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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Garner

Into the Wild with the Soto Sleeping Pad: Your Ultimate Outdoor Companion

Updated: Jul 30, 2023

Venturing into the great outdoors isn't just about roughing it anymore, especially when you have the DOD Soto Sleeping Pad to accompany you on your camping adventures. As a solo camper and a parent who savors those precious moments of solitude in nature watching the stars, I've discovered that the Soto is much more than just a sleeping pad - it's a game-changer.

Comfort that Conquers the Elements

As a seasoned adventurer, I've weathered all sorts of conditions, from heatwaves to blizzards, on my monthly camping trips. With age and the luxury of experience, I've come to value a good night's rest in the heart of the wilderness as much as I love nature itself. This is where the Soto Sleeping Pad truly shines.

A Personal Touch of Softness

The Soto offers an unrivaled comfort level, akin to sleeping on memory foam at home, thanks to its 4 inches of open-cell technology. Rocks, roots, or rough terrain - nothing disturbs your slumber when you're atop this marvel. It's designed to self-inflate to 70% of its maximum firmness. You can leave it as it is for a softer base or pump it up to your preferred firmness. As a side sleeper, I've found the adjustable firmness an absolute blessing compared to traditional sleeping mats.

Soto Sleeping Pad in a tent

Credit: Amazon

Seasonal Adaptability

One of the Soto's unique features is its versatility across seasons. It boasts an impressive R-Value of 8.3, providing excellent insulation whether you're camping under the summer stars or braving the winter chill. With this sleeping pad, there's no need to worry about the cold seeping in from the ground - you'll stay warm and cozy no matter what.

Minimalism Meets Comfort

Hiking and minimalism go hand-in-hand for me, and the Soto aligns perfectly with this ethos. It comes with a handy carry bag, making it ideal for treks and light enough to bring along. I was so over oversized air mattresses that hog your tent's real estate and require pumps. And believe me, Soto Sleeping Pad proves that comfort can definitely come in compact forms!

Soto Sleeping Pad wrapped

Credit: Amazon

Extras for Your Ease

Additional amenities, like the washable cotton sheet and pillow, enhance your outdoor sleeping experience, they are really a huge bonus !.

And you know what? - the Soto can double as an extra guest bed at home, I adore this its multi-functional design.

DOD Outdoors: An Appreciation

Lastly, DOD's commitment to thoughtful design, style, and quality resonates with my outdoor philosophy. As a company, DOD Outdoors understands the need for cozy, comfortable camping gear. The Soto Sleeping Pad encapsulates this understanding, turning camping from simply roughing it to delighting in it.

Stargazing and Soto - A Match Made in the Cosmos

As a semi-expert stargazer, the Soto Sleeping Pad has become an integral part of my star-gazing journeys. I often find myself in remote locations, under the unblemished canvas of the night sky, with my telescope and the Soto as my trusted companions. Its compactness allows for easy transport alongside my other gear, making it a hassle-free addition to my star-gazing kit. And, after a long night of celestial exploration, the Soto provides a welcoming, comfortable rest zone, amplifying the overall experience. Imagine lying on a cushion of comfort in the middle of nowhere, gazing up at the sprawling cosmos, undisturbed by the ground's irregularities. That's what the Soto brings to my stargazing expeditions - comfort amidst the cosmos.

Soto Sleeping Pad in a tent

Credit: Amazon

Why Soto Sleeping Pad is Your Best Bet?

The Soto Sleeping Pad is not just an outdoor camping solution but an investment in quality outdoor experiences. So whether you're a solo adventurer or a family camper, I guarantee that with the Soto, your camping nights will be restful and your camping days, therefore, much more enjoyable.

