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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Winter Camping and Activities
      Sleeping Pads     



member (19)member
03/01/2019 11:28AM
I am curious what types of sleeping pads people use when winter camping in the BWCA? I previously used two traditional Therm-a-rest summer pads to increase insulation and it worked fine, but decided for this year to invest in a sturdier sleeping pad with an R-Value rating of 5.1 as then I will only need one sleeping pad which will save me a lot of space in terms of gear.

That said I have read on some blogs that people still recommend two pads even when you have a good R-Value rating. Reasons generally being it still improves insulation and provides a backup as well if one goes down.

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distinguished member (160)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/01/2019 12:27PM
Most people that have tried one use an exped downmat. Up to 3 1/2” thick and full of down. I use one with a 0 degree down bag and a fleece liner inside the bag. Has done the trick on many nights beyond -20.
distinguished member (393)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/01/2019 02:18PM
I use an exped downmat 7 and a bag rated to 10. I've only had one rough night of sleep and that was when I made the rookie mistake of going to bed with damp feet on a night it hit -25.
member (19)member
03/01/2019 02:35PM
My sleeping pad is a R-Value of 5.1 (link below), my sleeping bag is a down 0 degree bag, and I have a sleeping bag liner rated for another 25 degrees. Thus while my pad itself is not as great as the exped downmat, I still think it would be a decent arrangement.

My last trip I had two summer sleeping pads each in the 2-3 range for R-Value and only a 20 degree bag with the liner. So this setup should put me in a better place overall.
03/02/2019 08:03AM
I use an Exped 9, r value 8. , probably the warmest single mattress available. Mixed with a 0 degree BA Pomer Hoit down bag. Comfortable at negative temperatures.

distinguished member(2026)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/02/2019 09:00AM
I use an Exped Downmat 7 UL, which has R=5.9 I think combined with a Thermarest Z-loft at 2.9 for a total R value of 8.8. R values are additive. I also use my Downmat 7 in the summer too as it's quite comfortable. I guess I'd rather have the Downmat 9, but I found the 7 on such a great clearance I had to go with it. The Z-loft is fast, easy, and foolproof, makes up for the extra insulation, and provides insurance against Downmat failure which can happen.
distinguished member(1078)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/03/2019 02:06PM
Exped downmat9 deluxe and a 1/2" closed cell foam pad below. used in Temps to -45° in open air camping. Been using downmats for over 10 years winter and summer. Just did the Lower canyons of the Rio Grande on the Texas- Mexico Border and slept on the Downmat 9 dlx. I like to sleep in comfort!
distinguished member (418)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/14/2019 03:03PM
I use a Thermarest Mondoking. It has an R value of 11.4 so it's thiiiiick and warm. The downside, of course, is that it is big and bulky. Works great for car camping or if you are using a pulk but I sure wouldn't want to backpack it in!
member (7)member
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