Best Sleeping Pad for Backpacking and a Good Night’s Rest

backpacking sleeping padPictured: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir

If you’re like me, you’ve been sleeping in tents for years without so much as a thought to how comfortable you were. The drain of the day’s activities usually wears me out so that I just wriggle into my sleeping bag and pass out. It wasn’t until I was lent a sleeping pad that I learned how much I had been missing. If getting a good night’s rest is difficult but you don’t want to lug around an air mattress, rolling up one of these sleeping pads will not only keep you warmer, but also provide you with the comfort and support you need to keep on trekking the next day.


Therm-a-Rest Prolite

thermarest prolite

Pictured: Therm-a-Rest ProLite

The Therm-a-Rest Prolite is one of the cheapest inflatable pads on the market, though you wouldn’t be able to tell by the quality put into this model. While it certainly isn’t the warmest pad on this list, it is light, durable, and doesn’t take up too much space in your pack. It’s a perfect fit for anyone who doesn’t want to shell out for a sleeping pad.

  • Self-inflating design allows for full inflation with only a few short breaths.
  • Unique pattern helps with stability and comfort despite being 1 inch thick.
  • Medium sizes only weigh 11 ounces.

Nemo Tensor Air Pad

nemo-tensor-air-pad

Pictured: Nemo Tensor

This isn’t you’re average sleeping pad. Due to its lightweight materials, packing size, and insulation, this model is perfect for your colder excursions as well as trekking in warmer weather. The fabric is reluctant to stretch so that it does away with elasticity, making the Nemo Tensor well worth the negligible packing weight.

  • Packs into an 8 x 3.5 inch cylinder.
  • Unfurls to cover 6 feet of your tent floor.
  • Keeps you 3 inches from the ground, giving you added comfort and warmth.
  • Baffled texture conforms to your body shape.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad

Pictured: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite

Pictured: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite

If the phrase “snug as a bug” appeals to you when you’re ducking into your tent after a long hike through the snow, then this is the sleeping pad for you. You’ve probably already come across the trusted name Therm-a-Rest before, but until you’ve spent a night curled up in the reflective warmth that the NeoAir provides, you’ve been missing out.

  • Packs into a cylinder no larger than a 1 liter bottle.
  • The 30d Rip Nylon fabric is incredibly soft and helps trap your body heat.
  • Baffled design makes for one of the most comfortable pads on the market.
  • Only adds 12 oz to your pack weight.

Big Agnes Q-Core

big agnes q core

Pictured: Big Agnes Q-Core

Not too many sleeping pads can hold a candle to a Therm-a-Rest, but the Big Agnes Q-Core has a few tricks up her sleeve. Though it’s a bit pricier than some of the other models on this list, the cost is definitely worth the extra features.

  • Thatched design gives the pad stability and comfort.
  • Raised edges to help the sleeper stay centered.
  • Anti-microbial treatment dissuades mold and bacteria from thriving in the folds.
  • TPU laminate nylon is unparalleled in durability.
  • The air pressure can be adjusted with a handy button to alter the pad’s firmness.

Sea to Summit Ultralight Sleeping Pad

sea to summit air pad

Pictured: Sea to Summit Ultralight Sleeping Pad

Priced in the upper mid-range as far as sleeping pads go, the Sea to Summit pays you back for every dollar you spend. Praised across the board for its comfort and ease of use, you’ll feel like you’re lying on your mattress at home when you roll this pad out. It even comes in the normal mattress sizes (single and double etc.) Though it’s not necessarily suited for cold weather, it does feature:

  • Air Sprung Cells act like mattress coils giving you maximum comfort and support.
  • A multifunction air valve that provides unique control over the air pressure and makes inflating and deflating a synch.
  • Anti-microbial treatment stops the buildup of mold and bacteria.
  • Durable ripstop nylon that will make sure your pad lasts you a long time.

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