A sleeping pad is a solid addition to any prepper’s go-bag.
Although not strictly essential, the added comfort – plus, the extra insulation from the ground – makes a huge difference in a survival setting.
Pretty much any camping or backpacking sleeping pad will work well for survival. But the Snugpak Basecamp Ops Air Mat with Built-In Foot Pump is one of the best inflatable pads for wilderness survival.
I’ve thoroughly tested this inflatable sleeping pad out in the field myself. Although it has one major con for survivalism (the fact that it’s inflatable not closed-cell foam), it’s still a fantastic choice in my opinion.
Here’s what you need to know about the Snugpak Basecamp Ops Air Mat with Built-In Foot Pump.
Like all Snugpak camping products, I was immediately impressed with the Basecamp Air Mat after taking it out of its packaging.
The high quality of the materials and the craftsmanship was evident in both the compression storage sack and the uninflated camping mat itself.
Although this Snugpak air mat is far heavier than the lightest backpacking sleeping pads, it’s still relatively lightweight at just 22 ounces.
Inside of its stuff sack, it packs down to about 11 x 5 inches. That includes a repair kit. Once again, this is quite a bit bigger than the best camping air pads, although it’s certainly nothing to scoff at.
Perhaps the highlight of the Basecamp Air Mat is just how easy it is to inflate. It has a built-in foot pump that lets you quickly inflate the mat to your desired firmness preferences.
Other than the ease of inflation, what I like best about this camping pad is just how comfortable it is.
I’ve used a lot of air pads for camping and backpacking excursions and this just might be one of the most comfortable I’ve used, period.
It clocks in at about 72 x 20 x 3 inches fully inflated. The top material is slightly soft to the touch so your sleeping bag won’t slip off. The bottom of the air pad is also anti-slip so that the air mattress doesn’t slide around in the night as you turn over.
To round out my initial impression of this Snugpak air pad, I want to mention it’s quality insulating properties.
Although Snugpak doesn’t list the pad’s R-value on their website, I’ve used this sleeping pad in nighttime temperatures down to 45°F and stayed plenty warm. I didn’t feel the cold ground through the pad.
Pros and Cons of Snugpak Basecamp Ops Air Mat
Here are the pros and cons of this Snugpak sleeping pad. It’s a quality product through and through. I’m very happy with it so far, even with its few minor negatives.
What I Like About the Basecamp Air Mat
A few of the things I like most about this survival sleeping pad include:
- Comfortable – This mat is thick, spacious, and ribbed. It’s very comfortable, even for weeks at a time.
- Insulates Well – I’m not sure of this pad’s exact R-value, but it certainly insulates you from the ground well on nights down to 45°F (and probably much lower).
- Built-In Pump – The built-in foot pump is a nice touch that makes it very easy to inflate this pad in just seconds.
- No-Slip Material – Both the bottom and top of this sleeping pad are constructed with no-slip material for a better night sleep.
- Light & Compact – This pad weighs just 22 ounces and packs down to 11 x 5 inches. It doesn’t take up much room in your pack.
I also love that this Snugpak air mat comes with a repair kit. In a survival setting, a damaged sleeping pad could be potentially catastrophic (especially in cold weather). The repair kit gives you a little extra peace of mind.
What I Dislike About the Basecamp Air Mat
A few of the things I don’t like about this survival sleeping pad include:
- Risk of Tear – Unfortunately, air pads aren’t well suited for survival. This Snugpak sleeping pad is certainly quite durable, but it’s better suited for campers and backpackers, in my opinion, versus preppers.
- Lighter Options Available – This camping air mat doesn’t weigh much at all, but there are far lighter and more compact options available for your go-bag.
- Crinkly Sound – You’ll likely notice a light crinkly sound while moving around on this pad, especially on the first couple of uses when it’s still new.
Honestly, a closed-cell foam sleeping pad is probably a better option for survival than an inflatable pad like this one.
