You Haven’t Seen This Best Camping Sleeping Pad List on Market – Top 5 PicksEdison Katte
Great sleep in the backcountry can be surprisingly tough to come by. You’d think after a long day of hiking, most backpackers would be tired enough to pass out face first in their rehydrated mashed potatoes. But that’s not always the case.
Packing a top-notch sleeping pad will help you take your backcountry sleep game to the next level, and it’s critical for comfort and warmth. We’ve researched and tested dozens of sleeping pads over hundreds of nights to narrow this list down to the best of the best.
If you are looking for the best camping hammock tent for a sleeping pad, please check out our Best Camping Hammock Tents article.
Check out this quick list of our favorites if you’re in a hurry, or continue scrolling to see our full list with in-depth reviews.
We own and use all the sleeping pads we recommend.
What’s Most Important to You in a Sleeping Pad?
PRICE – You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get a good pad, but many backpackers (we included) are willing to splurge a little for a high-quality pad they plan on putting to good use.
WEIGHT – Your sleeping pad will be one of the four heaviest items in your pack (shelter, backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad). So this is a great place to save weight. The lighter your backpack, the more comfortable your hiking trips will be.
THICKNESS – You’ll want a pad thick enough to adjust its firmness without bottoming out, but not so thick it feels like a pool float.
WARMTH – The R-value of a sleeping pad measures how well it will insulate your body from the cold ground. Higher the R-value, and warmer the pad. In general, sleeping pads with R-values of 0-2 will work for most weather trips.
NOISE – One of the most common complaints among air pad users is the crinkly noises they make. This can be especially bothersome for light sleepers who tend to shift around throughout the night. All pads will make some noise, and some are worse than others, but the noises do tend to die down over time.
WEIGHT：1.65lb / 750g
THICKNESS：2.0in / 50mm
- Ultra-light and very portable
- Built-in foot pump, inflated within 50 seconds
- With pillows to provide support points for different pressures
- Trustworthy brand
- Provide high-quality after-sales service
- Free shipping
- Money-back guarantee
- Often out of stock
- Not suitable for very cold weather
Best for Cold Weather：Therm-a-Rest Sleeping Pad
WEIGHT：1.5lb / 680g
THICKNESS：2.5in / 63.5mm
- Included pump sack provides faster inflation/deflation
- Minimizes convective heat loss
- The structure provides stability and support
- Best for adventures in extremely cold conditions
- An ultra-compact design
- Expensive, not often needed in daily life
- Very loud sound
WEIGHT：1.8lb / 810g
THICKNESS：4in / 101.6mm
- Designed for warmer-weather use
- Provides a plush sleeping experience
- Quiet, durable, and extremely reliable
- Easy inflation
- Preventing your Pillow from slipping
- The price is more expensive for most people
- Too thick cushions are not needed for most backpackers
WEIGHT：1.2lb / 545g
THICKNESS：0.9in / 22mm
- Space-efficient design
- Dual-density, abrasion-resistant foam offers
- Ultralight durability and comfort
- Packaging is made from recycled materials
- It cheap and will never pop
- Not as comfortable as an inflatable sleeping pad
- Too thin, poor insulation
- Inconvenient storage
WEIGHT：1.5lb / 680g
THICKNESS：1.5in / 38mm
- Expanded foam core self-inflating
- Best for adventure in cool weather
- Provide moderate insulation from the ground temperature
- Great price
- Thickness, weight, and packed size can’t compete with an air pad
- Not suitable for cold weather
Why Is the DECENTRAVELER Sleeping Pad Rated #1 of 2022?
- Ultra-light and very portable.
- Quickly fold, put it freely, and do not take up space.
- 40D nylon material, environmentally friendly and healthy fabric, moisture-proof, and heat-insulation.
- The built-in air pump can be directly opened and used to inflate by pressing. It takes about 50 seconds to complete the inflation. No other inflation products are needed
- Comes with pillows to support the body at different pressure points to ensure safe insulation of wet and hard surfaces
- Suitable for most weather
- Trusted by 11,000+ customers
- Best value for your money
How To Shop For The Best Camping Sleeping Pad For You
Will you be driving up to a camp spot, hiking a mile or so in, or heading out on a weeklong backpacking trip? Do you sleep on your back, side, or stomach? Is extra cushioning important, or do you care more about saving on weight?
Understanding your sleep preferences will help determine the best pad. Read on for the most important factors in choosing a camping pad.
Sleeping Pad Categories
- Air Pads – Air pads offer unmatched compactness, often rolling down to the same size as a bottle. They’re also the lightest option, while at the same time providing unmatched thickness. Bonded insulation or baffling techniques can bring impressive warmth, The primary downside is a greater puncture risk, and it’s a big consideration. Middle-of-the-night deflations can ruin a trip really fast. Bringing along a patch kit should alleviate most concerns.
- Self-Inflating Mats – By combining open-cell foam and space for the pad to expand and fill with air, it brought convenience, decent durability, and comfort. Compared with air pads, self-inflating options are more puncture-resistant, and you still have some semblance of padding if it deflates in the middle of the night. Negatives are that the foam brings extra poundage and they don’t pack down as small as an equivalent air pad.
- Foam Pads – The old closed-cell foam pads still have a place on this list as a dependable, tried-and-true option. Yes, they’re the least comfortable option, don’t pack as small, and don’t have the highest R-values, but they also have exactly a zero percent chance of deflating in the middle of the night. And they’re the perfect secondary pads to bring along for winter camping.
In general, the thicker the pad, the more comfortable it is. Additionally, having a bit of foam or extra insulation increases the comfort factor and decreases the noise. If you’re a side sleeper, you understand the need for plenty of cushioning under your hips and shoulders. For a better night’s sleep, you would do well to get a thicker sleeping pad.
We love a good value. But even more than that, we appreciate gear that performs well and lasts through several seasons of use.
If you only plan to sleep outside a weekend or two a year, a cheaper pad may get the job done just fine. But if camping is a regular occurrence, it’s worth investing more in a pad.
This is the foundation of your sleep, and getting enough rest at night will make spending all day outside that much more enjoyable. In general, forking over a few extra bucks will get you some combination of increased comfort, durability, and warmth.
Warmth & R-Value
In addition to comfortable cushioning, a good camping pad should provide some insulation from the ground. The higher the R-value, the warmer and more insulating the sleeping pad will be.
The R-value you need depends a bit on if you tend to be a warm or cool sleeper. In general, you’ll want a sleeping pad with a value greater than 5 for comfortable winter camping. For summer, something in the 2 to 4 range should work for warmer nights.
The most common complaint about lightweight backpacking sleeping pads is the loud, crinkly noise. While packing less is great, sleeping on a pad as noisy as a potato chip bag is less than ideal. And having your tentmate toss and turn all night is even worse.
Fortunately, brands are taking note and making quieter sleeping pads.
Why Trust Us?
We fully understand how tough it is to find trustworthy gear advice, and that’s one of the main reasons we build this blog section. We live for outdoor adventure, and we take these guides very seriously. Here are some of the reasons you can trust us:
- Our choices are completely independent and based on personal experience.
- We’ve logged over 10,000 trail miles and test outdoor gear for a living.
- We own and field test every product we recommend, which is sadly not the norm.
- We travel to industry trade shows to learn about upcoming product innovations.
- We constantly update our guides when new products launch.
- We treat our recommendations as if they were for our family and friends.
- We’re lifelong learners and we’re always open to constructive criticism. If you think we’ve missed a product or got something wrong, we’d love to hear your feedback.