11 Best Sleeping Pads of 2022

We tested the best sleeping pads for 2022 and this is how they performed.

Updated on November 22nd, 2022
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A sleeping pad not only adds comfort but also insulation so your back does not freeze when you sleep. News flash: the ground is cold, especially at night.

Sleeping pads come in a variety of styles, sizes, and weights, so you’ll want to spend some time shopping for the right one. To help you out, we tested the best sleeping pads on the market for 2022. Read on to see how they performed, which one is best for you, and get some valuable buying advice.

Best Sleeping Pads

The best sleeping pads are:

MODEL Weight R-Value Thickness Type Denier PRICE Packed Size SCORE
1. NEMO: Tensor 15 oz 4.2 3 in Inflatable 20D Polyester $189.95 8.0 x 3.0 in 8/10
2. KLYMIT: Static V Lightweight 18.7 oz 1.3 2.5 in Inflatable 75D Polyester Fabric $64.99 8 x 3 in 8/10
3. THERM-A-REST: NeoAir XTherm 17 oz 6.9 2.5 in Inflatable 30D Rip HT Nylon, 70D Nylon $229.95 9 x 4 in 8/10
4. THERM-A-REST: Foam Z Lite Sol 14 oz 2 0.75 in Closed-cell foam N/A (Polyethylene) $54.95 20 x 5 x 5.5 in 8/10
5. THERM-A-REST: NeoAir Uberlite 8.8 oz 2.3 2.5 in Inflatable 15D Nylon $219.95 6 x 3.4 in 8/10
6. BIG AGNES: Insulated Q-Core Deluxe 25 oz 4.3 3.5-4.3 in Inflatable 40D Nylon $169.95 4.5 x 8.5 in 8/10
7. REI CO-OP: Helix Insulated Air 21 oz 4.9 3 in Inflatable 30D with a TPU Lamination $159 9.5 x 5 in 8/10
8. SLEEPINGO: Sleeping Pad 14.6 oz 2.1 2 in Inflatable 20D Nylon $49.90 Small enough to be packed into a Nalgene bottle 8/10
9. NEMO: Switchback 14.5 oz 2 0.9 in Closed-cell foam N/A $54.95 20.0 x 5.0 x 5.5 in 8/10
10. SEA TO SUMMIT: UltraLight 13.9 oz 1.1 2 in Inflatable 30D/40D Nylon Face Fabric $119 3.5 x 7 in 8/10
11. POWERLIX: Sleeping Pad 21.2 oz 2.3 2 in Inflatable 75D Nylon $40.88 4 x 11 in 8/10

Best Overall Sleeping Pad:

NEMO TENSOR

Price: $189.95

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NEMO TENSOR best ultralight sleeping pad

PROS:

✅ Lightweight

✅ Packs down small

✅ Comfy

CONS:

❌ Durability

❌ More expensive option

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 15 oz (0.94 lbs)
  • R-Value: 4.2
  • Thickness: 3 in
  • Type: Inflatable
  • Denier: 20D Polyester
  • Packed Size: 8.0 x 3.0 in

At 15 ounces the Tensor is the lightest air sleeping pad under the Nemo brand and one of the lighter options on our list. We love the 3-inch thickness, which sets the Tensor apart from the standard 2.5-inch thickness making this a super comfortable option. This also gives the Tensor an impressive 4.2 R-Value.

We’d be comfortable taking this on all 3-season trips. And it’s extremely packable too, one of the most compact models we tested. The 20-denier construction is thinner, making this less durable than other models we tested. The $190 price tag makes this the third most expensive sleeping pad we tested. But these are minor gripes. The Nemo Tensor is our pick for the best overall sleeping pad.


