BEST SLEEPING PAD FOR BACKPACKING – I’ve been able to spend many nights on the mountain this hunting season. From Kodiak Alaska to Southern Utah. I’ve also been able to experience a wide range of temperatures during those nights on the mountain. I learned a lot about what sleeping pads work and which sleeping pads don’t work.
Why Do You Need a Sleeping Pad
When I was young, sleeping pads really weren’t all that important to me. I could sleep on rocky ground, cold group, soft ground, and anything in between. As I get older, sleeping pads continue to move higher and higher on my list of necessities in the backcountry.
A good sleeping pad can make or break your hunt. Good sleep is a necessity to keep going day in and day out. The more time you have on the mountain or in the woods, the better chance you have at getting the trophy for which you’ve been hunting.
What To Look For In a Sleeping Pad
When shopping for a sleeping pad, you need to be looking for a couple things. The first thing I look for is durability and comfort. You don’t want a pad that is so thin it may as well be tarp. You also don’t want a pad that is too thick. Pads can also be punctured or torn easily in the outdoors, so you’ll want one that will hold up to the elements.
The second thing I look for is R value. R value is a fancy way of saying how warm the pad will keep you while you sleep. The higher the R value, the more insulating it is and the warmer you’ll stay.
Weight is a huge factor that plays into the pad you want to be purchasing. Remember, you’ll be carrying this on your back to the top of the mountain. You don’t want a pad that is extremely heavy. However, with that being said, you want one that will be big enough to do the job.
Cost is also a factor that plays into which pad you should purchase. The old saying, “you get what you pay for” comes into play with sleeping pads, but it’s not everything. You can get a very nice pad at a reasonable price.
Best Sleeping Pad for Cold Weather
I spent some very cold nights out on the mountain this year. Some nights the temperature got down into the high teens and low 20s. A good sleeping bag is very important on those nights, but we’ll save that for another article. As mentioned above though, R value does come into play when the temperatures drop. I had the opportunity to test a couple different pads while in these low temperatures, including pads from Thermarest, Cabela’s, and Klymit. So, who won in cold weather?
My favorite sleeping pad for cold weather is the Kymit Insulated Static V Luxe SL. This pad has an R value of 6.5 and only weighs 31 oz. It definitely assisted in keeping warm on those cold nights, but that’s not the only reason it won. This pad is extremely comfortable! It’s one of the thickest pads from Klymit, coming in at 3.5 inches thick. It’s like sleeping on a full-sized mattress.
As mentioned above, price is definitely something that should be considered when purchasing a sleeping pad. And although the Klymit is not a “cheap” pad, it is less than comparable brands and models. And during the time of this article, Klymit actually is doing a 25% sale on their sleeping pads.
Best Sleeping Pad For Warm Weather
I also had the opportunity to spend some warm summer nights in the outdoors. It’s much easier to pack for warm hunts than it is for cold hunts. At least my pack was lighter. The pads that I used were not only lighter weight, but also were a little thinner and had a lower R value. Again, I had the opportunity to use several different brands of pads during this hunt, including some that are not well-known brand names.
There was tie in the winner of the best pad for warm weather. The reason for this is I liked these pads for different reasons. The first pad is the Thermarest Trail Camp Foam Pad. The reason I liked this pad was because it was a foam pad that was solid. It didn’t have different chambers in the pad, and I actually liked that. It was also thin and light, so it served the purpose and was comfortable.
The other winner in this category is the Klymit Static V2. If I had to pick between the two, I would actually pick this pad due to the fact that it only weighs 16 oz and was extremely comfortable. Obviously it has a lower R value, but that was what I was looking for on those summer nights.
Regardless of what brand you go with, a sleeping pad is a must in the backcountry. You don’t want to go on the hunt of your dreams and be miserable the entire time because you’re not getting any sleep. The pads listed above will help you get the sleep you need without sacrificing weight or a huge impact to your wallet.