What Is A Backpacking Sleeping Pad?
Spending the nights out in nature needs to be as comfy enough. A comfortable night sleep helps you enjoy a better start of a new day.
Lack of proper night rest you may have a less than awesome day outdoors. This makes a backpacking sleeping pad a must have for any camper.
A backpacking sleeping pad is a specially cushioned pad used in conjunction with a sleeping bag purposefully to ensure you sleep better outdoors. Of course, a best sleeping pad provides padding and thermal insulation for a cozy night rest.
Why Go For A Sleeping Pad During Hiking/Camping?
There is no doubt, a sleeping pad is a great camping gear. Always pack it, to ensure you make the most from your trip. The following reasons show why you need to carry a sleeping pad during hiking.
It provides a soft sleeping ground: sleeping directly on the ground is uncomfortable. A sleeping pad cushions your body from the hard ground so you can sleep better.
It provides an insulating layer between your body and the cold ground: without a sleeping pad your body weight will crash the insulation between you and the sleeping bag. As a result, the ground will be sapping heat from you the entire time. However, this can pose serious health issues if you are asthmatic.
Environment-friendly: a sleeping pad ensures that you conserve the environment trying to cushion yourself.
- Calms and relaxes your muscles after long days on the trails
- Ensure you get uninterrupted night sleep
- Handy and portable so you can take them wherever you go
Things to Consider While Buying The Best Sleeping Pad
There are a number of things you must consider before choosing a sleeping pad. These things include;
Figure out the weather conditions of your destinations. If you are a fair weather camper, you need less insulation to save more space. However, if you are die-hard camper you need to find a highly insulated sleeping pad.
Where to sleep and with who?
The idea of where you will be sleeping during the hiking trip is important. This will affect the size, shape, weight, and bulk of your pad. You will need a pad that fits well in a tent, hammock or sleeping pad. But if you are going to camp in a car this is not a concern.
Level of use
This is a fundamental consideration you must keep in mind. You need a different sleeping pad when going for a night trip as compared to what you need for a multi-day backpacking trip. This consideration can affect the quality of the pad and your budget. There is no need to spend heavily on a pad that does not deliver results.
As a matter of fact, the sleeping pad comfort level can make or break your trip. Staying warm can is one aspect of comfort. So you need to figure out this aspect to ensure the pad remains comfortable in any environment.
Your budget is yet another important consideration. There are many brands on the market with variable prices. You don’t have to break your bank to get the best pad. Find one that fits within your budget as there are many great pads that won’t cost you much.
Ease of use
Choose a sleeping pad that is easy to use right from the box. For this reason, a self-inflating pad is a great choice. It will save you time and energy, after long days out in the trails.
Finally, the pad should be designed in a way that allows for easy transport. For this reason, you may want a pad with a storage bag in order to maintain compactness and safe transportation.
Essential Design Features Of Best Backpacking Sleeping Pad
There is a number of features you must consider when shopping for a sleeping pad. A good sleeping pad must exhibit most if not all of them.
Insulation and R-value
This is an indicator of insulation level. The R-value ranges from 1.0-10.0, the higher the R-value the more heat the pad is going to retain. With insulation, also think about the type of climate you are going to use your pad in.
If you are going to camp in warm temperatures a pad with lower R-value is good. Consequently, if you are going to camp in cold temperatures, a pad whose R-value is closer to 5 is best.
Sleeping pads come in different dimensions. You need to ensure the pad is snug fit based on your dimensions. Keep in mind the dimensions vary depending on the person. It is a question of what fits you. It also important to consider the pads thickness.
A thicker pad provides more padding and feels warmer. However, thicker pads will take longer to inflate by mouth so you may end up spending more for a pump.
Technology used and patterns
Technology affects the comfort level of the pad. A good sleeping pad is fitted with a body mapping technology. This yield a specially shaped design for superior support and comfort regardless of your sleeping position. In addition, a good pad should have deep weld patterning. This structure creates expansion zones for improved thermal comfort.
Also, consider how much space the pad is going to take up. You need to choose a pad that packs small. All the same, it should be able to go back to its original size for easy transport.
Typically, warmer pads are thicker and more padded and therefore takes more space. But this should not be a concern as there are plenty of pads that takes less space and still perform well.
