Best Sleeping Pad: Perfect Pads For Your Lifestyle

sleeping pad

Sleep better on your next camping trip with one of the best sleeping pads on the market in 2018. Whether you are an expert backpacker who through-hikes the Appalachian Trail, or a fair-weather camper who drives to each camping spot, there’s an excellent sleeping pad for you. Choose from a variety of sizes, insulation levels and prices. If you aren’t sure what to look for in a great sleeping pad, use this FAQs list to help you determine the perfect pad for your next adventure. You may even sleep so comfortably that you’ll forget you’re in a tent.

Comparison Table of the Best Sleeping Pad in 2019





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What Are Sleeping Pads?

A sleeping pad can contain a variety of materials, but they all serve the same purposes. They are designed to give you a combination of warmth, comfort and protection by keeping you off the ground. Sleeping on the ground can be uncomfortable and cold, which could be dangerous if you’re camping in chilly climates. 

Sleeping pads are lightweight enough to travel in your backpack, while still offering protection. You can choose a foam sleeping pad, which is durable and forms to your body, or you can use an inflatable air mattress. An air mattress can give you plenty of insulation and comfort, while still packing light and small. However, this style could easily tear, which leaves you with little protection. Most sleeping pads on this list are air mattresses, which are best for lightweight trips.

How Warm Is My Sleeping Pad?

walking in the mountain deserts with a sleeping pad in the bag

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The rating of sleeping pads is usually by R-value. This value, which also pertains to buildings, measures the thermal resistance of a material. If you have a sleeping pad with an R-value of 1.5, for example, you’ll be comfortable with temperatures as low as 40 degrees. You could use an R-value of 5 with almost any temperature you’ll face, as low as -40 degrees. Of course, the temperatures are not an exact science and will vary depending on the person.

They also assume adequate sleeping bags and other clothing, so don’t expect your sleeping pad to keep you warm on its own. However, if you’ve ever felt as if the ground is pulling all the heat out of your body as you sleep, you’ll understand the practicality of a well-insulated sleeping pad.

Which Shape Should I Choose?

a man sleeping in the pad

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Sleeping pads come in a few basic sizes, which are designed to match your sleeping bag. There are mummy bag-shaped sleeping pads, which are cut to fit the basic contours of your body. Rectangular sleeping pads offer more support for people who like to move in their sleep, but they are larger and usually heavier than mummy bag-shaped pads.

There are many slightly different varieties of sleeping pads, and each brand makes a somewhat different sleeping pad. Many of the sleeping pads on this list also come with short and long options. For the sake of comparison, each sleeping pad was reviewed using only the standard, or regular, size and length.

How We Reviewed

There are plenty of excellent sleeping pad brands to choose from, and most brands have an extensive list. In a sea of options, it’s tough to find the perfect pad for your lifestyle. This list is meant to offer you a guide to choosing your own sleeping pad, rather than promoting any one brand or style. Each option was selected based on professional opinions and ratings, as well as customer reviews and scores. Carefully review each option, and consider the pros and cons of each. Sleeping pads are all designed for slightly different uses, so think about your type of travel, and purchase the pad that most accurately reflects your lifestyle.

Price Range

There’s a wide range of sleeping pad prices available on the market, and it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish which ones are worth the extra cost. We chose each item on this list as a competitive model for its price range based on size, weight, insulation and comfort level. These sleeping pads range from $44.95 to $199.95. Many high-end pads not only have high insulation levels, but they are also typically lighter and more durable. Consider your budget before comparing each model.

Top 8 Best Sleeping Pads

Thermarest NeoAir Xlite Sleeping Pad
  • Advanced fabrics and a tapered design make this the lightest 3-season backpacking air mattresses available, with no peer...
  • Patent-pending, reflective ThermaCapture technology traps radiant heat while Triangular Core Matrix construction...
  • 2.5" (6 cm)-thickness and baffled internal structure provide unrivaled stability and support.

