The best sleeping pads for your outdoor adventures 2023 (Buyers Guide)
The best sleeping pad for your needs can be found on the sleeping pad top list. The detailed sleeping pad buying guide will help you make the decision.
From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.
👉 The key facts from this guide
- An insulating mat is essential to protect you from the cold ground and improve your sleeping comfort.
- In the buying guide, you will find a top list of insulating mats, including the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite, Vaude Performance 7, Therm-A-Rest Ridgerest Classic, Big Agnes Q-Core SLX, Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Venture WV, Klymit Static V Luxe™, Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm 2020, and Exped Downmat 9 Sleep Mat.
- When buying an insulating mat, you should pay attention to the R-value, the thickness, the weight, and the price.
- There are different types of insulating mats, including those made of closed-cell foam (CCF), self-inflating mats, and inflatable mats.
- The price for an insulating mat can vary between 20 € and 250 €.
If you've ever had to spend a night without a sleeping mat, then you know how important it is to protect yourself from the cold ground.
Even with the best sleeping bag, a night without a sleeping pad becomes a nightmare.
If you already own a sleeping mat, never forget to bring it on your wilderness trip.
And if you don't have one yet, you should check out my buying guide to know what to look for when buying sleeping pads.
I will now present you my top list of sleeping mats and afterward you will find a buying guide.
My list of the best sleeping mats for bushcraft, trekking, camping
First, I would like to briefly introduce you to my list so that you get an overview right away.
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite||4.2||6.4 cm||340 g||€€€|
|Vaude Performance 7||4.2||7 cm||310 g||€€€|
|Therm-A-Rest Ridgerest Classic||2.0||1.3 cm||400 g||€|
|Big Agnes Q-Core SLX||4.5||22.9 cm||454 g||€€€|
|Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Venture WV||1.8||5 cm||595 g||€€|
|Klymit Static V Luxe™||2.4||7.6 cm||907 g||€€€|
And now let's take a close look at the sleeping mats.
1. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite - The All-Rounder
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite has everything you need in the wilderness: super lightweight, a small pack volume that can compete with your water bottle, and comfort that rivals your bed at home.
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- Eine der bewährtesten, ultraleichten Isomatten auf dem Markt. Mit mehr Wärme pro Gramm als jede andere Matte für drei Jahreszeiten
- Bequem: 6,4 cm Dicke und interne Kammerstruktur bieten unübertroffene Stabilität und Stützkraft
- Warm: Bei der zum Patent angemeldeten ThermaCapture(TM) Technologie wird refl ektierendes Material verwendet, um warme Luft einzuschließen - R-Wert: 4,2 Damenversion 5,4
- Besonders leicht einzupacken: Volumen sparende Materialien machen die XLite-Matte äußerst kompakt
- Maße und Gewicht: Größe S 51 x 119 cm - 240 g | Größe WR 51 x 168 cm - 340 g | R - 51 x 183 cm - 360 g | RW - 64 x 183 cm - 440 g |Größe L 64 x 196 cm - 470 g
All of this is rounded off with an R-value of 4.2 - ideal for winter camping and sleeping in sub-zero temperatures.
For a few extra euros, you can get the related but much warmer XTherm sleeping pad. All Therm-A-Rest sleeping pads come with a lifetime warranty.
Despite its slightly smaller size in the regular model, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite is an excellent choice for minimalist and luxurious car campers alike and is my winner among the all-rounders.
You can also order the sleeping pad in other sizes, such as Small, Regular, Regular Wide, and Large.
- R-Value: 4.2
- Weight: 340 grams (Regular)
Comes with pump sack, stuff sack, and repair kit
6.4 cm thick
Internal chamber structure
Easy to inflate
Compact pack size
Light rustling noise
2. Vaude Performance 7 - The All-Rounder
If you want to sleep deeply in the great outdoors, take a good look at the Performance 7 by Vaude. With an R-value of 2.7, this inflatable camping mat is well-equipped for spring, summer, and autumn.
