Best Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Pads

16 Best Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Pads

Finding the best ultralight backpacking sleeping pad can make or break your whole trip. This guide will show you the best sleeping pad options and what we think you’ll want for your own camping trip. It’s good to know some of the qualities you are looking for in a backpacking sleeping pad before beginning your search because there are so many incredible options. Here is our list of what we consider the best ultralight backpacking sleeping pads and why we rank them on the list. 

Top 16 Best Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Pads

Preview
NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad, Regular
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Camping and Backpacking Sleeping Pad, Vapor, Large - 25 x 77 Inches, Standard Valve
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress, Standard Valve, Regular - 20 x 72 Inches
Nemo Switchback Foam Sleeping Pad, Regular
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Pad, Regular - 20 x 72 Inches
Title
NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad, Regular
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Camping and Backpacking Sleeping Pad, Vapor, Large - 25 x 77 Inches, Standard Valve
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress, Standard Valve, Regular - 20 x 72 Inches
Nemo Switchback Foam Sleeping Pad, Regular
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Pad, Regular - 20 x 72 Inches
Rating
4.6
4.5
4.5
4.7
4.2
Thickness
3.0 in
2.5 inches
2.5 inches
0.9
2.5 inches
R-Value
3.5
6.9
4.2
2.0
2.3
Material
Aluminized Film
Nylon
Nylon
Closed-cell Foam & Low-Emissivity Film
Nylon
Dimensions
6 x 9 x 4 inches
10 x 5 x 5 inches
9 x 5 x 5 inches
21 x 6 x 6 inches
24.8 x 77.17 x 2.52 inches
Price
$255.50
Price not available
Price not available
$54.95
$212.99
Prime Status
-
-
-
-
Preview
NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad, Regular
Title
NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad, Regular
Rating
4.6
Thickness
3.0 in
R-Value
3.5
Material
Aluminized Film
Dimensions
6 x 9 x 4 inches
Price
$255.50
Prime Status
Button
Preview
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Camping and Backpacking Sleeping Pad, Vapor, Large - 25 x 77 Inches, Standard Valve
Title
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Camping and Backpacking Sleeping Pad, Vapor, Large - 25 x 77 Inches, Standard Valve
Rating
4.5
Thickness
2.5 inches
R-Value
6.9
Material
Nylon
Dimensions
10 x 5 x 5 inches
Price
Price not available
Prime Status
-
Button
Preview
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress, Standard Valve, Regular - 20 x 72 Inches
Title
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress, Standard Valve, Regular - 20 x 72 Inches
Rating
4.5
Thickness
2.5 inches
R-Value
4.2
Material
Nylon
Dimensions
9 x 5 x 5 inches
Price
Price not available
Prime Status
-
Button
Preview
Nemo Switchback Foam Sleeping Pad, Regular
Title
Nemo Switchback Foam Sleeping Pad, Regular
Rating
4.7
Thickness
0.9
R-Value
2.0
Material
Closed-cell Foam & Low-Emissivity Film
Dimensions
21 x 6 x 6 inches
Price
$54.95
Prime Status
-
Button
Preview
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Pad, Regular - 20 x 72 Inches
Title
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Pad, Regular - 20 x 72 Inches
Rating
4.2
Thickness
2.5 inches
R-Value
2.3
Material
Nylon
Dimensions
24.8 x 77.17 x 2.52 inches
Price
$212.99
Prime Status
-
Button

1. Nemo Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad

This sleeping pad is the best value and has a unique design made to provide optimal comfort and it also is unique because it comes in different shapes and sizes. It uses square baffles that help give extra stability and comfort.

You can get this pad in mummy-style, rectangular, and even in a wide option amongst other sizes and shapes. It’s great for side sleepers because it gives three inches of cushion. Another positive of this sleeping pad is that it’s known to be relatively quiet, making it a great option for light sleepers.

This sleeping pad has a well-designed valve that allows for quick inflation and easy deflation. The main downside to this pad is that it tends to be slightly bulkier than other lightweight backpacking sleeping pads. It also isn’t as warm as others, limiting it to only three-season camping. 

