Backpacking sleeping pads are an often overlooked piece of backpacking gear. They don’t weigh much, and many people can go without them, but they make a big difference in how you sleep. There’s the type of pad that is inflatable (most popular), foam, or closed-cell foam. You’ll want to consider insulation level, weight, comfort/durability when looking for the best backpacking sleeping pad for your needs. We hope this guide will help point you in the right direction!
What is a sleeping pad A sleeping pad is a mat that goes under your sleeping bag to provide a cushion between you and the ground. They are most commonly inflatable, foam, or closed-cell foam. Pillows can also be used as a makeshift sleeping pad.
What are the types of sleeping pads? There are three main types of backpacking sleeping pads: inflatable, closed-cell, and foam. Inflatable pads offer some insulation but are not very durable and have a tendency to leak air over time; they are light and affordable though so may be worth it for shorter trips or as a backup. Closed-cell foam pads are durable, comfortable, warm enough for most backpacking needs; they won’t pack down very small so may not be ideal for ultralight backpackers and can be expensive. Foam pads offer a lot of comfort and insulation but are heavier and bulkier than inflatable or closed-cell foam pads.
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How to choose the best backpacking camping sleeping pad for you
If you are interested in a less expensive option, the inflatable sleeping pad may be the best backpacking sleeping pad for you. You may want to consider this if you are not sleeping as many hours and it is unlikely that your needs will change. You can also use a pillow as a makeshift mat which saves space. If you have no room in your pack and need more comfort, this type of pad is not for you.
If you are looking for durability, the closed-cell foam sleeping pad is the best backpacking camping sleeping pad for you. They are especially good if it’s cold because they provide some insulation. They are heavier than inflatable pads but they provide more cushion and warmth so it may be worth it for long backpacking trips.
Each of these sleeping pads will depend on your needs and how far backpacking you plan to go. There are many factors, but our best backpacking sleeping pad picks take all the guesswork out of it for you!
Things to consider when buying the best backpacking sleeping pad for you: Buying Guide
Sleeping pads will offer a more comfortable night’s sleep than the ground or any rough surface.
Sleepers are often unaware that a sleeping pad can provide warmth, which is vital at night when the sleeper’s weight compresses the insulation in the bottom of their sleeping bag. Pads provide cushion and insulation between the ground and a hiker. If you’re not using a pad, your body’s heat will make it deflate before the air becomes compressed as in colder temperatures. Pads provide more warmth for your body temperature than most people appreciate.
Adding to this: thicker pads also provide more insulation and thus more of an appreciation for surface structure, meaning that part of the time when another party is currently sleeping on said surface to create pressure points or uneven segments within their device, may instead impact with softer surfaces if you have a thicker sleeping mat.
Other Important Features to consider
Similarly, below you’ll find tips on the other features that can result in comfort on your backpacking pads. Along with insulation and durability, we have broken down these additional important factors – like weight, packability, or leak-proof – so that you have all of the information to make an informed decision about what pad will work best for you.
Warmth- R Values
Insulation levels-what are the extremes between your tent and sleeping environment? If you plan on camping in colder climates, a higher insulation level may be needed. You want to achieve better thermal insulation from the ground to your body.
The kind of camper you are and the type of trip you’ll be taking not only impacts what gear is used but also what pad is best for your needs. Car campers prefer inflatables that roll up small and weigh little, while backpackers may want something that provides insulation when camping without being too bulky to carry on your back. Finally, hikers who do not have access to a vehicle nearby may want an insulated or foam pad rather than one that rolls up so it can easily fit inside another bag.
The most important thing to consider when selecting backpacking sleeping pads is where and for how long you’ll be using them. When it’s cold, a thicker mat or more insulation may be necessary. Consider if the ground will provide comfort; look for something with a wider surface area like an inflatable pad!
Tips while deciding which backpacking camping sleeping pad is right for you
If you choose a closed-cell foam sleeping pad, keep in mind there isn’t much give in a single layer of foam so some people may not find it very comfortable if you are a side sleeper and the pad has indentations. If you use an inflatable sleeping mat, make sure that it can be easily folded or rolled up to fit in your backpack, or consider one with stuff sack storage.
