Best Backpacking Sleeping Pads: Additional Comfort and Warmth for Your Outdoor Nights

Man Traveler holding red mattress camping equipment and tent outdoor Travel Lifestyle concept rocky mountains landscape on background Summer adventure vacations
Written by Kane Dane

Today, backpackers and adventurers have more options for sleeping pads than ever before. Backpacking sleeping pads prevent your body from coming into contact with the ground, in addition to cushioning your body from roots or rocks.

On the market, you’ll find dozens of varying shapes, sizes, and kinds of construction. From dirt-simple foam sleeping pads to lush, inflatable cushions, they all fight to be among the best backpacking sleeping pads, but which ones really belong to this group?  Read on to find out.

It can prove daunting to select the best pad, and there are several factors, which you ought to take into account when purchasing one. Such include:

  • Comfort
  • Weight
  • Cost

We’ve scoured through the different backpacking pads available on the market today, and in our article, you will find the reviews of the nine best models, which have been carefully selected by taking into consideration all the relevant features, including reviews from other users.

Our Top Picks

Product NameTypeWeightColorBest UsePrice
NEMO TensorAir Pad1.93 lbFision, Dark FisionHiking, mountaineering, campingCheck price on Amazon
Big Agnes Double ZAir Pad1.6 lb (Regular), 2.15 lb (Wide-Long)EggplantOccasional backpacking, base campingCheck price on Amazon
Therm-a-Rest NeoAirSelf-inflating1.5 lb (Regular), 1.75 lb (Large)Mediterranean BlueCar camping, occasional backpackingCheck price on Amazon
Exped SynMat 7Air pad2.8 lbOrangeWinter base camping, car campingCheck price on Amazon
Exped WinterliteN/A2.69 lb (LW), 2.7 lb (MW)One Color, GreyWinter camping, base campingCheck price on Amazon
Therm-a-Rest EvoliteSelf-inflating1.6 lbPumpkinSummer backpacking trips, as a ‘raft’ on riverCheck price on Amazon
Klymit Static-VAir pad1.74 lbOrange, Char BlackCold weather, winter camping, hikingCheck price on Amazon
Sea to Summit ComfortAir pad1.6 lbRedAll-season, winter mountaineering,Check price on Amazon
Exped HyperliteAir pad1.9 lbOrange, One ColorFast pursues, ultra-light hiking, spring snow campingCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

So, how do you select the best backpacking sleeping pad? The answer will get pretty easy after you understand the different types of sleeping pads, as well as the factors you ought to consider when determining which model is right for you. Here are the most important ones:x


The R-value measures a pad’s ability to prevent conductive heat loss. A higher R-value implies that the sleeping pad offers more warmth than that which has a lower R-value.  Your sleeping pad is able to keep you warm during night times when the temperature falls. The R-value of your sleeping pad measures the extent to which it will safeguard your body against the icy ground.

Layering the Therm-aRest NeoAir XTherm on top of the ZLite Sol

Generally, sleeping pads that has 0-2 R-values might be useful for warm climate trips. 2-4 R-values are suitable for most 3-season hiking conditions. 4-6 R-values are great when the temperature falls around or beneath freezing. You’ll likely need a sleeping pad with R-value of 5+ in case you are winter hiking and you will be resting on the snow.


You’ll want that your backpacking sleeping pad is small when packed. A well-packable pad enables you to save significant amounts of space in your backpack. Often, sleeping pads come in two different sizes: regular and long. They differ in length, but rarely in width.

The tiny packed size of the Therm-a-Rest XLite sleeping pad

Having an exceptionally packable sleeping bag is a great advantage and majority of air cushions pack down little nowadays. If you pick a big sleeping bag, you may need to use a strap to tie it to the outside part of your bag. That is not a major ordeal for users of foam pads, but rather exposing an air pad to punctures or sharp objects is a recipe for catastrophe.


Sleeping pads might not be the lightest piece of your hiking gear. A lightweight model will make a significant difference when it comes to the weight, which you’ll carry. So if you want to save weight, you have come to the right place.


The level of comfort you will get during your hiking trip will depend solely on how light your backpack is.


The amount of cushioning that you require is hugely dependent on your preferences. However, it might also depend on the camping location. Some areas may offer sufficient natural cushioning (grass, moss), but others may be less accommodating, like rocky terrain. Inflatable sleeping pads offer greater cushioning when compared with closed-cell foam pads.


A major complaint among first-time sleeping pad users is the squeaky or crinkly noise they usually make. This can be particularly troublesome to light sleepers that do shift around all through the night.

Backpacking-sleeping-pad on the ground near a water

Some sleeping pads make somewhat pretty much noise compared to others, but there is none that will be as quiet as your bed at home. The noises of sleeping pads do tend to fade away after some time, so don’t stress excessively when it is straight out of the case.


Of course, you ought to consider your set budget when purchasing anything, not just backpacking sleeping pads. While higher-priced models may offer better value than ones, which are cheaply priced, it doesn’t necessarily imply that expensive is always better.

Types of sleeping pads on the ground outside in the sun

But, you shouldn’t just go for the cheapest ones, too. Lowly priced models are likely to disappoint you. Simply put, ensure that you’re getting good value for your buck, regardless of the particular amount.

Best Products Available on The Market

Listed below are some of the top sleeping pads available on the market today. These sleeping pads include the two most popular types: Self-inflating and air pads. So consider what sort of backpacking trip you are planning on using the sleeping pad for and your financial plan. Then find and select the models that suit those needs.

NEMO Tensor Nemo Tensor

Price: $160 – $170

Weight: 1.93 pounds (20m small), 1.93 pounds (20 regular), 1.93 pounds (20m regular), 1.93 pounds (25 long)

Dimensions: 3 x 5 x 9 inch (20m small), 10 x 8 x 3 inch (20 regular), 7.6 x 8 x 7.3 inch (20m regular), 10 x 8 x 3 inch (25 long)

Specific features: Low stretch polyester fabric baffles, metalized film layer, Prima-Loft insulation type, undulating lateral bluffs, rectangular shape

Best use: Hiking, mountaineering, camping

Description: This NEMO Tensor Sleeping Pad draws its inspiration from the Therm-a-Rest Neo-Air X-Lite. The Tensor’s packed size is surely impressive, taking tiny space in a dry bag. It has an aluminized film that provides insulation. Two words that are barely used in sleeping pads define the Tensor: stability and elasticity. The new fabric offers minimal elasticity. In turn, that gives it fantastic stability.

As such, you won’t need to over-inflate this pad to enhance its stability. In fact, NEMO stands at the forefront when it comes to the future of inflatable sleeping pads. As well, you’ll appreciate the fabric’s minimal slippery. You won’t have any problems slipping off when sleeping.

Upon purchasing this pad, you’ll get several accessories like a compression strap, a drawstring stuff sack, as well as a repair kit. Most other users assert that they love the Tensor, regarding it as a luxury. They praise it and guarantee that the model is completely worth it. The Tensor is a great ultralight sleeping pad for those that prefer sleeping on their stomach or back.


  • Comfort
  • Very lightweight
  • Good packed size
  • Great stability


  • Not perfect for highly freezing temperatures
  • Super thin construction

Related: if you want a good pillow for your sleeping pad, then you can check out the NEMO Fillo Pillow. It is perfect for back country and you can even keep it in your pocket in case of an emergency nap.

Check the price on Amazon

Big Agnes Double-Z Big Agnes Double Stuffed Double Z

Price: $150 – $160

Weight: 1.6 pounds (regular), 2.15 pounds (wide-long), 2.05 pounds (wide-regular)

Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 13inch (regular), 7 x 8 x 14 inch (wide-long), 8 x 8 x 14 inch (wide-regular)

Specific features: X-STATIC fibers, i-beam construction, die-cut foam, prima-loft insulation, r-value of 5.8

Best use: Occasional backpacking, base camping, mountaineering

Description: This brand claims to be the mother of all comfort. The Big Agnes Double Z Sleeping Pad boasts an I-beam construction that helps eliminate welded seams, thus reducing cold spots. Also, it ensures quick inflation and deflation, stability, and consistent air flow.

It makes use of fibers, which are permanently bonded with pure metallic silver. The silver layer is, in fact, the key to these fibers’ powerful antimicrobial properties. It provides an ionic shield, which inhibits bacterial and fungal growth while enhancing anti-odor and thermodynamic properties.

Besides that, the Prima-Loft insulation foam has ultra-fine fibers, which form a compact collection of air pockets. These pockets trap heat from your body, in addition to keeping the cold out.

The result is a fantastic warmth-weight ratio. With traditional insulation, these air pockets are lost when it gets wet. But, the prima-Loft is designed to be water-resistant, which enables the insulation to stay drier and maintain the insulating properties.

The Double-Stuffed Double-Z Air Pad bears a diamond shape. It has a die-cut foam core that’s light, yet supportive. Big Agnes has doubled the usual fill found in their regular pads, upping the R-value to 5.8. Regarding thickness, this model exceeds numerous other brands. Many users have reported satisfaction with this pad. Innumerable customer reviews have rated it highly.


  • Great packed size
  • Great price
  • Comfortable
  • Compact
  • Relatively light


  • Rough surface. Uneven side rails.
  • Uninsulated

Related: if you want to inflate your sleeping pad to the ideal level of comfort in a few minutes, then you can check out the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Mini Pump. This pump will help inflate your sleeping pad and provide great comfort.

Check the price on Amazon

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir

Price: $106 – $170

Weight: 24 oz (regular), 28 oz (large), 36 oz (extra-large)

Dimensions: 72 x 20 inch (regular), 77 x 25 inch (large), 77 x 30 inch (extra large)

Specific features: Rectangular shape, speed valve, therma-capture layer, raised side rails

Best use: Car camping, occasional backpacking, remote base camping

Description: The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad is among the most comfortable, compact sleeping pads we’ve reviewed in this guide. 3 inches of cushioning are combined with a rectangular shape to offer campers an excellent choice, especially for those who value comfort, rather than weight savings.

It gives you enough space for your feet and a pillow. An extra 0.5 inches of depth will provide extra cushion for the knees and hips. This model makes use of a traditional valve that might not be as innovative as the one-way valves found on some other pads.

But, its simplicity is intuitive, easy to use, and efficient. The Neo-Air makes use of thick, sturdy fabrics, which make it withstand the daily thrashing of car camping and base camping. It’s conveniently among the most durable models of the inflatable kind.

Lasting a lot longer than almost all lightweight models is definite. Also, it’s priced quite affordably. The Neo-Air sits squarely between a luxurious car camping pad and a lightweight pad that’s well suited to backpacking. We’d recommend this model if you often find yourself camping right next to your car. It’s a comfortable pad, which transforms lumpy grounds into a plush, sleep surfaces.


  • Super-quick inflate/deflate
  • Comfortable sleeping pad
  • Gives uncompromising insulation and warmth
  • Easy to pack up


  • Tends to be somewhat noisy, may bother a tent-mate.
  • Included weight will make the valve to be less appealing.
  • Heavier compared to some other sleeping pads

Related: if you want a compact and lightweight inflatable pillow, then you can check out the Sea To Summit Aeros Pillow.  This is a high quality pillow without the bulk and weight.

Check the price on Amazon

Exped SynMat 7Exped SynMat 7

Price: $130 – 140

Weight: 2.8 pounds

Dimensions: 76 x 26 inch (medium), 77.5 x 26 inches (long wide)

Specific features: Rectangular shape, R-value of 4.9, thick polyester fabric, vertical baffles, synthetic micro-fiber filling, Easy-to-use integrated pump system,

Best use: Winter base camping, car camping

Description: This is an insulated air-construction pad that’ incredibly comfortable. It’s an exemplary pad due to several features. In particular, the internal pump is a remarkable aspect. Although the SynMat 7 is relatively heavyweight, the numerous benefits it offers offset that drawback. It features shallow baffles, which, in turn, yield a smoother sleep surface.

Overall, the Exped SynMat 7 Sleeping Pad is incredibly comfortable. It earns a high comfort score for its vertical baffles. Also, these baffles prevent the edge-collapse concern that’s often found in other horizontally baffled pads such as the Neo-Air Venture. This design makes it feel wider when compared to its rivals. But, there’s one downside with vertical baffles. They might feel bouncy when moving your feet, especially where the pad isn’t inflated enough.

Its rectangular shape gives it a significant edge over the Therm-a-Rest X-Lite and the X-Therm, which both bear a tapered design. You can make use of the integrated pump by placing your hands over the valve and pressing it down. Then, you can repeat that cycle for approximately 30 seconds in order to inflate the sleeping pad. Its R-value is adequately warm for use during winter.

Expect a remarkable lifespan and an excellent ability to withstand pinholes and picks, better than other inflatable models. This pad is relatively affordable for what you’ll get.


  • Fabulous insulation for the weight.
  • Tapered profile makes the pad lighter
  • Durable and warm over long treks


  • It may deflate during night times if not inflated properly
  • May tend to get somewhat boisterous when shifting around in your sleep.
  • The tapered outline is thin at the feet area.

Related: if you want a nice pillow that can relive you of all the excuses for forgetting a pillow at home, then you can check out the Exped Air Pillow. This sleeping pad pillow can replace the one you use at home.

Check the price on Amazon

Exped Winterlite Exped Winterlite

Price: $230 – $250

Weight: 2.69 pounds (lw), 2.7 pounds (mw)

Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 11 inch (lw), 10 x 6 x 5 inch (mw)

Specific features: R-value of 7, 700-fill power goose down, flat-valve design, 3.5-inch thick, two-way valve, included pump sack, 20D fabric

Best use: Winter camping, base camping

Description: In their category, down bags offer the best warmth-weight ratio. The same applies to sleeping pads, which have feathers. The Exped Winterlite Sleeping Pad has 700-fill goose feathers, which provide an exceptional R-value of 7. Most four-season pads tend to top out at just 4. But with Winterlite, you’ll feel incredibly warm, even during the extremely cold winter.

The Downmat Winterlite is a 3.5-inch thick mat that compresses to a sheer size, credit to the mummy profile, which tapers from a whopping 20.5 inches to an incredibly narrow 13 inches. Besides, the pad is remarkably sturdy, thanks to its laminated shell treatment. It’s simple inflatable by using the schnozzle pump sack that comes included.

Exped keeps refining its design and technology. The laminate is able to hold up quite well. Also, you’ll appreciate how slip-resistant and comfortable the next-to-skin material are. For 4-season hikers, it’s difficult to beat this sleeping pad.

Most producers often make use of synthetic fill for the purpose of insulation, but Exped utilizes high-caliber 700-fill goose down to build the inside of this sleeping pad. It makes this pad more expensive, yet what you pick up is a low weight and a compact stuffed size pad.


  • Great packed size
  • Good comfort
  • Extremely warm
  • Lightweight


  • A bit bulky
  • Overkill for most hikers

Related: Inflate your sleeping pad to your desired level of comfort with the Exped Schnozzel Pump Bag.

Check the price on Amazon

Therm-a-Rest Evolite Therm-a-Rest Evolite

Price: $180 – $190

Weight: 1.6 pounds

Dimensions: 10 x 6 x 6 inch

Specific features: R-value of 2.1, self-inflating, air-frame construction, atmos foam, 2-inch loft

Best use: Summer backpacking trips, as a ‘raft’ on river days across the mountains

Description: The Therm-a-Rest Evolite plush and self-inflating – has all that you’d want when it comes down to comfort and ease of inflation. It’s among the easiest 2-inch pads to inflate. To ensure that it self-inflates well, avoid compressing the internal foam when storing it. Instead, hang it vertically and open the valve to allow for foam expansion.

The R-value of 2.1 renders it warm enough for 3-season use. You’ll love its smooth surface. The internal foam makes the model feel more stable when compared to other pads that have a similar thickness. But, it’s notably heavier than most of its rivals. Its greatest assets include comfort and ease of inflation. If you’re seeking a self-inflating mat, you’ll find the Evo-Lite to be a fantastic option.

Backpackers love the fact that the Evo-Lite is adequately durable for use on grass. It’s a significant improvement over previous designs like the Pro-Lite. It strikes an excellent balance between ease of inflation, packed size, weight, and comfort. It may be slightly costlier than other self-inflating pads, but you’ll get what you pay for. It offers top-notch value if you’re seeking a thick and self-inflating pad.


  • Warm
  • Packs small
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable and ultralight
  • Packs small
  • Versatile


  • Costly
  • Edges not as steady as other sleeping pad designs

Related: if you want a compact and lightweight inflatable pillow, then you can check out the Sea To Summit Aeros Pillow. This is a high quality pillow without the bulk and weight.

Check the price on Amazon

Klymit Static-V Klymit Static V

Price: Approx. $70

Weight: 1.74 pounds

Dimensions: 4 x 9.25 x 4 inch

Specific features: R-value of 4.4, synthetic insulation, incredibly lightweight, innovative V-chamber design, includes pa0tch kit and stuff sack

Best use: Cold weather, winter camping, hiking

Description: It’s yet another high-scoring sleeping pad which will exceed your expectations. The Klymit Insulated Sleeping Pad has synthetic fibers, which boost its R-value.

They make it adequately warm in cold climates. Aside from durability, this pad scores pretty high in all other categories. It offers a fantastic balance of weight, warmth, and price. Comfort-wise, the Static-V feels different than most other pads. Often, vertically baffled pads feel bouncy when moving your feet or readjusting. Meanwhile, horizontal baffled ones often collapse along the edges.

This model features a V-chamber design and dynamic side rails, making use of fairly durable 30-denier polyester. It neither collapses nor feels bouncy. Overall, users are satisfied with this pad’s design. But, a few of them have raised concerns that the pad makes some squeaking sound when shifting sleeping positions.

For the weight, this sleeping pad offers an incredible amount of warmth. It would have topped this list had it been more comfortable and more durable. With a 4.4 R-value, the Static-V will be warm enough to sleep during the winter.

In fact, it’ll feel warmer than most other pads that have similar R-values because the insulation will fill its deep baffles to trap air and keep you warmer. This model comes along with a kit, which makes fixing any holes quick and straightforward.


  • Great price
  • Wide sleeping platform
  • Warm
  • Inexpensive
  • Relatively light
  • Baffles feel stable


  • The angulated baffles are not very comfortable
  • Not very durable
  • Sleeping pad produces a squeaking noise
  • Not unique in any particular classification

Related: if you want a durable, ultralight and incredible comfortable pillow, then the Klymit Pillow X Pillow will really be a great choice to get for your sleeping pad.

Check the price on Amazon

Sea-to-Summit Comfort Sea to Summit Comfort

Price: Approx. $200

Weight: 1.6 pounds

Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 5 Inch

Specific features: R-value of 2.5, synthetic insulation, 40-denier nylon construction, one-way valve, 548 air-sprung cells, extruded TPU lamination, antimicrobial treatment

Best use: All-season, wet spring snow, winter mountaineering, luxurious backpacking, comfy car camping, extended backcountry trips, prickly desert environments

Description: The Sea to Summit Comfort Sleeping Pad’s flagship pad. Often, you’ll find marketing hype, just misleading. But, it’s a different case when it comes to the Comfort Plus.

It deserves recognition for its unique, forward-thinking design. It’s among the most supportive and comfortable pads ever. It’s suitable for use in virtually all seasons and earns very high scores for comfort. It has Air-Sprung cells, which provide even support along the length and width. In turn, that reduces the bouncy sensations, which are caused by vertical and horizontal baffles used in most other mats.

In particular, side sleepers will appreciate that feature as it assures you that the hips will barely hit the ground, besides affording you an excellent, plush experience. The Comfort Plus incorporates two independent air chambers, which enhance redundancy against puncture. They will enable you to tailor the pad’s comfort to your sleeping style and the terrain.

The one-way valve allows for simple, yet quick inflation, deflation, and adjustments. Other than that, the R-value of 2.5 contributes significantly towards making the Comfort Plus a top contender when it comes down to warmth.

This sleeping pad offers innumerable benefits, with the only downsides being the massive weight and large packed size. Overall, this insulated model is a top-quality sleeping pad. It could be the best for you if you don’t set your sights on high-alpine objectives. But, we’d not recommend this model for ultra-light adventures. Purchase it if your top preferences include convenience, comfort, and novel features.


  • Simple expansion, deflation and calibrating of air tension
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Warm and very stable
  • Anti-microbial treatment
  • Packs down small


  • Not as comfortable as other sleeping pads
  • Heavier than other similar models
  • May not provide sufficient warmth in colder regions due to a lower R-value of 0.7
  • Dimples prone to gathering dirt

Related: if you want an efficient pump for this sleeping pad model, then you can check out the Sea to Sea to Summit Jet Pump Sack.