Sample Customer Review… I purchased two of these for me and my significant other to go backpacking through the inner corridor of the grand canyon. It’s incredibly light and as small as say, a potato. The mattress comes out of its carry bag and then it is again held to its perfect shape by a nice velcro fastener. This is SUPER convenient for when you are trying to put it away! I was able to inflate this in approximately 1-2 minutes, even in an exhausted state from hiking 8-10 hours with ease, which is incredible. I first tried it out at REI when I was shopping around for some type of solution to not sleep on the ground and gave every one of them a try. This one has the cross baffles that work beautifully for those of us that sleep in any weird configuration without falling between the cracks or finding an uncomfortable position. I was so comfortable on this that I now swear by this air mattress and recommend it to anyone I know that is into backpacking! It’s well worth the cost and even comes with a little repair kit to fix it on the fly if you need to in the backcountry. If you are in search of a solution to sleep comfortably while camping and not lug around heavyweight or bulky items, then you found it.

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Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Quiet
  • Easy inflation
Cons
  • Bulky
  • Less insulation
  • Delicate

2. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Ultralight

This is the best lightweight sleeping pad. There are very few negatives when it comes to this ultralight backpacking sleeping pad. The major upside to this pad is that it’s lightweight and compact while also giving ultimate warmth. It is great for camping in colder weather because the material is super durable and insulated.

This pad gives the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any lightweight sleeping pad on the market. It’s perfect for when you need some extra insulation during cold winter nights. Four-season sleeping pads can tend to be on the bulkier side, but this one maintains a lightweight and compact nature while having the perks of a four-season pad. 

One of the few downsides to this product is the texture of the material. Some people have complained of a crunchy, plastic bag-like sound when they roll over or move on the pad. If you are a very light sleeper or have a hard time staying asleep with sounds, you may want to look at other options. 

Despite the noise, this pad has an exceptional amount of cushion while packing into just 15oz. It’s perfect for people who plan to backpack and camp in colder temperatures while still wanting a compact and lightweight pad. Another great feature is the specialty valve allows the pad to inflate three times faster than a regular valve. It deflates quickly too! 

Sample Customer Review… I finally got a chance to use this in temperatures below 20 degrees. I am a hammock camper and backpacker so I am always looking for a lightweight and compact everything. This rolls up smaller than the Nieo Air and weighs in at just one pound. It has an R-value of 5.7 and inflates with 20 or so breaths. I put my sleeping pads inside my sleeping bag when the weather is cold because it makes a huge difference in how warm you will be. With the temperature going down to the upper teens I chose to sleep in lightweight thermals, no jacket, and standard weight sox. My bag is a military surplus rated to 40 degrees, and I covered that with a snugpack jungle blanket. I literally broke a sweat. I was very snug. This sleeping pad is the warmest I have used and super light. My search for my pad is over and it has earned a permanent position in my pack. It is worth the money if you are a hard-core camper or just insist on having the best gear you can get. I use my gear hard and have to depend on it. Thermarest has a good reputation for durable gear so you won’t have to worry about the pad deflating on you causing a bad situation on a cold night. It is well worth the price and I would buy it again.

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Pros
  • Added insulation
  • Lightweight
  • Compact
Cons
  • Noisy
  • Texture
  • Slippery

3. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Light XLite 

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Light XLite is another fantastic option for backpacking-friendly sleeping pads. It’s lightweight enough to carry around without having to worry about too much extra weight and space. This pad has a comparable comfort level to our first options and is a great option for three-season camping. It doesn’t quite have the warmth of the NeoAir XTherm Ultralight but provides a great level of warmth for three-season campers. 

Like some other backpacking sleeping pads, this option tends to make a crinkling sound when you roll over or move around. Some people will be more sensitive to this issue than others, you just need to decide how big of an issue it is to you.

This pad also is slightly narrow, making it a little small for some wide-shouldered or tall individuals. It does come in different size options so you can most likely find one that fits you well. 

Overall, it’s a great option for three-season campers who are looking for a lightweight and compact sleeping pad. The valve is of high quality and easy to use, making for fast setup and deflation. 

