Sleeping pads can make or break your night of sleep. Get a crappy one and you’ll wake up even more tired than you were before going to sleep. Get a good one and you will feel like you slept on your on bed at home. But, how do you know what’s the best sleeping pad for you?

That’s why we’re here. One of our goals here at The Adventure Junkies is to make your life easier when it comes to choosing outdoor gear. As you know, we like keeping things simple. So think about what type of hiking trip you plan to use the pad for and your budget. Then check out the models that fit those needs. 

For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: 

TentsHammocks | Bivy Sacks | Tarps

Sleeping Bags |  Sleeping Pads | Stoves

Backpacks | GPS | Headlamps | PolesWatches

Boots | Shoes | Sandals | Pants | Shorts

Base Layers | Fleeces | Down Jackets | Rain Jackets

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QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST SLEEPING PADS FOR BACKPACKING

  1. Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm
  2. Thermarest NeoAir XLite
  3. REI Air Rail 1.5
  4. Big Agnes Q-Core SL
  5. Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated
  6. Thermarest NeoAir All Season
  7. Thermarest Z Lite SOL
  8. Sea to Summit Ultralight
  9. Klymit Insulated Static V Lite
  10. Thermarest NeoAir Venture

 

 

 

BACKPACKING SLEEPING PADS REVIEWS

THERMAREST NEOAIR XTHERM 


Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: General hiking and ultralight adventures

WEIGHT: 0.93 lbs

FEATURES: Air construction, baffled insulation, 2.5 inches thick. 

PROS: Packs down small. Very warm and comfortable.

CONS: Expensive.

 

 

 

THERMAREST NEOAIR XLITE

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI


BEST FOR: General hiking and lightweight adventures 

WEIGHT: 0.75 lbs

FEATURES: Air construction, baffled insulation, 2.5 inches thick. 

PROS: Lightweight. Packs down small. Comfortable. 

CONS: Expensive.

 

 

 

REI AIR RAIL 1.5

REI Air Rail mat

Check out the latest price on:
REI


BEST FOR: General hiking and camping

WEIGHT: 1.62 lbs

FEATURES: Self-inflating, foam insulation, 1.5 inches thick.

PROS: Wide and comfortable. Side rails keep you in.

CONS: Heavy, bulky and thin.

 

 

 

BIG AGNES Q-CORE SL

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI


BEST FOR: General hiking and ultra-light adventures

WEIGHT: 1.21 lbs

FEATURES: Air construction, synthetic insulation, 3.5 inches thick.

PROS: Compact, comfortable and relatively light.

CONS: Uneven surface. Bumpy side rails.

 

 

 

SEA TO SUMMIT COMFORT LIGHT INSULATED

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI


BEST FOR: General hiking and camping

WEIGHT: 1.28 lbs

FEATURES: Air construction, AirSprung cells, synthetic, 2 inches thick.

PROS: Warm, very stable and packs down small.

CONS: Expensive. Not as comfy as other pads.

 

 

 

THERMAREST NEOAIR ALL SEASON

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon


BEST FOR: General hiking and camping

WEIGHT: 1.31 lbs

FEATURES: Air construction, baffled insulation, 2.5 inches thick.

PROS: Compact, durable, warm and comfortable.

CONS: A bit noisy. Edges collapse under load.

 

 

 

THERMAREST Z LITE SOL

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI


BEST FOR: General hiking, camping and ultralight adventures

WEIGHT: 0.87 lbs

FEATURES: Closed cell foam, 0.75 inches thick.

PROS: Lightweight and warm.

CONS: Bulky. Dimples collect dirt.

 

 

 

SEA TO SUMMIT ULTRALIGHT

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI


BEST FOR: General hiking and ultralight summer adventures

WEIGHT: 0.78 lbs

FEATURES: Air construction, AirSprung cells, 2 inches thick.

PROS: Lightweight. Packs down very small. Very stable.

CONS: Not very warm. Dimples get dirty.

 

 

 

KLYMIT INSULATED STATIC V LITE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI


BEST FOR: General hiking and camping

WEIGHT: 1.22 lbs

FEATURES: Air construction. Synthetic insulation. 2 inches thick.

