Camping is a lot of fun, but not if you cant manage to get a good night of sleep in. Walking up in the morning having rolled around and stared at the tent ceiling all night is no one's idea of fun. A good sleeping bag is important for getting a restful night of sleep, but equally important, and often overlooked, is a good sleeping pad. There are many excellent sleeping pads for camping out there, but finding one that will work for you will depend a lot on just what kind of sleeper you are.
Sleeping Pads for CampingWhat to look for when you are reviewing sleeping pads for camping.
- Shape - You have two basic options when it comes to camping sleeping pads. Mummy sleeping pads are tapered towards the top and bottom, and use only the minimal amount of padding. These are good sleeping pads for those who don't move around as much at night. Rectangular sleeping pads are self explanatory, and are good for those who move around a little more at night.
- Type - There are two kinds of padding when it comes to sleeping pads, which are inflatable and foam. Foam sleeping pads take up a bit more room, but also tend to weigh a bit less. Inflatable sleeping pads tend to be a bit more comfy, however.
- R-Value - R-Value is a measurement of how warm a sleeping pad is. The warmer your sleeping pad is, the more heat will be reflected back up when you're sleeping. So in winter, you want a sleeping pad with a high R-Value. You can read more about R-Values at the Sleeping Pad R-Values page.
Best Sleeping Pads for CampingA select few of the best sleeping pads for camping.
- Exped DownMat Sleeping Pad - If you are looking for a sleeping pad for winter, there are few better than the DownMat. It has an extremely high R-Value of 8, which comes from a layer of down built in to the top of the sleeping pad. It's also 3.5 inches thick when inflated, so you get plenty of padding. It's rectangular shaped, but at 2.2 pounds, or 1020 grams, it's actually quite a bit lighter than comparable sleeping pads.
- Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad - The NeoAir is likely the most popular sleeping pad out there at the moment. It won the 2009 Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice award, and has only gotten better since then. It's also rectangular, and is 2.5 inches thick and has an R-value of 2.5, but where it really stands out is weight, at just 14.5 ounces, or 410 grams.
- Nightlight Sleeping Pad - Foam is definitely a different sleeping experience from inflatable, which most people find a little less comfortable. If, however, you don't mind a hard sleeping surface, then there are some definite advantages to foam sleeping pads like the Nightlight. For one, it weighs less, at just 12 ounces, or 340 grams, and is rectangular, with a egg shell design for improved comfort to weight. It's also only 3/4 length, so either your feet or your head will hang off, but all the important contact points will be padded with .75 inches of foam.
- Big Agnes Clearview Air Pad - If you're not looking to spend too much, then the Clearview series of camping sleeping pads is a great option. There is a rectangular and mummy option, and also a number of lengths. All are 2.5 inches thick, and the average weight is about 15 ounces, or 425 grams, which is a very respectable weight, especially for the price.