A sleeping mat’s ability to insulate your body is measured using “R” (resist) value. The higher the R-value, the higher the mat’s ability to resist heat flow (generally measured on a scale of 1-10). Thicker mats generally offer a higher R-value, but often come at the expense of weight and packability.
DIFFERENT MATERIALS FOR DIFFERENT USES
When choosing the best pad or mat for your needs, consider the amount of cushioning needed to be comfortable, but also the size, shape, and packability that it offers.
Air Pads: Offer greater comfort and cushioning, but are generally heavier and more expensive than foam pads. Short or ¾ air pads are great for long distance hiking.Foam Pads: Are Lightweight, inexpensive, waterproof, and have high levels of insulation. They tend to be stiff and firm, and can be bulky to carry. Best used for winter camping in combination with an air pad, or for backpacking when weight is less of an issue.