It is probably not as horny as a tent, backpack, or sleeping bag, however the humble backpacking sleeping pad is simply as crucial (and sometimes simply as costly) because the much-touted Massive Three.

The warmest sleeping bag on the planet gained’t do you a lot good in case you’re mendacity on the chilly, onerous floor with out a mattress. As a result of a crappy night time’s sleep is the quickest approach to break the journey of a lifetime, it is best to go for the most effective thru-hiking sleeping pads in your subsequent journey.

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Greatest Sleeping Pads for Through-Climbing

The Greatest Backpacking Sleeping Pads for Through-Climbing

Therm-a-Relaxation NeoAir XLite NXT (Greatest General Pad for Through-Hikers)

Greatest sleeping pads for thru-hiking: Therm-a-Relaxation NeoAir XLite NXT.

  • MSRP: $200 – $240
  • Weight: 13 ounces (Reg.) / 16 (Reg. Large) / 12 (Brief) / 17 (Massive)
  • R-value: 4.5
  • Dimensions: 72″ x 20″ x 3″ (Reg.) / 72″ x 25″ x 3″ (Reg. Large) / 66″ x 20″ x 3″ (Brief) / 77″ x 25″ x 3″ (Massive)

What We Love

Therm-a-Relaxation’s NeoAir line received a much-anticipated replace in 2023. In comparison with the earlier NeoAir XLite, the brand new NeoAir XLite NXT is half an inch thicker and is supposed to scale back the infamous loud crinkling sound for which the  NeoAir has lengthy been recognized by about 83 p.c. The brand new pads are considerably hotter (4.5 R-value in comparison with 4.2 within the previous model) and simply half an oz. heavier.

This pad is ideal for three-going-on-four-season thru-hiking with an R-value of 4.5. It inflates to a root-smothering three inches thick and packs to roughly the dimensions of a Nalgene. It additionally is available in varied lengths for an ideal match. Therm-a-Relaxation’s one-way valve and included pump sack make inflating/deflating simple.

Noteworthy Options

  • Glorious warmth-to-weight ratio: Therm-a-Relaxation has lengthy been an trade chief on this entrance. The XLite NXT’s 4.5 R-value at simply 13 ounces blows the competitors out of the water.
  • Quieter: The Xlite received a foul rap for being noisy, however the NXT model is meant to be quieter. New building with stacked inside baffles implies that, in keeping with Therm-a-Relaxation, this pad is 83 p.c quieter than its predecessor.
  • WingLock valve: Therm-a-Relaxation’s Winglock valve is simple and quick to make use of with one-way inflation and a big opening. In addition they now throw in a pump sack if you wish to save your breath.
  • 30D Rip HT Nylon: On each the highest and the underside.
  • Made within the USA: Of their phrases, “the NeoAir XLite is made in market to make sure high quality and reduce environmental impression.” Therm-a-Relaxation can be tremendous responsive with regards to pad restore or substitute.

No one’s Excellent

Like different inflatable pads, the danger of a puncture leaving you flat within the night time may be very actual. The fabric is fairly sturdy and simple to restore, however an extended thru-hike will put that to the check. The Winglock valve stands out from the pad, creating a possible weak level.

With the NXT replace, Therm-a-Relaxation did away with the ladies’s Xlite, which had the next R-value (5.4) however weighed the identical because the “common” model as a result of it was smaller. You’ll be able to nonetheless purchase a brief model of the Xlite NXT, however the R-value is 4.5, similar because the common size.

Some individuals don’t take care of the dramatic taper of the NeoAir mummy pads, however the rectangular model of the XLite NXT solves that drawback.


Execs: Glorious warmth-to-weight ratio; easy-to-use one-way valve; comfy; a number of size choices.

Cons: Costly; on the slim facet; makes noise.

Learn our evaluation of the NeoAir XLite NXT right here.

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NEMO Tensor Ultralight Insulated (Runner-Up for Greatest Pad)

Greatest sleeping pads for thru-hiking: NEMO Tensor.

  • MSRP: $200 – $230
  • Weight: 14.5 oz (Reg. Mummy) / 15 oz (Reg.) / 19 oz (Reg. Large) / 21 oz (Lengthy Large)
  • R-Worth: 4.2
  • Dimensions: 72″ x 20″ x 3″ (Reg.) / 72″ x 25″ x 3″ (Reg. Large) / 76″ x 25″ x 3″ (Lengthy Large)

What We Love

This pad is properly fitted to thru-hiking. The insulation issue means it may be used functionally even on the coldest nights, but I by no means had points with it being too heat in the summertime months. It held up fairly properly for a lot of the PCT the place I used it and has solely just lately obtained its first pinhole.

