Learn More About Sleeping Pads
When a sleeping bag alone just won’t cut it, you can add warmth and comfort to your outdoor sleeping experience with a sleeping pad. Depending on your favorite sleeping position, the time of year, and your preferred way of packing gear, you will need to select a camping sleeping pad with appropriate features to suit your needs.
Whether you need insulation for a cold-weather camping trip or simply some cushioning for your summer sleeping bag, DICK’S sleeping pad assortment will help you achieve a sound night’s sleep. The three main types of sleeping pads are self-inflating, inflatable, and closed-cell foam. Inflatable pads require blowing into the valve either manually or with a pump, while self-inflating pads expand almost all the way on their own, requiring minimal additional inflation. Foam pads are thinner, denser, and require no set-up at all.
Top brands like Therm-a-Rest and Field & Stream provide a variety of options across these three categories in different shapes, sizes, and lengths to accommodate all campers.
If warmth is your objective, an insulated inflatable or a self-inflating camping sleeping pad may be the ideal choice, while those searching for a more rugged selection should likely opt for a foam sleeping pad instead.
Below is more information about the three main kinds of sleeping pads:
- Inflatable Sleeping Pads: Can be inflated by blowing into the valve. Typically, these are both the lightest weight and the thickest option, expanding up to 2.5 to 3 inches tall. This makes them suitable for side-sleepers, cushioning uncomfortable pressure points. If you will be around rocky terrain and are concerned about punctures, they often include patch and repair kits.
- Self-Inflating Sleeping Pads: Inflate nearly to full capacity on their own. It is important to note that while the open-cell foam layer allows for automatic expansion upon opening of the valve, most pads will require some additional manual inflation. This makes them easier to use than the inflatable variety, but also bulkier and heavier – something to keep in mind when considering what other gear you may be carrying.
- Closed-Cell Foam Sleeping Pads: The most basic option, this type of camping sleeping pad is perfect for the minimalist backpacker or camper. The closed-cell foam is durable, unable to be popped, and generally the most affordable variety. These are much thinner and less cushioned than their inflatable counterparts but are suitable for back-sleepers and those who just want a lightweight layer of protection.