Backcountry Forum

Make Your Own Gear
Backpacking Forums
backcountry gear

---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store

Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen


Avalanche Gear
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters


Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel

the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags


Sleeping Bags


Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial






Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear


Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel


Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva


Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment

 Backcountry Gear Clearance

Stay Healthy--Eat Well


Mary Janes Farm Organic Backcountry Meals


Natural High


Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#168363 - 08/09/12 01:38 PM homemade sleeping pad?
smidge Offline

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 8
[s][/s]so I haunt been able to Find many topics or videos in the net about this. is there any reasons why? I goto the store and sleeping padscare upwards of 50 dollars. in sure we could make one much cheaper that would be ok to use during summer or spring. I get a bit warmer weather here than most probably being in socall. so if any of you have made your own, tips would be nice. I was thinking just getting closed cell foam and using that lol

Edited by smidge (08/09/12 01:43 PM)

#168364 - 08/09/12 02:07 PM Re: homemade sleeping pad? [Re: smidge]
BZH Offline

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 869
Loc: Torrance, CA
If you are talking closed cell foam pad, chopping one up to what you want isn't a very complex DIY project. People have discussed materials to use. If you just want closed cell foam, people usually recommend picking a cheap one up in the camping section at Walmart. If you want additional insulation the hardware stores cell foam insulation with a reflective backing. I think Bill Stephenson was using something like this?

If you want an inflatable pad, now you are talking a real DIY project. I haven't looked into it much, but I understand Bender (who used to run Kookabay and produce very popular sleeping pads) discussed many of his techniques on BPL. I think it comes down to the right materials and a hot iron. The most challenging part is getting the valve glued.

Edited by BZH (08/09/12 02:08 PM)
Edit Reason: added an n't to say what I actually meant

#168365 - 08/09/12 02:38 PM Re: homemade sleeping pad? [Re: smidge]
skcreidc Offline

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
smidge, I'll reiterate what BZH stated. Closed cell foam pads are cheap and you can modify your own easily. With an inflatable pad as a project you might want to ask yourself how much you like making things before you head in that direction. If you are pretty passionate about about making things, then give it a try.

#168367 - 08/09/12 02:49 PM Re: homemade sleeping pad? [Re: skcreidc]
smidge Offline

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 8
cool thanks for the info bZh. for now I'll just be stayingg in the los Padres, L.A., and sanbBernardino forests which shouldn't be to cold at this time. but an inflatable pad does sound like a fun task to create lol.

#168374 - 08/09/12 09:42 PM Re: homemade sleeping pad? [Re: smidge]
billstephenson Offline

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3905
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Someone here from Florida mentioned using a cheap pool raft, and I've used those before, years ago. I have one like he recommended, got it at Kmart for $4, but I don't think they carried them this year. It's called a "Clearwater Easy Mat" if you can find one. They're not really light, but they are comfortable and pretty durable.

A good, inexpensive, lightweight sleeping pad is not easy to find or make, as far as I know. If there are any trees where you'll be camping you can always try a hammock. There are some inexpensive options to try those out, and lot's of DYI options.

I use the single layer bubble foil insulation BZH mentioned for insulation, it's too thin for a pad. They make a double layer, and I've seen some with BIG bubbles that might work as a pad, it'd be pretty bulky, but it doesn't weigh much. I'd give it a test if I found a big enough piece grin


"You want to go where?"

#168446 - 08/12/12 01:09 PM Re: homemade sleeping pad? [Re: billstephenson]
intrek38 Offline

Registered: 11/29/03
Posts: 430
Loc: Hesperia, Calif
Here's something I saw a while back but it's questionable..

#168469 - 08/14/12 02:12 AM Re: homemade sleeping pad? [Re: intrek38]
Franco Offline

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 1000
Loc: Australia
The reason why there are not many DIY project on making your mat is because it is hard to compete with the available stuff.
You can get a solid foam mat for less than $10 and an inflatable from about $20 (E Bay...)

People like Bender make their own to have a particular size and or weight or just for the satisfaction of finishing a DIY project.
However I would guess that now Bender wished he never started that...
Same for another guy that told everyone at BPL how he could do it better and cheaper than the pros, eventually after having bought different types of fabric, foam, valves hot irons and glues he quietly gave up...
BTW, I made my own version of a Z Lite but again I could have purchased the Z Lite for less, I did it just to try out an idea not to save money.

(it is meant to supplement my Neo Air , used under it not over as in the pic)
Balloon beds are great in the backyard,I imagine you will get sick of setting them up after the third night...

#170982 - 10/26/12 09:32 PM Re: homemade sleeping pad? [Re: smidge]
bloodbuzzed Offline

Registered: 10/26/12
Posts: 4
Loc: Texas Hill Country
Yeah smidge, there really isn't that much talk about DIY sleeping pads out there. At least, I couldn't find much when I set about making mine. I think I found a nice design, though, and for dirt cheap. These guys are right on the money. You can pick up a $5 pad from Wal-Mart as your base, works just fine. Then walk a couple aisles over and grab yourself one of those sun shades for your car windshield--the cheapest one will do. Get your measurements, break out the old magic marker and get to cutting. Put the sun shade on top and it's duct tape time (hint: Don't use one long strip on each side, use several sections with gaps in between so the air can escape when you roll it up. Makes for a smaller, tighter roll.) That's pretty much it. There's a slight bit of additional padding in the sun shade and the reflective surface actually bounces some of your own body heat back onto you. Bottom line, the cost is minimal and the weight is almost nothing. It's rested on the top of my pack on several overnighters now--warm and cool weather--and for me it works great. Hope this has been some help.

#171105 - 10/30/12 09:05 AM Re: homemade sleeping pad? [Re: bloodbuzzed]
Hermes (Nick G) Offline

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 9
If your issue is mostly due to cash, check out

He makes some fabulous pads, which ship for free and cost as little as $8! Super lightweight to boot.


Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
1st synthetic hoodie in YEARS
by MoBetta
03/11/18 06:14 PM
If It's Good, They'll Stop Making It
by Bill Kennedy
03/09/18 04:55 AM
Eureka Spitfire 1
by Bill Kennedy
03/08/18 04:44 AM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
I chose Sawtooth over Medicine bow
by toddfw2003
03/14/18 11:11 PM
Anyone use Vasque Breeze 3 non gortex?
by toddfw2003
03/14/18 10:44 PM
Packing do you carry your pistol?
by willie1280
03/14/18 03:55 PM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
Whitney Jacket Cuffs
by Bill Kennedy
03/07/18 05:01 AM
Joann fabrics and quilt supplies
by sashurlow
05/02/15 07:32 AM
Featured Photos
Breakneck Ridge, New York
May 2012 Eclipse, Lassen Park
New Years Eve 2011
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
1 registered (), 22 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
pinhotiBill, MitchBo, Tems908, Michael C., Andidn19
12531 Registered Users
Forum Links
Site Links
Family Hiking
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Outdoor Gear Daily Deals
Outlets, Sales, Bargains

Our long-time Sponsor, - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker &