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What is the Best Backpacking Sleeping Pad?

My boring gray Therm-a-rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad "in action."
My boring gray Therm-a-rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad “in action.”

What kind of sleeping pad to you use on backpacking trips?

Please leave a comment.

252 comments

  1. I use an inflatable Therm-a-Rest Neo-Air because it is lightweight and comfortable. But because it is fragile and not so warm, I often use it in tandem with a closed-cell half length pad like the one from Gossamer Gear.

  2. I’ve several pads of various sizes and construction, the Thermarest XLite is my favorite because it is the lightest, warmest and with the included stuff sack/pump it is also the easiest of my inflatables to inflate. Some reviewers complain of the method using the stuff sack to inflate this pad, however I like it a lot. It keeps the moisture from my breath out of the inside of the mattress, and I find it takes only about 20-22 pumps to inflate. I also do not find the small amount of crinkle noise in the insulation to be a problem whatsoever. It has kept me warm in my hammock through freezing overnight temps.

  3. I use a Thermarest ridgecrest in conjunction with a Klymit Inertia. Sometimes one, sometimes the other depending on the conditions.

  4. I have used an original thermostat self inflating mattress for years now. But, I just put in an order for the neo air xlite because of the huge amount of weight savings and because the xlite is considerably thicker. I am hoping by getting the xlite, an xped ul pillow, and making my own quilt will result in a more comfortable night’s sleep while still reducing my sleep system weight by nearly half.

  5. I use a torso length foam mat, always try and find a fairly soft surface for sleeping on, grass, pine needles, moss, sand etc. I also use my mat for a virtual frame for my bag and this saves weight. I mostly like the reliability of it and simplicity. I can get it out in seconds and use it to sit on at any point in the day which is important for me nice to have it for breaks.

    I put my backpack under my feet with a few bits and bobs in.

  6. I use a Therm a Rest Xlite. It’s nice to have a thick inflated pad since I both sleep on the ground, in wooden shelters and on the floor when visiting relatives.

  7. I use a toro-lengh self-inflating Therm-a-rest Prolite 3 because I can douple-use it as a virtual packframe in my frameless packs. With 306gramms it’s a tad heavier than a closed cell foam mat, but as it requires less space in my pack I’m able to use a smaller pack and thus lighter pack on most of my trips. This means by taking a heavier, warmer and more comfy sleeping pad I can reduce my overall packweight! Yep, I know I’m a gramm-counting weirdo. ;-)

  8. The xtherm helps me get a comfy warm nights sleep . Great width for a side sleeper. It packs small and the short is only 8oz. I fold it and use it as a pad in my backpack. Seems to b quite tough.
    Thom

  9. I use an inflatable Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Trekker mattress because it’s more comfortable than the foam mats I tried. I’ve used the same one for three years on JMT and AT hikes without any puncture problems. I hate blowing it up, but my hiking partner inflates our mattresses and sets up the tent while I filter water for both of us.

  10. Until resently I have used an original Thermarest inflatable from the 90’s in size extra large. Indestructible, but also very heavy, 1668 grams on my scale. Last week I bought a Mammut light punp mat (http://www.mammut.ch/en/productDetail/242000273_v_75142_185x52x75/Light-Pump-Mat-UL.html). 624 grams with repairkit, and a fair price compared to other brands. Inflateble mattresses gives me the opportunity to sleep without eternal battles with stones or roots that might have ended up under my sleepingplace.

  11. As a hammock camper, I usually don’t use a sleeping pad in the traditional sense. When it’s really cold and I need additional insulation under me, I’ll use a rectangular Big Agnes Air Core pad. It provides good insulation and also slides nicely into the zero degree Big Agnes sleeping bag, and the entire system works surprisingly well in a hammock.

  12. i use an x-lite neo air because it is light and comfy.

  13. It depends. In my hammock, I use a mylar automobile windshield to combat convection heat loss. In a shelter, I use an inflatable big Agnes mattress because it is made for my sleeping bag and impossible to slip off because of the pad sleeve in the bag. In winter, I add a thermarest or closed cell pad for a second layer of heat retension.

  14. I currently use a hammock whenever possible. I have a Big Agnes Insulated Aircore that I used before discovering hammocks but would definitely treat myself to something thicker if I went on a trip where I’d have to go to ground. I hate waking up in the morning with sore hips. If I was expecting to both hang and sleep on the ground, I’d consider taking a Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest or Z-Lite and use that as under insulation for the hammock as well as sleeping pad.

  15. My preferred sleep system is a hammock and underquilt/quilt system. When I went to Philmont last year (which does not allow hammock camping), I used a Neo-Air. It was the best combination of weight, price, packed size, and comfort.

  16. I used to use a closed cell pad, inexpensive and durable, but sleeping on shelter floors it was just too hard. last fall I switched to a Klymit Insulated Static V. It lets me camp with the scouts in winter and I can adjust the hardness for a more comfortable nights sleep.

  17. Depends on the camping/backpacking style. If I use my hammock (Warbonnet Ridgerunner) I use the Exped DownMat LW. If I am tent backpacking (floorless BearPaw cuben fiber hextent or Golite Hex3) I use my Exped SynMat M. Truck camping I will take the Exped DownMat LW with an old ThermoRest Ridge Rest underneath to ad extra protection for the Exped. Since I often use my WM sleeping bag unzipped like a quilt, the Exped insulated pads provide the insulation on the bottom needed for “quilt” sleeping. Plus, I have found the inflatable Expeds to provide an exceptionally comfortable night’s sleep.

  18. I use a standard size neo-air.
    I started with a small size, but because of the quilt I have (zpacks), I had a draft hole under my legs (from where the pad ends, to where the quilt closes up for the footbox), and I had some really cold nights. After switching to the standard size, I slept much warmer.
    I don’t mind the inflating bit. It only takes a minute.

  19. I use a Big Agnes insulated inflatable sleep pad/ air mattress. Why? Because it is the most comfortable thing I’ve found for the price. It is great for side sleepers because it is a few inches thicker than a self-inflating mattress or a cheap closed cell foam pad.

  20. my current one is a nemo zor 20s short. good enough for warm nights, very light and compact.

    however, i recently bought a klymit static v2 to alternate on cold nights. almost double the weight and size, but hopefully can keep me from waking up at night due to touching the cold ground.

