If you’ve ever woken up with an aching back after a night out camping, you know how important a quality sleeping pad is for a decent night’s sleep.
As with pretty much everything when it comes to camping, it really pays to do your research on sleeping pads before you’re out in the middle of the woods, trying to get a decent night’s sleep.
Here’s everything you need to know about the best sleeping pads out there today.
What to Look for in a Sleeping Pad
When you’re out camping and it comes to sleeping gear, there are two big factors you’re going to want to take into account: space and performance.
Just get these figured out, and you’ll be good to go!
Your Pad Should Be Small and Light
Obviously, everything you take with you out on the trail should be as lightweight and compressible as possible.
The less space your supplies take up, the more supplies you’ll be able to take – and the better and experience you’ll be in for.
The best sleeping pads can be compressed down to a space a fraction of their max volume, and most of the products we’ll be talking about here are inflatable.
Additionally, if your pad is too heavy, it doesn’t matter how good a rest it gives you once you’re lying down – you’ll be stuck with a sore back just from the weight of your pack alone!
Your Pad Should Be Rugged
You’re also going to need a pad that can actually withstand the harshness of mother nature.
A good sleeping pad should be prepared to get crammed as tight as it can possibly fit into a jam-packed backpack.
It should be able to tear on any random supplies you might have lying around your tent, and if you’re planning on traveling with a dog, it should be able to hold up against a couple bites and scratches.
Your Pad Should Keep You Warm
Quality sleeping pads also provide solid levels of insulation.
Just how important this is going to be will vary a lot based on when and where you’re camping, but cold nights often hit when you least suspect it.
You want a pad that will trap your body heat nice and close, or you’ll be a popsicle come morning!
Your Pad Should Be Comfortable
Lastly, your pad should of course be comfortable.
Because of this, you’ll often want a decent degree of height to your sleeping pad, or you list sinking down to the ground.
Don’t underestimate the difference between an actually comfortable sleeping pad and whatever hunk of junk you can pick up Walmart.
Aches and pains are bound to happen in the outdoors anyway, so a backbreaking sleeping pad is really the last thing you need.
Air, Self-Inflating & Closed-Cell Foam
There are three main types of sleeping pads: air pads, self-inflating pads, and closed-cell foam pads.
Each of these comes with a unique mix of benefits and drawbacks.
Air pads are often your best bet.
These are inflated either with your breath or a small pump – and because of this, they take up a minimal amount of space and weight.
They also tend to be pretty comfortable, although you want to be sure you fill them up all the way since the night’s cooler temperatures can make them shrink.
You want to be sure these are rugged (or you risk popping them and losing their function altogether), and they can also be kind of noisy when you move around if you don’t invest in the right one.
The big downside to air pads is that they tend to be on the pricier side of things.
Self-inflating pads, meanwhile, are fairly similar to air pads, only they tend to be a bit thicker and bulkier.
This, however, allows them to provide better insulation than many of their counterparts.
You’re also saved the trouble of blowing them up all by yourself – all you have to do is twist the cap, and the pad itself takes care of the rest.
Closed-Cell Foam Pads
Finally, closed-cell foam pads are the heaviest and bulkiest of the bunch.
Although these things do compress some, they’re not inflatable and they can only scrunch down so far.
There are two main advantages to these kinds of pad: insulation and price.
These are typically the least expensive of all pads out there.
Additionally, their closed-cell foam is idea for trapping in body heat!