Sample Customer Review… I am normally a hammock camper and have all the quilts for that, but I have had the need to ground camp several times recently and the old blue foam pad was not getting it done for my hips and back (as a side sleeper). After research, I determined this was the best choice for me and pulled the trigger. I am so glad I did! This is ridiculously light (12 oz) in my pack and, if I roll it properly, takes up minimal room. The back and hips feel great in the morning, and I got a great night’s sleep with this! Also – this is much warmer (higher R-value) than most pads out there and has been great on bunks in unheated cabins and on the chilly, fall ground. I was able to inflate the pad fully in about 25 breaths. It was easy enough to deflate and roll up. It is a bit annoying to move on this pad and make the crinkling sound (my wife asked if I was sleeping on a pile of grocery bags!), so if you share a tent with a light sleeper, be warned – you will annoy them! Overall, I am so glad I bought this & I highly recommend it.

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Pros
  • Doesn’t take up much room
  • Higher than average R-Value
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Difficult to inflate
  • Narrow
  • Noisy

4. Nemo Switchback Foam Sleeping Pad 

This is the most durable sleeping pad. A closed-cell foam pad is virtually indestructible compared to inflatable pads. There’s no fear of popping or leaks and you don’t have to take any time to inflate or deflate these pads.

The Nemo Switchback Foam Sleeping Pad isn’t the first of its kind, but it is certainly one of the absolute best. One side has a heat-reflecting film to help keep you warm while the other is foam. This type of pad isn’t as comfortable as inflatable ones, especially for side-sleepers because it’s thin. But if you don’t need extra inches of padding, this is a great option for a sleeping pad. 

This foam pad is easy to use and on the cheaper side. It folds like an accordion and can double as a seat too! Because this pad is thin, it can’t provide the same level of warmth that inflatable pads can. So, if you want to camp in the winter months, you should probably look at other options. All of the negatives aside, this foam pad is super durable and great for summer campers who don’t mind sleeping on fairly firm surfaces. 

Sample Customer Review…I love this. It is super lightweight and keeps me a lot warmer. I use it under the river country original inflatable pad and the two together are as comfy as my bed at home. I finally slept through the night on a backpacking trip! The price was great! It’s super lightweight. I strap it under the brain of my backpack and you can’t even notice it or the weight. It feels like nothing. It’s nice to use as a seat to stop for lunch or to spread out all of your backpacking gear while setting up your tent. As far as durability…I’m not really sure what is expected and I’ve only been using it for a couple of months, so 3 or 4-weekend trips. I did gouge a tiny chunk out of it when I got it caught on a barb wire fence. I also notice that where I have it strapped to the bag it is curving and showing worn/scuff spots where the straps hold it onto the pack. It’s definitely not affecting the functionality of the mat or making it uncomfortable to lay on. I recommend it and I’m picky!!

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Pros
  • Strong durability
  • Heat-reflecting film for additional warmth
  • Firm
Cons
  • Thin
  • Lack of support
  • Comfort issues

5. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Uberlite 

This sleeping pad is a great option because it has a combination of some of the best qualities that are looked for when shopping for a backpacking sleeping bag. It is incredibly lightweight, making it perfect for taking on long hikes. It’s a great option for people who are trying to keep the weight of their supplies to a minimum while not wanting to compromise comfort and warmth.

The Therm-a-Rest sleeping pad has an internal structure that allows for ultimate comfort and compactness. It’s a great three-season option but isn’t meant for sub-freezing temperatures. If you know that you will be camping in freezing temperatures you will want to look for another option, but for summer camping it’s amazing. 

Just because this sleeping pad is super lightweight and weighs less than a pound doesn’t mean it’s lacking in comfort. It boasts 2.5 inches of padding that gives you the best night’s sleep possible. The fabric is soft and the air valve is created to allow for the best airflow, making inflation and deflation a breeze. If you’re looking for a comfortable, lightweight, and easy to inflate sleeping pad for summer camping this is the one for you! 