  21. Oware closed cell foam sleeping pad. 1/2″ thick torso size. Inexpensive, lightweight. Only 5 ounces.

    Nothing to inflate at the end of the day and not worry about leaks.

    When I first shated backpacking in eary 80’s I never used any type of foam pad or inflatable air mattress, so this is a comfort item for me, In other wiords, sometimes I leave it at home (depending on how I feel).

  22. I use a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite air mattress because it’s lightweight and comfortable. I usually sleep in a hammock now and don’t use a mattress at all.

  23. I have both the Thermarest Xlite and the Ridgerest classic. The Xlite is comfy and lightweight, and packs small. When I am not in my hammock it is my go to sleeping pad.

  24. I use an REI Stratus air mattress. It’s big and heavy, so I’m looking to switch to a Klymit Inertia mattress paired with a 3/4 blue foam pad for colder weather.

  25. My choice of pads depends on the weather conditions. My summer pad is a 30 year old 3/4 length Therm-a-Rest self inflatable pad. While it is not as light as the new pads, it works great and I do no need to do anything except open the valve and walk away.

    I use a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core in colder conditions. I have a great night of sleep because of the 3 1/4 inches of insulation and air.

    I just picked up a Sea to Summit Ultralight. I weighs less than 13 oz and, so far, seems to be very comfortable however I have not taken it in to the backcountry yet.

  26. I use Therm-a-rest’s 40th anniversary pad in an XL. I’m 6’4″, so the length is necessary, but I accept the heavy weight (2 lbs total) because I sleep sooooo well on it’s 2″ of warm fluffy goodness.

    There are some new products that I’d take a hard look at if I were needing a new pad, but I really need a new pack first.

  27. I love my Nemo Cosmo Air Sleeping Pad …it has an integrated foot pump so you don’t have to use lung power and takes just minutes to inflate. I am of older age so comfort is key :)
    and this pad is super comfortable….and packs down to a small size.

  28. I use a Big Agnes Clearview. It is one of the cheaper air mats and is still lightweight (11oz). When I have tried self inflating mats my hip would get sore. If it’s cold I add a cheap foam mat.

  29. I use a Sea To Summit Comfort light pad in large.I picked one up based on the positive reviews in Backpacker magazine as well as online. I wanted a pad with some insulation and really lIked the specs of this pad.

  30. I use a self-inflating pad bc that’s what I bought when I first started and it hasn’t failed me yet! :)

  31. I use a Thermarest Ridgerest Classic along with sometimes a Big Agnes Double Z. It depends on the weather. I like both because they are lightweight & easy to pack/attach.

  32. I use the thermarest x-therm. I am a 58 yo side sleeper who uses a quilt. 1/3 of my hiking day is spent laying down so want to be comfortable. I only have one pad so I want one that will keep me comfortable when the temp drops.

  33. Tracey d IMperio lasslett

    I use the lite because it packs easy can you take out use anytime even just to chill at a view.Light weight and my hip don’t hurt sleeping anymore:)

  34. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir because it was relatively light weight and on sale at REI. I wish I could say I made an informed decision but I just walked into the store and bought based on advertising.

  35. I am switching to the Synmat 7UL, it was free and I’m trying the narrow width as well.

  36. I usualky only bp in fare weather and use the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol. I like for the peace of mind that it won’t fail and surprising comfort. It fits nicely inside my Osprey Exos 36 Pack along we with my other gear.

  37. I don’t use a sleeping pad. I like sleeping directly on the ground. If the ground is very hard or cold, I gather dead leaves or grass and put under my tent.

  38. NeoAir Xlite, in a size large, because I’m a side sleeper and my butt gets cold unless its wide. Its a PIA to blow up. In combo w/ a GG thinlite, I’ve had it down to 15F and been comfortable.

  39. I use a Therm-a-Rest Zlite Sol closed cell foam pad because the balance of comfort and reliability (ie won’t puncture) are ideal, plus it can be used as a sit pad during stops.

  40. Therm-a-rest prolite. Light enough and easy to inflate. Fits my sleeping bag well and comfortable.

  41. I use a purple Therm-a-Rest Prolite because it was a sweet deal and the r value is higher than a regular Prolite. However, I wouldn’t mind if it was an inch thicker and a few inches wider :-)

  42. I use the Therm-a-rest Z lite! I love the compressability, and the solar side. I think it really does help to keep you a little bit warmer!

  43. I use a Nemo Astro 20R, for two reasons: it’s much lighter than the thermarest it replaced, and it’s pure luxury to sleep on.

  44. It depends on where I’m hiking as to what I use. I have a Big Agnes Air Core inflatable and a Thermarest Solar Ridgerest. I like both pads a great deal.

  45. I use a blue closed cell foam pad because I’m a student. Not so comfortable but cheap and durable.

  46. I use a Big Agnes Oak Street Insulated Air Pad. I found a cheap one on sale and with an r-value of 4.1 it works all year long for me. I needed something thicker because I’m quite skinny and sleep on my side so the 2.5 inches suffices for even the hardest surfaces. A good lung exercise blowing that thing up!

  47. I use a 3/4 length Z-lite closed cell foam pad, with my empty pack under my feet and lower legs, because I don’t have to inflate it and never have to worry about punctures. In cold weather I use a full length Z-lite, and in really cold weather I use both pads for more insulation.

  48. I use a Klymit Inertia XL, I used ensolite for many years, but decided to go with something a little more comfortable now that I’m getting more “mature”. I like the size and weight.

  49. I use an Exped UL7 inflatable pad because it is comfortable and an inch wider than the Thermarest which is too narrow even in a wide.

  50. I use a GG air beam because it packs up very small and I am a gram wennie..:-)

  51. I just changed from a ProLite to an XLite. I also have a Z-Lite that I was using during winter along the ProLite. I will have to see if the XLite will be warm enough alone.

  52. I use a Thermarest Ridgerest that I cut in half. This allows me to still use it with my thermarest chair (my comfort item) and keeps my core warm when I sleep in my hammock. If i need some extra cushion I’ll use the klymit airbeam frame from my backback.

  53. I use a full length xlite for comfort.

  54. I use3 a Therma-rest Neo-air xTherm. I like the additional R value for winter use and the 2″ thickness works great for side sleeping!

