Camping Pad: All The Comforts Of Home

foam mattress pad

It’s funny how much age takes a toll on you.

I spent many nights camping in the East Texas woods as a child and never had any issues sleeping on rocks and the cold hard ground.

Now If I fall asleep on the couch in the wrong position, I’m sore for two or three days.

I’m not whining, it’s just the simple truth that comes with age.

In a survival situation you need to do whatever you can to lessen the impact your daily activities have on your body.Tthanks to modern technology, there is a better alternative to just sleeping on the ground.

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And, depending on the weather, that can be a very costly mistake indeed.

One of the cheapest and most effective ways you can prepare for a night in the wilderness is to pack a camping pad.

There are quite a few different options available and they all have their own pro’s and cons.

Take this one for example:

OutdoorsmanLab Ultralight Sleeping Pad - Ultra-Compact for...
  • Best Design for Active Outdoor Enthusiasts: After years of drafting, producing, and testing tons of sleeping mat designs, the OutdoorsmanLab team...
  • Perfect for Backpackers and Hikers: The Ultralight sleeping pad can roll up to 8x3 and weighs only 14.5oz - similar to a water bottle. This is perfect...
  • Sleep Better Under the Stars After a Long Day of Hiking: Even though it is very compact, this camping pad expands to 73 x 22 and has an optimal...

I prefer the closed cell foam pads over the self inflating type.

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It may just be my personal experience but I’ve never had a comfortable night on any type of air mattress… they always deflate on me.

The Good

  • Very lightweight
  • Protects and insulates
  • Easily rolls up for packing

The Bad

  • Tears fairly
  • Weight may not be a factor but it is bulky

The Bottom Line

One of these pads isn’t going to replace your home mattress, but if you’re stuck out in the wild or need to bug out, it will keep you insulated and off the ground and it is much easier than trying to cart around a military cot…

Just make sure that you still clear your area of rocks and sticks to help avoid ripping or tearing your mattress pad.  While it may take up some extra bulk on your backpack, it will only add a negligible amount of weight.

Like I said above, there are quite a few different options when it comes to sleeping out doors.

Which one do you prefer?

Check out these related articles from our site:

Make a Pack Basket for Camping

Camping Made Simple: Camping Hacks

The Next Big Thing in Camping: Bubble Tents

12 Responses to :
Camping Pad: All The Comforts Of Home

  1. Craig says:

    I have never tried the closed cell pads but I know that the self inflating ones have never worked for me. Because of my weight I can never get enough air pressure in them. Any points of heavier weight just squeeze together and then I’m just basically sleeping on the ground as if I had no pad at that point.

  2. Richard Moss says:

    Come on guys. Unless you’re sleeping in arid desert, there is always leaves or grass that can be collected to form a cushion barrier that will aid comfort. Just have some bug juice for the chiggers. lol. That’s why I prefer hammocks if he terrain permits.

  3. Etmueller says:

    Awesome article, couldn’t agree more. Did 8.5 years in the Army Infantry, so I have a lot of bush time to back up my endorsement. Absolutely essential if you don’t have a way to stay off the ground. The old sticks and leaves is a thing is just a disaster and should only be done if there is no other possible remedy.

  4. James says:

    I’ve slept many nights on both types and I find the Thermarest premium to give the best nights sleep on cold, hard, ground. If the temperature variance is in the 50 degree range, I over-inflate some to compensate for the shrinkage.
    For my bugout rig I have closed cell foam for its waterproof ness and reliability. No chance of a rupture or puncture with closed cell foam.
    I would love to try a hammock but often camp places with few trees. Kind of puts a kink in that plan.

  5. larry says:

    After read about the pad I wondered about uniginty I am 72 now and when i go camping I find me a nice piles of leaves, put them on my ground sheet untill I have my area cleard. put the plastic down leaves on platic, sleeping bag on top hardly ever get wet and if it is run cold then couple of sq bales workks just

  6. Quester55 says:

    Worrying about how Hard the Ground, is a Minor thing, You ought to worry about what is In the ground you’ve picked to sleep on!
    That Bare Spot just might be hiding a Nest of FIRE-ANTS, Scorpions, Spiders, Wasp & other Less than Friendly Pest.
    As for those Closed Foam Pads & Self-Inflating mattresses, their Fine but You can Improve their uses.
    Try Sewing on a Insect Repelling Cloth in the Form of a One Man Tent to that Foam Pad, It will add just an OZ. or so to the Weight, Yet It’ll keep most Insects Out of your sleeping Bags. Another good Idea, If your not into D.I.Y., Shop, Cheaper-than-dirt for your Camping needs & Leave those Big Name, Big Prices, for the Rich!

    1. 'Above Average' Joe says:

      Good Call Quester55!

  7. TSgt B says:

    Some good points, Quester55.

    However, after the way Cheaper Than Dirt scalped folks with their ammo, magazine, and gun price increases following Newtown, I wouldn’t stop at their stores to piss in the parking lot.

    1. Michael says:

      I’m with you on that. They weren’t the only ones and most are still way out of line. Stop shopping at these sites and they’ll drop their prices. They would rather sell in bulk for buying power than have their sales drop and so does their buying power. Let’s get them all down!

  8. Nick Brown says:

    To protect the pad, lay down a 5×7 tarp, put the pad on the tarp and fold the tarp over the pad. Put a space blanket over the top followed by your sleeping bag. Pleasant dreams!

  9. HJ Lamb says:

    Four score and eleven years ago, at least it seems that long, I went thru Water, Basic, Jungle and arctic survival while I was an aircrew member in the USAF. Much of it was very intuitive for me since I grew up around the great outdoors but the military aspects really opened my eyes regarding SERE and stealth. nevertheless these old bones have been a pain in my butt, literally and physically so that creature comforts have become a necessity to preclude physical damage and discomfort. most of my recreational periods now find me using my Winnebago RV and staying at KOAs except for hunting camp. I still enjoy getting out in the back country of Montana where I live, but not too far back. I use my Ford Explorer and a, 8 X 6 stealth cagro/camper trailer I put together with everything I need to keep me comfortable. Mostly do not wander far from camp unless with 2 or 3 other hunters and we always keep each other in line of sight and never out of hearing distance. Age begets wisdom, sometimes. But one thing I learned ages ago was never to go anywhere unprepared so I do drag along in a lightweight rucksack basic survival necessities like a tube tent, mylar blankets (SOL Survival type), fire making equipment (magnesium “match type and Zippo lighter) several baby bottles filled with water and a couple of MREs as well as a folding knife, rope/para cord (@ 50 ft), duct tape and a leatherman tool. Not much and I keep it under 20lbs. Plus my favorite shooting iron, a colt .45 sidearm in addition to my Savage 99F in .308 (20 rds of .45 and 10 rounds of .308). Overall I have been lucky and still on the right side of the grass after 2 tours in nam, 23 years in the USAF and hitting 67.

  10. John says:

    All true enough! I’ve been “let down” quite literally by cheap inflatables too many times. I got what I paid for, cheapness! I now pack a Kelty 3″ thick with a built in pump. So far it’s been reliable and tough. The material on the bottom is MUCH thicker than the top. I don’t regret the “expensive” price a bit!

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