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Camping

Best Sleeping Pad

Whether you are a cross-continental trekker or an adventurous car camper, you’ll need a place to sleep at the end of the day. While some individuals relish the idea of resting on bare ground, the rest of us require a good camping sleeping pad since comfort is a top priority.

We sifted through the saturated sleeping pad market in order to find the best camping sleeping pads currently available. These selections were made based on criteria including their durable, puncture-resistant material, ease of portability and overall level insulation and cushioning to ensure a good rest. Additionally these best camping sleeping pads come highly recommended based on stellar online user reviews.

REI Camp Bed 3.5 Self-Inflating Pad

REI Camp Bed 3.5 Self-Inflating Pad

The Camp Bed 3.5 is arguably the best portable alternative to sleeping on an actual mattress. The cored foam is ridiculously comfortable and the top fabric is exceptionally soft and welcoming. Even if you tend to move around a lot while you sleep, this pads combination of support and thickness helps you sleep soundly throughout the night. The pad is self-inflating but you’ll likely have to use your lungs a little bit to finish the job depending on how firm you want the pad to be. With all this comfort and support the only real drawback is the pads size which is quite large and takes up a decent amount of space even when rolled up.

Exped Comfort MegaMat 10 Sleeping Pad

The Comfort MegaMat 10 is a generously-sized pad offering plenty of comfortable wiggle room. The pads four-inch thickness provides incredible support while you sleep and the foam top feels amazingly soft. Many users are extremely happy with how little air leaks from this mattress during extended camping trips. The included mini pump doesn't require electricity but takes a fairly long time to manually inflate the pad. If your campsite or vacation destination has electric hookups, having an electric pump on hand will speed up the inflation and deflation process.

ALPS Mountaineering Comfort Air Pad

This sleeping pad offers a suede-like fabric offering a softer alternative to more common nylon shells and keeps your sleeping bag in place thanks to rubberized dots on the underside so the pad itself doesn’t slide around your tent. The air valve is exceptionally durable, the pad inflates quickly, and overall this pad requires minimal effort to inflate. It packs down small in the included stuff sack in addition to being available in five different sizes to meet individual camping needs.

Big Agnes Triple Core Sleeping Pad

The Triple Core Air Pad from Big Agnes is a comfortable four season sleeping pad incorporating heat reflective technology while offering excellent insulation for winter camping trips. With 4.25 inches of thickness, you’ll have excellent support while you snooze without worrying about sinking to the ground during the night. You have your pick of four different sizes to better suite your height and sleeping space needs with lengths ranging from 66 inches to 78 inches. Consider pairing this pad with a closed-cell foam pad in very cold conditions for added insulation.

Therm-A-Rest Basecamp Sleeping Pad

For campers desiring a luxurious sleeping experience during their outdoor adventure, the BaseCamp sleeping pad offers the best in warmth and coziness. Similar to an actual bed but in a portable, camper-friendly package, this pad features incredibly soft fabric, 3-inch thickness, and pressure mapping technology to prevent tossing and turning at night. As an added bonus this sleeping pad is self-inflating and comes in three sizes ranging from regular to XL.

Exped SIM Comfort 10 LW Sleeping Pad

The SIM Comfort mat is a top pick for its thickness and ability to create an ultra luxurious camping experience. With almost 4 inches of thickness and velcro straps to join multiple mats together, the 10 LW sleeping pad can practically recreate a portable version of the you have bed at home. The exterior surface fabric includes a non-slip finish keeping you in place at night while high-grade open cell polyurethane foam provides additional warmth on cold nights. Separate inflation and deflation valves simplify the self-inflation process and wielded seams prevent air from escaping so you’re kept high off the ground all night long.

REI Camp Bed 3.5 Self-Inflating Pad

REI Camp Bed 3.5 Self-Inflating Pad

The Camp Bed 3.5 is arguably the best portable alternative to sleeping on an actual mattress. The cored foam is ridiculously comfortable and the top fabric is exceptionally soft and welcoming. Even if you tend to move around a lot while you sleep, this pads combination of support and thickness helps you sleep soundly throughout the night. The pad is self-inflating but you’ll likely have to use your lungs a little bit to finish the job depending on how firm you want the pad to be. With all this comfort and support the only real drawback is the pads size which is quite large and takes up a decent amount of space even when rolled up.

Thermarest LuxuryMap Mattress

The LuxuryMAP from Thermarest integrates pressure mapping technology and die-cut foams to provide adequate support to both high and low pressure areas of the body. This pad melds to your body while you sleep, predicting where the most common pressure points are, where you need support most and to what extent. The top fabric is super soft to the touch and the whole set up packs nicely into a stuff sack for easy carrying. This mat is offered in size regular, large, and extra large and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

ALPS Mountaineering Comfort Air Pad

This sleeping pad offers a suede-like fabric offering a softer alternative to more common nylon shells and keeps your sleeping bag in place thanks to rubberized dots on the underside so the pad itself doesn’t slide around your tent. The air valve is exceptionally durable, the pad inflates quickly, and overall this pad requires minimal effort to inflate. It packs down small in the included stuff sack in addition to being available in five different sizes to meet individual camping needs.