  55. I use an inflatable NeoAir Xlite long in a single layer Hennesey Hammock. This is light-weight for backpacking, excellent insulation and comfortable. Last Fall, I woke up in Enchanted Valley on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington and found it was 10 degrees F. out. I had a sleeping bag rated to 40 degrees and was a little cold, but the mattress provided sufficient insulation.

  56. I use an REI self-inflating mattress because I’m cheap and it’s what I have laying around. But I’ve been thinking of checking out the NeoAir. In the winter I used a closed cell therm-a-rest from my Boy Scouts days for extra insulation.

  57. I am still using my old (from the 90s) Therm-a-Rest Standard. In those days Therm-a-Rests came in various sizes, but only one flavour. I have treated it well and it has never let me down (leaked).

  58. I have used all three, but for me, REI’s self-inflating Lite Core gives me the most comfort per ounce.

  59. When not in my hammock…. Thermarest Neoair torso length – backpack and clothing sack under my lower legs. Plenty of cush for a side sleeper who changes positions frequently.

  60. I use a thermarest x lite neo air because I wanted to shave some weight and using a closed cell does not provide me with a good nights sleep. During the winter I will try the insulated double z pad from BA. and see how that works.

  61. During the winter I use a ridge rest thermo because of it’s warmth and reflective coating. In fair weather months though I prefer the comfort of a Pro Lite.

  62. I use an older therm a rest – a bit heavy but good comfort and fairly resistant to punctures.

  63. I currently use foam roll pad, but am researching a light weight inflatable option. I am intrigued by the Klymit Inertia O and X pads, but am skeptical to their comfort as a side sleeper.

  64. NeoAir Xlite regular ( 12 oz.) for comfort atop an Alps Mountaineering 3/8” regular foam pad (7 oz.). The foam pad does all this: 1. Protects the expensive air pad from punctures; 2. Avoids the tedium of grooming the bed site for every little stick, bur, thorn, rock, and spine; 3. Adds insulation; 4. Provides a little thermal insurance in case the air pad pops after all; 4. Doubles as a pack frame (roll pad loosely; insert in pack; and pack inside cylinder); 5. Protects the trash bag/pack liner from objects in the pack; and 6. Cushions the pack against my pack. Not bad service for 7 oz.

  65. Hello Phil,

    In the summer I use my hammock with an auto shade that has silver Mylar coating and a foam core. Spring and fall it’s an under quilt.

    When I dont take the hammock and stay in AT Shelters I use a Thermarest Prolite 3/4. Saves a little weight & I don’t miss the foot cushioning. Never been cold and it softens the floor just enough under my hips.

    I also use a Thermarest Ridgerest on occasion when worried about sticks & stones sleeping under my tarp/poncho. This is a rare rig for me to use anymore.

  66. I use a closed cell, because I hammock camp and I only need to for my legs, and it’s more durable for me and weighs the least.

  67. I hammock camp 90% of the time and use a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite. The way the ribs on the mattress are arranged creates a comfortable platform to sleep on.

  68. Term-A-Rest ProLite Large. I’m tall and tend to roll around a lot while sleeping, so this pad provides enough cushioning and warm to get me through the chilly Sierra nights. I also was able to get it at a great price, which doesn’t hurt either.

  69. I Use a big agnes oakstreet insulated pad. It is warm in my tent and hammock. It packs small, was affordable and is pretty quiet when i roll around. Its not the lightest but it is durable. Only gripe, hard to deflate.

  70. If I’m hammock camping in reasonable temperatures (above freezing), I’ll use the gossamer gear Thinlight 1/4″ pad – have not sprung for an underquilt yet, this is sufficient so far (but not good enough in sub-freezing temps, I go to ground then). If I’m on the ground, it’s a NeoAir Trekker (full length) plus a Thinlight 1/8″ pad for some extra protection against sharp things. This combination is really warm and the thickness is very supportive for side sleeping. I don’t mind inflating by mouth; I do try to use the stuff sack inflation to avoid moisture in the pad but find it fussy.

  71. I use a Big Agnes Q-Core because I sleep under a quilt and I need the insulation, they are also the most comfortable pad I have ever used.

  72. So far I have become a really big fan of the thermarest Neoair series, both Xlite and Xtherm (which allows me to significantly reduce my sleeping bag weight). I do live in the SW and so punctures are a concern, so I add a little bit of weight and carry a Tyvek groundsheet instead of polycro. I’m planning a 2016 thru-hike and so I’m working to see if the air pads will hold up or if I’m going to switch back to the Thermarest foam pad. Thank you for this opportunity.

  73. I use the bare dirt ground, ‘cus I’m tough as nails!

    Really though I was a Big Agnes Air Core. It’s comfy, affordable and mates so nice with the BA bags.

  74. I’m currently using an ALPS featherlite inflatable pad. I’m a side sleeper and it provides much better support than the therm-a-rest self-inflating pad I was using.

  75. I use a Thermarest Neo-Air Xlite, only because it’s the lightest air mattress. In winter I place an evazote foam pad over it.

    I have yet to find an ideal sleeping pad setup, but this is working for now.

  76. I use a NeoAir XTherm because it’s smaller and lighter than the Thermarest I used to use.

  77. I use a inflatable Big Agnes sleeping pad – the “cadillac” of all sleeping pads! Not the lightest weight, but boy is it comfortable!

  78. I love the Thermarest neo air xLite! It is amazingly comfortable, warm, and lets me sleep on my side. It also packs super small and light.

  79. I used a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite for my Appalachian Trail thru hike for its ultra light weight. On shorter trips I prefer to use my REI Flash pad weighing in at 16oz, The therm a rest lacks comfort.

  80. I use an ALPS Elevation inflatable pad, which includes a handy inflation mechanism. It was cheap and only a couple oz than the premium pads from Thermarest or Exped. I’ve used the reflective Ridgerest but the inflatable is 2oz heavier and I get much better sleep.

    One day I will upgrade to something lighter and with a higher R factor but I have other things that have a better ROI to buy for weight savings before that happens.