Best Budget Sleeping Pad:

KLYMIT STATIC V LIGHTWEIGHT

Price: $64.99

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KLYMIT STATIC V LIGHTWEIGHT best ultralight sleeping pad

PROS:

✅ Inexpensive

✅ Packs down small

✅ Durable

CONS:

❌ Heavier

❌ Low warmth

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 18.7 oz (1.17 lbs)
  • R-Value: 1.3
  • Thickness: 2.5 in
  • Type: Inflatable
  • Denier: 75D Polyester Fabric
  • Packed Size: 8 x 3 in

Praised as an affordable, lightweight, and inflatable mat, the Klymit Static V has become extremely popular. It is a few ounces heavier than others on the list, but it is a fraction of the price. It's also very durable with a 74D shell that protects it from most ground hazards.

We love that the chambered design makes it easy to inflate, requiring only 10-15 breaths to fill. We found it to be comfortable to sleep on thanks to its side rails that help keep you centered on the pad. Our biggest con is the 1.3 R-Value making it best for summer trips only. The durability, packability, and comfort for a low price make the Klymit Static V our top budget pick.


KLYMIT STATIC V LIGHTWEIGHT

THERM-A-REST NEOAIR UBERLITE

Price: $219.95

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THERM-A-REST NEOAIR UBERLITE best ultralight sleeping pad

PROS:

✅ Ultralight

✅ Packs down tiny

CONS:

❌ Durability

❌ Expensive

KEY SPECS

  • R-Value: 2.3
  • Thickness: 2.5 in
  • Type: Inflatable
  • Denier: 15D Nylon
  • Packed Size: 6 x 3.4 in

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Uberlite is hands down one of the best ultralight backpacking pads on the market. We love this pad's superb warmth-to-weight ratio. It’s in the middle of our list for warmth, but at an impossibly light 8.8 ounces, it is the lightest 3-season sleeping pad on our list. At 2.5 inches thick we find it to be pretty darn comfortable too.

Due to its thin construction, it can pack down super small, one of the smallest we tested. However, this thin construction also means this is the least durable pad we tested. But if you take care, it can last a long time. It’s our top pick for the best ultralight sleeping pad.


Best Closed Cell Foam Sleeping Pad:

THERM-A-REST FOAM Z LITE SOL

Price: $54.95

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THERM-A-REST FOAM Z LITE SOL best ultralight sleeping pad

PROS:

✅ Inexpensive

✅ Lightweight

✅ Ultra-durable

CONS:

❌ Low comfort

❌ Hard to pack

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 14 oz (0.88 lbs)
  • R-Value: 2
  • Thickness: 0.75 in
  • Type: Closed-cell foam
  • Denier: N/A (Polyethylene)
  • Packed Size: 20 x 5 x 5.5 in

With a price tag of $55, the Therm a Rest Foam Z Lite Sol is a must-have for those fast-packing on a budget. This ultralight sleeping pad weighs 14 ounces, one of the lightest on our list.

We love closed-cell foam for its almost indestructible design. But buyer beware if you’ve never slept on closed-cell foam we recommend you test it in the store. The thin, 0.75 inch is only comfortable for those who love the firmest of mattresses.

We also find the packability of CCF to be tough, most of the time it requires you to strap it to the outside of your pack. Warmth is on the lower end, but with an R-Value of 2.0, you can do some shoulder season camping with this. The Z Lite Sol is our top pick for the best closed-cell foam pad.


Warmest Sleeping Pad:

THERM-A-REST NEOAIR XTHERM

Price: $229.95

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THERM-A-REST NEOAIR XTHERM best ultralight sleeping pad

PROS:

✅ Warmest pad on our list

✅ Comfy

CONS:

❌ Expensive

❌ Less durable

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 17 oz (1.06 lbs)
  • R-Value: 6.9
  • Thickness: 2.5 in
  • Type: Inflatable
  • Denier: 30D Rip HT Nylon, 70D Nylon
  • Packed Size: 9 x 4 in

If you need warmth the NeoAir XTherm is the warmest on our list sporting a whooping 6.9 R-Value. We’d be comfortable taking this on the coldest winter trips. We were surprised that all this warmth comes in a package that isn’t overly heavy and still packs away small.

