A sleeping pad is an essential piece of equipment for going camping. The best sleeping pad for camping will do a few things. First, it wont weigh too much, so that you don’t have to carry around a big, heavy sleeping pad. Second, a good sleeping pad for camping will keep you warm and comfortable at night. Everything else aside, if you are staring at the ceiling of your tent all night, then your sleeping pad is not doing its job properly.
Best Sleeping Pad for CampingWhat to look at when you want the best sleeping pad for camping with.
- Type – Sleeping pads come in two different varieties. First, there are foam sleeping pads, which are typically quite light, but also bulky and maybe not quite as comfortable as inflatable sleeping pads, which are the second, often heavier option for taking camping.
- R-Value – If you plan on going camping in the winter, or any time of the year when it’s cold, you are going to want a sleeping pad with a high R-value. The higher a sleeping pads R-value is, the more body heat it will reflect. In the winter, that reflected body heat can be difference between a chilly night and a nice, toasty warm night.
Best Sleeping Pad for Camping ReviewsReviews of a select few of the best sleeping pads for taking camping.
- Therm-A-Rest RidgeRest SOlite - If you want the lightness and simplicity of a foam sleeping pad, then the SOlite is a great choice. It's .62 inches thick, but features ridges built in to the top of the sleeping pad, which helps to increase thickness, and thus comfort, without increasing the weight too much. It also has an aluminized surface, which helps to up the R-value to 2.8, a solid number for most three season outdoor adventures. All that in a 14 ounce, or 396 gram package.
- Therm-A-Rest NeoAir - The NeoAir is the ideal inflatable sleeping pad. It's rectangular, so there's no shortage of square footage if you like to move around at night, and it's also 2.5 inches thick, which is plenty of comfort. All that and it weighs just 14 ounces, or 396 grams, making it just as light as the SOlite above, and a lot lighter than most other inflatable sleeping pads. It also has an R-value of 2.5, making it more than suitable for most three season use. It also won the 2009 Backpacker magazine Editor's Choice award. So lightweight and comfortable, which is about all you could hope for from a camping sleeping pad.
- Exped DownMat 9 - The DownMat is definitely not light, at 34.6 ounces, or 980 grams, but then it also has an R-value of 8, which is one of the highest on the market, and when you compare it to other sleeping pads with a similar R-value, that's a downright impressive weight. An R-value of 8 will keep you warm down to somewhere around -36, assuming your sleeping bag can go that low, and the DownMat manages that by using 700 fill down on the top of the sleeping pad, to provide you with plenty of insulation. Down is also how it manages to be so light in comparison to other four season sleeping pads, which mostly use foam for insulation. So if you're going camping in the winter, the best sleeping pad for you is something like the DownMat.