Best Sleeping Mattress for Camping?
I’ve gone camping with many people who doubted the importance of a mattress pad. I have been scoffed at and laughed at for carrying extra weight strapped to the outside of my pack as I venture off on group backpacking trips.
The truth is, however, that mattress pads can be extremely beneficial to your overall camping experience. They can help to keep your body insulated from the cold and they offer slight padding which reduces stress on pressure points.
If you have ever slept in your sleeping bag on the ground and awoken with stiff joints and sore muscles, you know the importance of insulating yourself from dampness and reducing pressure on those points. Of course, mattress pads are not designed to mimic the comfort of a twelve-inch thick pocket coil mattress, but any good mattress pad will bring incredible relief from natural elements.
As the only one to bring a mattress pad on multiple backpacking trips with friends, I was also the only one able to roll out of my sleeping bag and immediately spring into action. Tired of struggling to get your body to cooperate after a cold, damp night’s sleep on the hard ground?
Take a moment to read through the reviews on this website and find some relief in one of these top-selling mattress pads.
What is the Best Type of Sleeping Pad for Camping?
In my opinion, any mattress pad is better than no mattress pad. Still, some are much better than the rest. Although all of the mattress pads listed and discussed on this website have received very positive feedback from consumers, the following three options have received the best reviews.
I wanted to place these three ahead of the others so that you can see why they have risen above the rest to claim the top positions among consumers.
1. Klymit Static V Lightweight Sleeping Pad: Overall Best
Some mattress pads are inflatable, some are made of foam, and others are made of foam which sucks air into them. This particular mattress is inflatable. Do not confuse it with an actual air mattress, however, because it only raises you up a mere two inches off of the ground, whereas a typical air mattress will lift you up at least six to eight inches.
Although typical air mattresses provide more comfort and more insulation from the dampness of the ground, inflatable mattress pads such as this one are much more transportable, making them optimal for backpacking.
They are also significantly more comfortable than thin foam mattress pads. Their slim design also makes them optimal for use in short, one or two person tents. Taller air mattresses require that your tent have much more headroom.
This particular inflatable mattress pad features an interesting air pocket design. Instead of the air pockets running in vertical or horizontal lines, they run in a V-shaped pattern and are bordered by smaller, horizontal pockets. The company claims to have designed the mattress with V-shaped pockets because they tested different types of pockets and found that these do not deflate as easily as many other styles since the air becomes trapped within the pattern of pockets.
This trapping of air is also said to help the mattress retain the warm air created by your body heat, to keep you warmer throughout the night. The small pockets lining the outer edges of this mattress are designed to form a barrier which helps you stay in one comfortable position all night long and stops you from rolling over and off of the pad. Consumer reviews for the Klymit Static V have been overwhelmingly positive and support all of these claims.
Additional positive qualities of this mattress pad are that it can be inflated in as few as 10 breaths, it features a grippy bottom to stay in one place all night, and it weighs a mere 18.6 ounces.
2. Teton Sports Camp Pad: Best Foam Pad
Although the inflatable mattress pad listed above has received the most positive consumer feedback among all the top-selling mattress pads I reviewed, inflatable mattress pads do not suit everyone’s needs.
Personally, despite enjoying the extra warmth and comfort often provided by a little bit of air padding, I prefer foam pads to inflatable pads simply because they cannot leak or burst. If you are also a fan of foam pads, I would like to direct your attention to the very popular Teton Sports Camp Pad.
A little bit thicker than the traditional mattress pad, consumers report that this one provides excellent comfort throughout the entire night. Depending upon your needs and body size, you can select between three different sizes – the Adventurer, the Universal, and the XXL.
The Adventurer measures 75 inches by 24 inches and is 2 inches thick. The Universal measures 80 inches by 30 inches and is also two inches thick. Designed for larger body frames and more weight, the XXL is designed with an 82-inch length, 38-inch width, and 2.5 inches of thickness.
What is most impressive about this mattress pad, beside its incredible thickness, is the amount of special features it contains. Unlike any other mattress pad I have even seen, this one features an outer case with a zippered compartment fit for a pillow. Never again will you wake up to wonder where you pillow has slid off to in the night – simple slip it inside the compartment to keep it in one place throughout the entire night.
Unlike many other mattress pads which can slide off the top of a cot if you move around too much, this one is designed with special straps which allow you to effortlessly tie it onto the top of a cot. It also features a special storage pouch which lays out at the head of the pad or hangs down from a cot so that you can store your most precious and important belongings safely nearby.
