Top Sleeping Pads Reviewed

No piece of outdoor gear can be as divisive as the sleeping pad.

Some old school ultralight backpackers look down their noses at sleeping pads, crawl in their old, crusty sleeping bags and wake up the next morning tired and sore after a terrible night’s sleep.

Sleeping pads can be an absolute game changer and a lifesaver on the trail.  They’re ultra lightweight, small enough to fit into most modern sleeping bags and provide added comfort and warmth from the cold, hard ground.

While some campers like to get cozy on a nice air bed, many backpackers don’t have space for such a luxury.

The backcountry is unforgiving for so many reasons.  Why not stack all the odds in your favor of getting a good night’s sleep. Especially if your navigating your way through more challenging terrain, a sleeping pad can help ensure that you get enough sleep so you wake up the next day refreshed and ready to conquer the trail.

Nowadays sleeping pads come in a number of different sizes and models that offer features like self-inflation, air pads, open-cell foam pads, and closed-cell foam pads.

We’ve included a list of our favorites below, along with a buying guide.

For more information and tips on how to find the best sleeping pad for your adventure, be sure to check out “Best Air Mattresses and Sleeping Pads For Camping“.

 

 

Top Sleeping Pads Rankings

  1. Therm-a-Rest BaseCamp Mattress

  2. Editors Rating:
    (5 / 5)

    Weight 3
    Current Price from $79.95
    Pros Comes in 3 different sizes (R/L/XL),, Great for 4 season camping, R-Value of 5, Plenty of room when laid out,
    Cons 3 pounds, Even packed fully down can still take up extra space, , ,
    Our Take:

    The Therm-a-Rest BaseCamp Mattress is a super comfy self-inflating mat that you might find so comfortable you start using it at home on a nightly basis.

    With an R-value of 5, you’ll find the mat will keep you very well protected from the cold, hard ground.

    The self-inflating feature will save you time and breaths, although it’s not totally self-inflating, you may need to throw a few breaths in to get it fully inflated.

    Once inflated the Therm-a-rest offers an exceptionally comfortable mat with the open cell foam core inside providing enough support.

    The valve is adjustable so you can modify the amount of air you want to be inflated in the pad to custom contour to your liking.

    The outer layer is made with a soft brushed fabric which will eliminate a lot of the noise made from moving around on the pad.

    The only real downside is the mat weighs close to 3 pounds and even when broken down needs to be carried on the outside of a backpackers pack.

    However, there is an included stuff sack that comes with compression straps to help make the Therm-A-Rest pad more portable.

    If you’re not concerned with a little extra weight the Therm-a-rest will be a nice complement to any sleeping bag, Bivy sack, or hammock setup.

    Read our full review of the Therm-a-Rest BaseCamp Mattress


  3. Therm-a-Rest LuxuryMap Mattress

  4. Editors Rating:
    (4.9 / 5)

    Weight 3.25
    Current Price from $81.95
    Pros Durable/quiet outer materials, Self-inflating, R-Value of 6.8, Specialty body-mapping foam,
    Cons Too big for lightweight backpacking, , , ,
    Our Take:

    The Therm-a-Rest LuxuryMap Mattress adds a touch of luxury for any backpacker looking for a great night’s sleep in the backcountry.

    The Luxurymap is a self-inflating sleeping pad with an R-value of 6.8 and raises to 3 inches high to keep you well insulated from the cold, hard ground thanks to the interior foam.

    The pad takes a few minutes to inflate, you may even want to give it a few puffs, but once inflated the wait will be well worth it.

    Especially if you’re using this pad for an extended amount of time you’ll find that it doesn’t require much maintenance and will hold its fill for even months on end.

    The foam is strategically placed with advanced variable-density pressure mapping technology to provide extra padding underbody parts that need it more like your back and head and less padding where it’s not needed as much like your feet.

    Despite the LuxuryMap’s thickness, it compresses down enough to make it a viable option for backpacking.

    The only downside is that it weighs a little over 3 pounds which can be a bit heavy for a backpacking sleeping pad, but if the rest of your pack is lightweight the Luxurymap will make a great complement to any sleeping bag.

    Read our full review of the Therm-a-Rest LuxuryMap Mattress


  5. Fox Outfitters Comfort Series Self Inflating Camp Pad

  6. Editors Rating:
    (4.8 / 5)

    Best Budget Option

    Weight 2
    Current Price from $54.99
    Pros 2 sizes available, R-Value of 5, Long and big mat, ,
    Cons Too big to pack for long distance lightweight backpacking, , , ,
    Our Take:

    The Fox Outfitters Comfort Series Self Inflating Camp Pad is an awesome self-inflating pad that will both comfort and convenience to any camper looking for a decent night’s sleep on the trail.

    The pad itself offers good size at 72 inches long and 20 inches wide (for the regular) so most average size campers can easily fit.