The width of your sleeping mat is also important;
this is a matter of personal preference but wider mats tend to be more comfortable for most people. A wider surface will help keep hips from falling into holes between the ground and the edge of the pad.
Why should I buy a good-quality sleeping pad?
A good quality sleeping pad will adjust to any unevenness in the ground, regardless of how rugged the terrain is. A good sleeping mat will also be able to keep the sleeper warm by providing insulation. Another reason why you should buy a high-quality sleeping pad is that a sleeping pad can provide warmth which is vital for survival when camping at nighttime. Finally, buying a high-quality sleeping pad can provide comfort on your backpacking trips and campouts.
Chilly temperatures and uneven ground make for a poor sleeping situation while camping or backpacking. The right sleeping pad can provide insulation from the sloping ground, as well as keeping you warm in chilly weather. A good-quality sleeping pad will also roll up small enough to fit inside your pack alongside clothing and other gear without weighing too much. Inflatable pads are particularly convenient when it comes to packing; they can be rolled up quickly into a small item that is easy to pack and carry around on your back.
Heat- how warm does my sleeping pad need to keep me?
While many people think of warmth only during cold weather camping or backpacking trips, the temperature rating on your inflatable insulated air mattress is also important if you are camping or backpacking in warm weather. Heat-regulating sleeping pads are important for warmer climes to ensure that you do not overheat at night.
If the ambient temperature is cooler than the temperature rating of your pad, you can use it as a thermal blanket placed on top of your sleeping bag. Some people also like to put a foam pad or a sweater underneath them while sleeping on an air mattress. The thickness of your mat will depend on what type and where you plan on using it; if you are camping in cold environments, an inflatable camping mat will provide more insulation than one designed for warm climates.
The insulation level of your sleeping pad may affect whether you need additional blankets or clothing when going to sleep at night. The R-value of your sleeping mat needs to be sufficient for the climate where you’re camping, but even if it isn’t a wide range of temperatures, a more insulated pad will help keep the cold from seeping through onto the ground and into your body. If no insulation is present in the mat, moisture from condensation may accumulate on top and leak onto you as you sleep.
Budget: there’s not much point in buying an expensive sleeping pad when one that costs half as much or less can do just fine. Choose something which has good value for money –
high-quality materials and construction at a reasonable price. However, don’t cut corners unnecessarily either; if there are two similar products available and one is substantially cheaper, look into what you’ll be missing before buying.
Note: Don’t buy a self-inflating sleeping pad and assume you’ll be warm enough if your bag is rated to 20°F ( -7°C ); most pads don’t have enough insulation for winter use unless you’re very thin and using one underneath a foam mat or quilt, but even then you’ll want to layer up inside the tent on cold nights when it’s raining or snowing! (See our article on backpacking sleeping bags .)
If you’ll be camping in hot weather – especially desert areas – during summertime, it’s advisable that the heat rating of your sleeping pad is at least as high as the nighttime temperatures. You may experience discomfort due to overheating if the moisture produced by you during sleep is trapped between the mat and your body.
If you are camping or backpacking in cold weather, be prepared for the temperature to drop well below zero degrees F. A pad that has a high enough insulation rating will keep the warmth in, while one that doesn’t won’t work as effectively and may even let you down on those long winter nights.
Length: if you’re backpacking with another person, getting matching sleeping pads is an easy way to share equipment; make sure both of your mats match so they can be laid side-by-side without overlapping and causing discomfort from hard edges or rolling towards each other at night. When you’re car camping with perhaps multiple tents grouped, it might not matter so much if you end up with different length sleeping pads, however, in terms of weight and space it’s often a good idea to get ones that are the same as long as they’re not too huge for your tent.
Most compact single-person backpacking tents will fit one regular-sized pad without issue. If what you’re looking for is simply the lightest sleeping pads available we recommend that you consider the Neo Air Venture Series Mats. They weigh only 12 ounces and pack down very small! Many backpackers like air mats because they can be used just about anywhere where their ground space is taken up by their body weight – whether on top of a car hood or under the stars in Yosemite National Park!
As with all products that we review on our pages, we try to find the best backpacking sleeping pads available and then provide them to you with our honest opinion of why these are the best value products. So here they are Our 5 Best Sleeping Pads for Backpacking.
Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad, Orange, one (06ST01ORG)
The Static V mat features a vertical design that puts the sleeper on their back with their feet off the ground, which helps eliminate any uncomfortable areas under your shoulder blades and hips. The toes are elevated to help maintain circulation in them, as well as supporting an ergonomic alignment of legs and spine while sleeping. All of this is thanks to using Klymit’s Cut-Away Cell foam that also provides insulation for warmth from below. The Klymit Static V mattress only weighs 1 lb 3 oz, making it one of the lightest mats available! This makes it perfect for backpackers who would like some additional yoga exercises during the day.
Features, Benefits, and Key description Of Product Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad, Orange, one (06ST01ORG)
– The Static V mat features a vertical design that puts the sleeper on their back with their feet off the ground, which helps eliminate any uncomfortable areas under your shoulder blades and hips.
– All of this is thanks to using Klymit’s Cut-Away Cell foam that also provides insulation for warmth from below.
– The toes are elevated to help maintain circulation in them, as well as supporting an ergonomic alignment of legs and spine while sleeping. All of this is thanks to using Klymit’s Cut-Away Cell foam that also provides insulation for warmth from below.
– The Static V mattress only weighs 1 lb 3 oz, making it one of the lightest mats available! This makes it perfect for backpackers who would like some additional yoga exercises during the day. It comes in a bright orange color so you can easily find it if you drop it while packing your tent away on cold mornings.
Pros & Cons
-The Static V mat features a vertical design that puts the sleeper on their back with their feet off the ground, which helps eliminate any uncomfortable areas under your shoulder blades and hips.
-All of this is thanks to using Klymit’s Cut-Away Cell foam that also provides insulation for warmth from below.
-The Static V mattress only weighs 1 lb 3 oz, making it one of the lightest mats available! This makes it perfect for backpackers who would like some additional yoga exercises during the day. It comes in a bright orange color so you can easily find it if you drop it while packing your tent away on cold mornings.
-The Static V mat might be a little thin for some people who are interested in the comfort of sleeping on an insulated pad.
The Klymit Static V mattress is one of the lightest backpacking sleeping mats available, weighing in at just 1 lb 3 oz. With a vertical design, it puts the sleeper on their back with their feet off the ground and helps eliminate any uncomfortable areas under your shoulder blades and hips. All of this is thanks to using Klymit’s Cut-Away Cell foam that also provides insulation for warmth from below. It even comes in a bright orange color so you can easily find it if you drop it while packing your tent away on cold mornings! The only downside to this mat is that some people might be comfortable enough on it without an additional layer of insulation.
2 . Gear Doctors Self Inflating Sleeping Pad – 4.3 R Four-Season Camping pad-1.5 Inch Thick Air Foam
Hybrid- Perfect Size Mattress for Camping Backpacking Travel with Insulation for Cold Winters. The Gear Doctors Self-Inflating Camping Mat is not only comfortable for camping trips, backpacking adventures, or just a quick night’s sleep out in the wilderness but it also has insulation that will keep you warm during cold winter months. This pad packs down small and compact because of its self-inflating design which means it’s super easy to transport without any hassle. The roll-up stuff sack makes this mat 100% self-contained when folded up making it easy to pack and travel anywhere with no extra weight on your shoulders.
If you’re looking for an ultralight backpacking sleeping pad then the Gear Doctor Self-Inflating Camping Mattress has plenty of merits! It weighs in at 1lb 10oz so it’s easily carried in a pack without feeling as if you’re carrying too much extra weight. It’s 21cm thick and 63 inches long so it will fit most people even when fully inflated. The key point, however, is that this mat inflates by itself using the built-in pump located at one end of the mat. This enables you to inflate or deflate your sleeping pad within seconds, wherever you are – perfect!
If you need a lightweight backpacking mattress with insulation then check out the Gear Doctor Self Inflating Camping Mat today!
Features, Benefits, And Key Description:
– This pad is not only comfortable for camping trips, backpacking adventures, or just a quick night’s sleep out in the wilderness but it also has insulation that will keep you warm during cold winter months.
