Sleeping pads lift your body up and off the ground, protecting it against the elements and rocky ground cover. After a hard day on the trails, the added cushioning of a sleeping pad supports your joints so that you can catch a restful night of sleep. Not all pads are created equal. I've put them to the test, and these are my top eight picks this year.
Long days in the backwoods require a serious sleeping pad, and that's why I've carried the NeoAir Xlite for years. The ultralight sleep system weighs in at 12 ounces and has a warmth rating that meets all conditions for three seasons. A reflective coating traps radiant heat and the no-slip materials ensure you don't slide off the pad while you rest. My favorite feature, though, is the size. It's 2.5 inches thick but packs down to the size of a one-liter bottle. This super pack-friendly sleeping pad comes with a stuff sack and repair kit and is the best of the best.
A lightweight foam pad
The lightest sleeping pads are foam. They roll up tight and slip under the floating lid or in the bottom straps of your backpack. Foam pads don't usually offer as much cushioning as inflatable varieties, but this model from ALPS Mountaineering may be the exception. Adding just nine ounces of weight, this affordable option is thick enough to put some warmth between you and the hard ground and is the best bang for your buck.
Easily inflates for a comfortable rest
The Ecoek Hybern8 takes the work out inflating your sleeping pad, something no long-distance hiker wants to do after a long day. In less than ten breaths, the Hybern8 inflates, giving you 2.5 inches of loft. You get 3 season warmth and cushiness from this pad, and its versatile design also fits inside a hammock. This sleeping pad folds down to the size of a one-liter bottle and weighs just 18 ounces, so it sits right in your pack. The Hybern8 is waterproof and tough enough to go on all your adventures.
Cushions all types of sleepers
I pack the Klymit Static V pad for rough terrain because it stands up to sticks, stones, and sleeping right on the ground. With a 75D polyester exterior, it never punctures or tears, and is abrasion-resistant. The comfort level is off the hook too. Whether you're a stomach, back or side sleeper, the Static V supports your body in a V-shaped design that cradles you and prevents the tossing and turning that can come with sleeping in the outback.
Reflective properties keep you cozy
The cross-linked polyethylene in the Therm-a-Rest SOLite keeps this sleeping pad lightweight yet durable so that you can strap it below your pack without worry. The ThermaCapture surface reflects radiant heat from your body and locks it in, so you stay warm and dry all night long. This 3 season sleeping pad comes in small, regular, and large sizes, and adds only 13 ounces to your pack weight. When you need a lightweight foam pad that will keep you warm on chilly nights, don't pass up the SOLite.
If you're thru-hiking or logging some long weekend miles, you want the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite. This sleeping pad outshines every other pad on the market today thanks to its packability and weight. You'll add only 12 ounces to your pack while getting 2.5 inches of comfort. The NeoAir Xlite inflates in under two minutes and provides ample warmth and cushioning to give you a great night of rest.
Geared toward thru-hikers and minimalist backpackers, the sleeping pad from ALPS Mountaineering adds a thin layer of cushion and warmth between you and the ground. This is a dense closed-cell foam pad that weighs only 9 ounces and works well as part of your 3 season gear.