Finding a good place to sleep is essential to making sure you get your rest on a camping or hiking trip. Even if the ground is super level, soft, and comfortable, it usually isn’t the most ideal sleeping spot, unless you come prepared. Chances are, if you’re, fortunate enough to be reading this article, you’re used to sleeping in a nice comfortable bed.
If you’ve never been camping or hiking before, you may be in for a surprise when you realize that there are no pillow top mattresses with Egyptian cotton 1500 thread count sheets. In which case, you’re going to need a good sleeping pad to cushion you overnight.
The best sleeping pads will allow you to get a good nights sleep in basically any atmosphere. Whether its grass, dirt, concrete, or lumber, a good sleeping pad, although very thin, will supply you with the necessary comfort you need to get a good nights rest. Here we are going to break down what to look for in the best sleeping pads. But first a list of our top ten sleeping pads in 2020.
View The Best Sleeping Pads Below
1. Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad – Mat
This sleeping pad is great for backpacking and hiking. It only weighs 14oz and packs down to a compact size equal to that of a small water bottle. It is durable enough to handle any potential rips or tears with a 20D ripstop nylon fabric protecting it. It is waterproof and is designed to last a lifetime.
The pad comes with its own small carry pouch for you to easily store it in your camping backpack or travel case. The closed cell design is 2″ thick when it is fully inflated and will provide any camper, hiker, or backpacker the necessary surface in order to get a comfortable nights sleep.
+ Small, lightweight, portable
+ 2″ when inflated
+ Packs to the size of a water bottle
+ Durable material
+ Waterproof Ripstop nylon
Why we like it – This is a great budget option for any type of traveler. It is strong enough to handle the rugged life of a camper but could be used as an extra sleeping pad wherever you are on the go.
2. Outdoorsman Lab Camping Sleeping Pad
The Outdoorsman Lab sleeping pad is another great option for any traveler looking for the best sleeping pad available. It is likely best suited for hikers and campers due to its lightweight and compact construction. The closed cell air pockets inflate super quickly to your desired firmness in order to give you a sturdy surface to sleep on.
It weighs 15oz and when you roll it up into the carry bag the mattress measures 8×3″. When fully inflated the dimensions are large enough for anybody to sleep comfortably on at 73″ x 21.5″. It comes with durable, weatherproof 20D ripstop nylon fabric that can handle the life of a hiker. It comes with a lifetime guarantee and warranty to protect buyers from any manufacturer defects in the construction.
+ Lightweight and compact
+ Good for hiking and camping trips
+ Strong, durable fabric
+ Large inflated size
Why we like it – This Outdoorsman Lab camping pad leaves nothing out. It is a straight forward, easy to use, comfortable sleeping pad that you will be satisfied with if you’re a long term hiker.
3. WELLAX Ultralight Air Sleeping Pad
Whether you’re sleeping on your back, side, or stomach, the WELLAX sleeping pad can give you a comfortable sleep. It is made of smaller closed cell, interconnected pockets that are firmer if you decided to inflate a little bit more. The weight and size are small enough to fit into your backpack easily. It weighs 14.5oz and packs down to a size of 10×3.5″. When inflated it measures 78x24x2.5″.
It has been constructed out of 20D ripstop nylon and PU leather to protect itself against rips, cuts, and punctures. That also means that it is waterproof and able to take on the elements of the wilderness. The material doesn’t squeak when you roll around and it is designed to radiate heat back towards the sleeper. Perfect for colder nights.
+ Small and compact
+ Great for hiking and camping
+ 20D Ripstop nylon
+ Comfortable design
Why we like it – This is a wonderfully comfortable mattress. It is easy to inflate and is just as compact as you need it to be in order to carry it in a bag. Good for hiking and camping on longer trips when you need the weight to be a little lower.
4. Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest Classic Foam
This is a classically designed foam sleeping pad that does not require any inflation whatsoever. It is lightweight enough to be carried easily along with the rest of your backpacking gear. Since it doesn’t pack down super small, you may need to carry it on the outside of your bag instead of inside, unless you have the room. It has a closed cell foam design that is very thin but comfortable. It effectively traps in the heat you want with small dips in the fabric.
It is an extremely strong material, made from cross-linked polyethylene and can defend itself against rocks, pokes, and scratches without losing its structure. The measurements of the largest option are 77x25x0.5″, and it weighs 19oz. There are three different sizes available depending on your needs and body size.
+ Cross-linked polyethylene
+ Thin but comfortable
+ Good for camping and hiking
+ Super durable
Why we like it – With no air pockets, you never have to worry about puncturing the material. Sometimes that is a worry with inflatable pads. This mattress is great for all types of hiking and can be used in conjunction with other sleeping pads for winter camping.