Nemo’s stacked two-part valve lies flush towards the pad, decreasing the danger of the valve tugging and placing stress on the encompassing material. The valve is simple to make use of and permits for micro-adjustments to the inflation stage. Nemo integrated a skinny TPU movie contained in the up to date Tensor that boosted the R-value from 3.5 to 4.2 with a weight enhance of simply half an oz., making it higher than ever for three-season hikes.

The Tensor is pleasantly quiet to put on — prior to now, it’s crushed Therm-a-Relaxation handily within the noise division. With the appearance of the latter’s new, quieter NXT pads, it stays to be seen how the quietness of the Tensor stacks up. Whatever the competitors, it’s a sensible choice in order for you a peaceable night time’s sleep with out a number of squeaking or crinkling.

Noteworthy Options

  • Mummy form: Shaves weight whereas nonetheless offering loads of cushion to sleep on for a six-foot-tall hiker.
  • House blanket” insulation: It actually works! I’ve slept instantly on snow properly under freezing with this pad paired with a 20-degree quilt and slept simply tremendous.
  • Two-part valve system: Makes inflation adjustment handy. The pad additionally comes with a pump sack.
  • Recycled supplies: Made with 20D recycled polyester on high and backside.

No one’s Excellent

The baffle system throughout the pad makes it acquire dust like no person’s enterprise. I believe the friction from the micro dust buildup finally led to the little gap in mine (it additionally makes use of comparatively skinny 20D material). The Tensor is a superb pad, however regardless of closing the hole considerably, the warmth-to-weight ratio can’t compete with Therm-a-Relaxation.

—Carl Stanfield


Execs: Sturdy; heat; mummy and rectangular choices obtainable (together with a number of lengths and widths); beneficiant 3-inch thickness; much less crinkling/squeakage than related pads; well-made valve; recycled supplies

Cons: Will get soiled rapidly; not fairly as heat as different pads at an identical weight/value level; leaky baffle welds have traditionally been an issue with this pad; some say the valve cap is stiff and onerous to open

Learn our evaluation of the NEMO Tensor right here.

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Klymit Insulated Static V Lite (Greatest Hammock Pad / Greatest Finances Inflatable)

best sleeping pads thru-hiking

Greatest sleeping pads for thru-hiking: Klymit Insulated Static V Lite.

  • MSRP: $110
  • Weight: 20 ounces
  • R-Worth: 4.4
  • Dimensions: 72″ x 23″ x 2.5″

What We Love

The Static V is likely one of the greatest thru-hiking sleeping pads for lively sleepers and bigger individuals due to its beneficiant 23-inch width. That width and the V-shaped baffles, which assist to cradle the physique, make it a favourite amongst hammock campers as properly (Klymit additionally makes a hammock-specific pad, nevertheless it’s fairly heavy). We requested readers to weigh in on the consolation of the V baffles, and the decision is that the design IS extra comfy than that of most conventional pads.

This pad can be obtainable in customary, extensive, ultralight, and non-insulated variations, however we expect the Static V Lite presents one of the best steadiness of affordability, weight, and insulation. The pad is comparatively fast to inflate, requiring solely 10–15 breaths. It is a main promoting level for a lot of, because it makes a much-reviled camp chore simpler.

In order for you the consolation of an inflatable with out the whopping price ticket, the Static V line is your greatest wager.

Noteworthy Options

  • V-shaped baffle design: Mimics the muscular construction of your again for max consolation.
  • Artificial insulation: Boosts the R-value to a balmy 4.4.
  • Twist-lock valve: For quicker and simpler inflation.
  • 30D polyester on high and backside.

No one’s Excellent

Many customers dislike the twist-lock valve design, saying it’s onerous to make use of or tends to leak. Nonetheless, its greatest downside is that it weighs nearly half a pound greater than the Therm-a-Relaxation NeoAir XLite NXT for primarily the identical R-value.


