Pack Light and Sleep Well with the Best Sleeping Pad (2020)
Packing all the right supplies can make or break your camping trip. But it’s easy to get overwhelmed, so make sure to cover all the basics first. Once you make sure you can sleep well in the great outdoors, everything else will slot into place.
If you want to pack light, sleeping pads might be the best choice for you. After all, they don’t take up much space and they weigh less than camping mattresses. But how do you pick the best sleeping pad?
This article looks into some sturdy and lightweight options you will enjoy using. Please enjoy both our selection of sleeping pads and our shopping tips.
Table of Contents
Best Sleeping Pad for Camping: Klymit Insulated Static V Sleeping Pad
Here is a durable and comfortable sleeping pad you can use in any weather conditions. It is 3 inches thick, which makes it relatively comfortable. The special V-shaped design will provide you with all the support you need throughout the night.
This model is a great option for people who prefer the comforts of home even when they’re out camping. It’s perfect for side sleepers as well as back sleepers. There are side-rails that will keep you from rolling off your pad as you sleep.
Additionally, this model is large enough to accommodate any body type. After all, it is 30 inches wide. So if most sleeping pads are too narrow for you, go for the Klymit Insulated Static V Sleeping Pad.
You can inflate this sleeping pad in 20 or 30 breaths. Packing it up is also a simple affair.
Since it only weighs 35 ounces, this is a very portable sleeping pad. Although it is almost as comfortable as a camping mattress, it is much easier to pack up and carry.
Finally, durability is an important concern. This Klymit product is made from very durable 75D polyester with synthetic fiber insulation. Thus, it can withstand the regular wear and tear of exploring the great outdoors.
The manufacturer offers a limited lifetime warranty. Additionally, you will get a free repair kit. In the case of emergencies, you can patch your pad up within minutes.
So why is the Klymit Insulated Static V Sleeping Pad our top choice? Are there any significant downsides?
- Good Thermal Insulation
If you want a sleeping pad that will keep you warm and snug all year round, this is a relatively good option. This pad comes with synthetic fibers for extra insulation. Its R-value is 4.4.
R-value is a scientific term that describes the degree of insulation a material can provide. It’s also called thermal resistance. In the case of sleeping pads, the R-values range from 0 to around 10. An R-value of 10 means extremely good insulation.
- Extra Comfort
This sleeping pad is ergonomically designed to map to your body. Whichever sleeping position you may prefer, the Klymit Insulated Static V Sleeping Pad will provide you with comfort. Since there are side-railings, you will feel secure and supported.
Are you prone to tossing and turning during the night? This sleeping pad is wide enough to accommodate some movement. You also won’t have to worry about uncomfortable creaking noises.
- Large Enough for Any Camper
If you are too tall to easily find a comfortable sleeping pad, this model might be right for you. After all, it’s 6 feet 4 inches (193cm) long. It is also a good choice for people who have wide shoulders.
Additionally, this sleeping pad is great for campers who weigh more than average. It is designed to distribute your weight evenly.
- Anti-Microbial Design
Bacteria and fungi can damage your sleeping pad and cause unpleasant smells. But the Klymit Insulated Static V Sleeping Pad is laminated to prevent this. It is also quite easy to clean this sleeping pad without having to worry about punctures.
- Very Portable
When you deflate this sleeping pad and fold it up, it will be at most 10 inches long. There’s a gratis carry bag you can slip it into. The sleeping bag is also a very lightweight choice, considering the excellent comfort levels.
- Sturdy Enough for Any Conditions
Klymit uses a 75D polyester material for the top layer of this sleeping pad. Hence, it decreases your risk of damaging your sleeping pad. You will also get a free repair kit that will let you patch up any punctures.
The manufacturer guarantees durability. Hence, they offer a limited lifetime warranty. Since the customer service is extremely helpful, you can turn to them at any point.
