Updated on December 24, 2021

Whether you are setting out to tackle a multi-day rocky trail or to spend a week camping at a music festival, there is nothing your body will be more thankful for than a solid night’s sleep. A good quality sleeping pad is essential to keep you warm in the backcountry, but choosing one of the best ultralight sleeping pads for your next overnight camping trip is not an easy task.

The best ultralight sleeping pads fit into a hiking backpack without sacrificing comfort, but whether you should invest in an advanced self-inflating pad or opt for a closed-cell foam pad depends largely on where you intend to hike. To help you make a choice, we have selected the five best ultralight sleeping pads to narrow down your options and get you sleeping in peace on your next epic ultralight backpacking adventure.

For a complete analysis of all backpacking sleeping pads, check out the buyer’s guide Best Backpacking Sleeping Pads.


Quick Answer - The Best Ultralight Sleeping Pads

  1. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite
  2. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm
  3. Nemo Tensor Insulated
  4. Klymit V Ultralite SL
  5. Nemo Switchback
  6. Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol
  7. Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus


Comparison Table - Best Ultralight Sleeping Pads

For the best experience turn your device horizontally
NameTypeWeightThicknessR ValuePriceRatingReview
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLiteAir Pad0 lbs 09 oz2.5 in2.3$2004.5Read Review
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XThermAir Pad0 lbs 15 oz2.5 in6.9$2204.6Read Review
Nemo Tensor InsulatedAir Pad0 lbs 15 oz3.0 in3.5$1605.0Read Review
Klymit V Ultralite SLAir Pad0 lbs 12 oz2.5 in1.3$1004.1Read Review
Nemo SwitchbackFoam0 lbs 14 oz0.9 in2.0$504.4Read Review
Therm-a-Rest Z Lite SolFoam0 lbs 14 oz0.7 in2.0$464.3Read Review
Therm-a-Rest ProLite PlusSelf-Inflating1 lbs 07 oz1.5 in3.2$1054.7Read Review
NameTypeWeightThicknessR ValuePriceRatingReview
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 - Best Ultralight Sleeping Pads

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite

  • Type: Air Pad
  • Weight: 0 lbs 09 oz
  • R Value: 2.3
  • Thickness: 2.5 in
  • Volume: 01.2 L
  • Pad thickness: 2.5 in
  • Sleeping Pad Shape: Mummy
  • hrinks down to the size of a large water bottle for a minimal impact on your pack space
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite


The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite is an ultralight backpacking pad that is great for fast and light missions. It’s a favorite among long-distance hikers who camp mostly in summer conditions. 

What we love the most about this sleeping pad is how small and light it is while still being long and wide enough. It weighs next to nothing and rolls up to the size of a beer can. It’s Therm-a-Rest’s lightest pad yet, the runner up is the XLite which weighs 3.2 ounces more. All of this does come at a cost, it is one of the most expensive pads on this list, but it is worth the price if weight and packability are your highest priorities.  

The biggest downside of the NeoAir UberLite is the fabric is uber thin which means you need to be extra careful with it. Also, it’s not as warm as other ultralight pads out there. If the warmth and durability of this pad are a big issue for you, take a look at the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir X-Therm.  Another complaint is it makes a loud crinkly noise every time you move. 

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite is available in two sizes: Regular and Long. 

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm

  • Type: Air Pad
  • Weight: 0 lbs 15 oz
  • R Value: 6.9
  • Thickness: 2.5 in
  • Volume: 02.3 L
  • Pad Thickness: 2.5 in
  • Sleeping Pad Shape: Semi-rectangular
  • Patent-pending Reflective Layer Returns Heat Back To Your Body


The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm is an inflatable sleeping pad that boasts the most warmth per ounce of any lightweight sleeping pad available on the market today. For this reason, it is a popular choice amongst long-distance hikers who might be traveling in colder conditions and alpine environments. It is also a top choice for cold sleepers and winter campers. 

What we like most about this pas is simply how warm it is while maintaining a reasonably light weight. It’s easy to inflate and somewhat easy to deflate and pack up. This is the warmest inflatable pad that we’ve tested. We like that Therm-a-rest doesn’t use any synthetic insulation on the inside that might degrade over time. The Thermacapture technology seems to work really well. After you lay on the pad for a few minutes you can really feel the pad warming up and transferring warmth back towards your body.  

What we don’t care for is the valve system. While it does function as it should it’s a lot more clunky when trying to connect the pump sack to the sleeping pad than we’d like to see on a sleeping pad at this price point. It’s also a little difficult to fine-tune the pressure in the pad. We also found the material to be noisy and the pad itself to be a little unstable near the edges. Price is also a barrier for this pad. 

