Camping sleeping pad advice.

I’m looking to get new sleeping pads and would like some feedback or suggestions. We have a pair of Therm-A-Rest BaseCamps (good design) and a pair of Kelty Basecamps (great design) all of which leak. I will try to patch the Therms, but the Keltys have multiple leaks which I find excessive. Finding and fixing leaks frustrates me greatly, and I’d like to get pads which aren’t prone to this.

One model that’s tempting is the Exped Downmat 7. It gets great reviews and appears to last (i.e., not leak) for a good while (several years), but costs twice as much as other comparable size pads.

Another is the Klymit Insulated Static V. It also gets good reviews, though there may be some question of durability. The price is very attractive.

Anyone have experience with either of these? Is the Exped worth the price? Will the Klymit hold up for a decent time? Any other models you’d recommend?

I just bought a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite because the weight and packed size were so much lighter/smaller than my 10 year old Therm-a-Rest. The old one never leaked and I will hopefully I will get the same mileage out of this one once I start using it (next month).

The Exped looks pretty good, but I don’t have any experience with them nor has anyone I camp with. Sorry.

Are the ones you’ve been having trouble with self-inflating or blow-ups? In general, the self-inflating ones are less prone to damage because the spongey foam material supports most of the weight and the “skin” of the pad isn’t under as much pressure when you’re sleeping on it. Plus if they do leak, they usually still sleep more or less okay, they just don’t deflate well. They’re also arguably more comfortable, although that’s partly a matter of taste. The major trade-off is that the blow-up ones tend to pack down a lot smaller than the self-inflating ones.

My partner has this self-inflating pad (REI Camp Bed 3.5) which isn’t particualrly compact but sleeps amazingly well. I do think it leaks slowly out of the valves but because it’s self-inflating it still sleeps just fine; it’s just that after deflating it for storage it tends to reinflate itself, which is a bit of a nuisance but not a huge deal for car camping. I’ve also got a blow-up Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Camper that I use for backpacking and motorcycle camping. It’s definitely way less cushy than the self-inflating REI one, but still sleeps pretty well especially considering it packs down to about the size of a Fosters can. Haven’t had any problems with it leaking, though I’ve only used it a few months.

Of course if you really want damage-proof, there’s the newfangled version of the old foldy egg-crate foam pad: Therm-A-Rest Z Lite Sol. I hear they’re a big step up from the old blue foam pads. I was very seriously considering one when I was pad shopping and only really went with the NeoAir because I got a screaming deal on it.

They’re self-inflating. They develop pinhole leaks after a year or two to where they get flat in the middle of the night.

I haven’t had the issue with the self-inflating Therma-rest. Can’t speak to other brands.

Maybe you need a tarp or other protective barrier down underneath? Not sure where the leaks are coming from.

The pads are used inside a nylon tent with no noticeable debris on the floor. It mystifies me.

Just how pointy are you?

Yeah, that is pretty mystifying. As far as I can tell the BaseCamp is basically just a very slightly updated version of the original self-inflating Therm-a-Rest pad, which are usually considered pretty tough little pads. I had a couple back in the 90’s and, while I was never really impressed with the comfort or compactness compared to a normal foam pad, I never had any leaking problems with them.

My Klymit Static V is going into its third year – bought it replace my old patchwork Therm-a-Rest of unknown age. I’m completely happy with it and have had no problems at all. I chose the Klymit because the price is so much lower than other pads that seem to be very similar, Therm-a-Rest, Exped, etc.

Unless I’m going super ultralight on a quick warm weather trip, I always put either an Exped Multimat or a Z Lite under the pad, both to protect from punctures and to have some backup comfort in the event it does fail.

Never had an Exped sleeping pad but it was on my list of possible choices when I finally decided to try the Klymit. I do have some other Exped items and they are good quality.

ETA: Do you turn your tent inside-out and shake it out after each trip? Really helps to get the sand and stuff out.

Splinters from the morning wood, I’d guess.

I just use a thick closed & open cell combo and a sheepskin. Those self-inflators always leak.

I don’t turn it inside out, but I do lift it up and shake it out.

I have patched my Therm-a-rest and it is as good as new. The patch kit is very compact, but I admit I did not do the repair in the field, but in the comfort of my dining room. I was given a foam pad (Lazyol?) that is accordion-folded, light, and no chance of punctures - so I will probably give that a try next time I am heading out. It is long, too, so if needed, I can probably fold it in half or 3/4 for more cushion. I am not sure how popular these foam pads are these days, however.

If space/weight is not an issue then get an air mattress with a built in pump. They all seem to leak so I just gave up the fight and let the pump deal with any leaks.

We camp with our dogs, so, to reduce the chances of toenail punctures, we use lightweight fleece sleeves that my wife made to protect the inflatable pad. Currently going on my third season with the same pad, so it seems to work. The sleeve also makes for a less noisy and more comfortable surface.

I got a pretty good non-Therm-a-Rest self-inflating pad at Costco a few years ago and it’s held up well through maybe 5-6 camping weekends each summer. Stuff changes all the time at Costco, though, and the only pad they have on their website now is $99 and I know I didn’t pay that much…more like $35-$40 if I remember correctly. Sorry, not a lot of help other than to check at Costco if there is one nearby and if you are a member.

I have two Therm-a-Rest ProLite Sleeping Pads. Both of them are compact self-inflating air mattresses. One is 8 years old, and the other is 6 years old. Both have been used dozens of times. Neither has ever had a leak (knock on wood). :wink:

I got the Exped Downmat a number of years ago when I was doing a lot of backcountry winter camping. I’ve hauled that thing miles on skis, through bush and trails. It is in a whole other universe of comfort over any thermarest I ever slept on, and better than most air mattresses. For winter it insulates much better than anything else, but I have used it for summer backpacking and car camping as well. I love it.

Surprisingly durable. First time I inflated it, at home, the bloody cat (the eponymous FluffyBob, RIP) clawed it and I came back to find it deflated. Dejectedly patched it with the included kit, but that patch has held and it hasn’t linked or been punctured since. Just keep it away from cats.

The stuff sack / inflation pump works really well and has held up well. I would not have thought so but it really works great. I bought this as a fancy treat to keep me warm and save my old shoulders which just couldn’t take the thermarest anymore. I did not expect it to be robust, but if you take reasonable care of it, it is.

DO not inflate it with your breath, use the pump, and store it unpacked so the down isnt crushed if you can. And keep cats away.