You would think after a long day hiking, getting a good night’s sleep would be as easy as stumbling into your tent, getting into your sleeping bag, and catching a few million z's.
However, without a good quality sleeping pad you will find out the true meaning of cold, hard ground, and there’s nothing like an uncomfortable and mostly sleepless night, to turn a pleasant weekend walking in the wilderness into something which feels more like a death march.
But fret not, below we have gathered together the best sleeping pads on the market, to make sure you can sleep in peace, and comfort, turning your humble tent into a real home away from home.
As well as reviewing some of the best sleeping pads you can buy, we have also included a handy buyers guide so you know exactly what to look for when buying a sleeping pad, so you can make the most informed choice and get the best sleeping pad for your needs.
In a Hurry?
Going hiking this weekend, just want to find the best sleeping pad and be done with it, then here’s our top pick so you can hit the trail safe in the knowledge you will get a good night sleep under the stars after a hard day's hike.
OUR TOP PICK
A fantastic, lightweight, sleep pad which can be used all year round, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm offers superior comfort and warmth to tired campers even in freezing cold conditions.
Weighing only 18.2oz, the innovative pad uses a unique, heat reflective metal coating within the pad which keeps you toasty and allows the pad to be lighter and can be packed down into a tiny package.
It is also very easy to inflate deflate thanks to its sturdy wing valve and pump sack which effortlessly locks onto the pad, although it can pop off if too much pressure is applied.
It's also a pretty durable pad made of hard wearing material despite being very thin, though it does crinkle while you sleep.
The one potential drawback of the Xtherm is its price, however, you really do get what you pay for.
The Xtherm is an incredibly versatile pad, which provides exceptional warmth, comfort and ease of use in a tiny package. What more could you possibly want.
- Very warm, and very thin
- Light and packs up into a tiny package - only 18.2oz
- Easy to inflate with included pump sack
- Rustles when you move on it.
Top 5 Best Sleeping Pads
OUR TOP PICK
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm is a great sleep pad you can use all year round.
Not only is it light, weighing just 18.2oz is guaranteed to help keep you warm on those cold winter nights by offering excellent thermal gains compared to its weight.
The two and a half inch thick pad uses horizontal baffles to keep you suspended on a comfy cushion of air, whether you are sleeping on your back or your side., and is not excessively bouncy, though it can make crunching sounds if you roll around, it’s not very loud, but worth noting if you are susceptible to noise when sleeping.
It's also one of the warmest bags on the market, thanks to its unique Thermacapture reflective heat technology which uses a unique metal coating inside the pad to keep you cosy, and the pad light and easy to roll into a small package when it is deflated, with ample room in the stuff sack to accommodate both the pump sack and pad.
Thanks to its winged valve, it is also very easy to inflate and deflate. When inflating the valve also stops air escaping from the pad, as the pump sack effortlessly locks onto it and produces a high amount of airflow, though it can pop off if too much pressure is applied.
The pad is very durable, made of hard wearing material despite being fairly thin, while the valve feels substantial.
The only potential downside to the Xthem is the price, though it is more expensive than many other pads on the market, you really do get what you pay for.
- Incredibly easy to inflate and deflate
- Extremely warm and comfortable
- Packs very small and lightweight at only 18.2oz
- Rustles when you move on it
The Static V2 is a durable, comfortable sleep pad with a bevy of features at a fraction of the cost compared to other pads on the market.
Despite its thin form factor the Static V2 provides a very comfortable sleeping experience whether you like to sleep on your back or sides.
Its distinct V pattern baffling also ensures the pad does not feel bouncy and keeps you suspended while you roll around on top of it.
The pad is also wider than many other more expensive pads, offering an excellent balance of weight and comfort.
It also packs down nice and small and only weighs 17.8 oz including the patch kit and stuff sack.
It's also very durable, consisting of a tough 75d polyester on its underside and lighter 30d polyester on top. Making it both light and rugged.
The included wide blow valve is also very hard wearing and the pad can be inflated in just over a minute without much effort.
The only downside to the Static V2 is that it's not very warm and when using it at low temperatures the cold does eventually creep in. It's not a deal breaker but it's worth noting if you are considering taking it up a mountain or using it in the winter.
There are certainly comfier, and warmer sleeping pads on the market but if you are after a decent, affordable light-weight sleeping pad, the Static V2 provides comfort and durability at a reasonable rate.
- Durable and comfortable
- Lightweight - only 17.8oz
- Not suitable for cold weather use
If you don’t mind carrying a little extra weight, the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus is an incredibly warm, durable and comfortable sleeping pad.
The Comfort plus has a unique design, using two separate air chambers and valves. This not only makes the pad more comfortable, but it completely eliminates bounce, and if one chamber springs a leak there is a back up, meaning you will never end up sleeping on the cold hard ground.
The pad also comes in a variety of sizes including a rectangular pad for if you need more wiggle room.
However , the cost for the extra comfort afforded by the pad is that it is very heavy compared to other sleep mats weighing in at 28.7oz, though you can shave off an oz or two if you wanted to replace the included pump sack with a stuff sack, if you don’t mind blowing the Comfort Plus up yourself every night.
