When you are camping or hiking in the backwoods, there is a lot of equipment that you will need to have to have an enjoyable experience. One thing that cannot be overlooked is a sleeping pad because of this we would like to present you some options about the best sleeping pads.
Best Sleeping Pads For Hiking
What is a sleeping pad?
If you are hiking, you’re not going to want to carry the extra weight of an air mattress around, but you will still want to be comfortable when it is time to stop and get your nightly rest. This is where sleeping pads come into play.
They are not nearly as heavy as air mattresses, yet still, provide you with much-needed comfort. Of course, they are not going to give you the same luxurious comfort levels as a good air mattress would, but they will still provide you with the support necessary to get a good night’s rest, so you are recharged and ready to go in the morning.
Why sleeping pads are necessary.
The number one and most obvious reason is for the comfort. Nobody wants to have to sleep directly on the ground, and while sleeping pads are very thin, they still give you a softer place to rest your body at nights.
Just that little bit of extra cushioning can be the difference between a miserable hiking experience and a memorable one.
This is determined by the R-value of your sleeping pad. The R-value is the measurement that that is used to determine the insulation capabilities of a pad, the higher the value is the better insulation is.
So many people overlook this aspect of the sleeping pad. When the days get shorter and the nights get colder, simply laying on the ground will not longer be an option (it gets far too cold).
Often people think the key to staying warm is to have the best sleeping bag money can buy. And that does go a long way of course, but even that can’t protect you from the ground sapping all of your body heat while you sleep.
When you lay on a sleeping bag, every part of your body that is in contact with the ground will negate any insulation that the bag provides you with. If you are on the ground, that means your body temperature will begin to take on the temperature of the ground – obviously resulting in a miserable night of sleep.
A good sleeping pad will act as a buffer between you and the surface you sleep on, helping you to maintain your body heat so that you can be well rested and ready to go in the morning.
What makes a good pad
There are several different characteristics that go into a good sleeping pad, but it depends on what you are looking for most, that is going to determine whether you deem a bag good or not. For instance, if you only camp in the summer you won’t need to look into getting a bag with excellent insulation.
You want to look for a sleeping pad that has the right balance of weight, cushioning and insulation for your needs. I’ll spend the next few moments going over some sleeping pads that I feel will fit the needs you have.
Sea to Summit Comfort Light
This is a self-inflating pad that has dual use capabilities (camping or hiking) because it inflates up to two inches, providing you a good distance between you and the ground and giving you plenty of cushions to make sure you have a comfortable sleeping space.
The delta core technology it was made with ensures that the top and bottom surfaces stay intact, so it provides consistent insulation throughout the night. The R-value of this sea to summit pad is 2.
The best quality that this sleeping pad (in my opinion) is that it only weighs 1 pound and 12 ounces at its heaviest. This makes it great for thru hiking.
Should you purchase
I firmly believe that this is a great purchase if you are looking for something that can satisfy your camping and hiking needs in one purchase. This is probably the most versatile sleeping pad on this list. However, you can find a pad with better insulation capability.
Therm-a-rest Z Lite SOL Mattress
This is a high-quality sleeping pad, with above average insulation qualities.It has an r-value of 2.6 which is going to be good in cold climates but still is not great for frigid temperatures.
The size of the mattress (when packed down) is a mere 20x5x5.5 inch, making it extraordinarily portable. Also, it is certainly the lightest of the pads on today’s list weighing in at only 14 ounces for the largest option; the smaller option is only ten ounces.
It’s pattern is similar to the look of an egg carton. That gives it better insulating qualities and provides for more cushion without sacrificing the small profile that it has, making it perfect for long trips where cutting weight is an absolute must.
Should you purchase this
If your main focus is portability, this is the pad you want. If you are more worried about comfort the previous pad, we looked at offers more cushion, but this one has better insulating power. If you travel harsh terrain and are looking to shed every ounce possible, get this one.
Wrap – Up
When thru hiking weight management is an absolute must (you do not want to be forced to lug around more pounds than necessary), and sleeping pads offer a great way to reduce weight, while still offering warmth and comfort when sleeping. If you are in the market for the best sleeping pads either of these products will be a good purchase for you.