Top 10 Best Sleeping Pads in 2018

Comfort is obviously an important factor while you hike. Believe it! Sleeping pads can now provide more comfort than your bed at home if you choose the right one.

All these can now be brought in a single package which is smaller than that of a water bottle. Credits to the materials as well as latest bonding technology!!

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Quick Comparison: Top Sleeping Pads

  1. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm (5.0/5.0)
  2. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite - Women's (5.0/5.0)
  3. Klymit Insulated Static V LITE 4 Season Sleeping Pad, Orange/Gray (4.3/5.0)
  4. Therm-A-Rest Z Lite Sol (4.0/5.0)
  5. NEMO Tensor Insulated Air Pad (3.9/5.0)

**Below, you'll find our expert's reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Things to Consider before buying Sleeping pads 

In order to get a good night’s sleep, you need to consider two important elements when picking your sleeping pads – insulation and cushioning.

 While getting a surface which makes you feel more comfortable for sleeping is the major function of a sleeping pad, its power to keep you feel warm all through the darkness is more vital. This is the reason why choosing the best sleeping pad is highly important.

Sleeping pads will provide the comfort which your body requires for a good sleep at night. It also helps to keep your body warm along with insulating you from the cold grounds.

How to Choose Your Sleeping Pads for Backpacking?

There are basically three major types of pads - air, closed-cell foam and self-inflating.

Air Pads

Air pads are now available in lighter versions that holds reflective or insulation and materials for added warmth. Only thing is that you should blow up the pads with your breath.

Self-Inflating Pads

These pads provide a combination of both air as well as open-cell foam insulation. You just need to open the valve and the air will automatically get filled in the chambers. Some of the self-inflating pads are designed especially for hiking needs and so can be folded lengthwise to roll and place inside your pack.

Closed-Cell Foam Pads

The closed-cell pads are manufactured using dense foam and are filled up with small closed air cells. These pads can be folded or rolled up in a Z formation.

Remember that, if you are planning for backpacking or hiking, then air pad or light weight self inflating pads are the right choices for you since they offer the right comfort, thicknesses, insulation value, durability and weight which you need throughout your journey.

Also check with the activity for which you are buying the pad for – whether it is for backpacking or for car camping etc.

Is There Any Difference Between Choosing an Air Pad and a Foam Pad?

Foam pads and air pads are the two major types of categories which you can choose from. Both are light weighted and comfortable.

The foam pads available in the market are really inexpensive and are easy to set up. It can be used for multi purposes like a seat around the camp or as a frameless backpack too. However the main downside of this pad is that, they are bulkier and will compress over the time.

On the other hand, the air pads costs extra and is more comfortable than the foam pads. This is the reason why majority of the hikers prefer to buy this. Like with any other pads, the negative part is that these can easily get puncture while placed in position and you will need a repair tape in hand always for safer side.

Sleeping Pad Features for Hiking

Make sure that you try the sleeping pad in person before you make the final move. Lie down and check for the comfort level in your sleeping position and try to roll on the pad as well. This will offer you a sense on the level of comfort since you can rate the weight factor and the packing size. 

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R Value & Warmth

The R value of a sleeping pad points to the pad’s power to resist the heat flow. With higher R values, you can insulate yourself from cold surfaces. The R value ranges from minimally insulated, 1.0 to highly insulated ones, 9.5.

Overall, if the value falls in between 0 to 2, then it is good for almost all the three seasons. If the temperature is below the freezing point, then try getting one which falls in between 4 to 6. If you are planning your trip for winter season, then get the one with 5+ R value.

Noise

One of the complaints which the users claim is the crinkly noise from the first time users of the air pads. This will be more inconvenient to all the light sleepers.

 Even though the pads may sometimes make slight noises or even less sounds, they won’t give you the comfort which you get while sleeping in the mattress at your home. Don’t worry! These sounds will die over the time.

Repair Kit

As mentioned earlier, if you are buying air pads, then make sure that you carry a small repair kit with you since there are high chances for the pad to get puncture with the sharp objects on the ground.

If the pad springs and you don’t have a kit with you, then it is sure to have an unhappy night. The makers are providing a useful repair kit along with air pads. 

Sleeping Pad Length

The shoulders and hips are the pressure points for the sleeping pads and hence choose the pads which gives you comfort in these areas. Majority of the hikers go for full length pads which helps to cushion their heels while night time since they can get rid of the tiredness and wake up fresh.

However, some of the ultralight backpackers prefer short torso-length pads. Even though this will make their legs hang off, they help to keep the weight factor minimal on thru-hikes.

Sleeping Pad Width

The standard width of the sleeping pads will be 20 inches. If you are really tall, then try to get a sleeping pad with a width of 25 to 30 inches. Mostly, the longer version of the pad will be wider, though in some types you will see a wide pad which is still in regular length.

