4-play sleep-pad??

I was at the SW Kayak Symposium and attended the camping talk.

The guy mentioned something called a ‘4-play’ mat that works as a sleeping mat, wind-break, seat, etc.

A Google search turns up only the usual Thermarest and foam pads so has anyone heard of this?

Anyone know what they are called so I can find one?

Four play paddle float by Northwater
Google it and you’ll find the product review on P-net

Thank you
I tried Google and REI but couldn;t find it until I did a copy-&-paste with the name you gave.

I’ll swing by REI this weekend to see if it is workable.

Too many camping trips this spring…

Son’s death = camping trip to get away

SW Kayak Symposium = camping boat trip

Celebration trip (FINALLY finishing that roof job) = boating trip

SAPC Lake Cleanup = camping boat trip

AZ Paddlefest = camping-boat trip

Memorial Day weekend = kayak camping trip

I have to clean gear AND pack for the next trip the same time.

So am thinking that this 4-play thing will enable me to haul less gear.

I ordered one a couple days ago
One multi-use item beats several single-use items, in my book–assuming it functions well. My Crazy Creek “chair” can still be put to good use for car camping, and I’ll keep the inflatable paddle float because it takes very little space in storage (at home). The fact that the FourPlay can serve as an extra layer for sleeping on is just icing on the cake.

Looks like a good backup

– Last Updated: Mar-30-11 6:57 PM EST –

From what I've seen and read, I expect the Four Play replaces a regular foam paddlefloat with one that can serve a few other uses in a pinch, which is good. For me, I don't think it would be able to replace a sleeping mat or camp chair though. It's too short to be really good at those two jobs. Great to have something right at hand that you can put a hypothermic person on top of on a cold beach though. And nice to have a backup mat in case your sleeping pad explodes on a trip.

However, if you replace your inflatable paddle float with this item, it's not going to save you any space, as it's a lot bigger than an inflatable, and smaller than many sleeping mats.

Also, if you're used to an inflatable paddle float, make sure you are comfortable with the diminished support that a foam float offers. It's plenty for someone who is smaller, or has pretty refined rescue technique, but in my experience some people have a hard time performing a paddle float rescue with a foam float.

If you're looking to save space, I'd suggest that you might do well to replace a bulky sleeping pad with an inflatable insulated pad, like the Pacific Outdoors Thermo mat (about $70, and the size of a pack of bagels), or replace a bulky synthetic sleeping bag with a summer-weight down bag (Marmot Always Summer - as small as a loaf of bread, and on sale in a few places for $110).

Those two changes in my gear saved me about 20 liters of packing space (and improved my comfort at camp).

my concerns are simple…
1) I am a gear junkie and am the kind of guy who takes a back-up stove in case my main one dies.

I carry a compass lanyarded to my PFD in addition to the one mounted on my kayak…

YERS, i know that redundancy adds weight and bulk but then, you’ve never gotten lost in the desert because the Lt did NOT plan to loose the map and thought “GPS, why carry a compass?”

2) I am poor. Between a few kids and an ex-wife who had a spending problem, I get everything at yard sales or make it myself.

3) I like the idea of multi-use but recognize that no multi-tool will ever replace a good tool-box.


a) I love my thermarest (kept me warm in a kc-135 when the water glass next to my pad froze solid) but have had my thermarests blow and pop and pick up a thorn etc…

b) I carry a blue-foam pad for under my thermarest and in case and would like to have something to replace both!

Remove fear of puncture and replace bulk of foam and pad and chair with one item.

Since the guty at the Symposium used one when he prtetty much circumnavigated the eastern half of the US, I thought I’d check it out.

which leads me to…

the Big Agnes?
It was also recommended that I check out the Big Agness Insulated Air mattress.

It seems to me that this is simply a more expensive blow-up pool mat. At least my thermarest self-inflates.

Anyone have observations on the Big Agness v the Four-Play?

or other pads that work better?

I am far past the age where I can sleep in a tree or on a motorcycle seat.

other mats
Check out the Pacific Outdoors Ether Thermo 6 sleeping pad. It’s similar to the big agnes, but it’s a bit cheaper, and I’ve seen fewer negative reviews of it. I love mine, it’s very comfortable, and tiny tiny tiny when packed.

These are nothing like a pool float. Yes, you do have to blow them up by mouth, but they’re insulated inside, like a synthetic sleeping bag, so they’re very warm and comfortable (whereas a simple air mattress is very cold to sleep on).

The reason I don’t think you’ll like the fourplay as a sleeping pad is because it’s only 57" long, and it’s pretty hard. It might work in a pinch, but you’re going to get chilly sleeping on a mat that leaves nearly 2 feet of you on the cold hard ground.

looks like a bunch of almosts to me
pad too thick as a paddle float, too short as a seat, not enough thickness as a sleeping pad, but I suppose it does serve as a seat on a log or something.

I wouldn’t buy one, and I have a lot of stuff from Northwater that is superb stuff.


but would you accept one for free?

Just got it today

– Last Updated: Apr-02-11 1:22 PM EST –

Tried the chair function; the Crazy Creek chair is longer and taller (better support), but the FourPlay has more comfortable foam. For someone of my small size, the FourPlay chair should work well.

The opened pad is between 56 and 57 inches long. It's enough for all of my except my feet, when lying down. I'll continue to use my 66" ThermaRest, but I may put the FourPlay under it if I want added insulation and padding.

As a boat pad, it should be fine.

I'm waiting till next month before I test the paddle-float function.

It might be an item that I carry only on cold-water kayak-camping trips, since that's when the foam's advantage over an inflatable float would matter, AND that's when the added insulation under my normal sleeping pad would matter.