9 Greatest Sleeping Pads for Backpacking in 2023 – Bearfoot Principle

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Sleeping on a leaky halfway-deflated sleeping pad on a backpacking journey might go away you by no means eager to go backpacking once more. That’s why a high quality sleeping pad is an important piece of drugs that may actually make or break your journey. 

There are plenty of elements that go into discovering the very best backpacking sleeping pad together with value, insulation, weight, measurement, and even private sleeping habits.

Right here at Bearfoot Principle, we’ve tried and examined plenty of totally different sleeping pads – some higher than others – and on this weblog submit, we allow you to slender it down by sharing our favorites.

It doesn’t matter what your funds is or your priorities, this listing highlights the most well-liked sleeping pads for each out of doors enthunsisast from tremendous light-weight choices to heat four-season ones and extra.

On the finish of this submit, we additionally break down the essential elements when selecting a sleeping pad so you will get the appropriate one to your adventures.

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Greatest Backpacking Sleeping Pads at a Look

Backpacking Sleeping Pad Comparability Desk

See the comparability desk beneath for a fast abstract of every of the highest sleeping pads for backpacking. You may click on on the columns to kind by what’s most essential to you.

1. Therm-a-Relaxation ProLite Plus

Bearfoot Principle Staff Favourite

Key Options (common)

  • Weight: 1 lb, 7 oz
  • R-Worth: 3.2
  • Thickness: 1.5 inches
  • Packed Measurement: 6.8 x 11 inches
  • Accessible sizes: common, quick, lengthy
  • MSRP: $124.95

The place to buy

  • Nice for: 3-season backpacking, again sleepers
  • What we like: Nice worth for value, sturdy material, simple to inflate
  • What we don’t like: Heavier and bulkier than different sleeping pads, not nice for facet sleepers

The Therm-a-Relaxation ProLite Plus is designed with consolation in thoughts, and it’s my private sleeping pad of alternative.

Whereas it’s not the lightest sleeping pad obtainable, I like that it’s one flat piece of padding with out baffles.

At 1.5″ thick, it’s sufficient padding you could’t really feel the bottom or little rocks that you simply may need set your tent up on prime of. Nevertheless, it’s not so thick that should you roll round at evening, you’re feeling such as you would possibly fall off.

It’s additionally insulated sufficient to camp in chilly temperatures, however should you camp within the winter, you would possibly need to add a foam pad beneath. There’s a girls’s model obtainable of the Plus which is just a little shorter and 1 ounce lighter than the boys’s Common measurement.

In comparison with the opposite light-weight sleeping pads on this listing, the Thermarest ProLite Plus is just a little on the cumbersome facet when within the stuff sack, but it surely nonetheless packs down effectively sufficient to come back alongside for the journey.

One different benefit is that it partially self-inflates. You simply twist open the valve, and the pad slowly begins to inflate by itself. You do have to complete inflating it with your personal breath.

If you wish to shave off an additional 5oz, try the ProLite common model.

a woman holding a red therm-a-rest prolite plus sleeping pad and putting it into her backpacking tent
Utilizing the Therm-a-Relaxation ProLite Plus on a backpacking journey in Sequoia Nationwide Park

2. Therm-a-Relaxation NeoAir XLite NXT

Greatest Light-weight Sleeping Pad for Backpacking

Key Options (common)

  • Weight: 13 oz
  • R-Worth: 4.3
  • Thickness: 3 inches
  • Packed Measurement: 4.1 x 9 inches
  • Accessible sizes: Quick, common, common huge, giant
  • MSRP: $209.95

The place to buy

  • Nice for: Ultralight backpacking, 3-season backpacking
  • What we like: Most light-weight sleeping pad on the listing, tremendous compact
  • What we don’t like: Runs slender, noisy while you roll over

Total, Therm-a-Relaxation appears to have the market cornered in relation to heat and lightness, making them among the finest manufacturers of sleeping pads for backpacking.

Their Therm-a-Relaxation NeoAir XLite NXT will hold you heat and cozy within the backcountry, and it’s the lightest inflatable sleeping pad that we stand behind.

That is additionally the backpacking sleeping pad of alternative of BFT staff member Linda who has used this sleeping pad on over a dozen backpacking journeys.

The NeoAir XLite NXT does are likely to run slender, so should you toss and switch, we suggest getting the huge model.

It can be noisy while you roll over so if you’re a light-weight sleeper hold that in thoughts, however we expect for the load and heat, this sleeping pad is value it.