The Pad is also incredibly warm as its insulated dual air chambers reduce convective heat loss by keeping warm air closer to you, while a reflective barrier on the pads underside reduces heat loss via radiation.
With a one way valve, and a large deflation valve it is easy to inflate, deflate or make fine adjustments, and it only takes a few deep breaths to have the pad fully inflated.
Made of hardy, 40 denier nylon, the Comfort Plus can be used directly on the ground with no problems.
Despite it being one of the pricier, and bulkier sleeping pads on the market the Comfort Plus more than makes up for its shortcomings thanks to having a great set of features, unique design, and being possibly the comfiest sleeping pad available.
- Warm, durable and comfortable
- No bounce
- Easy to inflate
- Heavy compared to other mats
The Therm-a-Rest is a very lightweight sleep pad ideal for those looking to shave a few ounces off their pack weight without sacrificing comfort or warmth.
The 2.5 inch thick pad has horizontal baffles which reduce bounce well, while the regular size pad has enough room for if you are the kind of person who tosses and turns in their sleep.
One thing to note though is the crinkling sound the pad makes when you shift on it. If you are a light sleeper it may disturb you.
The main benefit of the pad though is that it's very lightweight, at only 13.7oz, though the included pump and stuff sack do add an extra 2.3oz to your pack.
Once rolled the pad is tiny, about the size of a water bottle.
The Xlite uses a triangle core matrix which compartmentalises and reduces air flow, and is lined a reflective material to minimise heat loss, making it great in most conditions, even on a chilly night, though you may want to add a foam pad if you are planning on camping in the snow.
The pads winglock valve makes it very easy to inflate and no air can escape from the pad while it is being inflated, it is worth noting though that the pump sack does have a habit of popping off if you push too hard.
The pad is also pretty durable, though we wouldn’t recommend laying it directly on the ground.
Though the Xlite is one of the pricier pads on the market it more than makes up for it by being very warm, very light and very versatile.
- Incredibly lightweight and thin - only 13.70z
- Rolls to the size of a 33oz bottle.
- Rustles when you move on it
The Exped Synmat XP9 is incredibly comfy, warm and durable, and can be thrown down on sand or snow without any issues.
It is rare to have completely uninterrupted sleep while out in the wilderness, however thanks to the Synmat’s generous proportions, grippy quiet fabric and sheer buoyancy our testers found they were out like a light until the morning.
However, a good night's sleep while backpacking comes at a cost as the XP9 is one of the heaviest pads on the market weighing a whopping 38.5oz, and will take up a large part of your pack even when rolled up.
For the extra heft though you are guaranteed not to feel the cold creeping in even when placed directly on the ground.
The Synmat 9 is also very easy to inflate, thanks to its one way inflation valve and well made pump bag. Despite being bigger than other pads we managed to inflate it in a couple minutes with no issues.
The Synmat XP9 is also incredibly durable, constructed of 75 denier polyester and laminated with a TPU polyether film this pad can take an absolute beating and still keep rocking along for years to come..
If you are looking for something ultralight and packable for a long hike, the Synmat XP 9 probably isn't for you.
But if you don’t mind the extra heft the Synmat XP9 offers exceptional warmth and comfort, superb build quality, a five-year warranty, and a great night's sleep.
- Incredibly warm and comfortable
- Guaranteed a uninterrupted night's sleep
- Very durable
- Bulky and heavy.
Best Sleeping Pads Buying Guide
When buying a Sleeping pad it's always important to consider where you are going to use it, and how cold you are likely to get, and whether you will be sleeping in a tent or out under the stars.
Below are some of the important factors to consider when choosing your idea; sleeping pad.
Sleeping pads usually come in one of two types, air pads and foam pads.
Foam pads are bulkier, but tend to be cheaper, and quicker to set up, while air pads are generally more expensive, but tend to be much more comfortable.
However it's worth noting air pads are susceptible to punctures from sharp rocks, sticks, and other detritus so it is always worth taking a repair kit with you when using one..
When sleeping it's important to find a pad which supports your shoulders and hips when sleeping, therefore its best to select a pad which is long enough to accommodate this.
The width and shape of pad you choose though is mostly about how you like to sleep, many pads have a taped style to save on weight however, if you like to sleep on your side or toss and turn a lot a rectangular pad might be preferable as they offer extra wiggle room for restless sleepers.
Having a lighter pack is always beneficial, and thankfully most air pads are lightweight and can be packed down to be very small.
A bulkier sleeping pad may need to be strapped to the outside of your bag, though this is not a problem with a foam pad leaving an air pad exposed can lead to punctures.
Test at home before you trekIt always pays to be prepared and making sure you have the right sleeping pad, will make any trip a lot more enjoyable.
As such we recommend testing your pad out at home before taking it on a trip, and if it doesn’t feel right for you return or exchange it and try another one, you can always find a better pad, but nothing is better while out in the wilderness than a good night's sleep.