Sample Customer Review… I was a bit skeptical as some customers have reported slow leaks & durability issues. However, I am pleased to say I haven’t experienced any problems of that nature. I purchased the small model to pair with bug bivy & tarp and to replace my neo air xlite regular size pad for the warmer months. It is a fantastic piece of kit, however, it’s more delicate and caution should be used with site selection with regards to placing on sharp objects. I would also recommend being wary of clothing with zippers, poppers, or sharp plastics attached. The new valve is better than the previous versions but still deflates slowly. The included pump sack works perfectly fine and saves huffing & puffing during inflation. I would have preferred the sack to be of a dry sack type instead of a stuff sack style in order to add a bit more functionality to it. So, my overall impressions are great despite a few minor issues that take nothing away overall from the pad. It is super comfy, light, and packs down to the size of a canned drink. Just remember it’s a specialist piece of equipment and requires a bit of care in its use, but if you are looking to reduce your pack weight then the Uberlite is a no-brainer.

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Pros
  • Low Weight
  • Extra Stability
  • Added Comfort
Cons
  • Delicate
  • Slowly deflating valve
  • Reduced thickness

6. Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX

This inflatable sleeping pad is one of the thickest there is! It’s perfect for side sleepers because it has so much cushion and it has puffier side panels that help keep you centered while sleeping.

The design allows for a super comfortable and secure feeling when sleeping, almost like you’re right at home. Considering the amount of comfort you get from this sleeping pad, it is heavier than our first top picks. It weighs in at a little over a pound. 

The pad is relatively quiet compared to others while still having a fair amount of insulation. Although not made for very cold weather, it’s a great option for those planning on three-season camping.

Even though this pad is slightly heavier and bulkier than others on the list, the comfort makes up for it for most people. If you’re someone who values a really good night’s rest while camping, this is a fantastic option. 

Sample Customer Review… I paired this with the Big Agnes Anvil Horn 15F bag on a recent 6-day trek through the Sawtooth mountains. Low temps ranged from 15F-34F during the week. While the bag didn’t perform as expected, this pad worked great! The Anvil Horn bag has a sleeve for the sleeping pad and doesn’t have down insulation on the bottom relying instead on the pad for insulation. I got cold in the bag during low temps, but never felt the cold from underneath. The cold seemed to seep in from the top through gaps in the down. I’m a side sleeper and frequently switch sides, but this pad kept me more comfortable than any I have used. The separate valve system to inflate/deflate worked great and I never had a problem with air leaking out. Once filled, it stayed filled. When packing, it quickly deflated and easily fit back in the bag. While not the lightest pad available, the extra ounces are worth the comfort and warmth. Unlike other pads I’ve used, I didn’t find this bag noisy. Some sound like crinkling a potato chip bag whenever you move, but this one didn’t. Very happy with its performance.

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Pros
  • Thick
  • Quiet
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Bulky
  • Difficult inflation

7. Klymit Static V2

Number seven on our list is the Klymit Static V2. This pad has a wider design that makes it great for broad-shouldered individuals. The paneling and thickness make it fairly comfortable for side sleepers and back sleepers.

One of the best features of this inflatable pad is the price. It’s a cheaper option than the high-quality ones mentioned above. It also tends to be surprisingly durable and is lightweight, making it great for backpackers looking to cut out some weight. 

With these positives come a few negatives. This pad is best used only in the summer because it has a low R-value. There are insulated versions available if you are planning on camping in colder weather.

Because of the panel design, it’s not uncommon or difficult to hit the ground where pressure points are located but if you are easily able to keep your weight evenly distributed you shouldn’t have a problem. Overall, this pad is a great cost-effective inflatable option for those planning to backpack and camp during the summer months. 

Sample Customer Review…You will not find a more comfortable sleeping pad anywhere close to this weight, and when you find one that is close in weight, it will be more than twice the price, less comfortable, more narrow, and potentially as noisy as a bag of potato chips. The contours of the Klymit pads really are revolutionary for comfort and weight distribution. I have tried just about every expensive name-brand sleeping pad you can think of, and the Static V2 is hands down my favorite 3 season pad. I now use Klymit pads as a comfortable standard of 10, and against the Static V2, I would comparatively rank the Nemo Tensor a 7.5, the Thermarest Neo Air XLite a 6.5, and the Big Agnes Air Core a 5.75. By the way, I also have a favorite Winter pad: the Klymit Insulated Static V Luxe (R-Value = 5, and 30″ wide to keep you surrounded in warmth). My friends laugh and say I must be sponsored by Klymit, but I’m not, I’m just a huge fan based on countless nights of improved sleep while tent and hammock camping. Speaking of which, I’ve found the V2 to be the perfect size to turn diagonally inside of a hammock, which increases sleeping comfort even more. In the last 7-8 months, I have converted several people to Klymit pads just by letting them test mine out. 

