When it comes to camping, it’s essential to stay safe and healthy, as well as have a good time.
Some essentials are obvious, like a sleeping tent, proper clothing, food, and water, etc.
However, there is one item that is sometimes overlooked, and that is the sleeping pad.
From sleeping pads, you get two benefits: cushioning and insulation.
More important is the ability of the sleeping pad to insulate your body from cold surfaces.
Choosing the best sleeping pad will ensure you comfortable and relaxing sleep, and have you full of energy for the next hiking day.
How to Choose the Best Sleeping Pad for You
A sleeping pad is one of the most important pieces of outdoor gear in your backpack.
The right sleeping mat will keep you comfortable on the hard ground and warm in any weather. There are three key things to consider:
- type of sleeping pad
- how you’ll use it.
Budget for Sleeping Pads
You can expect to pay $$ or more depending on the quality, features, and type of camping mat.
The less expensive sleeping pads are air mattresses and the common open or closed cell “foamy” found at most big retailers or camping stores.
Sleeping pads at the higher end of the budget tend to be self-inflating pads. As a general rule, the more you spend, the more comfortable you get.
Sleeping Pad Types
When you start shopping for a sleeping mat for backpacking, you’ll find three basic types:
- air mattresses
- open or closed cell foam pads
- self-inflating sleeping pads.
Air mattresses are not a good choice because they are not very comfortable, easily punctured or damaged by heat, and are usually poorly made. Save them for floating around in the pool or at the lake.
When looking for a sleeping pad, shop by style and activity. If you’re a long distance hiker look for the lightest pad, if your car or boat camping, you can go for a thicker and larger mattress, if you’re winter camping it’s recommended to use two pads: a closed-air-cell foam pad and an inflatable air pad atop.
Best Sleeping Pad Reviews
Here are 6 best sleeping pads that we have chosen after a lot of research of different designs and brands:
#1. Klymit – Static V Air Pad
The KLYMIT Static V Sleeping Pad is one of the best camping pads on the market.
Pads made by Klymit usually have good durability as they are made of tough materials and the material used on Static V pad is 75D polyester fabric.
It’s made with durable and rugged 75D polyester fabric, which is perfect for any outdoor adventure.
The pad is lightweight, making it great for backpacking, hiking, and any other outdoor activity where weight is a factor.
The V-chamber design works to limit air movement and heat loss, keeping you warm no matter how cold the night gets.
It’s easy to use with just approximately 10 breaths to inflate it, and deflating and packing is just as easy. The KLYMIT Static V sleeping pad features an easy to use valve that allows for quick inflation and deflation.
It only weighs 18.6 ounces and measures 3 x 8 inches and 2.5 inches thick when packed up in its stuff sack making it easy to transport in your backpack or throw in the trunk of your car for car camping adventures.
Weight 18.1 oz : And the light weight would be another pro if you are a long distance backpacker. This pad is especially good for side sleepers.
Many sleepers like this pad because of the insulation pockets on the bottom which keep you warm without adding too much weight or bulkiness to the pad.
This sleeping pad can comfortably hold up to 250 pounds so most campers will be able to enjoy it regardless of their size or weight.
With the V baffle approach you can keep turning and still stay on the pad.
This product has a proven track record of being one of the best sleeping pads for backpacking, hiking, camping, backpacking or any other outdoor activity where you need a little extra cushion to sleep on.
#2. Intex Inflatable Fabric Camping Mattress
The Intex Camping Mattress is the perfect accessory for all your camping trips. This mattress is a must-have if you want to get some good quality sleep while out in the wild.
This mattress is ideal for people who like to go camping but cannot do without their comfortable bed back home.
Intex Sleeping Pad made of Waterproof Fabric which is very easy to clean.
The Intex Camping Mattress has a soft, velvety surface that provides you with added comfort and relaxation.
It is best for travel due to its folding compactly which save your space. It is simple camping sleeping solution for your outdoor adventures.
2-Ply laminate bottom provides extra durability for the outdoors. It also features a 2-ply laminate bottom that prevents any accidental punctures from happening.
This mattress can support up to 136 kg of weight so you are assured that it will be able to hold your body weight as well as another person’s if you decide to share one with your partner.