We like the 2.5-inch thickness which makes this a comfy pad. The 30D construction is on the lower end, we recommend you treat it with care. The biggest gripe we have is the price, the most expensive on our list.


Most Comfortable Sleeping Pad:

BIG AGNES INSULATED Q-CORE DELUXE

Price: $169.95

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BIG AGNES INSULATED Q-CORE DELUXE best ultralight sleeping pad

PROS:

✅ Super comfy

✅ Warm

CONS:

❌ Very heavy

❌ Not as packable as others

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 25 oz (1.56 lbs)
  • R-Value: 4.3
  • Thickness: 3.5-4.3 in
  • Type: Inflatable
  • Denier: 40D Nylon
  • Packed Size: 4.5 x 8.5 in

A rectangular and super cushy inflatable sleeping pad, the Big Agnes Q-Core Deluxe is luxury sleeping in the backcountry. We were impressed with the amazing comfort the 4-inch thickness provides. The I-beam channels are designed to contour your body and help you stay on the pad even when you toss and turn. Because of this and the thickness, the Q-Core Deluxe is the most comfortable sleeping pad on our list.

We would highly recommend this sleeping pad for side sleepers and restless sleepers. The biggest downfall of this sleeping pad is the weight, it’s the heaviest on our list.


The Other Noteworthy Models

REI CO-OP: Helix Insulated Air

Price: $159

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REI CO-OP Helix Insulated Air

PROS:

✅ Excellent warmth rating

✅ Comfy

CONS:

❌ Heavy

❌ Not as packable as other models

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 21 oz (1.31 lbs)
  • R-Value: 4.9
  • Thickness: 3 in
  • Type: Inflatable
  • Denier: 30D with a TPU Lamination
  • Packed Size: 9.5 x 5 in

REI’s Helix Insulated Air pad is designed with cold-weather camping in mind. With an R-value of 4.9 and 3-inch thickness, this pad will keep you cozy on cold nights. We also found the thickness gives it one of the highest comfort ratings on our list. However, the cold weather features add weight making this one of the heaviest models we tested.

Packability, durability, and price score in the middle of our list. We like how the lower price point makes this a great entry sleeping pad for those wanting to winter camp without breaking the bank.


SLEEPINGO: Sleeping Pad

Price: $49.90

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SLEEPINGO Sleeping Pad

PROS:

✅ Inexpensive

✅ Lightweight

✅ Packable

CONS:

❌ Not durable

❌ Low comfort

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 14.6 oz (0.91 lbs)
  • R-Value: 2.1
  • Thickness: 2 in
  • Type: Inflatable
  • Denier: 20D Nylon
  • Packed Size: Small enough to be packed into a Nalgene bottle

Who says ultralight can’t be affordable? We like that the Sleepingo keeps the weight at a minimal 14.6 ounces for just $50. We found that the Sleepingo achieves its weight with its thin 2-inch thickness, 20D ripstop nylon fabric, and less padding than other models. Because of this, we recommend it for back sleepers only.

Durability can be an issue with the thinner fabric. Take care when using it on rough, rocky ground. Despite the downsides, we like the Sleepingo for those wanting an easy entry point to ultralight gear.

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NEMO: Switchback

Price: $54.95

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NEMO: Switchback best ultralight sleeping pad

PROS:

✅ Inexpensive

✅ Lightweight

✅ Ultra-durable

CONS:

❌ Low comfort

❌ Hard to pack

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 14.5 oz (0.91 lbs)
  • R-Value: 2
  • Thickness: 0.9 in
  • Type: Closed-cell foam
  • Denier: N/A
  • Packed Size: 20.0 x 5.0 x 5.5 in

The Z Lite Sol from Therm-A-Rest had the corner on the market until Nemo came in with a worthy competitor, the Switchback. Just like the Z Lite Sol, the Nemo Switchback is a closed-cell foam pad. We love closed-cell foam for its indestructible nature and its low price. Though closed-cell foam makes this one of the bulkiest options we tested, it’s still on the lighter end compared to the other models we looked at.

