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. The weight of the pads tested ranges from 8.8 ounces, like the Therm-a-rest Uberlite, to over 44 ounces, the Exped Megamat Lite 12. The Winglock isn't perfect, but it is a massive upgrade to these pads, allowing air in and out exponentially faster and easier than in the past. When choosing a campsite look for ground that is as flat and smooth as possible. Once again, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite takes home our highest honors in the ultralight category. 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. Weight: 17 oz. We don't just order them at retail prices, but our experts actually test them in the field. This leaves them exposed to the elements most all of the time... which can be an issue when raining and your pad is not 100% waterproof. Just like the Z Lite Sol, the Nemo Switchback is a closed-cell foam pad. If you toss and turn a bit, a wider pad like the Static V2 may be worth the few extra ounces. It inflates to a cushy 2.5-inches and boasts of a 6.9 r-value, making it suitable for three-season use and beyond. You won't be sliding around on this pad, and its wider design makes it optimal for those with wide shoulders. For its price point, it can't be beaten. Rating . Do you like a good memory foam mattress? This is not always the case though. It weighs around 26 ounces and packs down pretty small. The Z Lite Sol from Therm-A-Rest had the corner on the market until Nemo came in with a worthy competitor, the Switchback. More surface area means more comfort. Even though it is more comfortable than the Sol, it still is not as plush as the inflatable pads. Store the pad inside your pack if you can. Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol. An easy way to shave (quite literally) weight off your sleeping pad is by getting a smaller mat. Worst case you roll off inside your tent. Privacy | Cookies | Terms, The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear. 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. Aim to keep your pad above a 3 for any level of cold winter sleeping. What differentiates the two sleeping pads is the depth of their egg crates. 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. I personally prefer to have my foot elevated on a cushy padded surface that resembles a bed as much as possible. 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. Our only gripe is the insulation—there is a none. Dimensions when packed: 3 x 8 inches 3. While the Z Lite SOL is an excellent choice for those wanting to add a bit of versatility to their arsenal of camping equipment, it is one of the least packable pads we have tested. 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. It is ultra-compact and ultralight as it weighs only 16 ounces. A new high-flow WingLock valve and a pump sack make it easier than ever to inflate. Most sleeping pads are 20-inches wide, providing just enough room for a single person. Some people find the foam pads tough to sleep on, especially a side sleeper. Value can mean many different things to different people. Praised as an affordable, lightweight, and inflatable mat, the Static V has become extremely popular. Sleeping pads come in a variety of styles, sizes and weights, so you’ll want to spend some time shopping for the right one. We do not do sponsored or paid posts. The thicker the pad, the more cushion it will provide from the hard ground and the more comfortable it will be. For three-season use, it's hard to ignore the price, comfort, and durability of this pad. There's no additional weight, and you can inflate your pump quickly. After a few nights, the noise should be gone entirely. Because you can use it as a sleeping pad and a pack frame, the Nightlite is generally more durable than other egg-crate pads. We then bought these pads retail and disbursed them to our trusty gear testers. 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. If you store your pad at the top of the pack, be careful not to snag it on a tree branch or scrape it against a rock. You'll have your camp set up and broken down in an instant. They are very lightweight and long-lasting. Related: 7 Best Ultralight Backpacking Pillows. Additionally, most pads do come with patch kits. They tend to be heavier and bulkier than their manual counterparts. The products in this review are designed to lift you off of the ground, preventing heat from being lost through conduction. In this review, we've included ease of inflation in our metrics. This is great if you like a huge amount of cushion. If you sleep on the ground without a sleeping mat, the ground can conduct heat away from you up to 160 times faster than the air around you. Of them all, the Klymit Static V2, one of our award winners, offers excellent comfort and warmth at a lower price. There are many inexpensive sleeping pads on the market. It may be indestructible, but it will be thinner than an inflatable pad. A full-length pad, the NeoAir XTherm, is perfect for those who prefer to sleep on their backs or their sides. Second, we lose heat via three mechanisms: conduction, convection, and radiation. Notably, these pads … $39.95. Just grab a hairdryer on low and hold it near the inflate valve. If you're seeking packable and light, the Sea to Summit Ultralight should be looked at, but it's not as warm as the Klymit Static V2. Our goal in this review is to take an in-depth look at the pros/cons of what is available on the market today. The extremely lightweight