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HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneralCold Weather Back Country Sleeping Pads and BagsCold Weather Back Country Sleeping Pads and Bags
New Post
7/18/2020 1:18 PM

After reviewing the previous threads discussing sleeping pads and bags, I wondered if anyone had more recent recommendations that they would like to share. I am preparing for a few back country outings this fall and am looking at what equipment is currently on the market.




New Post
7/19/2020 4:21 PM
Are you backpacking? Carrying it on my back always makes a difference in what I choose to bring for a pad. On cold weather canoeing trips (overnight temperatures around freezing) I prefer a big, heavy Thermarest Camprest. On a colder weather backpacking trip I'll bring a couple of ultralight 3/4 length Thermarests. They're what I have so they're what I use. I hear lots of good things about Big Agnes or Nemo pads but I don't have a reason to branch out from what I own. As far as sleeping bags go I shelled out for Western Mountaineering bags once upon a time and I have no regrets. They're superb.
New Post
7/21/2020 6:39 PM

I will be backpacking and am looking for the best options for an insulated sleeping pad. There are so msny options to choose from.

New Post
7/21/2020 8:21 PM

Yes there are!  I'm both wide and tall, and I've learned that I prefer my pads that way when possible.  When I backpack, and I bring my 3/4 length pads along, I'll stick the pack underneath my feet to compensate for the shortness of the pads.  I now need two thin pads stacked on top of each other to sleep well.  (And I'm no longer to function effectively if I don't sleep well for more than a night!)

The new inflatable pads (NeoAir) seem very popular.  I was able to lie on one in a store and it seemed very crinkly.  Rumor has it that the Big Agnes pads are quieter.  I do like the idea of a wide, tall pad that is extra thick too.

My sons each have a Thermarest Trail Pro - essentially the older style camp rest but tapered at the head and feet.  They're not the lightest pad out there but they check off a lot of boxes.

New Post
8/28/2020 3:37 PM
For my backpacking set up I use a big Agnes bag, I believe the ranger 20. I like the fact that you neither pay for, nor carry bottom insulation that gets compressed and is not effective. I use the Thermarest neoair, it’s super light, never had it fail me as far as staying warm, and it packs up very small and lightweight. It is loud if you either move a lot, or don’t inflate it completely. My shelter is an REI quarter dome 1, it’s technically a 3 season tent, but again, I’ve never gotten cold.

I think the coldest temps I’ve so far spent the night with this setup in is roughly 25 degrees or so. Part of my personal sleep system includes thicker wool socks, and synthetic base layer, all of which I have only needed once and ended up too warm. I think I could be comfortable down to 0 degrees, ish. This is including the socks, base layer, and merino beanie. I’ve used the hot water in a nalgene trick in the past with an old setup with good success as well.

To summarize, I definitely recommend big Agnes bags, and if you can find a pad from them that fits your parameters then great, but Nemo and thermarest have great options these days. Just confirm that the lad you get fits the big Agnes sleeve if you go that route. You need to decide if you’re priorities include weight/ size or just warmth and comfort etc.

I currently use an Osprey EXOS 58, but I wish I got the 48. I’ve never come close to full capacity in that size pack. I buy the lightest stuff where I can, to allow for heavier items I like to carry.
New Post
8/28/2020 9:13 PM
I have been using a Neo Air for about a year. It is slightly crinkly when inflating/deflating, but seems quieter now that I have some time on it. I have used it both on the ground and in my hammock- it does a good job of insulating below my sleeping bag.

I use the heavy but inexpensive and versatile USGI Modular Sleep System with or without my Serape. For summer use, the USGI Bivy and the Serape plus clothes handles every condition I have run across in reasonable comfort.
I have slept down to -22F with the MSS in a snow cave. With clothes on, and a ThermaRest over the air mattress I was comfortable all night long at that temperature.

For spring and fall, I tuck my Neo Air inside the bivvy, underneath either the green patrol bag or the black intermediate bag. It seems to sleep warmer that way, but at the expense of wiggle room inside the bag.

The main thing I have learned about comfort in the cold is that you must not have skin contact with the nylon bag. When I go to bed, I wear a watch cap, thin gloves, fresh wool socks, and at least pants and a long sleeve shirt. In colder temps, I wear my coat and a wool shirt over the long sleeve shirt.
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneralCold Weather Back Country Sleeping Pads and BagsCold Weather Back Country Sleeping Pads and Bags