Execs: Heat; reasonably priced (greatest worth for an inflatable pad); fast and simple inflation; wider than most (hammock-friendly); comfy total

Cons: Finicky valve system; pretty heavy

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NEMO Tensor Excessive Circumstances Ultralight Insulated (Warmest Sleeping Pad)

Greatest sleeping pads for thru-hiking: NEMO Tensor Excessive Circumstances Ultralight Insulated.

  • MSRP: $250 – $280
  • Weight: 17 oz (Reg. Mummy) / 18oz (Reg.) / 22 oz (Reg. Large) / 23 oz (Lengthy Large)
  • R-Worth: 8.5
  • Dimensions: 72″ x 20″ x 3.5″ (Reg. Mummy & Reg.) / 72″ x 25″ x 3.5″ (Reg. Large) / 76″ x 25″ x 3.5″ (Lengthy Large)

What We Love

After years atop the heap, the Therm-a-Relaxation NeoAir XTherm has been dethroned because the warmest light-weight sleeping pad appropriate for thru-hiking. All hail the brand-new NEMO Tensor Excessive Circumstances Ultralight Insulated sleeping pad, with a sweltering 8.5 R-value. We’ve been ready a very long time for a real competitor to the XTherm’s 7.3 R-value, and now we have now it.

Weighing simply 17 ounces, the Tensor Excessive Circumstances (EC) has the very best warmth-to-weight ratio of any pad available on the market, whereas providing the identical dimensions as most different inflatable pads. That is made potential by NEMO’s new Apex baffle design that suspends an unprecedented 4 layers of reflective movie, evenly distributed throughout the 3.5-inch pad thickness. There’s another spectacular jargon to elucidate the utter genius behind this design, however all we care to know is that the heat is downright nuclear.

Moreover, NEMO claims that the Tensor EC is the quietest pad in its class, which is music to our ears after a few years of sleeping on pads that had been primarily comfy baggage of chips within the decibel division. Therm-a-Relaxation has made main enhancements on this regard as properly, so it feels like we may be getting into an period of the warmest, most comfy, and quietest backcountry sleep of all time. Good.

The opposite options that make the lighter-weight Tensors a few of our favourite inflatable pads are after all nonetheless included with the EC. The plushy consolation stays, as does the low-profile valve. Should you’re on the lookout for the warmest pad, then it’s good to know that you just don’t have to compromise perform, weight, or consolation to get it.

Noteworthy Options

  • A number of shapes: A mummy possibility shaves weight whereas nonetheless offering loads of cushion to sleep on for a six-foot-tall hiker. Go for the oblong common, common extensive, and lengthy extensive in order for you extra room to wiggle.
  • Apex baffle design: The inner baffle form helps 4, free-floating layers of reflective movie. This design is crinkle-free and explains the distinctive R-value.
  • Two-part valve system: Makes inflation adjustment handy. The pad additionally comes with a pump sack.
  • Sturdy supplies: Made with 20D nylon on high and 40D nylon on the underside, this pad ought to be a contact extra sturdy than different ultralight pads.
  • Heat: 4 layers of reflective movie flip that physique warmth round and ship it proper again your method. The 8.5 R-value is the very best we’ve ever seen by a large margin.

No one’s Excellent

At $250 for the common model, that is the most costly pad on our record. It’s additionally brand-new and so is comparatively untested. We haven’t had an opportunity to see it for ourselves but, so we’ll have to take NEMO at their phrase relating to efficiency and sturdiness. That stated, we love the opposite variations of the Tensor, so we count on to like the Tensor EC as properly.

It’s price noting that the Therm-a-Relaxation NeoAir XTherm NXT is made with extra sturdy materials (30D high, 70D backside) whereas being marginally lighter. The 7.3 R-value is considerably decrease than the Tensor EC’s 8.5, however that’s nonetheless fairly dang heat. As with all the things, these sleeping pads characterize a slightly completely different compromise between weight, heat, and sturdiness.


Execs: Insane warmth-to-weight ratio; mummy and rectangular choices obtainable (together with a number of lengths and widths); good valve design; 40D backside material; well-built for consolation and sturdiness

Cons: Costly; heavy until you really want the heat; supplies not as sturdy as NeoAir XTherm

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NEMO Switchback (Greatest Finances Sleeping Pad / Greatest CCF Pad)

Greatest sleeping pads for thru-hiking: NEMO Switchback.

  • MSRP: $45 – $55
  • Weight: 14.5 ounces (Reg.) / 10.5 ounces (Brief)
  • R-value: 2.0
  • Dimensions (in.): 51″ x 20″ x 0.9″ (Brief) /72″ x 20″ x 0.9″ (Reg.)

