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There is nothing better than laying out your sleeping mat and sleeping bag to get cozy and comfortable after a big day of bikepacking. But how do you know if you’ve picked the best bikepacking sleeping pad for you?

Is it going to be too hard, too soft, take too long to set up, or be too heavy? It’s important to ask all of these questions and more before deciding which sleeping pad to buy for your next bike trip so you can rest easy knowing you’ll be as comfortable on the road as you are in your own bed at home. Our bikepacking experts at The Adventure Junkies have shortlisted our top 5 options of our favorite bikepacking sleeping pads so that you can make an informed choice.

We’ve covered everything from lightweight summer sleeping pads to lush deep winter sleeping pads that suit a variety of budgets. This list should guide you in the right direction so you get a good night’s sleep on your next bikepacking adventure.

For more of our top biking gear recommendations, check out the Best Stoves for Bikepacking.

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Quick Answer - The Best Bikepacking Sleeping Pads

  1. Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol
  2. NEMO Switchback
  3. Big Agnes Third Degree
  4. Sea to Summit Comfort Plus SI
  5. Mountain Equipment Aerostat Down 7.0

 

Comparison Table - Best Bikepacking Sleeping Pad

PictureNameTypeInsulationPacked StylePriceRating
Therm-a-Rest Z Lite SolFoam PadClosed-Cell FoamAccordion$4.4
NEMO SwitchbackFoam PadClosed-Cell FoamAccordion$4.2
Big Agnes Third DegreeFoam PadClosed-Cell FoamRoll$4.5
Sea to Summit Comfort Plus SISelf-Inflating PadOpen-Cell FoamRoll$$4.7
Mountain Equipment Aerostat Down 7.0Air PadDownFold And Roll$$$4.9
PictureNameTypeInsulationPacked StylePriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Sleeping Pad for Bikepacking

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol

Specs
  • Insulation: Closed-Cell Foam
  • Weight: 10 - 14 oz
  • Size: 51” x 20 - 72” x 20”
  • Thickness: 0.75”
  • Type: Foam Pad
  • Packed Size: 20” x 5.5” x 5” - 20” x 5.5.” x 4”
  • Packed Style: Accordion
Features
  • Suitable For Alpine Conditions
  • Reflective Underside For Added Warmth
  • Available In Short And Regular Length

BEST FOR: THOSE WHO LIKE A FIRM MATTRESS

The Therm-A-Rest Z Lite Sol is a good combination of cost, comfort, and lightweight design. The closed-cell foam material prevents air and moisture from entering the pad, but this also means that this sleeping pad is considered to be quite rigid. However, the clever design has an eggshell shaped surface, which adds extra comfort even without the loft of an inflatable air pad. 

The top sleeping surface features a reflective surface for added warmth and is designed for use in alpine conditions. It takes seconds to set up and pack up with the accordion style folding design, and packs down to a small package that is quite lightweight, perfect for bikepacking when every ounce counts. Plus it is available in a short or regular length so you can choose the best size for you!

NEMO Switchback

Specs
  • Insulation: Closed-Cell Foam
  • Weight: 10.5 - 14.5 oz
  • Size: 51” x 20 - 72” x 20”
  • Thickness: 0.9”
  • Type: Foam Pad
  • Packed Size: 20” x 5.5” x 4” - 20” x 5.5.” x 5”
  • Packed Style: Accordion
Features
  • Dual Density Foam For Added Comfort
  • Reflective Underside For Added Warmth
  • Durable And Lightweight

BEST FOR: BANG FOR YOUR BUCK

The Nemo Switchback offers a thicker and more dense closed-cell foam sleeping pad, compared to others in the market for the same packed size and weight, giving you extra comfort with no weight penalty. The dual layer density foam features a hexagonal nesting pattern adding even more plushness for sleeping while a dense and durable underside means you will get plenty of use out of it. The reflective underside also helps to add warmth when traveling in cold climates.

This pad is available in both short and regular length, so you can choose the size that fits your height. Both sizes pack in a folding accordion style so they’re super quick and easy to lay out at night and fold up in the morning when you’re ready to go. It’s worth keeping in mind the sleeping side is on the outside when packed so if it’s wet and muddy, you may want to pop it inside another bag to keep the sleeping surface clean and dry.

Big Agnes Third Degree

Specs
  • Insulation: Closed-Cell Foam
  • Weight: 12 oz
  • Size: 72” x 20”
  • Thickness: 0.5”
  • Type: Foam Pad
  • Packed Size: 20” x 6”
  • Packed Style: Roll
Features
  • Dual Layer For Warmth And Comfort
  • Ultra Lightweight
  • Cut-To-Size Design

BEST FOR: SUMMER ADVENTURES

This is the thinnest and lightest weight for size sleeping mat in this list of bikepacking sleeping pads. Although it’s made with a dual layer foam designed for warmth and comfort, we would recommend this sleeping mat to those who prefer a firmer sleeping surface. And for those who prefer to keep their adventures to the warmer months of the year. 

The foam used in the construction of this pad is suitable to be cut to size – it comes in a 72” length but if you’re a shorty, just cut it down and suddenly you’ve stripped some extra weight and size, which is always great when bike packing! The roll style packing design makes it quick and easy to set up and pack up and allows it to easily be strapped to your bike. This is a great option for summer bikepacking adventures.

