If you can, try both. See which one you like better. It seems a fairly even split as to which is a better setup. Everyone has personal preferences. I have only used a pad and it works for me but I am looking to buy an UQ to see if I like it better. Experiment to find yours. You can always resell the othe gear here in the for sale threads.
To answer the quantity of pads. I use one 1/2" CF pad in warm, and in colder weather I have a roll of reflectix I add.
Enjoy your gear hunt.