  81. For many years I did not use a sleeping pad of any kind. Instead a small ground cloth and camp site selection – desert cowboy camping y’all – was my preference. Jump ahead 10 years, add some various/sundry arthritic pain and this kind of sleep arrangement is no longer tolerable. Enter the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite. I Love this thing! I use it with a Therm-a-Rest sheet and Therm-a-Rest Alpine 35 Blanket for some good z’s.

  82. I use the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite. For my purposes it has a great balance between weight, size, R-value, and price. There are some negative reviews regarding the noise when moving on the pad. It doesn’t really bother me and if properly inflated it doesn’t make that much noise.

  83. I use a montbell u.l. comfort system, the pillow is attached to the sleeping pad and it’s wonderful.

  84. I am poor and on a very limited budget and use two A closed cell foam sleeping pads stacked on top of each other.for comfort and insulation from the cold at night.

  85. i use an underquilt, specifically a Yeti from Warbonnet Outdoors. It’s waaayy more comfy.

  86. I use a Klymit Static V inflatable because it is small and lightweight

  87. I use a Nemo Zor self-inflating pad. It is warm, light and packs small.

  88. I use a therm-a-rest because it packs down small.

  89. My son and I just bought Thermarest z-ites and are happy with them. I like the fact that they are light, don’t need to be inflated, and so can’t spring a leak!

  90. I use a Prolite, but am looking at other options. The NeoAir XLite is looking like the winner.

  91. I use the original rectangular thermarest neo air. It’s not the lightest but I’m a big guy at 6’4″ and gladly carry that as my luxury item. I wouldn’t leave for a trip without it! I had a sports neck injury years ago and the neo air helped me get back out into the backcountry and not feel tremendous pain after several days on the trail. I will continue to lighten the rest of my pack weight but will always bring my neo air until a lighter more comfortable option comes along… but I have yet to find it!

  92. I use a Thermarest Neo air X-lite in long/wide. As for why, it was the lightest one I could find and still fit my way-too-broad-for-camp-mat shoulders. With some Tyvek under it I am reasonably protected from pokey things.

  93. I use medium Therm-a-Rest NeoAir (original edition) because it is comfortable, light, and I got it for $50 at the REI garage sale (broken internal baffle). Now that I’ve slept on it, I’d pay full price to replace it.

  94. I use a big agnes because it’s insulated, lightweight, and the price was right.

  95. I use a torso-sized Therm-A-Rest Prolite to save weight and put my pack under my legs. Surprisingly comfortable! But definitely not up to snuff for early spring and late fall.

  96. For summer use, I bring an REI Stratus, which you blow up yourself, similar to the Thermarest Neo-Air. It weighs less than 1lb, packs up small and is good on shelter floors. I have been using a hammock for the last two years so I really only use the pad in shelters.
    Winter is a different animal. I have a 4 season self-inflating Thermarest, but I also carry a cheap, closed cell basic pad. I was car camping at a Campground in the Whites (Hancock Campground in Lincoln I think). It was a real cold night and w/ just the 4 season Theramarest, it was so cold sleeping on the snow covered ground.

  97. I use the NeoAir XLite because it turns my shelter into the Bellagio.

  98. I use a thermarest z-lite. Super durable, makes a good seat, nice for naps in the middle of a hiking day. If I’m not comfortable, it means I didn’t hike far enough that day.

  99. I use an Exped Synmat 7 UL because the tiny weight penalty of the insulated pad is far outweighed (pun intended) by the comfort it provides in all conditions.

  100. I use a 20 yr old 3/4 length heavy self inflating Thermarest. Mostly because I already own it, and it straps easily to the outside of my also ancient 20 year old pack. And if it punctures, it still sleeps well.

  101. I use a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core because it’s the first pad I bought (without any research) and I got a great deal on it. It had a leak problem and BA’s customer service replaced it free. A great company from what I’ve seen personally. It’s not the lightest and does require you’re air, but it sleeps well in or out of my hammock.

  102. I have been using a hammock for the last few years, but just got a Sea to Summit UltraLight air mattress because it’s about the same weight and packed size as the Neo Air X-Lite, has a smaller inflated volume so it’s faster to inflate, and was cheaper.

  103. A Zlite CC foam pad – because I’ve gotten tired of waking up at midnight on leaking pad that is bottoming out.

  104. I mostly use an old school Thermarest Z-Rest because of durability. I use it for a pack frame, seat, wind screen and a place to sort gear. Sometimes I carry a NeoAir Trekker if its a shorter trip or cooler temperatures. In the winter I use the Z-Rest and a self inflating Thermarest together.

  105. I use a small thermorest neoair xlite because it’s light and thick enough to be comfortable as a side sleeper. I blow it up with my trash compacter bag. I add a z rest for backup and extra insulation in the winter.

  106. I don’t bring a sleeping pad along as I typically sleep in a hammock with an underquilt. However, I do bring along a piece of Reflectix to use as a sit-pad while at camp. I use the Reflectix as it’s cost to effectiveness ratio is hard to beat!

  107. I use a Therm-a-Rest Prolite self-inflating mattress because I like the compromise. I know that even if it gets a hole I will still have insulation but it compacts down and fits in my pack nicely. For car camping or times when I am not worried about punctures, I steal my boyfriends neo-air because it is so comfortable.

  108. I love the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite – very comfortable and light while providing good comfort.

  109. I use a Big Agnes Q Core, it was on sale and in my price range.

  110. I started off with the Walmart blue closed cell foam. Now I use the thermorest neo xlite air. Much more comfortable, I need to get a wider one though.

  111. If the wife goes we use the prolite. When going solo I usually take the ridge rest. I’m getting older so comfort is a little more important than it once was. What I take depends on how long I will be out. I’ll be 68 in October so lighter is always better. Keep up the good work. Always a good read.

  112. Snagged a Thermarest neo air at an rei garage sale for a song. It’s a women’s short, and perfect for me because I usually end up curled up anyway, so no need for that extra length. Its light and durable to boot!

  113. My hubby and I prefer to use the Neoair Xlite air mattresses because without them our aging bodies tend to yell at us and don’t want to go nearly as far as we need for that outdoor soul renewal that our hectic lives demand.

  114. I use the prolite because it was on sale.

  115. I use The Foyle UQ from Underquilts.com because I generally use a hammock when backpacking, BUT I also have a Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite if I go-to-ground.

  116. I use a thermarest 4 season inflatable because it has a high R value and I do some very cold winter camping in the mountains. I tend to take it in the spring and fall too because it’s actually lighter than my summer big Agnes inflatable and packs down well.

  117. I use a Warbonnet 3 season yeti (3/4 length underquilt) with a custom sized closed-cell foam pad to keep my legs warm when I use my hammock. It’s hard to beat the comfort of a hammock!

    If I plan a trip where I know I’ll be sleeping on the ground I use a short NeoAir. It’s light, packs small and a closed-cell foam pad is almost unbearable after sleeping in a hammock.

  118. I use a self inflating pad (Exped). I had to find a compromise in weight, cost, and functionality. I found CC pads too uncomfortable, but don’t have the disposable income for a Neoair type pad. I got a deal online ($50) and enjoy my kind of light (20 oz) pad.

  119. I use the multimat superlite air. I love it for its size and weight…and price!

  120. I use an older ThermoRest 3/4 length. Been using it for years.

  121. I use the Thermarest NeoAir Xlite for 3 season backpacking because it is warm, comfortable, and light. For winter backpacking I recently switched to the NeoAir XTherm. I guess I love NeoAirs? Hahaha.

  122. I use the thermarest all season because of its combination of R value, feel of the fabric, and compactness. 20 inches wide is too narrow, and I wish it came in a medium wide size like an exped model.

  123. 2.5 lb thermarest basecamp self-inflating sleeping pad, because I got it for free. Super comfortable, but that’s a seventh of my base weight! Looking to upgrade to a neoair xlite this summer.

  124. I use an REI Air Rail 1.5 self inflating pad which takes a few puffs to inflate the rails. It gives a few extra inches of width for shoulders and is very comfortable. It’s not the smallest or lightest for packing but it’s worth every penny (and ounce).

  125. Neo Air. It’s cushy, light, packs up small, and is plenty warm for me.

    I used the Woman’s ProLite 4 before that because it was lighter than the Men’s ProLite but this is quite a bit lighter than the ProLite 4.

  126. I’ve tried to use a Z-Rest but my bad back won’t let me sleep on something that hard. I do use the Z-Rest as my “crawl under the RV to fix whatever fell off” pad–it’s sort of a lightweight fold up creeper.

  127. I use a Sea To Summit Ultralight insulated inflatable air pad . I need a big comfortable air pad because I’m tall and old !

  128. I have used a Z rest for quite some time. However I am switching this summer to a Neo air and 1/8 in thin lite pad. Last summer I ended up sleeping in a lean to shelter which was not my plan but it worked out for social reasons. The z rest was just not comfortable enough for a really restful nights sleep. I want the flexibility to sleep in a variety of sites not just soft and comfy stealth sites. For no weight penalty I can replace the Z rest with a small neo air which packs much smaller.

  129. I use a ThermoRest Neo Air and have for quite some time. I don’t always sleep on the ground but when I do, I want to be comfortable.

  130. I love my therm-a-rest Neo-air xlite because it is lightweight and soothes my tired bones at night with just the right combo of warmth and comfort!

  131. I use a Nemo Astro insulated 25

  132. Lionel Jardine III

    I use a Nemo Astro inflatable sleeping pad because it’s super comfy and warm. Best sleep I’ve ever had in the woods.

  133. Steve McAllister

    I usually don’t use a sleeping pad since I’m a hammock hanger, but use a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir trekker air mattress on the rare occasion that I have to go to ground because it’s wide enough, reasonably durable and light.

  134. •A self-inflating air mattress, like a Therm-a-Rest Prolite

  135. I use the T-rest Neoair X-Lite, because it balances the best of the triple features — light, easy to use, and high R value. I don’t mind blowing it up!

  136. I have been using a closed cell foam Thermarest, but bought a NEMO air filled pad to use on a section hike this summer. I like the durability of the closed cell, but it takes up a lot of space on the outside of my pack. I am looking forward to having my pad inside my pack.

  137. Oh the NeoAir X-Lite to be sure. It has made a huge difference since I can inflate it fully or just let out some air to accommodate my hip and shoulder (side sleeper). Used to use a 7-ounce Mt. Washington ensolite pad … what a difference, and not much of a weight penalty at all.

  138. I use a thermarest pro lite because it works and was all I could afford.

  139. I sleep in a hammock and use a closed cell foam pad that I attach side wings to keep my arms and sholders warm on cold nights.

  140. I use a Neo Air Xlite in warm weather and the Xtherm when temps drop. Both in the large size because I like elbow room.

  141. I use a Big Agnes insulated Air Core because I like to side sleep.

  142. I use a z-lite because most of my bivvys are in the alpine, on rough ground. A puncture would lead to an unpleasant nights sleep. Also they’re cheap.

  143. I use a Thermarest NeoAir Xlite because of its small packed size, light weight (I’m a middle aged female with dodgy knees) and I like a full length, comfortable mattress. In winter, or rough ground, I also use the Gossamer Gear foldable thin pad that doubles as the back support in my frameless pack, as extra protection.

    PS thanks for making this competition available for international readers as well as US based people – a pretty rare occurrence!
    :)

  144. For many years I used a ridge rest because it was cheap and durable. I went to a self inflator for a while but am currently using an inflatable (exped syn mat ul 7). I like to get good sleep and this is so comfortable. With a young child I am lucky to get out on overnighters so I don’t have time to get used to sleeping out like in the past this mat solves the problem.

  145. I use a Sea-to-Summit comfort lite plus because my exped schnozzle fits it perfectly. Its comfortable enough and its fairly lightweight and comfortable.

  146. The TAR ridge. It can’t fail.

  147. As primarily a winter backpacker, I use a Thermarest Neoair Xtherm because of the R factor and the comfort. I augment it with a lightweight piece of closed cell foam that doubles as a campsite sit pad. The noise has never bothered my aging ears.

  148. I have a homemade underquilt for my hammock that I crafted out of an old down sleeping bag. Hopefully that counts…!

  149. I use the lowest level of the atmosphere as my cushion because I use a hammock with an underquilt when I’m on the trail.

