Many people fail to realize that there are actually sleeping pads intended for summer use and then other sleeping pads that are better suited for winter use. These 4 season sleeping pads tend to have a few innovative features that make them quite a bit warmer than your average sleeping pad. These extra features do tend to make them a bit heavier than other sleeping pads, but when it comes to staying warm in winter, you really have to put your comfort over the weight of your gear, within reason of course.
4 Season Sleeping PadsFeatures to look for when reviewing 4 season sleeping pads.
- R-Value – The main thing that you need to pay attention to when buying a 4 season sleeping pad is its R-value. What’s important to now is that a high R-value, of 7 or 8, for instance, means that the sleeping pad will reflect a lot of body heat, and an R-value of 1 or 2, for example, will reflect little or no body heat.
- Shape – Shape also matters quite a bit when it comes to 4 season sleeping pads. It’s great if you can stay centered on a mummy sleeping pad, but if you find yourself with body parts hanging off of the sleeping pad then those parts of your body aren’t getting the benefit of the sleeping pad. So if you’re a restless sleeper you want to seriously consider rectangular sleeping pads.
Best 4 Season Sleeping PadsSome of the better 4 season sleeping pads, based on the above criteria.
- Therm-A-Rest Trail Pro - With an R-value of 4.8 this is a good sleeping pad for milder winter conditions. It's an inflatable sleeping pad with foam built in to the top, which is where the increase in warmth comes from. It's also 2 inches thick, and has a slight tapered shape from the hips down to the toes. It weighs a grand total of 2 pounds, which is 910 grams.
- Big Agnes Two Track Pad - With a slightly higher R-value of 6.5 the Two Track is a sleeping pad best suited to winter conditions. Like the Trail Pro it's a combination of inflatable sleeping pad and foam for the higher R-value. Unlike the Trail Pro, however, it comes in two different shapes, a mummy and a rectangular, so that you can choose whichever suites your sleeping style best. The rectangular version weighs 2 pounds 10 ounces, or 1.19 kilograms.
- Exped DownMat 9 - If you're heading somewhere cold and need a warm winter sleeping pad the DownMat is ideal. It has an impressive R-value of 8, and an even more impressive weight of just 2 pounds 2.6 ounces, or 980 grams. It pulls that impressive weight to warmth ratio off by using 700+ fill down, rather than foam, as the method of insulation. It's also rectangular, and a total of 3.5 inches thick, making it an even more comfortable choice for sleeping in the outdoors.