What We Love

The Nemo Switchback took the basic and already standard closed-cell foam (CCF) sleeping pad and made enhancements throughout. A cleverly designed dimple sample nests smaller whereas offering extra thickness and luxury, and a reflective movie bumps the R-value to 2.0, which is simply sufficient for three-season use. At 14.5 ounces, the Switchback is light-weight, and it’s simple to make use of scissors to shorten it and minimize ounces.

It’s also extraordinarily rugged and prepared for the trials of an extended thru-hike. In contrast to inflatable sleeping pads, it could possibly by no means pop, and because it takes simply seconds to deploy, the Switchback is a flexible pad that’s helpful for snack breaks, lunch breaks, second lunch breaks, and trailside naps, along with sleeping. Final however not least, at $55 for the common dimension, it’s low-cost sufficient for a thru-hiker on any price range.

Noteworthy Options

  • Reflective coating: The shiny metallic coating boosts heat by reflecting physique warmth again to the sleeper. NEMO recommends pointing the shiny facet down.
  • Nesting dimples enable the pad to pack down smaller than the Therm-a-Relaxation Zlite Sol.

No one’s Excellent

The large draw back to CCF pads just like the Switchback is consolation (or lack thereof). Regardless that NEMO’s model is comfier than the competitors, it should trigger all however the hardiest sleepers to toss and wiggle searching for a place with out stress factors. This pad type works greatest for individuals who sleep on bellies or backs, whereas facet sleepers could want a thicker inflatable pad.

Regardless of the satisfying accordion-style nesting, the Switchback is cumbersome and can must be carried exterior of a backpack. Additionally, the comparatively low R-value of two.0 limits its usefulness when summer time begins to fade.

Owen Eigenbrot


Execs: Cheap; comfy (for a foam pad); low-profile so you’ll be able to’t slip off; sturdy; fast to arrange (no huffing and/or puffing required); can double as a jumbo sit pad.

Cons: Uncomfortable in comparison with inflatable pads; low R-value; low warmth-to-weight ratio in comparison with inflatable pads.

READ NEXT — Therm-a-Relaxation Zlite Sol vs. Nemo Switchback: The Final Comparability

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Massive Agnes Rapide SL  (Greatest Pad for Facet Sleepers)

Greatest sleeping pads for thru-hiking: Massive Agnes Rapide SL.

  • MSRP: $150 – $300
  • Weight: 17 ounces (Brief) / 18 ounces (Reg.) / 19 ounces (Lengthy) / 23 ounces (Reg. Large) / 25 oz (Lengthy Large) / 37 ounces (Double)
  • R-Worth: 4.8
  • Dimensions (in.): 66″ x 20″ x 3.5″ (Brief) / 72″ x 20″ x 3.5″ (Reg.) / 78″ x 20″x 3.5″ (Lengthy) / 72″ x 25″ x 3.5″ (Reg. Large) / 78″ x 25″ x 3.5″ (Lengthy Large) / 72″ x 40″ x 3.5″ (Double)

What We Love

The three.5-inch thickness of the Rapide makes it eminently comfy and never “floppy” like many inflatable pads. You may sleep proper on high of some gnarly roots and never even start to really feel them with this plushy pad. The earlier model was already considered one of our favourite pads even earlier than Massive Agnes made wholesale enhancements. Not solely is the newest model hotter, nevertheless it’s lighter too. Don’t ask us how that’s potential.

Extra importantly, the comparatively inflexible form makes it a wonderful floaty for swimming in alpine lakes.

Though no inflatable pad will ever be really quiet, I’ve discovered Massive Agnes pads to be among the many least squeaky I’ve tried. I additionally like that the Rapide is accessible in six completely different sizes so you’ll be able to dial the match, weight, and value in keeping with your wants. Regardless that the valve design with separate inflate and deflate valves is clunkier than some, it makes organising camp hassle-free.

Noteworthy Options

  • Larger exterior baffles: 4.25″ outer chambers cradle you so that you don’t slide off within the night time.
  • Out there in a number of lengths and widths: So that you don’t overpay (or over-carry) for additional materials you don’t want.
  • Antimicrobial remedy: Deters creepy crawlies from rising within the pad’s heat, moist inside.
  • Sturdy ripstop nylon on high and backside.

