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Best Camping Sleeping Pads for Ultimate Comfort

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Sleep is one of the most important things we do every single day, and in order to do that effectively and rest up, we need to be comfortable.

You can even use sleeping pads in conjunction with a sleeping bag to create a comfortable space between you and the ground.

The most important features you should look for are portability, self-sealing valves, and comfort.

5 Best Camping Sleeping Pads Reviewed

Let’s go over the top sleeping pads first and work down the list in terms of durability, comfort, and, of course, the price tag.

1. Outdoorsman Lab Camping Sleeping Pad

The Ultralight Sleeping Pad by Outdoorsman Lab is a cult-classic compact sleeping pad with a unique air-cell design.

This self-adjusting sleeping pad is surprisingly comfortable, despite being only about 2 inches thick.

We wholeheartedly recommend this sleeping pad for every camper, but backpackers will especially appreciate its low weight, compactness, and overall durability.

The Ultralight Sleeping Pad has an impressive 4.3-star rating on Amazon, with over 1,700 customer reviews. We’ve found that this ultralight pad is truly worthy of its high rating, especially when considering that it has few drawbacks.

Pros

  • They are less noisy and squeaky than typical air sleeping pads.
  • Ideal for back sleepers.
  • A self-sealing valve keeps air in while you’re inflating.
  • It is almost half the size of standard camp sleeping pads.
  • The price is incredible when compared to its value.

Cons

  • In a crowded tent, an air valve located at the foot of the pad can make topping up tricky.
  • Slimmer width might feel inadequate for sleepers who like plenty of elbow space.

Product Information

  • Weight: 16 oz.
  • Dimensions: 73″ x 21.5″ x 2.2″
  • Packed size: 8″ (height) x 3″ (diameter)
  • Material: 20D ripstop nylon top and 75D polyester bottom
  • Color options: orange, green, and blue

2. Therm-a-Rest Camping Sleeping Pad

Therm-a-Rest Camping Sleeping Pad
  • Plush Fabrics: Light, soft fabrics make this sleeping pad...
  • Thick: 2-inch (5 cm) thickness provides a high level of...
  • Self-Inflating: Compressible foam core expands when sleeping...

While putting together our best sleeping pad guide, we wanted to include one runner-up that almost made it into the top spot:

Therm-a-Rest is an outdoor gear brand best known for its sleeping pads. Many people praise their pads for being very comfortable, with models frequently boasting extremely impressive warmth (high R-value).

The Basecamp Self-Inflating Foam Camping Pad is a fantastic example of their products. The Basecamp is a sturdy camping pad with a pretty traditional design.

Despite its foam construction, it provides ample support and maintains a high level of breathability.

Pros

  • Range of 3 different sizes to suit all
  • Perfect for frigid camping
  • Updated self-inflating and deflating design
  • No-frills, classic look

Cons

  • Heavy weight
  • Overall, a fairly basic level of comfort.

Product Information

  • Weight: 2 lbs 8 oz (R), 3 lbs 6 oz (L), 4 lbs (XL)
  • Dimensions: 20″ x 72″ (R), 25″ x 77″ (L), 30″ x 77″ (XL)
  • Packed size: 21″ x 7″, 26″ x 7.5″, 31″ x 7.5″
  • Material: 75D polyester and urethane foam
  • R-value: 5.8

3. FreeLand Camping Sleeping Pad

The Freeland Self-Inflating Camping Sleeping Pad is an example of a very well-designed sleeping pad that would be excellent as a first sleeping pad or as a backup for campers that often take their family or friends.

Priced well under $50, this Freeland pad actually has some really neat features that more expensive pads don’t, such as a built-in pillow.

Its large size, numerous color options, and self-inflating design are truly remarkable.

Pros

  • Attached pillows save space, so no more sleeping in a balled-up jacket.
  • Compared to a standard pad, the product offers a larger size at a lower price.
  • Made of tear-resistant, durable materials
  • Self-inflation and deflation
  • A 72-hour leakage inspection was conducted prior to the sale.

