View Full Version : Sleeping Pads In The Cold
What has everyone found to be the most efficient sleeping pad system for sleeping in the cold?
When it's not real cold, my husband and I use a Big Agnes Aircore that is 3 1/2" thick. I like the thickness since the older I get, the more my bones complain in the morning. It weighs 19oz.
When it is cold, we add a generic blue closed cell foam pad that is 5/8" thick on top of that. It also weighs 19oz.
We backpacked with this in November. It got down to 20* and we were warm enough from the ground side. (Still need a warmer bag)
Is this overkill? The weight was ok, but I always like lighter! But the bulk was terrible! I hate carrying all that stuff! The aircore fits in my pack, but the blue pad had to be rolled up on the outside and occaisionally catches on stuff as we hike.
I use a similar system - blue closed cell pad on bottom and Exped DAM (down filled air mattress) on top in my hammock - works well and very comfortable in the cold. The blue foam pad is used in my pack (a Gearskin) to shape the pack - this still means that the pack is somewhat wider than normal packs but ... that is just the way it goes.
I've been out in temps. down to zero and I use my thermorest 3/4 inch thick, self inflating pad. In winter I use a full length one that gets my feet off the ground. I find that important in keeping warm at night in winter.
Since you like the aircore, and hate the bulk of adding a blue ensolite pad to it, check out Big Agnes' Insulated Air Core mattress. It's the same thing you already have with the addition of primaloft inside the pad to provide real insulation. They rate it to 15*F, but It's the same thickness as the regular aircore, and I've taken thermarests half as thick to below zero before.
specs for the 20" x 72" rectangle (they offer a mummy that saves 3 oz)
I also use the Air Core for 3 season but in the winter I want to make sure I'm "warm". I actually line my tent floor with a space (emergency) blanket then a Prolite 4 self inflating pad, it packed pretty small at 6 x 11. The blanket knocks the chill from anything coming from under you and the Prolite was surprisingly comfortable compared to the Air Core. I use the Prolite with a chair kit (my one luxury item, 12oz, for sitting around the fire), but if wasn't for that I would use a Primaloft mummy. I still pack out at 24# for a 2-3 day winter backpack so that's not to bad with the added weight of warm protection.
Anytime I know the temps are going to be below 20 degrees F, I stick to my normal winter routine - standard full length orange thermarest (about 14 years old) and a 1/2" ridge rest beneath it. I do quite a bit of winter camping and I have found this combo has worked well over the years to -32 (though I don't work well at that temp) in the Northeast. If you are planning on tent-camping in snow, that will also help provide some insulation, though I find the Lean-tos/shelters are usually a bit colder due to the open area beneath the floors.