Why Your Sleeping Pad Is Your Most Important Piece of Gear

A good sleeping pad is a crucial piece of gear and can make all the difference on your adventure.

By: Mayson + Save to a List

We all love spending time outside. Some of us love to hit the trails and putting some miles under our feet. Some enjoy going after the catch of the day, rod and reel in hand. Others enjoy a multitude of other outdoor activities that many of us savor. But at the end of an awesome day opting outside, what is the one thing all adventurers must do? Sleep.

The Narrows - Zion NP, Utah

As we all know, or have come to begrudgingly realize, sleep is an unavoidable fact of life. Even though many of us would rather forgo it to have some more time for our outdoor activities. Nonetheless, it doesn't matter how many miles we put under our feet, how many fish we caught, or how many times we made it down the slopes that day, how we rest our heads at night can make all the difference for how the next day's adventures go. 

Upper Lehman Creek Campground - Great Basin NP, NV

At one time or another I am sure we have all been up for what feels like, and in some cases is, hours as we try to get some rest for the next day's undertakings. We toss and turn. We fall asleep for a few minutes, only to be woken up by discomfort. Sometimes we simply can't seem to get comfortable or stay asleep. We have all been there, right?

Good quality sleep while adventuring is so important. After all, if we don't get some refreshing sleep we simply do not feel as energized for our adventures. More to the point, we often don't have to energy to function for as long or have as much fun. And most important, lack of restful sleep can have serious consequences if something were to happen because we were not well rested. 

It's for these very reasons that one of the most essential pieces of gear in any adventurer's backpack is a great sleeping pad. This one piece of gear can have significant consequences on the quality of our experiences. That's why I think it's so crucial to find a sleeping pad that works for you and gives you quality sleep to recharge your body for more adventures. 

My Gear Layout

Like all things, especially outdoor gear, sleeping pads come in many shapes, sizes and of course colors. It doesn't matter what brand or model you have; however, it is important that you find one that works for you. One that you find is comfortable, the right consistency and that gives you quality sleep for those few crucial hours we have to lay our heads down. For example:

I personally opt for a high quality sleeping pad that has a few great features that leaves me well rested. Last year, I switched to a NEMO Tensor sleeping pad. The key features of this pad are that it comes in a long and wide model. This allows me always stay on top of the pad at all times. As I roll from one side to the other the extra width is perfect, and I always stay comfortable from head to toe because of the extra length. However, my favorites feature of this pad is how thick it is. It keeps my body off the ground at all times, even when I lay on my side. Lastly, it compresses to a light and compact size, which is essential backpacking. 

Next time you find yourself under the stars see what you think. Do you need a sleeping pad if you don't already have one? Do you need a different one? Maybe you need a longer, a wider or a thicker one? Like most things in life it is up to you and your preference, but a good sleeping pad is an essential piece of gear in any adventurer's backpack. If you ask me, it can make a huge difference. Try it for yourself...

Grab your gear, it's adventure time!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


Overnighter on the Sonoma Coast

Benjamin Canevari

10 Things you need to do in Baja

wyld honeys

8 Amazing national park lakes to explore this Summer

The Outbound Collective

Add these three North Carolina destinations to your must-visit list

The Outbound Collective