Sleeping Pad Shape

Majority of the hikers choose mummy sleeping pads since they wanted to save weight while some other prefer fully rectangular pads, though the additional weight will be worth it. Those back sleepers who wish to spread their legs a little apart a bit more while sleeping choose rectangular pads.

Sleeping Pad Thickness

The thicker the sleeping pad, the more relaxed it will be. Thicker pads will provide more flexibility as they offer the right firmness without bottoming out. You don’t need to worry as they hold the structure rightly and firmly.

Size & Weight

The standard size for a sleeping pad will be 20 inches in width and 72 inches in length. If you are having an integrated pad sleeve on your pad, then the size would be 20 inches in width.

You can choose the size closely to your height since the pads are available for almost all measurements. For those hikers who wish to keep the weight factor at minimal, choosing 3/4 and 1/2 length sleeping pads would be the best choice.

Price

Sleeping pads are available in wide ranges of prices. You can get as cheap as $20 to a high-end range of air pads which costs $200.

There is no need to invest huge amount of money for your gears. Try to get the one which is of high quality and that satisfies your hiking needs.

How to Clean and Maintain Your Sleeping Pads?

It is highly important to maintain your sleeping pads clean and hygienic. Even if you are exhausted, make sure that you won’t crawl up the pad and lie on the same clothes which you hiked in. Also, the sweat, dirt and your body oils may take off the insulating power of the pads. So be clean always.

The Cleaning Process…

Wipe off the debris which is present on the surface of the pads with your hands. Blow up the pad if you can since it makes the cleaning process easier. Ensure that you seal the air caps as this may prevent water from getting inside the pad. Now immerse the pad into the tub.

Use one tablespoon of antibacterial soap and make lather. With gentle circular motions, cleanse the sleeping pad working in the downward direction.

Place the pad on the tub floor as this may help you to clean the soiled spot. Rinse the exterior portion and repeat the process on the other side as well.

Remove it from the tub and dry the external portion using a towel. Deflate the sleeping pad by properly uncapping air-plug and then hang it over a liner.

Don’t use a dryer as this may damage the fibers and melt the surface of the pads. Store it in folded position. Don’t tightly roll the pad for storage as this may put more pressure on the material and results in cracks and creases on the edges.

Review of some of the best Sleeping Pads

  1. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm (5.0/5.0)
  2. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite - Women's (5.0/5.0)
  3. Klymit Insulated Static V LITE 4 Season Sleeping Pad, Orange/Gray (4.3/5.0)
  4. Therm-A-Rest Z Lite Sol (4.0/5.0)
  5. NEMO Tensor Insulated Air Pad (3.9/5.0)
  6. REI Co-op Flash Insulated Air Sleeping Pad (4.0/5.0)
  7. Exped SynMat HL Sleeping Pad (3.8/5.0)
  8. Big Agnes Q-Core SLX Sleeping Pad (4.3/5.0)
  9. Sea to Summit UltraLight (4.0/5.0)
  10. REI Co-op AirRail 1.5 Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad (4.3/5.0)


Our Recommendation

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm combines all the elements like weight, comfort and insulation and this is the reason why it is chosen as the favorite piece of gear by many backpackers.

It contains lightweight internal baffling design and also adds up a silver lining with the new ThermaCapture technology. This lining reflects a built-in emergency blanket which throws back your body heat, thus giving a good insulation.

 The pad is minimal bulk and light weight. This sleeping pad is tapered shape and is small and comes with unobtrusive horizontal baffles to sleep peacefully.

Therm-a-Rest Neo-Air Xtherm Sleeping Pad
Major Features:
  • Patent-pending reflective layer is incorporated
  • 2.5-in. thickness, soft-touch fabrics and baffled internal structure
  • Better comfort, stability and support
  • Free of bulky, conventional insulating materials
  • Advanced materials and a tapered design reduces weight factor
  • Stuff sack and repair kit is included in the package

Klymit Insulated Static V LITE 4 Season Sleeping Pad, Orange/Gray

The Klymit Insulated Static V Lite sleeping pad is renowned for its amazing features and comfort element.

 It has got dual layer with synthetic fibers for boosting the R-value, which comes to around 4.4. This in turn provides warmth on the chilly grounds. It scores the best rating in durability.

When compared to other sleeping pads, it is relatively inexpensive.

Klymit Insulated Static V LITE 4 Season Sleeping Pad
Major features:
  • Best fit for year-round activities
  • Better sleep comfort
  • v-chamber design and synthetic insulation for limiting the air movement and heat loss
  • R-Value is 4.4
  • Stuff Sack and Patch Kit is included
  • Lifetime warranty is offered by the makers


Foot Note!!!

Sleeping pads do add comfort as well as insulation to your night hours and this is highly important while you are in the backcountry. And so, choosing the right one is highly important for you.

While the backpacking bags are focusing more on the weight factor, sleeping pads pin points to comfort. Hence when you are ready to shop for your piece, make sure that you narrow your selection to the best product available in the market with top features.

Image credit: amazon.com, amazon.in

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