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Blow-up Sleeping Pads

 

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Q: Is it worth it to buy a blow-up sleeping pad? If so, which one should I buy?

—Lucas the Sleeper, St. Bonifacius, Minnesota 

A: Inflatable sleeping mats are definitely worth it, Lucas. While a solid, closed-cell foam mat is affordable, durable and lightweight, lots of guys find inflatable mats more comfortable.

One of the best entry-level inflatable sleeping mats is the Therm-a-Rest Trail Scout ($50). It weighs about 1 lb., 6 oz., is 1 inch thick and has an R-value of 3.4. (R-value is a fancy way of saying it will insulate you from the cold of the ground. The higher the R-value, the more insulation it provides.)

By comparison, the Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest Classic ($20), a closed-cell foam mat, has an R-value of 2.6. Depending on the conditions, that extra insulation might be important.


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7 Comments on Blow-up Sleeping Pads

  1. I don’t like blow up pads they’re always deflated when I wake up.

  2. Trailduster // August 11, 2017 at 4:35 pm // Reply

    I use an inflatable Thermarest pad. I just got back from a Philmont trek with it a few days ago. It takes more time to set it up and to put it away, but I like how it compresses smaller. I also like how comfortable it is for a camping ground pad.

  3. My X-PED Synmat is as comfortable as my bed at home. It comes in all different sizes with varying r-values. There is also an ultra-lite version available. It was expensive but well worth it. I recommend it for adults only. For scouts I suggest a Z-pad or similar. You would get upset if your scout came home with a popped air mattress due to typical horseplay.

  4. 2 weeks at Jambo on my thermorest was comfy. My tent partner was old without a pad. We were on a canvas bed

  5. Depends on the activity you’re engaged in. Personally I used to use a nice self-inflating air mattress. Then as I get older & age caught up with me I upgraded to padded camp cot. The Scouts & my fellow adult leaders used to make noise, but I explained that either I use the cot & am able to participate in outings or I hurt my back on the ground & can’t help any longer.

  6. Closed cell are great for young scouts learning the skills of camping. As the boy ages, and begins more technical hiking, a light inflatable can be good.

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