I’ve heard it said you can tell a great deal about a woodsman’s skill level by their ability to get a good night’s sleep outdoors. Sleep in general is a massively underrated thing when it comes to survival. Many don’t realize just how important a good rest is in keeping your mind sharp, energy levels up and your overall health good.
One piece of gear that has been a key piece for me in getting a good night’s sleep over the past few years has been the Therm-a-Rest Trail Scout. This model is a fantastic mid-priced sleeping pad that does a lot of things very well. Now while there are plenty of pads out there that pack up smaller or weigh less I’ll lay out a few of the reasons I’m a big fan of the Trail Scout as my sleeping pad.
The Trail Scout is made of a Urethane coating with a PU Foam interior that provides some comfort even when fully deflated. Now this is a self-inflating mat if left long enough but I tend to just blow it up manually. The regular length mat (you can get the long version if you’re particularly tall) weighs just 1lb 6oz and packs down to a little bigger than a football.
Now one of the biggest draws to mat for me is the R-value of 3.4. (An R-Value is the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power). As I mentioned before there are lots of sleeping pads that pack up smaller or weigh less but typically have a much lower R-value meaning they aren’t well suited for cold weather. This mat’s R-value of 3.4 means it’s usable down to as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius). I like this because it means I can buy one mat and use it year round. Sure it means I’m carrying some extra weight for the summer months but I’ll take that for something I can use in all weather.
The next thing I particularly love about the Trail Scout is it’s durability. I’ve seen plenty of lighter mats easily get poked through by sticks of branches and become essentially useless without a patch kit. While the Urethane coating on this mat adds a bit of extra weight it also drastically increases it’s durability. Therm-a-Rest also includes a limited lifetime warranty for all of their gear that covers any defects in material or workmanship. While this won’t cover you poking a hole through it with a sharp object it will give you peace of mind that it’s covered from any manufacturers defect for life.
The last thing I like about the Trail Scout is it’s price. At under $50 on Amazon it’s a fantastic mid-priced sleeping pad that is a serious upgrade over your old plain blue foam mat. As I mentioned before I’ve used this pad for over 2 years now and don’t see myself replacing it any time soon. That’s a pretty good investment if you ask me.
I hope this was a helpful look into what I use for a sleeping pad. As always if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below.