Short Length Ultralight Sleeping Pads

Published on Author John
The NEMO Tensor Insulated 20S Sleeping Pad is 48 inches long and weighs 9.5 ounces
The NEMO Tensor Insulated 20S Sleeping Pad is 48 inches long and weighs 9.5 ounces.

Switching to a shorter torso length sleeping pad is a good way to reduce the weight of your ultralight backpacking gear because your legs don’t need the same amount of insulation as your core does in three season conditions. If you have a short torso-length pad 36-48″ in length, you can usually rest your feet and legs on top of your backpack and spare clothing at night and stay perfectly warm. How much weight can you save by switching to a shorter pad? Let’s say you have a 6′ long inflatable pad that weighs 12 ounces and you replace it with one that’s 4′ long and weighs 8 ounces. Four ounces is a pretty significant weight reduction with very little loss of comfort.

Here’s a list of short sleeping products to give you an idea of the type of savings that are possible if you were to buy a shorter length foam pad, self-inflating sleeping pad, an air inflatable one. I’ve included gear weights, R-values and manufacturer suggested temperature rating when these are available.

Short Ultralight Sleeping Pads Type Dimensions R-Value Min Temp Weight (oz)
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite S Inflatable 47″ x 20″ x 2.5″ 3.2 NA 8
Therm-a-Rest Prolite XS Self-inflating 36″ x 20″ x 1″ 2.4 NA 8
Therm-a-Rest Prolite S Self-inflating 47″ x 20″ x 1″ 2.4 NA 11
Therm-a-Rest ZLite Sol S Closed Cell Foam 51″ x 20″ x 0.75″ 2.6 NA 10
Therm-a-Rest Ridgerest Sol S Closed Cell Foam 48″ x 20″ x 0.62″ 2.8 NA 9
Nemo Tensor 20S Mummy Inflatable 48″ x 20″ x 3″ NA 30-40 F 8.5
Nemo Tensor Insulated 20S Mummy Inflatable 48″ x 20″ x 3″ NA 15-25 F 9.5
Exped SIM HL XS Self-inflating 47.2″ x 20.5″ x 1.5″ 3.2 23 F 12.3
Klymit Static V Junior Inflatable 50.4″ x 23″ x 2.5 1.3 NA 13
Klmit Inertia X Lite Inflatable 48″ x 18″ x 1.5″ NA NA 6.1
Klymit Inertia X Wave Inflatable 48″ x 25″ x 1.5″ NA NA 10.5
Gossamer Gear Nightlight Foam 19″ x 29″ x 0.75″ NA NA 5 to 6 (varies)

DIY Pad Shortening

If you’re willing to gamble on modifying a self-inflating pad or an air inflatable one that you already own, there are also lots of videos online that explain how to shorten such pads using a pair of scissors and an iron. Here are a couple of good ones that I recommend:

In addition, don’t overlook the option switching to a cut-down closed cell foam pad, like the accordion-style folding Therm-a-Rest Zlite favored by many long distance hikers because it’s so durable.

See Also:

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