3. Klymit Static V Lightweight: Best Mattress Pad for Backpacking
The Klymit Static V is so impressive that it actually managed to snag two of these top three positions. Already listed as the best mattress pad overall, it is now claiming the position of Best Mattress Pad for Backpacking.
That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to you, however, given the fact that it boasts superior comfort and is extremely lightweight. Recall that this mattress pad weighs only 18.6 ounces – a perfectly low weight for a backpacking trip. Slipping this mattress into your backpack won’t cause much trouble in terms of space, either, as it measures only 4 inches by 8 inches when fully packed.
Of course, if you can tough it out on the cold, hard ground this 4 by 8 inches of space could be used in some other fashion. However, if you want to wake up feeling prepared to tackle a full day of hiking across difficult terrain, night comfort will be extremely important.
Unlike many of the other inflatable mattress pads on this list, the Klymit Static V does not require any inflation device; it can be blown up by mouth. What many people do not realize is that those other mattress pads – the ones which require inflation devices – do not include the size or weight of those devices when they give measurements in most advertisements.
Those devices can be bulky and heavy which will only slow you down as you try to carry them among the many other important items in your pack.
Runners Up Comfortable Camping Bed
Not every mattress pad can be the best mattress pad. That does not mean, however, that one of the pads listed below isn’t right for you.
I want to assure you that each and every mattress pad on this page made it here because it has proven itself to be a top seller in its category and because it has received excellent reviews from actual consumers who have used these pads on their own camping excursions. The following six mattress pads are each a little different from one another but are all designed for comfort and warmth.
4. Therm-a-Rest: RidgeRest SoLite Inflatable Mattress Pad
Unlike many flat pieces of foam than some companies try to pass off as mattress pads, all Therm-a-Rest mattress pads have been formed into specific designs aimed at achieving specific goals.
This mattress pad, the RidgeRest SoLite, has been formed with special ridges and valleys. The ridges are designed to offer support where you need it the most. They will bend and flex a little as your body weight is placed upon them, so that they form to your curves.
The valleys between these ridges aren’t simply there to allow the ridges to bend – they also work to trap your body heat and hold it close to you throughout the night. Among the pattern of ridges and valleys is another pattern. Solid foam Xs criss-cross their way down the pad to create fully enclosed spaces within the valleys, helping to stop the trapped heat from escaping out the edges of the mattress.
It may be a little confusing to hear that this is a foam mattress pad when its name clearly indicates that it is inflatable. What makes this pad slightly unique among the rest is that its foam has been created with tiny air pockets inside. To inflate the pad you simply need to unroll it and allow it some time to suck up the air around it into these tiny pockets. To deflate the pad you need only to roll it up and squeeze the air out.
Of course, it will never be as slim and easy to transport as a plastic inflatable mattress pad, but it does provide you with the extra insulation and cushion of air without requiring any sort of pump. Also, unlike traditional inflatable mattress pads, a puncture, rip, or tear will not affect its ability to inflate.
5. Stansport Back Packing Sleeping Mat
The Stansport Back Packing Pad is a traditional, flat piece of foam. It features no special, self-inflating air pockets. It hasn’t been stamped or pressed or cut into any special shapes to offer superior comfort or warmth. “So,” you may ask, “why is it on this list?”
According to consumers, this mattress pad offers about as much comfort, warmth, and support as any other basic pad. What sets it apart, however, is its incredibly low price. It is about half the cost of many other basic pads, meaning that you get a lot more for your money.
Designed for the small to average sized body frame, this mattress pad measures 72 inches long and 19 inches wide. A slim 3/8 of an inch thick, this pad can easily be rolled up and strapped to the outside of your backpack using the compression straps which come with it.
6. Alps Mountaineering Lightweight Series Air Pad
I know that I said that the self-inflating foam Therm-a-Rest mattress pad listed further up this page was unique because it can self-inflate and combines the comfort of both foam and air pockets.
You may soon realize, however, that although this technology is rather rare and unique on the marketplace as a whole, several similar pads have been listed on this particular page. That is because this technology is so effective and consumers are so pleased by it that these mattress pads have risen above the rest.
The Alps Mountaineering Lightweight Series Air Pad features the much sought-after foam plus air technology that has taken the market by storm. Unlike some of the other inflatable foam mattress options, this one features extra-large air pockets inside and actually sucks air in through a valve.
