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What To Know Before Picking a Cold Weather Camping Mat

Why Use A Camping Mat?

A camping mat is generally used to avoid pain and stiffness in the morning, by acting as a cushion between the ground and yourself. This helps take some of the strain off of your back and joints. Camping mats are also used as an incredibly effective insulative layer between the cold ground and your warm bedding materials. They offer a way to stop losing so much body heat while camping in the colder months.

What Is An R-Value?

The R-Value of a material is a measurement of the material’s thermal resistance per unit of thickness. The greater the R-Value, the more the material resists temperature change. So, a material with a higher R-Value is going to be extremely resistant to heat loss. In contrast, a material with a low R-Value will lose or gain heat more easily, allowing greater temperature fluctuations to occur.

Often you will want to find a compromise between a high R-Value and small packing size or portability factor. Frequently, cheaper mats with a higher R-Value will be harder to easily fit into a pack, since they will often be made from thicker materials, more expensive insulated mats will be easier to pack and store. Lower insulation mats will be cheaper in general, but will also be less comfortable than others.

How Do I Decide On A Camping Mat?

When looking at all the options on the market, it seems overwhelming to try to pick just one. Even though we narrowed them down to only three great offerings, it can be a bit confusing to keep track of what you need to look for to find the best mat for you.

It will come down to a heavy consideration of what sort of climate you are going to be camping in, and how often you will need it. Suppose you are using it for the occasional camping trip to keep you off the chilly ground in fall. In that case, you will probably be just fine with the Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad or the KLYMIT INSULATED STATIC V Sleeping Pad. Both are excellent options that will keep you warm through the chilliest fall camping trips or nights at the hunting camp. If you are in an area with a colder climate in general, or if you will need it for extended periods, you may want to consider investing in a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Ultralight.

Three choices to consider:

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Ultralight

  • R-Value of 7.2
  • WingLock valve supercharges inflation and deflation
  • Includes pump sack

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress is considered one of the absolute best warm camping mats on the market today. It has the highest warmth-per-ounce of all ultralight camping pads. The special WingLock valve allows inflation in one-third the time and incredibly fast deflation. With the included stuff sack and pump sack, it packs down to just 11 inches by 4.5 inches, and only 20 ounces, so this camping pad can go absolutely anywhere with you.

The 7.2 R-Value means that the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress is suitable for use in extremely cold environments. No more wondering if your camping pad is going to hold up against the low nighttime temps. Combining the continuous thermal foam layer and the alternating air ridges allows for exceptional warmth while camping.


  • R-Value of 4.4
  • Special design delivers support and comfort
  • Inflates with just 10-15 breaths

A four-season camping pad that is a great middle-ground for insulation and price. Not only will the R-Value of 4.4 keep you well protected against the chilly ground, but the body mapping technology ensures you have a comfortable pad that supports your body well. The extra-deep cell welds create specially designed expansion zones, allowing the insulation to loft while in use fully.

The unique shape of the pad keeps you centered and secure, limiting air movement while you shift. Lofted synthetic insulation provides exceptional warmth without the usual noise of other insulated pads. Designed to be perfect for any type of sleeper, back, side, and even stomach. The dynamic side rails help the mattress stay closer to you for less heat loss. If you’re in the market for warm camping mats it’s worth a look.

Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad

  • R-Value of 2.1
  • 2-inch thick mat
  • Inflates with 10-15 breaths

A great pad for taking into rough terrain, the Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad is treated with abrasion-resistant TPU, so twigs and rocks are no longer an issue. The 20 denier fabric has an impressive thickness often used in high-end camping equipment. 

Throw this pad on the floor of your tent, inflate it with less than two dozen breaths, and enjoy a much more comfortable sleeping experience in the wilderness while camping or backpacking. The rugged rip-stop construction gives you lasting performance in even the most severe conditions.

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