best sleeping pad for backpacking
This is not always the case though. The Z Lite's most significant advantage is that it is puncture-proof. The newest update of this pad did gain some extra warmth, a cool new valve system, and unfortunately, a few ounces. 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. Some have grooves, while others use an eggshell design to add comfort. While the majority of our testers preferred horizontal baffles to those that run the length of a pad, everyone agreed the quilted Comfort Plus was the most comfortable of the pads we would be willing to pack on a backpacking trip. Once your pad is clean and ready for storage, you'll want to store the pad at ambient temperatures while avoiding the extreme temperatures you'd see in an attic or garage. This is super important and something often overlooked. The Z Lite Sol offers an additional 2.0, while the slightly more comfortable Switchback also provides an additional 2.0. Setting up the nest for an evening hang and solid nights' sleep has become quicker and easier over the last few years. It's composed of a simple, lightweight closed-cell foam pad. Check the warmth score of a lightweight pad before purchasing it to make sure it will meet your needs. It's light, comfortable, and packs down small. The Exped Synmat UL is a rock solid sleeping pad from a company that stands behind its products. Best Pad Cold Sleepers: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad is our pick for hikers that sleep cold or for average hikers in very cold conditions — see more. The comfort plus is quite special, as the dual inflation zones can be inflated to different pressures giving a nice pillow top with a firm under construction. Another selling point of the Exped Synmat is its five-year warranty. For side and stomach sleepers, this can be crucial. Although it is not the lightest pad … With 4-inches of thickness, this pad gets the award for providing the most comfortable sleep. The Switchback just barely edges out the competition for a touch of extra comfort. In a hurry? If you're cold when camping, upgrading the R-value of your sleeping pad is recommended but often comes at the expense of added weight and bulk. Grippier fabrics keep you from sliding off the pad, especially when you have to set up on ground that isn't entirely flat. Bonus, you don't have to worry about any internal bacterial growth due to it being treated with an antimicrobial compound on the inside. The Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus Sleeping Pad is yet another self-inflatable sleeping pad. They don't compress very much when you lay on them, but you cannot blow air into the cells to expand them. These pads both offer an excellent footprint and a nice variability in firmness while keeping you well-cushioned from a rocky surface below. Just grab a hairdryer on low and hold it near the inflate valve. Some pads are like small air mattresses - prioritizing elevated comfort over all else. For convenience, the Static V has an adjustable valve for easy airflow control. It only takes a tiny hole to render a pad completely useless, and this can be a potentially dangerous scenario in colder temperatures. The comfort of this sleeping pad is really quite impressive. It also can be used as a ground layer along with an inflatable pad in winter conditions. For a closed-cell foam camping sleeping pad, you’ll usually pay between $10 and $50. 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. We assess critical metrics like comfort, packed size, weight, warmth, ease of inflation, and durability. This is great if you like a huge amount of cushion. The Sea to Summit Ultralight is surprisingly comfy and super sleek. It is ultra-compact and ultralight as it weighs only 16 ounces. The Synmat is slightly more expensive than others on the list, but a few benefits justify this extra cost. Older designs are bulky and don't pack down much smaller than foam pads. Just like the Z Lite Sol, the Nemo Switchback is a closed-cell foam pad. Punctures. Many pads are available in multiple sizes, and some testers minimize weight by taking short, torso-length pads and using a backpack, boots, or other gear under their legs. The newest design in the vast sea of valve/sack options is the winglock valve fixed to the XLite and XTherm (and Uberlite). The upside, other than speeding inflation, is that no moisture from your breath enters that pad. A new high-flow WingLock valve and a pump sack make it easier than ever to inflate. An important note with closed-cell pads, they do crush over time, losing valuable millimeters of loft. Take care of your pad, and it will take care of you. Additionally, most pads do come with patch kits. Because they are foam, they are nearly indestructible. These pads are an excellent choice for those getting into backpacking because they are lightweight and super affordable. Handy if you do get a hole. Compact. 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. The Kylmit Static V2 offers incredible value with an included stuff sack, patch kit and a lifetime warranty. Keep in mind that our ratings are relative. Some inflatable pads are ‘crinkly’ right out of the package. This extra comfort may not be enough for Side sleepers who often prefer the cushioning of an inflatable pad. Best Ultralight Sleeping Pad for Backpacking 1. It lands just at a pound in weight with tapered head and feet to reduce pack size. An easy way to shave (quite literally) weight off your sleeping pad is by getting a smaller mat. You also should try to dry the inside of an inflatable pad if you use your breath to fill it with air. Material on GearLab is copyrighted. Without a pump, your lungs will be manually filling up that large chamber. Fast and Easy. There is a longer 72 -inch version available, but the shorter one is lighter and significantly more packable. Unlike most modern inflatable pads, the Exped has dual vents - one for