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Pros
  • Price friendly
  • Thick
  • Durable
Cons
  • Low R-Value
  • Unequal weight distribution

8. Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Pad 

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Quick inflation and deflation, heavy-duty material, and two-inch thick padding make this sleeping pad a great option for almost any camper. This pad has a flat valve that makes inflation and deflation processes easy and fast while also being made of thick and durable material.

This is a great choice if you often camp in rocky terrain because of the thick material. The air-sprung cells make this pad feel almost exactly like a regular mattress. 

This sleeping pad is best used in warmer temperatures, the end of spring to early fall. It’s not good for cold or freezing weather. It’s also prone to bottoming out, or hitting the ground when moving around because of the design. Although it’s not as lightweight as other sleeping pads, it’s still lightweight enough to carry in your backpack without worry. 

Sample Customer Review… I love the Sea to Summit Ultralight Pad! It has replaced the Thermarest Prolite Small (3/4 height) that I’ve included in my backpacking repertoire for the past decade. I’m a lightweight weenie (~12-pound base weight) whose also a side sleeper and a tosser-turner, and the ultralight pad lives up my demands — it’s slightly heavier than the Prolite (395 grams versus 315 grams), but at the expense of a few extra grams, I get a more comfortable and warmer mat that doesn’t make noise and crinkle when I move around. That’s supportive enough that my hip doesn’t poke the ground when I’m on my side, and that’s as long as my body and has a good R-value to keep me warm during the shoulder seasons. (I can also use the same pad car camping that I do bike packing because it’s so comfortable, and it also packs down small so there’s less clutter in your backpack or in your car.)

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Pros
  • Easy inflation
  • Durable
  • Thick
Cons
  • Bottoms out
  • Heavy
  • Bulky

9. Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Foam Pad

If you’re looking for an ultralight foam pad, the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol is a great choice. These foam pads will never be as comfortable as inflatables but they do have their perks.

For one, this product is virtually indestructible. It can be put on rocky terrain and have no problems. Its foldable and lightweight design allows for easy packing and carrying. This sleeping pad also has a small price tag, making it a great option for campers on a budget. 

There are a few downsides to this product, however. Aside from comfort, this pad has little ability to keep you warm. This limits its use to only warmer weather camping. Side sleepers and tall people should take a close look at whether or not this pad will work for them as it is thin and fairly short. It is available in different sizes to accommodate taller people. 

Sample Customer Review… I’ve used this mattress on several week-long backpacking trips in both the Appalachian mountains in Pennsylvania and the much more rugged Teton rocky mountain range in Jackson, Wyoming. I’ve had it for the past few years and I haven’t had one problem with it yet. It’s relatively lightweight, incredibly comfortable, and it takes absolutely no time to pack, unlike most other sleeping pads that you have to slowly roll and push the air out of. It helps you break down camp a little bit faster in the morning, which is nice when you’ve got a long trek ahead of you and you want to get on the trail faster. Although I personally own both a small and a large, I usually use the small when I go hiking to cut down on the weight and size of my gear. If you get a small and you’re older than 12 your feet will be sticking off the mattress, but it doesn’t really make sleeping any less comfortable in my opinion. If it is too bad you can always stick some clothes under your legs to sleep on. Although a $600 dollar nano air mattress will fold up super small and might be a little bit comfier, this sleeping pad is a solid, reliable steal. It beats most 50-100$ pads out there and it comes in at only about $30.

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Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Foldable
  • Durable
Cons
  • Less comfort
  • Less insulation
  • Short

10. Therm-a-Rest ProLite

This backpacking sleeping pad’s main upside is durability. Unlike the other inflatable sleeping pads on the market that can be punctured anytime, this pad is almost puncture-proof.

You won’t need to worry about patching holes in this sleeping pad and it’s especially great for people who camp on rocky terrain. It is an inch thick padding that provides a fair level of comfort for people who don’t mind sleeping on firm surfaces. It’s not as comfortable as the Big Agnes mentioned above, but it’s still something. 

A unique feature of this sleeping pad is its self-inflating design. It’s perfect for people who hate blowing up a big inflatable pad. Self-inflating pads can get pretty heavy, but this one remains light enough to confidently carry in your backpack. 

Sample Customer Review… I love this pad. It is well worth the money spent. The first one I ordered would slowly leak out some air during the night but didn’t totally go flat. I contacted Amazon and returned it with no hassle and they promptly sent a new one which is awesome. I am a side sleeper most of the time but can sleep in almost any position. This makes it hard to find a good pad that will work with my size. I am 6′ 2″ tall and weigh approx. 250 lbs so no pad is going to be perfect but this one is close. I ordered the large and it fits fine. I have yet to use this in my hammock but have already ground slept with it approx. 12 times. I would recommend using something under it to protect from puncture. The best way to sleep comfortably on this is to use an old blanket below it may be doubled over and your sleep system on top. If you need more padding then double over a blanket and lay on top of the pad before you sleep on it. The surface of the pad is not slick so it doesn’t seem to shift when you sleep. It does self-inflate a little but requires a few puffs of breath to finish the job for me anyway.

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Pros
  • Puncture resistant
  • Thick
  • Self-inflating
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Small inflation period
  • Comfort issues

11. NEMO Tensor Alpine Air Pad

If you’re looking for a four-season sleeping pad that you can backpack with, this is an amazing choice. Because it’s four seasons, it is heavier than many of the others but if you know you will be camping in very cold weather, it’s worth it.

This sleeping pad is three inches thick to give high levels of comfort and stability. It’s great for all kinds of sleepers because it has such a thick cushion. With three layers of suspended film, it’s perfectly insulated to give you the warmest sleep possible. 

This sleeping pad is mostly quiet and easy to sleep on. It has high-quality valves that allow for quick inflation and deflation. The main downside is the weight and overall bulkiness. It weighs about one and a half pounds which is heavier than many of the others on this list but it’s still fine to fit in your backpack as long as you take note of the weight. 

Sample Customer Review… I’ve used this pad on three hikes so far. I have the long, wide version. I’m a side sleeper and find it to be quite comfortable. Being such a large volume pad, it does take a while to inflate, but it’s worth the extra breaths compared to my REI co-op flash sleeping pad. It comes with an inflation bag, but I choose not to carry it. I wish Nemo would publish the R-value of this pad to make pre-purchase research a bit easier. This pad seems to lose a small amount of air over the course of the night, but not enough that my hip, or shoulder touches the ground. 

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Pros
  • Increased insulation
  • Great Stability
  • Quiet
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Bulky
  • Slow inflation

12. Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight Sleeping Pad 

Weighing only 14.5oz, this sleeping pad is ultra-lightweight and perfect for backpackers. It takes up little space in your backpack and gives you the ability to bring extra items because of the saved weight.

Although not as thick and comfortable as some other inflatable pads, it still provides a little over two inches of padding. The price tag is another positive to this sleeping pad as it’s on the cheaper side. 

Slightly fewer quality valves tend to come with cheaper options, but it’s not a big deal for those looking at price-conscious options. There is a greater chance that you hit the ground every once in a while because of the design, so keep that in mind. 

Sample Customer Review… As a scouting family, we spend a lot of time in the woods or on trails hiking backpacking, and camping. The size, weight, ease of use, comfort, and durability are all factors for our equipment. As a family of 5, price is always important too. I spent a lot of time researching pads on weight and size and reviews to try to find one that gave me the biggest bang for the buck. This Outdoorsman lab ultralight seemed to fit all of those requirements. I already had a very compact pad for my gear, so I was even more impressed when this pad packed smaller into its own case. I tried it this weekend on a 4-mile hike and campout. It was small enough to get rolled into my mummy sack and in its compression bag. It inflated in less than 10 breaths and stayed firm all night long and plenty of lift to keep me off the cool ground. It never slid out from under my bag and it is plenty long and I am over 6 feet tall. I am very pleased and quite impressed with this pad and highly recommend it for backpackers, hikers, and general campers.

