What are alternate options that one can use as a sleeping pad if he/she doesn't have one along?

P.S.: Lets assume that he/she has a tent. And we are not talking about any sorts of extreme weather and altitude.

  • 3
    When I was a kid my dad and I once went backpacking but forgot our mattresses, so we ended up making beds (under the tent) out of moss gathered from the woods. Not exactly leave no trace, but it was cozy.
    – ShemSeger
    Nov 13, 2015 at 5:20
  • What is the situation where you have no sleeping pad? is it a regular thing, or did you forget to take that one time?
    – njzk2
    Nov 13, 2015 at 16:48
  • @njzk2: Its just that one time.
    – WedaPashi
    Nov 13, 2015 at 17:02

2 Answers 2


Depends on the situation and therefore the gear you have along and the environment you are in.

For example if you are on an alpine tour, you can do similar as we did this year in a bivouac:

  • try to get in wind protected area (not so important in your case but even with a tent it changes your comfort)
  • get a flat surface (heads up)
  • lay your ropes directly above the ground/snow so that they make the first layer of insulation
  • use the removable insulation mat which is in the back of most quality backpacks
  • use the backpack itself to get the feet in
  • use the bivuouc sack to protect against cold from the surface
  • if possible use plants/wood/...
  • Was this bivouac planned? Nov 15, 2015 at 11:47
  • 1
    @BenediktBauer It was not planned, therefore it was quite cold. But we improvised and it worked. Problem was the rain/snowfall most of the night and that we had no matress. For a planned bivouac I would definitely bring a matress ;)
    – Wills
    Nov 15, 2015 at 21:13

Piles of clothes (though not that comfortable) they do help insulate you when it's cold (one of the main things a sleeping mat does is insulate you from the ground to keep you warm, not just make it more comfortable).

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