Best Sleeping Pad for Backpacking

Best Sleeping Pad for Backpacking Review

Do you have a problem finding the best sleeping pad? Well, you shouldn’t have it anymore! Here, we do the research, comparison, and analysis for you. Then, we test so that when we bring you this review, it’s got exactly what you’ve been looking for!

What is a Sleeping Pad?

Oh, this is a mat, on which you place below a sleeping bag or camping mattress (or both) for extra comfort. The mat provides padding, comfort, and insulation. Camping in cold places or surfaces can be excruciating especially if you don’t have the right insulation. Thus, you need to have the best sleeping pad for the most fantastic experience.

Best Sleeping Pad Buying Guide 

Purchasing a product means you need it. And that should always be the guiding factor. Anytime, look for the camping mats that serve your purpose. The rule of the thumb is to prioritize your needs.

So, which exact features of the pad should you put into consideration? Well, the first should be the type of the mat. Decide on the inflation mechanism that is suitable for you.

Then, look out for the following guide to buying the best sleeping pad for camping!

Types of sleeping pads

When scouring the market shelves, you will find several types of sleeping pads. For instance, you can find foam, self-inflated, and manually inflated mats. Now, which is the best type of sleeping pad to add to your camping essentials?

Let’s see:

• Manually-inflated sleeping pads

No one will punish you for thinking it’s an air mattress. Well, they look and function in a similar manner. Both require air for inflation. Of course, the air pads you to have a pump- I don’t expect you to blow it to full pressure. So, the softness and efficiency of this sleeping mat depend on the pressure of amount of air that you pump into the balloon-like mattress. Air also works as an insulation. Some advanced varieties have partitioned cavities for effective insulation.

• Self-inflating sleeping pads

This mat incorporates a mechanism that gives it the ability to inflate itself. It has valves and open-cell foam, which fills the inner cavity to allow seamless self-inflation to take place.

For quite some time, the self-inflation technology has been a patented design held by the Cascade Designs. However, their patent ran out of time and the technology was embraced by tens of other companies. The new manufacturers making the mats, some of which are even better than the previous brands.

Anyway, these mattresses are light and popular among most professional hikers and campers.

• Foam sleeping pads

Some pads do not require any inflation as they have foam cells instead. The open cell foam variety of pads are lighter and more rugged than other varieties. Their maintenance costs are also low as less construction material is required to come up with them. However, their softness is not as comfortable as the other varieties. The reason is simple- air is softer and more lightweight than foam.

However, open cell foam is not the best outdoors or in wet places. You see, water is able to find its way and reside in the cells. It behaves like a mattress and thus absorbs water. You definitely don’t want that!

The closed cell foam variety is the basic mat. In fact, it is a continuous piece of foam that insulates you from the ground below. The majority are 1-3 inches. It is durable, resistant to damage, light and inexpensive. The pad contains several air pockets that allow the mat to protect you from the ground’s heat or course ground. The bad side of the closed cell foam sleeping pads is that they are uncomfortable, bulky and hard to clean.

Size, shape, and weight

Is the sleeping pad bulky? If yes, leave it- unless you have a truck to carry it. If you intend to take only a few days to the camping site, then you do not have to carry bulky items. However, if it happens that you will take a month or your entire vacation in the woods, then you may carry the bulky varieties.

Fortunately, outdoor and hiking items are lightweight. The standard sleeping pad should be 15-30 pounds. Be sure to look out for other factors such as comfort, price, and type of pad- they, too, are important in determining the best sleeping pad for you.

Again, pick the pads that have a comfortable shape. Just as the best sleeping bags, pads come in mummy and semi-rectangular shapes. The mummy nap pads are light and mimic the human shape. They are narrow around the leg area but wide at the shoulders and hips depending on whether they are for a specific gender. Some people love to use the rectangular pads. But, the latter is heavier than the former.

If you want to push yourself (beyond or) to the limits, then you should consider getting the lightweight pads. However, if your priority is warmth and comfort, then you may look for the heavier varieties.


