Some people love camping and would happily lay on a bumpy floor and not worry about it. For a lot of people though they can be put off camping as it’s uncomfortable but if you get the best sleeping pads for camping, then you are able to change all of that.
Finding the best backpacking sleeping pad though involves making sure that you get the right size and weight as well as making sure that it ranks well in durability and thickness. Apart from that you need to get the right fit for you with the length, shape and width among other factors.
There is a lot to take in so to help along the way we have created a buying guide to answer all of your questions, while also checking the sleeping pads for camping reviews to come up with a list of the best sleeping pads on the market to ensure that you can find the top rated backpacking sleeping pad for you.
How To Choose The Best Sleeping Pad For Camping – Buying Guide
Size is going to be one of your main considerations in a couple of different ways. Firstly you have to ensure that it’s going to fit in your tent as if it doesn’t then you’ll be left with the options of either abandoning your pad or sleeping outside in the cold.
I’d important therefore to know the measurements of the space that you are going to be sleeping is as you can then plan the size that you need your pad to be and if you need one pad for your camping trip or a number of different pads.
There is another consideration when it comes to size as well as you want to ensure that you’re going to be able to carry it so you need to make a plan for this. Most of these models will fold down to a very small size but can still take up a lot of space. Before you buy a pad for camping you need to know where you are going to be carrying it and if it’s practical.
All of the products that we have mentioned here today are lightweight considering their size and some are more important than others. If you’re used to carrying a large amount of equipment in your backpack then an extra bit of weight won’t be an issue as it’s only marginally more weight.
If you’re only used to carrying light loads though, this could be important. The lightest sleeping pads out there can weigh under a pound which is extremely light and easy to carry. Most of the products though sit in the range of between 1 and 2 pounds depending on the product type and also their size among other factors.
There are products out there above 2 pounds though and these are products which are generally on the largest end of the scale when it comes to size which is why they weigh more. This is still quite light though but you want to ensure that you can comfortably carry something before you buy it.
A sleeping bag could have all the best features in the world but it’d all be pretty meaningless if it wasn’t comfortable but that is the reason that you buy the product so that you are able to get a great night’s sleep wherever you are in the world
Generally the thinking is that the thicker the backpacking pad, the more comfortable that it’s going to be. While this is true in a lot of cases, there are obviously a lot of other factors that can affect your comfort too but the thickness is a big indicator of how good your sleep is going to be.
One of the key aspects that you’re looking for is the padding to be evenly distributed throughout the bag with numerous different air or foam pockets so that your weight can be spread throughout the pad and offers the highest level of support. The structure of the pad is as important as its thickness and you also want to make sure that no pebbles or material can be felt through the pad.
Another aspect when it comes to comfort is the fact that you want to ensure that you have enough sleeping space. If you are small and petite then this is going to be much less of an issue but if you’re tall with broad shoulders then you need to make sure that the pad is going to be comfortable enough for you to sleep on without going over the sides.
When you’re out there camping then the only warmth you are going to get is most likely going to be from just your body. This works in two ways as firstly you want to be insulated from the cold ground and you want a backpacking pad that is going to be able to stop that cold temperature from getting to your body.
There is usually a rating for this that you will want to check and this will ensure that you are staying warm throughout the night, even when the temperature drops. It doesn’t matter how comfortable the padding is if you have to spend the whole night being cold.
There is another way that a pad can combat cold and that is by having a pad which is designed to retain the body heat that you have with either a surface that retains heat or pockets which will be able to keep that heat in. If you’re going to be camping in a cold climate then these features are obviously important in making sure that you stay as warm as possible.
As with any product that is made for camping, it has to be durable as it’s going to be in a very rough and tough environment. Not only does your backpacking pad have to deal with rocks and other debris that is going to be on the ground but there are also a multitude of things that it could catch itself as well as general wear and tear.
Getting a durable pad then it vital in order for it to have a long life so you want to look out for a pad which is made from the highest quality materials that you can possibly have so you know that it’s not going to fail you when you need it the most.
This durability also extends to any valves that it might have as if they fail then you’re going to be in big trouble. When looking at a lot of these products one key factor in knowing they are well made is the type of warranty that they offer. You always feel as though if you have a well-made product then they will be happy to offer a long guarantee on it.
Thickness can be a both a negative and a positive when it comes to a pad for camping. The obvious advantage is that the thicker a pad then the more likely that it is to be more comfortable and give you a decent night’s sleep. Obviously you wish that you could take away your mattress from home but a thick pad is a good substitute.
The downside though is that the thicker the mat, the more weight it will have and the wider its profile will be when you’re trying to carry it. In that respect it’s a balance between the comfort that you want while you’re sleeping and the comfort that you want when you’re hiking.
The design and structure of a pad are vital in this respect as you want a pad to have the maximum level of comfort while still being able to roll it down to a small size. You also want to ensure that the mattress is thick enough so that you don’t feel any stones or debris that the pad is laid on.
When it comes to camping the R-Value is a reference to how much your pad is going to insulate you from the ground that you will be lying on which is especially important if you are going to be camping in colder climates and especially on frozen or snowy ground.
In terms of the rating number, the higher the better, as a higher number will mean that you will be better insulated from the ground. You’ll know how important this is if you’ve ever slept on an airbed on cold ground as that cold air soon circulates beneath you which can be very uncomfortable.
You may think that getting a high-quality sleeping bag can compensate for this and it does in some respects but as your body will be compressing the insulation that it has, you’re still going to feel some chill coming through the bag. Obviously the importance of this depends on where you’ll be camping as if you’re a fair weather camper who will only do it in the summer months then it’s not as important.
It’s up to you how important to you how important packed size is but obviously you want it to be as small as possible. If you want to be able to put it into your backpack then this is going to be a much bigger issue than if you’re happy to just tie it onto the bottom for example.
