The great outdoors offers infinite amounts of fun, and there are tons of activities you can do. Fishing, hiking, camping, rowing, biking, etc. are all good examples. You have to be prepared for all these activities, and you will most likely be carrying a backpack.
When you go on such trips, you quickly learn that you should pack only the essentials or your backpack will be too heavy. One of these essentials is a sleeping pad since sleep is almost as important as food and water.
Find out more about sleeping pads and how to pack them.
Why is A Sleeping Pad Essential?
Sleeping pads are like a combination of sleeping bags and mattress toppers. They look like sleeping bags but they have additional support and protection. Their design withstands harsh surfaces, and that's the main purpose for using them.
Take a sleeping with you and put it on a hard surface to cushion your body, and you can sleep almost anywhere. They are perfect for any long trips, such as overnight hiking or camping in the woods. There are sleeping pads with different features, the main difference of which is their padding. Some are air-supported, while others use aerated foam.
When buying a sleeping pad, also consider their size, firmness, and style to fit your needs. Whatever you choose, it will be more comfortable than a sleeping bag for the extra padding; you won't feel the ground below you thanks to it.
Sleeping outdoors will be much more comfortable if you bring a sleeping pad with you and save yourself from getting dirty, wet, or sore.
The Main Features of Sleeping Pads
Above all else, sleeping pads are very compact, though they may not fit easily inside your backpack – which is why you’ll want to attach your sleeping pad to your backpack instead. A lightweight sleeping pad should weigh around 3 lbs. or less, which won’t add too much to your load. Some of them can be deflated and rolled up, which saves a lot of space. It’s like carrying a little bed with you on a hiking or camping trip. They are designed for outdoor use and with comfort in mind.
How to Attach a Sleeping Pad to Your Backpack
That’s all good and well. But, how do you go about carrying a sleeping pad in the wild?
You will attach it to your backpack rather than inside your backpack (it’s probably too bulky for that). Follow these steps:
- Decompress it
Decompress the sleeping pad manually or by releasing the air if it’s an air pad. You want it to be as small as possible.
- Roll up the sleeping pad
Roll up your sleeping pad on a flat surface. Make it even so it's easier to fit in the carry bag. This will also make it easier to carry a more balanced weight distribution.
- Strap it up
If your sleeping pad has some attachments or straps of any kind, use them to make sure your pad stays rolled up.
- Pack it
Pack your sleeping pad into a bag or sack for security. Most of them come with one.
- Double-check the backpack
Make sure your backpack is properly packed and shut with equal weight distribution. Do this to keep balance and prevent falls.
- Attach the sleeping pad
You can finally attach your sleeping pad to the backpack either to the bottom or the top. You will need ropes or clamps for strapping your sleeping bag to your backpack. You want it to be as tight and secure as possible.
- Test it
Try testing the attached sleeping bag with some rapid movement or jumping. If it remains in its place, you are ready.
Most people attach their sleeping pad to the outside of their backpack. However, what if it's raining? You’ll want your sleeping pad to stay dry and clean.
You can get a tarp or you can pack it inside your backpack (if there’s enough room). Make sure you wrap your sleeping pad in a protective bag or sack before you pack it. Then, put it in first so that it’s at the bottom of your backpack. You should compress the sleeping pad as much as you can.
Take Good Sleep Along With You
Sleep is important for staying healthy. Your body and brain restore during sleep. You need proper sleep even and perhaps especially when you are traveling or camping. That's why it's smart to have a sleeping pad for your travels.
Don't worry if you run into problems attaching it to your backpack at first. It's a learning process through and through. Make sure you have completely deflated the sleeping pad and prevented it from puffing up. Finally, remember to bring an oversized tarp for when it's raining or gets very damp out.