fabric and generic nozzle made for easy inflation with nearly every pad we tested that was equipped with modern valves. Older designs are bulky and don't pack down much smaller than foam pads. Best Car Camping Mattresses & Sleeping Pads. They are significantly narrower than the more comfortable and heavy offerings on the market but retain the necessary features to get a good night's sleep. Layering the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm on top of the ZLite Sol will give you a cozy R-value of over 8. The Therm-a-Rest Z Lite SOL has been on the market since our gear testers can remember, and for good reason. The extra corners from a rectangular shape can be nice if you roll around around a lot, like to spread your arms around your head and underneath your pillow, or like to spread your legs out. A higher R-value will keep you warmer and act as a barrier between you and the cold ground. 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. Durability is top-notch as the Switchback is constructed with abrasion-resistant foam. It also can be used as a ground layer along with an inflatable pad in winter conditions. Best Ultralight Sleeping Pad for Backpacking 1. Therefore, most hikers have them tied down outside of their pack - on top or flopping around underneath the bottom. Depending on the model, a self-inflating pad may or may not pack down small enough to fit inside your backpack. The Switchback is a few bucks more expensive but does have a smaller packed size and offers a hint more comfort on hard ground. 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. If you're a summer hiker, warmth isn't nearly as important as it is for winter wanderers. Our comfort scores come from a host of reviewers who each used one or more of these contenders. If you want to add even more durability to your pad, you can use. With an incredible warmth to weight ratio and a lot of innovative design features, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm is an ultralight sleeping pad that is certainly to become a go-to option for … Weight is an omnipresent factor when selecting and using outdoor equipment. Sixteen ounces give you an R-value of 4.2 — a packed size roughly equal to a liter bottle and a lot of plush comfort to boot. It has the highest R/weight performance of … We help you find the perfect pad for your next backcountry... Who makes the best sleeping pad for a woman? Handy if you do get a hole. The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Uberlite is constructed from a 15 denier nylon that feels alarmingly thin, while the Nemo Tensor uses a slightly thicker 20D nylon. The upside, other than speeding inflation, is that no moisture from your breath enters that pad. The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm scored the highest on our assessment and therefore took first place as the Best Overall Backpacking Sleeping Pad.. The Switchback has taller nodes/ridges than the Z Lite Sol. 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. Getting a good night’s sleep on a warm and comfortable surface is crucial if you want to put in long miles every day. 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. Be sure to wipe it down if you spill something on it. Compact. Its versatility is attractive for people from all walks of life. Newer designs use less foam and can pack down relatively small. If the pad is a little too firm., you can easily let out a little air until you hit that comfort spot. Other than comfort, the main purpose of a sleeping pad is to keep you warm. Best Camping Sleeping Pad – Overview 1. Overall, the reliable and durable design at a low cost is one that's hard to beat. A rectangular and super cushy inflatable sleeping pad, the Big Agnes Q-Core SLX is like sleeping on air in the backcountry. It also is covered in a grip-skin external layer to prevent the pad from slipping and sliding around the tent at night. DURABILITY: Choosing the appropriate pad type for your terrain. One of the wider pads, especially at the feet, Compresses after many uses, losing insulating ability. Know some of the lightest pads on the market have low R values though. Big Agnes also sells an insulated version for those who like to dabble with winter backpacking. This high-quality sleeping pad comes with air-sprung cells that act like individual mini coils from a bed mattress to evenly distribute weight and mold around the curves of your body. The Kylmit Static V2 offers incredible value with an included stuff sack, patch kit and a lifetime warranty. The TNH Outdoors Premium sleeping pad is no doubt one of the most comfortable on the market. These inflation sacks are better than using your breath, but it still takes some time and effort to fill the pad with air. 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 a side sleeper, this should be at the top of your list. Four inches of air and … Foam pads have been traditionally viewed as a lighter option than inflatable. I find these to be unnecessary entirely. The Exped Synmat UL is a rock solid sleeping pad from a company that stands behind its products. It uses an expandable foam that you can further inflate … It has a reflective layer that helps keep you warm and an antimicrobial treatment to resist mold on the inside of the pad. The Flash 3-season has two flat valves: 1 for inflation and 1 for deflation, so it is easily adjustable for your desired level of stiffness. It comes with a repair kit, stuff sack, and compression straps. He has climbed extensively worldwide and has also run a publishing company that put out bouldering guides to the Southwest. 