Picking the right sleeping pads is something all preppers should consider with great care. Sleep has a direct relationship with just about every other aspect of your life. While a solid night’s sleep can affect our day-to-day life in some important ways, in a survival situation, it means the difference between life and death.
There’s much to consider when planning your survival kit. How, where, and when you’ll sleep when the doom clock strikes twelve, and picking the right equipment is just the start of the battle. It is, however, one aspect of these crazy scenarios which you can control, so do yourself a favor and start considering which sleeping pads to stock up on.
Let’s look in more detail at the impact of sleep on survival, and how to make sure your sleeping pad keeps you fit, healthy, and most importantly, alive.
Importance of sleep for survival
As I said, sleep has a direct impact on virtually every aspect of our lives. It affects us physically and mentally. I’m sure you’ve experienced the feeling of waking up in the morning after a rough night’s sleep. What’s it like? You’re groggy, mind-foggy, irritable, short-tempered, stressed, unfocused, and out of energy before the day’s even begun.
A poor night’s sleep greatly affects our cognitive function, namely, our ability to concentrate. When you’re rested, if you lose focus it is easy enough to get it back because you have the brainpower to extend your attention span. A sleep-deprived person does not have this ability, and worst of all, they usually can’t even realize how feeble their brain is. In a survival situation, you’ll pay a high price for this.
A good night’s sleep has a positive impact on your brain power, your ability to focus and work productively, as well as your physical strength and energy levels. For this reason, sleep can be considered one of the cornerstones of survival.
Kitting yourself out with the right equipment is one way of making sure your body gets what it needs out of every sleep. In our everyday life, we often hear from groups like trymattress.com about the importance of a good quality mattress, but naturally, in a survival scenario, you likely won’t be sleeping on a full-sized comfy bed. When space, size, and weight all need to be sacrificed, a good quality sleeping pad can pick up the slack.
How to decide which sleeping pad is right for you
There are a few factors to consider when determining which sleeping pad is the best one for you. It’s all down to your own needs and preferences at this point, no rights or wrongs.
Different kinds of sleeping pads:
- Air pads: this is probably the best option when you combine the comfort and convenience factors. Air pads need to be inflated manually- usually, you can blow them up in around three or four minutes, but some will come with a small hand or foot pump. These sleeping pads are incredibly lightweight and easy to transport and can be packed very small when deflated. The one downside of air pads is that they tend to become more expensive when you start looking at the high-quality ones (the more compact and lightweight versions, in general).
- Self-inflating pads: The self-inflating pads combine technology from air pads and closed cell pads; basically, you just need to open up the air valve on the corner, and the pad will flip open and inflate itself. The greatest thing about this kind of sleeping pads is that they are usually the cheapest version. However, these sleeping pads are still extremely useful when it comes to providing warmth while sleeping. They can be folded or rolled up, but generally, can’t be compressed as small as an air pad.
- Closed-cell pads: These sleeping pads are filled with a very dense foam that encloses tiny air pockets. They are super durable and can be rolled up and carried outside of a backpack without the possibility of causing damage. These sleeping pads can also be doubled up as a seated mat on a campsite. They are very cheap, but the downside is that they tend to be the least comfortable version- very stiff and a little bit bulky.
How You’ll be Using Your Sleeping Pad:
Now you have an idea of the different types of pads and the pros and cons of each. Let me give you some examples of how you might decide on which sleeping pad is best based on your intended use.
- Time of year: the weather will have a significant impact on your choice. If it’s cold out, or if you want to prepare for the chance that you’ll be camping out during winter time, you’ll want to pick a sleeping pad that offers an extra layer of insulation. Comfort and support factors are just two things you’ll need to look for in a sleeping pad; warmth-factor is the other important one. The closed-cell pad offers the best insulation but lacks comfort. Maybe you’d want to consider combining two pads- a self-inflating and a closed-cell. That way you have the support of the self-inflating and the protection and insulation of the closed-cell.
- Moving around: do you plans involve you staying mostly in one place, or being on the move a lot? If you envisage yourself packing up and changing location very often, then you’ll probably want to prioritize a sleeping pad that is lightweight and can be easily folded up and doesn’t take up much space in your bug-out bag. In this case, an air pad may be the best choice- as long as you’re willing to invest a little more money to get a good one.
Characteristics and features to consider:
Important factors to consider to help you further are insulation power, weight, size (length and width), inflation methods, and the surface of the ground you’ll be sleeping on (e.g., if it’s rough ground with twigs and rocks, a durable closed-cell is the best choice).
Try & Test
The best way to know which sleeping pads are best is to try them out yourself! Head down to the supplies store and try lying down on a few; it’ll be no trouble finding the perfect pad.