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Picture of Sleeping Pad for Colder Climates
     I am a novice at the very least when it comes to camping. Camping gear, quality camping gear comes at a cost some of it to high, so when I can I create what I can. Since my journey has begun it has lead me to the point of trying to find an affordable sleeping arrangement  for camping and it has been a daunting task. I am not as young and springy as I once was and the idea of sleeping on the hard and cold ground is as far as it gets from comfort for me.

     Hammocks in general are great but only in areas with close sitting trees, so my search continued. Next came cots, while supplying a definite comfort level I was searching for, it however was severely lacking int the mobility department. Finally I came upon an affordable and fairly convient way to attain a sleeping area, the sleeping mat. From this point I became inundated with information, closed cell, open cell, self-inflating and every combination of them. I came to the conclusion that to get the comfort level I wanted I would have to pay so I decided I had to create my own plus it would also be a lot more fun.
 
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Step 1: Supplies

Supplies

- 6'x8' Rug & Carpet Pad
     - Home Depot, Store SKU # 294560, $24.95
     - I wanted something nicer but all the local stores only sold it by the roll.
     - Not exactly 6'x8'
- 3M 24 oz. Hi-Strength 90 Spray Adhesive
     - Home Depot,  Store SKU # 453501, $12.99
     - This stuff is AWESOME!
- Sleeping Bag (Rectangular)
     - Got mine used from Good Will, $5.00
- Reflective Emergency Survival foil Blanket
     - Had an extra one lying around but they usually go for just a couple of dollars.

Tools

- Hobby knife / seam ripper (Take apart sleeping bag)
- Sewing Machine or if you have a lot of patience then needle and thread.
- Someone who knows how to use sewing machine, Sister-in-law.
- Utility Knife
- Straight Edge of some sort, 6.5 foot 2"x4"
- Tape Measure

Step 2: Cut, Cut, and Cut

Picture of Cut, Cut, and Cut
My initial thoughts were to have a sleeping mat that was two feet by six foot. Since the pad was not exactly 6'x8' I measured across and then divided by four and came up on the safe side with 23" increments. The length I did not mess with but it was a little more than six feet.

I used a long piece of lumber as square as I could find to create a straight edge. 

I measured 23" from end then lined up 2"x4".

Take utility knife and make cut.

Measure and repeat.

Cut off any extra material.

This image is all four pieces stacked (1.5" thick)  with excess removed which was not much.

Step 3: Glue, glue, glue, and glue.

Picture of Glue, glue, glue, and glue.
Blanket glued to pad.jpg
I wanted to attach the survival blanket to the top pad to retain warmth for winter camp.

I laid down the survival emergency blanket out side and weighted down the ends with extra wood.

Sprayed a good coat of 3M 90 Spray Adhesive onto the blanket as well as on one of the four pads.

Let it sit for a minute then place pad glue side down onto glued side of blanket.

I walked over it to make sure there was a good adhesion.

For the rest of the pads I sprayed each pad and glued them together.

 

Step 4: Un-stich and Sew

Picture of Un-stich and Sew
Stitching sleeve around pad.jpg
I took the sleeping bag apart being careful as possible the seams that ran across the sleeping bag held the polyester filling in place. in the end I came away with a nice piece fabric and a 8' zipper, not bad for five bucks.   

It was plenty of material to cover pad with plenty to spare.

I lucked out on the zipper it was the perfect fit was roughly the width of the pad, 1.5".

I was little tricky but if you are as lucky as me and have someone that knows how to use a sewing machine you should be just fine.

I wanted the slip to be zipped on to be able to remove to wash after use. Also if I need to replace the pads I would only lose half the project.

Step 5:

Picture of
Finished pad laying out.jpg
The finished project ended up with a pad around 6'x23" with a rolled up width of a 11". 

I went to Wal-mart and picked up two 4' straps to keep the pad together and be able to attach it to my backpack.

I have not had a chance to take it out on any extensive test but overall it look like it will last for a while.

This is my first instructable so any advice and input will be greatly appreciated.

Update
     - The weight came in just under 9 lbs. 


Considering that you can buy a lightweight, closed cell foam mattress that will keep you warm at -20 deg F at any Army surplus store or online for less than $20, and there is no further work required, this article has little merit.
The best closed cell foam, Ensolite, a blue colored soft foam is flexible down to -40 F and is durable enough to last a lifetime.
There are many types of closed cell foam used for packaging which can be acquired cheaply as well. Even small pieces can be assembled into a mat with the ubiquitous duct tape or a plastic foil tape for sealing HVAC joints.
Blacsdad1 year ago
Cool diy for car camping...I'm going to make one for my wife...for backpacking way too heavy...my gross pack weight averages less than twenty...
Blacsdad1 year ago
Cool diy for car camping...I'm going to make one for my wife...for backpacking way too heavy...my gross pack weight averages less than twenty...
Blacsdad1 year ago
Cool diy for car camping...I'm going to make one for my wife...for backpacking way too heavy...my gross pack weight averages less than twenty...
Blacsdad1 year ago
Cool diy for car camping...I'm going to make one for my wife...for backpacking way too heavy...my gross pack weight averages less than twenty...
blodefood2 years ago
Re other comments: If it is too heavy for backpack/bike camping, it would still be quite useable for trailer or tent camping. You could also use it as a guest bed in a basement as it looks like it would be warm.
As other people already noted, 9lbs is really WAY too heavy. You could shed a lot of that weight by not using any glue at all. Since you're already sewing, find a way to sew the linings together.
rhm32 years ago
9 lbs. is way too heavy for a sleeping pad.
IX Smith XI2 years ago
One thing you could try to get the weight down without killing its warmth is to find a thinner rug mat and when you are attaching the space blanket, sew in thin but wide semi-filled air bubbles into the mat. You could experiment the spacing of the air bubbles and even the mat itself to have one of those accordion style sleeping pads.
This is a very cool idea and it sounds like it works great for you. however 9lbs is a little much for my liking unless I was dragging a sled instead of carrying a backpack. I like to use of the space blanket.
I like this, very well thought out. In the intrest of backpackers how much does this thing weigh when your finished?
mscharf (author)  RedneckEngineer3 years ago
I do not have a scale I will have to get back to you on that one.
mscharf (author)  mscharf3 years ago
9 lbs.
WOW that was much more than I would have guessed it would have been!
mscharf (author)  RedneckEngineer3 years ago
lt is a little heavy but I think its worth it for a two or even a five day outing.
susanrm3 years ago
It looks warm, but how much does it weigh? Weight is so critical if you are backpacking. I have a Thermarest I got from Campmor for $20. In the winter, I just add an extra layer (emergency blanket works well) for insulation.
mscharf (author)  susanrm3 years ago
I do not have a scale I will have to get back to you on that one.
mscharf (author)  mscharf3 years ago
9 lbs.
Grissini3 years ago
mmmm shiny!