- Primaloft Black Insulation ECO für beste Wärmeleistung
- superleichte Isomatte mit besonders kleinem Packmaß
- gerundete Ecken für den besten Kompromiss aus leichtem Gewicht und maximalem Komfort
- in Längsrichtung angeordnete Luftkammern für ein ideales Verhältnis zwischen Gewicht und Komfort
- mit Reparatur-Kit für den Notfall
159,95 €View Product
The sleeping pad is an impressive 7 cm thick and filled with recycled polyester and Primaloft Black Insulation Eco. The outer fabric is made of durable 20D TPU fabric.
The curved ends help save weight, and at 410 g, the Performance 7 is lightweight and compact enough for backpacking.
This sturdy sleeping pad with its longitudinally arranged air chambers comes with an emergency repair kit and a bag. It is available in two lengths, and Vaude offers a four-season version of this sleeping pad with an R-value of 4.7, the Performance Winter 7.
The pack size of the Vaude Performance 7 is surprisingly small, and it is easy to inflate with the Vaude pump sack.
- R-value: 4.2
- Weight: 310 grams
Comes with pump sack, stuff sack, and repair kit
7 cm thick
Easy to inflate
Compact pack size
3. Therm-A-Rest Ridgerest Classic - Great value for money
The foam sleeping pad (polyethylene fabric) Therm-A-Rest Ridgerest Classic is the cheapest option on this list and the best sleeping pad for the price. The sleeping pad is extremely durable, lightweight, and robust.
Daten aktualisiert vor 6 Stunden
- Leicht und haltbar: Praktisch unverwüstlich und leicht genug, um überallhin mitgeführt zu werden.
- Einzigartiges Design: Stützende Spitzen und Wärme einschließende Vertiefungen sorgen für wesentlichen Komfort.
- Vielseitig, robust und einfach praktisch!
Although it is very thin and lightweight, the heat-trapping dimples and the ThermaCapture™ coating help to capture radiant heat, increasing the overall warmth of the mat by 20%. So, you don't have to worry about the cold in the summer.
But the comfort ends where side sleepers come into play - which makes the mat a poor choice for luxury lovers.
The other main disadvantage is the pack size. With a pack volume of 12 liters, you can only attach the rolled-up sleeping pad to the outside of your backpack. This is fine in dry conditions but can be problematic in wet conditions.
The Therm-A-Rest Ridgerest Classic is an affordable sleeping pad and the best closed-cell foam sleeping pad for fast and light hikers.
It is also a suitable option for Bushcrafters with dogs - the robust nature of the mat can withstand dog claws much better than an expensive air construction mat.
Therefore, you will never have problems with escaping air with the Therm-A-Rest Ridgerest Classic, as it is not inflatable. Inflatable mats are usually more comfortable, but they can break relatively quickly.
- R-value: 2.0
- Weight: 400 grams
- Pack weight: 12 L
Lightweight and durable
Does not stick to anything
Good as a seat pad
Ready to use immediately
Only for summer
4. Big Agnes Q-Core SLX - The All-Rounder
This new addition to the Q-Core range from Big Agnes is lighter, more compact, and easier to use than the older version. And while the Q-Core SL is a great all-around sleeping pad, it's hard not to appreciate this new and improved version: the Q-Core SLX.
- Superleichte und kompakte Drei-Jahreszeiten-Pads.
- Integrierte fortschrittliche Hitzereflektierungstechnologie.
- Antimikrobielle Behandlung im Inneren der Einlage verhindert das Wachstum von Mikroorganismen.
- Minimalistische I-Beam-Konstruktion reduziert das Gewicht und bietet gleichbleibende Stabilität und Komfort.
- Die gesteppte Oberseite bietet eine gepolsterte Liegefläche, so bequem wie Ihr Bett zu Hause.
kein Preis ermittelbar (B081757T1P)View Product
Anyway, Big Agnes has reduced the weight of the SL model by 100g while increasing the tear strength of the nylon rip stop fabric by 25%.
They have also greatly improved the valve system, which now has two separate valves for inflation and deflation. When inflating through the one-way valve, you can now take a break without losing any air.
