There are two main categories when it comes to sleeping pads. You have inflatable sleeping pads and then you have the foam sleeping pad selection. There are a couple advantages to using foam or inflatable, the most obvious being that you cant puncture a foam sleeping pad. They also take a lot less work to set up, and can also be extremely lightweight, which is a nice touch for backpackers.
Foam Sleeping PadFeatures to look for on foam sleeping pads.
- Design - There are a couple different design patterns to choose from when you're shopping for foam sleeping pads. The familiar egg shell pattern, for instance, provides plenty of cushion, while other designs, like ridges, provide the same thing, just in a different way. The difference is largely one of preference.
- Material - You might think that all foam sleeping pads are more or less the same, but there are actually a few different kinds of foam available with foam sleeping pads, each with their own positives and negatives to choose from.
Best Foam Sleeping PadThe very best foam sleeping pads.
- Big Agnes Giant Pad - This sleeping pad is something a little different. It's actually made of memory foam, so it conforms to your body and gives you a slightly different kind of camping sleep experience. It's 1 inch thick, and comes in a variety of sizes and shapes, with the average weight being about 43 ounces, or 1226 grams. So it's not light, but it would certainly be comfortable. Also has an R-value of 3.5.
- Therm-A-Rest RidgeRest SOlite Pad - The RidgeRest, true to its name, is designed with parallel ridges down the length of the sleeping pad. It also has an aluminized surface, to help reflect body heat back at you while you sleep. Speaking of body heat, the RidgeRest has an R-value of 2.8. It also weighs 19 ounces, or 540 grams for the regular length version.
- Therm-A-Rest Z-Lite Sleeping Pad - The Z-Lite has the very popular egg carton design, which helps to trap in warm air, and is quite comfortable to sleep on. The Z-Lite has an R-value of only 2.2, so not quite as warm as the other two foam sleeping pads, but it does weigh just 14.5 ounces, or 410 grams for the regular length, so you do save a certain amount of weight for that reduced R-value.