The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite and Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm offer excellent comfort at a fraction of the weight as the most comfortable pads. Even the most durable pads can be punctured with a sharp thorn, a rock, or are a shard of glass. A good ultralight pad should be able to roll up and fit inside your hand. There are a few important differences between manual and self-inflating pads. The Gossamer Gear Nightlite is a sleeping pad for the serious ultralight crowd. Packed sleeping pads (left: inflatable ; right: foam). Sleeping pads are often used in conjunction with sleeping bags to provide padding and insulation. Author: William M. Rochfort, Jr. Punctures. Rectangular or oval. Our only gripe is the insulation—there is a none. The thicker the pad, the more cushion it will provide from the hard ground and the more comfortable it will be. Unlike most modern inflatable pads, the Exped has dual vents - one for inflating and one for fast deflating. Sable Camping Sleeping Pad, Self Inflating Camping Mat with Built-in Pillow & Pump,…. Its top-shelf comfort is revolutionary in the camping game. It comes with a repair kit, stuff sack, and compression straps. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. These pads went on guided backpacking trips in Colorado and New Mexico, and we brought them along on trips in the Eastern Sierra and Utah. If you do go for one of those big, airy pads, these can significantly help save time and lung power. This is super important and something often overlooked. For anyone who has spent a night shivering — even with an inflatable sleeping pad and appropriate sleeping bag — knows the value of having an adequately insulated pad for your intended use. Will it be hard-packed dirt or a shelter floor? After a few nights, the noise should be gone entirely. With the difficulty of inflation being one of the main drawbacks of air construction mats, manufacturers have developed an array of valve styles to help alleviate this issue. Closed-cell foam pads can be folded and stored in a closet or under your bed. Paria Outdoor Products Recharge XL is a backpacking sleeping pad that creates an extremely comfortable sleeping surface. These pads have been tested around the world. If you don’t like the idea of strapping your pad on the outside of your pack, I highly recommend getting a pad that packs down tiny. This kept the valves out of the dirt when we went without a tent or ground cloth, helping keep everything grit-free and airtight. The Therm-a-Rest pads we tested were incredibly expensive but are indeed quite good value as they offer durable construction and some mind-blowingly good performance. I love relaxing on foam pads by the fire and not worrying if an ember might fly out and pop it. While most other contenders can pop the inflatable design, you don't have to worry about thrashing this highly durable contender around on the ground. With a standard 12oz coffee mug for scale, these pads represent the spectrum of sizes. Inflation. Not only is it comfortable, but it's warm enough for summer hiking. Several of our testers noted that after years of sleeping outside, their priorities are leaning more towards comfort than having the absolute lightest pad money can buy. It is very comfortable to sleep on thanks to its side rails that help keep you centered on the pad. You also should try to dry the inside of an inflatable pad if you use your breath to fill it with air. About six months of use versus a brand new Z Lite. Got feedback? If you are looking for a bit more warmth without adding too much weight, take a look at the lightweight Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad or the insulated Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm. BEST FOR: THE WINTER-LOVING BACKPACKER. Weight: 17 oz. Repair Kit. A strong competitor for other heat reflective foam pads. Best Ultralight Sleeping Pad for Backpacking 1. Like most foam pads, the Switchback is warm enough for three-season use, but you should pair it with an inflatable mat when the temperatures hover near or below the freezing mark. Unlike other valves that are all or none, the multi-function valve allows you to adjust the pressure even when you are on the mat. If all things are held constant, and one item weighs less than another, you should absolutely select the lighter item. Some of these can fit inside of a Nalgene bottle. Even compared to the largest inflatable mat we tested, the Exped Synmat 9, the Z Lite is cumbersome. Usually less, if not a lot less, than $50. It feels durable and should provide years of happy sleeping in the backcountry. The Static V2, though not extremely thick, did an excellent job padding our tired ol hips from the rocks. Aim to keep your pad above a 3 for any level of cold winter sleeping. Best Pad Cold Sleepers: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad is our pick for hikers that sleep cold or for average hikers in very cold conditions — see more. What differentiates the two sleeping pads is the depth of their egg crates. Otherwise, the oval shape works just dandy and can save a little weight and space. They often take up too much room to even fit inside your bag. Short of ripping it out of anger, your sleeping pad will always be ready when you need it. While the majority of our testers preferred horizontal baffles to those that run the length of a pad, everyone agreed the quilted Comfort Plus was the most comfortable of the pads we would be willing to pack on a backpacking trip. Weight: 16.33 ounces 4. The most durable pads tested were the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite SOL and Nemo Switchback because they are made of foam and are virtually indestructible in comparison