- The Cost
If you’re on a tight budget, this might not be the best option for you. You can get durable sleeping pads in a lower price range. However, that might mean sacrificing some comfort and thermal insulation.
- The Valve Isn’t Well-Designed
The valves (both of them) are hard to dislodge when new. You have to pull them up to inflate and deflate. But the issue went away after the second or third use (we lost count).
- Try Not to Inflate It Too Much
There is one more minor design flaw. The middle of the sleeping pad may bulge out more than the other sections. However, letting out some air might be enough to fix this issue.
The Klymit Insulated Static V Sleeping Pad is made from ultralight polyester. It contains synthetic fabric for extra warmth. The V-shaped chambers add to the comfort as well as the durability.
It’s easy to inflate this pad, so you definitely won’t need to pack an air pump. Remember to be patient with the teething problem of the air valves being harder to dislodge at first. As mentioned, it will go away after a few uses. There’s no need to force it. Keep adjusting the grip and it’ll pop out.
Who It’s Best for:
Most campers will enjoy using the Klymit Insulated Static V Sleeping Pad. It’s designed to fit any body type and sleeping style. Although this is a lightweight sleeping pad, it’s excellent at thermal insulation.
Do you think this might be the perfect pick for your camping trip? To learn more about it, go here:
Best Lightweight Option: Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight Sleeping Pad
This sleeping pad weighs around 16 ounces. Thus, you can keep it at hand wherever you go.
It’s somewhat thinner than our top choice, which also means less thermal insulation. Its R-value is around 1.8. In theory, you can use it in any weather if the temperature is above 40F. However, we don’t recommend this sleeping pad for fall or winter camping.
On the other hand, it is comfortable enough to provide you with quality rest. The diamond-shaped air cells are a great design choice. They fit to your body and provide enough support.
You can inflate your Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight Sleeping Pad in ten or fifteen blows. Packing it up is straightforward as well. The air vent is large, so you can deflate this sleeping pad within seconds.
Durability is a very important consideration and this sleeping pad doesn’t disappoint.
It’s made from extremely light woven nylon and has a laminated TPU coating. Thus, it can withstand any weather and doesn’t puncture easily. This is why Outdoorsman Lab backs this product with a lifetime warranty.
Let’s take a look at some of the upsides and downsides of the Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight Sleeping Pad.
- Perfect for Ultralight Backpacking
Some campers hate to be weighted down. If it’s important to you to cut down on every spare ounce, this sleeping pad is your best possible choice. At less than 17 ounces, it’s considerably lighter than comparable products.
Size is also important. When you pack it up, this pad is around 8 inches long and 3.5 inches wide. Hence, it will take up less space in your luggage than a water bottle.
- Durable and Affordable
If you love camping, you want a sleeping pad you can use several times a year. The Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight Sleeping Pad will hold up well on any terrain. Once you purchase this product, you won’t have to worry about replacements for a while.
But what makes it so sturdy?
The nylon fabric can withstand any abrasions. Additionally, the sleeping pad is laminated, so it can do a good job on grassy, rocky, or damp terrain.
- Adequate Comfort
Since the air cells are insulated from each other, they provide a great deal of structural support. You won’t have to worry about sinking into this sleeping pad.
- Lifetime Warranty and a Free Trial Period
It’s not always possible to tell whether a sleeping pad will be the best choice for you. This is why the Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight Sleeping Pad comes with a 90-day trial period.
If you find it uncomfortable, you can send it back for a refund. You can also rest easy with the generous lifetime warranty.
- A Bad Choice for Cold Weather
An R-value of 1.8 isn’t enough for cold weather campers. Even if you’re camping in the summer months, the ground can turn unexpectedly cool. You will have to rely on your sleeping bag more than this pad to keep you warm.
- Too Narrow for Some Campers
When it’s fully inflated, the Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight Sleeping Pad is 74 inches long. This is enough for most people.
However, the width is less than 22 inches. So if you need lots of elbow room, you should go for a different model. It’s also fairly easy to roll off this pad if you’re a restless sleeper.
This Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight Sleeping Pad is made of 20D ripstop woven nylon. Hence, it is around 20-40% lighter than other pads. This nylon is extremely durable as well.
It’s also laminated, so you won’t have to worry about your sleeping pad getting caught in the rain.
Who It’s Best for:
If you’re an ultralight backpacker or biker, this sleeping pad is the right choice for you. It’s comfortable and very easy to use. However, it’s not a good choice for cold conditions.
To learn more about the Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight Sleeping Pad, click here:
Best Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad: Lightspeed Outdoors PVC-Free Warmth Series Sleep Pad
Do you dislike the idea of inflating your sleeping pad yourself? Self-inflating sleeping pads are the best option for some campers. They are durable and very good at keeping you warm.
The Lightspeed Outdoors PVC-Free Warmth Series Sleep Pad is a high-quality option. It inflates when you unroll it and deflates when you roll it back up. Here is a demonstration:
However, these are heavier than traditional inflatable sleeping pads. Depending on which size option you choose, this sleeping pad will weigh between 2.37 and 6.16 pounds. Thus, this model might not be a good choice for backpacking.
But if you’re planning to go camping in the winter months, this could be the best choice for you. It provides extremely impressive thermal insulation. Additionally, the Lightspeed Outdoors PVC-Free Warmth Series Sleep Pad is almost as comfortable as a mattress.
Here is a quick overview of the pros and cons of this product.
- Good Thermal Insulation
If you want to use this sleeping pad in extremely cold conditions, go for the XL version. It is 3 inches thick and has an R-value of 9.8. Hence, this is one of the warmest sleeping pads on the market.
Even if you go for the medium, two-inch-thick sleeping pad, you will have an R-value of over 6. So you can use this sleeping pad all year round.
- Comfortable Design
Although this sleeping pad doesn’t come with air cells, it is firm enough to provide you with structural support. It also has an integrated pillow and it’s covered with a non-slip material. This means you can easily use it on your car seat as well as the tent floor.
- Self-Inflates Very Quickly
When you unroll your Sleeping Pad, it will self-inflate. You won’t have to worry about any unpleasant odors or toxic materials.
Additionally, you can re-adjust the firmness levels by letting some air out through the vent. If you want a firmer sleeping pad, you can blow into it a few times.
- Might Be Too Heavy for Some
Even if you go for the smallest size option available, this sleeping pad weighs over two pounds. Many campers will find it annoying or difficult to carry around. So if you go for this product, you will probably end up leaving it at your campsite.
- Packing It Up Can Be a Challenge
While it inflates very easily, deflating your Lightspeed Outdoors PVC-Free Warmth Series Sleep Pad takes a while. You might find the process uncomfortable.
Lightspeed Outdoors promises a PVC-free product with no unpleasant smells. It is also phthalate-free and completely safe to use.
Who It’s Best for:
We recommend this sleeping pad to campers who want to explore nature in the coldest months of the year. This sleeping pad will keep you warm and comfortable. However, it’s not the most portable option you can choose.
To find out more about the Lightspeed Outdoors PVC-Free Warmth Series Sleep Pad, click here:
Here are a few more sleeping pads you might want to consider. While they didn’t make our final cut, these are all high-quality products that could prove useful to you.
If you’re looking for an ultralight sleeping pad that can offer fairly good thermal insulation, you might enjoy using the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad. Although the price might be too high for some campers, this sleeping pad makes up for it in quality. It’s also made from a durable nylon that resists abrasions.
The ALPS Mountaineering Foundation Sleeping Pad offers an impressive amount of thermal insulation and safety. It is made from a high-quality no-slip material. But because of the steam foam padding, this self-inflating sleeping pad isn’t the lightest option available.
If comfort is your top priority, you may want to consider a foam sleeping pad or mat. Our top choice is the TETON Sports Camping Pad. The smallest model weighs around 4.25 pounds, so this probably isn’t a good option for backpacking. However, this is very easy to set up and soft enough to give you a good night’s sleep.
