Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
At Backpacker, we take our responsibility to provide readers with fair and accurate gear advice seriously. When you make a purchase through our site, we may earn a commission.
Most Eco-Friendly: Big Agnes TwisterCane BioFoam Pad
Going light and fast in the backcountry, and don’t want to lug around—or bother blowing up—a heavy mat? We strapped the TwisterCane BioFoam to our pack in Rocky Mountain National Park and hit the trail confident we’d get a good night’s sleep in any terrain, no matter how rugged. This innovative bio-foam pad nails the basics: It weighs less than a pound, is 72 inches long and 20 inches wide (standard), and half an inch thick (a bit less than standard, though with comparable comfort). Buy Now / Read the Full Review
Most Comfortable: Klymit Klymaloft XL
For sleepers who like extra cushion, the Klymaloft XL is hard to beat. It’s 5 inches high when inflated, and the top of the pad is layered with polyurethane foam that conforms to your body, eliminating pressure points on your hips, back, and shoulders. One tester spent two weeks sleeping on the Klymaloft XL while climbing in Chile’s Valle Cochamó and reported no aches or pains (from the pad, at least; the climbing was another story). Buy Now / Read the Full Review
Best Cushion-to-Weight Ratio: NEMO Quasar 3D
With a 72-by-20-inch footprint (size regular) plus 3.5 inches of air insulation, the Quasar 3D brings heavy-hitting comfort to a lightweight model. “I felt like I was sleeping on a car-camping pad, not one made for backpacking,” one tester said after hiking into Denali National Park. The Quasar 3D’s height is complimented by gentle, rolling sidewalls in the horizontal baffles, which create a cradling design that always kept us centered on the pad no matter how we slept. Buy Now / Read the Full Review