  150. i was using the ridgerest based on your review since i first started backpacking, and then went on to get one for my girlfriend. i tried out a montbell air mat this past trip because i wanted the pad to fit inside the pack, but am definitley missing the ridge rest when it comes to kicking back outside the tent, using it as a chair next to a log etc. i will probably go back

  151. A Klymit Inertia X-Lite air mat wrapped in a Gossamer Gear 1/4″ thick, 39″ wide Thinlight Insulation Pad.

    • I use a cheap closed-cell foam pad from years ago. In fact, I am reconfiguring this same pad (by cutting it up in sections) to fit my new ultralight adventures.

    • I forgot to include the ‘why’ part:

      A Klymit Inertia X-Lite air mat wrapped in a Gossamer Gear 1/4? thick, 39? wide Thinlight Insulation Pad. The 6 oz. Inertia X-Lite is for some cushioning at shoulders and hips (with a pillow fashioned from clothes in a stuff sack), and the doubled GG foam is for insulation and so I’m not depending on the inflatable alone.

    • I use a thermarest solar in my hammock. I don’t want to risk a leak in an inflatable pad

  152. Neoair Xlite Large because it’s light and I’m a side sleeper.

  153. Well, routinely I do not use a pad. When backpacking or camping I almost always sleep in a hammock, negating the need for a pad. I do use a Jacks-R-Better underquilt. Sometimes I will use a homemade Reflectix pad in between the layers of the double layer hammock. This is either in addition to the underquilt when I want additional insulation, or if I do not need as much warmth as the underquilt provides, I will use only the Reflectix pad. I did recently acquire a Therm-a-Rest Prolite during Trail Days in Damascus that I plan to use if I am ever in a situation where I am forced to go to ground.

  154. I use a zlite because it will take the abuse I cause it. If I need a quick seat during a rest, I can use it. Without worrying about popping it

  155. I use an Exped Synmat UL 7. I bought it because my wife wanted one and It would’ve been uncomfortable to sleep together with me on a thin foam pad and her on the air pad. Now after some nights on the Exped I wouldn’t change back to a foam pad.

  156. I use a cheap foam pad from a discount store when I’m wilderness camping–which means I’m almost always able to find a spot covered in soft forest duff. These are cheap, indestructable, and will never be obsolete. If I know I’m going to be on packed campground earth, I’ll bring a Neo-air or the like.

  157. I use a Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest because i like the feel and i brought it when it was on sale.

  158. I use a ridge rest because Iit is light and can’t fail. Its also rather inexpensive. I cut it down to torso length and keep it rolled up horizontally in my bag to give the bag some structure. I stuff my gear inside the roll. Works perfect.

  159. NeoAir Xlite because it is lightweight and very comfortable.

  160. I use an old green Thermarest pad (which they now refer to as the classic). I picked it up at a yard sale for $10. Comfortable and built tough. It takes a lot of abuse from me and still works. A bit heavy, but I am very happy with it.

  161. I use Klymit v2 now because i need more cushion than regular foam pad.

  162. I use the new Klymit Insulated Static V Lite because a comfortable nights sleep to hit the trail refreshed the following morning is the best way to start the day, and thus fully enjoy ones time in the outdoors. A comfortable night in the bush also makes for awesome lucid dreaming. An uncomfortable and restless night often leaves things to be desired.

  163. I use a Big Agnes Q-Core inflatable pad because it gives me great cushioning without taking up a huge amount of space in my bag.

  164. I use a NeoAir XLite. Its value in providing a comfortable night’s sleep after a long day on the trail is underrated.

  165. I use a large NeoAir Xlite that I’ve cut down to about 5/8th of its original length. It works for my upper body, and I use my backpack for my legs. It’s a lightweight combo and the cut-down air mattress rolls up into a very small space.

  166. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite because it packs small and I find the improved comfort over a ccf pad worth the extra weight.

  167. i’m new backpacking this on my bucket list before i die i’m turning 54 wanna learn a;; about hiking

  168. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite medium is used for the following reasons: 1) It is lightwieght;2)I am a side sleeper;3)It is comfortable:4)I am old(over 60)and not into the foam of my youth:5)So far it is durable. It has be great to wake up without the aches of rigid foam…

  169. I use a 5mm ccf plastazote foam pad cut to torso length from a 1m x1m squared sheet its water proof UV resistant and it always returns to shape,durable and good thermal properties doesn’t take up much room when I fold it into three.

  170. I use a Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest closed cell foam pad because i have given up on inflatable style pads. I’ve spent over $200 replacing inflatable pads the past three years, I’m done.

  171. I use a Big Agnes inflatable for weight & comfort.

  172. A closed cell foam sleeping pad, like the Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest or Therm-a-rest Z-Lite i like the extra comfort esp if you are sleeping in a rocky area!

  173. I use a Therm-a-Rest Z-Light because it was the best compromise of light and comfortable that I could afford at the time.

  174. I use a Therma-rest self inflating sleeping pad. The pro plus model. I just like the fact that you can un roll it and its set up. Also you can let air out or add air. Perfect set up

  175. I use a Therm-a-rest neoair because it was recommended after an extensive gear review search. I hate having to deflate it every day and re-inflating it.

  176. Steve McAllister

    I was totally fine with a 5/8″ thick foam pad when I was younger, but as my I get older and my joints become more sensitive, a self-inflating or blow-up pad is now mandatory.

    I stated earlier that I use a hammock almost exclusively. They are the best thing for a good nights sleep, but there are some places where hammocks can’t be hung.

  177. Judith Connaughton

    I use a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite because it is so comfortable with a GG ThinLight for warmth and protection for my inflatable, an unbeatable combination.

  178. I use the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite because it’s so light AND I got a great deal on it.

  179. I hammock for 3 seasons. I use a thermarest ridgecrest solar in the winter.

  180. I have a Thermarest Xlite. It is light, very packable and thick enough to cushion side sleepers. It also has enough insulation for three season backpacking, and winter if bringing a foamy (which I always do as backup). I used to have a 3/4 length, but I realized that being a side sleeper, my knees would start hurting after an hour or two due to the difference in height, even if I put my backpack and jacket under my legs. So I switched to full length.

    Its only negative is the price. It seems a bit spendy…

  181. I am a convert to the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite because of its weight, heat returning reflective layer, which for old bones is a bonus, its ease of use, and of course its amazing packability. Being old-school I thought a closed cell foam sleeping pad was the way to go, but now I know there is comfort to be had on even the coldest ground.