Therm-A-Rest Basecamp Sleeping Pad

For campers desiring a luxurious sleeping experience during their outdoor adventure, the BaseCamp sleeping pad offers the best in warmth and coziness. Similar to an actual bed but in a portable, camper-friendly package, this pad features incredibly soft fabric, 3-inch thickness, and pressure mapping technology to prevent tossing and turning at night. As an added bonus this sleeping pad is self-inflating and comes in three sizes ranging from regular to XL.

Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core Sleeping Pad

If you are willing to spend a few extra bucks to sleep in seemingly impossible comfort during your backcountry treks, look no further than the Q-Core. An alternating horizontal and vertical tubing system makes this pad a standout favorite with backpackers. This unique design adds extra support and helps distribute your weight evenly, essentially with a feel more like a comfy bed than an air mattress.

As an added bonus, the silver filament in the pad's insulation reflects your body heat to promote increased warmth while you sleep. The Q-Core is available in four different sizes with weights ranging from 25 to 36 ounces. Inflating this pad using your lungs takes time but a 1.5-ounce pump sold separately can speeds up the process.

NEMO Cosmo Air XL Sleeping Pad

This aptly named extra large sleeping pad is ideal for big and/or tall backpackers who find it difficult to sleep comfortably on most standard-sized pads. The Cosmo Air XL is obviously heavier than smaller sleeping pads but users consistently rave about how the added weight is more than worth it when considering the comfort it offers. Inflation is quick and easy with the integrated foot pump and the baffle at the top of the pad is raised for pillow support. Consider the insulated version if you plan on backpacking in cold weather.

Big Agnes Double Z Air Mattress

If the idea of four cushy inches of thickness in a backpacking pad gets you excited, the Double Z literally has your back. Since weight definitely matters in backpacking pads, the Double Z is thickest in the shoulder and torso area and gradually thins out towards the leg area where you don’t need quite as much cushioning.

This pad inflates in around ten breaths and deflates very quickly with the two piece valve adds major convenience points). The design and construction create an even, stabilized surface and thicker edges were even incorporated to help prevent you from falling off the pad. Please note that this pad isn’t insulated and best used for warm weather trips.

Exped DownMat Sleeping Pad

If your backpacking adventures tend to take you to colder environments, the Exped DownMat is an excellent option. This sleeping pad integrates comfy air cushioning with the warmth and packability of goose down feathers. The polyester material is resistant to campsite abuse and offers decent slip resistance to help keep you in one place while you sleep. Two separate valves for inflation and deflation simplify the setting up and tearing down of your sleeping space.

Thermarest NeoAir Xlite Sleeping Pad

The NeoAir XLite is arguably one of the best sleeping pad options available for ultra light backpacking. The regular size version weighs a mere 12 ounces and just 8 ounces for the small size) and packs down to an unbelievably small and compact size.

This pad offers an amazing comfort-to-weight ratio with its 2.5-inch thickness and baffled design which helps minimize air movement so no more constantly shifting during the night. A reflective barrier maximizes warmth by reflecting your natural body and minimizing heat loss to the ground and surroundings.

Cindy J.
Eat. Sleep. Backpack. This creed may as well hang over every window and doorway in our home. The coffee table is laden with the latest editions of Backpacker magazine. My email is overflowing with daily updates on the latest and greatest gear. Having a room or space large enough to fit all of our backpacking equipment is a requirement when deciding on a place to live. If you're ready to talk backpacking, let's talk backpacking.

My husband and I have backpacked through diverse terrains ranging from the rugged wilderness areas of Yosemite and King's Canyon to the more beginner friendly paths of Lake Tahoe. Next year we are even planning to undertake the glorious 200+ miles of the John Muir Trail. We have hiked 12,000 foot passes, traversed rushing rivers, set up impromptu camps on everything from solid snow to granite outcroppings, and seen the wonders of hidden pristine lakes and patches of snow that remain year-round. Our experiences with wildlife including bears, deer, rattlesnakes, and bugs that we didn't even know existed have helped us refine our gear list to be as prepared as possible in the most light-weight, compact way. We have near perfected the art of campsite setup and teardown and can literally create a home away from home in mere minutes and pack it back up in the same amount of time. My husband's insatiable need to be in possession of the latest technological backpacking advancements has allowed us to experiment with many different types of equipment and even varying editions of the same piece of equipment. Even our honeymoon was a 55-mile backpacking adventure. Let's just say it's an obsession.

I look forward to helping you sift through the many options in the backpacking world to find the gear that will help make your trip (and many more to come!) unforgettable. Happy trails!
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