The synthetic insulation provides warmth down to -9 °C, which corresponds to an R-value of about 4.5. This makes the SLX a more compact option than the XTherm for backpacking in winter conditions, while still offering a thicker and larger sleeping area.
- R-Value: 4.5
- Weight: 454 grams
- Packed Weight: 1.4 L
Easy to set up and pack away
Good for side sleepers
5. Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Venture WV - Great value for money
The Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Venture WV is not the lightest sleeping pad on this list, but it is a truly excellent option that offers a super cozy level of comfort without sacrificing too much on weight.
- Warm: WaveCore construction provides twice the warmth of uninsulated air mattresses.
- Compact: Eliminates bulky fill materials to pack small and save room in your pack.
- Comfortable: Two inches (5 cm) of loft and horizontal baffles provide maximum stability and support.
- Durable: Tough, 75D polyester and proven air-tight coatings deliver reliable long-term performance.
kein Preis ermittelbar (B00G4V4BHW)View Product
The WaveCore construction uses a single layer of horizontal wave baffles that double the warmth of an uninsulated air mattress without adding extra bulk, leaving a very respectable pack volume of only 2 liters.
Warm enough for most 3-season camping trips and much more durable than an air mattress, the Venture WV really shines on multiple nights of camping in the same location, where comfort with good insulation is key.
The rectangular shape provides more space than tapered designs, and Therm-A-Rest has even added a luxurious polyester coating for a pleasant feel against the skin. Packed up, the sleeping pad takes up 23 x 11.5 cm of space.
My concerns about "crinkling noises" were not confirmed. The sleeping pad does make noise when you toss and turn for a while. However, I did not find it disturbing, and the noises are not comparable to cheap sleeping pads.
If you're looking for a "one pad fits all" option, then the Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Venture WV is definitely a good choice for Bushcrafters, campers, and trekking enthusiasts. In my top list, this sleeping pad has the best value for money.
If the pad starts to leak air, get the Therm-A-Rest Instant Repair Kit.
- R-Value: 1.8
- Weight: 595 grams
- Packed Weight: 2 L
Great value for money
5 cm thick
No pump sack included
Only suitable for summer
Slightly heavier than other models
Makes some noise when turning over
6. Klymit Static V Luxe™ - The width for plenty of freedom
With a width of 76 cm, the Static V2 Luxe™ is much wider than most sleeping pads and still manages to pack down to a comfortable size (20.3 x 11.4 cm) AND provides a good level of warmth and comfort.
- Klymit Unisex's Insulated Static V Luxe Sleeping Pad, Red, One size
- Perfect for year-round outdoor adventures: light, lofty Klymalite insulation adds a layer of winter warmth and deep welds provide improved sleeping bag loft so you sleep well in all 4 seasons
- SLEEP COMFORTABLY ALL NIGHT LONG: Luxurious amount of rolling room and comfort (30" Wide and 3" Thick). Inflation-20-30 Breaths
- V-shaped design delivers superior support and comfort no matter how you sleep – on your side, stomach or back; dynamic side rails cradle you and keep you on your pad
- Specifications: weight: 35 ounces; Packed Size: 5. 5" X 10"; inflated size: 76" X 30" X 3"
159,95 €View Product
The Klymit Static V Luxe™ is a great sleeping pad for people who are wider or more mobile while sleeping. However, the sleeping pad is naturally heavier.
The sleeping pad is not ideal for camping in cold weather. And for those who prefer to carry less weight, they should opt for the Klymit Static V (without Luxe™). But for kayaking trips, where weight and space constraints are not as noticeable, the Luxe will surely be your new favorite.
- R-value: 2.4
- Weight: 907 grams
Plenty of space to sleep, very wide
7.6 cm thick
Suitable for side sleepers
7. Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm 2020 - One of the warmest sleeping pads
I go camping all year round and the fantastic sleeping pad "Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm 2020" keeps me warm even in winter. I camped at 0 degrees with the pad in direct contact with the ground and I could literally feel my body heat bouncing back to me.
