Best Camping Sleeping Pads in 2018 (Comprehensive Guide)

When you’re out camping, there is a certain element of “roughing it” that you’re going to experience. Nonetheless, that’s no excuse to be uncomfortable while you’re out among the stars.

Sleeping while camping can be a challenge for anyone, even under the best conditions. However, although sleeping bags can help make you feel warm and cozy, they are not a complete package. To get the full comfort experience, you need a camping pad.

If you’re not sure which kind to get, we have a variety of the top brands and models from which to choose. Each one is designed with your needs in mind, so let’s see what they have to offer.

Best Camping Sleeping Pads - Comparisons

Image

Product Name

Dimensions

Weight

Price

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite

6" x 8" x 8"

12.3 ounces

Sea to Summit Comfort Plus

79" x 25" x 2.5"

19.2 ounces

Sea to Summit Comfort Light

72" x 21.5" x 2.5"

22.4 ounces

Big Agnes - Q Core SLX

8" x 4" x 4"

31.04 ounces

Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm

72" x 20" x 2.5"

16 ounces

KingCamp TRIPLE ZONE

78” x 51.2” x 1.6”

126 ounces

Therm-a-Rest EvoLite

10.6" x 5.1" x 5.1"

17.6 ounces

Lightspeed Outdoors XL

30" x 77" x 3"

96 ounces

Fox Outfitters Comfort Series

20" x 72" x 2"

64 ounces

Klymit Static V

72" x 23" x 2.5"

16 ounces

Best Camping Sleeping Pads - Reviews

1. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Ultralight Air Mattress

For the most part, camping pads are inflatable. The reason for this is that they are much easier to handle and to store. If you love backpacking or traveling light, then you will appreciate the minimal footprint that inflatable pads have. Although these units are not as soft or as thick as foam options, they are still excellent for a lot of different applications.

Even compared to other inflatables, the XLite model is much lighter and more compact than most. It can be compressed down to the size of a small water bottle, which ensures that you can bring it with you no matter what. It only weighs 12 ounces, so you probably won’t even know that it’s there.

As far as warmth and comfort, this pad has them in spades. First of all, it uses ThermaCapture technology to keep your body heat and transfer it back to you while you sleep. This is actually a three-season mattress (meaning that it’s not built for the coldest weather), so you will be quite toasty during the night. The baffled construction also traps heat much better than if the surface was flat.

Slipping is another major issue with many camping pads, but fortunately, this one doesn’t have that problem. The surface is textured, which helps it from sliding out and around you while you sleep. Also, the baffling helps keep it in place during the night.

Overall, with multiple sizes available and an R-value of 3.2, this is a decent (if somewhat pricey) camping pad. It can travel with you no matter where you go, and it will help keep you warm and comfortable during your whole trip. 

What we liked

  • Ultralight design (12 ounces)
  • Three-season mattress
  • ThermaCapture Technology
  • Triangular core matrix
  • Baffled construction minimizes heat loss
  • R-value of 3.2
  • Textured fabric ensures no slipping
  • 2.5 inches thick
  • Stuff sack included
  • Multiple sizes available

What we didn't like

  • Can be noisy to sleep on
  • In some cases, it may deflate overnight

2. Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Mat

Although comfort is the primary focus of any camping pad, you also want to be sure that you are warm throughout the night as well. Fortunately, this next model from Sea to Summit has you covered, as it comes with both a remarkable and innovative design as well as an R-value that’s better than most.

The first thing you’ll notice about this pad is how it’s shaped. Although most models are either baffled or have ridges, this one uses Air Sprung cells instead. These give it a similar appearance to “egg crate” foam pads. The purpose behind this technology is that each cell acts independently of the others, which ensures that the pad conforms to your body better. This enables the material to work more efficiently, including its ability to trap heat.

Speaking of warmth, this model comes with an R-value of 5.0. When you see what most other pads have, you will be impressed by how warm this unit is. It not only absorbs and retains heat, but the air cell design also ensures that the heat doesn’t dissipate as quickly.