3. Huge Agnes Rapide SL Insulated Sleeping Pad

Greatest Sleeping Pad for Aspect Sleepers

Key Options (common)

  • Weight: 1 lb 3 oz
  • R-Worth: 4.2
  • Thickness: 3.5 inches
  • Packed Measurement: 4.5 x 8 inches
  • Accessible sizes: Petite, common, common huge, lengthy huge
  • MSRP: $149.95

The place to buy

  • Nice for: Aspect sleepers, light-weight backpacking, 3-season backpacking
  • What we like: Light-weight and compact, one of many thickest pads on our listing, is available in a large model, not noisy while you roll over
  • What we don’t like: A bit heavy

When you’re a facet sleeper, the Huge Agnes Rapide SL Insulated Sleeping Pad is a superb choice.

It’s light-weight and has insulated layers to fend off chilly and with a thickness of three.5 inches, your hips and shoulders might be glad all evening mild.

The Huge Agnes Rapide packs down small and the high-volume valve makes it fast to inflate and deflate. Alternatively, you should utilize the inflation sack to inflate the pad while you’re at excessive altitudes and the air is skinny.

I additionally love that this pad is available in a variety of sizes from petite to huge to accommodate all physique sizes.

4. Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Sleeping Pad

Best Sleeping Pad to Inflate

Key Options (common)

  • Weight: 1 lb 0.9 oz
  • R-Worth: 3.1
  • Thickness: 2 inches
  • Packed Measurement: 9 x 4 inches
  • Accessible sizes: Further small, small, common, giant
  • MSRP: $159

The place to buy

  • Nice for: again or abdomen sleepers, 3-season backpacking
  • What we like: Sturdy valve, best to inflate, compresses down tremendous small
  • What we don’t like: not nice for facet sleepers

The Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Sleeping Pad is likely one of the finest and most well-reviewed sleeping pads. It’s a light-weight and sturdy pad that’s simple to move out and in of the carry bag.

Among the best options of this sleeping pad is that you should utilize the stuff sack to explode the pad. You hook the stuff sack as much as the valve, then you definitely scoop up some air into the stuff sack, roll down the highest, and it forces air into the sleeping pad. It takes lower than a minute to refill, and all your mates might be jealous as they huff and puff to blow their pads up. Utilizing the stuff sack additionally reduces the quantity of condensation build-up contained in the pad.

The valve on this sleeping pad can also be one of the crucial sturdy valves available on the market which is fairly large contemplating valves are the place frequent leakage occurs.

As a bonus, the Sea to Summit Ultralight has an anti-microbial coating that retains any nastiness from increase over time.

This sleeping pad additionally is available in a girls’s model too. In order for you just a little extra padding, the Sea to Summit Consolation Mild Insulated Sleeping Pad (pictured beneath) is a superb choice.

Woman blowing up Sea to Summit Ultralight Sleeping pad on rocky beach
Utilizing the stuff sack to explode my Sea to Summit Consolation Mild Insulated Sleeping Pad on the Trans-Catalina Path

5. Exped Extremely 3R Duo Sleeping Pad

Greatest 2-Particular person Backpacking Sleeping Pad

Key Options (medium)

  • Weight: 1 lb 13 oz
  • R-Worth: 3.9
  • Thickness: 3 inches
  • Packed Measurement: 5.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Accessible sizes: Medium, lengthy huge
  • MSRP: $299.95

The place to buy

  • Nice for: {Couples}, backpacking together with your canine, quick backpacking journeys, summer season backpacking
  • What we like: Both sides fills individually, bigger outer chambers assist stop you from rolling off, simple to inflate
  • What we don’t like: Not as insulated as different 3-season pads

Are you on the lookout for a approach to cuddle together with your companion on backpacking journeys? Look no additional than the Exped Extremely 3R Duo Sleeping Pad.

This sleeping pad matches completely in two-person backpacking tents and is a superb choice for these seeking to keep away from uncomfortably pushing collectively 2 one-person pads.

You’d assume that inflating a double sleeping pad could be tougher than a single, however this sleeping pad is fast to inflate and deflate utilizing the same stuff sack mechanism because the Sea to Summit sleeping pad talked about above.

The draw back of this sleeping pad is its bulkiness and weight, however should you might cut up the load into 2, it will be the identical weight and measurement as among the different sleeping pads we suggest on this listing of the very best sleeping pads for backpacking.

In order for you a lighter-weight choice with a decrease R-value for summer season tenting, the Exped additionally is available in a 1R model.