What sets the Switchback apart from the Z Lite Sol is its thickness. It has deeper egg crates and is 0.9 inches thick instead of the Sol’s 0.75 thickness. We find it the most comfortable closed-cell foam sleeping pad, but it’s still not as comfortable as an inflatable.


SEA TO SUMMIT: UltraLight

Price: $119

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SEA TO SUMMIT: UltraLight best ultralight sleeping pad

PROS:

✅ Lightweight

✅ Packable

CONS:

❌ Low warmth

❌ Less comfortable

KEY SPECS

  • Weight: 13.9 oz (0.87 lbs)
  • R-Value: 1.1
  • Thickness: 2 in
  • Type: Inflatable
  • Denier: 30D/40D Nylon Face Fabric
  • Packed Size: 3.5 x 7 in

    The Sea to Summit Ultralight is the second-lightest sleeping pad on our list. Due to its minimal design, it also packs down small. We like that it rings up at about half the price of the Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Uberlite, making this a much more affordable ultralight sleeping pad. However, at just 2 inches thick we don’t find this to be all that comfortable of a sleeping pad.

    Durability runs around the middle of the models we tested. What we found the most disappointing was the low 1.1 R-Value, the least warm model we tested. Because of this, we’d only recommend the Sea to Summit Ultralight for summer trips.


    POWERLIX: Sleeping Pad

    Price: $40.88

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    POWERLIX Sleeping Pad

    PROS:

    ✅ Inexpensive

    ✅ Durable

    ✅ Waterproof

    CONS:

    ❌ Heavy

    ❌ Low comfort

    KEY SPECS

    • Weight: 21.2 oz (1.33 lbs)
    • R-Value: 2.3
    • Thickness: 2 in
    • Type: Inflatable
    • Denier: 75D Nylon
    • Packed Size: 4 x 11 in

    The most inexpensive option on our list, the Powerlix distinguishes itself from the other models we tested in two ways. First, it uses 75D Nylon making it one of the most durable on our list. Second, it's the only sleeping pad on our list that is waterproof, making it an ideal choice for us in wet environments.

    At only 2 inches thick, it doesn’t score as high for comfort compared to other air pads we looked at, but it is more comfortable than closed-cell foam pads at a similar price point. Weight-wise, it is the second heaviest on our list.


    Key Factors To Consider When Choosing

    Price

    Sleeping pad costs can add up quickly. Closed-cell foam pads are on the cheaper end, but offer less comfort and are bulky to pack. A premium ultralight sleeping pad is specifically engineered to offer warmth, comfort, and packability in a lightweight package.

    The sleeping pads that provide the greatest value:

    Affordable sleeping pads:

    Premium sleeping pads (most expensive):

    Weight

    The lighter, the better. Thick material and overly large inflation valves are usually the biggest factors in adding unnecessary weight to your pad. Foam pads are inexpensive lightweight options. The lightest pads are often the most expensive. We recommend a weight of 1 pound or less.

    The lightest sleeping pads:

    Warmth

    Other than comfort, the main purpose of a sleeping pad is to keep you warm. This is super important and something often overlooked. Your pad should prevent the cold earth from reaching your body. “R-Value” is a measurement of sleeping pad insulation. The higher the R-Value the warmer the pad. For a 3-season sleeping look at an R-Value of 2-4. For winter camping, 4+ is needed.

    The warmest sleeping pads:

    Comfort

    A sleeping pad is like a mattress but designed for the backcountry. Like mattresses, pads come in different sizes, materials, and firmness levels, each combination offering a unique sleeping experience.

    The thickness of a sleeping pad makes a big difference in comfort. The thicker the pad, the more cushion it will provide from the hard ground. Inflatable pads take the cake on comfort vs closed-cell foam.

    How thick of a sleeping pad you should get is based on personal preference, we recommend a thickness of at least 2 inches for an inflatable pad.