As they rely on air for their comfort and support, the air pads that we have commonly featured here are going to be a lot more compact than any other option and can fold down to a very small size. Foam pads are going to be a bit bulkier than their counterparts so it’s important to check their packed size to ensure that this is going to be something that you can easily carry.
Length and Shape
When buying a pad you need to ensure that it’s going to be the right length and shape for you and your body type. The biggest pressure points when you are sleeping and your hips and your shoulders so you want to ensure that they are fully protected but you want the length of your body length to be covered for the highest level of comfort.
There are generally who different shapes that it comes to sleeping pads and that is whether they are rectangular in shape or a mummy shape. If you are the type of person who sleeps on their back then having a pad in the mummy shape would probably be the best as this will cut down on size and weight.
If you move around in your sleep or sleep on your side then it’s probably going to be the best idea to get a rectangular shape as you know this is going to give you the greatest level of all-around support for your whole body, so this is a personal preference depending on each individual.
If you have a foam pad then this isn’t something that you’re going to have to worry about which is one of the advantages of that option. For the air pads though they will involve inflation through a valve but this shouldn’t take too much effort on your part.
There are self-inflating pads which once you open the valve are about to suck in the air around them which takes a lot of the effort out of having to blow up the pad but these will require an extra bit of manual inflation at the end to bring them up to their full size.
There is also the option of having a regular value and these can either be valves that you can twist or flat valves which sit petty much flush to the surface. These require a bit more effort from the user but can be fully inflated in under 15 breaths which is the same as blowing up a few balloons
The natural instinct would be to get a pad that is as wide as you can possibly get but there are other factors that come into play here. With a lot of these products they are packed away by folding over the width and then rolling them up.
That means that the wider a pad is, the wider it is going to be too carry so you have to take this into account. For example the Klymit Luxe model is very comfortable to sleep on as it is very wide but is 10 inches long when it is folded down.
Another advantage of having a foam pad is that it can’t be punctured so you’re not going to have a ruined trip if you stumble upon something sharp. With taking an air pad it is wise to pack a small repair kit with you so you are able to fix it and still have a comfortable night’s sleep. A lot of the air pads we have featured here come with a repair kit so it’s good to look out for.
Another disadvantage of an air pad is the noise that they make which can be troublesome for light sleepers as they can make squeaking noises although this is worse when they have been taken straight out of the box. If you are worried at noise then it might be best to get a foam pad as this won’t have the same level of issues.
Air vs Foam
There are two main disadvantages when it comes to foam pads and those are that they are generally bulkier so they are harder to carry around and they also don’t rank quite as well in comfort. They are though cheaper than air pads which is another factor and you don’t have to worry about pumping them up, puncturing them or the noise they make. Air pads though roll up very tightly and offer you a more comfortable night’s sleep.
Q: What Is A Sleeping Pad?
Effectively a sleeping pad is a replacement for your mattress when you’re out there camping. It will be able to keep you warm and comfortable while you are laying down without the common problems that can be associated with camping.
Naturally, they can’t replace your mattress as they also need to roll up to a convenient size so you are able to carry them to wherever they need to be. A pad will make your camping trip a lot more enjoyable and a lot more comfortable as well.
Q: Why Do I Need Sleeping Pad For Camping?
You don’t. If you’re the type of person who can be happy sleeping on the ground then it won’t be required, for everyone else who needs comfort to have a good night’s sleep they are absolutely vital in order to have an enjoyable camping experience.
Not only will they be able to give you a better night’s sleep but they will also make sure that you don’t get a sore back or any other problems which can be associated with sleeping on the floor. After a long day of hiking as well, you want to be able to get a good a night’s sleep as possible.
Q: How Do I Clean My Sleeping Pad?
Most of these sleeping pads come in a fabric which is very easy to wipe down and a fabric which won’t be able to harbor any bacteria. In order to clean them you can simply wipe them down with a hot cloth and add a bit of soap if required and keep them away from a machine.
In regards to the care of a product, if you can you want to be able to leave the pad unfurled while you are not using it so it is able to retain its shape. This is especially important if you have a foam pad as its shape is a lot more likely to be altered than an aid pad.
Globo Surf Overview
For many people camping can be seen as a chore, especially by those who have trouble sleeping as the prospect of having to sleep on the floor can be too much to ask. For others, they might enjoy the camping experience but still wish they could have a little more comfort and that’s where having the best sleeping pad comes in, as it will be able to give you a great night’s sleep wherever you are.
Choosing the best sleeping pad though means taking many various aspects into account with perhaps the number one features is size as you simply have to get a product which not only matches the size of you but only the tent that you are going to be sleeping on. To do this you need to select the appropriate length and width, this is an important step as it will ensure that you get the comfort level you are looking for from your camping pad.
If you’re looking for a hiking pad then you also want to ensure that it has a low enough weight for it to be comfortable enough for you to carry around but obviously the bigger you camping sleeping bag is, the heavier it is going to be. If you’re looking for an ultralight pad then you may have to choose a product on the shorter side. All the products we have reviewed here will give you a lightweight pad as they are all under 3 pounds in weight.
Other considerations matter too such as how warm they are going to keep you and how much they are going to insulate you from the ground. Durability is another factor, especially if you are choosing an air pad and it is always the best practice to bring a small repair kit should be worst to happen. In regards to choosing an air or a foam sleeping mat, air pads will give you more comfort with a smaller pack size but are more expensive whereas foam pads are bulkier but are cheaper and you don’t have to worry about punctures.
When you have taken everything into account then you’ll be able to buy your new pad with confidence as you will know exactly what to look for in the best camping sleeping pads. Once you have you’ll be able to set out on your camping trip and have the best night’s sleep you have ever had in a tent.