To truly experience camping, you must forego modern technologies and take only a sleeping bag and tent. However, laying on the cold, hard ground can be quite uncomfortable for many campers, especially those that already suffer from back conditions. Thankfully, camping sleeping pads were invented to allow those enjoying the great outdoors to still get a good night's sleep.
When you shop for sleeping pads, there are a number of different materials that are used to make them. Foam is a common substance for their manufacturing, They are the basic pads available on the market, and what most people choose to purchase. These sleeping pads tend to be inexpensive, lightweight, and durable, making them the optimal choice for use during many overnights in the woods.
There are two different types of foam sleeping pads on the market. The first is called closed-cell foam. They are made of a durable material that stays well insulated. This is beneficial for those nights that get a bit cool, as your body heat will stay trapped within the pad. Another benefit of closed-cell is that it is not very water absorbent, which will be great when camping in the rain. You cannot always predict nature, so sleeping on wet ground may not be avoided on some camping trips.
One disadvantage of closed-cell sleeping pads is that they tend to be heavier than other foam pads. This is due to the fact that they need to be thicker to be more comfortable during use. Since they cannot be compressed as easy as other pads when your body weight rests on them, they need to be thicker to provide enough comfort, meaning they will contribute to more weight in your pack.
The other type of foam camping sleeping pads is called open-cell pads. These tend to look more like a sponge, and are generally just as light. These may be chosen if you know the location in which you will be resting has soft ground. Those with thick sleeping bags may also choose open-cell pads because they do not need as much thickness to stay comfortable and warm. They are about 75% less effective in staying insulated, so be sure you take this into account if you choose this type of foam sleeping pad.
The types of camping sleeping pads you invest in will be dependent of your camping needs. If you have a thin sleeping bag or go camping in bad weather, a closed-cell foam pad will offer more warmth and insulation. If you are camping in the summer and your sleeping bad is already well-padded, and open-cell foam pad should be sufficient in providing extra comfort during the night. It is important that you consider your situation, and purchase a pad that will be the most beneficial to you.