How to Pack Your Sleeping Pad

There are many challenges to backpacking, but packing your sleeping pad shouldn't be one of them.

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Never wrestle your pad again with these handy folding methods. 

The Standard Roll

This method works best for most Sea to Summit, Therm-a-Rest, Exped, Nemo, and Klymit pads, plus other rectangular and mummy-shaped inflatables. 

Step 1: Expel all air before folding. To do so, open the deflate valve, fold the mat into third crosswise, and use your bodyweight to push out the air. Be careful not to press your pad into anything that could puncture it. 

Owen Mesdag

Step 2: Unfold and flatten.

Step 3: Fold the mat into thirds* lengthwise and, beginning at the foot end, roll tightly. This squeezes out the air as you roll.

Step 4: Close the valve to seal out air and store in a stuff sack. 

*Some pads should be folded into halves or even fourths (instead of thirds) lengthwise before rolling. The length of your stuff sack indicates how many folds are needed to fit it inside.


TIP: Use your wrist, fingers, or knee to squeeze out any residual air. 

The Double-Wide 

This method works best for most two-person pads.

Step 1: After deflating, unroll and fold in 1/5 on each side. 

Step 2: Fold in both sides again to the center before rolling.

TIP: Compress your pad’s foot pump by closing the valves and stepping on it. 

The Big Agnes Fold

This method works for all Big Agnes inflatable pads, which feature a baffle design that’s best compressed through folding. 

Step 1: Lay the pad face-down. Starting at the foot end, make a fold that’s a little shorter than the length of the stuff sack. 

Step 2: Continue folding in this method, pressing out the air as you go. 

Step 3: When your folds reach the head end, roll from the edge opposite the valve. Slide the roll into the stuff sack.

NOTE: Most brands recommend folding and storing their pads in a specific manner. Pay attention to how your pad is stored in its original packaging—if the manufacturer can get it that small, so can you.