Sea to Summit Comfort Plus SI

Specs
  • Insulation: Open-Cell Foam
  • Weight: 2.12 - 3.3 lbs
  • Size: 72” x 25 - 79” x 25”
  • Thickness: 3.1”
  • Type: Self-Inflating Pad
  • Packed Size: 13.5” x 8.5”
  • Packed Style: Roll
Features
  • Insulated For Added Warmth
  • Non-Slip Surface
  • Plush Thickness For More Comfort

BEST FOR: COMFORT BIKEPACKING

Bikepacking doesn’t have to be completely roughing it. With the self-inflating Sea to Summit Comfort Plus sleeping pad you will have extra comfort and warmth with minimal extra weight. This sleeping pad is designed using an open-cell foam, meaning air fills between the cells, bolstering the pad’s thickness and comfort. It also features a stretch knit sleeping surface which not only adds even more comfort and softness, but also makes it quiet to sleep on.

It features a wider surface and is available in two longer lengths, making it perfect for large and tall riders. No doubt all these features do make it a slightly bulkier and heavier option than a closed-cell foam sleeping pad, but you will be refreshed and ready every morning to hit the open road and cover some big miles.

Mountain Equipment Aerostat Down 7.0

Specs
  • Insulation: Down
  • Weight: 1.4 - 1.8 lbs
  • Size: 72.8” x 21.25” - 78.75” x 23.6”
  • Thickness: 2.8”
  • Type: Air Pad
  • Packed Size: 11” x 7”
  • Packed Style: Fold And Roll
Features
  • Down Filling For Warmth And Comfort
  • Storage Sack Included
  • Puncture And Water Resistant

BEST FOR: LIGHTWEIGHT LUXURY

If you prefer a softer sleeping surface and want a thicker sleeping pad, but also want to stay as lightweight as possible, the Mountain Equipment Aerostat Down 7.0 could be a worthwhile option to consider. It is an air pad so it will require inflation, which means you’ll have to commit a little more time to packing and unpacking, but a few extra minutes will provide hours of sleeping comfort. It also has a down filling for insulation to keep you warm in cold conditions.

This pad packs down to a relatively small and lightweight package – not as lightweight as a closed-cell foam sleeping pad, but the extra thickness and comfort might make the extra bulk worth carrying. This sleeping pad is puncture resistant and water resistant, plus it comes with a repair kit just in case the worst does happen. A storage sack is also included to keep it dry, clean, and packed tight for attaching to your bike.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING BIKEPACKING SLEEPING PADS

SLEEPING COMFORT

Let’s get straight down to THE most important thing about a sleeping pad. Will it be comfortable for you to sleep on? The answer to this question is entirely based on your personal preference. Some people love a firm mattress and others are like Princess and the Pea, where pillowy softness is required for a good night’s sleep.

Choose the sleeping pad that will allow you the best night’s sleep, because you need your rest and recovery to spend hours on the bike every day.

 

WEIGHT

Secondary to comfort, check out the weight of the sleeping pad. There is a huge difference in weight depending on the style of sleeping pad. Consider the weight you feel comfortable riding with and try to balance sleeping comfort and weight.

 

SLEEPING PAD TYPE

There are three main types of sleeping pads:

Closed-Cell Foam pads are made up of cells that are completely closed. The cells are pressed together, so air and moisture are unable to get inside the foam. Closed cell foam is much more rigid and stable. Sleeping pads made from closed-cell foam are typically lighter and thinner.

Self-Inflating sleeping pads are made from open-cell foam. The air is squeezed out when packed and when unpacked a small screw or clip opening can be released to allow the sleeping pad to fill with air, which adds extra thickness and comfort.

Air Pads require inflation for use and can either be inflated by blowing into them like a balloon or with a self-inflation device or pump. These are typically the thickest when unpacked but can still be lightweight and small when packed.

 

INSULATION TYPE

There are three main types of insulation used in sleeping pads:

Closed-Cell Foam is made up of small cells that are completely closed and pressed tightly together, preventing air and moisture from penetrating the foam. These are the warmest base sleeping pads, and they are often paired underneath air pads in extreme cold to provide the maximum amount of warmth when sleeping outdoors.

Open-Cell Foam is made up of cells that aren’t completely encapsulated. In other words, the cells are deliberately left open. This makes the foam a softer, more flexible material. Sleeping pads using open-cell foam will be thin for packing but will become slightly thicker when unpacked as the air fills between the open-cells.

Down Insulation is typically use to insulate an air pad that also has down and feathers inside that provide extra warmth for cold conditions.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

THICKNESS

Refers to how thick the sleeping pad is when laid flat and ready for sleeping on.

PACKED SIZE

The size of the sleeping pad when packed.

PACKED STYLE

There are three main packed styes:

Accordion is where the sleeping pad folds back on itself like an accordion, leaving you with a box-shaped packed sleeping pad.

Roll is one of the more common sleeping pad pack styles; the pad simply rolls up on itself. You may want to consider s small strap or tie to keep it from unrolling.

Fold And Roll is where the sleeping pad folds in half before rolling it. This keeps the sleeping pad width shorter when packed.

STORAGE SACK

Some sleeping pads come with a bag for storing to keep them clean and dry while bikepacking.

DUAL LAYER OR DUAL DENSITY

This is where two layers of foam are bonded together to create comfort, durability, and a lighter weight sleeping pad.

REFLECTIVE

A reflective layer looks shiny and can be found on the bottom of some sleeping pads to help with insulating properties to keep you warm when sleeping.

DOWN FILLING

The word “down” describes the soft layer underneath a birds’ feathers. It has high insulating properties and is used in clothing, bedding, and sleeping bags and pads for warmth.

READ MORE

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