Sleeping pads are an important part of gear for any type of camper who goes on long trips where resting and sleeping are necessary. Thanks to the growing number of hiking enthusiasts out there, outdoor gear companies are innovating and making some of the best camping sleeping pads that you can find in the market.
The increasing competition also means that there are a lot of old and new brands in the market. And all of them are trying to come up with the best camping sleeping pad for you. Just like these brands, we also believe that consumers deserve the best and that is why over this article we will be talking about everything that you would possibly need to know to get your next sleeping pad.
Starting from a detailed buying guide including things you should know about the pads and inclusive reviews on the sleeping pads themselves so you know the one that is best for your use. All of the sleeping pads have been used by our team of reviewers to give you the best analysis of the product itself.
Knowing What You Are Signing Up For
Here we wanted to talk about some of the new campers out there who will be having the experience of sleeping on a sleeping pad for the first time. It might surely seem very fun and adventurous, which it surely is. But make sure you are aware of the fact that there is a huge difference between sleeping on a mattress or bed and a sleeping pad. While comfortability is not the only issue, but even keeping that aside. The shape and size of these pads will also affect your sleep. So make sure you are well aware of these situations.
The Different Types Of Sleeping Pads
Even though they all might look the same, there is a wide variety of sleeping pads that are found on the market. Not just in their price and quality, but in their variant as well.
Let us start with the basic one first and those are the air pads. As the name suggests these pads inflate when air is blown or pumped inside them. We would suggest you use a pump rather than blowing it yourself. The benefits of using these air pads are that they are thick and comfortable, with still being lightweight as they do not have any air in them. Sleeping pads like these can also be packed to the size of a water bottle, this is something that always comes in handy. Coming to the problems relating to it, they are very delicate and hence are prone to punctures. So make sure you are careful about it. It is no surprise that air pads are not the best in comfortability factor, and that is mainly due to the reason of them touching the ground.
In the case of these pads, there is no reason to carry a pump or blow air inside them as they inflate themselves. The answer to the question of how they do it is in the building style of the pads. Self-Inflated pads use open cell foam to provide structure as well as insulation. While it does help in comfortability and insulation, the portability is hampered as these pads are heavier and bulkier.
Closed-cell foam pads
Lastly, comes the closed-cell foam pads. These pads are large and need to be rolled or folded and kept on the exterior of people’s bags. They do not need to inflate and cant be popped, meaning that they are pretty much indestructible. They are super comfortable and even though large, they are not bulky at all.
Sleeping pads for women
Before you go on saying that sleeping pads are the same for all genders, let me correct you. Because we have tested more than a hundred sleeping pads in both the male and female variants, we can ensure you that there is a huge difference. So, what are these differences? Well, it is nothing major other than the number of holes on the pad and the cut-out on the torso. The women’s variants have fewer holes to help in the insulation and the different cutout helps to fit in the shape of the body.
Now, that we have gone through the different types of sleeping pads out there, let us take some time to look at a few key points and factors to help you in buying the best camping sleeping pad.
A common misconception surrounding camping gear, in general, is that they are pricey. While the higher quality branded ones will surely be heavy on your wallet, that does not necessarily mean that there aren’t cheaper options. There surely is, and there is a whole lot more when it comes to sleeping pads. So, we would suggest having a mediocre budget will be more than enough, and if you want to splash the cash then that is possible as well.
When you are carrying all your gear with you, it is very crucial that all your stuff is balanced. It goes without saying that no matter what type of backpack you carry, it will be one of the heaviest items in your backpack. Even though it is a very hard task, try to get a sleeping pad that is lightweight, as this will make your overall camping experience a whole lot pleasant.
You will be surprised to know that one of the main functions of a sleeping pad is to keep you warm and that is why they are insulated. Before you purchase your sleeping pad, keep in mind that the higher the backpack has of an R-Value, the better it is at insulation. This applies if you are going to camp in the colder weather. If you like to switch the weather up, then get something with a decent R-Value rating to keep you safe. Not too warm, not too cool.
When it comes to thickness and density, not all pads will be the same and they will vary. You would want to look for something that is just thick enough to give you the extra firmness so that the pad does not end up wobbling around when you lie down. The pads that we will be talking about all have a decent enough thickness. So you are safe to go for anyone of them.