– The roll-up stuff sack makes this mat 100% self-contained when folded up making it easy to pack and travel anywhere with no extra weight on your shoulders.
– Gear Doctors Self Inflating Camping Mat is perfect for those who want a lightweight backpacking mattress with insulation that won’t take up too much space.
– The built-in pump enables you to inflate or deflate your mattress within seconds, wherever you are.
– Self-inflating air mat technology makes this one of the most comfortable and easy to set up pads on the market today. Gear Doctors has designed a great product with this self-inflating air mat that will help keep you warm and comfortable without the hassle of blowing up the pad manually. Simply roll it out, insert any nozzle that is attached to a pump into the end of the mat, and watch as it self-inflates in seconds!
The most selling point This lightweight compact backpacking travel camping mattress/pad is not just for sleeping
Pros & Cons
– easy to set up and take down,
– it is lightweight so it is easy to carry in a pack when backpacking or camping.
– one slight issue is that it can make some noise when people move around or roll over in their sleep because the air inside causes the pad to move and make a crackling sound.
Gear Doctors Self Inflating Camping Mat is perfect for those who want a lightweight backpacking mattress with insulation that won’t take up too much space. The built-in pump enables you to inflate or deflate your sleeping pad within seconds, wherever you are – perfect! If you need a lightweight backpacking mattress with insulation then check out the Gear Doctor Self Inflating Camping Mat today!
3 . WELLAX Ultralight Air Sleeping Pad – Inflatable Camping Mat for Backpacking, Traveling, and Hiking Air Cell Design for Better Stability & Support – Best Sleeping Pad
We are the only camping mat with a patented air cell design: Air Cell means that instead of having 6 rubber tubes, there is but one. You save weight and get improved stability! Our mat is made from puncture-resistant, high-grade PVC material with welded seams to ensure durability on your adventures. The bottom also has an anti-slip coating for more stability on uneven surfaces.
The WELLAX Ultralight Air Sleeping Pad weighs 5 oz and packs down smaller than a bottle of water which makes it perfect for backpacking as well as camping! Rest easy knowing your tent floor will be dry with our built-in waterproof layer – no matter how much you roll around at night! It’s great for sleepovers and fitting perfectly snugly in most mummy-style bags.
How do I keep my backpacking sleep pad and bag clean?
Wash your sleeping pads now and then with warm soapy water, or you can take it into a laundry to get it professionally cleaned if needed (which should be done once every few months). Make sure that the air cells are dry and that they expand again before you use the backpacking sleep pad. When inflating it, spread some ground powder or talcum powder to keep out any moisture/mold.
Features, Benefits, And Key description
– A versatile and lightweight backpacking sleeping pad that is ideal for camping, travel, and hiking.
– Comes in a variety of colors to suit your needs.
– The best value air mat with the built-in pump on the market!
– The ideal combination of comfort and a lightweight design.
– You’ll sleep like a baby with the built-in waterproof protection to keep you dry!
THE BEST VALUE – We are very proud that we have created a premium air sleeping pad but at an affordable price. It’s truly the best value camping mat on the market! Sturdy and comfortable! It’s great for sleepovers, family trips, backpacking, traveling, or any activity where you need to rest your body.
Pros & Cons
– Lightweight and compact for easy backpacking.
– Very durable, even with punctures and tears. Cons: – Doesn’t pack down as small as other air pads.
– Noisy when you move around due to the air cells. Other features: – Comes in a variety of colors to suit your needs.
– It weighs less than 1 lb and can be folded up into a small bag for easy storage.
The WELLAX Ultralight Air Sleeping Pad is the best value on the market with its durable, lightweight design and built-in pump for easy inflation. Weighing less than 1 lb., this pad has a variety of colors to suit your needs. It also comes complete with anti-slip coating and waterproof protection – so you can rest assured that it will last through all your adventures! The only thing left is to grab yours today before they sell out again!
Usage Tips: If you buy another sleeping pad, make sure that it is at least 4 inches shorter than the length of your bag. This way, it will easily fit inside of your sleeping bag (you can also roll up extra clothing to stuff around the end for added insulation). Also, try using a loft to get more cushioning and warmth.