Among the most significant reasons why you need to have the best sleeping pad to sleep comfortably. A comfortable pad is, ideally, one that has smooth surfaces and soft construction. When you are on a course terrain, you want to sleep without getting pricked. And, this requires you to have a pad with a sturdy base.

Again, a soft pad feels more comfortable than the other varieties. That’s why my personal favorite is the inflated pads. I love being in a soft bed, and I’d take the inflated variety anytime! However, people are different and you may want to check if the other pads are good for you.


If you have the best air mattresses for camping, there are chances that you won’t find this feature necessary. However, the sleeping mat plays a great role in insulating your fancy ‘bed’. In cold regions or seasons, you SHOULD carry the pad. At least, you want to keep warm even when you are camping in a cold snowy polar site during the winter.

It’s important to appreciate that the warmest sleeping pads are likely to be bulky. So, you need to look for the pads that combine warmth and size. They also need to be lightweight.


How much noise does the pad make? Well, if you are a light sleeper, who gets bothered by the slightest noise, then it’s important to pay strict attention to the noise made by the pad. The squeaky and crinkly sounds from sleeping pads can be too disquieting to bear. In most cases, new pads are noisy. But, the obnoxious sounds die down after some time.

Best Sleeping Pad Review

Now, after a deep research, we made the came up with a unanimous decision to have the following brands on our list of the top camping nap pads.

1.  OutdoorsmanLab Ultralight Sleeping Pad

– Ultra-Compact for Backpacking, Camping, Travel w/ Super Comfortable Air-Support Cells Design

If you are looking for the best air cell sleeping pad, then it is a high time you considered OutdoormanLab. It’s rugged, durable and comfortable. Again, it comes in elegant colors that you might love. You can choose to have the orange, green or the navy blue variety. Anyway, let’s have a look at the features of this nap pad.

First, it has a special design that allows it to contain air in cells that adjust to your body shape. This not only provides warmth and comfort but also enhances its portability. Its temperature rating is about 40F and the R-value is 4.3. It also shields you from leaves, sand or rocks underneath.

Second, the pad is ultralight and ideal for camping, hiking, hunting or any form of backpacking. The pad weighs 17 ounces. This makes it 20-40 percent lighter than ordinary pads. The nylon fabric with which the pad is constructed is responsible for its lightweight nature.

Third, the fabric is durable. The Ripstop 20D nylon fabric has an extruded TPU lamination that makes it waterproof and shields it against abrasion or tear. Oh, the airspace takes less than 15 breaths to inflate. That is the reason this sleeping pad tops our best sleeping pad review.



2. #1 Premium Self Inflating Sleeping Pad

Lightweight Foam Padding and Superior Insulation Great For Hiking & Camping Thick Outer Skin

Which is the best self-inflating sleeping pad? Well, it’s a question that brings more answers than you’d ever need. However, the ideal answer should list down pads that are rugged, lightweight, comfortable, and easy to use. Here, I intend to tell you more about the TNH Premium Pad.

First, this nap mat is one of the best sellers in the world. Well, I know that this is not exactly a feature, but; you can trust that it’s not been easy for brands to hit more than 30,000 sales in their first year in the market. No doubt, it takes competitive price, quality, and efficiency.

Second, the sleeping pad gives you a refreshing feeling. In short, it is comfortable to sleep on, carry or inflate it. TNH Outdoors Self Inflating Sleeping Pad feels nice for both men and women who desire to have a great time camping.

Third, it allows easy inflation. All you need to do to this pad is to give it a few seconds and it will be full. The 500 series pneumatic valve will breathe in when you open it.

Fourth, this pad qualifies as one of the best most resistant sleeping mats you can ever buy. You see, the outer shell is made of 75D polyester which is strong and durable. This makes it hard to puncture it.


3. Klymit Insulated Static V Sleeping Pad

Which is your favorite color for a sleeping pad? Is it orange, coyote, desert shadow or Realtree? If you want the colors, buy this pad. It’s an all-weather sleeping pad that gives you comfort all night long. It is also lightweight and sturdy. Have a look at some of the most prominent features below.