  182. I like to use the Therm-a-Rest Prolite simply because its a quality product. I like the weight and the shape, and I even like the colour (poppy). All in all a great piece of gear to have when a good night’s sleep is the one thing left to make it another perfect day.

  183. Pathfinder Sleeping Pad from LL Bean. It was decently priced and is lightweight.

  184. I use a Therm-a-rest Scout self inflating mattress., because it is my first backpacking mattress. I am looking for a thicker and lighter mattress, due to planning a week long trip next year. ‘Will be searching for others’ recommendations for big guys!

  185. I currently use a Nemo Cosmo Air 25L, because I love the extra width and thickness. I also like the integrated foot pump, as I don’t have to breath moist air into the pad. The extra weight is worth it to me most of the time.

  186. I use the Therm-a-Rest Z-lite, because it is failure proof, compact and light.

  187. REI flash self inflate pad works for me. I like the separate in / out values that are flat.

  188. I use a combination of a full-length, 1/4″ Insulite pad from Lawson Equipment and a torso-length, eggcrate closed cell pad from Cascade Craftworks. I love the ease of use, dependability and price of this combination. It sticks tight to silnylon and never shifts, so I never have to worry about sliding, even if I set up on a slight incline for drainage purposes. I have a Prolite Plus torso that I use instead of the eggcrate pad if I’m going to be predominantly staying in lean-tos (hard surface). When not in a lean-to, I sleep under a silnylon Cirriform tarp. :)

  189. Z-Lite, it was the cheapest I could find when I needed one and it has been fine.

  190. I use a Thermorest Pro-lite. It’s compactable and user friendly.

  191. I use a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite since 2014. It replaced my Expeed self inflation matress. I go out for 10days+ backcountry and wilderness hikes and had a spinal injury a few years back. So I was in need of a thicker mattress by same time being light and versatile. I hot the inflation bag also – ads up weight but otherwise it really takes a lot of time to inflate. So far no problems. Feeling happy with it but still it is a heavy price tag.

  192. I used to use those generic, bulky foam roll up pads for week long trips because they were light. A friend of mine works at EMS and introduced me to the Sea to Summit sleeping pads, which is what I hope to get for my first thru hike on the AT! I recently broke my ankle doing Roller Derby so I haven’t had much trail time this season yet. I can’t wait to get back out there.

  193. My go to pad for 20+ years has been an original Therm-a-Rest Deluxe UL. Still going strong. Just one hole repaired! You gotta take care of your gear.
    I haven’t used it for a while, since I now sleep in my Hennessy Hammock Explorer XL. All 4 seasons. Just use a blue ensolite foam pad plus the needed insulating layers for each season. Sleep like a log.

  194. NeoAir Xlite – reasonable weight and comfortable enough for me

  195. None I’m happy to report. Been using a hammock when camping for the last five years.

  196. I use an inflatable mattress or an under quilt. Neo-air x-therm large. It’s super warm.

  197. I use a thermarest z lite because of the cost and weight

  198. I normally don’t use one (hammock camper) but when I do bring one I normally carry a shortened closed cell Thermarest Ridge Rest because it’s easy to use as a seat and I don’t mind a thinner pad.

  199. I use a Thermarest ZLite because I like how compact and light it is and how I don’t have to blow it up. Also if it gets a hole it wont doesn’t deflate.

  200. I use the Therm-a-Rest Prolite because it inflates itself, which after a long hike is nice. Also, my children love how it feels when we are sleeping, which a nice bonus.

  201. I use an Exped downmat 7, it was on sale at the time and I needed a mat for my wife to use but I rather like it.

  202. I use an REI Flash inflatable pad, because it weighs a pound, blows up nice and thick, has a good enough R-value for what I need, and is a good bargain (especially when on sale).

  203. I use a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm because despite enjoying the Alpine regions, I still prefer to be toasty and snug as a bug at night.

  204. I use a Therm-a-Rest 40th Anniversary, because it doesn’t rustle and is more padded. It’s a cool colour too ;)

  205. I use the original Therm-a-rest NeoAir. It still has the right balance of weight and temperature regulation for the Australian summer environments I normally backpack in.

  206. I bring a thermarest z lite short irregular for most trips. It goes in my wilderness logics night owl hammock to keep me warm. If it’s going to be colder, I bring a 3 ft section of reflectix to tuck under my shoulders for extra comfort. If I have to be a ground dweller, I use a 1/4 inch pad from Lawson’s equipment under my neo air regular. The neo air is way more comfortable than the thermarest base camp I bought when my son started scouting.

  207. I like the therm Neo Air,,,,i like its packing size,,,the 2 1/2 is thick enough for me being a side sleeper,,,,i can adjust the air to comfort which really is a plus for me !!

  208. I use a Klymit Inertia X-Lite. I’ve found that I can sleep well on pretty much anything, and this is the lightest pad I’ve been able to find.

  209. For years I have been using a cheap discount store closed cell foam pad that measures 36” X 19” X ½” (6 oz.) Now I am experimenting with using a Thermarest ProLite Extra Small self inflating shorty pad that measures 36″ X 20″ X 1″ (8 oz.)
    Whichever I take, I line my home made Ray Way pack with it and pack the gear inside them both.
    When the ground is cold or snowy is use a Ridgerest Solar R, 72” x 20” X 3/4″ (19 oz.)

  210. I use an inflatable sleeping pad because I like how little space they take up in your pack when deflated, rolled and stuffed in a stuff sack.

  211. I use the Thermarest Ridgecrest because it’s cheap and light.

  212. Anthony Scardapane

    Thermarest neo air xlite. Can’t beat the weight, and I’m not too picky with comfort or noise. Packs small as well!

  213. I use the Therma-a-Rest NeoAir XTherme because it is light weight, packs small, and has an excellent r-value.

  214. I used a a z-rest 3/4 length for years, but my hips and back took a vote and a prolite took place of the z-rest. Then a foray into colder weather backpacking had me take a chance on an xtherm, and I think the prolite is going to stay at home from now on. A section of the z-rest still comes along on poor weather trips as a sit pad.

