Best Ultralight Sleeping Pad

After spending a long day on the road or hauling a heavy pack on the trail, the best part for the night is sliding into your sleeping bag and closing your eyes. But if you have had to sleep on the hard, cold ground without a sleeping pad, you know it’s really uncomfortable! Fortunately, you do not have to sacrifice comfort and warmth for weight. Ultralight sleeping pads are the answer.

Quick Summary

Who Should Get This?

You do! Some people overlook the necessity of the sleeping pad, or consider it to be a luxury. Besides keeping you from feeling every single sharp object on the ground, a sleeping pad will keep you significantly warmer than a sleeping bag alone. Hypothermia can happen quickly, so you can also view a quality sleeping pad as a piece of safety gear in the wilderness. Insulation between your body and the ground is the safest way to sleep when camping!

Ultralight sleeping pads are the best choice for people looking to save on weight without sacrificing comfort. When you are carrying everything, you need in a single pack, each ounce counts. Backpackers and through-hikers need to have a quality ultralight sleeping pad, and if you’re canoeing and having to portage all your gear, you will also need to keep things as light as possible. If you are car camping and weight is not an issue for you, you can use heavier sleeping pads, cots, or inflatable mattresses.

Best Ultralight Sleeping Pads: What To Look For

Comfort

Will this sleeping pad support your shoulders, hips, and knees? Does it keep you from feeling the surface of the ground, including rocks and twigs?

Warmth

Will it help insulate you from the cold ground? A well-insulated sleeping pad is just as important as a good sleeping bag when it comes to keeping you warm – and sleeping well.

Weight

How much does it weigh? Not every ultralight pad is the same, even if they weigh the same, because they have different features.

Noise

Does it crinkle and make a lot of noise as you shift on it? This might not matter very much if you are solo hiking, but if you are sharing a tent with someone, it might be seriously annoying to them to hear your every movement all night!

Cost

There are a wide variety of ultralight sleeping pads available, and a wide variety of prices to match. Finding the sleeping pad that fits your budget is just as important as finding one that fits your lifestyle.

Best Ultralight Sleeping Pads: Our Picks

1. Best Budget-Friendly: Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad

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Incredibly light at just 14.5 ounces, it will help keep you warm and comfortable without taking up space in your pack – or weight on your shoulders. With two inches of inflated space between you and the ground, you will be able to rest comfortably wherever you set up camp.

What we like:

  • The lightest of the three pads, it’s very easy to pack.
  • Super strong and waterproof.
  • Easy to inflate.

What we didn’t like:

  • It was noisier than some other sleeping pads, so not a good choice if you are sharing a tent with someone.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

2. Best Mid-Range Ultralight: Klymit Insulated Static V Sleeping Pad

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Weighing 25 ounces, it packs up into a very small bag, but it doesn’t sacrifice warmth or comfort. It inflates quickly and easily, and is thick enough to allow for sleeping on your side. The unique V-shape of the inflated layers helps to distribute your body weight evenly for added comfort. It also easy to deflate and store away quickly into the provided stuff sack, which makes packing up camp in the morning that much easier!

What we like:

  • Very quick inflation.
  • Thicker and more comfortable for side-sleepers or taller people.
  • Includes a patch kit.

What we didn’t like:

  • Not as warm as some sleeping pads, so not the best choice for cold-weather camping.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

3. Best Self-Inflating Lightweight: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress

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If you plan on backpacking in cooler weather, this is the sleeping pad for you. It’s extremely durable, and you won’t sacrifice much in the way of weight to keep you warm at night. The WingLock valve makes inflation very fast, so if you are tired at the end of a long day of hiking, you will not have to wait long for your bed to be ready. It also comes in several sizes, which makes sense, since if you’re short, you don’t want to carry extra weight with a large sleeping pad.

What we like:

  • Super warm!
  • Quick, self-inflating setup.
  • Sizes allow you to choose the best fit.

What we didn’t like:

  • It is heavier than some sleeping pads.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Useful Tips and Resources

It is important to treat your ultralight sleeping pad with care so that it will last. It’s a good idea to shake it well every morning before packing it up to ensure there are no hidden rocks or twigs that could puncture it while it is packed away. Make sure it’s fully deflated before packing it, and keep the valve open so any moisture inside can escape.

Remember to carry a patch repair kit just in case your sleeping pad springs a leak. Patch repair kits take up relatively little space, so it makes sense to have one even while backpacking.

When you get home, spot clean your ultralight sleeping pad with mild soap and water if needed, air dry it, and store it fully deflated to ensure it will last. There is no need to use the stuff sack to store your sleeping pad, since that causes it to be rolled very tightly and can damage the inflation chambers over time. Save the stuff sack for when you are packing up to leave. It is important to store your ultralight sleeping pad away from large temperature changes or direct sunlight. Here’s a video with a few more tips on caring for your sleeping pad.

Final Thoughts

A quality ultralight sleeping pad is a worthwhile investment after only a few uses, because a good night’s sleep in the wilderness is priceless. There is nothing quite like waking up to the sounds of birds singing as the sun rises, and thinking ‘Wow, I slept really well!’ Sleeping pads can sometimes be the thing that makes or breaks a great outdoor excursion, so picking the right one is something you will not regret. Happy sleeping!

What do you love about sleeping outside? What’s the best night of sleep you’ve ever had while camping? Let us know!

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