PROS: Warm, cheap and relatively lightweight.

CONS: Noisy and not very durable.

 

 

 

THERMAREST NEOAIR VENTURE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon


BEST FOR: General hiking and summer camping

WEIGHT: 1.31 lbs

FEATURES: Air construction, baffled insulation, 2.25 inches thick.

PROS: Best value. Comfortable and durable.

CONS: Bulky. Not warm. A bit heavy.

 

 

 

COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST BACKPACKING SLEEPING PADS

SLEEPING PAD
TYPE
WEIGHT
R VALUE
PRICE
RATING
TENT
TYPE
WEIGHT
R VALUE
PRICE
RATING
Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm
Air Pad
0.93 lbs
5.7
$$$
4.7
Thermarest NeoAir XLite
Air Pad
0.75 lbs
3.2
$$$
4.5
REI Air Rail 1.5
Self-Inflating
1.62 lbs
4.2
$$
4.5
Big Agnes Q-Core SL
Air Pad
1.21 lbs
4.5
$$
4.1
Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated
Air Pad
1.28 lbs
4.2
$$$
4.8
Thermarest NeoAir All Season
Air Pad
1.31 lbs
4.9
$$$
4.5
Thermarest Z Lite SOL
Closed-cell Foam
0.87 lbs
2.6
$
4.5
Sea to Summit Ultralight
Air Pad
0.78 lbs
0.7
$$
4.8
Klymit Insulated Static V Lite
Air Pad
1.22 lbs
4.4
$$
4.7
Thermarest NeoAir Venture
Air Pad
1.31 lbs
1.8
$
4.4

 

 

 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BACKPACKING SLEEPING PADS

TYPE OF PAD

Depending on how you plan to use the mat and the weather conditions you’ll face, there are 3 options to choose from. 

 

AIR PAD

An air pad is manually inflated and uses air for cushioning. Some of the best models use insulation materials to increase warmth. These mats are the most comfortable ones for backpacking. However they are heavier and not very durable, they can be punctured or ripped easily.

 

SELF-INFLATING PAD

A self-inflating pad uses a combination of open-cell foam insulation and air for cushioning. All you have to do is open the valve and the air fills automatically. They are comfy and pack small but they are the most expensive option.

 

CLOSED CELL FOAM PAD

A closed cell foam pad is the cheapest, lightest and most durable option. The downside is they’re not as comfy as the other types and tend to be bulky. 

 

R VALUE

The R value measures the sleeping pad’s ability to resist heat flow. So, the higher the R value the better it will insulate you from the cold ground.

You need to consider what climate you’ll be camping in most of the time. For cold weather camping, look for a pad with an R value over 5. In the summer months, you can get away with a pad with a lower R value. For very cold weather, put a closed foam pad under your sleeping mat for extra insulation.

 

WEIGHT

Like it happens with any piece of outdoor gear you put on your backpack, you need to consider weight.

If you’re planning an ultra-light hiking trip, foam pads are the lightest but they take a lot of room. Some of the best air pad models have reduced their weight a lot, making them the best choice for these kinds of adventures.

 

LENGTH AND WIDTH

Manufacturers make pads in a few different sizes, which determines its weight and price tag. 

At a minimum, your shoulders and hips need to fit on a pad. Shorter people can save weight by carrying a short sized pad. Some tall people prefer to carry a short pad and then use clothes to cushion the legs.

If you have a small tent, be sure to take the dimensions into consideration when choosing a pad. 

 

PACKED SIZE 

How much room your pad will take up in your pack is worth considering. Generally, warmer pads are thicker and take up more space. This isn’t always the case, there are plenty of mats that pack small, but tend to be more expensive than their bulkier counterparts. These are a great option if you’re looking for the best backpacking sleeping pad on the market.

 

WOMEN’S VERSION

Some sleeping pads come in a women’s version. These pads typically are a bit shorter and offer more insulation in the hips and feet.

 

 

 

VIDEO – HOW TO CHOOSE A SLEEPING PAD BY REI

Top 10 Best Sleeping Pads For Backpacking – Best Camping Gear – Hiking Gear For Beginners – Backpacking Equipment List for Women, Men and Kids
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