How to choose the best sleeping pad
Want a great sleep in the campsite? Get a great sleeping pad. Just think, after a long day of joyous activities, you will need a good nap and if you cannot find a comfortable ground to sleep, your happy mood will be ruined. You cannot let that happen, right?
How could you think about a great sleep without an appropriate sleeping pad! People often do not put too much attention on it, they just think it as a layer between them and the ground, which has to be flat enough, but it needs that much attention as much they do not care it. However, a good sleeping system also includes a good sleeping bag.
We have researched and covered all the possible information in the below summary which can make easy to choose the best sleeping bag for you even you know nothing before about it. Besides that, keep the following questions in the head while buying it.
1. Which type of pad will suit you great?
2. Which R-value is suitable for warming you?
3. How the features of the pad going to make comfort?
Answer of question no. 1:
Types of pad:
- Air mattress:
This type of pad needs pumper to blow air in it. You can also say it a manual inflation air pads which means it needs a manual process for inflation.
Lightweight, highly packable, comfortable, can be customized the firmness by adding or outing the air, available in sizes, some are made with heat reflexive material which is suitable in cold weather.
Bulky, low insulation, it needs a pump to inflate, high chances of tearing or puncturing in a downfall.
Car camping, lightweight camping, backpacking, in warm weather.
- Self-inflating sleeping pad:
You can imagine it like a sponge divided by fabric with two pieces. The foam expands, when you open the valve of it. This foam retains heat as well as got filled with air too.
Easy to inflate, moderately comfortable, less bulky than foam, provides good insulation.
Less comfortable than an air mattress, less durable than foam.
Car camping, canoe camping, backpacking, overnight hiking trips, short time camping.
- Closed cell foam pads:
This is the basic pattern of a sleeping pad. These types of pads made with dense foam with tiny closed air cells.
Inexpensive, lightweight, durable, can be used as a seat because it does not absorb moisture.
Bulky, not so comfortable, provides moderate insulation, difficult to brush off snow and dirt.
Mountaineering, thru-hiking, bike touring, ultra-light adventures.
Now you know better what type of tour, you are planning for. Make the right choice as per the tour requires from the above types. Hopefully, you got your type already.
Answer of question no. 2:
R-value is a number that specifies the insulation which defines the possible warmth that the pad can provide you. Remember, the higher the R-value means the higher the warm. So, the weather that you are going to camp decides the R-value. There is a demo chart given below for your example:
|Summer||1 to 3|
|3 Session||3 to 4|
|Winter||4 to 10|
However, it really depends on you that how cool sleeper you are and how the weather going to show you it’s attitude.
Answer of question no. 3:
you are going to find different sizes in the market though 70X20 in. is the most common size but choose a size which is a little longer than you with 1 or 2 inches perhaps, as a result, you will not be hanged on at the end of the pad.
When you hike, it is important to reduce the weight as much as possible. If it is more important to reduce the weight than money or comfort or warmth than do go for too big as well as try to find a thin pad. Thickness really matters, when you are thinking for reducing the weight as well as these pads are comfortable too.
You must want to save some space in your backpack but remember small and the most packable pads come with a price of comfort. Self-inflatable are bulkiest but much more comfortable than others. However, closed foam cells pads do not compress as much as the self-inflatable pads but these are bulky too. In this case, foam pads can be a good option for you.
Sleeping pads have come in various shapes. See the below demo chart for an example:
|Mummy shape||Saves space and weight and good for weight conscious camper.|
|Shorter length||Typically 119 to 150 cm. Saves space and weight and good for kids.|
|Extra long||Good for those who do not want to hang off their feet at the end of the pad. (190cm. +)|
|Extra wide||Good for those who want extra room while sleeping. (63cm. +)|
|2 persons||Good for a couple. No room for cold between two people.|
Now many pads are adjusted with a pump or you can take a pump with you but don’t use your breath to fill the pad just because the moisture of it can cause mould inside your pad and it is really tough to fill the pad with air by breathing.
So finally, the last few questions for you to determine the perfect one for you as below:
- Which inflation do you prefer?
2. How about insulation?
3. Which R-value suites you fine for warmth?
4. Are you thinking about weight reducing?
5. How do you think about comfort?
6. In which shapes, you suit well?
7. Do you really need a pump?
We hope, you have all of your answer from above by now.
Caring tips for a sleeping pad
By knowing three simple ways, you can easily take care of your sleeping pad and these are:
- How to store? clean? patch?
Let’s start from no: 1:
How to store:
Before storing any kind of sleeping pad, make sure your pad is dry enough or dry it by natural air.
Self-inflating type: if your sleeping pad belongs to this type, it needs to be stored flat, unrolled in a cool dry place. Remember, the valve has to be open while storing it. However, if you store it compressed or tightly rolled then the foam can fail to inflate itself. Make sure the sunlight is not direct to your storing area because UV of sunlight can make damage to your pad. If you don’t have enough space to store it flat, you can store it behind the bed or stand it with the support of a wall.
Closed cell type: It is much easy to store than self-inflating type. You can store it compressed or rolled but not tightly. Make sure you did not store it under any heavy object which can deform the cell of a mattress.
- How to clean:
Do not machine wash your mattress and do not machine dry your mattress. To clean your pad, take we or soapy cloth and make sure it waters out. Wipe down the surface smoothly and if it needs to close the valves. Let it dry before storing but not under the sun because fabric can be damaged by the UV.
Make sure there is no insect repellent in your pad. Synthetic fabric can be damaged by high concentration DEET of the repellent. Try not to sleep directly on your insulated type sleeping pad or body oil, mould can make it dirty.
How to patch:
Before doing any repair, for identifying the spot, you will need some mild soap mixed water, a sponge, a marker.
How will you pinpoint the leak:
It is easy to find a big leak, after inflating the pad press it with heavy things and tries to listen to the leakage and if the leak is small then go through by below process:
- Inflate the mattress,
2. Sponge on to the surface of the mattress with little soapy water,
3. Find the tiny bubble,
4. Wait till it gets dry,
5. Clean the patch area with little-rubbing alcohol and wait until it gets dry,
5. Mark it with a marker.
After the above process, you will need seam grip, scissor and tenacious tape.
How to repair:
1. Spread some seam grip on the hole and spread it slightly 1 or 2 inches more from the centre,
2. Cut the tape according to the hole like a round shape and make sure it will cover 1 or 2 inches more area from the hole,
3. Put some seam grip all around the tape,
4. When the seam grip is slightly tacky, firmly apply the patch.
You can also contact the provider for the solution or with any professional and if the manufacturer fails than at least they can refer you to any doctor.
- Don’t leave your pad inflated in the tent with closed valve because the heat of the sun can increase the temperature inside of tent which heats the air of your mattress and as a result, it will try to be expended but when the valve is closed; the hot air can make damages.
- Don’t put your pad at the bottom of your backpack because when you drop it down unconsciously, it will hit the ground as a result if there is any sharp thing on the ground, it will make damages. However, if you put it on the top of your backpack and if you get stacked in the trees than there is a possibility to get the damage of your mattress. So, try to put it in a safe zone of your backpack.
- Don’t leave it under the direct sun because UV can damage the fabric.
The best sleeping pad will give you the best rest as well as now we hope, you know how to choose it as well as how to care it too.