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. You'll be warm and comfortable in the summer months. The Klymit Static V2 was not the absolute lightest, but it was one of the lightest wider pads. Thermal conductivity in pads is a complicated issue with many variables, but let's discuss the basics. Just throw it down and spread your sleeping bag on top. Even the most durable pads can be punctured with a sharp thorn, a rock, or are a shard of glass. If anything breaks because of a defect in materials or workmanship, Exped will repair or replace it. With 4-inches of thickness, this pad gets the award for providing the most comfortable sleep. Setting up the nest for an evening hang and solid nights' sleep has become quicker and easier over the last few years. Check the warmth score of a lightweight pad before purchasing it to make sure it will meet your needs. They can pop any moment from a sharp edge, a fire ember or just heavy wear. Our backpacking experts have tested over 70 of the best backpacking sleeping pads over the last decade. The inflatable pad should be stored hanging up. The lighter, the better. WEIGHT: Your pad should weigh around 1 lb (or less). It’s incredibly light, blows up in under two minutes, has … The bargain-basement price does come with a big drawback. There are a few important differences between manual and self-inflating pads. 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. FOAM PADS: Foam pads typically are a rectangular piece of soft foam or padded material, similar to a yoga mat. While these pads have remarkably similar attributes, there are a few components worth noting. It's as close to a warm flannel sheet as you're going to get while sleeping in the remote woods. These bigger bumps provide additional airspace to trap warm air. 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). While it scores low in the metrics, it's one of the most reliable pad options out there, as it's made of foam and won't pop in the backcountry. BEST FOR: THE WINTER-LOVING BACKPACKER. Repeatedly folding it along the same crease lines can weaken the material along the folds. Packed sleeping pads (left: inflatable ; right: foam). It only takes a tiny hole to render a pad completely useless, and this can be a potentially dangerous scenario in colder temperatures. The Sea to Summit Ultralight is genuinely a warm weather sleeping pad. For a closed-cell foam camping sleeping pad, you’ll usually pay between $10 and $50. Our favorite pad for ultralight backpacking is the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite. Cheap. You'll also want to shake off the pad to remove dirt before packing it away. They are often called "closed-cell pads" because they are made of closed air cells. I know a lot of hikers ship their pads back to the manufacturer because they are "too noisy". Read review: Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated. Most inflatable mattresses come with one. Thankfully, inflatable pads are usually easy to patch if the leak isn't too minute and not emanating from the pad's valve system. Not only is it puffy, but it also has a quilted top that's soft on your skin. Some ultralight backpacks are designed to have a foam pad slide into their back panel and act as a pack frame. It feels durable and should provide years of happy sleeping in the backcountry. If you are winter camping, you might need to get a slightly heavier and warmer pad or subsidize with an extra warm sleeping bag. About six months of use versus a brand new Z Lite. Most inflatable pads have an outer shell as well as a thin internal layer designed to reflect your body heat back at you. We never punctured these pads during our testing but would never leave home without a patch kit while hiking with these pads. For convenience, the Static V has an adjustable valve for easy airflow control. There are now two competitive closed-cell pads that get our stamp of approval; the old reliable Therm-A-Rest Z Lite Sol and the newer Nemo Switchback. Uncomfortable (maybe). If you're put off by the narrow profile of the XTherm, check out the wider Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Max for a bit more wiggle room. Because it is tapered, it is not the widest pad on the market. If car camping is your dig, be sure to look at the Nemo Astro Insulated which offers exceptional warmth, but it a bit too large and bulky for backcountry carry. The mat also includes a stuff sack, a patch kit, and a lifetime warranty. The 11 Best Hiking … The Static V2 on the far left is a similar packed size to other light weight award winners such as the XLite and XTherm. The Synmat is slightly more expensive than others on the list, but a few benefits justify this extra cost. A good ultralight pad should be able to roll up and fit inside your hand. 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. If you're seeking high value, outstanding durability, and reliability on the trail, this is an excellent choice. Camping sleeping pad prices. Same thing for rocky or jagged surfaces. Using these metrics as an anchor point for assessment, we rate each product based on performance. 