Sleeping mats are an extremely important piece of equipment for staying comfortable in the outdoors. If you’re the kind of person that finds it difficult to get a good night of sleep as it is, this is especially true. Camping can be a lot of fun, after all, but it can also be rather physically taxing, and for your body to recover after a long day outside, you need a good sleep. So while you might be tempted to get with what’s cheap, sleeping mats for camping should really be judged on their level of comfort.
Sleeping Mats for CampingWhat to look for when you want sleeping mats for camping.
- Shape – There are a few different choices that you have when it comes to the shape of your sleeping mat for camping. A rectangular mat is great, for instance, if you’re the kind of person that move around a lot at night, but then a rectangular mat also weighs more than a mummy shaped mat.
- R-Value – R-value, briefly, is a measurement of how much heat a sleeping pad will reflect back at you. In summer, when nights are fairly warm it doesn’t matter a whole lot, but in winter this can be an important variable that helps to determine how comfortable and warm you are at night.
Best Sleeping Mats for CampingSome of the very best sleeping mats for camping with.
- Therm-A-Rest NeoAir - Without a doubt, the most popular sleeping mat for camping on the market, and with good reason. It won the 2009 Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice award, but what really makes it popular is the combination of inflatable pad, rectangular shape and very low weight of 14 ounces, or 396 grams. With an R-value of 2.5 it's not suited for anything more than three season, but definitely one of the best possible choices.
- Exped DownMat 9 - Another rectangular, inflatable sleeping mat, though this one comes with a layer of down built in, to bump the R-value up to an impressive 8, making it an ideal sleeping mat for camping in winter conditions. It's also surprisingly lightweight for a winter sleeping mat, with a weight of 34.6 ounces, or 980 grams. The price is definitely a little high, but if you want to stay warm without adding a lot of weight to your backpack, you wont find a better sleeping mat then this one.
- Therm-A-Rest RidgeRest SOlite - Inflatable sleeping pads certainly aren't the only option. This rectangular foam sleeping mat has ridges to increase comfort without adding too much weight, and an aluminized surface to help reflect as much body heat as possible back at you. An R-value of 2.8 makes it suitable for three season camping, and a weight of just 14 ounces, or 396 grams makes it a relatively lightweight option as well. It also comes in a large and small size.