One thing that you will notice about Sea to Summit camping pads is that they have a highly intuitive blower system. This allows you to inflate the whole thing in seconds, which can be a godsend when you’re out on the trail or in your campsite. You can adjust the amount of pressure that you put into the bag, which lets you inflate and deflate much faster than the competition.

What we liked

  • High-tech Air Sprung cells
    Insulated tapered design
  • Multi-function valve
  • Adjustable pressure
  • Easy inflation and deflation
  • TPU lamination with antibacterial coating
  • R-value of 5.0
  • Nylon stuff sack included
  • Various color options
  • Durable material and construction

What we didn't like

  • Can be noisy for some users
  • Heavy users will compress parts of the mat

3. Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated Mat

We’ve already seen that Sea to Summit can make a high-quality camping pad that will keep you really warm at night. This next model, however, is a lighter, more compact design that is even more perfect for backpacking or lightweight excursions into the great outdoors. When space is an issue, this is a better option than the Comfort Plus version above.

When comparing specs, the primary difference between these two models is the amount of warmth. This unit has an R-value of 4.2, which is noticeably different than the Plus. Nonetheless, it should be sufficient for most outings. In fact, this pad is rated for three seasons, so you can make it work for most of the year.

Otherwise, both of these models are really similar. The Comfort Light still uses Air Sprung cells to both conform to your body as well as trap heat inside. It has a tapered design to ensure that you don’t have too much material to pack, and it is covered with a TPU coating to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.

Finally, you still get the same intuitive inflation device as well. When compared to other inflatables, this one component makes Sea to Summit products much more convenient and reliable overall. 

What we liked

  • Ultralight design
  • Air Sprung cells for comfort
  • Antimicrobial coating
  • Thermal insulation
  • Tapered design for better fit
  • Multiple sizes and colors available
  • R-value of 4.2
  • Nylon stuff sack included
  • Fast inflation and deflation
  • Adjustable air pressure

What we didn't like

  • May be too thin for some users
  • Can be noisy when you move around

4. Big Agnes - Q Core SLX Sleeping Pad

So far, we’ve been looking at high-performance camping pads that are designed for backpackers and campers who value space and warmth above all else. However, the problem with those kinds of pads is that they are relatively thin. This means that heavier people will not get the same level of comfort because they are pressing against the ground at all times.

So, if you’re not as concerned with storage space, you may prefer something like this unit from Big Agnes. Also, if you’re a larger person who is either tall or heavy (or both), you will appreciate that you have more thickness (4.25 inches) and length on this pad. As a result, you will feel much better as you sleep and you will wake up feeling much more refreshed.

As far as warmth, this pad is decent, but it’s not as highly rated as the others we’ve seen so far. It uses a heavy-duty ripstop material to add durability and thickness to the whole thing, but it also doesn’t insulate as well as other options.

The surface of this pad is covered in TPU material that helps prevent the growth (and spread) of bacteria and mold. This coating also ensures that you don’t slip and slide all night long.

Other features of this pad include a stuff sack, a fast inflation and pressure valve, and a quilted pillow top surface that provides an extra layer of comfort and support while you sleep.

What we liked

  • Quilted pillow top surface
  • Extra long design for taller users
  • Heavy duty ripstop material 
  • TPU lamination for durability and cleanliness
  • Stuff sack provided
  • Multiple sizes available
  • Fast inflation
  • Thicker design for better comfort (4.25 inches)
  • Three-season camping pad

What we didn't like

  • Can be quite noisy
  • Bulkier than other models

5. Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm Lightweight

Although there is something to be said for choosing a self-inflating camping pad, we have to say that this model from Therm-a-Rest is still ideal, even though you have to blow it up yourself. Part of the reason that we like this is that we appreciate all of this brand’s models, and also because it’s built with efficiency and effortlessness in mind.

As with all Therm-a-Rest camping pads, this one is designed to trap heat efficiently. It does this by using a baffled surface and ThermaCapture technology. This particular model is rated for all four seasons, so it should be good to go no matter what time of year it is.

