Best Sleeping Pads

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What you’ll find here – The overall best sleeping pad, the best essentials sleeping pad, and the best budget sleeping pad. We review sleeping pads from the top sleeping pad brands like REI, NEMO, and Therm-a-Rest as well as provide expert advice on how to figure out which pad is best for you.

New to sleeping pads? We have you covered. Start with what is most important to you: comfort, weight, or noise.

overall best sleeping pad R-Value: 4.2
The R-value is how well a sleeping pad insulates. The higher the R-value, the better protection from the cold ground. R-values of 2-4 are good for most 3-season conditions. 4+ values are used if the temperature drops below freezing.

Weight: 12 oz.

Type: Air

Use: 3-season (below freezing if needed).  Not ideal for snow camping however. Camping and backpacking. If you’re looking for just a camping only sleeping pad and don’t mind extra weight, our best overall sleeping pad choice is the Exped MegaM10 as is it large, comfortable, and warm with an R-value of 8.1!.

Pros: Warm and does not weigh a lot, packs into a small stuff sack, very comfortable even for side sleepers, comes with a pump sack, and the brand is well known with an exceptional warranty.

Cons: When new the pad makes a crinkle noises when rolling over. The noise is not super loud but some people may find it annoying. The noise does tend to go down as the pad is used.

Bottom line: We find that the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad is the best all-around sleeping pad (as long as you’re not going snow camping). The combination of comfort, good R-value (warmth), and light weight make this pad great not only for camping but also backpacking. The issue with XLite sleep pad is that it makes a crinkle sound when you roll over. Overtime this crinkle noise diminishes.

There is also a women’s version of this sleep pad which is warmer and shorter.

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Best Sleeping Pads Overall rating: ★★★★★ 5 based on 1 reviews.
5 1
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Page last updated: November, 2020

Summary of the best sleeping pads

Category
Best Sleeping Bag
PriceUser rating
Overall Best Sleeping PadTherm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite$184 (check for sale)4 average (view rating)
Essentials Sleeping PadNemo Tensor$175 (check for sale)5 average (view rating)
Budget Sleeping PadKlymit Static V2$65 (check for sale)4.5 average (view rating)

Best Sleeping Pad with all the Essentials

Nemo Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad ($175)

best  beginner sleeping pad R-Value: 3.5
The R-value is how well a sleeping pad insulates. The higher the R-value, the better protection from the cold ground. R-values of 2-4 are good for most 3-season conditions. 4+ values are used if the temperature drops below freezing.

Weight: 15 oz.

Type: Air

Use: 3-season (around freezing if needed), not ideal for snow camping however. Will be good for camping and backpacking because it’s not too large or heavy.

Pros: It is a quiet pad so rolling around or moving during the night will not disrupt your neighbor or you. It’s very comfortable because it is a fairly thick pad. The valve system is sturdy and well designed.

Cons: It’s slightly heavier than some of the other pads but not to the extent where you should write it off (just a few ounces more.). The R-value is good for 3-season camping but if you’re going to be in freezing or sub-freezing temperatures, we recommend a pad with a R-value of 4+.

Bottom line: The NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad is warm (thick), extremely comfortable, and quiet. There are multiple sizes and shapes to choose from so you can pick what fits you the best. They even have mummy and wide models. This pad comes with a good pump up sack that will make inflating the pad easy.

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Best Budget Sleeping Pad

Klymit Static V2 ($65)

best budget sleeping pad R-Value: 1.3
The R-value is how well a sleeping pad insulates. The higher the R-value, the better protection from the cold ground. R-values of 2-4 are good for most 3-season conditions. 4+ values are used if the temperature drops below freezing.

Weight: 16.6 oz.

Type: Air

Use: Summer only. Good for camping and backpacking because it’s not too large or heavy.

Pros: Affordable, durable and a little bit wider than most other sleeping pads.

Cons: It’s heavier than some of the other pads, the R-value is only good for summer camping, is not very thick so you might feel the ground when sleeping on your side.

Bottom line: The Klymit Stativ V2 Sleeping Pad is the best budget pad. It’s built with thicker materials to increase durability. While comfortable the design of the air chambers makes it possible to feel the ground when shifting around. Only use this pad in the summer because the R-rating is low. If you’re looking for a budget sleeping pad that has a bit higher R-value so you can use it in colder weather, check out the Klymit Insulated Static V.

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Top gear picks by category

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Key Concepts

Choosing the best sleeping pad for you

best-sleeping-pads-comfort

Comfort – You want a pad that keeps your warm (R-value) and one that is thick enough so you don’t feel the sticks, rocks and whatever else is below the pad. The R-value is the measure of how a sleeping pad will insulate you from the cold. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation and therefor the warmer you are. Generally, sleeping pads with R-values of 0-2 will only work for warm weather and in the summer. R-values of 2-4 are good 3-season camping conditions. Having a pad with R-values of 4-6 is good for when the temperature is around or below freezing. If you’re snow camping, choose a pad with a 5+ R-value.

Most sleeping pads are thick enough that when inflated you will not feel the ground unless you are sleeping on a large rock or stick. However, some pad designs will let the ground through, to avoid this look for pads that don’t have large gaps between the air pockets.

Weight – When choosing a sleeping pad, make sure the pad is warm enough for the weather you’ll be camping in. After that, it depends on if you are camping out of the car where weight is not an issue or if you are hiking in and then camping where you may want a little less pack weight.

Noise – Sleeping pads can be noisy and it is often one of the top complaints among campers (especially if you are camping with someone else in the tent). The insulation material in some of the pads can crinkle when you move. If you care about the noise then look for a pad that is known to be quiet. The NEMO Tensor Insulated sleeping pad is one of the most quiet pads available.

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Sleeping pad considerations

Repair kits – Air pads can get holes in them and leak air. Sharp objects such as rocks and sticks can puncture air pads, so we recommend taking a repair kit with you. Luckily, almost all the air pads come with a repair kit. If you don’t have a repair kit, consider packing one.

Packed size – Having a packable sleeping pad is a nice benefit especially if you are going to hike and then camp. Almost all air pads pack down very small and come with a stuff sack for packing into. If you choose a big and heavy sleeping pad, you may have to strap it to the outside of your backpacking bag.

Width – Depending on how you sleep, you may want a wide sleeping pad. Usually, side sleepers are fine with standard width pads but if you are a back sleeper go with the wide size if you can find one so your arms don’t fall of the side of the pad.

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    2020-08-21T16:04:43+00:00