4. ECOTEC Outdoors Insulated Hybern8 4 Season Ultralight Inflatable Sleeping Pad with Contoured Flex Cell Design – Easy, Comfortable, Light, Durable, Hammock Approved – Sub Zero Temp Rating
The Insulated Hybern8 Sleeping Pad from ECOTEC Outdoors is the best way to enjoy your next backpacking tour. This inflatable sleeping pad provides excellent insulation and comfort in 4 diverse climate zones – so you can take this mat on every trip! No matter if it’s hot, cold, humid, or dry, this self-inflating mattress will keep you comfortable. The unique FlexCell Design offers contouring curvature with a high thermal rating of 10 degrees F down to 27 degrees F.
Quality guaranteed: We are proud that our products are produced under ethical manufacturing conditions; using natural materials (polyester), free of harmful chemicals and Oeko-Tex certified for improved product safety before use. The durable nylon construction has been tested to withstand up to 498 lb of pressure, so it will hold you down comfortably. No more rolling off your mat when changing sleeping positions throughout the night.
All-season performance: Our ultralight air mattress is designed with a robust polyester fabric and self-inflating design that allows you to switch from hot summer
Features, Benefits, And Key Description
– Provides insulation and comfort in 4 diverse climate zones.
– Unique FlexCell Design offers contouring curvature with a high thermal rating of degrees F down to 27 degrees F.
– You can take this mat on every trip!
– No matter if it’s hot, cold, humid, or dry, this self-inflating mattress will keep you comfortable.
– The durable nylon construction has been tested to withstand up to 498 lb of pressure, so it will hold you down comfortably.
Key product features:
Stylish design with a port for easy inflation/ deflation.
Durable 420D Nylon oxford cloth – For increased durability and surface abrasion resistance.
Self-inflating design- 3 to 4 minutes of pumping creates a comfortable sleeping surface.
Roll-top closure – Provides maximum inflation for added comfort and convenience.
Vented- Open cell foam allows air circulation throughout the pad, ensuring your body temperature is optimized.
Key product benefits:
Easy Set-Up: With its roll-top closure, you will find that setting up your mat is simple and easy to do.
Breathability: The top layer of the cushioning is highly breathable, allowing for heat and moisture to be dissipated throughout the night.
Customized Comfort: Whether you sleep on your back, side, or stomach, this mat allows you to customize the firmness to your needs.
Durability: The 420D Nylon oxford cloth is durable and long-lasting, allowing you to take this mat on every trip without worrying about wear and tear.
Comfort: With its roll-top closure, you will find that setting up your mat is simple and easy to do. The bottom layer of the cushioning is open cell foam, allowing for air circulation throughout the night. This allows your body temperature to be optimal at all times of night, keeping you comfortable.
Pros & Cons
– Provides insulation and comfort in 4 diverse climate zones.
– Unique FlexCell Design offers contouring curvature with a high thermal rating of 10 degrees F down to 27 degrees F.
– Durable 420D Nylon oxford cloth – For increased durability and surface abrasion resistance.
– Self-inflating design- 3 to 4 minutes of pumping creates a comfortable sleeping surface.
– Roll-top closure – Provides maximum inflation for added comfort and convenience.
– Vented- Open cell foam allows air circulation throughout the pad, ensuring your body temperature is optimized.
It- Large and a little heavy, but worth it for the self-inflating design to reduce pumping time.
This is an extremely durable sleeping pad that provides insulation and comfort in four different climate zones. The self-inflating design pumps up the foam to create a comfortable surface while also being easy to set up. It’s worth noting this mat is a little on the heavy side, but it’s well worth it for the convenience of not having to pump every time you change positions at night.
5 . Sleeping Camping Sleeping go Pad – Mat, (Large), Ultralight 14.5 OZ, Best Sleeping Pads for Backpacking, Hiking Air Mattress – Lightweight, Inflatable & Compact, Camp Sleep Pad
Best Sleeping Camping Sleep Pad for Hiking & Backpacking – Lightweight, Inflatable & Compact
Are you looking for the most ultralight sleeping pad available? If so, we have something that will be perfect for you. Our new camp sleep mat is a storytime favorite. It’s made of stretchy nylon and comes with an extra 3 layers of padding which offers thermal protection to make it great during those colder nights too! All this adds up to only 14.5 ounces in weight and folds up very small so that it can fit inside your backpack easily when not needed or use around the home as well! Simply unpack after fastening straps together on either side (lots of safety features), connect inflate device and let out the air to desired firmness. This inflatable mat is perfect for backpacking, hiking, and other outdoor adventures because it’s very lightweight and compact when stored away in your backpack or vehicle!
