When you’re spending days in the outdoors, hauling your gear over long distances from one campsite to another in all kinds of different conditions, you need a certain kind of gear that is versatile enough to hand just about anything. The best sleeping pad for backpacking, then, is a sleeping pad that will keep you comfortable at night, and not keep you awake and staring at the tent walls. A backpacking sleeping pad is also best when it is lightweight, and not adding too much weight to your backpack.
Best Sleeping Pad for BackpackingWhat to look for when you want the best sleeping pad for backpacking.
- Weight – As any experience backpacker is no doubt well aware, lightweight gear is better than heavy gear. And sleeping pad weights can vary considerably, based on a few different variables. A mummy shaped sleeping pad, for instance, will tend to be lighter than a rectangular shaped sleeping pad.
- Kind – There are inflatable sleeping pads and then there are foam sleeping pads. Foam sleeping pads tend to be lightweight, but also not quite as well padded, and bulky too. Inflatable sleeping pads come in a wide variety of weights, but generally offer a more comfortable sleeping surface to get you through the night.
Best Sleeping Pad for Backpacking ReviewsReviews of some of the very best sleeping pads to take backpacking.
- Therm-A-Rest NeoAir - The NeoAir is an extremely popular inflatable sleeping pad, and for a good reason. At just 14 ounces, or 396 grams it's an extremely lightweight rectangular sleeping pad. It's also 2.5 inches thick, with an R-value of 2.5, making it a rather comfortable three season sleeping pad. It also won the 2009 Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice award, so a seriously good sleeping pad to take backpacking.
- Big Agnes Clearview Air Pad - Another inflatable sleeping pad, this one focused more on value oriented customers looking for a good deal. It comes in a couple of different shapes, including a mummy shape that weighs in at 14 ounces, or 396 grams. It has an R-value of just 1, so it's not particularly warm, but it's 2.5 inches thick when inflated, so it's plenty comfortable. But what really stands out about this sleeping pad is the low price.
- Therm-A-Rest Z Lite - The Z Lite is a great example of a foam sleeping pad. It has a egg carton design on top to maximize comfort while minimizing weight. It also folds up nicely in the morning, so that packing it isn't too much of a struggle. Of course with a foam sleeping pad you don't have to worry about things like punctures, which is always nice. The regular size weighs 14 ounces, or 396 grams, just like the other two sleeping pads above, and has an R-value of 2.2, and is .75 inches thick.