If you are wondering how long your sleeping pad must be, you should take note that your hips and shoulders should fit on it. Typically, the regular sleeping pad is 72” long and the long ones are 78”, which can insulate your feet and legs. A long sleeping pad is a plus on a cold winter trip.
A ¾ length or short sleeping pad weigh less and packs smaller. You may put folded clothing or your pack under your feet and legs for insulation. Remember that a good night’s rest can make a huge different to have a great adventure.
Basically, the length of your sleeping pad depends on how your body fits on it. If you are tall and needs something that will keep your feet and legs warm, long sleeping pads are more advantageous. Other than that, you must know where you will use a sleeping pad.
How to Choose the Right Length for Sleeping Pad
With the advancement of today’s technology, there is no reason to sleep uncomfortably in the backcountry. Choosing the best sleeping pad is a huge part of the comfort equation. But, it may be hard to know what sleeping pad is perfect for you.
Know What Camping Style You Prefer
1. Car Camping
When you aren’t limited by weight and size, you can pick a bigger and thicker mattress for sleeping comfort. Oftentimes, these are cheaper compared to the lightweight counterparts.
A self-inflating pad is frequently a great option for car camping. Big inflatable air mattress is another option if you like to use blankets or regular sheets rather than a sleeping bag.
But, such mattresses are bulky and heavy and lack insulation. These are great for mild conditions only and you need a pump for proper inflation.
2. Minimalist Backpacking
A small packed size and low weight override all factors. Ultralight air pads are your best bet. Several insulated air pads weigh less than a pound. Make sure to look for the packed sizes.
Campers who want good sleep comfort when backpacking may choose air pads or self inflating pads, providing a variety of durability, thicknesses, weight, and insulation value.
The optional chair kits allow your air pad or self-inflating pad to double duty as comfortable seat complete with the backrest. It may a lightweight luxury for all backpackers out there.
4. Winter Camping
Camping in snow will require you more insulation. It is recommended to use at least 2 pads, which include an insulated sleeping pad and a sleeping pad with high R-value. Closed cell foam pads add insulation provides insurance in case inflatable pad gets punctured.
The ability of the sleeping pad to retain warmth comes down its style of construction, materials, and type and amount of insulation within the pad.
Take note that the air inside highly inflatable, packable pads won’t retain warmth and less-packable, closed and open cell foams. That is the trade off.
However, insulating inflatable pads with lightweight materials may go a long way to improve warmth retention while keeping it packable.
Types of Sleeping Pad Constructions
1. Self-Inflating Sleeping Pads
These are convenient, plush, and warm. There is no moisture that can enter the pad’s interior as they inflate, which adds greater longevity.
The thicker and newer version in this category offers the most bottomless and luxurious feel a sleeping pad may offer, but also it can be the biggest and heaviest packed sizes among other sleeping pads.
2. Air Mattresses
Every air pad require external pressure to inflate them, whether it’s a pump sack or foot pump. A huge benefit of this type is the amount of thickness and comfort one gets from a compressible and lightweight packed size.
3. Closed-Cell Foam Sleeping Pads
It offers a lot of benefits. First and foremost, it offers fail-proof durability. It will not pop and does not absorb water. It is also easy to set up. It is ultralight, offers efficient body heat retention, and pack up small.
The small construction also makes it one of the affordable options. But, it tends to be less comfortable and much thinner.
Understand the Weight and Warmth of Sleeping Pads
Now that you know where you want to use your sleeping pad and about its construction, it’s time to understand about weight and warmth.
Ultralight sleeping pads with greater packability provides less warmth and could have inflated with breath. However, if you’re carrying your gear on your back, packability is an important consideration.
If your camping adventure and your pack affords you more room for extra ounces, you might like to select a pad with a foot pump.
You may also add some ounces in materials for added comfort of thicker air mattresses.
If car camping is your jam, you can choose open-cell foam for extra warmth and comfort. For greater durability, you can pick heavier polyester fabric.
If you are not camping, your guests would love a sleeping pad for the guest room, which stores great in the closet. If you don’t carry weight, there’s little to trade off. Or select a comfortable slab of open-cell foam, which offers warmth, self-inflating convenience, and plushness.
Your sleeping pad may be of any length you prefer. Just make sure that it perfectly fits on your body and would provide you nothing but comfort.
There are numerous brands that offer sleeping pads for your camping activities. Depending on your camping style or experience, choose a sleeping pad that comes with several features to help you enjoy a good night’s sleep.
If you are confused with the available options in the market, it is best to compare your options or preferences and pick the one that suits you well.
Your budget is also a factor. But, if you can afford any sleeping pad, there is nothing to worry about. Just take note that high quality sleeping pads are not always the most expensive ones in the market. So, choose and shop wisely.