    Most comfortable sleeping pads:


    Other Things to Consider

    Sleeping Pad Types

    What type of sleeping pad is best? Despite being puncture-prone we think air pads are the type of sleeping pad that is best for backpacking.

    INFLATABLE SLEEPING PADS

    As the name implies, inflatable pads need to be filled with air before you sleep on them. They either will self-inflate on their own when you unroll them, or you will have to blow air into them manually using good ‘ole lung power.

    inflating sleeping pad

    Inflating the Sleepingo Sleeping Pad

    AIR PADS: COMFORTABLE AND EXTREMELY COMPACT

    The most commonly used pad by backpackers. They can be as light or lighter than closed-cell foam pads with superior comfort. They roll down to a compact size, often similar to a Nalgene bottle. By adding insulation, air pads can have very high R-values. The major downside of air pads is puncturing. Always pack a patch kit when backpacking with an air pad. 

    PROS:

    • Compact: A good ultralight pad should be able to roll up and fit inside your hand. It can be stored in a tiny corner of your pack without hardly even noticing.
    • Comfortable: The air in inflatable pads literally elevates you off the ground to provide a nice cushion. For side and stomach sleepers, this can be crucial.
    • Lightweight: The lightest backpacking pads are inflatable air pads. Even heavier air pads have comparable weights to closed-cell foam pads.
    • Warm: Air pads with extra insulation have the highest R-values of any pad type. They are great options for cold weather sleeping.

    CONS:

    • Demanding Setup: Your lungs will be manually filling up the air chamber. After a long hike this can, and often will leave you temporarily lightheaded.
    • Punctures: Sharp edges, a fire ember, or heavy wear can pop your pad leaving you sleeping on the cold ground. Always pack a patch kit.
    • Noise: Some inflatable pads are crinkly out of the package. This noise should subside after a few nights. Until it does, you might keep your hiking buddies up at night.

    SELF-INFLATING PADS

    Developed in the 70s, self-inflating pads combine open-cell foam with inflatable air chambers. When the inflation valve is opened, the open-cell foam expands pulling air into the pad. Due to their weight and bulk, self-inflating pads are not as commonly used by backpackers.

    PROS:

    • Convenient: The selling point of self-inflating pads is the ease of use. Unroll and let the pad inflate. If it’s not firm enough, simply add 1 or 2 breaths of air before closing the valve.
    • Quiet: Compared to air pads, there is virtually no crinkly noise with self-inflating pads.
    • Punctures: Self-inflating pads can still puncture. However, the open-cell foam in the pad gives you some support even if your pad pops.

    CONS:

    • Weight: Self-inflating pads are essentially two pads in one, a foam pad and an air pad. This makes them the heaviest option for backpacking pads.
    • Bulk: The foam inside makes self-inflating pads hard to pack down small. They take up a similar amount of space as a closed-cell foam pad.
    • Comfort: Self-inflating pads for the backcountry are usually thin, offering a comfort level somewhere in between a foam pad and an air pad.
    closing valve sleeping pad

    FOAM PADS

    Foam pads are made of soft foam or padded material, similar to a yoga mat. They are often called "closed-cell pads" because they are made of closed-air cells. These pads either roll, collapse or fold up. Some have grooves, while others use an eggshell design to add comfort.

    PROS:

    • Fast and Easy to Set Up: Just throw it down and spread your sleeping bag on top. Super convenient after an exhausting day pushing long miles.
    • Indestructible: You can relax on a foam pad by the fire and don't have to worry about an ember flying out and popping it. Same thing for rocky or jagged surfaces. No maintenance whatsoever.
    • Multi-Functional: Some ultralight backpacks are designed to have a foam pad slide into their back panel and act as a pack frame. The poles of a pack can add several ounces to your load which can make utilizing a foam pad all the more awesome.
    • Cheap: Usually less, if not a lot less, than $50.