When you are resting on your sleeping pad, the last thing you would want to have is it making crackling noises, especially if you are a light sleeper. Sadly, as these are no luxury bed systems, they all will make some little noise regardless. However, that is nothing to worry about because the ones that we have added to our list make very minimal noise.
Let’s start with one of the people’s favorites on Amazon. The Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad is one such pad that it will be like by everyone in general. No wonder why it is one of Amazon’s top sellers. As we mentioned before previously that the type of sleeping pad you will buy will depend on you. So, who is this pad for?
As we mentioned, this can be used by everyone in general. However, due to its super affordable price tag, we would definitely suggest this to be on the top list for the ones with a tight budget. It just ticks all the right boxes in the right places. Starting from packing super well inside your backpack to getting suited to all sorts of outdoor activities, starting from backpacking, hiking to camping and whatnot. You can get the preferable size that you would like.
If it is not visible in the photos then we would like to mention this pad is not the thickest one in the world. However, do not let that fool you regarding its comfort and performance. Despite the thin structure, it will support your weight very well. So that you are nice and stable on the pads. Even if you are heavy, that won’t hamper the stability. Considering the lightweight structure, this is of a huge benefit to the user as it makes the pad super easy to carry around. This prevents backaches and any other severe injuries that might have been caused by carrying a heavier sleeping pad.
The Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad comes with a number of different goodies and additional packages. The very first thing is a bag so that you can carry it around. The bag helps a great deal in packing the pad to the smallest extent. It is not self-inflatable so you won’t be needing any pump or pump sacks. The pad comes with a super durable material that is tear-resistant. Thanks to the camping grade ripstop nylon fabric on the pads. This build quality ensures that this was made for camping.
The Using Process
To make it easier, here is how you would use your camping sleeping pad. As we mentioned before, the pad is not self-inflatable. However, that is not a barrier in terms of ease of use. So now you might ask how to use it then. Well, all you need to do is simply blow into the pad to inflate it. It will take around 8 to 13 blows, depending on how tight you want your pad to be. You can just pull the rubber flap to deflate it yourself. Coming to the inflation part, it gets only 2 inches thick once inflated. So not much as it is a thin sleeping pad. However, as we mentioned before, that is not a major issue when it comes to stability and weight distribution.
Will all the added benefits, there is something problematic that we found as well. And that is this is not winter-friendly. Other than that, there aren’t any complaints about it and it is overall a very good sleeping pad perfect for the budget.
If you are not much of a hardcore camper and want something a bit unique and relaxed then the Olee Sleep Tri-Folding Memory Foam Topper is something that you should definitely look into. If you ask us, then we would say that this is basically memory foam that can be folded. Memory foam might be, but it is a very good quality one.
The thickness of these pads is about 4 inches. These aren’t your regular memory foam pads because it contains gel padding inside it, giving you the best possible comfort. In addition to that, it also has foam support as well. Even though these might look ideal for dorms, and living rooms, which it fits perfectly without any doubt. However, it is also a good option for light camping. Because they are so lightweight and portable, the overall task of carrying them around is a very easy task.
There isn’t really much to talk about these pads other than that they are super lightweight and fun to use and comfortable as well. While durability is not its strong suit, that can be forgiven for its innovative design.
Speaking of the hardcore best camping sleeping pad category then we have to include the WELLAX UltraThick FlexFoam Sleeping Pad. While this pad is a perfect choice for camping, it might not be for everyone. Let’s look into it.
Starting off, the WELLAX UltraThick FlexFoam Sleeping Pad is a thick self-inflating pad. Well, thick will be an understatement because memory foam is truly like anything else found on the market. It is not only super thick but also very flexible as well. The way it inflates itself is that whenever the pad is decompressed the foam will fill up with air and inflate accordingly. Pads like these are super easy and convenient to use. It only takes a few minutes for the pad to be fully pumped and get stable.
Coming to the build quality of the pad, it is a very durable one. The pad is made from a 20D ripstop nylon material with a TPU covering. This layering helps the pad to be waterproof, tear, and abrasion-resistant. This feature is something that you usually see on pricier models. The soundproofing might not seem to be a big deal, but trust me it is if you are a light sleeper.