No one’s Excellent

The thickness of the Rapide could also be a bit extreme for some hikers. Within the topography of the shelter ground, Mount Massive Agnes Sleeping Pad all the time towers over the foothills of slumbering hikers on both facet. The additional top doesn’t appear to translate into an enormous achieve in R-value in comparison with different pads, however until you employ the pump sack, it does require a dizzying quantity of breath to inflate. The peak may additionally create clearance points for tall hikers in some tents.


Execs: Loads of cushion; a number of size and width choices; rectangular minimize and vertical baffles nice for facet sleepers; rigidity ideally suited to be used as an inflatable raft; comparatively quiet.

Cons: Takes eternally to inflate; not that heat for the burden and top; presumably TOO thick.

Kelly Floro

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Therm-a-Relaxation Prolite Apex (Greatest Self-Inflating Pad)

Greatest sleeping pads for thru-hiking: Therm-a-Relaxation Prolite Apex.

  • MSRP: $135 – $155
  • Weight: 22 oz (Reg.) / 30 oz (Massive) / 28 oz (Reg. Large)
  • R-Worth: 3.8
  • Dimensions (in.): 72″ x 20″ x 2″ (Reg.) / 72″ x 25″ x 2″ (Reg. Large) / 77″ x 25″ x 2″ (Massive)

What We Love

If me, {that a} good night time’s sleep is a fairly excessive precedence for me. Although it’s a bit on the heavy facet, I carry this sleeping pad on each journey. I’ve by no means slept on a extra comfy pad, and I by no means fear about my sleep system when the temperature drops, given its 3.8 R-value. I’ve discovered {that a} heat sleeping pad is extra vital than a sleeping bag for me. I’ve comfortably slept in roughly 25-degree climate and plan to take it out as typically as potential this winter.

The sturdy building of this pad makes it extraordinarily resilient, even when sleeping on uneven floor. Inflatable pads are typically finicky and simply one other camp chore, however I’ve my mattress arrange for the night time inside three minutes.

Noteworthy Options

  • Self-inflating: Should you give it sufficient time, it should fill nearly fully.
  • Packability: This gained’t compete with an ultralight sleeping pad by way of packability. However, when evaluating it to different pads of an identical weight / R-value, the packability right here wins.
  • 50D polyester on the highest and backside makes this pad very sturdy.

No one’s Excellent

This pad does self-inflate, however provided that you give it ample time to do its factor. I often high it off myself, which could be a problem at increased elevations. It took me a little bit of time to get the grasp of stuffing it again into its sack, and rolling it up is considerably extra work than strapping a Z-lite to my pack. Sooner or later, I might like to see a extra packable iteration.

—Katie Kommer


Execs: Very comfy; good R-value; good price-to-R-Worth ratio; handy (self-inflating).

Cons: Self-inflation course of is a bit gradual and nonetheless requires just a few breaths to high off; heavier than many pads on this record.

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Sea to Summit UltraLight Insulated Air (Ladies’s | Unisex) (Best To Inflate)

Greatest sleeping pads for thru-hiking: Sea to Summit UltraLight Insulated Air.

  • MSRP: $159 – $179
  • Weight: 17 oz (Reg.) / 21 oz (Massive) / 15.8 oz (Ladies’s Reg)
  • R-Worth: 3.1 / 3.5 (Ladies’s)
  • Dimensions (in.): 72″ x 21.5″ x 2″ (Reg.) / 78″ x 25″ x 2″ (Massive) / 66″ x 21.5″ x 2″ (Ladies’s Reg.)

What We Love

This pad is middle-of-the-road with regards to value, weight, and R-value, however there are just a few areas the place it actually shines in comparison with the competitors, incomes it a spot among the many greatest thru-hiking sleeping pads of the yr.

First, it’s wider than most inflatables (21.5 inches in comparison with the everyday 20 inches). This makes it a comfortable alternative for broad-shouldered people and lively sleepers.

Second, I’ve discovered it to be insanely sturdy. My accomplice owns a Sea to Summit UltraLight, and it stood as much as all method of abuse and shenanigans on an Appalachian Path thru-hike and past.

Lastly, the pad may be very simple to inflate. As a result of comparatively skinny 2-inch thickness, I discover that it takes fewer puffs to fill in comparison with different pads, and the low-profile valve design (just like that of the Nemo Tensor) is efficient, sturdy, and simple to regulate.