Features, Benefits, And Key description
– Comes with a 3-year warranty
– Super lightweight design for backpacking and hiking
– Sleep like a baby.
Easily packable to save space in your luggage
– Attractive colors and designs for choosing
Material: Stretch nylon + 3 thick foam layers (thermal protection) + 600D Oxford cloth, it can be used for both summer and winter or even on rainy days.
Folded Size: 15″ x 6.3″ (40cm x 16cm)
Thickness: 3 layers of 7/8″, 2.2 cm foam + a layer of 1/4″, 0.6 cm air-ventilated PU foam,
plus 5 mm thick Oxford cloth + 600D nylon fabric;
Total thickness is about 2-12mm in 3 layers External Size: 58 x 21cm / 23.2″ x 8.3″,
Girth: 66-156cm/26 to 61 inches(Recommended),
Thickness: 0.8 cm
Weight: 14.5 ounces (420 grams)
Internal pocket design with a zippered pocket for keeping valuables safe
– Comes with a carrying bag, waterproof, and puncture-resistant.
This sleeping pad is so versatile that:
– You can fold it up and store it in the included storage bag or hang it to dry when wet
– Unfolded dimensions are 58 x 21 cm (23″ x 8.3″), suitable for 66 to 156cm
Pros & Cons
– The price is reasonable for backpacking sleeping pads.
– This sleeping pad is lightweight and can be folded up or hung up for easy storage.
– This sleeping pad comes with a 3-year warranty, which means that it is a high-quality product.
-The material used to make this product is durable so it won’t easily rip the fabric.
– There are no holes for straps on the side of the inflatable mat, which means it would be difficult to carry around when inflated.
This sleeping pad is so versatile that: – You can fold it up and store it in the included storage bag or hang it to dry when wet – Unfolded dimensions are 58 x 21 cm (23″ x 8.3″), suitable for 66 to 156cm This camping sleeping pad should be perfect for those who want a lightweight, but not cheap backpacking sleep mat. The price point makes this product attractive despite its lack of straps on the side for carrying around when inflated. If you’re looking for an ultralight camp sleep pad with some added warmth from thermal protection, these features may work well for your needs!
Our verdict on the top 5 products reviewed in this article (including who they are best suited for)
All Seasons 3-in-1 Camping Pad / Mattress
Our Preferred Choice when traveling together! This three-piece mat system gives you a comfortable padded mattress that is easy to roll up and stash into your pack when not needed. The All Seasons comes with a (removable) lightweight storage bag which makes it very convenient for carrying around on your travels. Unlike most traditional mats, this one does not need to be inflated manually so you can just unpack it and sleep on it straight away! It is also very lightweight at only 1.2 lbs and a great price! Not to mention the best value Air Mattress for camping with a built-in pump.
The Therm-a-Rest All Seasons 3-in-1 Camping Pad ( above ) is our first choice of backpacking sleeping pads when we are car camping with another person or are traveling. The key advantage compared to regular air mattresses that you blow up yourself is that it comes with its own self-inflating pump which means you don’t have to go through all the hassle of messing around blowing up an air mattress. Simply pull out your brand new mat, unpack it, connect the pump and start filling it up (takes about a minute)… and your done! You also don’t need to keep topping it up with air throughout the night as well.
Do I need anything else with my new purchase of a backpacking sleep mat, like an air mattress or tent/tarp combo kit?
To get the most out of your backpacking sleep pad, make sure you buy a sleeping bag that is designed for it. If the two are not designed to work together, then you will be more likely to have a difficult time sleeping comfortably. You may also want to look into buying a tent or tarp combo kit as well. This way, you can easily set up your tent in less time and have protection from the wind during your stay. These kits often include poles, pegs, ropes, and rain covers – everything that you need in one package!