The New Year has arrived and the new ASTM FF3340 Sleeping Pad R-Value Standard is being rolled out in fits and starts by manufacturers and retailers. This new standard will make it possible for you to compare sleeping pads across models and manufacturers because it defines a common methodology for measuring the R-value of a sleeping pad.
What are Sleeping Pad R-values?
R-Value measures a sleeping pad’s ability to prevent heat loss (to the ground) when you lie on it at night. Pads with higher R-values do this more effectively than pads with lower R-values. R-value isn’t a measure of warmth per se, but of a pad’s ability to prevent the loss of the warmth that your body generates.
In the past, companies had different ways of measuring the R-values of their sleeping pads or they “estimated” the R-value and didn’t actually measure it. Companies like Big Agnes and NEMO didn’t use R-values at all. Adopting an industry-standard is important so consumers can compare products using the same insulation criteria. The adoption of the sleeping bag temperature rating standard had a similar effect and spurred competition and innovation.
How can you tell the difference between product listings with Old R-values and New R-Values?
- The pads with older R-values are almost always on sale.
- You can use the table below to determine whether you’re looking at a product listing with an old R-value or one with a new R-value. I’ve hyperlinked to new product listings that correctly list the new R-values. The pads that are NOT hyperlinked below do not have updated online product listings that I can find easily.
|Available Pads with New R-values||Pre-2020: R-Value||2020: ASTM F3340 R-Value|
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite||3.2||4.2|
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Women's||3.9||5.4|
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm||5.7||6.9|
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Max||5.7||6.9|
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite||2||2.3|
|Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D||11.4||7|
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Camper Duo||2.2||2.5|
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Venture||1.9||2.2|
|Therm-a-Rest Original Z Lite||NA||2|
|Therm-a-Rest ProLite Apex||4||3.8|
|Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus||3.4||3.2|
|Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus Women's||4.2||3.9|
|Therm-a-Rest ProLite Women's||3||2.7|
|Therm-a-Rest Ridegrest Classic||2.6||2|
|Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOLite||2.8||2.1|
|Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite||3.4||3.2|
|Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite Women's||4||4.5|
|Therm-a-Rest Trail Pro||4||4.4|
|Therm-a-Rest Trail Scout||4.8||3.1|
|Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol||2.6||2|
|Sea-to-Summit Ether Light XT Insulated Air||3.8||3.2|
|Sea-to-Summit Ether Light XT Insulated Air Women's||4.2||3.5|
|Sea-to-Summit Ultralight Insulated Air Women's||3.8||3.5|
|Sea-to-Summit Ultralight Insulated Air||NA||3.1|
|Sea-to-Summit Comfort Light Insulated Women's||NA||3.8|
|Sea-to-Summit Comfort Light Insulated Air||4.2||3.7|
|NEMO Switchback UL||NA||2|
|NEMO Tensor Alpine UL||NA||4.8|
|NEMO Tensor Insulated||NA||3.5|
|NEMO Cosmo 3D||NA||3.3|
|NEMO Roamer SI||NA||6|
|NEMO Nomad Camping||NA||NA|
|NEMO Vector UL||NA||3.5|
|NEMO Astro Lite||NA||2.6|
|Exped FlexMat Plus||New||2.2|
|Exped Sit Pad Flex||New||1.5|
|Exped DownMat XP 9 (all sizes)||8||7.8|
|Exped DownMat UL Winter (all sizes)||7||7.1|
|Exped SynMat UL Winter||5||5.2|
|Exped SynMat HL Duo Winter||5||5.2|
|Exped SynMat UL||3.3||2.9|
|Exped SynMat HL||3.3||2.9|
|Exped SynMat HL Duo||3.3||2.9|
|Exped SynMat UL Lite||2.5||2.3|
|Exped AirMat UL Lite||1.7||1.3|
|Exped AirMat HL||1.9||1.3|
|Exped SIM UL 3.8||3.2||3.1|
|Exped SIM UL 5||New||4|
|Exped DownMat 7||5.9||5.8|
|Exped DownMat XP 7||5.9||5.8|
|Exped SynMat 9||6||5.2|
|Exped SynMat XP 9||6||5.2|
|Exped MegaMat Lite 12||5.3||5.2|
|Exped SynMat 7||4.9||4.8|
|Exped SynMat XP 7||4.9||4.8|
|Exped SynMat 3-D 7||4.9||4.8|
|Exped SynMat Duo||4.9||4.8|
|Exped DownMat Lite 5||4.1||3.8|
|Exped SynMat Lite 5||2.5||3.4|
|Exped AirMat Lite 5||1.7||1.3|
|Exped AirMat Lite Plus 5||1.7||1.3|
|Exped SIM 2.5||New||2.8|
|Exped SIM 3.8||4||4.6|
|Exped SIM 5||4.6||6.1|
|Exped SIM Lite 3.8||3.2||3.1|
|Exped SIM Comfort 5||4.6||4.3|
|Exped SIM Comfort Duo 5||4.6||4.3|
|Exped SIM Comfort 7.5||6.4||In Progress|
|Exped SIM Comfort Duo 7.5||6.4||In Progress|
|Exped SIM Comfort 10||9.5||8.1|
|Exped MegaMat 10||9.5||8.1|
|Exped MegaMat Max 15||New||10.6|