Although this unit is not considered an “ultralight” pad, it is still compact enough that it will take up little room in your backpack. At just 15 ounces, you can store it without worrying about how much space or weight it will add to your gear. However, it’s reduced girth also means that heavier users may not get the same amount of comfort, so keep that in mind.

Overall, if you’re looking for a lightweight yet warm option for your next backpacking or camping trip, you will like what the XTherm has to offer. Even though it’s not the highest rated model from Therm-a-Rest, it still gets the job done when it counts.

What we liked

  • Four-season sleeping pad
  • Baffled surface traps heat better
  • ThermaCapture Technology
  • Tapered design to reduce weight and size
    2.5-inch thick mattress
  • Weighs only 15 ounces
  • Stuff sack included
  • Multiple sizes and colors available

What we didn't like

  • More expensive than other models
  • The material may get punctured relatively easily

6. KingCamp TRIPLE ZONE Double Self Inflating Camping Sleeping Pad

For many people, camping is not an individual affair. Usually, you will go out into the wilderness with a partner, which means that you can either share a sleeping area or you can go it alone. Overall, we prefer to sleep next to someone, particularly because the nights can get awfully cold and it’s better to share body heat than to try and insulate yourself with more blankets and sleeping bags.

In this case, the Double Pad from KingCamp is the perfect way to spend your frigid evenings together with the person of your choice. The foam material is self-inflating, meaning that you can save a lot of time and effort in the process. Also, because it’s foam and not just air, it will provide you with more cushioning so that you can drift off even easier. It’s almost as good as sleeping on a mattress (provided that the ground isn’t too uneven).

One way that this model traps heat and keeps you warm is that it’s split into three zones. Each section is baffled differently, which ensures that your body heat is better reflected and contained during the night. Thus, even if you don’t have anyone to share this pad with, you should still be able to stay toasty all night long.

Other features of this camping pad include the fact that it’s made from eco-friendly materials, an Oxford carrying bag, and a damp-proof design that ensures that the foam won’t come back to your house with mold or water soaking inside.

Overall, if you are planning on sleeping with someone else, this is a fantastic pad to buy. 

What we liked

  • Self-inflating foam material
  • Two pillows included
  • Multiple sizes and colors available
  • Works for two people
  • Eco-friendly materials
  • Non-corrosive brass valves for fast inflation
  • Oxford carrying bag included
  • Two compression straps for deflation
  • Triple zone design for comfort
  • Durable 75D polyester construction
  • Damp-proof material

What we didn't like

  • Can take a while to compress, even with the straps
  • Thinner than other models

7. Therm-a-Rest EvoLite Mattress

When trying to figure out the right camping pad for your next trip, we highly recommend using a self-inflating model instead of one that you have to fill up yourself. Even though there might be some cursory blowing involved no matter what, it’s much better to save the time and energy if you can. In this case, however, the EvoLite model is kind of a cross between the two. It utilizes foam and air chambers to not only provide better comfort but to allow you to save some time when getting it ready.

One thing about using both kinds of inflation is that this pad has much more loft than those that employ just one or the other. It adds an extra two inches, which can be more than enough for most sleepers.

As with all Therm-a-Rest camping pads, this unit still comes with all of the standard features that you would expect. First of all, it uses a specialized coating to reflect heat back to you and keep you warm all night long. Secondly, it is treated to ensure that you don’t have to worry about mold or bacteria forming on the surface. Finally, it comes with a stuff sack so that you can bring it along with you wherever you go without taking up too much room.

What we liked

  • Mixture of foam and air (inflation)
  • Ultralight Airframe construction
  • Higher loft than other models
  • Self-inflating design
  • Two inches of loft
  • Stuff sack provided
  • Multiple sizes and colors available

What we didn't like

  • In rare cases, the pad may deflate overnight
  • May be too thin for some users

8. Lightspeed Outdoors XL Super Plush

When it comes to compact sizes and lightweight designs, nothing beats an inflatable camping pad. However, if you want some extra comfort and loft while you sleep, then you will really appreciate what the XL Super Plush has to offer. Not only that, but it has a much higher R-value rating than anything else on this list.

