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Ask Kristin

Pool Float for Sleeping Pad?

I'm on a budget. Why shouldn't I substitute a $10 pool float for a sleeping pad that costs $100 or more?

Question:

I’m on a budget. Why shouldn’t I substitute a $10 pool float for a sleeping pad that costs $100 or more?

Submitted by – Eldad – New Hampton, NY

Answer:

I think you should give it a whirl, Eldad! You only have 10 bucks to lose, after all! But make no mistake: your friends with real sleeping pads will be much better off. A pool float is inferior for several reasons:

-They are far less durable than “real” sleeping pads.

-They take forever to blow up.

-They are loud and squeaky and bouncy when you roll around on them.

-The have no insulation and you will feel the cold ground below you on chilly nights.

-They’re bulky.

-And most importantly, they just aren’t as comfortable or supportive for your back.

If you’re a tough guy, and don’t need much padding, you’d be far better off with a non-inflatable, closed-cell foam like the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol.

If you want a bit of cush, you can still get a pad that will be far better than a pool float without a huge investment. Check out the Therm-a-Rest Trail Scout, which is a bombproof, 1.25-inch-thicg self-inflating pad that starts at just 40 bucks.