the restaurant where we were going to eat. We walked up Swanston St. and then down La Trobe St. We stopped at a few shops on the way, including a book shop, reject shop, and a couple clothing shops. We ate at the Berth Restaurant in the Docklands. We both got kangaroo. It wasn’t too bad. I would definitely take beef steak over kangaroo steak. But it wasn’t horrible. The potatoes and sauce were really good though. Once again, it was really expensive. It was $30 for the meal and an apple juice. I hate how it’s so expensive to eat out here. Anyway, Vivien didn’t really like the kangaroo. She was kind of bummed about that. We finished the meal at about 7:15. After we finished we walked to Southern Cross station. We barely missed the train we needed. It left just as we were running down the escalator. That was a bummer. We had to wait about 12 minutes for the next one. We got off the train at Okleigh so Vivien could go to Coles. The entrance to the shopping center closest to the station was closed. We ended up walking almost all the way around the shopping center to find an open entrance. Chocolate bars were on sale if you bought two, so Vivien got two and I just paid her back for one of them. She got some other stuff as well. After she finished shopping we walked to the bus stop and took the 733 bus back to campus. That was the first time I had taken that bus. Vivien made a point during the trip that we were probably supposed to have zone 2 cards, but I totally spaced that out when we got on the bus. We made it to Uni fine though. After we got back we walked to the halls. After I got to my room I checked email and stuff. Duke won the championship game. That sucks. After that I got a quick shower, and then started writing this. It is now 10:40. I think I am going to get to bed. I’m pretty tired tonight. 

The Australia Journals: Apr. 1, 2010

Another day without a picture specific to the day, so another picture of a cultural difference (queue instead of line).

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.


While all the journal entries so far have made it seem like this trip was all fun and games, it really wasn’t like that every day. There were plenty of fun and games days early in the trip, but as the semester went on, there were plenty of “normal college student” days as well, just like the day in this journal entry. Walking to classes, eating lunch at some building on campus, getting a run in, doing homework, etc. So while there is the part about having fun and experiencing a different culture, don’t forget the part about being a student. 

The Journal Entry

Written on April 2 about April 1

Yesterday I got up at 7. It was a normal morning. I walked to campus with Michael and Kaarin. That was nice. 2211 lab was interesting, to say the least. We had to walk from the comp lab where we met to a science building to take soil temp and flux measurements. There was one measurement where we were supposed to wait 30 minutes, but our tutor said we didn’t need it, so we walked back. We started working on the lab when we got back. After a few minutes, it became apparent that our numbers were way off from what we were supposed to be getting. From there it just went downhill. The depths we took the measurements at were different than the depth specified in the lab. This was not our fault, as the lab was set up before we got there. We discovered we needed that measurement we didn’t take so the tutor went and got that measurement. The tutor had to go ask our professor about several things. Needless to say, it was a mess. It was so bad it was kind of entertaining. Our tutor finally just said to use the numbers we had and not worry about them being way off. After 2211 lab we went to 2020 tute. That wasn’t too bad. I already had the problems done, so I helped Elizabeth some and worked on our assignment for that class. Our professor came in and told us that he could look up our preliminary final times for us. So we all told him our classes and he pulled up when our finals are currently scheduled for. It was great to hear reactions from everybody. Someone commented it sounded like “finals bingo” or something like that. Anyway, that part of the tute was pretty entertaining. My finals schedule isn’t too bad. I have one on the first day, which may make scheduling my diving trip fun. I also have about 8 days after my last final before I leave. After 2020 tute I went to the math building to eat lunch. After I was finished with lunch I worked on the 2020 assignment some more and then went to 3040. 3040 was kind of nice because we didn’t really have to do any math or derivations or anything. After 3040 I came back to my room. I went on a run at about 3:45. Partway into the run my knee hurt really bad for a few seconds, and then felt funky afterwards. I don’t know what happened. It kinda freaked me out though. After my workout I got a shower and then got dinner. I made a pancake mix that you just have to add water to. It wasn’t too bad. After dinner I worked on getting a list of places to eat together. At about 8 I went down to the courtyard for a little while. At about 8:30 I came up to my room and then went to the loft to watch a movie. It was Pat, Stacey, Nadia, and I up there. We watched Momento. It was another mind bender movie. It wasn’t too bad. I think I need to watch it again for it to make complete sense though. After that I came back to my room and got ready for bed.