Sleeping Mats – How to Choose the Right One For You
Sleeping mats are a great way to protect your sleeping bag from punctures, sharp rocks, sticks, and other hazards. They also offer additional space for insulation and a bit of separation from the ground.
Foam pads are generally on the firm side, so they provide excellent support and are durable. They are a good choice for thru-hikers, bike tourists, and anyone looking for a lightweight pad.
Inflatables are cheaper
Most campers find inflatable sleeping mats more comfortable and easier to sleep on than regular foam pads. Those who are side sleepers, those who suffer from back problems, and ultralight hikers tend to prefer them because they provide more support for their bodies and help reduce the pressure on their shoulders and hips.
Inflatable sleeping mats use an airtight fabric envelope with a sealable valve that sucks in air to inflate the pad. When deflated, they roll up into a compact package.
They also offer more insulation than foam pads. That makes them more suitable for cold-weather camping and a good choice for hikers who camp in areas with below-freezing temperatures.
They are generally less expensive than regular foam sleeping mats. Entry-level models start at around $50 while premium ultralight inflatables cost between $100 and $180.
They are easier to set up
Inflatable sleeping mats are a bit more complex than foam pads but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to get them on the ground. Some even come with a pump so you don’t have to take your hands off the wheel. Inflatables also have a small footprint which means you won’t have to worry about them taking up as much room in your vehicle.
A top-notch inflatable should also have a good warranty and some kind of maintenance plan. Most importantly, you should check your local building codes for any restrictions or laws that may apply to inflatables in your area. This will help you avoid hefty fines or worse, your inflatable making you the laughingstock of the neighborhood.
In the end, it was a combination of factors that landed me on this top-of-the-line pad. It was the best quality, the most comfortable, and the most functional pad I have ever used. In addition to the aforementioned features, this particular pad was one of the cheapest I have found.
They are quieter
There is no doubt that a high-quality foam-based sleeping mat is the king of the pack. However, it is also true that a good night’s sleep can be snaffled by the dreaded blues. Thankfully, a little planning and savvy can mean a snazzy snooze-worthy of your significant other. The secret to success is a bit of education and a whole lot of patience. The big question is how to go about it? Fortunately, there are a few reliable resources that will help guide you through the minefield. The following tips will help ensure a successful slumber for all concerned.
They are better for side sleepers
If you’re a side sleeper, inflatable camping mats are generally more comfortable than foam pads. Foam pads are thinner and have a lower R-value than inflatables, so they’re not as supportive for side sleepers.
Comfort is a personal preference, but most people who sleep on their side or have back issues find inflatables more comfortable. They also tend to be thicker, so they can reduce pressure on the hips and shoulders.
The Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Air is a great option for those who prefer inflatables. It features a pocketed design (rather than baffled) and a dual pump/stuff sack system for easy inflation.
Compared to the Ether Light XT Insulated above, the Comfort Light Insulated is a bit thinner, but it has Sea to Summit’s unique “Air Sprung Cell” design, which maximizes surface area and evens out weight distribution for both back and side sleepers. It has a 3.2 R-value and weighs 1 pound 1.3 ounces, making it a solid choice for summer backpacking trips.