Nemo Tensor Insulated

  • Type: Air Pad
  • Weight: 0 lbs 15 oz
  • R Value: 3.5
  • Thickness: 3.0 in
  • Volume: 01.2 L
  • Pad Thickness: 3 in
  • Sleeping Pad Shape: Rectangular
  • Metalized Film Provides Extra Insulation, Resisting Cold From The Ground


The Nemo Tensor Insulated is one of the best-selling sleeping pads on the market today and for good reason. It’s easy to use and has all of the comfort and functionality that one would expect from a sleeping pad for its price point. It also comes with Nemo’s lifetime warranty as an added bonus. 

What we like most about this pad is the valve and how easy it is to inflate and deflate. You can inflate it with 3 or 4 breaths and deflate it in seconds. It also has a good 3-season R-Value at 3.5. The material feels surprisingly soft to the touch and it isn’t too slippery. Because of the soft fabric this would be a could choice for those who sleep with quilts instead of sleeping bags. It’s also very quiet. One of the quietest sleeping pads that we’ve tested. The included pump-sack works well with the valve. This pad is 3 inches thick and is quite comfortable. This is a good pad for side sleeping as we never bottomed out even when sleeping on our side. 

What we don’t care for is that it’s a little heavy for its warmth. Also after personally testing it, as well as researching online, it seems to be less durable than other options that we tested.

Klymit V Ultralite SL

  • Type: Air Pad
  • Weight: 0 lbs 12 oz
  • R Value: 1.3
  • Thickness: 2.5 in
  • Pad Thickness: 2.5 in
  • Sleeping Pad Shape: Rectangular
  • Twist-Pull Valve For Rapid Inflation
  • Repair Kit Included
Klymit V Ultralite SL

A wide and comfy sleeping pad, the Klymit V Ultralight sleeping pad will allow no interruptions to your well deserved shut-eye. Featuring a V-shaped design that keeps you from rolling off the mattress and individual air pockets that provide both softness and stability, you won’t have to toss and turn to find the most comfortable sleeping position.

The twist-pull valve makes the inflation process fast (only 7 breaths), and the deflation almost instant, thanks to the wide valve opening. The Klymit V Ultralight is not as well insulated as more expensive sleeping pads, but it will undoubtedly make you want to snooze through your alarm if you are hiking in the summer months.

Nemo Switchback

  • Type: Foam
  • Weight: 0 lbs 14 oz
  • R Value: 2.0
  • Thickness: 0.9 in
  • Volume: 09.0 L
  • Pad Thickness: 0.9 in
  • Sleeping Pad Shape: Rectangular
  • Metalized Thermal Reflective Film Reflects Heat Back To Your Body


The Nemo switchback is Nemo’s take on the classic “Z” style folding foam pad. Nemo uses a proprietary dual density closed cell foam with a reflective layer to help boost the R-value while maintaining a smaller size. This is a good pad for thru hikers, mountaineers, climbers, and anyone who doesn’t want to risk a puncture on the trail. It can also be used as an addition to an inflatable pad for anyone winter camping. 

What we like most about this pad is that it’s essentially indestructible and that set up and pack down take seconds. We like that it folds up smaller than its competitors while maintaining a slightly better R-Value. 

What we don’t care for is that it’s still quite large and will usually need to be strapped to the outside of the pack. It also only has an R-value of 2 meaning this is really only suitable for summertime camping. It’s not uncomfortable but we wouldn’t purchase this pad for the comfort factor. 

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol

  • Type: Foam
  • Weight: 0 lbs 14 oz
  • R Value: 2.0
  • Thickness: 0.7 in
  • Pad Thickness: 0.75 in
  • Sleeping Pad Shape: Rectangular
  • Egg-Carton Closed-Cell Foam Pattern For Increased Softness
  • No Inflation Required - Instant Setup
Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol

The Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol is a closed-cell foam sleeping pad that can be compressed into a lightweight and compact shape. The Z Lite Sol also features a higher than average R-Value (the measurement used to establish the degree of insulation of different foams) making it one of the warmest ultralight sleeping pads on our list.

With a reflective surface, the Z Lite Sol will maintain your body heat during cold nights in the outdoors, while leaving enough space in your backpack to carry all the other essentials.