5. Gear Doctors- Self Inflating Sleeping Pad
This is one of the larger options for inflatable sleeping pads. It is still considered compact with a rolled up size of 12×8″, but compared to some of our super lightweight picks, it comes in a little larger. If you’ve got the extra room in your bag, or you’re taking a shorter trip, this mattress will be fine for you.
It is self-inflating, so you don’t have to lose your breath pumping up the pad. It has insulated fabric which will help you retain more heat on colder nights. The heat value is R4.3 which is quite high compared to most other sleeping pads. The material is really durable and able to handle rip and tear threats. It is water and UV resistant.
+ High heat retention value
+ Durable material
+ Good for shorter camping trips
Why we like it – The main focus of this sleeping pad is likely the heat value. It has a really high retention rate which means you’ll get a more comfortable night sleep when the weather is cold. It is also really durable. Best for shorter trips, or having a pad around the house for special trips out of town.
6. Half Dome Sleeping Pad Waterproof Mat
If you’re looking for a thick sleeping mattress that you can take anywhere with you, this may be the right pick. It is packable down to a very small size but inflates to a fairly thick sleeping pad. This could make it as comfortable as any other sleeping pads we have featured. It comes with its own inflation pump and is easy enough to use even for children.
If you’re taller than 5’10, make sure you are paying attention to the size as some users have said that it is too short for people taller than that. It is durable and resistant to tears and rips. The double stitched polyester will protect itself against rocks, dirt, and roots. It is a good mattress for hiking, camping, or having in the car with you to take on family vacations.
+ Thick inflated size
+ Lightweight, compact
+ Durable material
+ Inflation pump included
Why we like it – This is a great all around mattress that you can take anywhere with you. It is best suited for light usage and family trips. Not the best option for longer camping trips but if you’re just looking for a simple sleeping pad for various occasions, it will do the trick.
7. ALPS Mountaineering Foam Camping Mat
The ALPS Mountaineering Foam Camping Pad is not so much of a mattress as it is a padded surface. It is a good one at that. It uses micro closed cell foam to provide a cushy surface for sleeping or as an insulating layer below your sleeping bag. There is no inflation necessary as it just rolls up and unrolls in order for you to use it or to pack it away.
It is durable enough to protect against abrasive elements that you may run into on a trail as well. You can get a wide variety of sizes which is nice. It will allow you to pick out exactly the right one for you. This thin sleeping pad will work well if you’re looking for an extra layer of protection, or if you really don’t need much cushioning in order to sleep well.
+ Versatile uses
+ Closed cell foam material
+ Acts as extra insulation on colder nights
Why we like it – This is a good option for people who either don’t need much cushion or who are looking for the added bit of comfort. If you’re camping during cold weather, you may want this thin pad to act as an extra layer of insulation to keep you warm.
8. better habitat Sleep Ready Memory Foam Floor Mattress
This is a fantastic option for people who are not really worried about a small, lightweight option. It is a large sleeping pad that rolls up and unrolls to give you a comfortable sleeping surface. It is a memory foam mattress that is 2 inches thick and doesn’t require any inflation or deflating. It comes with clips to help keep it intact when in transit, and also has straps that allow you to wear it on your back.
There are pockets included where you can store things like toiletries, phone, books, etc. It is great for things like sleepovers for the kids, large family camping trips, or as an extra sleeping surface for your house when someone visits. Included is a fitted sheet that goes over the mattress. One of the more comfortable ways to have a portable sleeping option.
+ Large sleeping surface
+ 2″ thick of memory foam mattress
+ Backpack Straps
+ Storage pockets
+ Fitted sheet included
Why we like it – If you’re looking for a comfortable option that you can have for the kids or for at the house, this is great. Don’t expect to be taking it on any long hiking trips though as it is not super small or compact.
9. Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad, Outdoor Comfort
The Klymit sleeping pad has a unique design that helps trap heat and offer an exceptional level of comfort. The V-chamber design allows the pad to fill more evenly and provide you a sturdy, supportive surface to sleep on. It comes with a push valve that you can use to easily and quickly inflate with.
The total weight of the pad is 18.5oz and packs down to 8×3 inches which will fit nicely inside your backpack or hiking gear. When inflated, it measures 72×23″, and is 2.5″ thick. That is plenty of thickness for you to sleep on comfortably. Included is a stuff sack and a patch kit to perform any necessary repairs on the trail.
+ V-shaped design
+ Excellent support and comfort
+ Stuff sack and patch kit included
+ Easy to inflate
Why we like it – For the weight and size of this sleeping pad, it offers a surprising level of comfort. It gives you excellent support and makes you feel like you’re truly off the ground.