First, it is both warm and lightweight. It has an R-value of 4.4. The Klyamalite insulation keeps you warm even when it’s freezing. The innovative V chamber construction, as well as the synthetic insulation, helps to limit the movement of air. This limits the movement of air and thus reduces heat loss. It is also able to withstand course grounds. For instance, if the ground below you is full of leaves or rocks, you can place this sleeping bag to shield you.

Second, the pad is compact and lightweight. The weight is about 25 ounces and it can pack up to 5 by 8 inches. When inflated, the size goes to about 72 by 23 by 2.5 inches. Oh, you may think that it will take forever to inflate to such a large volume. But, 15 breaths will do!


4.  TETON Sports Camping Pad

Lightweight Foam Sleeping Pad for Camping; Bring the Comfort of Home to the Campsite; Get a Relaxing Night’s Sleep After Hiking All Day; No Inflating Necessary

You don’t need to inflate this one. Actually, you don’t even need a hundred bucks to buy the best sleeping pad. If you love a simple, easy to set up, rugged and efficient mat, then TETON Sports should be top of your mind.

First, it is one of the most comfortable items in the best foam sleeping pads list. It comes in three sizes. Universal pads measure 80 by 30 by 20 inches. The Adventurer is 75 by 24 by 2 inches. Then, the Outfitter is 82 by 38 by 2.5 inches. Well, the fact that you can choose the size that you are comfortable with is a thumbs up.

Second, the pad has several layers which provide comfort and insulation. It helps you stay warm and comfortable in the sleeping bag as it does the insulation below you.

Third, it is lightweight and easy to use. The built-in roll-up, roll assisters and buckle features make it easy to fasten on your camping or hiking backpacks. Then, these features will also help you store the pad easily.


5. Therm-A-Rest RidgeRest Classic Foam Camping Sleeping Pad

It doesn’t matter which size fits you best. As long as you are looking for the best sleeping pad, we’ll hook you up with it. In that spirit, we recommend Therm-A-Rest RidgeRest Classic as one of the best foam pads. It comes in three sizes which sell at barely thirty bucks. The large measures 25 by 77 inches while the smallest is 20 by 47 inches. The regular version is 20 by 77 inches. Go for that which suits your height, height, and comfort!

It’s a cross-linked polyethylene closed cell foam pad. Apart from coming from some of the most trusted manufacturers of outdoor items, the pad also brings you several features. It’s economical, durable, lightweight and above all, efficient for both indoor and outdoor use.

It weighs 14 ounces and measures 74 by 20 inches. The closed cell foam material makes it soft and comfortable. The mat provides insulation through the padding and supportive peaks. It has an overall R-value of 2.6.

Again, it is resistant to damage. The cross-linked polyethylene fabric enhances its durability. It also makes the mat to be resistant to rocks as well as sharp uneven surfaces.


6. Klymit Static V2 Inflatable Sleeping Pad

Image Via Amazon

This pad has a simple name probably because the manufacturers knew that their product wouldn’t need an out-of-this-world branding to impress buyers. Furthermore, Static V2’s features have already earned it a name in the market! Have a look!

It comes in two main colors and types; the Green and the charcoal versions. The charcoal is a little more expensive than the green pad, but; their prices are far less than the ordinary inflatable sleeping pads.

It is 12 percent lighter than standard inflatable mats. It weighs 16.33 ounces only. We can say it’s a little more backpacker friendly than other pads that you’ve used before.

Then, it is versatile and multipurpose. Well, I know you will not always be camping in the Arctic region. So, it’d be absurd to buy something that you will probably use once in a year. Now, what’s the best way to beat that? It’s simple- you only need to get the best sleeping pad for grounds, cots, hammocks or other outdoor activities. Klymit Static V2 fits that description!

It has a V-Chamber design that limits the loss of heat. The mechanism limits the movement of air inside the inflatable space. This not only conserves warmth but also feels comfortable.