- Die XTherm bietet die wärmste als jede ultraleichte Isomatte für Aktivitäten im Gelände
- Ausgestattet mit einem zuverlässigen und robusten WingLock-Ventil, bläst das Pad 3 mal schneller auf als ein klassisches Ventil und verfügt über blitzschnelle Luftablassung
- 6,9 R-Wert bedeutet, dass die XTherm Camper bei extremer Kälte isolieren kann
- Die reflektierende ThermaCapture-Technologie speichert Strahlungswärme, während die dreieckige Kernmatrix-Konstruktion konvektiven Wärmeverlust minimiert
- Misst 183 x 50,8 x 6,3 cm aufgeblasen, lässt sich auf 22,9 x 10,2 cm zusammenpacken und wiegt 425 g, Pumpsack, Stopfsack und Reparatur-Set inklusive; hergestellt in den USA
230,00 €View Product
The 4-season sleeping pad Therm-A-Rest is incredibly lightweight, luxuriously comfortable, and offers excellent insulation - and it's also the best sleeping pad for side sleepers.
The combination of the ThermaCapture technology, which captures radiant heat inside the pad, and the TriangleCore matrix, which provides stability and warmth through stacked inner cell structure, makes this sleeping pad a must-have for those who sleep in the cold.
To top it all off, this super warm winter sleeping pad can be packed down to a tiny 1.6 liters. So if you're willing to invest the money, the unbeatable warmth-to-weight ratio of the XTherm won't disappoint you.
- R-value: 7.2
- Weight: 425 grams
- Packed size: 1.6 L
Excellent insulation in extreme cold
Comes with stuff sack, pump sack, and repair kit
Available in Regular and Large sizes
6.3 cm thick
Can be packed down to 22.9 x 10.2 cm
8. Exped Downmat 9 Sleep Mat - Extremely warm
As one of the warmest sleeping mats on the market, the Exped Downmat 9 is THE sleeping mat for serious winter expeditions, providing comfort and insulation in temperatures as low as -38 °C.
The 9 cm thick goose down insulation ensures a luxurious sleep at any temperature. However, weighing over 1.2 kg (Large), it may be better suited for multiple days at base camp rather than winter expeditions on the go.
In any case, the Exped Downmat 9 in the "Large" size is the best sleeping mat for big guys, keeping even the deepest snow sleepers happy, comfortable, and very warm. Those willing to sacrifice a bit more weight and space will certainly not be disappointed.
- R-Value: 8
- Weight: 975 g (Medium), 1350 g (Large)
- Packed Size: 4.8 L (Medium), 5.7 L (Large)
Designed for extreme cold
Quick setup and takedown
Creaks with movement
Buying a sleeping pad: What to consider
Types of sleeping pads and costs
The selection of sleeping mats is huge, and you should budget around 20 € to 250 € for a sleeping mat.
I am aware that 100 € is a lot of money for many people. Therefore, there are also no-name providers who bring acceptable products to the market.
It is advisable that you know the facts to find a good sleeping pad.
First, allow me to introduce you to types of sleeping pads. Once you have a good idea of what suits you, you can narrow down your search easily.
Closed-cell foam (CCF) sleeping mat
Closed-cell foam mats are the most affordable type of sleeping mats on the market. Their unmatched durability means that you just unroll such a mat, and you're done. They are also perfect as seat pads.
They are super lightweight, do not need to be inflated, and with a thickness of less than 2 cm, CCF mats rely on tiny air pockets in the foam for insulation.
Disadvantages: Not very comfortable and can be bulky
Example: Therm-A-Rest Ridgerest Classic
Self-inflating sleeping mats
On a self-inflating sleeping mat, you won't lie like in a bed at home, but they are much more comfortable than a CCF sleeping mat.
The sleeping mats consist of a sponge-like foam that is embedded between two fabric parts, and a few breaths are enough to fully inflate them.
Most are warm enough for 3-season camping, they are easy to inflate, and to top it all off, they won't break your wallet.