Simply put, this is the best base for your outdoor camping solution, hands down. Yes, it's expensive, but yes, it's worth it. Paint this mental picture...I'm a 36 year old fat man with 2 kids that I'm raising on my own. I love the outdoors and love doing things outside with my kids, but once a month, the kids stay with Grandma so I can get away for a little R&R on a 2 night camping trip. Because of the kids, these camping trips are on a pretty rigid schedule, and I can't always plan around the weather, so whether it's 100 degrees or 10 below, whether it's sunshine or blizzard, I'm going. I love roughing it and staying in a tent, brining minimal gear, and just being in nature, but as I've gotten older and fatter, I've been searching for a good sleeping solution that will allow me to actually get some rest. Gone are the days when I can just throw a sleeping bag on a tarp and be comfortable. I've been using a Klymit Static V Luxe, and it's served me pretty well, but I'm a side sleeper and the sleeping mats are only so comfortable for that. I've tried bringing traditional air mattresses, but they take up every available inch of my tent, and when you consider you need a pump to air them up and they're generally too large to hike with, I don't like them (more on hiking below).
Comfort Enter the Soto. I ordered the small version. I'm 5'11 and fluctuate between about 250 in the summer and at my heaviest nearly 280 in the winter. The small version fits me great, I can lay flat on my back or stomach and not hang over the edges, and I can toss and turn comfortably without rolling off the mat. The mat holds air for both nights of my trip and I've left it inflated for a few weeks just to see what would happen, and although I didn't sleep on it every night for those weeks, it didn't lose any air. The included pillow is adequate, though I don't generally use it. I keep it in the truck for emergencies, but I prefer my more comfortable Klymit Drift pillow. The Soto does an excellent job insulating in the colder months, but is not hot in the summer months. The R value is extremely high, mostly due to the thickness of the mat, but it doesn't make me sweat any more than any other kind of mat or pad that I've tried. Lastly, the mat is just comfortable. it conforms to my body enough that I don't feel like I'm laying on a hard surface, but not so much that I sink down into it, which is perfect for my liking. Simply put, I've never had a better nights sleep outdoors on anything else, even in my youth.
Quality/Durability The quality of the Soto is excellent. Visually there are no imperfections, and it's held up to a lot of use really well. The valves work perfectly and hold air dependably, and the fact that you can use the included pillow as a pump is a great feature and it works well (though you don't have to, and I can get this inflated to my desired firmness in about 10 breaths after it self-inflates most of the way). Packing/Storage/Hiking The included storage bag is a bit small. It's hard to get the Soto rolled up tight enough to fit back in the bag with the pillow and zip it all closed...maybe "hard" isn't the right term to use, but you have to be deliberate about it. That said, the mat includes compression straps, and since I don't use the included pillow, I don't use the bag. I just put the compression straps on the mat and store it that way. I also attach it to my hiking bag using these compression straps as you would a bed roll or sleeping bag. Yes, it is somewhat large to do this with, and heavier than what you would normally use, but for me, it's worth it. On some of my trips I hike to my campsite (others I drive up to it). On these hiking trips, I generally hike 2-5 miles, and I find the added weight and bulk of this to be worth the effort to get the quality of sleep it provides. I still keep my Klymit sleeping pad handy in case I decide to use that, but unless it's unusually hot or I'm really trying to keep things light, the Soto comes with me. So, while it's not "optimal" for hiking with, and I wouldn't do a multi-day trail hike with it, I think it's manageable for most people, especially without the bag.
Worth the price? So, does all of that make this worth $300+? For me it does. I've had mine for about a year and it has been perfection. The closet thing you could compare this to is a traditional air mattress, but this is premium quality. The materials are extremely durable while being extremely comfortable. The inflation process is 80% self-inflating and then you can finish inflating with your breath or by using the pillow, so no pumps/batteries are required. It's also worth noting that it's quieter than most air mattresses, and most traditional air mattresses aren't very well insulated, so in the winter you get a lot of cold air coming up from the ground. I think the cost could be lower, but the "comparable" competition has terrible reviews and most of them aren't as large or as warm. So, for a casual camper or someone who only goes on a few trips a year, this may not be worth it to you, but if you're getting out there regularly, the value is there. - Colby Moritz

Get it from Amazon now: $279.00 & FREE Returns FYI, Prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.

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