Enjoying the Outdoors: Sleeping Mats Will Keep You Snug and Warm
Camping is all about enjoying nature and keeping things as simple as possible. This is paramount in order to have more time to explore the surrounding and create fun memories with your crew. Aside from having a pop-up tent (great due to its ease of use) and some other important basic camping essentials, you also shouldn’t forget items that’ll help you stay warm while sleeping. While sleeping bags are a good way to stay warm, nothing can beat the comfiness and warmth of sleeping mats for camping. Also known as sleeping pads, these mats play an important role in getting a good night’s sleep. The main reason for this is their insulating and cushioning properties.
Types of Sleeping Pads
Made of open-cell foam insulation and air, these easy to use sleeping mats work by absorbing the air when the valve is open. Once the valve is open, the foam expands which makes it ideal for immediate use. The thing that makes these pads so comfortable is the open-cell foam, but the amount of insulation and comfort can also depend on the used amount of foam. An important thing to know is that some of these pads are designed for backpacking, while the others are designed for car camping and can be rolled without folding, which is not the case of the backpacking type. Being lightweight, durable, comfortable and easy to carry, the self-inflating sleeping mats are certainly among the most popular among campers.
Closed-Cell Foam Pads
The most characteristic thing about these pads is that they offer insulation through closed air cells within the foam material. These cells trap the air within the foam and serve to provide insulation. Unlike the open-cell mats, the closed-cell foam mats are much firmer which makes them more uncomfortable. They also take up more storage space which is considered as another disadvantage. However, if this is not a problem, you can always invest in a mat like this.
Just like open-cell mats, the air pads can also come in a wide variety of styles. They can also range from lightweight which are mainly designed for backpacking to extra thick ones that are great for glamping. Over the years, air pads have changed a lot and nowadays, they contain insulation and reflective materials which are great for increasing the warmth.
The Importance of the Mat’s Warmth
The insulation of the camping mat is crucial especially when the weather is colder. This is quite important because when sleeping, you lose body heat to the ground beneath you. To tackle this problem, sleeping pads use different material and manufacturing techniques.
In light of this, you should know that the mats’ insulation is usually measured with R-value. The higher the pad’s R-value, the better the insulation. Generally speaking, the sleeping pads’ R-values range from 2 to 5.5 where a pad with 2R is minimally insulated, while the 5.5R is well-insulated.
Sleeping Pad Features to Have in Mind
Sleeping Pad Length
When it comes to the width, the chosen sleeping pad should be wide enough to fit your shoulders and hips. Usually, a pad between 182cm and 198cm length can insulate your legs and feet which is much needed when the weather is chilly. When taking into account the length, it is more than obvious that these pads can be bulky, however, when weighing its bulkiness and warmth, it’s the warmth that will win this ‘battle’.
Sleeping Pad Width
The standard width of all sleeping pads is 50cm. However, if you want something larger, you can always opt for a sleeping mat of 63 – 76cm. An important thing to keep in mind is considering the tent’s width. This is especially important when wanting to place two wider pads side by side. When thinking about camping with children, you can invest in pads with larger side baffles also known as rails. They can cradle and prevent children from rolling off, especially when they turn during their sleep.
Sleeping Pad Surface
In case you sleep restlessly and tend to turn during sleep, you should look for a sleeping pad with a brushed or textured fabric surface. This can certainly keep you from sliding off during the night. And just like for children, you can also consider the use of a pad with side baffles.
A hand pump will be much needed for when you’ll be tired after a long day of hiking. You can either invest in a bag-style hand pump that rolls up small or you can choose a pad that comes with an integrated hand pump.
When in the search for a sleeping pad, make sure you chose one that comes with a bag and integrated sleeves. This can surely keep you and the bag from sliding off in the night.