The world never makes more sense than when you’re out enjoying nature. Letting the stars in the sky lull you to sleep at night after a great day of hiking brings balance to our digital world. And when you’re out backpacking, it’s imperative to get a good night’s sleep. Lying your tired body down on a stiff sleeping pad with poor stability is an agonizing experience that will steal your energy for the next day’s activities, leaching away at your overall enjoyment. We love the outdoors and we want you to have the best experience when you venture into the backcountry, so we’ve taken the time to gather the optimal backpacking sleeping pads on the market.
We considered comfort, durability, warmth, portability, and weight, since it will be another passenger in your backpack. Analyzing the sleeping pads further, we took a look at their R-values, which is the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat — a higher R-value means more effective insulation.
Klymit Static V Ultralite SL Sleeping Pad
Although Klymit’s sleeping pad is affordable, it’s packing plenty of features to make it much more valuable than its price tag suggests. This ultra lightweight, insulated slim sleeping pad utilizes a V-shaped design to deliver amazing support and comfort whether you sleep on your side, back, or stomach. It has added insulation to minimize heat loss and ensure you sleep without being disturbed by the cold weather, including 20D (denier) polyester material for superior tear, puncture, and abrasion resistance. And, just in case, the sleeping pad comes with a patch kit. Weighing in at 15.9 oz, the Stativ V is perfect for backpackers looking to carry the bare minimum.
ALPS Mountaineering Oasis Air mat
If you’re looking for a more spacious sleeping pad, the Oasis will suit your needs well. With comfort reminiscent of a cot, this lightweight sleeping pad will do wonders for your sleep outdoors. It uses a coil system design to create a durable, yet comfortable sleeping topography covered with light nylon ripstop fabric. For easy set-up, it has a built-in pump, making inflation a breeze. Designed for the outdoors, it fits most tents and comes with a repair kit and a carry bag for easy transportation. If you want to maximize your comfort and minimize your backpack weight, the Oasis was made for you.
REI Co-op AirRail Sleeping Pad
This self-inflating sleeping pad boasts a hybrid design, combining an insulated foam center panel surrounded by large air tubes, cradling you in the center and keeping you from rolling off. The outer tubes are insulated with ‘PrimaLoft’ microfiber fill for a warm, comfy feel, helping it earn an R-Value of 4.2. Made with a robust 75D polyester top with an embossed non-slip surface and a 75D polyester bottom to resists wear for longevity. It also has a tapered mummy shape for reduced weight and packable size.
REI Flash Insulated Air Sleeping Pad
Boasting a convenient weld-through construction, this air sleeping pad by REI is easy to inflate, requiring fewer breaths compared to other air sleeping pads. Combined with a ‘Mylar’ reflective layer and proprietary dual-fiber insulation, this sleeping pad provides a high warmth-to-weight ratio. The advanced inflation technology features separate flat valves for inflation and deflation. It has a laminated 30-denier ripstop polyester, a tapered mummy shape design for reduced weight and packability into a complimentary stuff sack, and a solid R-Value of 3.7. It’s an excellent choice for a solo backpacking adventurer.
NEMO Tensor Insulated Air Pad
Made with NEMO’s lightest fabrics, this sleeping pad won’t weigh your backpack down. It has a thermal mirror with a metabolized film layer to reflect radiant heat to keep you warm during cold nights in the backcountry. The sleeping pad has a ‘PrimaLoft’ compressible insulation, giving you down-like performance for extra warmth. Made with undulating lateral baffles, it offers a comfy and form-fitting topography to give you a restful sleep under the stars. The sleeping pad has three inches of superior cushioning, so you can sleep in any position without getting uncomfortable. Also, the minimal weight and compact size of the sleeping pad is perfect for backpacking.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Trekker
The lightweight NeoAir Trekker sleeping pad utilizes a patent-pending triangular core Matrix construction, forming more than 100 insulating cells which balance air distribution for excellent stability. This go-anywhere sleeping pad traps radiant heat and minimizes convective heat loss to keep you warm throughout the chilly night in the great outdoors. Constructed with a 75D polyester bottom for durability and a soft 50D top, this sleeping pad is made to help lull you into dreamland. It comes with a stuff sack for convenient transportation and a repair kit for an easy fix just in case it gets punctured.