7.  Coleman 2000016960 Self-Inflating Camping Pad with Pillow

I often get several questions from people asking: “which is the best self-inflating camping pad?” And, every time I do, I feel the urge to make a dedicated comprehensive review. I’m still working on it- it takes time to write up a good facts-loaded review. For now, let me spice this post with one of my favorites.

For so long, Coleman has earned the reputation of being one of the global leaders in the manufacture of outfits and outdoor products. Coleman 2000016960 is one of their best items.

The nap mat comes with a pillow. Well, it looks like it’s part of the design and it shows to what extent the company has campers’ comfort in mind.

The pad has a durable polyester shell which is not only tough but also endures any type of weather. It is resistant to abrasion, too.

Coleman 2000016960 also has compression straps that force out air, making deflation easy. The self-inflating features include a free-flow valve that enables the space to fill with air without requiring any pump.

Then, it is soft and cushioned to provide both warmth and comfort. Aren’t you thinking of trying it out already?


8.  ALPS Mountaineering Lightweight Series Self-Inflating Air Pad, Various Size

Another of the best sleeping pad manufacturers is the ALPS Mountaineering. Well, it’s a chain of high-quality brands that you may love to try out.

Now, this sleeping pad comes in five sizes. For instance, you can purchase the long, regular, XL, short or short MC.

It is made of a resistant Ripstop Polyester fabric, thus making it lightweight and sturdy enough to withstand abrasion. Then, the valve is a top-class brass, which is one of the most durable in its category.

Then, it has a carry bag and compression strap for easy transportation. The included repair kit lets you keep your camping session going. This makes the sleeping mat user-friendly.

It measures 25” by 77” by 2” inches when inflated. It’s amazing how it shrinks to 6.5 by 26 inches after deflation. Again, it weighs 14 ounces only. Thus, it’s good for backpacking.


9. Therm-A-Rest Z Lite Sol Foam Camping Mattress

This is yet another top class sleeping pad from Therm-A-Rest. It comes in two sizes namely the small and the regular. The closed cell foam is rugged but comfortable.

The US-made nap mat is compact and lightweight. It is one of the most economical and reliable options for sleeping on craggy grounds. The pad measures 72 by 20 when on the go, and; 20 by 5 by 5.5 inches when folded. It weighs 14 ounces only.

The majority of mountaineers and hikers love it for the classic features that include easy folding, sturdy construction, and comfort.

The padded foam is soft at the top to ensure that you are comfortable while sleeping on it. Then, the area towards the ground is denser and more rugged than the top. This offers insulation and protection from the ground.


10. REDCAMP Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad

– with Attached Pillow, Compact Lightweight Camping Air Mattress with Quick Flow Value

The good thing about lengthy brand names is that you they summarize the specs. Maybe, I should only highlight a few features. Definitely, there’s a reason we’ve included it in our list of the top 10 best sleeping pad this year!

The pad is compact and lightweight- the main feature that gives products the qualification of being a camping essential. Well, it weighs 4.2 lbs and measures 14.2 by 6.3 by 6.3 inches. When inflated, it occupies a space of 77 by 26 by 1.2 inches. But, that depends on the size or type. The pad has both the large and the smaller measuring 4.4 and 4.2 lbs respectively. So, it’s not the pad to use for the whole family- it’s just a one-person sleeping mat.

Then, it comes in two main colors; green and navy blue. You may note that the green variety is a dollar cheaper than the navy blue.

The non-slip and waterproof 75D polyester PVC shell coated with pongee to enhance longevity. It is a 19D open cell foam pad. Again, it does not require you to inflate or deflate it. It has a non-leak brass valve.


Concluding the Best Sleeping Pad Review

A sleeping mat has several benefits, and you need to include it in your list of things to buy for camping. Apart from keeping you raised from the hazards of the ground, it insulates you. It also adds comfort to your ‘camping bed’. Again, the pad protects your air mattress and sleeping bags and thus makes them last longer. So, be sure to pick the best sleeping pad for camping from the picks above. Oh, which is your favorite?

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