Backpacks, sleeping bags and tents tend to be the three heaviest items in a set of backpacking gear, but a sleeping pad will often come in fourth, so it really pays to look for the lightest sleeping pad that you can find. You want to be careful, however, to balance the weight of your sleeping pad with the comfort of your sleeping pad. A lightweight sleeping pad will make your load a little lighter, but if you don’t get any sleep that’s not going to matter very much.
Lightest Sleeping PadWhat to look for when you want the lightest sleeping pad possible.
- Foam or Inflatable – If you really want the lightest sleeping pad possible then you are likely going to want a foam sleeping pad. Which is not to say, however, that there are no lightweight inflatable sleeping pads. If you want the additional comfort of an inflatable sleeping pad, there are certainly lightweight options available.
- Length – One way to save weight with a sleeping pad is to get a short length. Your feet and lower legs generally don’t need much, if any padding, and getting rid of that much of the sleeping pad will reduce the weight by quite a bit. Similarly, a mummy shaped sleeping pad gets rid of a lot of excess material as well.
Lightest Sleeping Pad ReviewsA few reviews of the lightest sleeping pads on the market.
- Klymit Inertia X Frame - The X Frame is in fact just a frame. Rather than being a uniform sleeping pad, it's a series of attached inflated tubes, so that you have just the essential inflation, and no more. Really, there's no substitute for seeing it. The end result, however, is an extremely lightweight sleeping pad, at just 9.1 ounces, or 257 grams. It's only 1.5 inches thick, and because there's pieces missing it's a little difficult to calculate an R-value, but still, if you want the lightest inflatable sleeping pad, this is it.
- Therm-A-Rest NeoAir - The NeoAir is not especially lightweight, compared to the X Frame above, at 14 ounces, or 396 grams, but it's one of the lightest conventional sleeping pads around. If you want a lightweight rectangular, inflatable sleeping pad, then this is it. It won the 2009 Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice award, and is one of, if not the most popular sleeping pad out there. It's 2.5 inches thick, which is more than enough, and has a 2.5 R-value,which is warm enough for spring, summer, and fall in most places. So if you want lightweight and a conventional design, this is it.
- Gossamer Gear Nightlight - The Nightlight is another unconventionally designed sleeping pad. It's foam, but it's just 29 inches long, and is intended for just your torso, so that your lower body hangs off the end. If you're used to hard sleep then it's not much a burden, but if you're not used to it, it might seem a little uncomfortable. But at about 3.5 ounces, or 100 grams you're not going to find anything lighter than this. It also comes in a heavier, 59 inch long version.