Top 9 Best Sleeping Pads 2018

Buying Guide

Sleeping pads are the perfect solution for campers, hikers and even basement sleepovers. They come in a range of styles and thicknesses to suit a variety of needs. Also called roll mats, sleeping pads usually roll or fold up for easy storage and transport, and take up as little space as possible when not being used.

Best Sleeping Pad

The best sleeping pad for your needs will depend on the activities you are planning as well as the temperature range and other considerations. Some sleeping pads are designed to prioritize ease of transportation, such as those made for hikers. They are lightweight, roll up sleeping mats which can be carried easily on one’s back, and they provide insulation and comfort when lying on the ground. Other sleeping mats are made for plush comfort, such as those made as mattress pads or blow-up (inflating) pads used for camping.

Sleeping pads are often made of foam; some with internal pockets that inflate with air, either manually or with a small pump, and some are flat foam; some have special construction such as closed foam cells or an egg crate design to provide comfort in place of inflatable air pockets.

You will need to know what temperatures you will be using your sleeping pad in, so that you can choose the best sleeping pad accordingly. For very cold outdoor activities such as winter camping, choose a sleeping pad meant that will not crack or become brittle even in cold temperatures preferably combined with a quality sleeping bag meant for colder temperatures.

Some Sleeping Pad Basics

Sleeping pads for camping are often inflatable, either manually or with a pump. A manually inflated sleeping pad, also known as an air mattress although they are different, contains cells or pockets inside which fill with air when pumped up, meaning you blow into it or use a small air pump (which often comes included with the sleeping pad as an accessory). Because the air circulates inside while you sleep, it cools down and offers less insulation from the cold than you might like. Sleeping pad and mat manufacturers have worked around this by creating smaller pockets, lining them with insulation, etc., however this makes blowing them up a little more arduous.  Some sleeping pads contain materials such as special foam that traps air and keeps it warmer, and these are known as self-inflating sleeping pads, as the air naturally fills the foam pockets when you unfurl the pad and lay it out, and open the air valve. The foam is very light and these pads are very popular with hikers and campers, as they require no extra work and trap warm air fairly well.

A solid foam sleeping pad does not require inflation, and simply rolls up for transport. They are lightweight and durable, although perhaps not as cushy as air-filled sleeping pads. Because they are made of a solid material, they have some advantages and disadvantages as compared to inflatable sleeping pads; for instance they cannot usually be folded into a small square and must be rolled up (somewhat like a yoga mat), and because they do not deflate they take up more space, although this depends on the pad style and material/s used. They may even be completely stiff and not foldable or rollable at all, as in egg-carton or ridged type designs and thick foam. These are great for storing in garages or basements and using for guests or for sleepovers. Memory foam sleeping pads are another example of a bulky material but they offer excellent comfort in return.

When looking at sleeping pads, some criteria you’ll find include thickness, materials, temperatures meant for usage, and weight. Of course you can also buy accessories on their own, such as pumps, extra foam padding, and covers and specially made fitted sheets, etc.

Camping Sleeping Pads

If you love camping and you sleep either in a tent or under the stars (or even on a hard bed at camp or in a cabin), you already know that although the outdoors is wonderful. Roughing it can be an enjoyable and life-affirming challenge; yet sleeping on the ground or in a tent is not nearly as comfortable as your bed at home.

Enter the various sleeping pads for camping, which you lie on and which offer padding from rocks and sticks, uneven ground and other uncomfortable terrain issues, as well as insulation in many cases. These camping beds make everything more enjoyable; the better your sleep the more you’ll feel refreshed in the morning and ready to take on the day. Time camping or otherwise spent in the great outdoors is precious to most of us; with a good night’s sleep we can take best advantage of it.

Finding the ‘best sleeping pads for camping’ depends on a number of things, ranging from your budget to the camping specifics, such as temperature, terrain, whether you are driving or hiking to the campsite (the latter of which would make the weight and folded dimensions of the sleeping pad much more important, as well as whether you needed to carry an air pump), and age and physical condition of the camper. For instance, a good quality camping bed with a thick, insulated inflatable sleeping pad and perhaps memory foam sleeping pad cover would be the ultimate in luxury. On the opposite end, for rugged individuals a thin, roll-up sleeping pad may make the most sense if they need it to fit on their backs and not take time to pack up.

Camping sleep pads come in different sizes, both in thickness and width and length. Your own measurements and preferences will make a difference as to which sleeping pad you choose, from a small roll up sleep mat to a full-sized or extra-long and plush inflated pad. Inflatable sleeping pads for camping vary in their ability to withstand cooler temperatures, and run the gamut from basic plastic or foam to soft coating and insulation and inner pocket technology which keeps heat in and provides more comfort than your average sleeping pad.

Tip: Read consumer reviews and/or ask your local outdoor gear expert for sleeping pad recommendations to suit your particular needs and enjoy your camping!

Check out the 9 Best Sleeping Pads on the market right now:

1. Therm-a-Rest Neo-Air Xtherm Sleeping Pad

Therm-a-Rest Neo-Air Xtherm
The XTherm air mattress delivers, by far, the greatest warmth-to-weight ratio available in any air mattress, allowing you to go lighter than ever in winter conditions. Patent-pending ThermaCapture Radiant Heat Technology gives the XTherm air mattress true four-season warmth without the weight or bulk usually found in a winter-worthy mattress. The result is a mattress that weighs less than a pound, takes up about the same space as your water bottle, and provides serious comfort in extremely cold conditions. Pump sack and repair kit included.