10. Trekology Inflatable Sleeping Pad
This inflatable mattress is made out of TPU fabric that is durable, lightweight, and waterproof. The insulation you get is unparalleled and getting you an insane 3.1″ off the ground. The further off the ground you are, the warmer you will be. You can easily inflate the mattress by using your breath or the dry puff bag that is included with your purchase.
It is equally as easy to deflate by pushing the air out when you are done. When packed down, the mattress measures 10×4″, and weighs only 20oz. It is large enough for a 6′ person to sleep on comfortably when inflated. This is a wonderful option for campers and hikers with its lightweight construction, durability, and comfort.
+ Super comfortable
+ Easy to inflate and deflate
+ Durable material
+ Lightweight and compact
Why we like it – This is one of the warmest and most comfortable sleeping pads that you can take on any adventure with you. Good for long hikes or for short trips. You will love the support it provides you.
Sleeping Pads Buyers Guide
What to look for in a Sleeping Pad
Depending on the type of activity you’re partaking in, the sleeping pad you need will need to fit that purpose. There are a number of factors involved in picking out the right sleeping pad for you. Here we are going to talk about what those factors are.
The size of the sleeping pad when it is packed up will determine how suited it is for certain activities. Longer hikes will require you to have a sleeping pad that packs to as small of a size as possible. You want to save as much room and weight in your bag as possible when you’re carrying it on your back.
Also, if you’re going backpacking around the world and need a pad as a backup, you won’t want it to be taking up a ton of room that could be used for hiking gifts for your friends and family. Alternatively, if you are using your pad around the house, or you have extra storage space in your camper, a larger pad may be the best way to go.
Although smaller sleeping pad can provide you a good deal of comfort, larger ones have more room to include extra comfortable designs and materials. Something like memory foam is much more comfortable than blown up closed cell designs. If you’re carrying it on your back, go small, if not, go big.
Similar to the previously mentioned factor, the weight will be determined by your necessity. the heavier the sleeping pad, the harder it is to carry. When you’re hiking, every ounce and pound matters. If you have a heavy sleeping pad, you will be more tired at the end of the day, and even the best sleeping pads may not be able to help you recover in time.
On the other hand, if you do not need to carry your sleeping pad on your back, don’t be too worried about the weight. As long as you can comfortably transport your mattress, you will be fine.
You want to make sure you’re not going to need to replace your mattress within a few months right? You have to get a mattress built for your specific purposes. Mattresses that are mostly going to be used inside the home or inside the camper do not need to have quite the level of durability that a hiking pad will. However, a little bit of durability is always a good thing, especially when there are children around.
If you are going on outland adventures, durability will be one of the most important aspects. Simply put, if something rips your mattress and it is no longer able to provide you the support you need on the trail, you will be super uncomfortable with no options to bail you out. 20D ripstop nylon and PU leather are both very durable materials that can protect against jagged edges.
Insulation is important for hikers. You can’t really expect to have a good nights sleep on the cold ground unless you have the proper insulation. Much of the cold we experience on a trail comes from the ground up. If you’re not properly prepared for that, there is little that can save you. Some of the sleeping pads we’ve talked about are specifically designed to provide a warmer surface and retain more heat.
Look for mattresses with a higher heat retention value (R2.5 or higher). This will ensure that you have enough heat underneath you to keep you warm. Also, consider getting an extra insulation layer with the thin foam pad by ALPS Mountaineering. That extra layer of protection makes a world of difference.
Some materials on sleeping pads are slippery and can be noisy. In the middle of the night, you don’t want to be making a lot of noise when you roll over. If you have bunkmates, they will not appreciate being woken up by a squeaky mattress. It is hard enough to sleep as it is! There are plenty of fabrics that do not slip and are quieter than simple polyethylene.
A plush fabric or a brushed plastic create small air pockets that don’t adhere to your skin and allow you to move around more comfortably, without slips, and without making a lot of noise. Some mattresses are designed specifically with this in mind. It can be very uncomfortable to slide around on the mattress. The goal is to stay on top, not slide off.
The best sleeping pads are at the tips of your fingers. You now have all the information you need in order to pick out the right mattress for you. The best sleeping pad will have you drifting off blissfully without any grievances. Sweet Dreams!
If you’re picking out a sleeping pad for colder hiking, make sure you also get a sleeping bag that will fit your needs. It is always good practice to get a sleeping bag that is rated for a little bit colder weather than what you are going to be sleeping in. It is best to be slightly too warm than slightly too cold.