Sleeping Bag Accessories
In her guide to perfecting a car-camping date, contributor Johanna Flashman called the MondoKing 3D “more comfortable than my mattress at home.” It comes in handy year-round, too: “It also has an R-value of seven, making it perfect for winter camping in below-freezing temperatures.”…
Drifting off under the stars has never been this easy
Comfortable, technical, light—sleep systems for every season
One of our favorite adventure blankets in our 2019 Winter Buyer’s Guide, the Original Puffy “is the Cadillac of backcountry quilts,” according to our testers. It’s weather-resistant and packs into the included stuffsack. As an added bonus, the synthetic insulation makes it machine washable.
When the Switchback first came on the market last year, we crowned it the best budget sleeping pad. It uses two types of foam with different densities and specially-designed raised spikes to give optimal comfort and warmth.
The Air Core Insulated sleeping pad offers a 4.1 R-value, with a comfort range down to 15 degrees. Complete with a ripstop nylon outer and stuffed with a thin layer of PrimaLoft insulation, it’s a durable multi-season pad for those chilly nights under the stars.
Stuff these in your pack and head out of the country with peace of mind
First things first: your pack will be heavier. You’ll be packing more food, fuel, and layers. As for shelter, if you’re not expecting high winds or heavy snowfall, you probably don’t need to upgrade to a four-season tent; a sturdy (read: not ultralight or mostly mesh) three-season model should see you through.
We're going for an epic, cross-country road trip. Weight isn’t an issue, so we're excited to load up on gear that we normally wouldn't have in the backcountry. What are three pieces of gear that you think really make for a great car-camping trip?
Your sleeping bag is only as good as the pad underneath it. We recommend either of these two: the Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core, which employs both horizontal and vertical baffles, resulting in a comfier pad you're less likely to slide off in the middle of the night, or the lighter and warmer Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite.
The three-ounce Granite Gear Air Compressor ($24 for the small size) can crunch a standard 20- or 30-degree bag practically down to the size of an oatmeal canister.
DURABLE This puncture-resistant self-inflater is reinforced with closed-cell foam on the bottom. It didn’t leak even after we laid it atop a pile of sticks and jumped on it. 20′ x 72′ x 1.5′, 2.5 lbs; thermarest.com…
VERSATILE With nearly three inches of cushion, this sub-two-pound mattress is the choice for ultralight and ultracomfortable. The synthetic fill kept us warm even in the single digits. 20′ x 70′ x 2.8′, 1.8 lbs; orgear.com…
LIGHT Die-cut foam reduces weight and bulk, and raised “berms” along the perimeter, which prevent you from rolling off, make this featherweight feel wider than it is. The minimalist cushion is best for smaller (or tougher) hikers. 20′ x 72′ x 1′, 1.2 lbs; pacoutdoor.com…
Kelty’s queen-size Sleep Well Airbed has a soft top, comes with a six-volt rechargeable pump, and can double as a bed for guests at the house, too. kelty.com…
You can winterize any inflatable sleeping pad with an inexpensive (if bulky) closed-cell foam mat like THERM-A-REST’S Z LITE PAD.
Make your summer bag a cozy nook for two with the 12-ounce Functional Design Bag Doubler.
For alpine jaunts, bring along a ProLite 4 from Therm-a-Rest. The sleeping pad is 20 percent lighter—yet far tougher—than the company’s previous self-inflaters.
The Big Agnes Air Core, with its nylon laminate and seven lengthwise air chambers, looks like an inflatable pool toy and feels as springy as one—it blows up to a cushy 2.5 inches thick—but weighs an astounding 22 ounces and is rated to 35 degrees.
Unfurl the Kelty Silk Sleeping Bag Liner for instant camping luxury. It feels sweet against the skin, lengthens the life of your sack by reducing the frequency of launderings, and lowers your bag’s temperature rating by five degrees. To make extra room in your pack for your pad, liner, or…
What's the best full-length, ultra-light sleeping pad? Beth New Canaan, Connecticut
I agree with four of your five "top gear innovations" picks, but would strongly argue that the Therm-a-Rest pad should be in the #2 slot over the humble Ensolite pad. While Ensolite pads were a good step forward, the self-inflating matt has done more to enable a good night's sleep in the backcountry than anything else. Jeremy Omaha, NE
Im climbing Kilimanjaro this summer. Does it make sense to use a silk liner on the inside of my sleeping bag and a vapor barrier liner on the outside of the bag? Lauren Edmonton, Alberta
We plan to visit friends for a day or two at a time and would like to get sleeping bag liners to use instead of sheets. We also want something to use as a light sleeping bag when our 15 degree bags are too much. Can you compare the silk, cotton, fleece, and synthetic liners on the market? Diane Portland, Oregon
Ive had a Therm-a-Rest sleeping pad for a few years now, and I believe it has lost its cushioning. I stored it rolled up in its carry bag. Was that bad? Any recommendations on a new one? Rafael Laredo, Texas
I'm going on a sea kayaking trip in Palau and looking for recommendations on the best sleeping gear. Can you recommend a tropical weight sleeping bag or other solution that provides some cover without too much warmth? John Washington, D.C.
Im considering buying a bivy to add warmth to and protect my Mountain Hardwear Phantom 32 sleeping bag, which I chose for its light weight. I cp mostly in lean-tos or other minimalist shelters, and when the temp gets down to 35 degrees, I get chilled. Ive tried liners for warmth and to protect the inside of the bag, but theyre too confining. Any thoughts on the Mountain Hardwear Conduit Bivy? Or do you have other recommendations? Cheryl Melrose, Massachusetts
Is there a tried-and-true product I can apply to my sleeping pad and bivy bag to stop slippage? Just spent a lousy night sliding around on a nylon groundsheet (seldom can I find an off-trail flat spot in the Superstition Wilderness). Tom Arizona
I sleep curled up and cannot find a sleeping pad that's wide enough. Some part of my body ends up hanging off normal pads, and I can feel the heat being sucked away. Two pads don't stay in place overnight. Does anyone make pads that are wide? Eve Nashville, Tennessee
Which is better, an insulated inflatable sleeping pad (such as the Big Agnes Insulated Air Core) or a self-inflating pad? I want to pack light, but I also want something durable and warm enough for three-season camping. Rick St. Louis, Missouri
We do a reasonable amount of winter camping in both Adirondack lean-tos and in tents. Typically I use some combination of an emergency space blanket, a closed-cell pad, and an inflatable Therm-a-Rest pad. A couple years ago I had a hip replacement so padding comfort is a big factor. My question, then: Are the pricier down-filled sleeping pads like those from Exped really that much warmer? Jim Holland Patent, New York
I've been looking at some Big Agnes sleeping bags and interested in adding one of their REM sleep pads. Seems like a great idea (the pad inserts into a sleeve in the base of the bag), but I was wondering if this would be a mistake because the sleeping bag sacrifices insulation on its base. Should I go for the "system," or just drop for standalone sleeping bag and sleeping pad? Brad Durango, Colorado