Intex Sleeping Pad measures 72.5 by 6.75 by 26.5 inches (W x H x D).
The Intex Camping Mattress is 3 inches thick which means it will provide enough cushioning between you and the ground.
Its compact size ensures that it won’t take up too much room inside your tent or RV when not in use and can easily be transported to wherever you need it thanks to its carry handle making it convenient for both indoor and outdoor use.
You will also enjoy with it in pool and lake as flotation devices.
It has a single valve for extra quick inflation and deflation. Ideal for camping, picnicking, hiking and other outdoor activities, this inflatable camping mat is an ideal addition to your next adventure.
#3. Premium Self Inflating Sleeping Pad
TNH Outdoors Sleeping Pad is made of Lightweight Foam Padding and Superior Insulation Great For Hiking & Camping.
The TNH Outdoors Premium Self Inflating Sleeping Pad is a lightweight and compact mat that is great for camping or backpacking.
The 1.5 inch thick pad has an R-value of 4.5, which is just enough to keep you warm on a cool night.
The pad is made of high quality materials like 210T polyester and foam 19 kg/m3 to keep the mat durable and long lasting.
The TNH Outdoors Self Inflating Sleeping Pad is here for those who don’t want to compromise on quality and want gear that is built with the harsh realities of the backcountry in mind.
A nice feature of this pad is that it folds down to 8×13.9 inches which makes it easy to pack into a backpack or throw on the backseat of your car.
After a long hiking, every loves to sleep on soft and warm paid; there is nothing worse than freezing away at night.
No more waking up with a stiff back, shoulders and neck! I just got back from a car camping trip in the mountains and slept like a baby on this sleeping pad.
I also used it while kayaking down the Green River in Utah for 6 days, along with my Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad.
#4. WACOOL Sleeping Pad Mat with Pillow
WACOOL Self Inflating Sleeping Pad is very Comfortable, Lightweight and Durable small enough to fit inside a backpack with Pillow . It’s back package size: 13″x6″x6″.
When you open this, it will auto fill the air in it you did not need to spend time on inflating on it.
It is made of Non-Slip Soft Touch and Waterproof skin which will give extra comfort and warmth to you.
#5. OutdoorsmanLab Ultralight Sleeping Pad
Sleeping Pad is best for backpacking, camping, travel due to super comfortable due to air-support cells design.
OutdoorsmanLab Ultralight Sleeping Pad is ultralight only weight 14.5 oz with is best for your packs down.
It packed size is (8″x3.5″x3.5″) which is small than a water bottle. It’s inflated size 73″ x 21.6″ x 2.2″.
Large, easy to use air valve let you inflate and deflate in seconds!.
Just 10 – 15 breaths and you have a comfortable sleeping pad.
#6. Exped Ultralight 7 DownMat
This great down mat offers an amazing combination of both warmth and lightweight packability.
It’s warm enough for winter camping so that you can enjoy it all 4 seasons. And with this mat you don’t need to bring an additional foam mat, even without it you’ll still keep warm during cold winter nights.
High-performance goose down insulation provides a warm R-value of 5.9.
Exped Ultralight 7 DownMat employs separate air chambers that 2.8 inches of comfortable support.
#7. Thermarest Neo-Air Xtherm Sleeping Pad
The Thermarest Neo-Air Xtherm Sleeping Pad is also great for use in any of the four seasons.
It’s extremely warm and comfortable. In combination with that it offers light weight with mere 15 ounces and incredible packing size, it packs to 1.4 liters.
The high warmth is provided by incorporated Triangular Core Matrix™ technology. With a warm R-value of 5.7 and 2.5 inches of thickness of this sleeping pad, you’ll have excellent insulation from the cold ground.
#8. Nemo Equipment Cosmo Insulated Air Sleeping Bag
The Nemo Equipment Cosmo Insulated Air Sleeping Bag will keep you nice and cozy during your sleep 3 seasons of the year. Cosmo pads have a plush 3 inches thickness and durable fabrics. Horizontal air baffles create a flatter surface of the sleeping pad and eliminate bunches. These baffles also offer more support and stability than many conventional sleeping pads. The pad also provides a raised portion at the hea d end to supplement a pillow. Using the built-in foot pump makes the inflation process quick and easy.
