How to Choose a Camping Mat
Is a camping trip on the cards? Do you want to ensure that you have a proper night’s sleep? If yes, you need to choose the right camping mat that will make sleeping outdoors easy for you.
Given the wide range of mats, it is easy to get lost and feel bewildered by the huge number of choices available. We have put together a comprehensive guide that will help you narrow down the choices to what you need. Before we get started, it is important for you to realize that a sleeping mat is an extremely important part of your sleeping system. It keeps you warm and puts you at ease.
R-value is the universally accepted standard for measurement of the warmth of sleeping mats. The higher the value of R, the warmer the mat is. The reason why R values are used instead of temperature ratings is that such ratings are extremely subjective.
They depend on both the person using the mat and the conditions surrounding them. You can read more about R-value for sleeping pad here.
Understaning Naming Scheme
These mats are the thickest and heaviest mats available in the Sea to Summit range. They lie in the middle ground and offer good comfort at a decent size and weight. This makes them an ideal choice for camping and backpacking where the weight and space occupied matter.
Ultralight mats are the lightest of all and are small in size. Their low weight makes them the appropriate choice for multi-day adventures or camping trips where more space is prized.
Understandably so, the name implies that the mats have insulation properties added to the air pockets for enhanced warmth. These insulated mats also act as a reflective layer inside cells to rebound the heat back to the person sleeping. Mats without these properties are thus considered to be non-insulated and completely rely on the air pockets for warmth.
Types of mattresses available
Camping mat/roll-up beds
This is the most basic kind of sleeping mat available. It is popular for being lightweight and inexpensive. These mats can also double up as a traditional yoga mat or a cat mat. Reliable Roll-up mattresses like Planet Camping offer a great deal of insulation by standing between the user and the ground, thereby stopping the ground from absorbing all the body heat.
These types of camping mats are limited but are a great choice when you camp on soft and level ground. That being said, the obvious disadvantage of lack of comfort continues to be there. In addition, they are also not super compact as they can roll up only so much and are quite bulky, as well.
Air pad/ Inflatable pad
In many ways, inflatable pads are definitely a better option compared to the roll-up beds. Though they are a little costlier than the above, they are definitely worth the investment. Air pads have seen incredible improvements in the last few years and are among the biggest growth areas in the developing sleeping pad technology.
If you like to have additional support under your bed to fall asleep, inflatable pads like these are a great option. In addition, they also are super-efficient travel buddies. You can easily deflate, fold and tidily store it in your bag.
The inflation can be done manually with either a pump or by blowing air through your mouth. Some pads provide a thickness of about 3 to 4 inches. The traditional ones, however, are not so thick and do not take so long to pump.
If you are not willing to do it manually, some air pads come with a built-in pump that might reduce its compact nature.
Self-inflating camping mattresses
This is the most sought-after option by campers. Though their price lies somewhere between the air pad and the foam pad, the design is somewhat similar. It is made with a combination of air and cell foam. The design uses this internal foam pad to inflate, which provides a super comfortable and insulated sleeping mat.
It can be temporarily rendered useless if it gets punctured. These mattresses are great in terms of comfort, support, and insulation. However, they do not come in compact sizes and might be a little difficult to carry around.
Camping is one of the most liberating times we can enjoy, and a sleeping bag should not ruin the experience for you. Use our guide to understand what you need and pick the most ideal choice. Happy camping!