    CONS:

    • Bulky: They often take up too much room to even fit inside your bag. Therefore, most hikers have them tied down outside of their pack - on top or flopping around underneath the bottom. This leaves them exposed to the elements most of the time... which can be an issue when raining and your pad is not 100% waterproof.
    • Can Be Uncomfortable: Some hikers just can’t sleep on them. Despite being super bulky, the foam is usually still very thin and/ or stiff. Some people feel it's like sleeping on the floor. Others actually prefer stiff sleep.
    therm-a-rest uberlite

    Therm-a-Rest Uberlite

    Baffles

    The ridge-like patterns on a pad are known as baffles. Baffles add support and comfort for sleeping. They also trap air to slow down heat loss. The most common baffle patterns are horizontal, vertical, or quilted designs.

    Pads with horizontal baffles or quilted patterns offer the most stable support for back and stomach sleepers. Vertical baffles, baffles running lengthwise, can feel like they are curling up on the sides. Side sleepers often prefer vertical baffles as they prevent them from rolling off the pad at the night.

    The ASTM Standard

    In 2020, sleeping pad manufacturers started using a standardized test, the ASTM test, to rate R-values. Using a standardized test gives the buyer (that's you!) more confidence when comparing R-values between sleeping pads.

    The test places a sleeping pad between a 95-degree hot plate and a 40-degree plate. This simulates a warm body and cold ground. By calculating the amount of energy used to keep the top plate at 95 degrees, testers determine the amount of energy your body would expend while sleeping on the pad. More energy = lower R-value, less energy = higher R-value.

    folding sleeping pad

    Gender-Specific

    Most pads are unisex, but some are tailored for women or shorter cold sleepers. By shortening the length and adding insulation, these pads have a similar weight and a higher R-value compared to their unisex counterparts. Other pads go a step further and adjust the concentration of insulation around the hip area for added comfort.

    packed sleepingo sleeping pad

    Packability

    When packed, it should not be bigger than a 1-liter water bottle.

    Some of these can fit inside a Nalgene bottle. The extra pack space is much appreciated, especially considering some models can take up nearly half of a pack’s volume. If you don’t like the idea of strapping your pad on the outside of your pack, get a pad that packs down tiny.

    packed sleeping pads

    Durability

    Choosing the appropriate pad type for your terrain

    Durability is critical when you are choosing a pad. Think about the conditions where you will be backpacking. Will it be hard-packed dirt or a shelter floor? If so, you can choose an inflatable pad and enjoy the comfort of sleeping on air. If your terrain is rocky, rooty, or filled with other sharp objects, then a closed-cell foam pad is a better choice as it can't be punctured.

    opening valve of sleeping pad

    Denier is the measure of a fabric’s thickness. Thin, low denier, fabrics require more care to avoid puncturing. The upside is they are very light. Higher denier fabrics can stand up to more abuse but will weigh more. Fabrics used for the lightest pads fall between 15D and 30D. More durable pads have deniers of up to 75D.

    rolling powerlix sleeping pad

    Thickness

    More comfort means additional ounces.

    How thick of a sleeping pad should I get? It depends. Thickness is one factor that makes a pad comfortable. The thicker the pad, the more cushion it will provide from the hard ground and the more comfortable it will be. Remember, a thicker pad will be slightly heavier and will require significantly more breaths to fill it with air. Find that sweet spot between weight, convenience, and comfort.

    foam sleeping pads of different thickness

    Four foam sleeping pads of different thickness.

    Length

    Consider "halving it".

    An easy way to shave (quite literally) weight off your sleeping pad is by getting a smaller mat. Most ultralight backpackers get a mat that covers from their head down to their knees - electing to have their feet hang off the end or on top of the actual backpacking bag.

    Big Agnes Q-core SLX

    Big Agnes Q-Core SLX

    Width

    Must fit in your tent.

    Most sleeping pads are 20-inches wide, providing just enough room for a single person. They also are sized to fit comfortably inside an ultralight two-person tent. Some pads are wider, 25-inches, but you should measure your tent to make sure they fit, especially if you are trying to squeeze in two people each night.

    sleeping pads grid

    Shape

    Consider rounding off the corners.