Big Agnes Q Core Sleeping Bag Pad
The super light Big Agnes Q Core Sleeping Pad has built-in advanced heat reflective technology and a high-loft synthetic insulation to keep you nice and toasty during the cold winter nights. The antimicrobial treatment within the pad prevents microorganism growth, keeping you healthy to continue your adventure. It has a minimalist offset ‘I-Beam’ construction, lowering its weight and providing superior comfort. Lay down on the pad and you’ll feel the cushioned quality top makes for a pillowy surface, rivaling your favorite mattress. Aviation grade lamination and double ripstop nylon make this sleeping pad rugged enough for any backpacking trip.
Sea to Summit Comfort Deluxe SI Mat
According to Sea to Summit, their Comfort Deluxe SI Mat is just as comfortable as your bed. This luxurious four-inch thick sleeping mat is the king of backpacking comfort. It has internal foam walls and an R-Value of 5.2 so you can have a warm, soothing night’s sleep. The sleeping pad is made with ‘Delta Core’ technology, decreasing its bulk and weight while offering superb support and packability. For your convenience, it comes with patent-pending multi-function valves that twist over so you can roll it up tightly without having to worry about fighting re-inflation. Choose this rich sleeping pad made from 30D knit polyester fabric and you’ll feel the difference.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad
If you plan to go backpacking during the winter, this Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad will be sure to keep you warm. According to Therm-A-Rest, it has the highest warmth-to-weight ratio of any air mattress the company has made. The lightweight sleeping pad uses ‘ThermaCapture’ layers to trap air and reflect heat, insulating your body and protecting it from the biting cold. It has a 5.7 R-value, which means it’s ready for harsh winters, and it’s made with ripstop nylon to resist punctures. The mummy-shape design of the sleeping pad makes it lighter and the no-slip top fabric prevents slippage while keeping you comfortable.
Exped DownMat HL Winter Sleeping Pad
Featuring an ultralight construction and a narrow profile, Exped’s DownMat won’t weigh you down on your journey. It’s ideal for the winter season, as it’s rated down to -25.6°F, keeping you off the freezing ground. The sleeping pad is 3.5 inches thick and has a 700 fill down to keep you elevated. Finished off with anti-slip honeycomb ‘GripSkin,’ you won’t be slipping and sliding on the pad at night. This sleeping pad includes a Schnozzel pump bag which doubles as a dry bag.
Mountain Equipment Aerostat Down 7.0 Mat
With tough welding and TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane ) laminated 30D nylon ripstop fabric, this sleeping pad is ready for an extensive amount of outdoor adventures. It has 700 vertically aligned baffles with ‘Helix’ technology to decrease down migration and provide much-deserved comfort after a long day of hiking. This sleeping pad also comes with a ‘Windsock’ stuff sack doubling as a pump to use with the two-way self-sealing ‘Gas Mask’ valve for easy inflation and deflation.
Exped SynMat HL Duo Sleeping Pad
Just because you rough it in the backcountry doesn’t mean you have to rough it when you sleep too. Expel’s sleeping air pad utilizes specially designed baffles to create a supportive cell structure to adjust to uneven surfaces without feeling bulky. The two halves of the air pad are filled separately so you can move around without disturbing the sleep of your companion. It has a polyester fabric with UV and abrasion resistance, as well as an anti-slip coating that prevents your pad from slipping. The lofted microfiber insulation is laminated for four-season warmth with an R-Value of 3.3 and the welded seams form an airtight construction. It comes with a protective stuff sack and a repair kit containing adhesive and fabric patches.
Hiker Housing: 10 Best Ultralight Backpacking Tents
Now that you’ve got yourself a comfy sleeping pad, it’s time to get yourself a tent. Check out our picks for the 10 best ultralight camping and backpacking tents on the market.
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