Sleeping Pads » Car sunshade sleeping pad

This “sleeping pad” will protect your car’s interior and perhaps give you a reasonable night of sleep. Most famously used by Mike Curiak in his 2004 Great Divide Race setup, this is about as minimal a sleeping pad as you can get.

Nothing to inflate, just throw on the ground and you are ready to crash.

Product Link: (Autozone? Checker?)

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Comments (12)

MikeCNovember 6th, 2008 at 8:38 am

It’s hard to argue with this setup when taking a minimalist approach. Cost is $5 or so, or you can just steal the one outta your car since you won’t be using it there while on the trail anyway. The padding isn’t much to speak of, but the insulative value, lack of weight (uncut they’re about 5 oz) and packability are top notch. Perfect for multi-day races where minimal sleep is happening–you’re only stopped for a few hours to catch a few zzzz’s, then back on the bike and motoring along.

frejwilkNovember 9th, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Inspired by MikeC, I’ve used one of these a fair bit. I’ve got a heavier one, but it’s still about 6oz… I agree with everything above. One of the great things is the durability. It’s easy to poke a hole in it, but just doesn’t matter. You don’t even need to patch it. In a worse case scenario, a new one can easily be found. Keep it simple.

trail717November 24th, 2008 at 1:27 am

Sometimes I use a sunshade, sometimes a ¾ inflatable pad. The sunshade seems to be as ‘warm’, at least during summer conditions, as the inflatable and on softer ground plenty comfortable. I just unfold it inside my bivy and supplement it with a section of foldable foam pad that I use under my shoulder for comfort, I am a side sleeper. Also I sometimes stuff the sunscreen around my 100oz bladder, the sunscreen’s insulation will keep ice in the bladder for several hours,3-6, even on a hot day. And as mentioned it’s a worry free pad, abuse it misuse it all ya want, it don’t care and is easily replaced

JMeiserAugust 3rd, 2009 at 5:44 am

Picked one of these up in the “Free” bin at a garage sale the other day… Wish I could’ve found one in Lima, MT along the TD route this year. Instead I made a makeshift pad from an e-blanket and bubble wrap from the local USPS. No doubt inspired by my memory of MC’s gear. With one layer of bubble wrap, my homemade kit didn’t have nearly the r-value I’d wished for. So, I froze my ass off out on the basin and on Marshall Pass. In Platoro I acquired a blanket from the lodge that I folded up and put in my bag up on the Brazos Ridge, just behind my torso. The blanket worked perfectly and I got a good night’s rest. Ditched that at a gas station on the way to Grants, NM. It wasn’t needed out in the desert. The nights were warm enough and the sand was soft. I digress… So my question was, how does this compare now that there are so many affordable (10.00) closed cell foam pads available, like those from Gossamer Gear, etc…?

GlowBoyJune 23rd, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Nowhere near as much padding as I’d want car-camping, but I’ve used one several times for bikepacking (like many, inspired by MikeC) and it’s just the ticket. Being so thin and light, it’s easier to find a spot on the backpack to strap this to than conventional pads. Weighs nothing, reasonably durable, cheap to replace if something does happen, and JUST enough padding to get by.

I can’t sleep on bare ground, but when every ounce counts I CAN sleep on this.

Michael MeiserAugust 10th, 2011 at 12:18 am

Ha! I somehow had overlooked this review category despite having done several searches with google against on this product over the last couple months. Was about to post a new thread on the forums… and probably still will on winter use issues with these.

After last years January trip down the eastern divide with a Big Agnes insulated Air Core that failed me three times before I got it patched right with shoe goo I’m seriously thinking of forgoing any high maintence insulated air mat for a mid / late October trip on the western divide.

In short I’m thinking of taking just two of these auto shades as my only sleeping matt on the divide this october. Sanity check?

I actually have lots of experience with these and winter camping and I absolutely love them for their lightness, packability, insulative value and durability. They’re pretty much all I need as a sleeping pad in the summer and fall.

However… while i have lots of experience winter camping with them as supplemental insulation I’ve never tried to use them as my sole insulative matt in the winter. Therein is the problem.

While I think a couple will be more then enough in the cold on dirt / grass I have not tried them all by themselves in snow and there will be *at least* an occaional snow bivy on this trip. Given the time frame I will have no way to test them in actual conditions before then.

What I’m wondering is does anyone have actuall experience with them in the snow.

I’ve heard of Iditarod riders using reflectix insulation as a supplemental layer, but no accounts of auto shades in the snow.

I guess my fall back plan would be to carry either my big agness or some additional insulation like the MLD EVA sleeping pad and then send it home if I don’t need it. The problem is I will be WELL into the trip before I even know if its’ neccessary. The MLD EVA is a lot of bulk (though not a lot of weight) to be carrying around and I wouldn’t even truely know if it were necessary until well into the trip


CoyOctober 4th, 2012 at 1:50 am

I don’t know if it’s just me or if everyone else encountering problems with your site.
It seems like some of the text within your posts are running off the screen.
Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them too?

This could be a problem with my web browser because I’ve had this happen before. Cheers

ascarFebruary 1st, 2013 at 4:01 pm

i use a car shade under my agnes air mat to bring up the “R” value when it’s cold at night. also as a temp mat to get my tarp set up and my feet dry.

texasjakeFebruary 11th, 2013 at 11:40 pm

i busted this method out in the cap rock canyons where the temp i always -10 whatever the weather report is…in short it gets cold on the canyon floors. put a car shade in my sleep cell and definitely felt the difference – however i will be upgrading to a big agnes.

Get a good sleep, old man! | Trails and ToursOctober 14th, 2013 at 10:53 am

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Bill ShockleyJuly 10th, 2015 at 11:37 pm

Tough as nails. Used it along the road, in the tent and in the trout stream or hot springs.

Kick ass, indestructible.

And cheap!
Don’t hesitate.

Cut mine to 3/4 length.


Fernando Felix BernalApril 5th, 2017 at 8:01 pm

When using a hammok, since its always floating, winter camping is much better with a car shade as insulation on the outside the sleeping bag. it can be paked in the back pack close to the body to make it more comfortable. Thanks

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