    Rectangular or oval. The extra corners from a rectangular shape can be nice if you roll around a lot to spread your arms around your head and underneath your pillow or like to spread your legs out. Otherwise, the oval shape works just as dandy and can save a little weight and space.

    hiker sitting on a sleeping pad

    Ease of Inflation

    No huge air chambers.

    Some pads are like small air mattresses—prioritizing elevated comfort over all else. This is great if you like a huge amount of cushion. However, as mentioned above, getting that large mass of air into the pad's chamber can be a huge lung-exhausting chore and leave you lightheaded. Go for a medium amount of air—enough to get you off the ground, but not too much where you feel like you are rolling around on a cloud.

    inflation valve

    Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm

    Manual vs Self-Inflating Pads

    There are two kinds of inflatable pads: manual and self-inflating.

    • Manual: Blow air into them manually using good ‘ole lung power. Manual pads can be squished down to the size of a soda can but require a fair amount of lung power to re-inflate. They also can mold on the inside since you are using your breath to inflate them. Some pads also now come with a stuff sack that doubles as an inflation device. These inflation sacks are better than using your breath, but it still takes some time and effort to fill the pad with air.

    • Self-inflating: Unroll the pad and it automatically fills up with air. These are easier to use but a heavier and bulkier option.

    hiker inflating a sleeping pad using an inflation sack

    Using a pump sack to inflate the Sea to Summit Ultralight sleeping pad.

    Extras

    Some sleeping pads come complete with extra items, such as:

    • Repair Kit. Handy if you do get a hole. Most inflatable mattresses come with one.

    • Pump Sack. If you do go for one of those big, airy pads, these can significantly help save time and lung power. Just one extra thing to carry though.

    • Inflation Valve. We love one-handed valves that pop open instead of twist. Some have this button-like one-way deflation option that is super helpful when optimizing the level of desired inflation.

    • Rails. Worst case you roll off inside your tent. These are, quite frankly, unnecessary.

    powerlix sleeping pad pack

    FAQs

    Can I add R-value by stacking sleeping pads?

    Yes, you can add R-value by stacking sleeping pads. Stacking sleeping pads is commonly done for winter and car camping to increase R-value.

    The best method is to use a closed-cell foam pad on the bottom and an inflatable pad on top. This provides stability and insulates your inflatable mat from the cold ground. Plus, carrying a closed-cell foam is also a great backup in case you puncture your inflatable pad.

    How can I pick/use a sleeping pad for lower back pain?

    Look for a thicker pad when picking a sleeping pad for lower back pain. An air pad will give you more options for how firm to inflate while still keeping you off the ground. Many backpackers find a slightly under-inflated pad is best for minimizing back pain.

    Wider pads also give you more room to stretch out and avoid touching the ground. Double padding, placing an air pad on top of a closed-cell foam pad, adds an extra layer of support that can help with back pain. Regardless of the pad, sleeping with your pack or spare clothes under your knees will take pressure off your lower back.

    What type of sleeping pad is best for side sleepers?

    Thicker inflatable air pads are best for side sleepers. Look for a thickness of 3 inches or more if you are a side sleeper.

    hiker using sleeping pad

    📸 Some photos in this post were taken by Dana Felthauser (@danafelthauser) and Jonathan Davis (@meowhikes).

    Justin Sprecher photo

    About Justin Sprecher

    By Justin Sprecher (aka "Semisweet"): Semisweet is a Wisconsin-based thru-hiker, adventurer and digital storyteller.

    He's thru-hiked the Pacific Northwest Trail, LASHed the Great Divide Trail and Arizona Trail, and sectioned hiked large parts of the Continental Divide Trail, amongst others.

    About Greenbelly

    After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Chris Cage created Greenbelly to provide fast, filling and balanced meals to backpackers. Chris also wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail.

    Stoveless Backpacking Meals
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