The Best Sleeping Pads
And now, here they are…
The best sleeping pads of 2019!
|Outdoorsman Ultralite||Venture 4th||Therm-a-Rest NeoAir||Paria Recharge||Sleepingo|
|Inflated Dimensions||73″ x 21.6″ x 2.2″||73.6″ x 21.6″ x 2″||Comes in 3 sizes: small, regular, large||72″ x 20″ x 2.5″||75″ x 23″ x 2″|
|Compressed Dimensions||8″ x 3″||10.2″ x 3.1″||9″ x 4″||7″ x 4″||8″ x 3.5″|
|Notes||Amazon’s top choice||Built with rugged 40D nylon||Maximized comfort||Includes synthetic microfiber insulation||Virtually no negative reviews|
|Price||$39.95||Out of stock!||Out of stock!||$69.99||$39.95|
The Outdoorsman Lab Ultralite Sleeping Pad
First up, we have the Outdoorsman Lab Ultralite Sleeping Pad.
This is Amazon’s top choice of sleeping pads available today, and when you look at the specs on this thing, it’s not hard to see why.
This is an air pad, so you’ll have to use your own lung power to fill it all the way up, but once you get it nice and filled you’ll be in for an extremely comfortable night’s sleep.
The Outdoorsman is made up of pockets of interconnected air cells, each of which can adjust to the dips and curves of your body to provide a heightened level of support.
It’s easy to inflate and deflates in mere seconds, while also allowing for a good bit of insulation on those cold nights.
Not only that, but the Outdoorsman is also support compressible – fitting in a mere 8”x3”x3” space just perfect for shoving into a crammed backpack.
The Venture 4th Sleeping Pad
Another handy option is the Venture 4th Ultralight Inflatable Sleeping Pad.
This is actually highly similar to the Outdoorsman in a lot of regards, including both shape and construction.
It’s got a similar pocketed build that allows for localized support on the necessary parts of your body, and requires a similar amount of air to inflate and deflate.
The Venture 4th comes with two more color options than the outdoorsman – four choices against the Outdoorsman’s two – but it is slightly bulkier than its counterpart.
It’s 10.3” long when fully compressed, compared to the Outdoorsman’s 8”.
However, it is 40D Nylon compared to the Outdoorsman’s 20D, so it is a bit more rugged.
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite
For an even higher-quality sleeping option, meanwhile, consider the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Backpacking Air Mattress.
This is slightly thicker when inflated than either of the two products we’ve talked about so far – 2.5” compared to the Venture 4th and Outdoorsman’s 2”.
It’s a little bulkier than either of them – 11”x4.5” – but its Triangular Core Matrix baffled construction is designed to minimize heat loss, while Reflective ThermaCapture technology is designed to trap in heat.
The NeoAir is substantially more expensive than the other products on this list, make no mistake.
But you get what you pay for.
This sleeping pad is designed for maximum comfort, and you may especially want to consider this if you suffer from any kind of back pain or tend to have trouble sleeping on surfaces that aren’t your own mattress.
It’s lightweight and ultra-comfy, designed for real relaxation even as you’re out roughing it.
The Paria Recharge Sleeping Pad
Next up, there’s the Paria Outdoor Products Recharge Sleeping Pad.
At 2.5” inflated, this is another slightly thicker sleeping surface.
However, it’s the most compact of any of these products – squishing down to a mere 7”x4” in the included stuff sack.
Not only that, but it also comes with a layer of laminated synthetic insulation along the insides to help trap in some extra heat, allowing for the kind of warmth you need when the going gets rough.
And you don’t even have to worry about inflating this thing by yourself – its built-in valve takes care of all that for you.
All in all, this is a quality product sure to provide you with relaxing sleep after a long day in the great outdoors.
The Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad
Finally, there’s the Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad.
This product has received by far the highest reviews of anything on this list, clocking in at a whopping 4.8 out of 5 stars!
This thing is made of a tough, durable ripstop nylon that compresses down to a skinny 9.5”x2.5”, making this thing ideal for all manner of outdoor activities.
Like the Venture 4th and Outdoorsman, the Sleepingo is made with a network interconnected air pockets designed to evenly support every part of your body.
There’s practically no negative feedback to be found on this thing, so it might just be the perfect sleeping pad for you.
Hope that was helpful!
Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions about your sleeping pad.
Happy shopping, and good luck.