Why buy sleeping pads for camping?
Camping trips require a lot of gear and accessories. Apart from your shelter, food, and safety supplies, it’s important to consider your choice of sleeping surface. Cots, sleeping bags, and hammocks are all good options. The ground can be uncomfortably cold when sleeping outside in a sleeping bag, even during the warmer seasons. Sleeping pads not only offer a nice cushioned sleeping surface, but they also provide crucial protection from frigid temperatures. When sleeping off the ground on a cot or hammock, whether you need a sleeping pad largely depends on the temperature and your desire for cushioning. On chilly evenings, the insulation will keep you warm, while the cushion will keep you comfy.
What should you look for in sleeping pads for camping?
- Type: There are three primary types of sleeping pads, each with advantages and disadvantages. Closed-cell foam mats are sturdy, easy to use, long-lasting, and reasonably priced, but they are not as comfortable as inflated pads. Manually inflated sleeping pads (air pads) must be inflated by blowing into a valve or using a pump. This style is good if you want a lightweight pad with ample cushioning. Self-inflating mats are easy to use, sturdy, and well-insulated. If you’re concerned about inflated pads getting punctured, there are repair kits available that can patch them up.
- Insulation (R-Value): The insulation quality of a sleeping pad is critical to a good night’s sleep. A pad’s R-value determines its ability to resist heat loss, with greater R-values indicating more insulation. You’ll see R-values ranging from less than two to five or higher.
- Weight and Packability: A lightweight sleeping pad will be easier to pack and carry on your trek. While necessary for insulation, remember that a pad with a higher R-value will often be heavier. Closed-cell foam mats may also seem bulky, although shorter ones are lighter. Double-check the weight listing on the sleeping pad you’re considering and plan how best to transport it during your trip.
- Length: Sleeping pads are usually about 72 inches or longer. This size works well to keep the entire length of your body warm and cushioned while you’re sleeping. There are shorter pads, often about 48 inches, for those needing something more compact for their travels.
Should you have a sleeping pad when you use a hammock?
While sleeping in a hammock, a sleeping pad will improve your comfort and help you stay more stable. It will also keep you warmer by providing insulation from the chilly air underneath you. Hammock-specific pads are designed to fit snugly within a hammock. Kits are also available to help adapt regular sleeping pads to be placed comfortably in a hammock.
Sleepingo Self-Inflatable Sleeping Pad
This sleeping pad is ultralight and compact yet provides excellent insulation and durability.
Pros: Lightweight during transport yet comfortable during use, The Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad is our top pick. This pad is ideal for keeping you comfortable with its 2-inch thick support that cushions on varied terrain. The soft, quiet nylon material is flexible and durable to stay inflated for a peaceful night’s rest. Furthermore, at just 14 ounces, this lightweight pad packs down to the size of a water bottle when it’s time to travel.
Cons: Some may find the inflate/deflate valve difficult to fill and close successfully. It can be tricky to use and may require practice to get it right. If the valve is not sealed correctly, air may seep out, causing the pad to deflate while in use.
Bottom Line: If you want good value in a lightweight sleeping pad, this one from Sleepingo may be a great option. Its ultralight-packed weight will keep you comfortable while carrying, and the 2-inch cushion and 2.1 R-value insulation will help keep you comfortable while you sleep.
Clostnature Self Inflating Sleeping Pad for Camping
This self-inflating sleeping pad will have you wake up feeling rested and ready for your next adventure.
Pros: One of the most important things you need is a good night’s sleep when you’re out in the backcountry. That’s where this sleeping pad comes in. Its memory foam padding offers exceptional comfort and support, ensuring you can get a restful sleep even when camping on rough terrain. Plus, with up to four R-value insulation, it’ll keep you warm and cozy even in chilly weather. The self-inflating design makes it a breeze to set up, and you won’t need to carry a bulky pump with you on your trip. When you’re ready to pack up and move on, simply deflate and roll it up. It’s lightweight and compact, so it won’t weigh you down or take up too much space in your backpack. As a bonus, the snap design lets you connect two sleeping pads, making it perfect for couples or families.
Cons: This sleeping pad may lose its firmness after a few months, and the pillow may not stay inflated overnight. You also can’t remove the pillow, the straps aren’t the most durable, and it may prove difficult to roll up and store, especially the thicker options.
Bottom Line: All in all, this sleeping pad is an excellent investment for anyone who wants to enjoy a comfortable and restful night’s sleep while exploring the great outdoors. And since you can choose how thin or thick you prefer your sleeping pad, it’ll provide the same levels of comfort and warmth you want, even in rough terrain and chilly weather.
Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad
V-shaped chambers on this sleeping pad offer extra support at your pressure points.
Pros: The Klymit sleeping pad is a good option for those looking for a lightweight, compact, and easy-to-inflate sleeping pad for camping or backpacking trips. This uniquely designed sleeping pad features a V-Chamber pattern that contours to your body for support. It also includes side rails that center you on the pad and prevent air escape. At 18.7 ounces and a pack size of 3 by 8 inches, backpackers appreciate its lightweight for easy transport.
Cons: This non-insulated option wouldn’t be ideal during colder months. In addition, several customers have reported issues with the pad leaking air or developing holes after just a few uses. This can be frustrating and result in a poor night’s sleep or even abandoning your trip altogether.
Bottom Line: This durable, 72 by 23 inflatable sleeping pad is great for side, back, and stomach sleepers looking for good support, durability, and a light-packed weight. If camping in cooler weather, you may want to look at Klymit’s insulated option.
Hikenture Double Sleeping Pad
Two people can camp comfortably with this double sleeping pad.
Pros: Two people camping together could use two individual sleeping pads, but a gap could cause contact with the hard ground. The Hikenture Double Sleeping Pad solves this problem since it is built for two. This double-wide sleeping pad provides a snug surface for tent or car camping. It’s comfortable and efficient, measuring 3.75 inches thick. The pad weighs 3.64 pounds, measures 79 by 47 by 3.75 inches when fully inflated, and packs down to 13.8 by 5.9 inches when not used. A built-in foot pump lets you fill it using the double-decked valve. It also includes a storage bag for convenient transport.
Cons: The material of this sleeping pad can be loud during movement. If either of the sleepers moves around a lot at night, this can interrupt rest. This may not be a great option for restless sleepers.
Bottom Line: This pad is a good choice for two campers who want to sleep without the shifting and gapping of two side-by-side sleeping pads. The more still you are, the better.
Gear Doctors Self-Inflating Camping Sleeping Pad
Just open the valve to set up this self-inflating sleeping pad.
Pros: This sleeping pad from Gear Doctors offers an easy, self-inflated setup. It also has great insulation with an R-value of 4.3, making it ideal for camping in colder weather. It weighs 2.2 pounds and packs to 8 by 12 inches, making it a good option for backpacking. It also features a hypoallergenic sleeping surface that measures 72 by 22 inches and is 1.5 inches thick.
Cons: The 22-inch width may be too narrow for some and not wide enough for side sleepers. This may be difficult to roll up and pack, and some did not find this to be lightweight enough for long trips. In addition, it may be too noisy for sleepers that move around.
Bottom Line: This may be a good option if you want an inflatable pad that doesn’t have to be blown up or pumped. The 4.3 R-value will help keep you warm, but remember that the 22-inch width may not be ideal for some.
Camping trips should be exciting adventures, but back and hip pain or cold nights from sleeping on the ground can ruin the fun. Avoid that fate by choosing one of these sleeping pads for camping so you can have comfortable, restful nights in the great outdoors.