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By September 11, 2012 Read More →

Recycle your survival gear: Make a sit pad out of your old Ensulite sleeping pad

For most hikers, the Ensulite (closed cell foam) pad’s days are numbered. Here is another use for that old pad in your closet.

by Blake Miller

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Leon’s recent post on sleeping pads discusses the many options available to the hiker or hunter.

The closed cell ensulite pad on the left will provide good insulation, while the egg crate style foam pad is a little softer. Both are rather hard to sleep on!

The closed cell Ensulite pad on the left will provide good insulation, while the egg crate style foam pad is a little softer. Both are rather hard to sleep on! (Pantenburg photo)

I am finding that most people are moving away from the old Ensulite pads for the very reasons Leon outlines. Though inexpensive, an Ensulite pad doesn’t provide a lot of warmth and comfort to the hiker.

Today I find myself buying the occasional pad for a new use, a sit pad.

A sit pad is a small piece of pad cut from the original that I will use while hiking, hunting and on Search And Rescue team missions. Of course I am not getting the full benefit of the pad by cutting it down, but I am not looking for something to lounge on either.

The pad is used to provide my bottom something to sit on. The smaller pad will help keep me dry, keep rocks from poking uncomfortably in the wrong places and provide some insulation on a cold day.

The shape is a matter of personal choice. My pad is about a third to a half of the length of the original pad. I’ll also cut down the sides too.

I can make two pads from one full length pad. I’ll put one at the bottom of my SAR pack, day pack and hunting pack.

I find used pads at my local thrift store, garage sales (for pennies) and military surplus stores.

An old blue Ensulite pad has a place on my hunting pack. (Blake Miller photo)

An old blue Ensulite pad has a place on Blake's hunting pack. (Blake Miller photo)

(Editor’s note: My daughter made me a sit pad out of an old blue Ensulite pad when she was in Girl Scouts several years ago. It has a big heart drawn around a bright red “I love you!” My sit pad goes on every hunt.)

Blake Miller has made a career out of staying found and knowing where he is at all times.  His formal navigation training began when he joined the U.S. Navy in 1973.  He served as an officer aboard several Navy ships over his

Blake Miller

20-year career; many of those tours included the duty of Navigator.  Blake began working with satellite navigation systems at sea in 1976, culminating with the then-new satellite positioning systems aboard the Battleship WISCONSIN in early 1990.

In 1998 Blake started Outdoor Quest, a business dedicated to backcountry navigation and wilderness survival.  Blake has taught classes to wild land firefighters, state agency staffs, Search and Rescue team members, hunters, hikers, skiers, fishermen and equestrians.  He regularly teaches classes through the Community Education programs at Central Oregon (Bend) and Chemeketa (Salem, OR) Community Colleges.

As a volunteer, Blake teaches navigation and survival classes to students in the local school districts, and conservation groups.  He is a member of a Search and Rescue team.

If you have any questions about land navigation or wilderness survival, you can contact Blake through SurvivalCommonSense.com@gmail.com, or you can go to his website.

Contact Information:

Website: www.outdoorquest.biz

Blog: outdoorquest.blogspot.com

Phone: 541-280-0573

Email: outdrquest@aol.com

To hear the Blake Miller interview about choosing a magnetic compass and GPS on SurvivalCommonSense.com Radio, click here.

For more navigation information, click here

 

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