Check out this expanded magazine extra from the SNEWS Outdoor Summer 2010 issue. To download the full issue, starting in August, go to www.snewsnet.com/magazines.
Sleeping pads essentially span the gamut from simple foam pads to insulated air mats -- and seem to resemble bed mattresses more and more every year. Companies are broadening their lines in 2011 to appease comfort campers and ultra-light backpackers.
- Sales are split between self-insulating pads (open-cell foam pads wrapped in air-tight, waterproof, nylon shells) and air pads (tube-like channels filled with air for comfort and down or synthetic fill for insulation), with consumers paying top dollar for a comfortable night’s sleep
- Companies like Cascade Designs and Pacific Outdoor Equipment are investing in thermo-generating technologies like radiant heat and reflective barriers to increase warmth-to-weight ratios.
- Inflation technologies have evolved to include flat valves, multiple valves and integrated pumping technologies that are easier to use and more durable.
- Other innovations for 2011 include welded baffle seams, hybrid pillows that mix insulation and air bladders, integrated non-slip top sheets, and the use of recycled materials often reused from within the company’s manufacturing process.