What to Look for in a Sleeping Pad
How do you choose the most suitable sleeping pad for your camping style? What are the most important considerations?
This might be the most important part of choosing a sleeping pad. Even if you plan to stick to summertime camping trips, you need a pad that will keep you warm during the night. But how can you tell if your sleeping pad will offer enough insulation?
- Thickness Is a Concern
Obviously, thicker sleeping pads are a better choice. They usually go up to four inches in thickness. We recommend pads that are at least an inch thick, as they provide adequate comfort.
- Which Materials Should You Choose?
Inflatable sleeping pads are better at thermal insulation than foam mats. Furthermore, you should look for pads that contain anti-convection fillings. These might be made of polyurethane or steel fibers.
Research says that fillings make sleeping pads 55% less heat-conductive. Thus, they will insulate you more effectively.
Are there any downsides to getting inflatable sleeping pads with fillings? They are slightly heavier than inflatable pads without fillings. So if you’re backpacking in a very warm climate, you may want to choose the no-fillings option.
- Always Check the R-Value
Many manufacturers will offer information about how well a sleeping pad will insulate you. A higher R-value means more insulation.
Most sleeping pads have an R-value lower than 5. For many campers, this is sufficient. But if you’re planning to use your sleeping pad in snowy conditions, you should look for a higher R-value.
Foam sleeping mats are the most durable option. But the lack of thermal insulation makes them a bad choice for most campers. They can also be too heavy and large for backpacking.
The biggest problem with inflatable sleeping pads is that they’re prone to punctures. Hence, you should always have a repair kit on hand when you go camping. You should also make sure to place your tent floor on a relatively clear patch of land.
But some inflatable options are sturdier than others.
Self-inflating sleeping pads are usually more durable than air pads. Because they tend to be covered in thicker material. Additionally, they will offer some insulation even if they deflate during the night.
Weight and Packing Size
Backpacking in the great outdoors is a thrilling experience. But if you’re packing for a multi-day trip, you will have to carry a considerable load. Your carrying capacity depends on a number of factors and going beyond it will only lead to injury.
So which pad is the best option for backpacking?
Air pads are the lightest possible choice. You can go for models that weigh less than a pound. But don’t forget to add the extra weight of the repair kit as well.
Unlike mattresses, sleeping pads don’t require an air pump. But if blowing your pad up might be a problem, go for a self-inflating model or a foam mat.
Always check packing size before you decide on a sleeping pad. Ease of use is a crucial consideration as well.
Some campers enjoy inflating their sleeping pads to the ideal degree of firmness. Others consider this a boring chore. A self-inflating sleeping pad will solve this problem for you, but you should keep in mind that it will need a bit of time before it reaches its full size.
Sleeping pads aren’t quite as comfortable as camping mattresses. However, you’ll still be able to find a model that fits your needs.
If elbow room is important to you, don’t settle for very narrow models. Thicker sleeping pads might be a good idea for people who have back problems. Your usual sleeping style will influence your choice as well.
Some models come with built-in pillows. While this could be perfect for you, packing a separate pillow (or just using a sweatshirt) is a more comfortable option. Don’t forget to check whether the sleeping pad comes with unpleasant chemical odors.
A Final Word
Sleeping pads can be the perfect choice for hikers, lightweight backpackers, and biking enthusiasts. Even if you prefer to use a mattress instead, it’s a good idea to own a good sleeping pad as a backup. You can always put them on a lawn chair or a car seat if you need some extra cushioning.
When you’re shopping for the best sleeping pad for you, there are a few important considerations. Good thermal insulation is crucial for many campers. You should also factor in comfort, portability, and cost.
Keeping all of these concerns in mind, we have chosen a high-quality sleeping pad that’s a good fit for anyone. Our top selection is the Klymit Insulated Static V Sleeping Pad. You can purchase it here: