After a long day of hiking, the last thing you want is a restless night’s sleep. Use of a sleeping pad helps make your nights more comfortable. There are essentially four types of sleeping pads, all with their benefits and drawbacks.
- Air mats - These are all air, and are quite comfortable, but offer no insulation. Also, one sharp rock or twig and you’ll find yourself back on hard ground.
- Closed-cell foam - These pads are light, inexpensive, water-proof and virtually indestructible. However, they are typically only 1/2" thick and only offer minimal comfort from irregularities on the ground.
- Hybrids - Some where between closed-cell foam and self-inflating pads, these offer more comfort then closed-cell without the worry of punctures.
- Self-inflating - These are the most comfortable pads you can get. However you pay with added cost and weight, and you still have the risk of partial deflating if punctured.