We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: it doesn’t matter how warm your sleeping bag is. A perennial favorite of backpackers, thru-hikers, and bikepackers alike, no list of best sleeping pads for backpacking would be complete without the inflatable Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite. Still, we had confusion in deciding which size and width of the Sea to Summit Ultralight pad to use on the Arizona Trail. As of 2020, sleeping pad manufacturers who wish to sell at certain retailers must use independent third party testers to determine R-Value. The fabric is quiet and didn’t bother us while turning over during the night. Photo courtesy Duncan Cheung. The Z Lite Sol packs down to about the dimensions of the back panel of a backpack (20” x 5” x 5.5”) and can provide support if you decide to go frameless. The NEMO Switchback is an accordion-style closed-cell foam sleeping pad that can be used as an ultralight pad by itself or to augment the warmth of a second sleeping pad when sleeping outdoors in colder weather. If you need something smaller or in-between, you have the option of cutting off one or more of the folding panels to lighten up a bit. Highly insulated pads will usually feel warmer because they keep your body heat close. We can ship to only one address per order, so please complete any orders currently in your cart. It’s lack of bulk and extra thickness put it ahead of our former foam pick, the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol. Multiple sizes are available. Earn an Annual Dividend, plus get access to exclusive products, events and offers. We found ourselves choosing the Nemo Switchback over a perennial favorite, the Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite Sol for this very reason. Our staff have purchased this pad only to have it fail on its first trip. They are tough to find in the field. The issues? They’re built with thicker fabrics than most lightweight pads and are also slightly wider than the standard pad size. The lightest full length sleeping pad is the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite. Thanks to the cellular design I never rolled off my pad. Some may say they like to rough it, and some may like to find comfort when possible. MSRP:$49.95 Weight:14.5oz Dimensions: 72 x 20 x 0.9 in / 183 x 51 x 2 cm (Short version available: 51 x 20 x 0.9 in / 130 x 51 x 2 cm) Packed Size: 20.0 x 5.0 x 5.5 in / 51 x 13 x 14 cm Materials:Axiotomic™ dual-density foam, Metalized thermal reflective film Temp Rating:20 to 35F / -7 to 2C At REI, we believe that a life outdoors is a life well lived. The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite packs down to the size of a one liter Nalgene water bottle. Available at REI, 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed. They top our list for a reason, and we wanted to make sure you knew it. Beginning in 2020, a new Sleeping Pad R-Value Standard was adopted by the outdoor industry and most of the major sleeping pad manufacturers including Therm-a-Rest, NEMO, Sea-to-Summit, REI, and Big Agnes has retested and re-rated their sleeping bags using it. It’s 14.5 ounces—lighter (and more durable) than the blue foam pad you can find at big box stores. This increases the risk of overtightening, which can cause the valve to fail over time. At $100 for the standard Regular size, it has a relatively reasonable price tag for what you get. Lastly, in the interest of full disclosure, our fearless leader Liz Thomas co-wrote the New York Times/Wirecutter piece. A close-up of one of the waffle weld failure repairs. It also features a pumpbag that inflates the pad in under two minutes and comes with a field repair kit. It's hard for her to remember what life was like before she had her cozy, cushiony sleeping pad (that feels more like a cloud) to collapse into at night after a day of hiking, and now she can't sleep outdoors without one. Among professional reviewers, this was another well-loved pad—well, well-loved-for-closed-cell-foam pad. And always try to follow Leave No Trace Principle 2, and find a durable surface to camp on—whether that’s grass in an open meadow, bare dirt, or rock beneath a sturdy tree. As side sleepers who find the NeoAir XLite to be too uncomfortable for quality sleep in the backcountry (“unusable”), this was revelatory. It’s quite similar to the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol sleeping pad, but made with modern materials and precisely molded. Ultimately, though, these drawbacks don’t diminish the NEMO Switchback in our eyes as a budget pad, a trying-out-backpacking-for-the-first-time pad, or a pad for a youngling. NEMO redefined the classic closed-cell foam sleeping pad to deliver more thickness and plush comfort in an industry-leading packed size. Rise & shine! If you don’t want to wait for the glue to dry before you pack it away, bring a decent-sized patch. What if, say, you’re a cold sleeper looking to do some winter camping? With an R-value of 3.1, it was definitely warm enough even on below-freezing nights. After an estimated 75 miles of hiking, long bike rides, and visits to the farmer’s market, here are the best fanny packs for leisurely strolls, intense hikes, or a ride through town. They take into account what users are saying, and pay attention to things like weight and durability (they even made a couple of pads less crinkly after users complained of being awoken by the loud noise). Klymit, notably, has not. But if it’s raining, you’ll have to wipe down your pad before bedtime. The Sea To Summit Ultralight Insulated Sleeping Pad has 2″ thick air-sprung cells that adapt to a sleeper’s curves like the mattress of their bed at home, providing excellent comfort for side and back sleepers. Sign up with your email address to be the first to know when we release new gear reviews! I chose to carry this sleeping pad on most of my thru-hike on the Pacific Crest Trail and I have no major complaints. As with all foam pads, if you need something smaller, you have the option of cutting off one or more of the folding panels to lighten up a bit. It features two separate air chambers, which can be inflated independently so that the top layer gets as stiff as you want and the bottom layer can accommodate any type of terrain. The Tensor Insulated pad is available in a wide range of lengths and widths, including a 9 oz short 48″ mummy which is ideal for ultralight backpacking. R-values of 4-6 are good when the temperature drops around or below freezing. It was fairly easy to inflate and deflate, using a single valve for both. The higher the R-value, the warmer the pad will be. Huge Spring Sale on gear. Photo by Naomi Hudetz. With so much love for inflatable sleeping pads out there, it’s easy to get sticker shock if you’re not prepared. A flat valve makes it quick to inflate and deflate, and a combination stuff sack/air pump is included for ease of use. We researched 25 popular backpacking tent reviews to find the 6 best two-person tents. It offers only two sizes: Regular (72″ x 20″) and Long Wide (76″ x 25″) A size regular (72″ x 20″) weighs 14 oz, but it’s also available in multiple sizes. NEMO redefined the classic closed-cell foam sleeping pad to deliver more thickness and plush comfort in an industry-leading packed size. Unfortunately, the UberLite, so far, has not lived up to the fanfare. Also, closed-cell foam eventually compresses, reducing both comfort and R-value. Other available sizes: short (also, feel free to trim the regular size to fit your length) You can get a decent foam pad for $20-$50 or you could go for a higher quality inflatable pad closer to $200. It comes in three different sizes, all of which are featherlight and pack compactly into a stuff sack, and therefore are perfect for both backcountry and car-camping adventures. It’s likewise easier to tell on the WingLock when the valve is actually closed. We figured we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Sea To Summit, as the brand has quite the following: nearly all of the professional review sites we visited had a Sea To Summit’s pad on their list.