These are the 10 things you need to know about Sleeping Pads.
1) …The purpose of a sleeping pad is to insulate your body from the ground under you and to provide you with a comfortable night’s sleep. No excuses … no compromises.
A good night’s sleep cannot be overly emphasized, whether you are involved in extreme physical activities or not.
No study has ever shown the value of a poor night’s sleep. As a matter of fact, everyone who wakes up tired and in a bad mood has always had a bad sleep.
Expressions such as … ” waking up on the wrong side of the bed “ are common in all cultures and age groups.
2) …What is the R-value of this sleeping system? This is an insulating term. The R-value of an insulating material is a measure of its thermal resistance.
Thermal Resistance indicates how quickly a specific material will lose heat. The higher the R-value, the better its thermal qualities.
Higher R-values produce greater heat retention, slower heat loss, and the result is better thermal performance.
3) … What are the dimensions of your sleeping pad?
Your height and body shape must be considered. Here we are looking at the length and the width of this sleeping pad. The pad thickness is more closely associated with R-value.
Is it large enough to cover your body or do you keep feeling the edges?
Is the larger size and extra weight worth the few extra ounces or grams?
4) …Weight is next on your list. If you are going to use your mattress for backpacking, bicycle touring, kayaking, or canoeing the weight and compactness are extremely important. How much does it weigh?
If you will be using your mattress for car camping or canoeing, weight is not so critical. Hunting and Fishing camps, cabins, trailers, and vans are other uses where size and weight are not as important a factor.
5) …What materials are used to make your mattress?
These materials are always model-specific and can be viewed in the product description.
Some models have a polyester face fabric and many also have non-slip undersides to prevent them from sliding around in your tent.
6) …Is your mattress self-inflating? Oversized valves make inflating and deflating your mattress much easier.
Is it open-celled or closed-cell?
7) …How small does it pack? When you roll up or fold your sleeping pad, what are the final dimensions? Depending on whether you carry it inside or outside your backpack this has to be considered.
8) …Does it have any special features that make it more attractive and functional?
Some sleeping pads have attachments for joining two or more pads together.
The better models come with repair kits and stuff sacks.
9) …The pros and cons of your specific model.
In every model of any piece of outdoor equipment, there is always a lighter, thinner, less heavy counterpart. Usually, but not always, lighter versions are more expensive and more compact.
10) …What are the reviews saying about your product?
Reviews are written by people who use and abuse these products. We take them on real test runs and let Mother Nature have a good go at them.
As you gain more and more experience in the outdoors, and you begin to add on the miles or kilometers, weight, durability, and usefulness become critical.
Nothing gets brought back on future excursions if it is too heavy and serves no real purpose.
At the end of the day, even hardcore minimalists have a list of things that they call – “don’t leave home without it”.
A Sleep Pad/Mattress should always be on your list!
On many occasions, in 3-season use, I personally don’t always carry a sleeping bag. This, I do not recommend to anyone, unless you are addicted to hardcore “ultra-light” adventures where mileage and speed of travel are your prime consideration.
This is part of the … “travel light – freeze at night” philosophy and not recommended unless you are young and bullet-proof.
A sleeping pad or mattress … Don’t leave home without it!
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