#9. Alps Mountaineering XXL Comfort Series Self-Inflating Air Pad
Alps Mountaineering sleeping pad is more suitable for car camping due to its weight and size.
So when such characteristics as weight and size don’t matter, you should focus more on comfort, and that’s exactly what this self-inflating pad provides.
With this sleeping pad, you won’t have to worry about getting cold at night, as it features Jet Stream Wave Foam and extra thick padding.
Sleeping Pads Only is a site for backpackers and campers looking for trustworthy information on backcountry, hiking and camping gear, and sleeping pads in particular. If you’ve ever spent a cold night huddled in your sleeping bag trying to warm up, you’ll know why a quality sleeping pad or camping mat is so important.
So, we’re here to help you learn about types of sleeping pads. Identify the best brands and highest-rated sleeping mats. Share buying tips. Provide useful articles and reviews on new technology and products for outdoor people. And show you where to shop for a great deal on sleeping pads.
That includes best brands like Thermarest, Big Agnes, Exped, ALPS, Nemo and Pacific Outdoor Equipment camping pads.
Sleeping Pads Only. A small site but big on friendly, credible information for people who love the great outdoors.
Sleeping Pad Buying Tips
We’ve got some great information and a checklist to help you pick the perfect sleeping pad for camping, backpacking or hiking.
Sleeping Pad Checklist & Buying Tips
Here’s a simple buying guide for sleeping pads and other outdoor gear. Use this checklist to identify what you need in your product and what you want.
Make sure to compare similar models and specifications. Price is always important but often spending a little more for a better value product can cost you less in the long run. Don’t forget the cost of shipping and taxes too.
When comparing detailed product features, look carefully at materials, finish, dimensions as well as weight, especially if you’re a backpacker.
There are lots of sources for online outdoor gear reviews to help guide you and narrow your choices including www.amazon.com,
Care & Repair for Your Sleeping Pad
If you made a big investment in your sleeping pad, you’d want to pay special attention to these care and repair tips. Sleeping pads are very easy to take care of or repair regardless of the pad type.
Protecting Your Sleeping Mat
Whether you’re using an air mattress, a foam pad or a self-inflating sleeping pad, it’s important to remember these tips to protect your camp mat:
- protect your camping pads by removing rocks, sharp sticks
- avoid spilling food or liquids on your camp pads
- air mattresses and self-inflating sleeping pads are easily punctured
- all pads are easily damaged by heat or campfire sparks
- foam pads are durable though easily cut
- consider using a nylon square to wrap around your sleeping to protect it and keep it dry in
- your backpack.
Sleeping Pad Care
Care of your sleeping pads is easy. Air mattresses and foam camping pads can be easily brushed or sprayed clean. Self-inflating sleeping pads should also be kept clean, and any spills quickly wiped up. The biggest danger is from tree sap which makes a mess of pads and is easily transferred to sleeping bags and tents.
When storing your sleeping pads after trips, take special care. Foam pads should be no wiped clean, stored flat or easily hung up with clothespins. Inflatable pads should also be stored flat. Storing pads rolled up is hard on the fabric and leads to greater wear and tear.
Repairing Your Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad
Some camping pads come with stuff sacks and repair kits which are highly recommended. Repair kits will allow you to quickly and easily repair a puncture to your air mattress or inflatable sleeping pad. Here’s how:
- Open the valve and let your mattress inflate. Blow a couple of breaths into it to slightly over-inflate and then close the valve.
- Mix a small amount of dish soap in a bowl of water and spread it over the mattress where you think it might be leaking. Fold the mattress in half or thirds and watch for bubbles coming out of the leaks.
- Repeat for the other side of the mattress.
- Mark the leaks with a pen.
- Rinse the mattress and let it dry out. When it is dry, deflate it and close the valve.
- Carefully spread some glue over the hole.
- Open the valve. As the mattress inflates, it will draw glue into the pinhole, making a long-lasting seal.
- Let the glue dry for 24 hours before using the mattress.
Alternately, use a repair kit with glue and a patch and follow instructions carefully. You can buy a repair kit here: