Best Backpacking Sleeping Pad – Expert Review (2022)

Got a trip planned and looking for the best sleeping pad possible?

Are you after a life-long sleeping pad for a reasonable price? The Therm-a-Rest is the sleeping pad for you. It gives the best sleeping pads on this list a run for their money.

If you have a tight budget then it is hard to beat the Outdoorsman Lab Sleeping Pad. It's super quick to inflate and deflate, light and compact and performs pretty well in all weather conditions.

For those heading into the winter, I recommend Exped MegaMat 10 for the avid adventurer.

We recommend using the table below to easily compare and contrast the best sleeping pads by category.

Please note: Throughout this guide you will see us referring to a technical term called the R-Value. The ‘R-value’ is a rating indicating how warm the pad will feel when lying on the ground. The rule of thumb with R-values is the higher the number, the warmer the pad.

Best Backpacking Sleeping Pads (Top Picks)

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Camping and Backpacking Sleeping Pad, Vapor, Large - 25 x 77 Inches, Standard Valve

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Elegear Double Sleeping Pad for Camping, 4' Ultra-Thick Self Inflating Camping Pad 2 Person with Pillow Built-in Foot Pump Camping Sleeping Mat for Backpacking, Hiking, Portable Camping Pad

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OutdoorsmanLab Ultralight Sleeping Pad - Ultra-Compact for Backpacking, Camping, Travel w Air-Support Cells Design (Blue)

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Top Sleeping Pads For Backpacking

(Detailed Reviews)

We reviewed over 20 backpacking sleeping pads for this article. Below are the best backpacking sleeping pads that made our short list.

  1. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm - Best Overall
  2. Elegear Double Sleeping Pad - Best Double Pad
  3. Outdoorsman Lab Sleeping Pad - Best Budget
  4. Elegear Double Camping Sleeping Pad
  5.  POWERLIX Ultralight Pad 
  6. Exped MegaMat 10 - Best Winter
  7. Klymit Static V - Best Value
  8. Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite SOL 
  9. Nemo Tensor
  10. Alps Mountaineering Lightweight Series Air Pad - Best Air Pad

Read our complete buyers guide for backpacking sleeping pads.

1. Best Overall Sleeping Pad for Backpacking

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Camping and Backpacking Sleeping Pad, Vapor, Large - 25 x 77 Inches, Standard Valve

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm scored the highest on our assessment and therefore took first place as the Best Overall Backpacking Sleeping Pad.

The NeoAir provides the perfect combination in terms of weight (590g), comfort (at 12.7cm the pad is super comfy!), and warmth (R-value of 5.7 makes it versatile enough to use in even cold winter temperatures).

The pad’s warmth comes from four layers of reflective material and air pockets that reduce connective heat loss. With the added more durable layer of fabric on the bottom side of the sleeping pad, the pad is less susceptible to punctures than other pads we tested.

If you are looking for a reliable, comfortable, warm and durable sleeping pad, then look no further than the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm.

Main Features
  • All-weather suitability
  • Durable under-layer fabric
  • Packs up into a one litre water bottle
What we like
  • Excellent weight-to-warmth ratio
  • One of the most comfortable pads we tested
What we dislike
  • Requires a little more effort to blow up

2. Best Double Pad

Elegear Double Sleeping Pad for Camping, 4' Ultra-Thick Self Inflating Camping Pad 2 Person with Pillow Built-in Foot Pump Camping Sleeping Mat for Backpacking, Hiking, Portable Camping Pad

If you're looking for a double sleeping pad, then I highly recommend the Elegear Double Sleeping Pad. I've tested a few double sleeping pads, and in terms of durability, comfort, weight and affordability, the Elegear is very hard to beat. 

The sleeping pad measures 79'' x 55'' x 4" inches, which is larger than most double pads, and it can support up to 800 lbs. It's made from 40D nylon and TPU materials, which makes it very strong. I was actually surprised how well constructed this pad is. It feels puncture-proof, and the seams are neat and tight.

Given the strong construction I expected the pad to be quite heavy, but it is in fact really light - weighing just 5.5 lbs when packed. 

My favourite feature of this pad is the in-built foot pump. I hate carrying a separate pump or worse, using mouth pumping. With the Elegear, you get an in-built foot-pump that is incredibly efficient. It took me just under 3 minutes to fully inflate the pad, and the two release valves at the top of the pad make deflating very fast as well.

Main Features
  • Made from 40D nylon and TPU material
  • 79'' x 55'' x 4" inches
  • 5.5 lbs when packed
What we like
  • Very durable and strong, feels puncture-proof
  • Super comfortable as the body doesn't touch the ground
  • Lightweight
  • Very fast to inflate and deflate
What we dislike
  • Not much to dislike

3. Best Budget Sleeping Pad

Outdoorsman Lab Sleeping Pad

OutdoorsmanLab Ultralight Sleeping Pad - Ultra-Compact for Backpacking, Camping, Travel w Air-Support Cells Design (Blue)

The Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight Sleeping Pad is a compact companion for all camping trips.

This patented (number: D802,336) camping mattress leverages a combination of convenience and comfort to become a mainstay on the mountain or trail. It breaks down to the approximate size of a water bottle for easy carrying and inflates to a relatively cushy 2.2 inches.

The exclusive design brings plenty of benefits as well. It’s quick to inflate with a user-friendly valve that gets the job done in just 10-15 breaths. Plus, the patented design lends itself to optimal support and temperature regulation.

Durability is another feature every outdoorsman should concentrate on when selecting gear. The Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight Sleeping Pad scores high here as well, with abrasion-resistant Nylon construction that repels moisture and holds up trip after trip.

Main Features
  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Durable, water resistant
What We Like
  • R-value 2.2 rated for cold weather
  • Light 14.5 ounces
  • Rolls up to the size of a water bottle - 8 x 3 x 3 inches
What We Dislike
  • No built-in pillow; must purchase separately

4. Best Lightweight Double Pad

Double Camping Sleeping Pad,Elegear Extra Thickness Self-Inflating Sleep Mat Built-in Foot Pump Ultralight Camp Air Mattress with Pillow for Backpacking, Traveling, Hiking,Tent Comfortable Compact Pad

Much like the Elegear double pad featured above, this Elegear product is potentially a more suitable option for campers who need to prioritise weight. 

The pad is slightly smaller in size than the other Elegear double pad, measuring 78.7" x 47.2"x 2.4" inches, and a touch thinner. This means it has a lower weight threshold of 661 lbs, and not suitable for use in winter.

The smaller size though, means it is lighter than the other Elegear model, weighing just 3.3 lbs when packed. You'll be hard pressed to find a double sleeping pad that is lighter.

The pad comes with built-in foot pump. It took me just 1 minute to inflate, and it was even faster to deflate. It is also made from the same strong 40D nylon and TPU material, so in terms of durability it gets top marks.

Main Features
  • Made from 40D nylon and TPU material
  • 78.7" x 47.2"x 2.4" inches
  • 3.3 lbs when packed
What we like
  • Quick to inflate and deflate
  • Lightest double pad out there
  • Waterproof and very strong
What we dislike
  • Not suitable for use in winter

5. Editor's Choice Sleeping Pad

 

POWERLIX Sleeping Pad – Ultralight Inflatable Sleeping Mat, Ultimate for Camping, Backpacking, Hiking – Airpad, Inflating Bag, Carry Bag, Repair Kit – Compact & Lightweight Air Mattress

Despite being one of the lightest sleeping pads we tested (425g), this pad is still very comfy and warm (ideal for 3-seasons, but would not be great in the winter unless it is paired with a warm sleeping bag). 

The warmth is due to dual-fibre insulation in this pad, as well as a reflective layer that aids heat insulation, and adds to the comfort of the pad.

The uses a rip-stop polyester on this pad, which is slightly more robust than standard under-layers, but the thin nature of the fabric means it is still susceptible to tears and rips, so this pad needs looking after properly. For the price though, you can’t really complain – it is good value for money.

Main Features
  • Air spring cells add to the comfort
  • Rip-stop polyester under-layer
  • Dual-fibre insulation
  • The pad packs well due to its tapered mummy shape
What We Like
  • The lightweight nature of this sleeping pad is fantastic – and so is the price
  • Great 3-season pad
What We Dislike
  • The only real issue with the Co-op Flash is the durability. It won’t last you a lifetime

6. Best Winter Sleeping Pad

Exped Megamat 10 Insulated Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad, Ruby Red, Large Extra Wide

The Exped MegaMat 10 is the absolute daddy when it comes to warmth, and is therefore our pick for the best winter sleeping pad.

It’s 6.5ft long, 2.57kg in weight and 10cm thick with a brushed soft fleece surface. You get a lot for your money with the MegaMat and while it will certainly keep you warm with an R-value of 9.5, its only downfall is the issue of practicality and weight.

It is likely that if you’re in need of a pad like the MegaMat, you’re doing some serious outdoor winter adventuring. Nobody fancies carrying 2.57kg on their back for a sleeping pad, but, if you are planning a serious winter excursion and afford the additional weight, then this is a great pad.

Main Features
  • Extremely durable because of its brushed fleece surface
  • Incredibly warm with a 10cm thickness and 9.5 R-value
  • 3D construction with vertical sidewalls for added comfort
What We Like
  • The comfort and warmth of the MegaMat cannot be met elsewhere
What We Dislike
  • Sadly, the MegaMat is mega heavy and sometimes impractical

7. Best Value Sleeping Pad

Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad, Lightweight, Outdoor Sleep Comfort for Backpacking, Camping, and Hiking, Inflatable Camping Mattress (Insulated and Non-Insulated), Green

If you are looking for a great budget option, then the Klymit Static V offers great value for money.

The Static V is lightweight (514g) and relatively comfortable due to its thickness of 6.5cm when inflated. It is also pretty durable as it is built with a thicker fabric than most lightweight pads.

It Achilles heel though is it’s low R-value (1.3). If you are planning to camp outdoors in the Summer or Spring, the Klymit will perform just fine, but in colder temperatures you will be sorely disappointed.

We would only recommend buying this sleeping pad if you are not heading into any form of harsh or extreme environment. It is perfect for casual use or frequent use on a relatively flat terrain.

Main Features
  • Packs up well and neatly, so takes up minimal space
  • It is thicker than most lightweight sleeping pads – and also three inches wider on average
  • A V-chamber design with side rails limit movement and so retains otherwise lost heat
What We Like
  • It is convenient, cheap and it’s one of those purchases where you get your money’s worth out of it
What We Dislike
  • Low R-value means poor performance in cold temperatures

8. Best Lightweight & Durable Sleeping Pad

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Camping and Backpacking Sleeping Pad

The Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite SOL is the lightest pad we tested (410g). It is also the most durable! For this reason we scored the Z-Lite as our pick for the best lightweight and durable seeping pad.

Therm-a-Rest have used a closed foam weather-proof material in the Z-Lite, which makes it amazingly robust. The pad is literally indestructible. It is also packs up into a tiny bundle that can be easily stored inside a daypack or attached to the outside of the backpack.

And despite a relatively low R-value (2.6), it certainly feels warmer than the figure suggests. Still, we wouldn’t recommend you take this pad to a location with a cold, harsh climate, as it won’t keep you nice and snug in low temperatures.

The only downside is that it is very thin (2cm), which means comfort is not great! This sleeping pad is definitely best for the summer and spring months, and for adventurers who are a little hardier than most.

Main Features
  • Sturdy enough to attach to the outside of your backpack due to its closed foam and weatherproof material
  • Lightweight!
  • It’s super durable, to the point where we’d say it’s practically indestructible
What We Like
  • Durability – the Z-Lite is fantastic if you want a sleeping pad that will last you a long timeAmazingly lightweight
What We Dislike
  • Warmth and comfort – the Z-Lite should be teamed with a thick sleeping bag as it won’t keep you toasty
  • Don’t expect great comfort!

9. Good Insulation Sleeping Pad

NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad, Long Wide

With a 7.6cm thickness, the Nemo Tensor is thick and puts you at just the right distance from the ground.

Although there is no official R-value for the Nemo Tensor, the thickness of the pad is enough to guarantee its warmth, as is the extra film layer built in to the pad in order to reflect heat.

In terms of value for money, the Nemo Tensor will comes in at just under $150, so is well placed as a middle-range sleeping pad.

Combined with the fact that the pad is built with some of the thinnest fabrics used on sleeping pads, you’re getting good value for money with this product.

Be aware, though, that due to the thin fabrics used in the design of the pad, it is more susceptible to punctures and rips than other pads we tested.

Main Features
  • Lightweight and easy to pack and carry because of the deliberately light materials used construction
  • Metalised film layer which provides further insulation to keep in the heat
  • Repair kit for any emergency punctures or rips
What We Like
  • Comfort is the best thing about this sleeping pad – and it’s always a good idea to invest in your sleep
  • Relatively warm - would suffice in harsh, cold climates!
What We Dislike
  • Durability is not great with this one. If you’re going to spend $150 on a sleeping pad, you want to make sure it won’t tear easily and, unfortunately, this cannot be guaranteed with the Nemo Tensor.

10. Best Air Pad

ALPS Mountaineering Lightweight Series Self-Inflating Air Pad, Regular

Like the Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite SOL, the Alps Mountaineering Lightweight Series Air Pad is also a good budget option. But unlike the Z-Lite, this pad is pretty heavy, weighing in at 1kg. Its durability, though, saves the day.

The rip-stop fabric used in this pad is thick and sturdy, and consists of material with Jet Stream foam. You could attach the Alps Mountaineering Air Pad to the back of your rucksack and not worry about it getting destroyed, which is great considering the price.

It rises to 3.8cm and while this seems a meagre amount, it will keep you warm on a mild night and comfortable on most surfaces.

Main Features
  • Durability is good as the fabric is definitely robust and truly rip-stop
  • This pad inflates and deflates quickly and easily and can either be packed or attached to a backpack
  • It adds that extra bit of comfort and support to a night’s sleep in a different, but not severe, environment
What We Like
  • The durability and surprising comfort of this sleeping pad is its greatest merit and makes the price a bargain, really
What We Dislike
  • It could definitely be warmer as it is only 3.8cm thick and there is no special insulation technology making it suitable for winter treks
  • It’s also heavy!

Backpacking Sleeping Pad Buyers Guide

Weight

The weight of a sleeping pad is vital because you don’t want to be left carrying unnecessarily heavy gear on a long trek. So, take note of weight to make your trekking life much easier.

Comfort

At the end of the day, you want to get some sleep. Choose a sleeping pad that has a reasonable thickness (we suggest 4cm and above ideally) so that you don’t end up awake all night.

Warmth

One of the main reasons for sleeping pads is warmth. You need to make sure your pad suits your circumstances, so get a warmer one if the environment is harsh, or vice versa.

Price

In order to sleep at night, you need to know you’ve got value for money. Don’t get ripped off for an average pad and instead look carefully at descriptions and reviews of alternatives to the big names.

Durability

If your pad doesn’t last for your whole trip, you’re in trouble, so get one that will reward your purchase with loyalty and durability. Choose good materials and ensure the description suits the environment you’re using the pad in.

We work with local guides to offer great value adventures at unbeatable prices