Sleeping Pads What do you use? Looking....

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tjZ06

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Hi,

Not in general. But simple self-inflating sleeping pads often reach their limits in frosty conditions. Why? Let's go into a little more detail.

The sleeping pads are classified into different performance classes. The R-value describes the thermal resistance of the material. The higher the R-value, the higher the insulation performance. And for this, it is important which material the mat is made of, how the filling is made, how the surface structure is built up and how the mat itself is built up and so on. Not necessarily the thickness.

A self-inflating sleeping pad that is not only filled with air, but has a special filling for example and a special surface structre, so usually has a higher R-value and is better suited for cold environments. For real frosty winter conditions I would go with a pad with a R-value 4.5 and above.

By the way, the base is also crucial. So you can easily create a better insulation under the mat with hay or dry leaves for example than if you put it directly on the cold ground.

Bjoern
That's all fine and well, and I'm perfectly aware of R-value. My point is you said you'd pick a R-value of 4.5 or above for "frosty winter conditions." Take a look at Thermarest's line: Therm-A-Rest Sleeping Pad R-Value Rankings | Therm-A-Rest Blog Nearly any of them people would use for Overlanding (not backpacking-specific ultra-lights) have an R-value well above 4.5, for example this would be a typical "car-camping" unit from them, R-value 7.0: MondoKing™ 3D | Car Camping Sleeping Pad | Therm-a-Rest®

I guess it just seems unfair to trash a brand-name for not having good thermal properties when most of their line actually excels in that exact metric.

-TJ
 
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I use a Thermorest with a high R value for winter camping and usually it tags along to throw in my hammock for summer months. I usually throw a wool blanket over it if I can because its pretty loud ( crinkle noises) to sleep on directly. Kinda like sleeping on a bag of chips, but it keeps me warmer than others.
 

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That's all fine and well, and I'm perfectly aware of R-value. My point is you said you'd pick a R-value of 4.5 or above for "frosty winter conditions." Take a look at Thermarest's line: Therm-A-Rest Sleeping Pad R-Value Rankings | Therm-A-Rest Blog Nearly any of them people would use for Overlanding (not backpacking-specific ultra-lights) have an R-value well above 4.5, for example this would be a typical "car-camping" unit from them, R-value 7.0: MondoKing™ 3D | Car Camping Sleeping Pad | Therm-a-Rest®

I guess it just seems unfair to trash a brand-name for not having good thermal properties when most of their line actually excels in that exact metric.

-TJ
Hi TJ,

Just to clarify. I have said nothing negative about the Therm-a-Rest pads. The opposite is the case. I have been using them for ages and am very satisfied with them. What I have given to consider is that self-inflating pads in general can have a weakness in cold conditions. This concerns especially simple/cheap pads due to their structure, missing filling, etc.

Whereby for me it does not matter from which brand in the end someone buys a mat, the decisive factor is that it fits the requirements. In the past, you had little choice in terms of brands, today there are self-inflating mats from several manufacturers.

I probably misleadingly expressed my part about the R-value. Sorry for that. For light frost of course also mats with a R-value between 2.5 and 3.5 are ok. But when I wrote that I was mentally on a winter tour and that means for me personally temperatures beyond the minus 10 degrees Celsius / 15F. That is why I wrote "real frosty winter conditions".

And then, of course, it depends on where you use them when overlanding. Some have them in a ground tent and would therefore probably rather use a typical backpacker pad. Others (like me) use them in the vehicle, for example in a pop-top roof. In that case, it's probably more likely to be one of the camping pads. For example, my pads are custom made for the pop-top roof by Therm-a-Rest. This is of course ideal from the fit.

It's always a question of what everyone wants to do, what they feel comfortable with, what kind of tours they like and plan. For that they need the right equipment. And temperature sensitivity in particular varies greatly from person to person. That's why it is good when many different experiences come together here. These help others who are interested.

Cheers, Bjoern
 
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MMc

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I have Therm-a-rest in a number of thicknesses. For overloading I mostly use a 4" thick. If it going to be in cold conditions I put a blue closed cell pad on top for warmth. The old three-a-rest is 30(+-) years old. I swore it with the valves open and flat self inflates just fine.
 

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I've got the full double bed mattress plus 2 winter hunter bags plus 1 3 three season bag. Pick the number of layers ya need but an 8" mattress is the only reason my old body lets me overland.

At 62 when my daughter said my grandson wanted to go camping..... I built the OSB BOX around a full size 8" thick mattress. I repurposed many things and it cost $200.

It took 3 weeks to build this.

IMG_1319.jpeg

ps, you can often find these mattresses for free.... mine was found in the back lane waiting for the garbage truck.
Beyond comfort my overlanding goal is eliminating setup and packup. This unit does that. Park after dark, roll into bed. Wake to rain, roll out of bed and drive.
Everything is still dry next stop.... including me.

I'd be an ideal Winnibego candidate but I love sleeping on the beach.

IMG_0814.jpeg
 
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K6ORJ

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I would say, 4 years is pretty good for an air mattress. You can make it last longer but it probably wouldn't be comfortable.

The foam mattress in my RTT will probably last 10, but it's not really as comfortable as my Megamat.