This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which camping sleeping pads are best? 

Camping sleeping pads are great for both casual camping trips and hikes through the backcountry because they are lightweight, portable and comfortable. Coupled with a good sleeping bag, sleeping pads will provide you with maximum comfort for your stay in the great outdoors. 

Our top pick, the Therm-a-Rest sleeping pad, has a lightweight design and many features that make it a great option for backpackers heading out into the wilderness. 

What to know before you buy a camping sleeping pad 

Types of camping sleeping pads

There are three main types of camping sleeping pads, all with their own pros and cons. Essentially, all sleeping pads are a cushion of some sort meant to be used on the ground with or without a sleeping bag. If you’re interested in comparing several models, check out our full BestReviews sleeping pad buying guide. 

Air pads are the most common type of sleeping pad because they are light enough to carry on hiking trips. You will need to inflate an air pad manually or with a pump. Air pads will normally need to be inflated with either your breath or a pump. An air pad may be too delicate to hold air in some weather conditions. 

Self-inflating pads and partially self-inflating pads work also rely on air to create a firm sleeping surface, but they are often more comfortable and durable than air pads thanks to their extra insulation. Self-inflating pads are a bit heavier than air pads, too. 

Open-cell foam pads are the most durable camping sleeping pads, though they may not be the most comfortable. These pads are great for their versatility and roll up like a yoga mat for added portability. 

Year-round use 

Most camping sleeping pads are great for use in all four seasons, but some pads are better suited to warmer temperatures. A sleeping pad’s purpose isn’t just to provide you with a comfy place to sleep, it’s also to keep you warm in colder temps. Look for sleeping pads with good insulation and a high R-value if you’re planning on camping in the winter. 


All camping pads are designed with portability in mind, so they are all on the smaller side. Some sleeping pads come in different sizes. Other sleeping pads, like the Nemo Roamer sleeping pad, are marketed as XL or wide. If the size is a concern of yours, opt for a larger sleeping pad. 

What to look for in a quality camping sleeping pad


A quality sleeping pad will have good enough insulation to keep you warm while sleeping under the stars. Usually, a sleeping pad’s insulation can be judged by its R-value. The higher the R-value, the more the pad will retain your body heat. 

Storage and portability 

The key to a good sleeping pad is being able to take it on hikes and store it easily. You can roll up and strap most pads to your backpack. Be cautious you get a sleeping pad that comes with straps or some sort of mechanism to keep it securely stored. 


Most sleeping pads are about 2 inches thick. This is sufficient for a good night’s sleep, but depending on your needs, you may want a thinner or thicker pad. 

How much you can expect to spend on a camping sleeping pad

Camping sleeping pads range in price from $10-$400. 

Camping sleeping pad FAQ

Is a sleeping pad with a low R-value okay for summer weather? 

A. In general, yes. If you are camping somewhere warm, you won’t need a pad that is designed for warmth. R-values of 1-4 will work great for the summer months. 

Which camping sleeping pad is good for hiking? 

A. Consider pads that are durable, lightweight and hassle-free for hiking trips. Open-cell foam pads are a great choice. 

What’s the best camping sleeping pad to buy?

Top camping sleeping pad 

Therm-a-Rest Sleeping Pad

Therm-a-Rest Sleeping Pad 

What you need to know: A great option for hikers looking for a good night’s rest. This pad is optimized for comfort and comes with a versatile R-value of 4.2. 

What you’ll love: The Therm-a-Rest is easy to inflate and comes with a carry bag for added portability. It comes in three sizes. 

What you should consider: This pad is great for all types of weather, but the low R-value means that it is not fit for use in extreme cold. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 


Top camping sleeping pad for the money

SEMOO Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad

SEMOO Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad 

What you need to know: This budget-friendly sleeping pad is a reliable choice for campers who don’t want to sacrifice comfort or break the bank. 

What you’ll love: This self-inflating pad is very convenient and works great. Its waterproof cover makes it stand out from the competition. 

What you should consider: This pad does have some trouble retaining air. You will need to take extra care not to puncture it while it’s inflated. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 


Worth checking out

Teton Sports Foam Sleeping Pad with Canvas Shell

Teton Sports Foam Sleeping Pad with Canvas Shell 

What you need to know: This open-cell foam pad from Teton Sports is comfy and comes in three sizes. 

What you’ll love: The canvas shell is easy to clean. The pad has built-in features to ensure portability, such as its carrying straps and accessory pocket. 

What you should consider: Open-cell foam pads have a reputation for being a bit stiff and hard to carry around, but this pad offsets that to the best of its ability. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Addison Hoggard writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.