Cons

  • Self-inflation can take longer than expected.
  • Pillow attachments must be manually inflated.
  • There is no tested R-value.

Product Information

  • Weight: 3.3 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 76″ x 24.8″ x 1.5″
  • Packed size: 15″ (height) x 6.7″ (diameter)
  • Material: 190T polyester pongee fabric
  • Color options: teal, dark blue, green, and light blue

4. Better Habitat Camping Sleeping Pad

Memory foam mattresses are skyrocketing in popularity, so it only makes sense that campers who value comfort above all else are crazy about foam sleeping pads.

There are quite a few foam-only pads on the market, but they tend to have poor reviews when it comes to overall quality and longevity.

We did the research and found that the best foam sleeping pad is BetterHabitat’s SleepReady Memory Foam Floor Mattress.

This is not your typical camping sleeping pad, but rather a camping mattress of sorts.

Car or RV campers that don’t need to pack around their sleeping pad will find that this pad is worth every penny.

Pros

  • There is no need for inflation—just unclip, unroll, and proceed.
  • The bottom is non-slip and water-resistant.
  • The product features a built-in carrying handle and a protective carrying bag.
  • Extra-roomy design
  • Separate kid-size option
  • Full 1-year manufacturer warranty

Cons

  • The price is higher compared to mattresses of similar size.
  • Tends to absorb moisture.
  • Heavy sizes are not suitable for backpacking.

Product Information

  • The weight can be either 17 lbs or 18 lbs packed.
  • Dimensions: 76″ x 36″ x 3″
  • Packed Size: 36 (height) x 18 (diameter)
  • R-value: N/A
  • Weight limit: up to 230 pounds.

5. TETON Sports Camping Sleeping Pad

TETON Sports Camping Sleeping Pad
  • CAMP COMFORTABLY: Thick, comfortable camping pad feels just...
  • EXTRA INSULATION AND COMFORT: Camping pad provides another...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND EASY TO USE: Easy to carry to the campsite;...

Finding a sleeping pad that is suitable for camping or backpacking but is roomy enough for bigger guys can be a struggle.

Thankfully, with some hard work, we discovered the TETON Sports Outfitter XXL Camp Pad. The Outfitter XXL Camp Pad has over 700 positive reviews on Amazon with a solid 4.4-star rating.

Despite being such a large pad, it’s surprisingly lightweight and compact. This model also has a few other features that come in handy.

Pros

  • There is no need for inflation—just unclip, unroll, and proceed.
  • The bottom is non-slip and water-resistant.
  • The product features a built-in carrying handle and a protective carrying bag.
  • Extra-roomy design
  • Separate kid-size option
  • Full 1-year manufacturer warranty

Cons

  • The price is higher compared to mattresses of similar size.
  • Tends to absorb moisture.
  • Heavy sizes are not suitable for backpacking.

Product Information

  • Weight: 9lbs
  • Dimensions: 82″ x 38″ x 2.5″
  • Packed size: 38.5″ (height) x 13.5″ (diameter)
  • R-value: 6.2

Things to Consider Before Buying

camping sleeping pad

There are three main factors to consider when you’re shopping for a sleeping pad: size, construction, and R-value.

Size

Sleeping pads come in a number of sizes, typically regular (R), long (L), and extra-large (XL).

Most people will find regular-sized sleeping pads to offer plenty of space. Long and XL pads are better for tall or wide individuals, or if you’re sharing a pad with someone else.

Try to pick a size that offers just enough width and length to be comfortable. Using an XL pad with a standard mummy bag will waste the extra space, especially since you’ll likely be using a sleeping bag.

If you plan on sleeping directly on your sleeping pad with a quilt over top, then you can effectively go as big as you’d like with your sleeping pad since you can use every inch.

Construction

There are three main types of sleeping pad styles, which are categorized by their construction. These include foam pads, air pads, and foam-core pads.

Foam pads are made solely of some type of foam, with the most comfortable being made of memory foam.

