Camping is an activity that has become very popular recently and here in the US camping industry has blossomed like no other. Because of this, the demand for all the accessories associated with camping has also increased. And as we know with the increase in demand, the prices of these accessories also go up.
It becomes a very expensive camping trip if you end up buying every single accessory required for camping. So, you have to look at what are the things that you can do without, for the trip.
One such thing is a sleeping pad. You need to have a sleeping bag for sure, but a sleeping pad can be easily substituted by other means. This means you will not require spending any extra money, do Camping Without Sleeping Pad and substitute it by very common means.
- Have a sleeping cot or Underquilt
- Choose the right location
- Have an insulating layer inside the sleeping bag
- Have a hot water bottle or bag
- Have a campfire
- Wear Appropriate Clothes
- Have a good quality tarp
- Replace it with some other pad
So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
Need For A Sleeping Pad
Before we look for its substitutes, we must know what is a sleeping pad, what it does, and why it is needed.
So, a sleeping pad is a foam mattress, that is meant for providing comfort. A sleeping pad is about half a centimeter thick but the material is highly insulating from cold. When you go camping, if you have a sleeping cot with you, a sleeping pad isn’t necessary at all.
But if you are going to sleep on the floor, the ground can be cold at night. At that time, if you don’t have a sleeping pad, you most probably are going to wake up in the middle of the night feeling cold on your back.
Thus, we know that a sleeping pad is necessary for camping, it goes inside your sleeping bag, and that it keeps you warm at night by insulating your back from the cold seeping through the floor of your tent.
How To Do Camping Without Sleeping Pad?
Now that we know what a sleeping pad is, what it does, and why it is needed, we can look for alternatives to a sleeping pad.
1. Have A Sleeping Cot Or Underquilt
First off, if you don’t have a sleeping pad to give you insulation from the ground, you can take your back off the ground and sleep on a sleeping cot. A cot is just like a bed, so even if you don’t have insulation, you can just sleep in a cot with a sleeping bag.
For hammocks, your back is already on the ground, but with the wind passing below you can lake off the heat from your back. But if you have an underquilt, the heat will stay trapped because of it and you can do without a sleeping pad.
The sleeping cot and underquilt are accessories many people carry for camping anyway, so it won’t be something extra. But if you don’t have these two, you can look for other alternatives that don’t involve anything that costs money.
2. Choose The Right Location
If you don’t have a sleeping pad with you, you have to choose the location of your tent set up very precisely. The place where you set up your tent shouldn’t be damp at all. It had to be completely dry or the dampness will make the floor of your tent wet and as a result, you will feel cold.
You can only choose a rocky terrain to set up your tent, but you have to use a thick ground tarp for that type of camping.
For hammock campers as well, choosing the right location is very important when camping without a sleeping pad. Your hammock can’t be in the path of a flowing breeze. You should try to find a spot that is well shielded from the wind. This way your back remains safe from wind that carries away your body heat.
3. Have An Insulating Layer Inside The Sleeping Bag
Basically, how a sleeping pad works is that you place it inside a sleeping bag and you sleep over it. It provides insulation from the ground. Now, if you don’t use a sleeping pad, you can add some thick cloth beneath you and sleep over it.
The cloth can be a blanket, made of winter clothing, a bed sheet rolled in multiple layers, or even some of your sweaters laid properly.
This can be a solution for the cold, but with clothes, the thickness increases quite a bit and thus you will have less room for movement inside your sleeping bag. But other than this, it is one alternative to a sleeping pad.
4. Have A Hot Water Bottle Or Bag
No worries if you don’t have a sleeping pad, you can generate your own heat inside the sleeping bag, then there is no need for insulation. You can have a water bottle or water bag filled with hot water and you can hold it close to you while sleeping.
The sleeping bag will trap the heat generated inside it by the hot water bag or bottle and keep you warm all night. It is an easily portable and efficient alternative for a sleeping pad.
5. Have A Campfire
In the last point, we told you that you can do without a sleeping pad if you have a source of heat generation inside the sleeping bag. The same applies to the sleeping bag. If you lie with a sleeping bag without a sleeping pad, near a campfire, you aren’t likely to feel cold at all.
Along with being a source of heat generation, a campfire can also be a leisure activity and a place for cooking as well. So, seeing at the multiple benefits of a campfire, it is a fitting alternative to a sleeping pad.
If you want to know how to light a campfire, you can look at How To Make A Campfire? Easy Step By Step Guide.
6. Wear Appropriate Clothes
If you are camping in winter, you will probably pack a lot of sweaters and winter wear for your trip. This can be a handy alternative to a sleeping pad. You should always try to wear multiple sets of clothing before getting inside a sleeping bag. This will help in trapping your body heat and then even without a sleeping pad, you can easily spend the night with a comfortable sleep.
For the summer season, however, wearing multiple sets of clothes is not feasible and so, this alternative works best for the winter season.
7. Have A Good Quality Tarp
Having a good quality tarp for the ground can help you save the money for a sleeping pad. The tarp however can be a bit more expensive than the general ones. The tarp has to be thick and highly waterproof. It should insulate you totally from the ground beneath.
A good quality tarp can become a good investment for the long term, given that you take care of its waterproofing by handling it in the right way.
8. Replace It With Some Other Pad
Finally, the last but the best alternative to a sleeping pad is some other pad. At your homes, you probably have already got the best alternative for a sleeping pad lying somewhere. You can save the money for a sleeping pad, and just carry a similar pad that is already available to you to the camp. Some of these alternatives can be:
- Yoga mats
- Portable Mattresses
- Gym pad
Yes, your yoga mat or your gym pad can be your answer to a good sleeping pad alternative. You can also use a pile of leaves as a cover for insulation. All of them however aren’t adequately thick enough to provide you with the same level of insulation as a sleeping pad, but nevertheless, they are an option available to you readily.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When we go camping, the alternative to a sleeping pad that we like to use the most is to have an insulating layer of some clothing beneath us. This works exactly like a sleeping pad, and our money gets saved by just packing some extra clothing.
Remember that all these substitutes work fine, but no substitute can totally replace a sleeping bag and it is up to you how much you can adjust to the changes. It is best to practice in your backyard with these alternatives a few times before you go on the actual camping trip.
Do share your adventurous stories with us and tell us if there are some other alternatives to a sleeping pad that we may have missed out here, through the comment section.
Best of luck to you and Happy Camping!