Check the price on Amazon

Exped Hyperlite Exped Hyperlite

Price: $130 – $200

Weight: 1.9 pounds

Dimensions: 8 x 4 x 4 inch

Specific features: R-value of 3.3, synthetic insulation, 20-denier fabric, tapered profile, 20D fabric, I-Beam construction

Best use: Fast pursues, ultra-light hiking, spring snow camping, alpine climbing, three-season backpacking

Description: The Exped Hyperlite Sleeping Pad boasts a fantastic feature set packed into a relatively small weight of slightly over 12 ounces. Ultra-light hikers, minimalists, and mountaineers will appreciate this pad’s simple design. It’s among the most lightweight sleeping pads available on the market. It features smaller dimensions and isn’t noisy.

In case you intend to purchase sleeping pads for two, you might want to consider the HyperLite’s duo version. Essentially, it merges two pads for a system, which weighs a relatively lightweight 28 ounces. The Hyperlite Pad is a performance-driven model, which deserves a spot in the top contenders for the best sleeping pad. It’s warm enough for 3-season use. It shines as an ideal alternative when compared with lightweight or foam self-inflating pads.

The 2-inch-thick longitudinal baffles are able to provide ample cushion and support, as well as excellent bumpy ground absorption. A one-way valve makes inflation quick and straightforward. Deflating it will require that you jam something into the valve. This Exped sleeping pad makes use of elevated side rails to give you just the rise that’s required to keep the right under you. That won’t make it uncomfortable when sleeping on your side, as well. The tapering feels quite aggressive.

As with all other pads, you can put a foam pad or clothing underneath to help boost the cumulative resistance to heat loss. The only issues, which have been pointed out, are the overall slender feel and the narrow foot-box. But, the Hyperlite would be an excellent bargain if you’re seeking a tent shelter that’s much lightweight. The comfort suffices the needs of any ultra-light hiker. For a lightweight pad like this, its durability will impress you. However, we wouldn’t recommend the Hyperlite for car camping.


  • Relatively warm
  • Lightweight
  • More durable than expected
  • Insulated


  • Tends to be somewhat noisy, may bother a tent-mate.
  • Expensive
  • Somewhat hard to deflate

Related: Inflate your sleeping pad to your desired level of comfort with the Exped Schnozzel Pump Bag.

Check the price on Amazon

Concluding Thoughts

Mountaineering and hiking trips will require that you have the top-quality sleeping equipment. That will enable you to stay comfortable and warm throughout the night. Sleeping bags trap body-warmed air, thus reducing heat loss. But, a decent sleeping pad would reduce that heat loss even further. Sleeping pads reduce heat transfer between sleeping bags and the (cold) ground.

A couple relaxing on sleeping pads

Above, we’ve reviewed some of the finest backpacking sleeping pads. Take your particular preferences into consideration when choosing one model from the pads discussed in this guide. Read the reviews again to know what exactly what you’ll be getting. Good luck!

If you found our article to be useful, feel free to share it with your friends. On the other hand, if you think that we left something out, you can leave a comment in our comments section below and we will try to cover that in some of our following reviews.


Kane Dane


  • I tried the Tensor sleeping pad and got outstanding results. I had a great experience on a recent camping where weather ranged from calm and clear to windy with light rain while camping. My sleep was comfortable and uninterrupted.

  • This sleeping pad blew me away when I used it in one of my camping trips. It was very stable and for that price, it was worth it! Like you, I had a good night’s sleep and it was very comfortable even if I sleep on my stomach (which I do!). Highly recommended, indeed!

  • We used two Big Agnes Double Stuffed Double Z Air Pads on our last camping trip and they fit perfectly in the sleeping bag. They were comfortable and we warmed up fast enough. Because I love my sleep, I insisted we get the wide size pads which was great because we were camping near our car. I might have to think about a smaller and lighter size for the upcoming backpacking trip though.

  • Everyone loves the Big Agnes. 🙂
    These are very comfortable pads and give you the perfect good night’s sleep after hours of trekking. They are roomy and provides the warmth we need, especially during cold nights.


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