with inflatable pads. Of them all, the Klymit Static V2, one of our award winners, offers excellent comfort and warmth at a lower price. Gear testing is a hard rock life. COMPACTNESS: When packed, it should not be bigger than a 1 liter water bottle. Setting up the nest for an evening hang and solid nights' sleep has become quicker and easier over the last few years. We spent... Our search for the best camping mattress starts with... A sleeping bag is a cornerstone of your overnight kit... With so many great products to choose from it's hard to... After side-by-side testing of 13 of the industry's top... keep the pad inflated, with the valve open, to allow moisture out. Its dual-density density design is firm on the ground layer and pillowy soft on top. Camping sleeping pad prices. Most backpackers find sleeping on an inflatable pad to be substantially more comfortable than a foam pad. Big Agnes also sells an insulated version for those who like to dabble with winter backpacking. The only real downside of its weight relative to our highest rated warm sleeping pads. Mine has lasted several years without a puncture. Camping sleeping pads vary in price depending on the type, size, thickness, and degree of insulation offered. It's also very durable with a 74D shell that protects it from most ground hazards. Comfortable. This extra comfort may not be enough for Side sleepers who often prefer the cushioning of an inflatable pad. Some people strap their pads to the bottom of their pack, but that is not an ideal location. Rating . Thick material and overly large inflation valves are usually the biggest factor in adding unnecessary weight to your pad. Affiliate disclosure: We aim to provide honest information to our readers. It is fast and easy to inflate, thanks to its included pump sack that fills the pad in a few minutes. Getting a good night’s sleep on a warm and comfortable surface is crucial if you want to put in long miles every day. If you're a summer hiker, warmth isn't nearly as important as it is for winter wanderers. Get epic tips, guides and how-to's in your inbox every two weeks. You won't be sliding around on this pad, and its wider design makes it optimal for those with wide shoulders. Keep an eye out for updated ASTM R-values as many previous models have differing claimed values that have now shifted with this new standard. In general, the lower the price, the lighter and less warm the pads tend to be. Hands down, the most comfortable pads we snoozed on are the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated and the Exped Synmat 9. AT HOME. It came down to how impressed we were with the warmth/weight ratio of the XTherm, though both pads are excellent. It's chambered design makes it easy to inflate, requiring only 10-15 breaths to fill it with air. Our comfort scores come from a host of reviewers who each used one or more of these contenders. The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus is the only pad in our review to utilize two separate air chambers. Some people feel its like sleeping on, well... the floor. Most sleeping pads are 20-inches wide, providing just enough room for a single person. Our favorite pad for ultralight backpacking is the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite. The lighter, the better. Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol. The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm supplied an unmatched level of warmth for its weight and packed size. Dimensions when packed: 3 x 8 inches 3. First, cold is nothing more than the absence of heat, and heat moves energy from warmer objects to colder ones. Very Bulky. The comfort of this sleeping pad is really quite impressive. Multi-Functional. Some have this button-like one-way deflation option that is super helpful when optimizing the level of desired inflation. Material on GearLab is copyrighted. This design not only provides a great night's sleep, but it also adds durability that is often lacking in other mats. Most inflatable pads have an outer shell as well as a thin internal layer designed to reflect your body heat back at you. Blowing a lot of breaths (some require 20+ breaths) after a long hike can, and often will, leave you temporarily lightheaded. Surprisingly, the Static V2 is much wider than most pads we tested, which makes the low weight and price that much more impressive. Even when they do rip or break down, they still function as a barrier between you and the ground. The extra pack space is much appreciated, especially considering some models can take up nearly half of a pack’s volume. 1. While the pump sack is definitely the way to go, filling the old fashioned way isn't too bad. There is a longer 72 -inch version available, but the shorter one is lighter and significantly more packable. If you store the pad inside your pack, keep it away from trekking poles or pocket knives that could damage it. If you toss and turn a bit, a wider pad like the Static V2 may be worth the few extra ounces. One option for inflating is a lightweight pump. Not only is the fabric thick and durable, but the valve system is located on the end cap of the sleeping pad. Layering the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm on top of the ZLite Sol will give you a cozy R-value of over 8. To call any backpacking gear “luxurious” may seem a little disingenuous when, after all, you are still sleeping on the ground. Second, we lose heat via three mechanisms: conduction, convection, and radiation. They also make the Switchback thicker than the Z Lite Sol, 0.9-inches for the Nemo and 0.75 for the Sol, which makes the Switchback more comfortable for sleeping.The shortcomings for the Switchback are the same as the Sol. Sleeping pads come in a variety of