What makes this pad so unique and so reliable is the FlexFoam material from which it’s constructed. Not only does it make this model self-inflating, but it comes with an R-value of 9.66. Considering that most other pads are rated at four or below, this is incredible.

Although it’s mostly made of foam, this pad also uses air to get the right amount of comfort and thickness. To make it easier to inflate, it comes with two brass valves that won’t get damaged or compressed easily.

Overall, this pad is a bit bulky, but it provides some of the best comfort and warmth you can have, which can make it an ideal choice for many campers. Since it comes with an integrated pillow and the fact that it’s much quieter than the competition, we have to say that this is one of our favorite pads thus far.

What we liked

  • Soft and comfortable FlexFoam material
  • Self-inflating design
  • R-value of 9.66
  • Non-slip surface 
  • Three inches thick
  • Quiet operation
  • Integrated pillow for better comfort
  • Dual oversize inflating valves
  • Multiple styles available

What we didn't like

  • Thicker and heavier than other models
  • In some cases, the pad may lose air overnight

9. Fox Outfitters Comfort Series Self Inflating

As you can imagine, self-inflating camping pads are so popular these days because they take a lot of the work out of getting yourself comfortable at night. As such, this is another model that uses foam and air to make the most of your sleeping bag. Although it’s not quite as thick or as warm as the Lightspeed model above, it’s much better than most other models we’ve seen.

The reason that this foam works so well is that it utilizes open cell foam. Not only that, but it has a triple-zone pattern on the top, which ensures that you get better heat reflection and insulation.

The other primary feature of this pad is the non-slip surface. On the top side, this ensures that you don’t slide off while you sleep. On the bottom, it’s abrasion resistant, meaning that you can put it on almost any terrain and it will stay in pristine shape.

What we liked

  • Self-inflating foam design
  • Non-slip touch fabric
  • Abrasion-resistant base
  • Open cell foam for comfort and warmth
  • Triple zone pattern reflects heat better
  • Brass valves for fast inflation and deflation
  • Stuff sack and compression bands included

What we didn't like

  • Sides may compress all the way
  • In rare cases, it may develop a leak

10. Klymit Static V Lightweight Sleeping Pad

Our final camping pad is designed to be a super compact and easy to use model. It’s not built for cold weather, so we don’t recommend taking it out during the winter months (or fall, for that matter). With an R-value rating of only 1.3, it can leave a lot to be desired. However, assuming that you don’t use it when the temperatures are freezing, it should still be a super convenient and comfortable pad.

The secret to this particular model is the way it’s designed. Most other inflatable options are all one piece, meaning that the air can flow from one edge to the next, unimpeded. However, in this case, the center is made up of individualized cells. These not only ensure that you don’t have to worry about compressing one side while you sleep, but they also trap heat and warmth much more efficiently.

Other features of this pad include heavy-duty 75D polyester construction, side rails to keep the air in the center where it belongs, and non-slip materials so that you don’t wake up with the pad sitting next to you in the tent.

What we liked

  • Innovative V-chamber design
  • Non-slip materials
  • Chambers insulate and prevent movement
  • Multiple sizes and colors available
  • Fast and efficient inflation
  • Weighs only 18.6 ounces
  • Stuff sack included
  • Durable 75D polyester material
  • Side rails prevent air from shifting to one side 

What we didn't like

  • Chamber design may develop leaks more frequently
  • Low R-value rating

Final Verdict

When comparing different camping pads, it’s difficult to pinpoint one that stands above the rest, considering that they are all so great. However, when it comes to brands, we have to say that Therm-a-Rest and Sea to Summit are our top picks.

We appreciate how warm and toasty Therm-a-Rest camping pads are, but we also love the Air Sprung cell design of both Sea to Summit models. When it comes to comfort and size, all of these camping pads are created with your needs in mind.

However, if your only concern is warmth, then we have to give props to the Lightspeed Super Plush Model. This is by far the best option for both heat and loft. As long as you’re not concerned with weight or bulkiness, this is a perfect addition to your next camping trip. 

David Valle
 

I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!

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