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How to Choose the Best Sleeping Pads for Camping

Avoid uncomfortable nights on the ground when camping, get a camping sleeping mat to drift off towards a blissful night’s sleep!

If you’re spending the night in the wilderness, your sleeping bag will keep you cozy, but if you have hard and lumpy ground to contend with, you won’t be getting much sleep. A camping pad will give you a comfortable base layer to sleep on, so you won’t feel the rough terrain beneath you. 

First, you may have some questions about sleeping pads:

What Is a Sleeping Pad?

Sleeping pads camping is a mat that you use underneath your sleeping bag when camping. It helps to cover up the lumps and bumps of the floor, plus keeps you from losing heat too

Do You Need a Sleeping Pad When Camping?

You wouldn’t use your duvet alone without a mattress at home, so it’s the same principle here! If you decide not to use one, you will get a lot colder and not have a comfortable sleep, so they are definitely recommended. 

Though sleeping bags are temperature rated, it’s assumed you’ll be sleeping on a camping mat, wearing a warm hat on your head, and dressed in long underwear. There are a ton of different sleep mats to choose from, some inflate, some roll-up, and some are even made for two!  

Check out these solid options for sleeping mats for camping and get a decent night’s rest in the wild!

Best Backpacking Sleeping Pad

1. Therm-a-Rest Ultralight Foam Mattress for Camping

This Thermarest sleeping pad has heat reflective technology, to keep the cold hard ground from sucking away your body heat. Its folding construction is compact and easily packable for your trip. It’s designed to be softer on the top, and more durable underneath to camouflage the lumps and bumps of rough terrain.

REI Co-op Floor Sleeping Mat

This REI sleeping pad promises to keep you warm all night. It has a two-inch-thick layer of insulation, to keep the cold of the ground away from your body. 

It comes with its own stuff sack and weighs just over 1 lb, so it is easily taken with you on the trail. Reviewers say this camping air pad is comfortable, like “sleeping on hundreds of tiny pillows.”

 REI Co-op Flash Thermal Sleeping Pad

Klymit Static V2 Sleeping Pad

The Klymit sleeping pad has a distinctive V-shaped design that minimizes heat loss and provides a more comfortable sleeping surface. It is super backpacker-friendly and only weighs 16 oz and curls into a small-sized bundle. 

Reviewers love that it’s also really easy to inflate too, ready in less than 20 breaths!

Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pad

This Big Agnes sleeping pad is made from long parallel tubes, with larger tubes on the outside to keep you from rolling. It has a durable nylon top and bottom, so it shouldn’t rip even on rocky surfaces, plus it is insulated and still lightweight too. 

However, reviews warn that you need a good amount of air in your lungs to fill it up, but you can purchase a pump separately.

NEMO Sleeping Pad for Camping

The foam Nemo camping pad gives an inch of thickness. It’s insulated top and bottom and is covered in nodes that help to trap the warmth around your body.

The pattern nests easily and it folds down to a small (for a folding pad), light bundle. Reviews are great for this foam sleeping pad, and people prefer that it is less noisy than air mattresses can be.

These are the must-have items to bring on a camping trip!

Sea to Summit Ultralight Sleeping Pad

This Sea to Summit sleeping pad is ultralight and inflated easily, using its own storage sack. It is made up of connecting air sprung cells, inspired by the springs from your home mattress. It perfectly supports your weight and conforms to your body contours. 

Users also share that this sleeping mat is great for side sleepers and people who toss and turn.

POWERLIX Inflatable Sleeping Pad

This POWERLIX inflatable sleeping bag mat is designed for ultimate comfort, the hexagonal air pockets will turn rough terrain into a camping bed for a full night’s sleep.

When it’s compressed, it’s as small and as heavy as a bottle of water, so it won’t weigh you down. Plus, the carry bag can be used to inflate the pad too, so no leaving you out of breath either.

Best Self Inflating Sleeping Pad

Thermarest MondoKing 3D Self Inflating Air Mattress

The Mondoking is touted as the most luxurious Thermarest self-inflating mattress, it provides 4 inches of thickness for a comfortable and warm sleeping surface.

If you’re vacationing as a couple, two of these camping sleeping mats attach together to make a double camping pad.   

The manufacturer says it’s great for RVing, basecamps, or even for a guest staying over at your home.

Thermarest Basecamp Sleeping Pad

This Therm-a-Rest self-inflating camping mattress is suitable for use all year round. It has a thick two-inch depth to give you a high level of warmth and support. It’s self-inflating and sturdy, plus you can get it in a variety of sizes to fit you better!

Due to its weight, this is recommended as the best car camping sleeping pad, rather than for a backpacking adventure.

Coleman Self-Inflating Camp Pad With Pillow

The Coleman self-Inflating pad inflates with no pump required. It creates a comfortable layer that’s weather-resistant, plus it has a handy pillow. 

Reviewers do say that the Coleman sleeping pad can be a bit heavier than others, so this may not be the best if you have a long hike to your campsite.

Find out why you need to pack a headlamp!

Venture 4th Self Inflating Sleeping Pad

This Venture 4th self-inflating camping pad is ideal for backpacking and hiking. It compresses into a super small and lightweight bundle to attach to your gear. 

Once at the camp, just roll it out and the camp sleeping mat inflates on its own, with its distinctive ‘hiss’. It provides a warm base and is tear-resistant. Users say it’s comfortable and great value for the price!

Best Double Sleeping Pad

Exped MegaMat 10 Sleeping Pad

This thick and comfortable Exped sleeping pad gives nearly 4 inches of cushioning. Sized to fit in two-person tents perfectly, or in the back of a car, it has 3D construction to support you, and a soft surface that you won’t slip around on. 

It’s a pretty heavy item, so better for car camping or if you can have a car nearby to your camp spot. But reviewers share that it’s a winner!

Better Habitat Memory Foam Camping Mattress

This may not be the smallest of mattresses, but it will be comfortable. Made of memory foam, this Better Habitt roll up camping mattress makes a bed in seconds, with no need to inflate.

Reviews share that it’s long enough for taller people too, and the 3 inches of padding means no hard spots are felt when camping on bumpy or rocky terrain.  

Best Sleeping Pad for Hammock

Klymit Insulated Hammock V Sleeping Pad

If you’re a hammock sleeper, you will want a specifically designed Klymit hammock sleeping pad, to make your sleeping experience even better.

Made to fit your hammock’s dimensions, the V-shape design is good for back and side sleepers alike. The camp sleeping pad is super lightweight and portable, plus its tear and puncture-resistant. 

Sleep Pad Accessories

Big Agnes Sleeping Pad Pump

For those sleeping pads that are not self-inflating (which tend to be the lighter ones), you can still have a way to fill them without using your entire lung capacity. The Big Agnes pump bag fills with air that can be used to pump up an air sleeping pad without you losing your breath. 

Plus, it can be used as a stuff sack, a dry bag, or asleep pillow too. Multi-functional for your outdoor adventure! 

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