Now let us answer the question that we raised earlier, which is who is this for? Well, even though the company markets this to be lightweight, it is by no means so. It is also not a suitable option for backpacking or hiking. The only scenario we can suggest is that take it to camp. And that is basically it, you cannot also carry it for longer periods of time. If you keep it limited to its use, then it will shine and will give you superb comfort.
Keeping the bulky factor aside, this is overall a very comfortable and durable sleeping pad. It is something that you just can’t go wrong with.
4. Outdoorsman Lab – Ultralight Sleeping Pad for Camping
If something lightweight and portable is your choice then the Outdoorsman Lab – Ultralight Sleeping Pad for Camping will be your best option to go with.
Starting off with the design, that is what makes the pad so good and convenient. We have tested many types of sleeping pads over time, but the Outdoorsman Lab – Ultralight Sleeping Pad for Camping is truly something very different. It is designed in a way that it will cater nicely to outdoor enthusiasts. The component that makes this pad so lightweight is its ability to roll up in a small bag. Even though other sleeping pads can also do this, but not to this extent. This feature makes the Outdoorsman Lab – Ultralight Sleeping Pad for Camping perfect for all sorts of outdoor activities, as carrying this is so much easy.
For any sleeping pad to be even considered the best camping sleeping pad, it needs to be easy to set up, as no one likes to go through that hassle of setting it up in the middle of camping. The Outdoorsman Lab – Ultralight Sleeping Pad for Camping is super easy to set up due to its easy inflation and deflation process. It will fill up with just a few quick breaths and will also deflate quickly thanks to the air valve. We have noticed that a few extra breaths can add quite the firmness on the pad, so be aware of that. Nonetheless, even if you do make it more firm than what you are willing to do, then all you need to do is push the rubber valve and adjust the air accordingly.
Overall, if we consider the Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight then we will say that this focuses on comfort and portability to a great extent. It is comfortable, soft, durable and super easy to carry. Using it long-term we found out that the foam used on this is also of very high quality, hence the added comfort. You will surely be able to get a good sleep on this.
5. POWERLIX Sleeping Pad – Ultralight Inflatable Sleeping Mat
For a long time, companies have been making sleeping pads with the same structure and design, hence there have been no upgrades in performance. The POWERLIX Sleeping Pad – Ultralight Inflatable Sleeping Mat, however, is very different from most of the sleeping pads out there. This pad has hexagon air pads inside it. This isn’t any gimmick or there just for show, but rather to support your body while you are sleeping on it. The pads will be there to support all the pressure points in your body. No matter what type of sleeper you are and where you sleep on your trip, once you lay down on this, sleep will come in a breeze.
The air system on it is also very innovative. In addition to having dual valves, you do not also need to worry about any leakage while inflating or deflating the sleeping pad. Weight and portability are very basic for a sleeping pad of this price. An added bonus on this is that it is insulated, which means you will be able to carry it around even in the colder weather and get a good night’s sleep in it. Sleeping pads of this price point are usually not insulated.
One particular complaint that we have about the POWERLIX Sleeping Pad – Ultralight Inflatable Sleeping Mat is that it is not the most durable one out there. Due to its soft and ultra-lightweight design, the durability surely gets hampered. Regardless, that is not something to worry about, because we have tested it very rigorously and it did not show any severe issues. In addition to that, it will be long lasting than most other pads of this price range.
6. AirExpect Camping Sleeping Pad with Built-in Pump Upgraded Inflatable Camping Mat with Pillow for Backpacking
Have you always been looking for that five-star hotel bed sleep on your camping trip? Then look no further because the AirExpect Camping Sleeping Pad will fulfill that. It is very tough to find a good comfortable sleeping bag on a cheap budget. So we would suggest you increase the budget a bit and get this one as it gives the quality you pay for.
As it gets around 2.5 inches thick after inflation it will keep you nice and warm thanks to the insulation. You do not have to worry about weight stability because the AirExpect Camping Sleeping Pad has a weight capacity of 660 lbs and does an excellent job in spreading the overall weight of the user.
Just like every other sleeping pad on this list, this one is also compact, lightweight. So it can be easily packed into a small bag. We have often heard complaints that most users do not like to blow their pads using their mouths. Well, to solve that situation, the AirExpect Camping Sleeping Pad comes with a small carry pump. All you need to do is give a few pumps and you are good to go.