An oversized, insulated pad for car camping
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Justin Park / TripSavvy
Heavy for backpacking
Hard to make firm
The Lightspeed Warmth 3.0 Self-Inflating Sleep Pad is an extra-thick, extra-large insulated sleeping pad that provides warmth and comfort.
We purchased the Lightspeed Warmth 3.0 Self-Inflating Sleep Pad so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
Lightspeed is a San Diego-based outdoor gear brand focused on outdoor leisure from beach shelters to lawn chairs to sleeping pads. I recently tested out the Lightspeed Warmth 3.0 Self-Inflating Sleep Pad in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and foothills in early summer to find out if the extra-large pad delivered comfort and warmth in the daily temperature swings typical for the Rockies.
The Warmth 3.0 is a self-inflating pad which means you simply twist the two knobs at the foot of the pad to open them and the pad starts taking on air. Pretty straightforward. However, the first time you do this, the directions recommend leaving the pad’s valves open for several hours, ideally overnight for your first inflation. The first time I inflated the pad, it didn’t appear very full after a few minutes, but after leaving it open overnight it looked much better.
Subsequent uses were very simple and the pad came to full inflation after a minute at most. That said, the pad felt a bit soft compared to manually inflating pads that I normally use when backpacking. In an effort to get the pad more firm, I closed one valve and attempted to blow into the second valve to force a bit more pressure into the pad. While it worked, I wasn’t able to get much more inflation this way. Because the valve is wide open and air would leak out easily after I blew it into the pad, I needed more force to keep the air in. But it still wasn't the same firmness of a do-it-yourself inflating pad.
At less than $100, the Warmth 3.0 is more affordable than most full-size air mattresses, so you’re saving money as well as space and weight. It’s also much cheaper than many backpacking pads which cost more due to engineering and ultralight materials compared to the simplicity of this pad.
The pad is 3 inches thick and plenty comfortable, so the incomplete inflation didn't necessarily hurt the pad’s overall insulation and comfort. But an improvement would be a built-in mechanism to inflate it more fully.
The Lightspeed Warmth Series comes in three sizes that cover a huge range from a 20-inch wide pad to the 30-inch wide 3.0 that I tested. The smallest, 20-inch size is closer to the usual dimensions of a backpacking-oriented pad. But where a backpacking pad typically weighs in at just over a pound, this pad comes in at about 5 pounds. The 3.0 tested for this review is a burly 6 pounds, making this style of pad unrealistic for backpacking and geared more towards car camping, river rafting trips, or van life.
Sleeping on the Warmth 3.0 was easy to get used to since it didn’t have the usual problems backpacking pads face such as conducting cold, being too small, or allowing me to feel irregularities under the pad. In fact, the stated R-value of the pad is an impressive 9.8—three to five times what most ultralight backpacking pads offer. Part of this insulative value comes from a built-in foam layer that functions even if the pad isn’t inflated.
The sheer thickness of three inches also helps here. The 30-inch width gives you plenty of room to spread out and roll around if that’s your sleeping style. At 77 inches long, only the tallest people will find this pad coming up short.
Adding to the comfort is a built-in “pillow,” which is really just a small pad at the head end that sticks up about an inch or so. As someone who likes a minimal, flat pillow, I could probably sleep on the head pad alone, though I still chose to use a small pillow in testing. The rise isn’t so pronounced that if you bring and use a full-sized pillow you’ll have an unnatural neck angle.
While nights weren’t below freezing during my several weeks of testing, I didn’t feel any cold communicated through the pad from the ground, which can be a real problem with thinner pads. I also tested the pad in the back of my truck’s six-foot bed and, not surprisingly, didn’t feel any cold there, either.
Compared to full-size air mattresses, the comfort comes up a little short since it’s still in the “pad” category of inflatable versus ultra-thick queen mattresses.
As mentioned above, the Warmth 3.0 is 6 pounds of pad and not a realistic option for backpacking any distance with it on your back. That said, it’s a much more portable option than most air mattresses. Packed into its stuff sack, it’s about the size of a large camp chair.
I generally keep a sleeping pad and sleeping bag in my truck in case of emergency, and this pad is a great fit for that role, since it doesn’t take up a lot of space but provides plenty of warmth and comfort for the size. I could also imagine using this pad on a river trip, where weight and volume don't matter as much compared to backpacking.
The outer fabric is a PVC-free polyester that isn’t slippery and feels a tad rough to the touch. That gives the pad a toughness highlighted in my high desert testing. Cactus was plentiful, yet, despite my best efforts, the pad had incident-free brushes with them. The company offers a modest one-year warranty to cover manufacturer’s defects, but I wouldn’t expect this to cover any kind of punctures or misuse.
The Warmth 3.0 is 6 pounds of pad and not a realistic option for backpacking any distance with it on your back. That said, it’s a much more portable option than most air mattresses.
At less than $100, this is also more affordable than most full-size air mattresses, so you’re saving money as well as space and weight. It’s also much cheaper than many backpacking pads which cost more due to engineering and ultralight materials compared the the simplicity of this pad. That makes this pad more attractive as a middle-of-the-road compromise on weight and size with a friendly price tag
Because this pad is too heavy for backpacking, it has a somewhat narrow application for car camping, overnight raft trips, or other scenarios where you don’t have to carry it on your back, but also don’t want the bulk of a full air mattress. The other reason to take a look at the Lightspeed is the lower cost compared to most other options.
Justin Park is based in Breckenridge, Colorado. He has more than two decades of experience covering outdoor gear and adventure and has spent countless nights in a tent.
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