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Pros
  • Extremely light
  • Affordable
  • Takes up little space
Cons
  • Lacks thickness
  • Fewer valves
  • Support issues

13. Exped Synmat UL

One great component of this product is that it’s wider than other sleeping pads. There are multiple different sizes and you are sure to find one that fits your broad shoulders. It’s also made of a material that helps the pad stay in place and not slip around throughout the night. 

This sleeping pad is lightweight and has two valves instead of one for super-fast inflation and deflation. If you are a camper who likes to get everything set up fast and efficiently, this is a great option for you. It does have a fairly hefty price tag but for some of the unique qualities, it may be worth it. 

Sample Customer Review… This is my THIRD Exped sleeping pad. My other ones are thick, full-sized, down-filled, and synthetic-filled versions for “base camp” use. This lightweight model is perfect for backpacking. I’m an old man who has been camping in the backcountry for over 60 years. This pad makes my old bones tolerate long cold nights on the hard ground. I wish I could give it 10 stars.

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Pros
  • Wide
  • Lightweight
  • Quick inflation
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Noisy
  • Durability issues

14. Exped Flexmat Plus Foam Pad 

If you’re looking for a slightly thicker foam pad for your camping adventures, this is perfect for you. It’s similar to the other closed-cell foam pad options mentioned on this list, but it is 1.5 inches thick.

This pad is also great for creating a dry and warm surface to put an inflatable pad on top. Doing this will create an even more comfortable and warm place to sleep, especially during colder nights. This product folds up accordion-style like other foam pads and is easy to carry while backpacking. It’s also fairly lightweight. 

Sample Customer Review… It all comes down to thickness. The FlexMat Plus is 1.5 inches thick—twice as plush as the market-dominating Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol—yet when packed it’s only 2 inches thicker and weighs just 4 ounces more. (As with all closed-foam pads, though, it’s much less packable than an air mat.) This puts it in the same weight range as many inflatables, but at a third of the price. The secret is in its texture: The accordion-fold pad’s egg-crate-like dimples are each about an inch wide, twice as big as its competitors’; when folded up, they nestle inside each other like stacked cups.

Review from Backpacker.com
Pros
  • Thick
  • Insulation
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Takes up space
  • Noisy

15. Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad

This sleeping pad is one of the best options when on a tight budget. Not only is it budget-friendly, but it also comes with a lifetime warranty. The durable fabric that this sleeping pad is made out of allows the pad to last longer. This pad is also extremely sturdy and super comfortable for all sleeping positions. 

Prepare to be backache-free when investing in the Sleepingo Sleeping Pad because it is lightweight, convenient to carry around, and leaves extra room for other supplies in your backpack. However, this sleeping pad’s weight does not sacrifice any durability because it is layered with an extremely strong, high-grade camping ripstop nylon fabric that is water-repellent. The 20 denier thickness of the sleeping pad allows the pad to last through the most severe weather conditions. The Sleepingo Sleeping Pad will deliver a memorable performance without breaking the bank.

Sample Customer Review… It was well worth the money spent. We had no problems at all. After the first use in the morning it was still inflated, but a little soft, so we assumed it was from first-time use stretching, and we added literally only half a breath. This lasted until the end of our 10-day trip. We did not deflate each night but left them inflated. The air held the whole time, which I was amazed about. I thought that we would have to add at least a breath from time to time, but we did not need to. I am thrilled to get my hips off the ground, with something that will pack up small in my pack to give me more room, and very lightweight. I am trying to lighten my pack weight and spend as little money as I can, and still be able to get equipment that is good enough to accommodate my aging body out in the sticks. My Scout wanted an air pad that was comfortable, tough, small, and lightweight because he likes to have nothing in his pack, so he has lots of room for other things and he does not want anything attached to the outside of his pack. This air pad was perfect for him.

