Six sleeping pads for your next backpacking or car camping trip

Don't ruin your trip with a few nights of horrible sleep.

camping setup
Catch easy Zzzs while you camp.Laura Pluth via Unsplash

If you’re planning on going camping for the first time (or maybe the hundredth), you’ll want some type of cushioning to sleep on. Inflatable sleeping pads are not only surprisingly comfortable, but they also insulate you from the cold. The best choice will be one that’s the right weight and comfort level for your needs. Perhaps you’re going hiking and want to avoid every unnecessary pound, or maybe you’re going car camping and comfort is your prime concern. Whatever your needs, one of these six sleeping pads is sure to be right for you.

Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated Sleeping Mat

Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated Sleeping Mat
The air pump sack for this one is unique and easy to use.Amazon

This nylon sleeping mat is a great choice if you want to sleep on a firm surface and like to switch positions during the night. It’s lightweight enough to be suitable for backpacking trips or bike touring while also providing enough comfort. Sea to Summit’s air pump sack is honestly a lot of fun to use, makes the process a lot easier and ensures that the mat will stay fully inflated. It also comes with two different valves to inflate and deflate the air.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress
It’s the lightest option.Amazon

The Therm-a-Rest Ultralight Air Mattress is, as the name suggests, ultralight. Since it’s under one pound, it’s the ideal choice if you’re going to be hiking and your primary concern is weight. It’s also insulated, so you’ll be able to use it all year round. You’ll have to watch out for punctures because the material is so thin, but this is also a factor in almost any inflatable sleeping mat.

Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad, Lightweight

Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad, Lightweight
An affordable choice if you’re looking to camp during summer.Amazon

If you’re only looking to go camping during the summer, this non-insulated sleeping pad is one of the most affordable and reliable options. It’s easy to blow up and will inflate in less than 25 breaths. It won’t feel fully inflated when you first blow it up, but when you lie down, you’ll feel its support, and this also makes it easier to move around and sleep in different positions, like on your side.

Exped Megamat 10 Insulated Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad

Exped Megamat 10 Insulated Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad
It practically feels like a mattress.Amazon

The Exped Megamat might be the closest you’ll get to sleep on a mattress in the outdoors. It’s the sturdiest option and definitely feels the most comfortable. Of course the extra cushioning comes with more weight. This one weighs 3.75 pounds, almost four times more than the Therm-a-Rest Ultralight, which is .95 pounds. If you’re only planning on car camping though, this would be a solid, not to mention luxurious, option.

Big Agnes Q-Core Deluxe Sleeping Pad

Big Agnes Q-Core Deluxe Sleeping Pad
It’s four inches thick.Amazon

The Big Agnes Deluxe sleeping pad could be considered a happy medium between the Sea to Summit pad and the Exped in terms of comfort and weight. It’s supportive, durable, and inflates to four inches (Sea to Summit’s is 2.5 inches). It is insulated and comes in petite, regular, long, and wide options.

Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad

Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad
For luxury comfort on any terrain.Amazon

If you have never tried a sleeping pad before, prepare to have your camping comfort taken to the next level. This lightweight, inflatable sleeping pad provides two inches of glorious comfort—especially if you’re camping on salt flats or extra rocky terrain. It takes about 10 to 15 breaths to inflate, deflates within seconds, and packs up quickly, so you can carry a bit of comfort with you easily. It comes with a lifetime replacement warranty too, so, rest easy.