Noteworthy Options

  • Nested valve system for straightforward inflation and deflation.
  • 30D/40D nylon face material with antimicrobial remedy.
  • PillowLock system: Adhesive velcro patches include each pad that can be utilized to maintain inflatable pillows in place.

No one’s Excellent

As acknowledged above, this pad is just about middle-of-the-road by way of weight, heat, and value. These are main promoting factors for many shoppers, and the truth that the UltraLight excels in none of them is a bit of disappointing.

Additionally, whereas I typically just like the pad’s nested valve design, it makes all of it too simple to by accident let all of the air out after I solely meant to open the consumption valve so as to add just a few extra puffs of air.


Execs: Not too thick = fast to inflate; glorious sturdiness; common dimension is 1.5 inches wider than most pads; antimicrobial remedy.

Cons: Weight, heat, and value are nothing to write down dwelling about; two-part valve may be tough.

Kelly Floro

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Gossamer Gear Thinlight (Greatest Supplemental Sleeping Pad)

best sleeping pads for thru-hiking

Greatest sleeping pads for thru-hiking: Gossamer Gear Thinlight.

  • MSRP: $22 — $32
  • Weight: 2.7-3.3 ounces
  • R-Worth: 0.5
  • Dimensions: 59″ x 19″ x 1/8″ (Rolled model) / 73.5″ x 20″ x 1/8″ (Folded model)

What We Love

One-eight-inch pads are too minimalist to work as standalone sleeping pads, however that’s not the purpose of this merchandise (until you’re a hardcore ultralighter). As a substitute, these pads are supposed to defend and complement your present sleep system (R-values are additive, so stacking this pad beneath one other one will increase the insulation issue).

These pads even have a wonderful warmth-to-weight ratio for closed-cell foam: theoretically, stacking two 1/4-inch foam pads would obtain the identical R-value as a conventional CCF foam pad at considerably much less weight. As an added bonus, they’ll double as backcountry canine beds, yoga mats, and hammock pads.

Notice: Mountain Laurel Designs sells an identical pad with extra size choices, which can be ideally suited for taller individuals. In any other case, the 2 are functionally related in most methods. The extra .

No one’s Excellent

On the finish of the day, the Thinlights simply aren’t that heat. Whilst a supplemental pad, a lift in R-value of simply 0.5 or 1 may not be sufficient to justify the added expense and bulk of carrying this pad. Subsequent time I head out within the snow, I’ll most likely nonetheless go for a thicker CCF pad to layer beneath my inflatable.


Execs: Nice warmth-to-weight ratio; all the flexibility of a conventional CCF pad at a fraction of the burden and bulk

Cons: Not an enormous increase in heat; likes to fold and twist beneath lively sleepers.

—The Editors

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Selecting the Greatest Backpacking Sleeping Pads for Through-Climbing: FAQs

Is a sleeping pad essential?

It’s extraordinarily essential. A sleeping pad will present insulation and cushioning from the tough floor, and nearly each hiker carries one. Foam pads are perfect for minimalists and are 10000% dependable, whereas inflatables are the preferred sleeping pads for thru-hiking (at the very least for anybody who needs a extra luxurious night time’s sleep).

The one backpackers for whom a sleeping pad shouldn’t be important are hammockers, who’ve the choice to make use of an underquilt for insulation as a substitute. (And even then, many hammockers want the pliability to “go to floor” on a shelter or hostel ground {that a} pad supplies).

It ought to be famous that quilt customers shall be much more reliant on their pads for heat than sleeping bag customers because of the complete no-back factor. So in case you’re a quilt consumer, be sure you pay additional consideration to R-value.

Foam or inflatable?

best backpacking sleeping pads

Picture by way of Owen Eigenbrot.

It’s a completely private alternative, as each have professionals and cons. Closed-cell foam (CCF) pads are extra versatile and sturdy than inflatables at a fraction of the fee. They arrange immediately and may double as sit pads and yoga mats.

On the flip facet, inflatable pads are extra comfy and, extra importantly, typically a lot hotter. A typical foam pad has an R-value of simply two, which is barely sufficient for summer time and shoulder season use for heat sleepers. Inflatable backpacking pads, in distinction, can have R-values of 5, six, and even eight.

Winter hikers will typically layer a foam pad beneath a high-R-value inflatable. The froth pad provides to the system’s heat whereas additionally serving as a backup if the inflatable fails.