|Exped MegaMat Max Duo 15||New||10.6|
|Exped MegaMat Duo 10||9.5||8.1|
|Exped DeepSleep Mat 7.5||New||8.5|
|Exped DeepSleep Mat Duo 7.5||New||8.5|
|Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX||NA||3.2|
|Big Agnes Insulated Q Core Deluxe||NA||4.3|
|Big Agnes Insulated AXL Air||NA||3.0|
|Big Agnes Insulated AXL Trail Boss||NA||5|
|Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra||NA||4.5|
|Big Agnes Air Core Ultra||NA||1.4|
|Big Agnes Insulated SLX Tent Floor||NA||3.2|
|Big Agnes Hinman||NA||NA|
|Big Agnes Two Track||NA||NA|
Here’s how to use this table:
- If you’re looking at the online product listing for the Sea-to-Summit Comfort Light Insulated Sleep Pad at REI which has an R-value of 4.2 listed, you know it’s an old product listing since the current value listed above is 3.7.
- If you’re looking at an Exped MegaMat 10 listing at EnWild which has an R-value of 9.5 listed, then you also know it’s an older model, since the Exped MegaMat 10 has an R-value of 8.1 when measured against the new R-value Standard
- You may also find pads listed at retailers that are not on the list above. These may be pads that are no longer produced by the manufacturer but listed by the retailer in order to dump old inventory, again with an antiquated R-value, if any.
Sources: Therm-a-Rest and Exped provided me with updated R-value lists that showed the correspondence between their pads’ old R-values and their new R-values under the new standard. Big Agnes also provided me with the new R-values of their new pads. A big vote of thanks to those companies! I pulled the R-values of NEMO’s new pads from their website and a subset of Sea-to-Summits from the REI website where they are available (the Sea-to-Summit website has not been updated completely yet.) I could not find any new R-value ratings for Klymit’s pads but will list them when they become available. I tried contacting Klymit for this information but never received a response.
What about the Sleeping Pad Manufacturer’s Websites?
All of Therm-a-Rest older pads have been renamed such-and-such “Classic”, in part to indicate that they have the old stick valve and not the new WingLock version. That naming scheme hasn’t been adopted by other retailers yet, so if you desire clarity and a discount on the old classic pads, shop at the Therm-a-Rest website. The only difference between the Classic pads and new pads is the valve and the way that the R-value was measured, not the amount of insulation in the pad. I know that’s confusing. The measurement methodology is all that’s changed, not the pads themselves (with the exception of the valves). I don’t know if that’s true of other brands though.
REI has not updated the R-values of the pads they manufacture on their website, which I find disappointing since they were one of the prime movers behind the new standard. Nor has Exped, Klymit, Big Agnes, and for the most part, neither has Sea-to-Summit.
Why is the New R-Value Standard Rollout such a Cluster…?
The new rollout is messy and confusing because retailers are trying to sell off their old-pre-standardized sleeping pad inventory alongside the new standardized models without changing the product names or differentiating between pre-standardized R-values and ones that conform to the new standard. Is it really too much to ask retailers to fix this? I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting. Although, it seems that it would be in the manufacturers’ best interests to help retailers list the right information.
Make this one simple change to sleeping pad product listings.
Here is the ONE simple change that retailers and manufacturers could implement on their websites tomorrow if they wanted to provide you with up to date R-values using the new ASTM FF3340 R-value Standard:
- Add a new attribute to every sleeping pad listing called: “ASTM R-Value” and include the new R-value for pre-existing or new pads if one exists. If not, fill the field with “Not available.” You don’t even have to get rid of the old R-value if one is present.
Why Not Slap a Sticker on Old Products?
Why didn’t manufacturers or retailers just slap a sticker on existing inventory boxes to indicate an R-value change if the underlying product didn’t change? Your guess is as good as mine. Discounting existing products just because you need to change the R-value on the packaging (or the online product listing) is stupid.
Do you think that consumers deserve accurate online retail product listings?
I do. This is crazy.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored gear reviews, articles, and hiking guides.
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