Ask the Gear Guy

Stop rolling off the sleeping pad


pad-200×148.jpgWhen I go camping I often have trouble sleeping. I toss and turn and always end up rolling off my sleeping pad. What can I do to sleep better?

Ian the Insomniac, San Jose, Calif.

A. Dear Sleepless in San Jose, have you tried duct-taping yourself to your sleeping pad? That’d work, but it’s a little tricky getting out when you have to pee in the middle of the night.

Here’s some other advice:

My friends at Therm-a-Rest told me that many people tend to overinflate their sleeping pads. Blowing it up bigger will actually cause you to roll off. So once it’s inflated, your best bet is to lie on it, then open the valve briefly to let a little air out — that way the pad conforms to your body.

You can also make the top of your pad non-slip by using a tube of Seam Grip to draw lots of tiny urethane dots or a couple of big squiggles on the top of your pad. Puff paints will work fine, too.

Comments about “Stop rolling off the sleeping pad”

  1. Sly Fox says:

    Make yourself a wedge; place your pack on one side of your sleeping set up and your extra clothes on the other side. it’s real hard to roll up and over either of these wedges. A second option is to sleep on a cot. It too has a natural dip in it keeping you more secured.

  2. camo scout says:

    I have the same problem. Thanks for all of these hints and tips Gear Guy.

  3. old goat eagle says:

    I have used carpet tape on occasion (it`s double sided) or duct tape in a pinch (twist it to get stick on both sides) , but usually only use it if on a slope.

    I think you guys do a great job , wish you had been here in the 60`s & 70`s when I was going thru the ranks

  4. camper 101 says:

    i have had the same problem, but i just don’t care that much, but i have ended up in awkward places

  5. chris says:

    i have the same problem as person

  6. billybobjoebobIII says:

    Dear Person,

    I have the SAME problem I wake up constently, sometimes taking a benidryl helps (if you’re not allergic, :) ) hope this helps!!!!!!!

    BBJBIII

  7. Cole Man says:

    I think its a good i idea

  8. $ says:

    For sum wierd reason i have no trouble at all sleeping on camping trips (i usually have trouble sleeping on the floor and other hrd surfaces.

  9. NJScouter91 says:

    I don’t have an inflatable pad, so waht do I do to,stop the rolling?

  10. PERSON says:

    HEY I HAVE QUITE A DIFFERENT PROBLEM I END UP AT THE END OF TENT NO MATTER WAT THE HILL IS LIKE IT COULD BE FLAT AND I WOULD STILL END UP AT THE FOOT OF MY PAD WILL THIS ADVICE WORK FOR ME AND DOES ANYONE ELSE WAKE UP LIKE ME IN THE MORNING OR AM I THE ONLY ONE PLEASE!!!!! POST A RESPONSE THIS IS TERRIBLE

  11. Florda Kid says:

    Thank you gear guy i have that problem to when i camp out.

  12. Campoften63 says:

    I have had this problem alot to. I use a nylon sleeping bag and that could be part of the problem. But a buddy of mine in my troop has a cotton bag and he said hes never had that problem but in winter he is cold quite often. Because iv seen both kinds of bags i think ill try the recomended one by the website.

  13. OldBackpacker says:

    Good advice about not overinflating the pad, dots work well too. Buy some of that shelf liner (mesh looking stuff) and wrap a section around the pad and tape the ends together. Sleeves on bags don’t really work and lots of bag manufacturers gave up on that idea a long time ago. People toss and turn and often times when they roll the pad ends up in peculiar postions.

    I’m a scouter who worked for years for one of the largest sleeping bag manufacturers in the US – your advice is generally very sound about outdoor gear. Your external/internal advice was right on.The Boy’s Life site is great, wish it was around in the 50′s and 60′s when I was a younger kid.

  14. CapeTownBoy says:

    I’ve never really had any problems with rolling off my sleeping pad. Sorry about your misfortune, Ian.

  15. ntrog8r says:

    I’ve had more success with small dots than than “big squiggles”, the small dots provide a more uniform grip and don’t cause bunching of the bag.

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