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.
Ensure that your next overnight trip outdoors is the stuff of dreams, not nightmares, by investing in a good self-inflating sleeping pad. As your primary defense against rocks and roots beneath your sleeping bag, a quality pad should provide enough cushion that you can roll over at night without pain, as well as provide insulation from the cold ground radiating upward. Good construction with welded seams and leakproof valves is huge, as there is nothing worse than a leaking sleeping pad all night. Finding one to suit your needs can be difficult so we picked out three of the best that will fit a variety of needs.
The Cradle™ Air Mat with Pump It Up™ Inflation Bag
This is the Swiss Army knife of sleeping pads. Perfect for long backpacking trips, short overnight jaunts, or a weekend of car camping. It weighs a paltry (for a self-inflating model) 2 pounds, 11 ounces, yet delivers comfort found in much bulkier and heavier pads. Made with a curved baffle air core design the pad gently wraps around your body while the FlexForm fabric makes sure you and your sleeping bag don’t slide off overnight. One of the neatest features of this pad is that it inflates simply and easily by using its carrying bag as a bladder to easily deliver air inside. Within minutes you have a spot to crash and packing up in the morning is a breeze. Buy it here.
Foxelli Sleeping Pad
One of the first areas most backpackers look to shed weight is their sleeping pad, often sacrificing comfort for efficacy. Well, say goodbye to your sleepless nights. This Foxelli pad is relatively lightweight (2 pounds, 6.8 ounces) and packs up tightly to minimize valuable backpack space. Its rapid rise foam core self inflates in fifteen minutes while its durable construction ensures that no air leaks out—a problem too common in most pack pads. There’s a pillow made from waterproof material to ensure no condensation or rain seeps through. One of its coolest features is you can easily connect two or more pads to make a bigger bed if needed. Bonus: If you’ve ever wanted a sleeping pad whose color is listed as “Universe”, this is your pad. Also available in two neutral (blue and gray) colorways. Get it here.
Lightspeed Outdoors XL Super Plush FlexForm
This luxuriously large pad is the perfect sleep spot to bring along if either you, or someone you know, is not the biggest fan of sleeping on the ground. It has dual air valves for rapid self-inflation, an integrated pillow, and a non-slip material on top to ensure you stay put throughout the night. Built with three inches of foam it will keep you in comfort throughout the night while ensuring that no chill from the floor will creep towards your body. It rolls up nicely when you are packing up and fits easily into its own stuff sack. Due to its size (77” x 30”) it’s probably best for car camping or sites where you won’t have to walk far. Buy it today.