Hey there campers and welcome to my post where I will share my three best camping sleeping pads to lie on this year. In the past, those who likes to travel light, or hike to their camping spot, were often susceptible to an uncomfortable night’s sleep on a very skinny air mattress. However, with the improvement of sleeping pads today, resting soundly at night has become an achievable option.
Whether you’re hiking, camping, or on a more extended expedition, a good night’s sleep can make or break your trip meaning a good sleeping pad can be a Godsend. So let’s check out with the best camping sleeping pad options I have fond in my research.
My 3 recommended camping sleeping pads
I will review these in more detail below, but if you just want to get moving without all the carry-on, my recommended products are listed here for your convenience:
|Camping Sleeping Pad
|Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad
|POWERLIX Sleeping Pad
|Hikenture Double Sleeping Pad
What are camping sleeping pads?
Sleeping pads (also called thermal pads) refer to sleeping gear used along with camping sleeping bags. They are generally very portable and light in weight making them perfect for all camping endeavours in all conditions. Before we get into things however, a common misunderstanding when it comes to sleeping pads is that their primary purpose is to make the sleeping or sitting area more comfortable (similar to an air mattress).
Instead, the pad’s chief function is to both keep us comfortable at night via two methods:
- Keep us protected from the cold of the ground.
- Keep body heat from escaping into the ground as you sleep.
Because air is one of the best (and cheapest) insulators, sleeping pads’ materials are typically filled with air pockets, slowing heat conduction through the pad.
Oh, and just so we are clear, they are quite comfortable as well – just so you know… haha.
What should you be looking for?
Below are some of the main factors you should take into account as you shop for sleeping pads for camping:
- Type of Sleeping Pads
Type of Sleeping Pads
There are generally three recognized types of sleeping pads that are available on the market today:
- Foam pads – Compared to their competitors, foam pads have one significant advantage: they do not leak. Nowadays, however, many camping enthusiasts do not prefer foam pads, especially those practicing ultralight backpacking. One apparent reason is that foam sleeping pads lack warmth and comfort (in thinner pads) and have a low “weight to warmth” ratio compared to quality air pads. Furthermore, foam pads are surprisingly bulky.
- Self-inflating pads – These pads combine open-cell foam insulation with air. When the valve(s) are opened, the foam expands and automatically draws in air. Self-inflating pads are designed explicitly for backpacking can be folded lengthwise and rolled up to fit inside your backpack. On the other hand, those intended for car camping are rolled up rather than folded.
- Air pads – Air pads are the lightest and most compact of all sleeping pads. These sleeping pads function as portable air mattresses. You can inflate them with your mouth or via a small pump, and their insulated chambers keep you warm and comfortable as you sleep. Air pads are the most preferred if you aim for the best comfort and warmth without taking up too much space in your pack.
If you are a backpacker, you will generally be looking to purchase sleeping pads with negligible weight. However, if you decide to do car camping, bringing bulky yet foldable sleeping pads would not be much of an issue making self-inflating pads a good option.
The standard thickness for sleeping pads would be 20 inches. However, if you are the type of sleeper who tends to roll a lot, a width of 25 – 30 inches is recommended. Some pads have larger side baffles – commonly referred to as “rails” – to cradle you and keep you from rolling off as you turn during sleep. However, thinner options can be rolled up within your tent as well.
Within the camping industry, denier (D) is the gauge of durability which usually refers to the thickness of the fabric. A higher denier means higher durability, but the trade off here would be the product’s weight. Ultralight backpackers prefer to reduce every ounce possible, which is why they usually go with low-denier sleeping pads. On the other hand, those camping with children may go for durability over weight.
Insulation – R Value
As mentioned above, the chief purpose of sleeping pads is to maintain the warmth of your body by preventing heat escape as you snooze in the middle of the night. Here the spec regarding R-value is of critical importance.
In hot summer weather, a sleeping pad with an R-value of less than three should suffice. However, a higher rating between 3 and 5 is preferable if you intend to backpack during three seasons. An R-value of at least five is recommended for winter camping.
Generally, sleeping pads can accommodate two to three people to provide them with the sleeping comfort. A “regular” pad is typically 72 inches long and 20 inches wide (at its widest point), while a “large” pad is typically 77 to 80 inches long and 25 inches wide. In terms of shape, there are two main categories: mummy pads, which taper towards the feet to save weight, and rectangular pads, which are more spacious and accommodating for comfort-conscious or active sleepers.
