10 Best Backpacking Sleeping Pads for Car Camping in 2021

10 Best Backpacking Sleeping Pads for Car Camping in 2021

If you’re planning for your next camping trip, you’ll want to have your sleeping situation

If you’re planning for your next camping trip, you’ll want to have your sleeping situation figured out well in advance. Self-inflated sleeping pads are becoming an increasingly popular option for backpackers, because of their supportive and ergonomic design, coupled with their extreme packability when deflated. That’s why we found the best sleeping pads to buy now, so you can rest easy under the stars.

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Nemo Equipment

Founded in 2002 in Nashua, NH, this brand is one of REI’s highest-rated sleeping pad brands. Their original headquarters was only a short drive from the state’s mighty White Mountains, giving their products a natural, repeatable testing ground. In 2005, Nemo was given an ISPO BrandNew Award, which recognizes the most innovative products in the outdoor industry from around the world. Today, their products can be found in the backpacks of some of the country’s top outdoorsmen.

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NEMO Quasar 3D Insulated Air Sleeping Pad

Dubbed the “chaise lounge of sleeping pads” by REI, this model from NEMO features a slightly elevated head rest to keep you just a little bit farther off that cold ground. The Quasar also boasts a gently curved, body-mapped cradle to support and keep centered on the pad through the night.

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NEMO Equipment Inc. Roamer Double Sleeping Pad

If you’re looking to hit the trail with your partner or a friend, this double sleeping pad is for you. Billed as the brand’s plushest 2-person sleeping pad for four-season camping, you’ll be able to sleep in comfort and peace. The pad’s flow core construction cuts weight and maintains serious support throughout the night, so you won’t wake up on the ground.

Big Agnes

A purveyor of high-quality outdoor sleep gear, Big Agnes’ lives up to its name as the “Mother of Comfort.” They also offer extensive warranties and gear repair, should you ever snag your new sleeping pad on a rock or tree limb.

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Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pad

Delivering you superior cold weather protection at an affordable price point, this model from Big Agnes is perfect for anyone looking to do conduct any late-fall, early-spring backpacking trips. Its warm and packable THERMOLITE insulation works to trap and reflect body heat avoiding unnecessary dissipation.

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Big Agnes Insulated AXL Air Sleeping Pad

It’s no secret backpacking in cold weather isn’t for everybody. That’s why we’re recommending this AXL model from Big Agnes. The lightest pad in the company’s arsenal (under 1 lb), you’ll hardly notice it when collapsed and stowed in your backpack. However, true to Big Agnes’ Steamboat Springs roots, the AXL will still provide you exceptional protection from cold weather on those cold spring nights. The pad features Primaloft Silver insulation and a Mylar layer that reflects body heat back to you for added warmth.

Read More: Best Camping Air Mattresses

Exped

Starting in the early 80’s as a distributor of other outdoor brands, Exped began to build their own gear in 1997. Since then, the brand is responsible for some of the most innovative designs in the outdoor industry. Exped also prioritizes environmental sustainability as a brand. Starting in 2021, all of the company’s sleeping pads are CO2 offset by Myclimate. This makes their mats the only and first climate neutral mats on the market. Exped expect more of our products will follow in their sleeping mat’s climate neutral footsteps. The company’s goal is to be completely climate neutral by 2024.

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Exped DownMat XP 9 with Pump

Filled with a superwarm blend of 700-fill goose down insulation, the DownMat XP 9 is one of the warmest sleeping pads included in this list. If you plan on any winter backpacking trips, this is the option for you. Exped’s design also features separators between down-filled baffle chambers, preventing cold spots and creating thick, stable and comfortable cushioning.

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Exped Megamat 10 Insulated Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad, Green, Long Xtra Wide

Not only is this sleeping pad one of the highest-rated pads on REI’s website, it’s also one of the biggest. Dubbed the MegaMat for a reason, this pad will house one person for one of most comfortable nights possible out in the backcountry. It also features an extremely high R-value, making it an ideal insulator from extreme cold temperatures.

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Sea to Summit

Founded in the 90s, the brand gets its name from its founders’ outfitting of a Mt. Everest expedition that traveled from sea level all the way to the top of the 29,028 summit. If that’s not enough to convince you of this brand’s outdoor prowess, Roland Tyson, the company’s founder, got his start testing his gear on the tough, relentless Australian outback. Today, their brand produces a mix of tents, sleeping equipment and other outdoor gear.

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Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Extreme Sleeping Pad

Another cold-weather sleeping pad, the Ether Light provides winter backpackers the proper insulation to stay warm in extreme cold conditions. Worried about extra heat? Don’t be. Its antimicrobial treatment added to the pad helps prevent mold issues caused by warm, moist body heat trapped inside the mat.

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Sea To Summit Comfort Light Insulated Sleeping Pad

If comfort and portability are your number one and number two priorities, look no further than this model from Sea to Summit. However, if you might be worried about its durability, don’t be. This product features a unique nylon construction that is soft to the touch yet durable for years of rugged use.

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Therm-a-Rest

Therm-a-Rest’ four-decade-long reign in outdoor sleeping technology translates to quality, well-developed products in the modern era. With a focus on comfort, Therm-a-Rest has consistently produced beloved high-quality products. The company operates primarily out of Seattle, Washington and Cork, Ireland.

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Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress

The gold standard for ultralight backpacking on a budget, the XLite backpacking mattress delivers unrivaled comfort and warmth for minimal pack weight. Plus, its rugged and dependable WingLock valve inflates the pad 3 times faster than a standard valve, all while featuring lightning-fast deflation for your post-camp clean-up.

Read more: Best Camping Tents

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Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Minimalist Backpacking Air Mattress

Weighing in at under one pound for all sizes, this pad takes its name very seriously. Despite its lightness, the pad’s Triangular Core Matrix construction minimizes body heat loss with 2 stacked layers of triangular chambers, creating hundreds of individual cells for warmth and stability. Ready to head back to your real bed? No worries, when you’re down with the UberLite, it shrinks down to the size of a water bottle.

What Makes a Good Sleeping Pad?

You should look for something that fits your body type and sleeping style. Sleeping pads come in many shapes and sizes, so finding the right fit for you is important. Another tip is looking for something that fits your intended use. If you’re looking for something to help you brave the Grand Tetons on a months-long climbing excursion, maybe focus your search on a lightweight option with added synthetic insulation for cold nights in a tent. If you only plan to use the pad a handful of times throughout the year, try something a little more cushy that might take up more space in your back pack.

What Are Some Good Sleeping Pad Brands?

Many of the outdoor industry’s top brands like North Face, Patagonia and Columbia do not regularly produce self-inflated sleeping pads—instead a mix of other lesser known brands dominate the market, consistently producing high-quality, specialized products.

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