  215. I use an inflatable Sleeping pad (Exped SynMat 7). I like inflatable pads because they blow up thicker than self inflating and pack down way smaller than closed cell foam.

  216. I use the Therm-a-Rest Z-lite, because it is compact, comfortable and light. Also compacts very small .

  217. I use the Therm-A-Rest Trail Scout Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad. I chose the small for pack weight and size. It measures 20″ X 48″, weighs 16 ounces and fits into its stuff sack measuring 10″ X 4.5″. I am just under 6′ and it fits my torso perfectly.

  218. I use a Therm-A-Rest Prolite Plus because it keeps my backside warm while hanging in my hammock during three months!

  219. Been using a Walmart blue closed cell pad with a piece of insulation bubble wrap (got it from an HVAC friend). This works fine for me.

  220. When I first started backpacking, I used an REI Camp Bed self-inflating sleeping pad. A friend had given it to me, but it was kind of bulky and not super comfortable. When it sprang a leak I decided to try something else.

    Then I joined the lightweight backpacking movement and got myself a minimalist closed-cell foam sleeping pad. It was light but not at all comfortable. I’m a side sleeper and I would wake up in the morning with sore muscles in my back, shoulders, hips, hips, legs, and neck. This was not a good time.

    Finally I decided that a good night’s rest was more important than shaving grams off my base weight. These days I use both an inflatable sleeping pad (Gossamer Gear Air Beam) and a Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOlite closed-cell foam pad. I may pay a weight penalty for carrying two pads, but sleeping on the trail has never felt better. Seriously, these pads in concert with one another makes it easy for me to wake up feeling rested and refreshed.

  221. I use an EMS women’s Siesta sleeping pad because it’s warm, comfortable, and reasonably compact/lightweight… plus, it’s HOT PINK (which goes nicely with my purple Big Agnes sleeping bag)!

  222. I use an old school blue closed cell roll and never sleep well. Why? I’ve never bit the bullet and bought something better.

  223. Closed cell pads have been my choice for as long as I can remember. They work just fine for my needs.

  224. I now use a Thermarest Neo because it packs down very small and I can pack it in with my other sleep gear, It has very good thermal capabilities and I can vary the firmness depending on the type of sleep I need.

  225. Hi . I use a neo air as it is lighter than most other option and is very comfortable. I have developed an inflator using a tight fitting plastic tube and a garbage bag cut off at corner and insert tube . Bag inflates neo air quickly and you get no moisture inside.

  226. I use a self-inflating pad. It was given to me when I started camping in the desert.

    • I use a closed cell pad, either our “good” one, which is a Ridge Rest (exchanged a pair of pants given me one Christmas from L. L. Bean) or a no-name plain gray one that as I recall cost $6.00. (My camping partner –my son–uses the other). I use them because of the cost (none to low), which is (alas) something that matters for me. Was once given a self-inflating pad, but it’s much heavier than these

  227. Thanks to Philip’s review last year, I’ve been using a Klymit Static V Luxe for the past year (upgraded from the basic Static V). It is lightweight, takes very little pack space and I find it super comfortable. I am able to inflate it with about 24 easy breaths.

  228. I use a Wilderness Technology self-inflating sleeping pad because it is light, self-inflating, and packs easily. It is also well built and comfortable.

  229. I generally use a Gossamer Gear closed cell torso pad because it is light, no maintenance, no risk for puncture, and it doubles as back support in my Kumo pack.

  230. I use a Therm-a-Rest Neoair XLite because it’s super lite.

  231. I use the Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest closed cell pad cut down to a 30″ length.

    • Roger over and out

      I forgot to answer the why – so here it is – Why I use the 30″ closed cell pad is because it’s light, it’s comfortable and warmer enough for my needs (for 3 season use) and importantly, it was fairly inexpensive. So there you go :)

  232. I use the Therm-a-rest Neo Air. It packs small is light weight and I can adjust it to get just the right comfort level. I still need to check to see if the seam is leaking though, a lot less air in it in the morning

  233. first time out, borrowed a foam pad (not sure of the brand) based on recommendation and was quite comfortable. Can’t wait for my next adventure!!!

  234. I do not typically use a sleeping pad as I’m usually in a hammock. When I do use a pad it is simple blue closed cell foam.

  235. Klymit Static V. I do sometimes still take my ZRest though. Still love that pad.

  236. I use the klymit inertia ozone because it’s lightweight and I got it at a super discounted price.

  237. i use the Therm-a-rest Neo Air because it’s lightweight, relatively comfortable (though it slips around a bit) and doesn’t take much space. I like except that it can be fairly noisy sometimes.

  238. I use the Therm-a-rest Prolite because it got me through the A.T. and is easy to patch up. It kinda smells though, no matter how many times I wash it.

  239. Currently using an inflatable air mattress for family backpacking and camping with young kids. Looking forward to doing some “real” backpacking as they get old enough to go on some longer hikes. But at least we are doing a nice little road trip to the Badlands/Devils Tower area in a coupe days! :)

  240. Clayton Robertson

    I use an older therm a rest self inflatable pad! It was gifted to me by my father, I can remember him using it when I was a child. I know there is better out there but it still gets the job done with a little nostalgia to!

  241. I use a standard blue foam pad, because it is relatively light and comfortable for barely any money compared to the more high-tech options. You can also get them easily at local stores, and you can cut it up without feeling guilty.

    I am considering a Klymit Inertia X-Frame, but it is quite expensive.

  242. I use an ALPS mountaineering self-inflating air pad lightweight. I use it because it is light, comfortable and it is a decent price.

  243. I use an inflatable Exped SynMat, be it a UL7 or WinterLite. Plain and simple, it’s all about a comfortable night sleep…and a luxury weight I will bear the burden of on any trip.

  244. I use a closed cell foam pad, usually Z-lite in combo with an inflatable without down fill. Currently an Exped. The combo is lightweight and warm but I do it to protect my inflatable from ground damage.

  245. Because I am almost 60 years old a little more comfort was needed, so my sleeping pad of choice is a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite. The pad is very comfortable as I toss and turn a lot. My reason for backpacking is alpine lake fishing and hope to continue until I can’t. After a great sleep on my Therm-Rest NeoAir XLite fishing all day is no problem!

  246. I use a thermarest scout It packs down small, is comfortable, and virtually silent during the night.

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