While closed-cell foam pads tend to be less comfortable than air or self-inflating pads, the egg-carton pattern of the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol creates a soft and insulated surface that is impressively pleasant, considering the price range. On top of being durable, this sleeping pad unfolds instantly, so you can get ready for bed in a matter of minutes (or even seconds).

Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus

  • Type: Self-Inflating
  • Weight: 1 lbs 07 oz
  • R Value: 3.2
  • Thickness: 1.5 in
  • Pad Thickness: 1 in
  • Sleeping Pad Shape: Semi-rectangular
  • Insulated
  • Dense Foam To Reduce Heat Loss
  • Stuff Sack Included
Therm-a-Rest ProLite

While self-inflating sleeping pads are generally bulky and inconvenient to carry in a backpack, the 3-season Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus is designed with the alpine climber in mind. Thanks to the tapered shape, the weight remains minimal and the packing size, while larger than other sleeping pads listed here, is easily manageable.

Compared to air pads, this self-inflating mattress is much sturdier and likely to last longer. Plus with an R-value of 3.2, it is suitable to be used in colder environments. The self-inflating process will take about 10 minutes, so be patient before you hit the sack.





There are three different types of sleeping pads on the market: air pads, self-inflating pads, and closed-cell foam pads.

Air pads, as the name suggests, are mattresses that need to be inflated with the breath or a small pump. These sleeping pads provide a great balance between comfort and minimal weight, however, they are prone to puncturing or ripping.

Self-inflating pads tend to be sturdier and more durable than air pads. They offer better insulation and they have a built-in valve that allows the air in, inflating automatically. The downside of self-inflating pads is that they are usually bulkier and heavier because of the foam layer contained in them.

Closed-cell foam pads are simple camping pads made by one single layer of dense, patterned foam, which usually folds like an accordion. They are cheap, lightweight and extremely durable, but not as comfortable as air and self-inflating pads.



The R-value of a sleeping pad measures the capacity to hold the heat of the mattress. In other words, its level of insulation. The R-value ranges from 1 (minimal insulation for warm-weather camping) to 11 (maximum insulation for cold-weather camping). Most sleeping pads are used under the sleeping bag. But there are also models that fit inside your bag (like the Klymit Inertia X Frame Recon), allowing for even less heat to escape.



Sleeping pads can be short, regular or long. Short pads (usually 47 – 48 inches in length) have a smaller packing size and weigh less. However, they only fit 3/4 of your body leaving your legs exposed. Legs don’t need as much insulation as the rest of the body does. Therefore, a short sleeping pad is worth considering if you are hiking in 3-season conditions. Regular and long pads typically measure 72 and 78 inches, respectively. These are more suitable to winter hikes as they will insulate your entire body.



Rectangular, semi-rectangular or mummy shaped? When choosing a pad shape you should consider your sleeping habits, as while it is true that tapered pads occupy less space when packed, they are also not ideal for someone who tends to move during the night.

Rectangular and semi-rectangular sleeping pads offer more space for your legs, so you are less likely to roll on the ground as you dream of the next peak you’ll conquer.



Most brands that sell air pads provide information on how many breaths are necessary to inflate sleeping pads fully. Ultralight air pads typically inflate with 6 to 8 breaths, but some have a built-in hand pump that will save you some oxygen at the end of a long hiking day.

As the name suggests, self-inflating pads inflate automatically once the valve is opened. The inflation process takes about 10 minutes. Self-inflating pads should be stored hanging and semi-inflated with the valve open.



Sleeping pads can cost as little as $20 and go up into the hundreds for more technologically advanced models. Closed-cell foam pads tend to be the cheapest but least comfortable, while air and self-inflating pads are more expensive but also softer and more insulated.





The level of insulation of the sleeping pad, going from 1 (minimal insulation) to 11 (maximum insulation).


Closed-cell foam is a dense and durable type of polyurethane foam, more resistant to heat loss than open-cell foam because of its capacity to screen out moisture and air. Polyurethane is a plastic material commonly used to build insulation panels in houses.


A sleeping pad that needs to be inflated by breathing into it or with a pump.


A sleeping pad that inflates automatically once the valve is open, usually built with an embedded layer of foam to provide extra comfort.


A valve that requires two separate movements to proceed with inflation or deflation. In order to inflate the mattress is it necessary to twist the valve to the right, then pull it up to allow the air to flow in. With this system, an accidental twisting of the valve does not cause the pad to deflate.


A minimalist sleeping pad design in which all material in excess is removed to leave only a basic frame that provides support at key pressure points. Because of the empty spaces in the mattress, a grid-shaped sleeping pad can be extremely lightweight and compact.