Updated: December 2017

Best Sleeping Pad:

Nothing is worse than having a great sleeping bag only to have a sleeping pad that is less than adequate and never getting a good nights sleep while camping or backpacking. It's hard enough to sleep in a strange environment (the outdoors) for many people to begin with, but being uncomfortable is certainly not going to help the situation. We recommend going with an inflatable mattress pad or sleeping pad if you are doing car camping. For those longer backpacking trips where size and weight may become issues, then consider just a foam pad that rolls up nicely and stores conveniently or a Thermarest sleeping pad that is easy to inflate/deflate. In any event, make sure to buy the best quality and most comfortable sleeping pad for the type of tent camping or backpacking you plan on doing. The thicker the more comfortable, yet less easy to store and inflate. See our buying tips below and which ones came out as the best sellers and most popular.

Thermarest sleeping pads dominate the marketplace and there's a reason why. They are comfortable, lightweight, and easy to store. The Cascade Designs Therm-A-Rest CampLite at about $80 is your best bet. The 1.5 inch pad is made of durable, urethane-coated outer fabrics and a soft open-cell foam core. The self-inflating convenience after a long hike keeps your lungs from doing any more work and it deflates just as easy. Other Thermarest sleeping pads are the GuideLite series, UltraLite series, Fusion series, and Fusion EX series. For more details on the latest offering from Therm-a-rest, go to their website at Thermarest.com. For a budget sleeping pad (camping pad), we think the Cascade Designs Ridge Rest ($20) made from laminated foam will give you a nice cushion to sleep on at night and keep you warm. For a great selection of sleeping pads online go to Backcountry.com and look at reviews on the Therm-a-Rest Prolite 3 Sleeping Pad ($75), Big Agnes Air Core REM Sleeping Pad ($49.95), Pacific Outdoor Equipment InsulMat SL-Lite Sleeping Pad ($20), and the Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite ($29.95).

Sleeping Pad Reviews - Buying Tips:

When buying a sleeping pad you need to consider some basic questions in order to purchase the right brand and style. You should first rank what is most important to you - price, durability, comfort, weight, or special features. Secondly, thickness of your sleeping pad should be based on the terrain you will be sleeping on (thinner pad for pine needles - thicker pad for rocky, hard surfaces). Backpackers needs lightweight pads just as much as comfort. In wet weather, a foam pad under your inflatable is great insulation to keep the water from you. Make sure the pads will fit in your tent (do some measuring) and above all make sure you actually test the pads in the stores. You'll never know the difference between a 1" thickness sleeping pad and a 2" thick sleeping pad until you lie down on them. I have a 1" thick pad that rolls up easy for quick storage under the bottom of my backpack. You can browse the most popular sleeping pads online here.

Big Agnes Sleep System:

Big Agnes is a maker of sleeping pads and sleeping bags. Their Big Agnes REM sleep pads are notorious for their comfortable designs which allow for restful nights in the backcountry. They are lightweight and can be packed very small when deflated. You can choose from two track pads, hinman pads, air core pads, insulated air core pads, and dual core pads. The Dual Core pads were rated and "editors choice" from Camping Life and they are available in rectangular or mummy shapes with petite, regular and long sizes. Prices range from $89 all the way up to $145 for a 25" x 78" x 2.5" 49oz. pad. The Hinman pads are made of high density, solid foam which provides more support, comfort, and insulation than a die cut foam core. All their sleep pads come with a stuff sack and repair kit (for small leaks from thorns or rocks). RECOMMENDED - To find just the right one, we suggest browsing the Big Agnes collection here.

Camping Air Mattress:

The most popular camping air mattress is the AeroBed InstaSleep. Air mattress and inflatable beds are a welcome comfort in the outdoors when it comes to a good nights sleep. The AeroBed InstaSleep - Air Mattress & Sleeping Bag All in One - Instant Bed sells for $99.95 and the Aero Minute Bed Sport - Instant Air Mattress - Camping Air Mattress or Instant Guest Mattress is $69. The Aero Camping Air Mattress - Aero Sport All-Terrain Bed with Dual Power Pump for $79 is our favorite with built in pillow for added comfort. It can fully inflate in 60 seconds with the dual power pump that can be plugged into a car lighter. Outdoor camping doesn't have to be uncomfortable anymore with the latest products from AeroBed. You can buy them online at Sitincomfort.com.