There are some pieces of camping gear you can probably go without, but a sleeping pad certainly isn’t one of them. Having one of these essential items is an easy way to turn your average camping sleep into a spectacular one, and getting a self-inflating sleeping pad means you don’t even have to take up much space when you pack it.
As with any important piece of camping gear though, there’s a lot to learn about how to get the best use from your self-inflating air pad. You’ll need to know how to use it, how to clean it, and how to keep it dry and comfortable while you’re sleeping in the great outdoors. With this guide, you’ll get equipped with all of the basics of sleeping pads so you can use them to their full potential.
For years, people went camping with just their sleeping bags and suffered through rough and uncomfortable nights in the great outdoors. When the self-inflating sleeping pad was invented, campers were able to say goodbye to these awful memories of discomfort and finally get a luxurious and restful night of sleep no matter where they were.
A self-inflating sleep pad is mainly used for your tent, and you simply place it underneath where your sleeping bag or other sleep accessory goes. They’re soft like a blow-up bed so you won’t feel the hard ground, but they can also keep you warm and away from the cooler temperatures of the floor.
These sleeping pads are versatile as well, with campers using them for relaxing, somewhere to sit while you’re fishing, or even stacked up for extra back support for those who need it. With all of their great uses, you begin to understand why caring for your sleeping pad is just as important as your other gear.
Not all sleeping pads were made equally, so choosing one that can be cleaned easily should be a top feature to look for. Camping is dirty work, and that’s half of what makes it so enjoyable, so you can expect your pad to get dirty when it comes along for the ride.
It’s imperative to choose an inflatable sleeping pad because these can be deflated just as easily which makes for easier cleaning. While you should never place your pad directly in the washing machine, you can give it a thorough hand wash with detergent provided the valve is closed and the manufacturer’s instructions say it’s okay to do so.
For less intense cleaning, a simple spot clean with a warm rag and some dish soap is all it needs. These durable devices are made from polyester so they’re able to withstand quite a bit, but the foam within them that creates their plushness won’t always react well to a deep clean.
Depending on the style of sleeping pad you have, they might come with a cover that can be changed as needed. This isn’t a necessity in terms of features and will usually mean you’re spending more money in the long term, so if yours doesn’t come with a changeable cover then you’ll still be able to keep it clean.
One of the biggest mistakes that first-time campers make is not knowing how to care for their gear, which can end up costing quite a bit of money in replacements. Your sleeping pad needs to be taken care of just as you would any other piece of equipment, and the most important thing you can do for this is keeping it dry.
Firstly, if you think you’ll be venturing out in wet conditions, you’ll want to keep it protected from the rain or water. A good sleeping pad will come with its own carry case and this can be further protected with a waterproof covering that keeps the wetness out.
Secondly, when the time comes to set up your sleeping pad, you should consider placing a tarp or other weatherproof blanket in between it and the ground. This will prevent moisture reaching your sleeping pad and also keep it safe from dirt and grime that is usually lurking on the campsite floor.
Choosing a quality inflatable sleeping pad is important as this will dictate how long it will last and the level of care you need to give it. Keep these features in mind when you’re choosing one that’s easy to care for and use:
Learning how to use the pad before you take it camping will be crucial to its reliability and practicality. The last thing you want is to be fumbling with a new piece of gear when you’re setting up the campsite, and luckily these pads are pretty easy to master.
When you add up all of the bits and pieces that we use to go camping, you can see how the costs start to stack up. Therefore, choosing quality gear and taking care of it before, during, and after our camping trips is an important part of the camping process.
Provided you’ve chosen a quality sleeping pad, this accessory will last you for many years in the great outdoors. With a bit of extra attention to cleaning and ensuring that you’ve set it up correctly whenever you unpack, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of a comfortable night’s sleep whenever you’re out camping, all thanks to your trusty inflatable sleeping pad.