Disadvantages: Can be somewhat heavy and bulky
Example: Therm-A-Rest ProLite Plus
Inflatable sleeping mats
Inflatable sleeping mats are relatively new to the sleeping mat scene and are taking the camping world by storm. And for good reason: they offer excellent comfort and warmth without compromising on weight and pack size.
They are considered the best sleeping mats for side sleepers.
In fact, some models are among the smallest and lightest mats on the market. Their warmth is due to internal synthetic material, goose down, or ribbed structures that provide good insulation and stability.
Too good to be true? Well, unfortunately, this new design leaves a big hole in your wallet. Additionally, they are more vulnerable, making them the least durable type of all sleeping mats.
Disadvantages: Inflation takes longer than with others, the mats are pricier, and they can be easily damaged.
Example: Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite
As comfortable as sleeping mats can be, there is nothing worse than freezing at night. So, the insulation of your sleeping mat should correspond to the season, your own "sensitivity to cold," and be up-to-date.
Finding the right balance is of course the best option if you want to sleep like a baby.
The insulation level of each sleeping pad is evaluated by an R-value (a measure of the resistance of an insulating material to heat flow). The higher the number, the higher the insulation. In my guide "Staying Warm in the Wilderness: What is the R-Value? - Its significance in choosing your sleeping pad", you can learn even more about it.
R-value for sleeping pads:
|0-1||only suitable for warm summers when the ground does not lose too much heat at night|
|1-3||designed for the needs of most campers for 3-season backpacking and sleeping in the wilderness|
|3-5||ideal for winter camping and sleeping in sub-zero temperatures|
|5+||a must-have for winter camping with snow|
As mentioned before, the different types of padding offer different levels of comfort, so it is important to understand your personal comfort requirements before buying a sleeping pad.
The tough people who sleep like a rock will probably doze off on a plain CCF sleeping pad. But for those who prefer sleeping on their side, CCF sleeping pads are quite uncomfortable.
Older people as well as those who quickly feel their bones should definitely prefer a sleeping pad with air insulation.
Another essential aspect to consider when selecting the best camping sleeping pad is the ability of the pad to withstand the rough and tough life in the wilderness.
CCF mats can withstand mostly anything, whether it's sleeping directly on uneven ground or serving as a seat by the campfire. What they lack in comfort, they make up for with their versatility and durability.
Inflatable sleeping mats, on the other hand, require care. That means you have to handle them much more carefully. Therefore, you should never forget the included repair kit.
Self-inflating sleeping mats are generally more durable than inflatable sleeping mats. However, they are not bulletproof, so it is always a great idea to bring a repair kit on longer trips.
Weight and Size
As with most outdoor products, the general rule is: the smaller and lighter, the better. However, this only applies to carrying them, not to your comfort at night. It is important to find a good compromise here.
With a super lightweight sleeping pad, you will carry little weight, but then sleep poorly due to the lack of insulation. Then you might be better off compromising with a heavier mat and having a more restful night.
Fortunately, there are some ultralight backpacking sleeping pads that are unbelievably small without sacrificing luxury and warmth. They are accordingly expensive, but think carefully if you value a deep sleep.
Look, these facts affect the weight:
Length: You can save weight by choosing a shorter sleeping pad that isolates the most significant areas of your body. Some people decide to place their feet and lower legs outside the sleeping pad. They then place their backpack underneath, among other things.
Form: Many new, lightweight sleeping pad designs save weight by replacing the traditional rectangular shape with a tapered "mummy" style.
If you want to sleep outside in winter, you need the best insulation and therefore prefer the rectangular version in full length and width.
Sleeping pad Accessories
With the right accessories, you are even better prepared for your adventure.
An essential addition to your sleeping gear - especially when using air mattresses with air pockets.
Save some breath and use a pump sack full of air instead. Great for use with air cushions that require more inflation.
A battery-powered mini pump takes care of the inflation for you. Ideal for camping.
The chair kit provides you with back support for upright eating or relaxed lying down.
With the right stuff sack, you can further reduce the size of your sleeping pad as luggage.
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