Are you planning a camping trip and debating whether or not it’s worth hiking a sleeping pad around wherever you go? You can’t decide if the extra baggage is worth the extra little bit of comfort while sleeping. Although it adds to the hassle of packing your backpack, it is well worth the haul, as they are more important than you would think. No matter what hiking sleeping bag you choose, you won’t get the maximum benefit from your bag unless you have a barrier between the bag and the ground. However, there are many other benefits to using a sleeping pad other than just comfort.
Whether you realize it or not, an insulating surface is the most important part of sleeping, and sleeping pads are able to affordably provide that benefit. Even on warm days, the ground will be cooler than your body temperature. This may feel good at first if you’ve been in the sun all day, but can eventually become an uncomfortable, or even dangerous situation.
Fortunately, insulating pads are a poor conductor of heat, and when placed between the sleeper and the ground, reduce the ability of the ground to draw heat away from the sleeper, keeping you warmer.
If something was to go wrong while camping, a sleeping pad can relieve many problems you may have. For instance, if it is a bit cooler during the day than you expected and you didn’t back accordingly, a sleeping pad can prevent frostbite. You can easily make warm camp shoes by cutting a piece of foam and facing the reflective side inward and fold the foam over your toes and up your heel.
Duct tape the edges together to secure the pad on the shoes. If you run out of water on the trip, the pad provides an easy way to acquire more. Lay snow on dark foam in direct sunlight, then fold the pad to funnel the melted snow into a pot or bottle.
While many people think the only use for a sleeping pad is the added comfort, there are many more benefits to it that in fact could potentially save your life.