6 Best Camping Sleeping Pads: Reviews and Buying Guide for 2020

Whether sleeping under the stars leaves you sore and achy or chilled to the bone, it may be past time to upgrade your camping gear. A ground cloth may not be enough, even with a high-quality sleeping bag. The best camping sleeping pad will have you waking refreshed and extend your season outdoors.

Benefits to Sleeping Pads

If you haven’t shopped for camping equipment in a while, you may wonder why choosing the best camping sleeping pad is so important. That’s because textile technology has made huge strides, and these benefits have filtered down to outdoor enthusiasts. 

You’ll find the latest advances in camping gear have improved waterproofing, air-wicking, insulating, and overall, ensuring your safety and comfort in the great outdoors.

Comfort

Comfort is at the top of the list when it comes to sleeping pads. The extra padding can go a long way in relieving pressure points from sleeping on the ground. The right sleeping pad can also minimize the effect of compacted earth and rocks if you haven’t chosen the best spot.

Warmth

Staying warm and dry is critical when you’re camping in cold weather. When sleeping on the cold ground, you’ll lose body heat rapidly, resulting in hypothermia.

So, in some cases, choosing the best camping sleeping pad can be a matter of life or death.

These two factors can significantly impact the quality of your sleep. If you’re camping rough, you’ll need to stay bright-eyed and alert. Good quality sleep, even in the woods, is critical.

Types of Camping Sleeping Pads

Camping sleeping pads come in two basic types: inflatable and foam pads. Each has its distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Inflatable pads can offer a lot of comfort, along with excellent insulation. On the downside, they can be cumbersome to pack and store and time-consuming to inflate. They can also become punctured, which is a lot of no-fun to deal with in the night.

Foam pads offer reasonable padding and adequate insulation. The quality of both will depend on the model. While they’re great choices for backpack camping, they’re certainly not as comfortable as inflatable pads.

Learn more about foam vs. inflatable sleeping pads in the following video:

https://youtu.be/LYdKGuIqj3o

What to Look for in the Best Camping Sleeping Pad

To choose the right sleeping pad for your next camping trip, keep some of the following factors in mind:

1. Type of Camping

Are you car camping or backpack camping? If you’re car camping to a drive-up site, you won’t need to worry about the weight or size of your sleeping pad. You can carry as large and cumbersome a model as you like for top comfort.

On the other hand, if you’re hiking to the site, you’ll want something that packs up small and carries light.

2. Season

One of the most important aspects of the best camping sleeping pad is its “R-value.” R-value is the number that expresses how well a product insulates the user from extreme temperatures.

If you’re planning some winter camping, you want to choose a sleeping pad with a high R-value to ensure minimal heat loss during sleep.

An R-value of 3 or higher is suitable for cooler weather. Below 3 means it's best for summer camping and only suitable for offering padding against the hard ground.

If you’re planning to camp in the winter on frozen ground, choose an R-value of 5 or higher.

3. Size

What kind of sleeper are you? Do you toss and turn? If so, you’ll want a sleeping pad that’s wide enough to keep your splayed limbs from touching the ground. And of course, if you’re tall, you’ll want a sleeping pad long enough to keep you comfortable from top to bottom.

Best Camping Sleeping Pad Under $50

If your budget is tight or you want to travel light, these two excellent options should keep you sleeping warm and dry in the great outdoors. 

Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad

This light and easy-to-pack sleeping pad is 2.2 inches thick and measures 75 by 23 inches. It’s tear-resistant and made from heavy-duty nylon, so it’s sure to stand up to the elements.

Pros:

  • Packs down to 8 by 3.5 inches
  • Air cell design reduces pressure on joints
  • Adequate support for side sleeping
  • Extremely durable
  • Easy to inflate

Cons:

  • R-value is only 2.1
  • Not very wide or long
  • The valve can hard to close

Gear Doctors Self Inflating Camping Sleeping Pad

This camping sleeping pad from Gear Doctors offers a respectable R-value of 4.3 for camping in cooler weather. It weighs about 2 pounds and packs down to 8 by 12 inches, so it’s a suitable choice for backpack camping during early spring and late fall.