Unrolling this mattress and opening the valve allows the air to be sucked in to puff up the foam for a very comfortable and warm night of sleep. Of course, you will want to close the valve again before placing any weight atop this pad, otherwise the air will escape.
Unlike many of the other inflatable foam pads, this one is subject to problems if punctured, since it sucks in much more air than the others. It is up to you whether the added comfort of a higher air-to-foam ratio is worth the potential hassle of repairing holes and tears. Luckily, to make your life a little bit easier, Alps Mountaineering decided to include a repair kit with the purchase of this mattress pad.
7. Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Inflatable Mattress
I told you that this page would make inflatable foam mattresses seem as though they are the norm. The Therm-a-Rest Z Lite is yet another among the unique and highly sought-after inflatable foam mattresses dominating today’s camping market.
Unlike the Alps Mountaineering pad listed above, this one does not have a high air to foam ratio and, therefore, will function just fine regardless of any puncture or tear.
The lightest of this Therm-a-Rest series, the Z Lite has been designed to be easy to carry while providing optimal comfort and warmth. If I am honest, however, I must admit that the company clearly focused more attention on warmth than cushioning, which makes this a preferable mattress pad for those who often camp or backpack in cool conditions.
Stamped into an egg carton shape, this mattress takes advantage of hundreds of small external air pockets which trap body heat and hold it close to you all night long. The pad’s reflective surface not only looks cool and isn’t only helpful in signalling aircraft if you are ever lost, it is also designed to reflect your body heat back up toward your body to keep you extra warm.
Happily, this pad is available in two different sizes that you can choose between, depending upon your own body size and the size you are able to accommodate in or on your backpack if you are planning a hiking trip. The smaller size measures 51 inches in length and 20 inches in width.
I want to go on record as saying that 51 inches is equal to 4 feet 3 inches. I would only recommend this size for someone who is very short, a child, or someone who does not care if their legs lay atop the mattress pad at all. The long option is 72 inches (or 6 feet) long and 20 inches wide.
Both options weigh less than 15 ounces, making them ideal for backpacking trips. They even fold up flat instead of rolling so that you can easily slide them in or behind your backpack.
8. Coleman Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad with Pillow
Here is yet another foam and air combination mattress pad. One major thing sets this mattress pad apart from all the others, however – it features a built-in pillow.
In my opinion, this has both positive and negative qualities to it. Let’s first focus on the positive – you will never lose your pillow again.
I cannot tell you how many times I have woken up to find that my pillow managed to shimmy away from me in the night as I tossed and turned, causing it to slide across the smooth surface of my mattress pad and onto the floor of my tent. I have awoken to a stiff neck and a tug of war with my sleeping husband who, somehow, managed to find my pillow and use it as a snuggle pal without waking up. This entire scenario is impossible with a built-in pillow.
Adjusting the pillow is a difficult task, however. Those with severe neck problems who require special pillows or need to have their pillow in a specific place throughout the night should think about looking into a different option. This also holds true for people who enjoy sleeping on their sides with the pillow wedged between their arm and their head.
For those who do not mind a stationary pillow and who actually look forward to not having to chase their pillow around their tent, this option will likely provide a good night’s sleep. Among consumers who prefer an attached pillow, this mattress pad has ranked high in terms of satisfaction. Measuring 6 feet, four inches in length and just over two feet in width, this pad can accommodate almost anyone.
9. TNH Outdoors Premium Self-Inflating Sleep Pad
Yet another self-inflating foam plus air mattress pad, this TNH pad will start to inflate itself the moment you unroll it.
Cushion means comfort, which makes me happy to see that, measuring an impressive two inches in depth, this is one of the thickest mattress pads on this list.
Although most other inflatable foam mattress pads should not be inflated using any assistance, the company actually suggests helping this mattress along a little by breathing a couple breaths of air into it. Be careful not to overdo it, though, because you do not want to pop any of its seams.
Only 19 inches wide and 69 inches long, this pad is made for someone with a petite frame or someone looking for a small mattress pad designed to fit into a slim one-person tent. Despite its small surface size, the depth of this pad makes it rather bulky and difficult to transport in a backpack.
It also adds extra weight, bringing this pad in at an astonishing 2.2 pounds. That all being said, if you are looking for extra padding and comfort this may be a wonderful choice for your next car camping excursion.
Every person’s body requires something different in order to feel comfortable. Some people need more cushioning than others.
Some people need to be insulated from the cold and dampness more than others. Some people can handle an attached pillow, whereas others need to be able to manipulate their pillows as they move around in the night.