styles, sizes and weights, so you’ll want to spend some time shopping for the right one. The Klymit Static V2 was not the absolute lightest, but it was one of the lightest wider pads. You can see the foam cells break down eventually losing a significant amount of padding over time. The dimensions are a bit tight for larger individuals. This 2020 update features 17 of the market's best, pitted against each other in a side-by-side comparison to find the best products for your needs. In this review, we've included ease of inflation in our metrics. Maybe this is due to life's natural course of trending towards feeling like the tin man needing oil, but it is undeniable. Specifically, your pad should prevent the cold earth from reaching your body. Left: One-way push valve; Right: Two-way twist valve. Super lightweight and compact, this sleeping pad is warm enough for three-season backpacking trips. No other pad on the market offers this amount of warmth and comfort while maintaining versatile features. Find which type of pad—air, self-inflating or closed-cell foam—is best for your next overnight trip with advice from the gear experts at Backpacker. Over at least three months, we use them while guiding, hiking, and exploring while on bikes, boats, and self-propelled missions. Some more cushy pads have large air chambers. For those who want to go ultralight and fast, give some serious time and consideration to both the Switchback and Z Lite as they can be cut down to shave off more weight and will virtually never completely fall apart. The pad … Other than comfort, the main purpose of a sleeping pad is to keep you warm. Snooze better than ever before with our favorite sleeping pads of the year. The quest for the best sleeping pad began by delving deep into what was available in the market and what products among those were the high performers. Backpacking Sleeping Pad Reviews #1 Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Mattress Review This is an adaptation to the classic Ridge-Rest mattress pad by Therm-a-Rest (a Cascade Designs company). If the pad is a little too firm., you can easily let out a little air until you hit that comfort spot. If you're a side sleeper, this should be at the top of your list. The newest design in the vast sea of valve/sack options is the winglock valve fixed to the XLite and XTherm (and Uberlite). That said, we always recommend traveling with a mini repair kit. It packs down to the size of a 1-liter water bottle, so you won't have any problem stuffing this one into your pack. You can use it alone most of the hiking season and then pair it with a foam pad like the Z Lite Sol when you need some extra insulation in the winter. The best sleeping pad for backpacking is ultralight, super cushy and insulated while the best sleeping pad for camping is an ultra-thick air mattress. Because it is torso length, it packs very quickly in a pack. The Switchback is a few bucks more expensive but does have a smaller packed size and offers a hint more comfort on hard ground. The included Therm-a-Rest pump bag was made from heavy material that resisted poofing up effortlessly like the Schnozzel. Just like the Uberlite, the Xtherm has Therm-A-Rest's new WingLock valve and pump sack that makes inflation a breeze. Remember, a thicker pad will be slightly heavier and will require significantly more breaths to fill it with air. That's value. Also significantly heavier than the others but there are certainly applications where this ultra-comfortable pad is useful. The Synmat is slightly more expensive than others on the list, but a few benefits justify this extra cost. There are many inexpensive sleeping pads on the market. While this does bump the overall weight of the pad up, the ability to have dual-density creates a uniquely comfortable pad. I vote for a medium amount of air - enough to get you off the ground, but not too much where you feel like you are rolling around on a cloud. Once your pad is clean and ready for storage, you'll want to store the pad at ambient temperatures while avoiding the extreme temperatures you'd see in an attic or garage. The Sea to Summit Ultralight is genuinely a warm weather sleeping pad. The Sea to Summit Ultralight is praised far and wide for its quality workmanship. You can make or break your pad by how you care for it on the trail and at home. Overall Winner: Best Sleeping Pad for Hammock Klymit Hammock V Sleeping Pad If you want a hammock sleeping pad that provides comfort from every perspective, the Klymit Hammock V is an excellent option as it is large and warm. Notably, these pads … The Kylmit Static V2 offers incredible value with an included stuff sack, patch kit and a lifetime warranty. Either way, adding one of these pads to your system will give you the versatility to take either pad alone or a combination to combat the cold. When you realize how hard on your body they can be, you don't have to chuck it, just save it for an extra layer of warmth during winter camping. Overall, the reliable and durable design at a low cost is one that's hard to beat. The newest update of this pad did gain some extra warmth, a cool new valve system, and unfortunately, a few ounces. Weight Thickness R-Value Side Sleeping Price; Exped MegaMat Lite 12: Overall Best for Both Backpacking & Car Camping: 0.33 lbs: 4.7 inches: 5.2: Best Choice: Check on Amazon: Big Agnes Air Core Ultra: Best for 3 season campers: 1.31 lbs: 4.5 inches: 4.5: Best … When you're thru-hiking and in the middle of nowhere, the last thing you need to do is deal with a busted sleeping pad. A sleeping pad not only adds some comfort, but it also adds insulation so your back does not freeze when you sleep. If you're seeking the most durable and reliable pad option out there and don't