Outdoor Sleeping Pads or Mattresses are an essential part of Outdoor Sleeping. At the bottom of your Sleeping Bagwhere your body weight compresses the filling, the insulation will be minimized and you will need a sleep pad to protect you from the cold ground surface. Furthermore, a sleep pad will provide you with a lot more comfort than with just a Sleeping Bag on the floor.
Outdoor Sleeping Pads - Types
Air Mattresses were used a lot before more technically advanced mattresses entered the market. Air mattresses have to be inflated using a hand or foot pump or even your mouth. Air mattresses are comfortable and offer relatively good insulation. Their major flaw is their vulnerability. A punctured air mattress will leave you with little to no comfort or insulation. Air Mattresses are better used indoors or in your pool.
Foam Pads succeeded air mattresses. They use the air trapped in smaller cavities as insulation. Foam Pads are generally bulkier and less comfortable than air mattresses but they are lighter and they do not have to be inflated.
Self-inflating Pads are a combination of air mattresses and foam pads. They have the advantages of both. They consist of an open cell foam pad covered with an airproof cover sheet and air valve. A rolled up pad will self-inflate as soon as you open the valve and extra support can be added by blowing more air into the valve before closing it. Punctures are easily repaired with special kits and even if not repaired, you will be able to use the pad as an open cell foam pad. Because of all their combined benefits, self-inflating pads are the generally recommended outdoor Sleeping Pad.
Outdoor Sleeping Pads - Characteristics and Usage
Size, Weights, and Volume
Again, weight and Minimizing Hiking Weight are big factors. Sleeping Pad manufacturers always specify the weight as well as the rolled-out and rolled-up dimensions.
Sleeping Pads are mostly transported outside the backpack and are often rolled up and connected at the bottom of the Backpack or underneath the top flap. Look for bungee cords and straps on your Hiking Backpack that will allow you to easily and securely connect your Sleeping Pad to your backpack.