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Folding Ground Pad

Folding Pad

With the renewed interest in lightweight pakcing, many hikers have turned to frameless rucksacks and closed cell foam pads.

To help stiffen the pack and to prevent objects from poking your back a good strategy is to put the pad inside the pack next to your back. Many of the closed cell pads resist being folded flat enough to make this an easy proposition.

One solution is to use a Z-Rest pad made by Cascade Designs. But you can just as easily convert your existing closed cell pad into a folding model. All that is needed is some duct tape and a sharp knife.

Before you start, decide how wide each panel needs to be to fit comfortably inside your pack. Then determine how many folds you will need to make in the pad. You may want to alter the width of each panel slightly so that each fold ends up being the same width.

Once you have the folds layed out, place a scrap piece of lumber under your pad at the first fold. Then cut through the pad using a straight edge of some type as a guide for the knife to help make each cut as straight as possible. Repeat the cutting process for each fold.

Then butt the pieces from the first cut up against each other and cover with a good quality piece of duct tape to join them. Skip the next cut and repeat the process for every other cut. Then flip all of the pieces over and repeat the taping process on the remaining unconnected cuts.

The above photo shows a closed cell pad with four panels and three seams. The tape on the center seam does not show because it is on the underneath side of the pad.

Once you are done you will have a closed cell pad that folds just as flat as a Z-Rest. You can make it any width and length that you want.

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