Available in three different sizes, this high-quality air sleep pad has plenty of comfort in a lightweight design. It has a mid-range R-value, but the best feature of this pad is its remarkable 12-ounce total weight. It can pack down to roughly the size of a one-liter bottle, so it’s perfect for lightweight backpacking trips. If you’re familiar with long journeys, you’ll love the included repair kit as well.

It uses a reflective material to trap your body’s heat, providing you with maximum R-value without a bulky mattress. Customers love the comfort of this highly portable sleep pad. However, many customers feel the material makes it louder than most sleeping pads. This pad makes some crinkly and squeaky noises as you move, which may not be convenient for light sleepers. It’s also one of the most expensive on the list, so it may not be the most cost-effective for occasional use.

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Ultralight Foam Backpacking Mattress
  • Lightweight and compact closed-cell foam camping mattress is a durable, dependable, and economical option for sleeping...
  • Trusted by mountaineers and backpackers for generations, the classic pad features folding accordion-style construction...
  • Reflective ThermaCapture coating and heat-trapping dimples capture radiant heat, increasing overall warmth by 20 percent...

The most affordable sleeping pad on this list is also the only foam pad. This unique design folds like an accordion so that you won’t sacrifice too much storage space. You won’t have to worry about weight either, as it’s only 14 ounces. This sleeping pad has a two-sided design, to give you a comfortable side and a durable side. It also uses heat-reflecting material to provide you with the most warmth for its size and cost.

The sturdy nature of this pad, paired with its affordable price, makes it great for use with an additional air mattress. Use this mattress on the ground, then place your air mattress on top. That way, you’ll maximize your comfort-level, insulation and you’ll save your air mattress from any unexpected tears or leaks. Customers love it not only for this use, but also as a yoga mat or a comfortable place to sit. However, it’s still much bulkier than most air mattresses on this list and isn’t quite as comfortable.

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WellaX Ultralight Air Sleeping Pad - Inflatable Camping Mat for...
  • WELLAX Ultralight Air Sleeping Pad- is the perfect hiking air mattress for the best balance of comfort and warmth. Wake...
  • COMPACT and LIGHTWEIGHT- The ease of inflating an air mattress meets the comfort of a foam mattress. This sleeping pad...
  • REVOLUTIONARY DESIGN: Dozens of air cells are supported by a comfortable foam frame. Made from high-quality laminated...

Bring the comfort of your own bed outdoors with the NEMO Tensor sleeping pad. This air mattress uses 3 inches of height and a compressible design in order to give you the maximum comfort, while still providing insulation and a lightweight pad. It’s designed for any sleeping position and is comfortable even for side-sleepers.

The thermal layer is metalized, giving you plenty of warmth without added weight. The square design is great for larger-framed individuals, or for anyone who likes to stretch a little in their sleep. However, for its price, it’s heavier than some of the lightweight sleeping pads. It’s perfect if you don’t mind sacrificing a few ounces of weight for a more comfortable night's sleep.

Klymit Static V Lightweight Sleeping Pad
  • SLEEP COMFORTABLY ALL NIGHT: Affordable lightweight camping pad with V-chamber design to limit air movement and heat...
  • EASY-TO-USE push valve allows for quick inflation and deflation
  • INCREDIBLY LIGHTWEIGHT: Packed Weight: 18.6 Ounces; Packed Size: 3 x 8 Inches

Another affordable sleeping pad, this unique design is comfortable and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. The 75D polyester fabric and curved design allow for a soft pad that packs down very small. However, it’s not as lightweight as other designs, with a total weight of 18.1 ounces. This pad also has an R-value of 1.3, offering mid-range insulation. Choose from a variety of color options, and consider the short or extra-wide options for more customization. Customers love this sleeping pad for summer and fall camping trips. However, it may not be warm enough for cooler climates or winter camping.

Big Agnes AXL Air Ultralight Sleeping Pad
  • Ultralight, compact, inflatable sleeping pad available in both mummy and classic rectangular shapes; Quiet and...
  • Built-in advanced heat reflective technology
  • Internal construction minimizes weight and packed size while providing maximum stability and comfort; Larger outer...

