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How To Choose The Right Sleeping Pad?

Sleeping Pad

Are you are camper or mountaineer or like extreme hiking but still struggle to decide what type of sleeping pad you should take with you? Your packing may vary depending on the adventure trip, but you must carry some common elements on all trips, such as the sleeping pad, food, tents, etc. The importance of sleeping pads is invaluable in spending the night in cold, rough, and uneven terrain. So, what kind of sleeping pad should I get – this question has been on the minds of almost all campers since the beginning of camping life.

In this post, we will know what to keep in mind when buying sleeping pads, different types of sleeping pads, and finally, what kind of sleeping pad should be used depending on the camping destination. Let’s get started.

Facts To Consider Before Buying A Sleeping Pad

Before buying a sleeping pad, there are many things to consider, but there are a few cores features that you must consider. Sleeping pads play a massive role in camping nights, especially cushioning and insulation. Though most of us think sleeping pads only help to get a flat-springy surface to sleep, here are the facts you shouldn’t overlook. 


Although no one can judge their comfort level because people have unlimited expectations, the issue of comfort is still a significant factor in choosing a camping sleeping pad. So – your sleeping pad should be lightweight and pocket-sized. Having a comfortable pad is very important because it can create a hell of a lot of difference on camping days. 

We don’t feel good about sleeping on uncomfortable layers, which may make us feel dizzy and exhausted the next day. If your sleeping pad fabric, height width, and air pressure aren’t up to the mark, you will be in trouble.


Finding the perfect sleeping pad isn’t an easy job, but getting the right one can be a game-changer. Sleeping pads are beneficial to keep you insulated from the cold. Remember, insulation only retain the body heat, it doesn’t generate it. Mother earth is mysterious, and sometimes the nights can be ice cold in the summertime. Sleeping pads are designed to save your body heat from getting soaked by ground temperature. 

Sleeping temperature depends on – air, wind frost, moisture, sleeping bag, calorie intake, etc. So, when you are out in swinging weather, it’s better to have a quality sleeping pad with you. 


You already know that the lighter your sleeping pad is, the easier to carry it. There is no problem If you are about adventure in a camping car, even if the pad weighs more. However, if your backpack is the only travel companion, a light sleeping pad should be used. Keep in mind that the larger the size and thickness of the pad, the greater the chance of retaining heat. In this case, you may think that thicker and larger pads will cost more and more trouble to carry – the best advice for you is – “You realize the benefit of carrying a few more grams only when you can enjoy a warm, comfortable slumber on a cold shivering night.”

Types Of Sleeping Pads

Sleeping Pad

Sleeping pads are as important as sleeping bags, and the main focus is to keep you warm. Unfortunately, sleeping pads can’t keep you warm as much as the warmth you feel in a sleeping bag because the cold emitted from the ground overwhelms much of that heat. But if you use sleeping pads in the tent, you will feel quite comfortable. Structurally, sleeping pads can be divided into three varieties. Now we will talk about their features, advantages, and disadvantages.

Air Pads

The air pad is the lightest, and the least cluttered among the camping mattresses. You can inflate them with the help of a small air pump or blown air. Despite being small, they are pretty helpful and play a valuable role in keeping your body warm enough.

The air pads are well-ventilated. You can control the size and thickness by releasing or adding enough air. There are several qualities of the Air Pad available on the market in terms of design and purpose, but if you want to use the most durable and most customizable air pad, be sure to check if your air pad is R-Rated.

When the ambient temperature drops, you will feel that your pad is feeling cold. So before going to bed at night, check its firmness. When camping, try to inflate the air pads by using hand pumps as these are very handy because the moisture released by the mouth-exhausted air will stick to the inside of your pads which may cause erode in the near future. So if you want a long-lasting and performing camping air pad, there is a request to use a small blower.

The disadvantage of air pads is that they are less durable than other pads. If you do not use separate protection under the mattress, they can be easily damaged by rubbing on rock particles and rough surfaces. Also, they can leak at the slightest incision due to their thinness. Luckily, the manufacturers will provide patch kits to repair small leaks and minor damages inside the retail box.

