or added comfort between you and the ground. The second purpose is to provide insulation. Sleeping directly on the ground in your sleeping bag means you’re compressing the insulation from your bag underneath you. This means you will lose some of the warming elements of your bag. Sleeping on a sleeping pad makes up for this and provides varying degrees of added insulation between you and the ground. Simple enough right? As we take you through the different types and styles of sleeping pads, just keep in mind two important things: How important is comfort to you versus how important packability is. We’ll take you through the in’s and out’s to buying a sleeping pad so you’ll know exactly what’s right for you.
Sizing Sleeping Pads - It may seem like a simple process of selecting a size of a sleeping bag but there actually is a lot to look into. Here we will cover sizes, styles, shapes and other bits of information to ensure you are making the best selection when buying a new sleeping bag for yourself or someone else.
Sleeping Bag Sizes - Sleeping pads work great as an insulator between the ground and your sleeping bag but it’s imperative to correctly size a sleeping pad to get all the added benefits.
Length - Having a sleeping pad that fits your legs and feet will help to insulate while giving you great support and comfort not found when sleeping on the bare ground. Sleeping pads are typically either sized as regular (72” long) and long (between 75”-78”). Some pads will be sized as short or ¾ length and will be between 47”-48”; these shorter styles work great for backcountry as they will pack away smaller and lighter.
Width - A sleeping pad should be at least as wide as your hips and shoulders. Most sleeping pads are a regular width of 20” but you can find larger models between 25” and 40”. Obviously the larger pads will not pack down as small.