Ask any experienced backpacker what you need to remember when packing for the backcountry and you'll get the same answer – pack for necessity and minimal weight.
During colder weather, sleeping pads are a definite necessity for their insulating properties. Even when conditions are warmer, you will want to own a sleeping pad that will cushion you on hard, rocky ground.
Last year I went on my first hard-core backpacking adventure. I knew I would need a lightweight sleeping pad that would pack down to a convenient size. After the kind of careful deliberation I am known for, I decided on the XPG Ultralight Pad for its combination of high-end performance and light weight.
Each XPG pad has a 1-1/2" thickness to insulate you against the cold ground. Without a sleeping pad underneath you, the ground will steal away your warmth regardless of the temperature rating of your sleeping bag. When you lay on your bag the compression of your body weight decreases the loft in the insulation, allowing the cold to transfer through the bag to your body.
The million-hole foam used in the XPG pad is self-inflating, but it takes a long time to fill up on its own. You won't be able to lie on top of a self-inflating pad and expect it to self inflate. The valve has to be open and the pad has to be clear of any weight on top of it. I always blow mine up by mouth to expedite the inflation process. That way the pad is ready for my tired body to flop on top of it in less than a minute.
The shell is made of abrasion-resistant nylon to keep the air-foam chamber sealed. The attached strap secures the pad in a rolled-up position to fit into the included stuff sack.
The XPG is available in three sizes: Small, Regular and Large. I choose the Regular size to get the best of both worlds. I wanted the comfort and insulating protection of a full-size pad, but I didn't want to go overboard in the size and weight department. The Small size will provide coverage for your midsection and upper body. This is ideal for hard-core backpackers who want minimal size and weight. The Large pad will support the entire body of most campers and will still pack down to a reasonably small size.
I always return exhausted to camp after a hard day of fishing, hiking or hunting. But all I need is a restful night's sleep and another morning outdoors to renew my enthusiasm. This is when my XPG sleeping pad and another day of the weekend are put to good use.
Click this link to purchase: Cabela's XPG™ Ultralight Sleeping Pad