These pads are the heaviest, but also the easiest to use since there is nothing to inflate. They aren’t very compact when it comes to compressibility, making them most suitable for car or RV camping.

Air pads are inflatable sleeping pads that are very lightweight and tend to fold down extremely small.

These are most popular among backpackers and campers who use minimal gear. Air pads may self-inflate or require you to inflate them manually with your breath.

Foam-core pads offer a cushy medium between foam-only and air-only. These inflate like an air pad, and many do have self-inflation capabilities. Though lighter than foam-only, they are plusher than air-only.

R-Value

An R-value rating gives you insight into how much insulation a sleeping pad will provide.

Often, we denote these values as R, followed by a number, like R1 or R5. The higher the number, the more insulative the sleeping pad will be.

For winter camping, R-value will be important. If you’re a casual camper who only ventures out in the warmth of summer, then your R-value likely won’t affect you much.

Sleeping Pad Care

putting a sleeping pad in tent

Pure foam sleeping pads typically don’t need special care, but air pads and air + foam core pads do.

After all, while a little tear in a foam-only sleeping pad usually isn’t a huge deal, that same small tear in an air pad can mean you’ll literally be sleeping on the ground.

If possible, always try to protect your sleeping pad by keeping its stuff sack inside your backpack.

Strapping it to the bottom of your backpack will save space, but it also means it’s going to be the first thing that hits the ground when you set your bag down.

When space is tight, you can also strap it to the top of your pack. This offers more protection, but only if you’re hiking down straightforward trails.

Otherwise, overhanging trees, branches, or rocks may snag your pad.

You’ll also want to make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and off-season storage.

Cleaning Your Camping Sleeping Pad

Cleaning a camping sleeping pad is usually pretty straight-forward, but always read what the manufacturer recommends before starting.

After every camping trip, you should clean off your sleeping pad. While a little dust won’t harm it, you must remove other substances like insect-repellent sprays, chemicals, pine sap, or spilled food.

Alcohol wipes or gentle soaps will work well for these types of accidents. Once your camping season is over, it’s time to completely wash the sleeping pad, regardless of how well you’ve been spot-cleaning it.

To completely remove oils, bacteria, and other grime from the pad before storing it. Keep in mind that if you sleep directly on your sleeping pad without a sleeping bag, you’ll need to thoroughly wash it much more often.

Use only manufacturer-approved detergents and cleaning methods when washing your sleeping pad. After the final wash, you’ll need to completely dry out the pad, ideally outdoors, but not in direct sunlight.

You can store your now completely clean and dry pad in your home until the next camping season. You can leave self-inflating sleeping pads with the valve open and semi-inflated.

You can either hang up air-only pads in a closet or carefully place them back into the stuff sack after they have completely deflated.

Make Sleeping Pad More Comfortable

sleeping pad for camping

We recommend returning the sleeping pad if you find it to be truly disappointing and uncomfortable.

However, if you really like the pad overall and only find it uncomfortable in certain situations, there are usually some quick fixes. Firstly, always set up your tent on the flattest ground possible.

Sloping, uneven ground, or rocky terrain can not only damage your tent floor and your sleeping pad, but they’ll also affect your quality of sleep.

If you’re still finding your sleeping pad to be a little stiff, you can look into adding more cushion, either between the tent floor and the pad or between your sleeping bag and the pad.

You can place a foam camping mat or even a thick wool blanket under your sleeping pad to help with shock absorption. A neat trick is to use interlocking foam flooring pieces, which are quite affordable and effective.

These foam flooring pieces are ideal for larger tents where you’ll have more foot traffic inside. A camping quilt can also work well for placing between the sleeping pad and your sleeping bag to add a little more plushness.

Wrap-Up

The right sleeping pad can completely transform your camping experience and put an end to those restless nights in your tent.

We hope that with this guide, you’ll be able to confidently choose the right sleeping pad and begin enjoying your camping trips that much more.

Let us know in the comments below what your favorite sleeping pad is or any other tips for helping fellow campers get a better night’s rest.