Sleeping pads are amongst the best equipment to have for backpacking – they are not only comfortable but also keep you warm and enhance your rest. A sleeping pad is a portable sleep system that any passionate backpacker should have. And ultralight sleeping pads are even better as they are extremely light, and you almost don’t notice you are carrying one. But with so many products on the market, how to choose the right ultralight sleeping pad for you? There is not one, true sleeping pad model and it all depends on your needs and what suits you. Here are the things you should take into consideration in order to choose precisely the sleeping pad you need.
Ultralight Sleeping Pad Weight and Length
Despite the fact that an ultralight sleeping pad is really portable and easy to carry, every extra pound could become a serious issue, especially for those who hike all day long. The more distance you usually cover, the less weight you want, but the basic rule is that you shouldn’t buy a pad those weights more than 2 pounds. Length also varies so when choosing a pad takes your height into consideration.
Now for the more important part – the type of ultralight sleeping pad. The most commonly found sleeping pads on the market are foam, self-inflating and air pads. Foam pads are the most simple, lightweight and inexpensive sleeping pads on the market. However, they are relatively uncomfortable to carry because they don’t compress, can’t match the comfort a self-inflating or an air pad offers, but are reliable and easy to operate with.
Self-inflating sleeping pads are usually more stable than air and pads and more comfortable than foam pads. They have foam insulation, but are also inflatable, so you can adjust it and inflate it as much as you want. They are more appropriate for cold-weather backpacking, but they also weigh more than the other types of sleeping pads and can be quite expensive.
An air ultralight sleeping pad is another option for you – it is light, easily foldable and fairly comfortable. However, air pads tend to make annoying squeaking noise when you move while on them and are absolutely worthless if something pokes a hole in them. They do however come with a repair kit, and repairing is quite easy, even when backpacking.
Sleeping pads might not be the most essential equipment for backpackers, but they are a valuable addition that can bring more comfort and warmth. There is no best type ultralight sleeping pad type because people have different needs, so identify yours and buy the right pad for you.