It also offers a hypoallergenic sleeping surface measuring about 75 by 24 inches and 1.5 inches thick.

Pros:

  • Inflated/cell foam hybrid
  • Self-inflating
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Flexible enough to use on cots and hammocks 

Cons:

  • Narrow profile 
  • Not wide enough for restless sleepers
  • Could be thicker

Best Camping Sleeping Pad Under $100

If you’re looking for a bit more padding or extra width in a sleeping pad, you can find many excellent sleeping pads at this price point.

Bessport XL Sleeping Pad

Measuring a roomy 78 by 26 inches and 2 inches thick, the Bessport XL sleeping pad is an excellent choice for taller campers. This self-inflating model offers plenty of loft control so you can adjust it to the firmness you need. The TPU coating is waterproof and keeps you sleeping dry.

Pros:

  • Self-inflating and deflating for ease of set up
  • High-density foam core provides back support
  • Excellent R-value of 6.2 for winter camping
  • Connection snaps hooks up pads for couples or to insulate an entire tent floor
  • Stretch knit cover is kind to skin and keeps noisy to a minimum

Cons:

  • May not inflate as thick as advertised
  • You may have to blow it up a little more after using the pump

WELLAX UltraThick FlexFoam Sleeping Pad

This 3-inch thick sleeping pad offers durable comfort with superlative insulation. It measures 77 by 28 inches, which provides plenty of room to spread out. It also boasts a waterproof, tear-resistant, and quiet cover for a good night’s sleep.

Pros:

  • Excellent R-value of 9.6
  • Self-inflating for ease of use
  • Memory foam core keeps you stable during sleep
  • Suitable for side sleepers
  • Generous 3-inch padding

Cons:

  • Too heavy and bulky for hiking
  • Difficult to roll up and store
  • Hard to deflate

Best Camping Sleeping Pad in Class

While the models above should have you sleeping peacefully under the stars, we’ve saved the best for last.

You may want the best camping sleeping pad to help you overcome physical challenges so you can spend more time in the woods for years to come. You may also be looking for that perfect sleeping pad for special occasions, like romantic getaways, and need a bit more room.

These are our favorite models at any price point.

Lightspeed Outdoors XL Super Plush 

If you toss and turn all night and need some extra width, the Lightspeed might be the best camping sleeping pad for you. It offers a nice width of 30 inches. It’s 77 inches long and 3 inches thick when inflated.

Pros:

  • Built-in pillow for head support
  • Soft cloth cover for quiet movement
  • Dual air valves for inflating and deflating
  • Impressive R-value of 9.66
  • Non-PVC materials for low odor sleeping

Cons:

  • A bit bulky to store
  • Valves have been problematic

OT QOMOTOP Self-Inflating Camping Foam Mattress

If you’re more into glamping than camping, this luxurious and generously sized sleeping pad from OT QOMOTOP is an excellent choice. It measures 80 by 52 inches and is about 4 inches thick, which makes it just the right size for that honeymoon campout.

The patented auto-inflate valve takes the work out of setting up camp. Featuring a soft, tricot cover with a waved surface, it can also keep you cool on those steamy summer nights.

Pros:

  • Soft top with sturdy bottom for durability
  • Adjustable internal air pressure
  • Self-inflating and deflating
  • Comfortable enough to serve as a standalone spare bed
  • No overwhelming plastic odor

Cons:

  • Heavy to move and cumbersome to pack
  • Suitable for car camping only

Time to Set Up Camp

Camping is one of the best ways to relax, get back to nature, and improve your mental and physical health. Using the best sleeping camping pad for your outdoor style can help you camp longer during the year. It may even allow you to camp longer down the years.

For luxury glamping and romantic getaways, go with the OT QOMOTOP pad, with room for two sleepers and enough height and padding for snuggling. For solitary sleep-aways, the Lightspeed offers room to stretch out, 3 inches of depth, and superb insulation value.