Tips for Choosing the Right Sleeping Pads

Tips for Choosing the Right Sleeping Pads

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Foam or Inflatable

One of the first decisions to make is whether or not to purchase a foam-based

pad or one that inflates.  Both have their advantages as well as disadvantages.

With inflatable pads, you can gain some extra space because many can be folded

or rolled very small.  You can even use a pool raft as a sleeping pad as a cheaper

and arguably just-as- good alternative to official air pads. Foam pads tend to

be more durable, light-weight and dense. This provides you with less heft while

also giving you a set amount of cushioning.  Foam pads are not dependent on

seams and seals like their air-pad counterparts. This eliminates the risk of

getting a flat due to a tear or puncture.  However, foam pads are not always

designed to be rolled or packed into tight spaces. Additionally, foam pads may

not be thick enough to support your weight and keep you comfortable. Some pads

are made from individual cells whereas others are simply a long piece of foam.

The one with cells are more conducive to the passage of air which can help to

regulate temperature and moisture. Flat pads may provide basic padding, but

their ability to keep you cool and dry may be limited.  Air pads also can be

purchased in a number of different styles that include cell-based molds or the

addition of special, durable material to protect the bottom. Some come with air

pumps whereas others are inflated with breaths. It’s important to consider whether

or not you want a sleeping pad that requires an air pump.  Remember that you

will need a source of power as well as extra storage space for the pump.  Generally,

a good air-pad will be easy to repair in the field as long as you have the appropriate

patch kit. Air-pads also provide more lift and cushion due to the fact that they

inflate and expand a few inches above the ground. However, one other disadvantage

is that air pads do not retain as much heat as the air cools inside. Therefore, you

may need some additional bedding or padding to cover the pad as you sleep to

keep warm.

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Making the Right Choice

There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to what kind of padding to

use. A lot of your decisions will be based on the type of conditions that you will

be using them, how much weight and space you can sacrifice and your personal

preferences. The important thing is that you take the time to think about all of

the factors mentioned above as you shop around. This will help you to make the

best choice according to your needs and preferences.  Having the wrong kind of

pad, or not having one at all can make things just as uncomfortable as if you didn’t

have one at all. You don’t want to end up leaving a sub-standard pad behind or

lugging around dead-weight because you bought the wrong one.  Consider the

weather, terrain, conditions and other factors that relate to how they will be used

in order to end up with one that gets the job done.  The good news is that you

don’t have to sacrifice comfort because both options provide a valuable resource

when you areaway from a comfortable bed. Consider adding them to your survival

gear, but make sure that you find the most appropriate one.



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