Other potential additions include:
- Inflation and deflation – While foam pads do not need to be inflated, all other pad types include an integrated air valve. Typical air pads on the market today have flat valves with an internal flap that prevents air from escaping between inflation breaths. These valves are long-lasting and straightforward, and most pads with flat valves can be inflated with 10 to 25 breaths. The sleeping pad’s typical deflating step is to compress and roll it from the opposite side of the air valve, kneeling on the pad to expel air as you go. You can now fold it up, close the air valve, and easily fit it into your bag.
- Carry bag – This item is a must-have because you use it to store the sleeping pad after you deflate it.
- Patch kits – These are handy in case your sleeping pad gets punctured unintentionally. Patch kits are commonly sold separately, but a few manufacturers include these upon purchasing their items.
- Warranty – Products with longer warranty offers are the best in the industry. This feature ensures that you get the quality that you pay for. Warranty may include repair or replacement. Be sure to check out this additional feature.
My three recommendations broken down
So based on the information above and my own experience, I recommend the following options:
1. Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad
The first option on my list is both durable and comfortable with a notable denier rating that helps the product last for a very long time. This sleeping pad is inflatable and lightweight with the ability to cushion any rough terrain as well. See its specifications below:
- Brand: Sleepingo
- Type: Air pad
- Weight: 0.9 pounds
- Thickness: 5 cm
- Dimension: 23 x 2 x 75 inches
- R-value: 2.1
- Material: 20 Denier tear-resistant nylon
- Occupancy: One person
- Carry bag included
- Air valve for inflation and deflation
- Lifetime replacement
Why have I chosen this?
This sleeping pad is a bestseller on Amazon for a number of reasons. Firstly the pad will fold down into the size of a drink bottle and then inflate to fit perfectly inside your regular hiking or backpacking tent. It is ultra light and made of heavy-duty ripstop nylon fabric, making it suitable in any terrain without the worry of punctures etc and the 2.1 R-value also ensures that you will remain warm during cold nights as well.
2. POWERLIX Sleeping Pad
My next product has a unique design for its air cells to keep you warm and help you sleep. The air cells are a hexagon design designed to ergonomically support all of your pressure points whilst maintaining great durability and ease of inflation. See its specifications below:
- Brand: POWERLIX
- Type: Air pad
- Weight: 1.32 pounds
- Thickness: 5 cm
- Dimension: 22.8” x 74.8”
- R–value: 1.6
- Material: 75 Denier nylon
- Occupancy: One person
- Multi-purpose carry bag
- Repair kit
- Dual action, non-leak air valve
- 100% refund/replacement warranty
Why have I chosen it?
The item’s hexagon air pads are pretty revolutionary and as above, design significantly help support your back’s pressure points so that your night-time sleep is both comfy and relaxing. The carry bag is impressive for its multi-functional use options doubling as a vacuum laundry bag, waterproof carry bag or pillow. The dual-action air valve also makes it possible for you to inflate and deflate the sleeping pad with remarkable ease.
3. Hikenture Double Sleeping Pad
The last pad I have chosen accommodates two people and fits perfectly inside the back of SUVs and trucks or even inside your family tent. The built-in pump makes inflation very easy and it is thick enough to provide insulation and still feel like a decent air mattress as well. See its specifications below:
- Brand: Hikenture
- Type: Air pad
- Weight: 3.64 pounds
- Thickness: 9.5 cm (3.75″)
- Dimension: 79 x 47.5 x 3.75 inches
- R-value: No indicated
- Material: Polyester, Thermoplastic Polyurethane
- Occupancy: Two persons
- Built-in foot pump
- Carry bag
- Money-back guarantee
Why have I chosen this?
The thickness of the pad makes it possible to accommodate all types of sleep whether you prefer to lie on your back, side or stomach. Its state-of-the-art inflation system will help you inflate the product using the integrated foot pump and this sleeping pad is thicker and more comfortable than a standard two-person self-inflating foam mattress. It also includes a storage bag for easy transport.
There you have it, my three best camping sleeping pads to lie on this year. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please let me know of your experiences with them.
Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.
Until next time