Read more reviews on Amazon.com
Pros
  • Budget-friendly
  • Durable fabric
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • No color variety
  • Noisy
  • Thin Material

16. WELLAX UltraThick FlexFoam Sleeping Pad

Inflating and deflating this sleeping pad is virtually effortless as a result of two flat valves that improve inflation technology. This pad can handle rugged and difficult terrain with only a small chance of being punctured. The sturdy components of this pad make it abrasion repellent, water-resistant, and reflective of heat.

The three-inch thick comfort of this sleeping pad makes it easy to fall asleep in a nicely insulated environment. The structure of this sleeping pad consists of flexing air cells to support both the upper and lower body. The surface is composed of a silk-like softness for an easy rest period. 

Sample Customer Review… This mat is so soft. The outer fabric is wonderful, nothing too plastic that will squeak in the night or swish on your sleeping bag. The whole mat is fluffy and keeps my body off the ground well enough that my hips aren’t digging into the ground when I sleep on my side. The only complaint I got was when a guest slept on it in the basement, it got pretty cold from the ground. It’s also not the easiest to roll back up. I feel like I’m fighting self-inflation a lot. I would say this is good for car camping, but not hiking, it does not get very small when rolled up. When rolled, it’s close to the size of a camping chair.

Read more reviews on Amazon.com
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Compact
  • Easy Inflation
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Not easy to roll up
  • Bulky

Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Purchasing the Best Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Pad

Weight

The weight of a backpacking sleeping pad is important to consider because they come in a wide range of weights. Backpacking sleeping pads can range from 8.8-ounces to 1-pound-15.6-ounces. A sleeping pad can be one of the heaviest items you carry with you during your camping trip, so a lighter pad is typically recommended. With that said, a lighter pad also means a more fragile pad. You may want to consider a heavier backpacking sleeping pad if you are planning to use it a lot in the winter because heavier pads have more insulation. 

Comfort

The key to comfort in sleeping pads is the thickness determined by the pad’s R-value. A pad’s R-value is the amount of insulation a pad is provided from the ground. It is important to determine the right amount of insulation of your pad depending on the season it will be used. If you plan on using your pad primarily in summer it is recommended to get a pad with an R-value of 3 or less. If you plan on using your pad evenly through all three seasons it is recommended to get a pad with an R-value between 3 to 5. Winter camping requires a higher R-value of 5 and above.

Dimensions and Shape

Backpacking sleeping pads usually come in 2 to 3 unisex sizes that allow the consumer to pick the best pad based on height and comfort preferences. There are two basic shapes that the pads typically come in: mummy pads that reduce in thickness at the feet, and rectangular pads that are more spacious at the bottom. When choosing the dimensions of your pad, it is important to consider your height and whether you prefer to have your entire body on the pad. 

Ease of Inflation

Some pads prioritize elevation in order to increase the amount of cushion in the pad. However, having a large amount of air in the air chamber can be lung exhausting and cause lightheadedness. Some people prefer pads to have pump sacks instead of standard inflation valves because they cut down inflation time, do not require you to exhaust your breath, and prevent moisture from entering the pad. If too much moisture gets into the pad, it can mold if not dried properly. 

Durability 

When considering durability, it is important to know what kind of terrain your pad will be placed on. A terrain of hard-packed dirt requires an inflatable pad. A terrain that is filled with sharp objects, rocky, or rooty requires a closed-cell foam pad so that it cannot be punctured. 

Noise 

The crinkly noises of some backpacking sleeping pads are one of the top complaints of sleeping pad users. Light sleepers should prioritize choosing a pad that is as quiet as possible in case they move a lot in their sleep.

Conclusion

When looking for the best ultralight backpacking sleeping pads, it’s important to remember what qualities you value the most. Are you looking for the most comfort possible? Or do you care more about weight? The thicker and more comfortable sleeping pads have a heftier price tag while the thinner pads are more affordable. It’s also necessary to keep in mind what weather conditions you plan to camp in because different sleeping pads are made for different temperatures. Hopefully, this list has shown you your perfect backpacking sleeping pad, or at least given you some great options!


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Written by Courtney Ludwig and Bryanna McLaughlin

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