Pad Pro Series: how to pick a pad

Pad Pro Series: how to pick a pad

The outdoors is our favorite place to sleep, so we’re pretty passionate about creating the best sleep systems available. All of that starts from the ground up with our completely redesigned air chamber sleeping pads that provide comfort, dependability and guaranteed quality. You may not notice a huge difference from the exterior, but you’ll feel the difference from the upgraded materials and interior construction which provides reliable insulating properties that have been tested and rated to the new R-Value ASTM F3340-18 industry standard.

Photo by: Devon Balet

To determine the best sleeping pad for your adventure, you have to consider at a few factors. A good place to start is with the season in which you’ll be camping. This will help you determine the minimum R-Value you need, the higher the number, the warmer the pad. Need a break down on R-Values? Check out our blog, “Intro to R-Values”. Then you can consider the other aspects of your trip – will you be carrying all of the weight? What level of comfort do you prefer, taking pad size into consideration, and how much are you willing to invest in a sleeping pad?

At Big Agnes, we insist our air pads cushion you with 3.25” of air between your hips and the ground for maximum comfort. We use internal construction that stabilizes your sleeping surface so that your pad feels more like your bed at home and the best backcountry bed you’ve ever slept on. In all models, the outer tubes are always a little thicker than the inner tubes so that you are comfortably cradled in the middle of the pad after a long day in the saddle, on the trail, or just because you deserve the best night’s sleep out in the dirt.

Photo by: Noah Wetzel

Depending on the season you’re camping in, the weight you’re willing to carry, and your comfort preference, we’ve got a pad that’s just right for you. When you’re comparing air chamber pads, there’s a few questions you should ask yourself:

1. When will I be camping – summer, spring, fall or winter? We offer pads that are suitable through the seasons, based on R-Values from 1.4 to 4.5.

R-Value 2 or lowerGreat for Summer

  • Air Core Ultra
  • Third Degree Pad – although not an air chamber pad, it is an inexpensive, almost weightless addition to your sleep system and an option to use in the summer on its own.

R-Value 3-4.5 Great for Spring through Fall

Camping on frozen ground?

  • Our Third Degree Closed Cell Foam Pad can be used alone or beneath any pad for additional warmth and comfort. Pair with an insulated pad when sleeping on frozen ground or snow for a four-season system.

2. How much weight am I willing to carry?

3. What comfort level am I looking for?

4. How much am I willing to invest?

Photo by: Eric Hockman

If you’re starting to narrow it down, it’s important to know that our pads vary in size from 20” minimum to 25”, 30”, 40” and 50” widths depending on your preferred comfort level and the size of the bag you’re pairing it with. We also specialize in a 20”x72” Mummy shaped Insulated AXL Air Pad for gram counters and minimalists as well as a larger 50”x78” Tent Floor Pad to cover the entire floor of a two-person tent for doublewide bags and duos camping side by side.

Pad lengths vary from 66” for shorter campers and kids to longer lengths, up to 78” for taller campers. Our 72” pad length is considered a regular size pad that can accommodate a camper up to 6’ tall comfortably. Make sure to check that the pad size you select will work with your Big Agnes System Bag. Most System Bags utilize our Flex Pad Sleeve that pair well with pads up to 5” wider than the standard pad size, however our kids’, Park Series Bags, Doublewide and other select bags will require more specific sizes.

Photo by: Noah Wetzel

Now that you’ve picked your pad, take extra comfort in knowing that all of our pads can be personalized for firmness with our quick inflation valve that can be utilized to make micro-adjustments throughout the night with a simple pressure release to give you control over how firm or soft your surface is. As a bonus for sleeping with Big Agnes, we’re now including an upcycled-inflation sack in each air-pad package to help you get into total backcountry-bliss that much faster and easier.

We know firsthand that the quality of your sleep determines the outcome of your day, and that’s why we’ve redesigned our entire line of air chamber pads. Increased comfort, dependability and guaranteed quality will keep you sleeping soundly through the night. Whichever pad you end up with for a night out in the dirt, you can’t go wrong with a Big Agnes sleeping pad.

Want to sleep in the dirt like a pro? Check out our blog on “Pad Pro Hacks – for your best night in the dirt”.

Still wondering what an R-Value is? Check out our blog “Intro to R-Values”.