A good night’s rest can make or break your trip. And a quality sleeping pad can help you sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed.
I like to keep things lightweight and simple, which eliminates most of the inflatable or self-inflating sleeping pads in my budget. Thankfully, I’m not a particularly fussy sleeper so I don’t need a ton of cushion. And sleeping on a stiff bed in Korea for a year is much like sleeping on the ground, so using a sleeping pad is a step up. So when it came time to pick a lightweight, durable (and affordable) sleeping pad I went with the Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOLite Sleeping Pad.
But having a sleeping pad isn’t just about comfort. A good pad also provides an important layer of protection from the warmth draining effects of the cold ground. One of the first things you’ll notice about the RidgeRest SOLite, is the silver coating on one side of the pad. This is added to boost heat reflection, sort of like a space blanket. Therm-a-Rest claims the Solar coating gives the pad a 10% boost in warmth as well as added durability. When you use the pad be sure to lay it down silver side up.
When I’ve paired it up with either my North Face Cat’s Meow 20-degree bag or my REI Mojave 15-degree bag, I’ve had no problems staying warm even when temperatures have dipped down. Because of the Solar coating, this pad can be used in all four seasons. The pad can do double duty as a seat cushion if you leave it rolled or fold it up.
RidgeRest SOLite Specs
- Aluminized Solar surface increases warmth by reflecting your body heat back at you.
- Tough and durable closed cell foam.
- Dimensions (inches): Small = 20 x 0.625 x 48, Regular: 20 x 0.625 x 72, Large: 20 x 0.625 x 77
- Weight: Small = 9-ounces, Regular = 19-ounces, Large = 19-ounces
The RidgeRest is a good balance of comfort and lightweight and works wonderfully at providing a barrier between you and the warmth-sucking ground. It’s the only sleeping pad I currently use and I’ve found that it works well, providing just enough comfort for me. It’s not an air mattress, so it’s not ultra cushy but it also won’t fail when you’re out on long trips. I like not having to worry about the pad breaking. I’ve used it at Climber’s Bivouac on Mount St. Helens and during a 3-day backpacking trip to the Enchanted Valley in the Olympic National Park and woke up without any sore spots.