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. The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm is an absolute beast that balances remarkable warmth (6.9 R-value) with a packable and lightweight design. Paria Outdoor Products Recharge XL is a backpacking sleeping pad that creates an extremely comfortable sleeping surface. First, cold is nothing more than the absence of heat, and heat moves energy from warmer objects to colder ones. Some more cushy pads have large air chambers. It is a closed-cell foam pad made with an egg-crate mold, so make sure you know what you are getting. Super lightweight and compact, this sleeping pad is warm enough for three-season backpacking trips. Some pads are like small air mattresses - prioritizing elevated comfort over all else. The comfort of this sleeping pad is really quite impressive. Dimensions when unfurled: 72 x 23 x 2.5 inches 2. Flat surfaces are more comfortable for your head than bumpy surfaces. This will add a significant amount of insulation to your sleeping pad. Weight: 16.33 ounces 4. Author: William M. Rochfort, Jr. You deserve to relax. Repair Kit. To call any backpacking gear “luxurious” may seem a little disingenuous when, after all, you are still sleeping on the ground. Then let me introduce you to the Camp Dreamer. I love relaxing on foam pads by the fire and not worrying if an ember might fly out and pop it. He wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail and currently works from his laptop all over the globe. If you camp in the heat, you probably don't want a warm pad. Snooze better than ever before with our favorite sleeping pads of the year. It's chambered design makes it easy to inflate, requiring only 10-15 breaths to fill it with air. The 3 Best Sleeping Pads of 2020. The air in inflatable pads literally elevates you off the ground and provides a nice cushion. For more of our top backpacking gear recommendations, check out the Best Backpacking Sleeping Pads. Value can mean many different things to different people. You can make or break your pad by how you care for it on the trail and at home. REDCAMP XL Cot Pads for Camping, Soft Comfortable Cotton Thick Sleeping Cot Mattress…. 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. The newest update of this pad did gain some extra warmth, a cool new valve system, and unfortunately, a few ounces. Indestructible. 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. They often take up too much room to even fit inside your bag. Finding a balance between price, durability, warmth, comfort, and weight can certainly be a tricky process. On the trail, you want to protect your pad as much as you can from punctures or tears. It is fast and easy to inflate, thanks to its included pump sack that fills the pad in a few minutes. 1. In terms of its size, this is the widest sleeping pad… This design not only provides a great night's sleep, but it also adds durability that is often lacking in other mats. Usually less, if not a lot less, than $50. Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight Sleeping Pad is ideal for camping, backpacking, and traveling. No maintenance whatsoever. We have used inflatable pads for 40-day backpacking trips without any durability issues and are impressed by the amount of abuse our inflatable pads handled without tearing or delaminating. Got feedback? Will it be hard-packed dirt or a shelter floor? Related: 14 Best Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Bags. 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. "R-Value" measures the level of insulation your pad provides. 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. Unless you are a cold sleeper, most of the pads in this review will be warm if you only like recreating in temperate climates. Make sure the pad is dry but don't place it in direct sunlight as UV light can degrade the material. In general, weight of the pad depends on the model and manufacturer. Another selling point of the Exped Synmat is its five-year warranty. When you take off your pack, you often drop it to the ground, and your pad will take the brunt of that impact. 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. The REI Flash 3-Season pad comes with dual-fiber insulation and a reflective layer efficiently welded through the interior for increased stability and comfort. Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. KLYMIT STATIC V … Simply put, this mattress has a superb warmth-to-weight ratio, which makes it the lightest 3 season air mattress available. Ultimately, choosing a favorite between the new Therm-a-Rest pads (the XTherm and XLite) was challenging. The NeoAir provides the perfect combination in terms of weight (590g), comfort (at 12.7cm the pad … Before we jump into the different considerations for choosing your mat, here are the 11 best ultralight backpacking sleeping pads available on the market today. 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. Once you hit late fall or winter, you'll need to buy the insulated version. Check on Amazon. 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. You can see the foam cells break down eventually losing a significant amount of padding over time. It's also very durable with a 74D shell that protects it from most ground hazards. Without a pump, your lungs will be manually filling up that large chamber. Just one extra thing to carry though. Thickness is one factor that makes a pad comfortable. Noisy (maybe). In addition, the accordion design allows you to cut it down to any length you want, and each segment weighs almost exactly one ounce. This is super important and something often overlooked. 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. Others actually prefer the stiff sleep. 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