6. Exped Extremely 7R Sleeping Pad

Greatest 4-Season Sleeping Pad

Key Options (medium)

  • Weight: 1 lb 6 oz
  • R-Worth: 7.1
  • Thickness: 3.5 inches
  • Packed Measurement: 5.5 x 11 inches
  • Accessible sizes: Medium, medium huge, lengthy huge
  • MSRP: $239.95

The place to buy

  • Nice for: Winter tenting, 4-season backpacking, facet sleepers
  • What we like: Warmest sleeping pad on our listing, very light-weight for the way heat it’s
  • What we don’t like: Costliest sleeping pad on our listing, noisy while you roll over, simple to slip off the slippery materials should you transfer round quite a bit

This is likely one of the priciest sleeping pads on this listing, however the Exped Extremely 7R Sleeping Pad can also be the warmest by far with an R-value of seven.1.

It’s made for mountaineering, winter tenting, and backpacking so if that’s the type of factor you’ll be doing, then investing in an ultra-warm, snug, light-weight sleeping pad like this might be value it in the long term.

This pad is insulated with a layer of 700-fill all the way down to hold you good and heat even because the temperatures drop outdoors your tent. Whereas we don’t love the usage of down feathers right here at Bearfoot Principle, we do admire Exped’s adherence to the Resonsible Down Customary.

The downsides of this sleeping pad are it’s an costly funding and the slippery materials is noisy and straightforward to slip off of should you transfer round in your sleep.

7. Sea To Summit Ether Lite XT Ladies’s

Thickest Backpacking Sleeping Pad

Key Options (common)

  • Weight: 1 lb 1.5 oz
  • R-Worth: 3.5
  • Thickness: 4 inches
  • Packed Measurement: 11 x 4.5 inches
  • Accessible sizes: Common, lengthy, unisex
  • MSRP: $199

The place to buy

  • Nice for: Individuals who toss & flip at evening, facet sleepers, 3-season backpacking
  • What we like: Thickest sleeping pad on our listing, extraordinarily snug, good width for not rolling off
  • What we don’t like: Doesn’t pack down very small, takes longer to inflate with the stuff sack, is just a little noisy while you transfer round

The Sea to Summit Ether Lite XT Insulated Sleeping Pad is the perfect sleeping pad for anybody in search of most consolation and who doesn’t thoughts carrying just a little additional weight and bulk. The additional thick (XT) development supplies deep cushioning, excellent for facet sleepers.

Becky, our behind-the-scenes assistant, makes use of this pad for her bikepacking adventures as a result of it’s extraordinarily snug and whereas it doesn’t pack down fairly as small as different pads on this listing, it’s nonetheless actually light-weight at simply over a pound. She’s a facet sleeper and doesn’t really feel the bottom in any respect whereas shifting backward and forward on this 4″ pad. The ladies’s model additionally has a barely hotter R-value at 3.5.

inflated Sea to Summit Ether Lite sleeping pad
At 4 inches thick, this pad is ideal for facet sleepers

The Ether Lite XT comes with an Airstream Pump stuff sack, which lets you inflate the pad with out blowing into it. The sack is totally built-in into the sleeping pad bag, making it very easy to make use of (and not possible to overlook or go away behind). The valve is sturdy and permits for straightforward inflation, fast deflation, and a button for fine-tuning the firmness when your pad is blown up with out dropping air.

This pad additionally comes with 4 “Pillow Lock” patches which safe any Sea to Summit backpacking pillow to the pad so it doesn’t slide off throughout the evening — a typical downside with most backpacking pillows. We personally love the Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow.

Whereas this sleeping pad isn’t the quietest available on the market, it’s actually not the loudest. It doesn’t have that “chip bag” sound that’s frequent with ultralight sleeping pads, but it surely does make a uninteresting noise while you roll over. This isn’t an enormous concern for us – we’ll take the additional consolation over just a little noise any day – and it wouldn’t wake tent neighbors.

When you’re a facet sleeper, have a tendency to maneuver round quite a bit, or are somebody who desires to make sure a extremely good evening’s sleep within the backcountry, this sleeping pad is unquestionably well worth the cash.

