You’re willing to sacrifice plenty of creature comforts while camping and backpacking, but you’re not willing to give up a good night’s sleep. Thankfully, gearmakers today understand that a comfy bed isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity, and they’re in a robust space race to create the greatest sleep pad. It’s a crowded market but we dug through reviews and our own tests to pick a handful of the best-rated sleeping pads you can buy right now.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite ($130)
If you’re counting ounces, you’ll love the NeoAir XLite, which offers 2.5 inches of cushion but weighs only 12 ounces and packs down to the size of a water bottle. The newest version is made from 30-denier ripstop nylon, which makes this pad softer and quieter than previous models.
NEMO Astro ($80)
Yes, you can get a quality pad for under $100. NEMO’s Astro Wide is 3.5 inches thick and made from a quiet polyester that doesn’t crinkle when you move. We dig the lateral baffles, which provide structure, and the oversize “pillow” baffle at the top of the pad. At one pound four ounces it’s not the lightest pad on this list but you can’t beat the price.
Exped MegaMat Duo ($350)
You’re not going to lug this double mat into the backcountry, but if you’re looking for the most comfortable sleep for you and your partner away from your own mattress, look no further than the MegaMat. We’ve been gushing about this pad for years because it’s almost four inches thick (3.9 inches) with a combo of foam and air insulation across its 52-inch width. It’ll fill up your entire two-person tent, and it comes with a mini-pump so you can save your lungs.
Mountain Equipment Aerostat Down 7.0 ($190)
Winter camping calls for a four-season pad, and the Aerostat is one of the warmest on the market. The 30-denier ripstop shell is filled with 120 grams of down spread throughout the air chambers to create a ridiculously high R-value of 8.8. Also cool: the stuffsack is a Windsock, which rolls air into the pad. And it’s not as heavy as you’d think, coming in at just 1.1 pounds.
Klymit Insulated Hammock V ($110)
Plenty of hammockers forgo pads altogether but we like the warmth and stability a pad adds. The Klymit’s “wings” help keep the pad in place inside your little cocoon while also providing side warmth. It’s not light, but this pad, which is loaded with synthetic insulation, helps battle the cold drafts that can make sleeping in a hammock uncomfortable when the temp drops.