>> Therm-a-Rest-Neo-Air-Xtherm-Sleeping-Pad




2. Exped SynMat Basic 7.5 Sleeping Pad

Exped SynMat Basic 7.5
Warm, comfortable, compact and affordable. The reference standard in mats. Includes repair kit. Synthetic micro-fiber filling that is laminated to both upper and lower sides of the mat which eliminates loss of loft. Flat valve technology reduces damage and is easier to use. Laminated polyester fabric. Measures 70 inches long by 20 inches wide.

>> Exped-SynMat-Basic-7.5-Sleeping-Pad




3. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir All Season Mattress

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir All Season Mattress
Lightweight, durable and extremely warm, the NeoAir All Season mattress is the ultimate solution to year-round backcountry comfort. Patent-pending Triangular Core Matrix technology creates over 100 insulating cells and multiple ThermaCapture layers capture radiant heat, resulting in an incredibly high R-value without the weight or bulk of conventional insulation. Durable fabrics and construction give the All Season mattress the strength to stand up to rugged conditions throughout the year and the ultralight 2.3 oz. Mini Pump – a 40 value – will have you enjoying NeoAir comfort in mere minutes. Stuffsack, NeoAir Mini Pump and repair kit included. Mini Pump batteries (2 AAA) not included.

>> Therm-a-Rest-NeoAir-All-Season-Mattress




4. Big Agnes Air Core Pad

Big Agnes Air Core
Features of the Big Agnes Air Core Pad: light and compact warm weather pads, durable polyester top and bottom,  estimated R-Value of 1, I-Beam construction, durable inflation valve, store unrolled with valve open, each pad individually inflated and tested, consistent air flow and stability.

>> Big-Agnes-Air-Core-Pad




5. Lightspeed Outdoors XL Super Plush FlexForm Self-Inflating Sleep and Camp Pad

Lightspeed Outdoors XL Super Plush FlexForm Self-Inflating
The Lightspeed Outdoors Flex 3.0 sleep pad is the ultimate in camp pad luxury, a comfort upgrade for a more restful and restorative sleep. With open dimensions of 77″ x 30″ x 3″ (3.5″ at the pillow), this sleep pad gives plenty of room to spread out and roll around. The Flex Form material melds with your body, allowing for a soothing head-to-toe sensation you’ll look forward to every night. Flex Form equalizes the varying pressures of your head and neck, shoulders and hips and adapts to your body temperature to provide all-climate comfort.

>> Lightspeed-Outdoors-XL-Super-Plush-FlexForm-Self-Inflating-Sleep-and-Camp-Pad




6. Klymit Static V Lightweight Sleeping Pad

Klymit Static V Lightweight
Sleep comfortably all night: affordable lightweight camping pad with v-chamber design to limit air movement and heat loss for better support and comfort. Flawless design: easy-to-use push valve allows for quick inflation and deflation. Incredibly lightweight: packed weight: 18.6 ounces; packed size: 3 x 8 inches.

>> Klymit-Static-V-Lightweight-Sleeping-Pad




7. Fox Outfitters Ultralight Series Self Inflating Camp Pad

Fox Outfitters Ultralight Series
Premium self-inflating camping mat featuring a unique Ripstop fabric. Abrasion resistant base fabric withstands rugged outdoor terrain. Rapid Rise open cell foam for added comfort. Diamond pattern helps reduce overall weight. Durable lightweight impact-resistant valves provide rapid inflation and deflation. Stuff sack, compression bands and repair kit included.

>> Fox-Outfitters-Ultralight-Series-Self-Inflating-Camp-Pad




8. ALPS Mountaineering Lightweight Series Self-Inflating Air Pad

ALPS Mountaineering Lightweight Series
Sleeping on the ground in just a bag with no sleeping bag is not only uncomfortable, it’s also cold because you have nothing between you and the cold ground. The Alps Mountaineering XL Lightweight Series Air Pad is made for tall outdoorsy types who aren’t big on suffering while roughing it. Lightweight Series Air Pads inflate and deflate quickly and packs into a compact roll to minimize bulk in your pack. The tough ripstop and taffeta construction resists punctures. The pad comes with a stuff sack, compression straps, and a repair kit.

>> ALPS-Mountaineering-Lightweight-Series-Self-Inflating-Air-Pad




9. TNH Outdoors Self Inflating Sleeping Pad

TNH Outdoors Self Inflating
The outdoors is your playground. So you need to look after it! Support a start up company run by real outdoorsmen with a focus on quality products and small company service. Those bumps and uneven surfaces found beneath the tent floor will go unnoticed with a this thick and compact sleeping pad. No paper thin foam found here. A 1.5 inch thick design makes this the most comfortable sleep system at its price point. They promise value for your business! With a 75d polyester outer shell, strength and durability is a feature of this sleeping pad. Make punctures a thing of the past and get gear that will go the distance! With a strong plastic valve, just twist it open, unroll the pad and it will start to inflate itself. A few simple puffs of air later and you have a pad so good you will forget you even left home.

>> TNH-Outdoors-Self-Inflating-Sleeping-Pad