Self Inflating Pads

Self-inflating pads are comfortable mattresses made of air and foam hybrid structure. It has a specially made air valve that collects air from the environment and makes the pad suitable for sleeping. Your job is to unroll the pad and open the valve, and the rest of the work can be done by itself. Then when enough air is taken in, and it swells, you close the air valve.

Self-inflating pads are much more durable than air pads but not as strong as foam pads. These pads are top-rated among campers because they provide adequate insulation and can be easily packed after use. However, these cost more than any cheap foam pad or expensive air pad, and the price depends on its durability and what material it is made of.

Like air pads, they can be punctured or damaged by friction on uneven ground, but they are not very time-consuming or expensive to do.

Closed Cell Foam Pads

If you are looking for a durable camping bed solution within range, then a foam bed will be perfect for you. Foam pads are made of air-tight enclosed cells that effectively preserve heat. Since you can supply no external air to the foam pads, these are fixed in size.

They are lightweight, inexpensive, enduring, and provide adequate heat in all conditions. In addition, these are relatively less likely to puncture or rupture. Closed-cell foam pads are excellent mattresses for a good night’s sleep, and you can safely use this mattress even if your camping plan is rough.

Foam pads are less comfortable. They tend to be relatively stiff, solid, and heavy. The biggest downside to these pads is their size. You will not be able to carry these in your backpack, but there are suitable arrangements for folding. If you are strong and wealthy, use an air pad with foam pads to have memorably comfortable nights at your camping. 

What Sleeping Bag Should You Pick?

Sleeping Pad

Though comfortability and staying warm at night are the critical factors for buying a sleeping pad, campers often get confused about which pads they should pick for their next camping trip. This section will see suitable camping pads according to the camping plan. 

Car Camping

If you like car tent camping, self-inflating pads will be perfect for you. Friends will hang out on a swollen pad with low air pressure to chill together and swell up conveniently for sleeping at night. You don’t have to worry about spacing for the pad because you will only open it in need. Otherwise, it will be rolled at the back of your car. Also, don’t worry about the temperature as you will be in a tent.


Those who prefer a relaxing sleep while backpacking (or riding a bike, canoe, or kayak) may choose self-inflating or air pads. They are intended to be convenient or comfortable to sit on. You can use self-inflating pads like chairs. It will not hurt your waist. If you are a backpack traveler, please never use the Closed Cell Foam Pad.

Minimal Backpacking

It would be best to use lightweight and easy-to-carry air pad bedding for such travel trips. There are plenty of ultralight air pads on the market that weigh less than 1 pound. In the case of buying such pads, it is advisable to buy them directly from the market.


An endurable bedding tie is more important here. So there is no alternative to close the cell foam pad for thru-hiking. However, to lose weight, you can use a relatively small-sized bedding pad where you rest your body only, and you can use the extra dress under the legs as support or the bag under the head as a pillow.

Spring Camping

There is no replacement for using high-quality R-rated air pads or self-inflating pads for spring camping. Camping nights will be very shivery this season, so there is no alternative for quality bedding for a comfortable night’s sleep. Try to use multiple bedding. In this case, The best combination is to use an air pad with a closed-cell foam pad or self-inflating pad. 

It is not wise to sleep in the open because your hands and feet may solidify in winter as your body and bedding’s combined temperature will be lower than the outside environment’s temperature. So it was advisable to sleep in a double bed in the tent after wearing heavy clothes to hold the heat.

Final Words

Everyone has a different level of comfort while sleeping. But everyone wants to have a sound sleep after a rambunctious camping day. You have the full authority to select the right sleeping pad according to your affordability and choice.

Try to get enough snug mattresses beneath you, so you don’t end up being sleepless in first light. Hopefully, you have a clear idea about camping sleeping pads that you can use in the next tour from today’s post. So, try to select proper beddings measuring your carrying capacity.

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