8. NEMO Switchback Foam Sleeping Pad

Greatest Foam Sleeping Pad

Key Options (common)

  • Weight: 14.5 oz
  • R-Worth: 2
  • Thickness: 0.9 inches
  • Packed Measurement: 20 x 5.5 x 5 inches
  • Accessible sizes: Common, quick
  • MSRP: $54.95

The place to buy

  • Nice for: Summer time backpacking, light-weight backpacking, utilizing as a sleeping house to your canine
  • What we like: Doesn’t require inflation, most sturdy sleeping pad choice, budget-friendly
  • What we don’t like: Thinner than inflatable sleeping pads, doesn’t present heat in chilly climate, cumbersome to hold

When you don’t like inflatable sleeping pads and like one thing easy that requires no setup time after a protracted day of mountain climbing, try the NEMO Switchback Foam Sleeping Pad.

This foam sleeping pad is light-weight and extremely sturdy because you don’t have to fret about leaks or valve points.

It’s fairly barebones and never fairly as heat and cozy as the opposite choices on this listing, however should you’re on a funds and need one thing easy, it is a good choice for you.

Many reviewers notice pairing this sleeping pad with an inflatable sleeping pad for additional padding and heat on backpacking journeys or utilizing this pad as a sleeping house for his or her canine.

You may as well use this sleeping pad as a sit pad when it’s folded up. The draw back of a foam sleeping pad is you sometimes should carry it on the surface of your pack because it doesn’t compress like an inflatable pad does.

9. REI Co-op Trailmade Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad

Greatest Finances Sleeping Pad

Key Options (common)

  • Weight: 2 lbs 7 oz
  • R-Worth: 5.5
  • Thickness: 1.5 inches
  • Packed Measurement: 7 x 22.4 inches
  • Accessible sizes: Quick, common, common huge, lengthy huge
  • MSRP: $79.95

The place to buy

  • Nice for: Quick backpacking journeys, funds hikers, 3-season backpacking
  • What we like: Cheap for an inflatable pad, budget-friendly
  • What we don’t like: Heaviest and bulkiest sleeping pad on our listing, arduous to inflate/deflate

In case you are on the lookout for a high-quality, budget-friendly sleeping pad, look no additional than the REI Co-op Trailmade Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad. With an R-Worth of 5.5, it is a heat sleeping pad that’s nice for 3-season journeys.

The draw back of this sleeping pad is the load and measurement – that is ideally a automotive tenting sleeping pad, but it surely can be used for brief backpacking journeys or in case your backpacking sleeping bag and/or tent is small.

Find out how to Select the Greatest Sleeping Pad for Backpacking

I owned the identical previous sleeping pad for a very long time since I began backpacking greater than a decade in the past, however a couple of years again I made a decision it was time to improve. Since my authentic funding, sleeping pads have come a good distance. Now they’re lighter, extra snug, and rather more compact than ever earlier than.

In my seek for the very best backpacking sleeping pad, I grew to become overwhelmed with the variety of choices. There was quite a bit to think about like value, R-Worth, weight, and measurement. So I did a bunch of analysis on how to decide on the very best sleeping pad for backpacking and needed to share with you what I realized

So, how do you select the very best sleeping pad for backpacking? Listed below are the elements to think about when making your buy:

  • Foam vs inflatable
  • Insulation
  • Weight
  • Thickness
  • Size and width
  • Ladies’s fashions
  • Packed measurement
  • One-way valves
  • Self-inflating
  • Built-in pump

Foam Sleeping Pads vs Inflatable Sleeping Pads

There are two primary forms of sleeping pads. The primary is a closed-cell foam pad. These are the most cost effective and most sturdy pads obtainable, however they are typically much less snug.

Their stiff form additionally means you don’t have the power to pack them down, and most of the people find yourself carrying them on the surface of their pack. 

The opposite choice is an inflatable sleeping pad. These can both be self-inflating or manually inflated by blowing air into them.

These present extra cushion than a foam pad however are much less sturdy since they’re vulnerable to puncture. This implies it’s a must to be very cautious when utilizing an inflatable sleeping pad immediately on the bottom in an effort to keep away from leaks.

Inflatable sleeping pads are considerably extra snug than foam pads, and in lots of instances the distinction in weight is negligible.

Insulation: The R-Worth

The R-value is an indicator of insulation. R values vary from 1.0 on the low finish to 10 on the excessive finish, and the upper the R-value the extra warmth the pad goes to retain. Most sleeping pads supposed for backpacking have R-values round 2.0-5.0.

The very first thing you’ll need to take into consideration is the sort of local weather you’ll be utilizing your sleeping pad in. In case you are a fair-weather backpacker and might be spending most nights in heat summer season temperatures, then you will get away with a decrease R-value.

However, if you’re doing winter or snow tenting, then you want one thing with an R-value nearer to five. Pads with R-values increased than 5 are heavier and usually supposed for automotive tenting.

