How to choose a sleeping pad for camping ?
Sleeping pads are commonly used for camping trips, but it is also useful indoors whenever an extra space for sleeping is needed. It is a kind of long mat, usually padded with soft materials like foams. Its main function is to provide padding especially for sleeping bags and to promote thermal insulation as well. It is available in two types: the inflated and solid ones.
The question remains as to which one is better？How to choose the best sleeping pad for you?
There are 5 key things to consider:
Weather or Climate
You should first ask yourself how cold or hot the weather will be during the time you will be using your sleeping bags. This is very important as it will determine how comfortable you are going to be in your sleeping bags. Is your sleeping bag good enough to keep you warm on a winter season? Consider getting sleeping bags that will work at the coldest temperatures you expect to encounter. Secondly, considering the climate will affect the care you are giving sleeping bags. In particular, in a summer season, if your sleeping bag's insulation does not suit the weather, you may not be able to avoid overheating and excessive sweating, which will dampen and damage the fill of your sleeping bag. In this case, it is best to choose sleeping bags that are breathable.
You can expect to pay from $25-$100 or more depending on the quality, features and type of camping mat. The less expensive sleeping pads are air mattresses and the common closed cell "foamies" found at most big retailers or camping stores. Sleeping pads at the higher end of the budget tend to be self-inflating pads. As a general rule, the more you spend, the more comfort you will get.
Shape and Size
Some people are claustrophobic and mummy sleeping bags are not advised. Best to go for semi-rectangular. A tight mummy bag is also much stricter with size - you must fit in perfectly with the hood closed for comfort. If you are too big then try a rectangular or semi-rectangular. As long as you are fit for comfort.
Some materials weigh far more than others so you should consider how important weight is as a consideration in making your purchase. If weight is a concern you may even want to think about buying a heavier bag in order to do away with a mattress or pad which can add much more weight.
I think, comfort is the biggest reason to buy a sleeping pad. You should choose a sleeping pad that’s a few inches longer than your height. In addition to length, the width and shape of your sleeping pad is important to consider.
Now, don’t hesitate to experiment to find out what you like the best.
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