A Favorite Recent Purchase in Gear the Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite Camping Mat

by PennPaddler

The one camping gear purchase I recently made is a very simple inexpensive product and has greatly improved my outdoor experience, and that is my Therma Rest Z-Lite camping pad.

For years of canoe camping I never had an issue with unrolling my sleeping bag directly on the floor of the tent and crawling in for the night because most of my camping occurs in mild weather conditions when the ground and air temperatures are at comfortable ranges. And as far as comfort I’ve just become accustomed to the idea that while I am sleeping on the ground I should expect to be occasionally awakened by a tree root or sharp edged rock poking me in my back once or twice during the night. So sleeping pads were never a necessity to me and I actually considered them as extra work because of the inflating, deflating and packing involved.

Then along came my first wilderness canoe trip in upstate New York one cold weekend in early May. Was I cold? You bet! Did I sleep well? No way! I layered my clothing, crawled in my sleeping bag and then rolled myself like a sausage with every other article of clothing I could find and I still froze throughout the entire night. So then I went looking for a lightweight, easy to pack camping pad and I purchased the Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite.

It’s designed for reduced weight outdoor activities such as alpine climbing and extreme backpacking so it’s certainly acceptable for wilderness canoe trips. The pad design folds up like an accordion and packs inside my waterproof bag with little notice and the egg carton design increases softness and adds insulation by trapping warm air under my sleeping bag. It also captures moisture condensation that would normally accumulate between my sleeping bag and the floor of the tent. Just wake up in the morning and you’ll be amazed at the moisture collected on the mat that would have been absorbed into your sleeping bag.

So yes, this simple Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite camping pad is one of my favorite  recent camping gear purchases and if you’re not crazy about the idea of packing along a heavier inflatable camping mat I recommend to you the Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite.


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