Skip to Main Content

The 6 Best Sleeping Pads for Camping of 2020

When it comes to camping comfort, sleeping pads don’t get the hype they deserve. Your sleeping pad is literally the only thing keeping you and your sleeping bag off the cold, hard ground. But there are a whole bunch of different pads out there, all with different features and ratings, and every brand wants to tell you that theirs is the best. That can make shopping for your next pad a real hassle.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best sleeping pads on the market right now. What makes a sleeping pad the “best”? Well, that depends on what you’re using it for. Every pad has a different combination of attributes that skew its performance to favor different conditions. So the real question is “what’s the best sleeping pad for you?” To help you figure that out, we’ve put together this list of our top six sleeping pads, along with descriptions and tables to help you understand how they differ from each other. From their “R” rating (a gauge of how well they insulate you from the ground), to their materials, to their price, we’ve got all the information you need to help you find the best sleeping pad for your adventures. For more information, visit our guide on how to choose a sleeping pad.


Big Agnes Air Core Ultra

Best 2020 sleeping pads
 
 

While there’s a bunch of awesome technology out there that companies are using to make more heavily insulated pads, a whole lot of campers are just looking for something simple and affordable. That’s why Big Agnes came up with the Air Core Ultra.

The Air Core Ultra is designed for summer camping, it’s got a low R value of 1.4 because its main focus is on keeping you comfortable sleeping on the ground, not on insulating you from the cold. Because of that, big Agnes was able to shave some weight, and a bunch of money off the price of the Air Core Ultra, making it much more approachable for campers on a budget.

That doesn’t mean the Air Core Ultra skimps on comfort or quality though. It’s got all the same valve and materials technology as Big Agnes’ more expensive bags and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. The Air Core Ultra is a great choice for warm weather campers and backpackers looking to spend less on gear and more on experiences.

 
R RatingInsulation TypeWeight Original Price
 30 Degrees Air510g $59

Shop Now >>>


Sea to Summit Comfort Light - Women’s

Best 2020 Sleeping Pads
 

The Sea to Summit Comfort Light pad is designed to be a do-it-all pad for women looking for something for all but the coldest nights of the year. That’s why Sea to Summit gives it a “3.5+” season rating. That means it’s plenty warm enough for most winter camping, along with all of summer, spring, and fall.

Sea to Summit achieves a high R 3.9 rating with the Comfort Light by using a combination of Thermolite fiber insulation, and inflatable air cells. This means that when deflated, the Comfort Light doesn’t pack up as small and light as some other, less insulated pads, but it also does a much better job of keeping you from losing all your body heat into the ground. Plus, it’s lightweight, making it great for backpacking.

If you’re just planning on camping during the warm summer months, the Comfort Light might be a bit of overkill, and you could go with a lighter, less insulated pad. But for ladies who just want to keep it simple, with one pad that works well all year round, the Comfort Light is the best choice.

 
R RatingInsulation TypeWeight Original Price
3.9 Thermolite555g $179

Shop Now >>>


Shop All Sleeping Pads
See More

Nemo Tensor

Best 2020 sleeping pads

Nemo’s Tensor pad is designed to provide a thick, comfortable sleeping pad at a very low weight. It’s about three inches thick when inflated, making for one of the cushiest pads on this list, but is also one of the lightest at only 480 grams.

Nemo has also gone out of their way to make sure that the Tensor is quiet. Some sleeping pads crinkle loudly if you move around at all while sleeping, keeping your tent mates up and ruining the experience of sleeping outside. The Sensor uses a suspended film construction that keeps it silent no matter how much you toss and turn. This makes it one of the best lightweight sleeping pads for backpacking.

Nemo doesn’t list an R value for the Sensor, instead they say it’s best used when camping in 25° to 35° F temperatures. That makes it a three-season pad in warmer climates. It’s definitely biased toward summer use, so for anyone looking for a pad that’s light on their back, but still really comfortable, the Tensor is a great choice.

R RatingInsulation TypeWeight Original Price
NA 25 to 35 degrees min. Air480g $139

Shop Now >>>


Therm-a-Rest Basecamp

Best 2020 sleeping pads

Lightweight inflatable pads are great when you’re trying to keep your pack as light as possible. But if your top priority is comfort and durability, nothing will ever beat a good foam self-inflating pad. That’s why Therm-a-Rest designed the Basecamp.

The Basecamp puts comfort and warmth as its top priorities. It’s got a very high R value of 6, warm enough for even the coldest winter nights, and its thick foam construction smooths out the rockiest ground. What’s the point of going camping if you’re too tired from an uncomfortable night’s sleep to actually enjoy nature? This is one of the most comfortable sleeping pads, and one of the best sleeping pads for side sleepers, hands down.

That said, the Basecamp still packs down small enough to be a very viable option for multi-day backpacking trips, for those who value comfort and warmth in the backcountry.

R RatingInsulation TypeWeight Original Price
6 Foam1530g $179

Shop Now >>>


Hest Sleep System

Best 2020 sleeping pads

If you’re looking to sleep as comfortably in the woods as you do at home, the Hest Sleep System is your ticket to deep sleep. It’s basically a self-contained mattress system that packs up small enough that it’s easy to carry to the campsite.

The Sleep System uses two layers of different density foam to create a progressively firmer mattress. It’s also feature packed, with a washable cover, phone pockets, and carry bag. The Hest Sleep System is the best sleeping pad for car camping that we’ve come across, with its unique construction making it the ultimate in comfort.

R RatingInsulation TypeWeight Original Price
 NA Foam28lbs $399

Shop Now >>>


Exped Deep Sleep

Best 2020 sleeping pads

Exped’s Deep Sleep is their most comfortable self-inflating pad. It’s nearly three inches thick, with specially engineered foam that provides a huge amount of insulation, and plenty of padding when sleeping on uneven ground.

The Exped seems similar to the Therm-a-Rest Basecamp, but it offers even more insulation while being slightly bigger and heavier. So while either is a great choice, campers staying closer to the car may appreciate the Deep Sleep, while those hiking further to their campsite might value the packability of the Basecamp. If you’ve had problems with feeling cold, or not being comfortable while camping, the Deep Sleep is a great choice to help you get a great night’s rest.

R RatingInsulation TypeWeight Original Price
8.5 PU Foam1616g $149

Shop Now >>>