Although very durable, this Snugpak air mat is inflatable which means a tear could render it useless in an emergency. This isn’t an issue with a foam pad.
The main con of a closed-cell foam sleeping pad is the extra weight. But this is somewhat balanced out thanks to the fact that you can carry it on the outside of your rucksack or assault pack.
Snugpak Basecamp Ops Air Mat Features and Specs
Here are the most important features and specs of the Snugpak air mat:
|Weight: 22 Ounces||Packed Size: 11 x 5 Inches|
|Inflated Size: 72 x 20 x 3 Inches||Built-In Foot Pump|
|75D Polyester Pongee/TPU Top Fabric||100% Polyester Peach Brushed/TPU Bottom Fabric|
|Comes w/ Stuff Sack||Includes Small Repair Kit|
Visit Snugpak.com to learn more about the Snugpak Basecamp Ops Air Mat’s features and specifications.
Is the Snugpak Basecamp Air Mat Right for You?
The Snugpak Basecamp Ops Air Mat with Built-In Foot Pump is undeniably a great sleeping pad for camping, backpacking, or survival.
Although I personally feel that a closed-cell foam sleeping pad is a better option for a bug-out bag for use in emergencies, this Snugpak air pad still works well.
A closed-cell foam pad is simply more reliable for preppers. You just can’t risk getting a tear in an air pad when you’re relying on it for comfort in addition to warmth.
If you’re reading this review and you’re not a prepper, then I much more strongly recommend buying this Snugpak sleeping pad.
It’s extremely comfortable, very easy to use, and insulates well. It packs down quite small and doesn’t weigh much (although much lighter backpacking mats do exist). It’s quite durable for what it is. Plus, it’s fairy affordable all things considered.
Alternatives to the Snugpak Air Mat
Snugpak itself manufacturers a handful of sleeping pads in addition to the Basecamp Ops Air Mat.
All three work very well in survival setting as well as for standard camping and backpacking trips.
To prep against freezing cold weather, Snugpak also offers the Antarctic Mat.
Unlike Snugpak’s other sleeping pad offerings, the Antarctic Mat is not inflatable. It uses solely sleeping bag insulation to help prevent heat loss at night.
Personally, I don’t think the Antarctic Mat is a substitute for a sleeping pad on its own. I’d recommend combining it with either a closed-cell foam pad or an air pad for the best nighttime insulation possible.
And, that brings us to my final suggestion for a Snugpak air mat alternative: a closed-cell foam pad.
As mentioned above, a closed-cell foam pad is much more durable than an inflatable sleeping pad. Even if you do tear it or rip it, it can still be used for comfort and insulation.
The downside is that most foam sleeping pads weigh slightly more than air pads and are arguably less comfortable.
In my opinion, a closed-cell foam sleeping pad is the best option for most survivalists, although an inflatable sleeping pad will work fabulously for most campers and backpackers.
A final option is to combine a closed-cell foam pad with an inflatable air pad. This provides a one-two punch of comfort with even more insulation. And it really doesn’t add much weight to your pack all things considered.
I’m currently using the NEMO Switchback Sleeping Pad as my closed-cell foam camping mat.
What’s the Verdict?
There’s no denying that the Snugpak Basecamp Ops Air Mat is a high-quality sleeping pad.
Not only is it built to last, but it’s also relatively lightweight, very easy to use, and extremely comfortable to sleep on even on long expeditions.
That said, I’m not sure it’s the best option for survival.
Honestly, I’m probably going to stick with my tried and true closed-cell foam sleeping pad because I know there’s no chance of it being rendered useless even if it gets a hole in it.
I’m not going to completely stash away this Snugpak air mat though – I’ll likely keep it in my rotation for short camping and backpacking trips where the extra comfort an air camping mat provides is appreciated.
It’s just that I’m not sure this air pad is ever going to become a staple in my emergency go-bag.