inflating and one for fast deflating. Whether you seek the warmest or most packable option out there, we've got you covered. With a vast array of different sleeping pads on the market, you can expect to pay anything from $ Best for Whom? For more of our top backpacking gear recommendations, check out the Best Backpacking Sleeping Pads. In this review, we've included ease of inflation in our metrics. Dimensions when packed: 3 x 8 inches 3. Repair Kit. Value can mean many different things to different people. I never saw anyone using a pump on my thru-hike though, and I would think they are relatively unnecessary. While this does bump the overall weight of the pad up, the ability to have dual-density creates a uniquely comfortable pad. Depending on the model, a self-inflating pad may or may not pack down small enough to fit inside your backpack. It has the highest R/weight performance of … Several of our testers noted that after years of sleeping outside, their priorities are leaning more towards comfort than having the absolute lightest pad money can buy. It's a favorite for those that like to use it outside of the tent as a small bum pad. The new gen Therm-a-rest pads aren't perfect but dang they're getting close. A good ultralight pad should be able to roll up and fit inside your hand. You will still need to be careful about where you place your pad though. Author: William M. Rochfort, Jr. Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight Sleeping Pad is ideal for camping, backpacking, and traveling. A higher R-value will keep you warmer and act as a barrier between you and the cold ground. If you're seeking the most durable and reliable pad option out there and don't want to carry a patch kit, consider the less comfortable but highly reliable Therm-A-Rest Z Lite Sol that utilized close-cell technology. The Nemo Tensor employs a similarly effective design. 14 Best Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Bags, 41 Backpacking Food Ideas from the Appalachian Trail, Ultralight Backpacking Gear List | 8.5 lb Base Weight (Full Comfort), 14 Best Ultralight Backpacking Tents in 2020, 14 Best Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Bags for 2020. Surprisingly, the Static V2 is much wider than most pads we tested, which makes the low weight and price that much more impressive. Dimensions when unfurled: 72 x 23 x 2.5 inches 2. 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. The Triangular Core Matrix™ construction uses two stacked layers of triangle-shaped baffles to efficiently trap radiating heat. Our only gripe is the insulation—there is a none. GearLab is reader-supported. Read review: Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated. Sable Camping Sleeping Pad, Self Inflating Camping Mat with Built-in Pillow & Pump,…. Cheap. With the difficulty of inflation being one of the main drawbacks of air construction mats, manufacturers have developed an array of valve styles to help alleviate this issue. Our goal in this review is to take an in-depth look at the pros/cons of what is available on the market today. There are a few important differences between manual and self-inflating pads. While this pad is our favorite, there are budget options that will get the job done at a fraction of its enormous price tag. the world's most carefully tested and objective gear reviews, Superior warmth, small packed size, light, Lightweight, warm for the weight, packs small, comfortable, versatile, Comfortable, dual air chambers are redundant, quiet, warm, stable, and supportive, Lightweight, good for three season use, packs small, comfortable, Warm, durable, wide, quality construction, Expensive, edges not as stable as other pad designs, With a warmth to weight ratio that is off the charts, this is one of our favorite pads of all time, A comfortable, lightweight, and versatile sleeping pad that has withstood the test of time, Ideal for folks who think sleeping pads cannot provide mega comfort; prove them wrong, Ready for all adventures, this versatile model doesn't disappoint, A true all around sleeping pad that offers exceptional four season comfort, thoughtful design, and durable build. This means you will need to repair it, wait for the manufacturer to replace it, or buy a completely new one. Do you like a good memory foam mattress? Noisy (maybe). However, as mentioned above, getting that large mass of air into the pad's chamber can be a huge lung-exhausting chore and leave you lightheaded. 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. Sleeping pads come in a variety of styles, sizes and weights, so you’ll want to spend some time shopping for the right one. I find these to be unnecessary entirely. Nothing more. Worst case you roll off inside your tent. While pump bags may seem gimmicky, they are incredibly useful both for keeping moisture out of your pad as well as speeding up the process. Comfortable. Also, the high 2.6 R-value can be stacked with other pads, making even those with a lower R-value suitable for cold climates. Super lightweight and compact, this sleeping pad is warm enough for three-season backpacking trips. 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. It's a personal favorite and my go-to mat. Unless you are a cold sleeper, most of the pads in this review will be warm if you only like recreating in temperate climates. Our comfort scores come from a host of reviewers who each used one or more of these contenders. The most durable inflatable pads are the MegaMat Lite, Comfort Plus, Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm, and the Nemo Astro Insulated that all utilize thicker materials and even dual air chambers in the case of the Comfort Plus. Most sleeping pads are 20-inches wide, providing just enough room for a single person. It has won all sorts of awards a few years ago and has become one of the best selling pads on the market. 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