Tent set up at remote campsite at dusk with snow-capped mountains in background
When you plan on doing cold-weather tenting, you’ll want to get a sleeping pad with a excessive R-value


Weight is a vital issue to think about for your entire gear and sleeping pads aren’t any exception.

Closed-cell foam pads are the lightest and usually weigh in at lower than a pound.

The lightest inflatable sleeping pads are comparatively comparable in weight to the froth pads. The Therm-a-Relaxation NeoAir XLite is likely one of the lightest choices obtainable at 12.5 ounces.

Relying on how plush you need to go, an inexpensive weight vary for an inflatable air pad is 10 ounces as much as 2 kilos. And whereas not at all times the case, there tends to be a tradeoff between weight and sturdiness with inflatable sleeping pads.

When you select one of many ultralight inflatable choices, that you must deal with it with warning and keep away from utilizing it immediately on the bottom.


Inflatable sleeping pads range wherever from one to 4 inches thick and a thicker pad goes to supply extra consolation if you’re a facet sleeper.

The draw back of a thicker pad is that they take longer to inflate by mouth. In case you are a again sleeper and have a tendency to remain put all through the evening, then you definitely is likely to be comfortable with a thinner pad.

Closed-cell foam pads are typically thinner, normally working at lower than 1 inch thick. 

Size and Width

With the intention to reduce down on weight, sleeping pads are getting smaller and smaller. In truth, some sleeping pads now are available 3/4 size that means the underside of your legs and ft might be hanging off.

Many even have a tapered or mummy-shaped design the place the top and foot are narrower than the remainder of the pad.

Whereas it varies throughout manufacturers, a regular-sized sleeping pad is roughly 72 inches lengthy by 20 inches huge, and most manufacturers make their sleeping pads in a number of sizes to accommodate those that are shorter, taller, or have broad shoulders.

When you transfer round quite a bit when you sleep, you might need to purchase a large sleeping pad.

Ladies’s Backpacking Sleeping Pads

Some backpacking sleeping pads are available a girls’s particular model. These are typically shorter and are typically just a little wider to accommodate numerous physique shapes and bigger hips.

Ladies’s sleeping pads are additionally made to be hotter, with a better R-value since girls usually sleep colder than males.

Packed Measurement

That is one space the place sleeping pads have made some severe developments. Some sleeping pads nowadays are smaller than a Nalgene bottle when packed down, that means they take up means much less house in your bag than they used to.

For backpacking, you’ll need one thing that packs all the way down to about 4-5.5 inches by 8-11 inches.

In fact, you should utilize one thing bigger, however we’d solely suggest that for shorter journeys or should you’re splitting up gear between your companion or campmate.

a backpacking tent set up in a canyon with two backpacking sleeping pads laid next to it
Utilizing an older mannequin Huge Agnes Insulated Q-Core Sleeping Pad (Left) (Proper: Thermarest ProLite Plus)

Different Options

One-way valves: Lots of the latest sleeping pads, just like the Sea to Summit UltraLight Insulated Sleeping Pad, have one-way valves. Meaning if you end up blowing them up, the air can’t come again out of the valve, making it simpler to explode. Then while you need to deflate it, there’s a separate valve that you simply open the place the air escapes from.

Self-inflating: There are a couple of pads available on the market which are self-inflating. My Therm-a-Relaxation ProLite Plus is one in every of them. When you select to purchase a self-inflating pad, you have to be ready that after some use, the pad won’t self-inflate prefer it used to. At that time, you’ll find yourself blowing it up together with your mouth similar to the remaining, however the self-inflation is a pleasant function whereas it lasts.

Built-in pump: Many more recent sleeping pads include a pump built-in into the stuff sack. You mainly fill the pump sack with air and push or roll that air into the sleeping pad for simpler filling. This does add a couple of ounces, however usually this isn’t an excessive amount of of a difficulty.

Trying to improve your gear closet? Take a look at our different backpacking gear round-ups:

What’s the finest sleeping pad for backpacking that you simply’ve discovered? Do you may have a favourite? Depart a remark beneath and tell us!

Bearfoot Theory | Get a good night's sleep on your next backpacking adventure with our top picks for the best sleeping pads! This blog post features the most comfortable, lightweight, and durable sleeping pads for backpacking as well as tips to help you choose the perfect one to keep you cozy on the trail. Don't sacrifice quality rest on the trail, check out our recommendations and wake up refreshed and ready to tackle any adventure!

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