    If that’s too small there’s a large size available that extends to 77 inches.

    The pad has an R-value of 5 and lays 3 inches off the ground.

    You’ll find a very comfortable and insulated night’s sleep on this pad night after night as the pad doesn’t seem to lose air even after extended use.

    The Non-Slip Soft Touch fabric will also give campers the added advantage of a pad with durability and not having to worry about shifting through the night.

    At around 2 pounds and the ability to compress down to 21″ X 6″ backpackers will love the Comfort Series pad.

    It comes with a stuff sack that also includes compression straps for added compression.

    If you’re looking for comfort + portability + durability, the Fox Outfitters Comfort Series Self Inflating Camp Pad delivers great value.

    Read our full review of the Fox Outfitters Comfort Series Self Inflating Camp Pad


  7. Sleeping Pad by Legit Camping

  8. Editors Rating:
    (4.7 / 5)

    Weight .9 lbs
    Assembled Dimensions 75"L X 22"W X 2"H
    Current Price $33.97
    Pros Packs down to the size of a small jug, Can fit a 6-foot person, Made from tough materials, Great for ultralight backpacking,
    Cons R-rating of only 1.3 and not insulated, , , ,
    Our Take:

    The Sleeping Pad Camping Mat by Legit Camping is a very comfortable air pad that anyone capable of blowing out 10 large breaths can use.

    The pad itself measures 75 inches in length so it can easily fit most average to taller campers.

    The 22 inches in width give plenty of room for those who like to sleep on their sides as well.

    The mat then can fold down to 7.8”x3.5” fitting into a tiny stuff sack the size of a liter jug, while at only 16 ounces the pad fits seamlessly into your pack.

    The 20D Rip-stop Nylon with a TPU Layer offers decent water resistance.

    The inflated cells help evenly distribute weight throughout the pad so there are no awkward under-inflated parts on the surface.

    The only downside to this pad is it is not insulated, and only has an R-rating of 1.3… despite the fact you are a few inches off the ground there still may be some chill running through the pad.

    All in all, this is a great, reliable sleeping pad for any lightweight backpacker.

    Read our full review of the Sleeping Pad by Legit Camping


Last update on 2019-11-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sleeping Pads Buying Guide 2019

How to Pick

Below are some things to keep in mind when selecting a sleeping pad.

Type Of Pad

Sleeping pads come in several different styles including air pads, open-cell foam pads, and closed-cell foam pads

Air Pad

A good air pad is ideal for backpackers who want to keep their packed weight down.

They can come in lightweight styles and can pack down to the size of a liter jug to fit seamlessly in your pack.

It’s usually required to inflate these pads by mouth but there are smaller pump options and some are even made with the pump built into the pad.

The downside is they are more at risk of popping than foam pads.

OPEN-CELL FOAM/SELF-INFLATING SLEEPING PAD

Open-cell foam pads usually go by the name of “self-inflating” pads as that is one of their best features.

No blowing or lugging a pump around, just open the main valve and the pad is ready in seconds.

Aside from being self-inflating, open-cell pads offer more width and insulation than a regular foam pad.

Although not as packable as an air pad, they still break down to fit inside your pack and offer better insulation than a closed-cell foam pad.

However, they’re not as insulated as an air pad.

CLOSED-CELL FOAM PAD

Many backpackers opt for the closed-cell foam pads because they are lightweight and offer great insulation.

As opposed to air pads they don’t pop.

The downside to closed-cell pads is their inability to be fully broken down.

They can only be rolled or folded up and kept on the outside of your pack.

A cool feature is their ability to be used in other, non-sleep situations like as a comfortable seat pad while camping.

Sleeping Pad Size

Most standard pads are around 6 feet long and 20 inches wide.

There are pads that run longer for taller campers.

Preferred width can vary between campers.

Typically you want a wider pad for a bigger person, or even if you just move around a lot in your sleep.

Just keep in mind that the bigger the pad, the heavier its going to be and the more you have to lug around.

Some campers will opt for the smaller pads as not all of their body needs the insulation like on warmer nights.

R-Value

The R-Value of a sleeping pad measures the pad’s ability to insulate you from the cold ground.

The numbers run between 1.0 and 9.5 with the higher number correlating to better insulation.

That’s not to say that you always have to have the highest rated sleeping pad.

For instance, in the summer you only really need a pad with a score between 3 and 4.

Here its good to know if you are a cold or hot sleeper.

If you get cold easier then you may want to go with a higher rated pad.

Some pads are made specifically for women and prioritize higher R-value in specific areas of the pad over others.

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Nick P

Nick spent his mostly unsupervised youth raising hell in the woods and ponds of 16 Acres in Springfield, MA (AKA Hell's Acres). He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and loves hitting the northeast trails when his schedule allows and camping on his roof deck when it doesn't.

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