want to carry a patch kit, consider the less comfortable but highly reliable Therm-A-Rest Z Lite Sol that utilized close-cell technology. Sleeping directly on exposed ground will drain away your precious body heat - like the inverse of a reptile bathing on a hot rock. Even though it is more comfortable than the Sol, it still is not as plush as the inflatable pads. Read review: Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated. It’s incredibly light, blows up in under two minutes, has … The manual pads can be squished down to the size of a soda can, but they require a fair amount of lung power to re-inflate. With a vast array of different sleeping pads on the market, you can expect to pay anything from $ A rectangular and super cushy inflatable sleeping pad, the Big Agnes Q-Core SLX is like sleeping on air in the backcountry. If anything breaks because of a defect in materials or workmanship, Exped will repair or replace it. Let us know! Just throw it down and spread your sleeping bag on top. If you're anything like our testers, your first sleeping pad may well be a closed-cell foam pad, and rightfully so. The Therm-a-Rest Uberlite is an excellent choice for ultralight backpacking in the warmer months, weighing in at 8.8 ounces, but it's not warm enough for winter camping and feels shockingly fragile; use with caution! Our sleeping pad review offers recommendations for all folks out there. Take care of your pad, and it will take care of you. Many were first-time campers on guided trips (they typically gave a lower comfort score), and many were seasoned backpackers (they ranked pads higher). The thick padding makes propping up on your elbows possible for a bit of pre-sleep reading without the associated pain you may have previously experienced. Do you like a good memory foam mattress? Value can mean many different things to different people. The Best Sleeping Pad for Backpacking Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm. GearLab is reader-supported. Because they are foam, they are nearly indestructible. The new winglock valve and pump sack included with the XLite isn't perfect but it's as good as other brands designs and about a thousand times more effective than the previous valve included on this pad. After a trip, you should keep the pad inflated, with the valve open, to allow moisture out. He is joined by Matt and Brian, both alumni of Yosemite Search and Rescue, where versatile, reliable, and durable equipment is a necessary part of everyday life. However, the Klymit Static V2 is the only one we highly recommend. Details . The most comfortable pad will depend on your preferences. In exchange for referring sales, we may receive a small commission through affiliate links. In addition, the accordion design allows you to cut it down to any length you want, and each segment weighs almost exactly one ounce. You deserve to relax. Handy if you do get a hole. Finding a balance between price, durability, warmth, comfort, and weight can certainly be a tricky process. The XLite certainly isn't as warm as the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus but it is significantly lighter and can still see you through a cold night or two with your life intact. While moisture accumulation in pads is not a major deal, it is something to keep an eye on. Clean the surface of your pad to remove dirt, insect repellent, sap, and other materials that can damage the material. The Tensor is the lightest air mattress under the Nemo brand. Ultimately, choosing a favorite between the new Therm-a-Rest pads (the XTherm and XLite) was challenging. Some pads are wider, 25-inches, but you should measure your tent to make sure they fit, especially if you are trying to squeeze in two people each night. The new gen Therm-a-rest pads aren't perfect but dang they're getting close. Another super low-priced (and high value) option is the classic Therm-A-Rest Z Lite Sol. Value can mean many different things to different people. If you own a compatible Gossamer Gear pack, the Nightlite doubles as frame support, it conveniently slides into the pack's two mini back-sleeves. Unlike many ultralight sleeping pads that feel flimsy, the XTherm feels durable. The NeoAir XTherm Ultralight is, in our opinion, the best sleeping pad they have ever made and the best backpacking sleeping pad on the market today. We spent nights with teeth chattering to dust, so hopefully, you won't have to. If you’re backpacking in winter and sleeping on ice, snow, or cold rock, you’ll want to pick out a sleeping pad with a high R-Value. The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm scored the highest on our assessment and therefore took first place as the Best Overall Backpacking Sleeping Pad.. This comes with a big air-chamber - a good thing for those wanting a 3-inch loft or a potential headache for those with tired lungs. I never saw anyone using a pump on my thru-hike though, and I would think they are relatively unnecessary. "R-Value" measures the level of insulation your pad provides. The NeoAir provides the perfect combination in terms of weight (590g), comfort (at 12.7cm the pad … If you are smaller in size or sleep cold, the women’s version of the XLite has slightly smaller dimensions and a higher R value for more insulation from the ground. REI Co-op AirRail Self-Inflating. While we didn't have any self-inflating models in our pad update this go-around, they are still on the market and fill a niche for those who want a super comfortable sleep without all the fiddling. 10 Best backpacking Sleeping Pads of 2020. The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Uberlite is hands down one of the best ultralight backpacking pads on the market. 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