Of the two main choices for sleeping pads, which are foam and inflatable, an inflatable sleeping mat is considered, by many people, to be the better choice of the two. One of the clearest advantages of using an inflatable sleeping mat over a foam mat is that the inflatable mat is not nearly as bulky. Of course it’s just about impossible to damage a foam sleeping mat, while the same certainly cannot be said of inflatable sleeping mat. So there are pros, and also cons.
Inflatable Sleeping MatWhat to look for when shopping for an inflatable sleeping mat.
- Shape – Sleeping mats come in a rectangular shape, a mummy shape and every shape in between. A mummy shaped sleeping mat definitely saves on weight, but might be a little small for someone who likes to toss and turn at night. A rectangular sleeping mat is heavier, of course, but gives you some room to move around at night.
- R-Value – It’s also important to consider the R-value of your sleeping pad, especially if you plan on doing any winter camping. A high R-value is indicative of a sleeping mat that will reflect a good amount of body heat, and in the winter time you need all of the body heat that you can get to stay toasty warm.
Best Inflatable Sleeping MatThe very best inflatable sleeping mats to keep you comfortable in the outdoors.
- Therm-A-Rest NeoAir - The NeoAir is an extremely popular inflatable sleeping pad, in part because it won the 2009 Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice award. But it's also popular because it's a rectangular inflatable sleeping pad that weighs just 14 ounces, or 396 grams, which is a rather impressive weight. It's also 2.5 inches thick, so plenty comfortable, and has an R-value of 2.5, so plenty warm for three season use. A solid all-around inflatable sleeping mat.
- Exped DownMat 9 - The DownMat is not lightweight, at 34.6 ounces, which is 980 grams, but it also has an R-value of 8, making it suitable down to -36, and compared to sleeping mats with a similar R-value it's impressively lightweight. Part of the reason for that is that it uses 700 fill down on the top of the mat to add warmth, whereas most other four season sleeping mats use foam for insulation. It's also 3.5 inches thick, so very comfortable, and even comes in a larger deluxe size that is wider and longer, for extra comfy nights in the cold.
- Big Agnes Clearview Air Pad - The Clearview is made with value in mind. It's one of the cheaper inflatable sleeping pads around, and isn't much beyond just a basic sleeping pad. The R-value is just 1, for example, so you cant expect it to add much in the way of warmth to your sleeping experience. It does, however, come in a few different shapes and lengths, including a mummy shape, and weighs just 14 ounces, or 396 grams, which for the basic price, is certainly a decently light weight. So not feature rich, but still with some definite positives, including a low price.