Q. Dear Gear Guy, My son and I are making plans for his first official summer camp as a Boy Scout. He has a problem and hopes you can help. Could you recommend a quality non-inflatable sleeping pad to help with that stiff back he wakes up with every morning after camping?
–Mike’s Mom, Wichita, Kan.
A. O.K., so your son has a stiff back in the morning when he wakes up. There are some good non-inflatable sleep pad options. My favorite is the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite ($30-$40; thermarest.com). It’s a closed-cell foam pad that weighs just about 10 to 15 ounces (depending on which size you get) and is perfect for backpacking but would work well at summer camp too. It’s not exactly plush so I can’t guarantee your son’s back won’t be stiff. Another more cushy option is the traditional Egg Crate Mattress Pad ($18; campmor.com). Though it’s a little bulky for backpacking, paired with a nice blanket, the egg crate would make a nice bedroll for summer camp. Happy Z-Z-Zs to your son.