Sleeping in the dirt doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.
Over the past 5-years or so, there have been some great technological improvements in camping gear. Sleeping pads have perhaps improved the most. Gone are the days of a simple closed cell foam pad or a Therm-a-rest that is guaranteed to leak. The consumer now has endless options ranging from super-ultra-light to super-comfortable and everything in between.
As a business that rents camping gear, we have learned a thing or two about what is best. Frankly, there is no one perfect solution. Here is a little run-down on the pros and cons of the camping pads we offer:
Big Agnes Air Core
STYLE: Non-self inflating, parallel baffled, insulated sleeping pad. Typically the least expensive style of air-chamber pads. 21-oz total weight.
PROS: Most packable in class.This pad packs down to the size of a Nalgene bottle. Less baffles mean faster inflate and deflate time, and it is super packable.
CONS: Minimal insulation mean it is strictly a warm-weather pad. Parallel baffles tend to be noisy and slippery.
Big Agnes Insulated Double Z
STYLE: Non-self inflating, multi-baffled, insulated deluxe sleeping pad. 21-oz.
PROS: Better insulation and higher loft (4″) make for a more comfortable night. Multi-baffle construction distributes weight evenly and is less slippery.
CONS: Slower to inflate and deflate, less packable than parallel baffled pads.Air chamber pads tend to be noisy.
Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core
STYLE: Ultra-light, comfortable, multi-baffled warm weather sleeping pad. 16-oz.
PROS: I-Beam baffles provide faster inflate and deflate times and better weight distribution. The lightest weight option, packs better than Double Z but not as well as Air Core.
CONS: With less weight comes compromise, as they have proven to be a little less durable. Air chamber pads tend to be noisy.
Big Agnes Two Track
STLYE: Foam core, self-inflating, versatile sleeping pad. 28-oz.
PROS: Foam core adds comfort (even if air chamber fails), and makes for a quieter night sleep. Temperature rated to -25°.
CONS: Does not pack as well. A little heavier. A little slippery than multi-baffled pads. Can absorb water if it gets wet.
Big Agnes Hinman
STYLE: Foam core, durable, extra-comfortable and wide, self-inflating pad. 34-oz.
PROS: Super comfortable, super warm.
CONS: Car camping or base-camping only, you don’t want to carry this one! Higher density foam slows inflate/ deflate times and makes for not a very packable pad. Can absorb water if it gets wet.
There really isn’t such thing as the perfect pad for all camping scenarios. If you are car camping and space is at a premium, than the Two Tracks are the best bet. If you are backpacking and every ounce counts, than go for the Q-Core. Or, do what we do, have a bunch of each style so you always have the right pad!