As a general rule of thumb, any piece you are going to put into your hiking backpack should be lightweight. This is to ensure easy transportation.
Materials and durability
This is a measure of quality. A good sleeping pad should last for a long time to ensure you enjoy good service for many years. The materials used to make the pad should be waterproof to ensure that the pads perform well in any weather.
Again, the pad materials should have the antimicrobial ability. This will inhibit the growth of microorganisms and allergens.
Other features include;
Most of the modern day sleeping pads are self-inflating. A self-inflating sleeping pad will save you time and effort.
One way valves
A pad with a one-way valve is easier to blow up as air won’t come back out of the valve. Besides, deflating the pad is also a breeze since air only escapes and cannot come back.
Introduction To Different Types Of Sleeping Pads
Having known what look for when looking for a great sleeping pad. It is imperative to know the commonly available sleeping pads so that you can choose what’s perfect for you.
Common options in the market are;
- Backpacking air mattresses
- Open-cell foam pads
- Closed-cell foam pads
- Self-inflating pads
It is also important to know that each category has its own strengths and weaknesses. So have these points in mind before buying. With that said, let’s take a look at each one of them;
Backpacking air mattresses
These are small and thin inflatable pads. These pads are undeniably the most comfortable and provide a heavenly experience. In terms of storage, these pads pack down to small size. However, these sleeping pads are prone to leaks. They are also expensive and will take time and effort to inflate.
Closed cell foam pads
They are known to be the best sleeping pads for those looking for superior warmth. They are made of a thin foam constructed from tiny closed cells. The advantage of this construction is that it prevents air circulation and blocks water absorption. This makes them waterproof and lightweight and indestructible.
These pads are a little cheaper. However, this type of sleeping pads is the least comfortable. So, you may need to find other ways to add extra cushioning. Again they have a stiff shape which makes it difficult to pack them down. Amount of warmth is also limited.
Open-cell foam pads
These pads are made up of open-cells as its name suggests. These pads are a lot softer and provide more cushion than closed-cell foam. Compared to uninsulated mattresses, they are warmer. Beyond this, they are affordable.
Nevertheless, their construction can make them too heavy and bulky. As a result, this is not a good choice for backpacking. Again the open cell allows air circulation. This makes them to be poor insulators in cold weather.
These are specially designed sleeping. They provide a good balance of comfort, warmth and weather resistance. Their cover is sturdy, waterproof and airtight material. It comes with an air valve that lets you inflate the mattress.
The advantage of this pad is that it packs down small. This makes it easy to store and carry. They are lightweight and provides good warmth. On the dark side, they are quite expensive and can puncture easily.
Main Features And Description Of Different Parts Of A Sleeping Pad
Sleeping pads valves
Pad valves are important accessories when it comes to inflating and deflating your pads. Common types of valves used in many sleeping pads are the twist and pull valves. These valves are easy and straightforward.
Air pumps are useful in inflating the pad. While you can inflate it by affixing your mouth to the valve and blow it, air pumps make it easy and effortless.
Sleeping pad covers keeps pad clean throughout the trip. Mostly, many of these pad covers are machine washable to save your time.
Sleeping pads rails
It is an important element of the construction placed on the edges of the pads. Pad rails are meant to prevent you from rolling off the pad in the middle of the night.
A sleeping pad is almost useless if it is without enough padding. The padding provides a soft and comfortable sleeping ground. Besides, the level of padding affects the level of insulation.
In a nutshell, the success of your camping trip depends on how well you will organize your outdoor gears. There is no point having a fun-full day in the trails and end up with a regretful night. As seen above, a sleeping pad is a must have for a serious camper.
But this is not to say you grab any pad that comes your way. Make sure it fulfills most if not all the key features enumerated here. By putting those fundamentals in mind. You can be sure to never make a wrong choice.
Top 10 Sleeping Pads : Best Seller List
Hiking is a demanding activity. However, many hikers overlook the importance of investing in a good backpacking sleeping pad. The fact is, you will have a miserable night if you lack a great sleeping pad.
We, therefore, believe that by the time you are coming to the end of this Best Sleeping Pads for backpacking. You will have a pad that suits your camping needs. Get ready, let’s get to work…