Are three-quarter-length sleeping pads price it?

best backpacking sleeping pads

Full-length sleeping pads are sometimes round 72 inches lengthy. Many pads are additionally obtainable in 66-inch and even 48-inch lengths, too. These shorter pads are good for smaller people, however tall individuals make them work by utilizing the pad for his or her torso whereas resting their legs on high of their pack or additional clothes. As a result of they use considerably much less materials, brief pads are inclined to value and weigh quite a bit much less.

What’s R-value / what is an efficient R-value for a sleeping pad?

R-value is a measure of a fabric’s resistance to warmth switch (i.e. how properly it insulates). Mathematically, it’s the temperature distinction from one facet of an insulating barrier to the opposite divided by warmth flux (the quantity of warmth flowing by means of the barrier per unit of space per unit of time).

R-values aren’t distinctive to sleeping pads. They’re additionally used to explain constructing insulation and different supplies. For example, the partitions of a typical insulated dwelling have an R-value between 13 and 19.

R-values sometimes vary from one to eight in backpacking sleeping pads. Till just lately, out of doors manufacturers used their very own methodologies to measure the R-values of their sleeping pads. In 2020, the trade adopted a standardized methodology known as ASTM F3340-18, by which all pads are evaluated so shoppers can extra simply examine throughout manufacturers.

Bear in mind to decide on an appropriately rated bag or quilt to enhance your pad, as the 2 will work in live performance to maintain you heat.

  • An R-value of 1 or 2 is appropriate for summer time journeys in heat environments.
  • An R-value of 2-4 is appropriate for spring, summer time, and fall journeys in heat to chill environments. Most inflatable pads are on this vary.
  • An R-value of 5-7 is greatest for winter use in chilly environments.
  • An R-value increased than 7 is darn heat. Prior to now, we’ve stated that such pads are heavy and higher fitted to automotive tenting than backpacking, however ultralight sleeping pad know-how is beginning to push the envelope right here (see the NEMO Tensor EC and Therm-a-Relaxation NeoAir Xtherm NXT).
best backpacking sleeping pads

Your sleeping bag and sleeping pad work collectively to maintain you heat at night time. Picture by way of Carl Stanfield

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Sleeping Pad Fast Suggestions

Picture by way of Katie Kommer

  • Paint just a few strips of silicone seam sealer on the underside facet of your pad to maintain it from slipping and sliding in your tent ground. Just a few strips on the highest may even assist preserve you from sliding off the pad in your sleep.
  • Should you’ll be utilizing your breath to inflate a sleeping pad, sit down earlier than you begin and take your time — particularly at increased elevations — to keep away from dizziness.
  • Should you’re making an attempt to maintain your base weight down and/or are on a decent price range, select a 3/4-length pad and put your backpack beneath your legs to maintain them heat and supported.
  • Slip a sleeping bag liner over your pad like a field sheet for luxurious consolation and fewer squeak. Particularly efficient for quilt customers.
  • Find leaks by submerging the pad in water and following the path of bubbles to the pinhole. And on a associated word…
  • Convey the patch equipment that got here along with your inflatable pad if you purchased it. It weighs subsequent to nothing, it should delay the lifetime of your inflatable, and sometime it should prevent from a crappy night time’s sleep on {a partially} deflated pad.

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Extra of the Greatest Gear of 2024

Why do you have to belief us?

As a result of we’re so extremely clever, after all! Engaging, too. (To not point out extraordinarily humble).

But when that isn’t sufficient to impress you, there’s additionally the truth that everybody who contributed to this text is an skilled thru-hiker with 1000’s of on-trail miles beneath their belt. We’re gear nerds who love placing our gear to the check on trails lengthy and brief, and we’ve tried nearly each sleeping pad beneath the solar in pursuit of a greater night time’s sleep within the backcountry.

Furthermore, we survey a whole bunch of Appalachian Path thru-hikers yearly to find out about their behaviors, demographics, and — you guessed it — gear preferences. Which means our sleeping pad picks aren’t simply our opinions: they’re primarily based on years of suggestions from the higher thru-hiking neighborhood.

Try AT hikers’ favourite sleep techniques from the 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022 surveys. (2023 information coming quickly!)

Competence and backpacking proficiency personified.

Alexander “GPS” Brown, Rachel Shoemaker, and Owen Eigenbrot contributed to the newest replace of this record.

Featured picture: Graphic design by Chris Helm.



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