One of the most expensive sleeping pads on this list is also the most lightweight, giving you the best option for avid backpackers. If you’re on a long trip, you know that every ounce counts. This pad weighs an impressive 11.9 ounces. Beyond its weight, it’s designed to be soft, durable and warm. It uses synthetic fibers and reflective Mylar to provide insulation.

The design has a big outer tube, which can help keep you from falling off one side. Like most pads on this list, it comes with a repair kit and storage sack. If you’re an ultra-light backpacker who needs the highest quality available, this is an excellent choice. However, it’s far more expensive than comparable models, so it’s only a great deal when you’re packing ounce-by-ounce.

WellaX Ultralight Air Sleeping Pad - Inflatable Camping Mat for...
  • WELLAX COMFORT PLUS SLEEPING PAD provides the optimal Comfort and Warmth your body needs for getting a good night's...
  • COMPACT and LIGHTWEIGHT: the ultralight WellaX Sleeping Mat has a single layer of Air Cells to give you the lightest...
  • REVOLUTIONARY DESIGN: Laminated 20D Rip-stop Nylon and the TPU Layer provides a good balance between low weight and...

A great balance of affordable pricing and lightweight design, this sleep pad is perfect for budget travel on three-seasons trips. An R-value of 1.4 is ideal for spring and chilly fall nights, but won’t keep you warm on cold winter nights. Tillak is committed to protecting the environment, so 25% of the profits of this sleeping pad will go to supporting environmental efforts. 13.7 ounces is an impressive weight, and you’ll stay comfortable with this 2.75-inch mattress. The interconnected style of each air chamber gives you plenty of support in the right areas, and it’ll keep you off the hard ground. It’s perfect for occasional backpackers who still need a comfortable and reliable lightweight sleeping pad.

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With an incredible R-value of 5, this sleeping pad is incredibly warm, durable and convenient. It’s the most expensive choice on this list, but you’ll love the thick insulation and easy-to-use inflatable mattress. Customers love the comfort of this high-quality sleeping pad. It also packs down very small.

However, it’s quite heavy, which isn’t great for lightweight trips. The Comfort Plus is an excellent choice for comfort and convenience, particularly during cold nights. However, it’s quite expensive and heavy for use in the summer or on long hikes.

TETON Sports XXL Sleeping Pad; Sleeping Mat for Camping, Backpacking,...
  • FINALLY, A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP: Lightweight and comfortable, this camping pad self inflates so you can get a good...
  • EXTRA INSULATION AND COMFORT: Camping pad provides another layer of insulation from the hard, cold, uneven ground or...
  • NO PUMP REQUIRED: Self-inflates; Open the rapid-inflation valve(s) and watch the pad fill itself up in minutes; Add a...

This mid-priced sleeping pad provides the very best insulation at an affordable price. Choose this for chilly fall nights, or if you have a lightweight sleeping bag. A mummy bag shape isn’t the most convenient for individuals who toss and turn in their sleep, but it helps that this pad pack down to a reasonable size and weight. The synthetic material is durable and comfortable, and it’s easy to inflate. Check out this sleeping pad if you want a warm and durable choice, particularly if you aren’t as concerned about weight.

The Verdict

No two sleeping pads are exactly alike, just like no two travelers need the exact same equipment. Consider the type of traveler you are and think about what you need to have a warm and comfortable night’s sleep. Whether you are hiking across the country or sleeping on your friend’s living room floor, it’s important to weigh each option. For the warmest choice, consider the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus. However, it’s quite expensive and heavy, so for an affordable and lightweight option, try the Tillak Shasta. There are plenty of excellent sleeping pads to choose from, so choose the one that matches your needs. You’ll sleep well on your next adventure, and soon the thought of sleeping on the cold, hard ground will be only a distant memory.

Last update on 2021-09-19 at 18:03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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