Inflatable sleeping mats certainly have their positives, but a foam sleeping mat is also a very good choice, for a number of different reasons. For starters, foam sleeping mats tend to be lighter than their inflatable counterparts. They’re a great deal more bulky, of course, which might lead you to believe that they’re heavier, but if you can accommodate the extra bulk on your backpack then you should be able to save a few ounces of weight.
Foam Sleeping MatWhat to look for in a foam sleeping mat.
- Shape – Unlike inflatable sleeping mats, foam sleeping mats tend to be almost all rectangular. Which is not to say that it is impossible to find a mummy shaped foam mat. There is also always the option of taking an exacto knife to your rectangular foam sleeping mat, since it’s a piece of equipment that is rather hard to break or damage.
- R-Value – Regardless of the kind of sleeping mat you get, an important consider is the R-value of the sleeping pad. The higher the R-value is the more warmth will be reflected back at you when you sleep. In the winter, you definitely want as much warmth reflected back at you as possible, but in the summer it’s not much of a concern.
Best Foam Sleeping MatSome of the very best foam sleeping mats for your next camping trip.
- Therm-A-Rest Z Lite - The Z Lite is a great foam sleeping mat from Therm-A-Rest, which are well known for their many excellent sleeping mats. It uses an egg carton shape on top to enhance comfort and help keep you warm. It's also rectangular, and has an R-value of 2.2. It's only .75 inches thick, but the egg carton top helps to give you as much comfort as possible. And in the morning, it folds up accordion style, for easy storage. Finally, the whole thing weighs 14.5 ounces, or 410 grams.
- Therm-A-Rest RidgeRest SOlite - The SOlite is another rectangular foam sleeping pad like the Z Lite above, but that's where the similarities end. It uses ridges, rather than an egg carton design on top, which helps enhance comfort. It's also only .625 inches thick, though again, the ridges help with comfort. It has a solid three season R-value of 2.8, and the whole thing weighs in at 19 ounces, or 540 grams.
- Gossamer Gear Nightlight - The Nightlight is what you take if you want to save on weight. It's a torso length pad, meaning that you let your feet and lower legs hang off, since they don't really need much padding anyway. More specifically, it's 29 inches long, and folds up in to thirds for easy storage. It has an egg crate design on top, and is .75 inches thick, with an R-value of 2.27. Best of all is the weight, of course, which is just 3.5 ounces, or 100 grams, which is significantly less than any of the other pads here.