Sleeping pads have two important uses. First, they insulate us to prevent cold from coming upward into our sleeping bags. Second, they provide comfortable padding.
Insulation and padding are terms that are usually not hot topics for hunters. That is unless you do not have a good sleeping pad when you need one. A good example would be when you are trying to sleep on cold, frozen ground or might have the odd rock or tree-stump under your sleeping bag.
Sleeping pads are also essential for cold weather use of the popular folding camp cots. Cold creeps upward through the canvas. Your sleeping pad provides insulation that prevents discomfort when the temperature drops below freezing.
I have used the Cabela's Alaskan Guide Sleeping Pad on several camping and hunting trips with complete satisfaction. One of the most interesting features of this sleeping pad is its ability to almost instantaneously inflate itself. Roll it out, open the stop-valve and the pad fills out right before your eyes.
Let's face it; blowing up an air mattress is not a lot of fun. I can easily visualize the look of distress on the face of my hunting buddies as they tried to blow up their mattress. This usually takes place in a cramped tent after nightfall. Takes a lot of air to blow up most mattresses.
Not so with the Alaskan Guide pad. Simply undo the compression straps, stretch out the pad, open the stop-valve and watch the pad fill itself. I happen to prefer a fairly firm sleeping pad. A couple of breaths blown into the valve adds just the right amount of loft. Then I tighten the stop-valve to the closed position and the pad is ready for use.
The secret to the Alaskan Guide pad is special foam that is called the "Million-Hole" foam. I must admit that I did not get to count the number of holes since the foam is not visible inside the pad. I will take Cabela's word that there is a million holes. How does it work? Simple - when you roll-up the pad you squeeze the air out of the millions of holes in the foam. When the pad is tightly rolled up the stop-valve is secured so no air can get back into the pad. The pad has built-in compression straps that secure the rolled up pad for easy placement into its stuff sack.
The Cabela's Alaskan Guide sleeping pad rolls up into an easy to pack container that is about two feet long and ten inches wide. My pad it the largest of three available sizes and it weighs just over four pounds. Cabela's lists the sizes as:
Compact at 20" wide by 48" long. Thickness is 1.5" and weight is 1 pound, 13 ounces.
Regular at 20" wide by 72" long. Thickness is 2.0" and weight is 3 pound, 4 ounces.
Large at 25" wide by 76" long. Thickness is 2.5" and weight is 4 pound, 4 ounces.
A handy repair kit is supplied with each pad - just in case you have a puncture in the field.
The Alaskan Guide sleeping pad is covered with a tough, soft-textured material that is not slippery. Your sleeping bag stays in place. Along the sides of the pad are hook and loop strips that let you hook any of the Alaskan Guide pads together if you need a larger pad.
My favorite use of the pad is in conjunction with my big Cabela's outfitter XL folding camp cot. Snuggle into any Cabela's sleeping bag and you will enjoy a great sleep. I slept through the visit of a huge timber wolf to our campsite last year in Alaska. His footprints were only a couple of paces from the tent when we got up one morning. No one will ever know - did our snoring attract him to the camp - or did it scare him away!