Best Backpacking Sleeping Pads TechnoBuffalo 2022
Sleeping pads lift your body up and off the ground, protecting it against the elements and rocky ground cover. After a hard day on the trails, the added cushioning of a sleeping pad supports your joints so that you can catch a restful night of sleep. Not all pads are created equal. I've put them to the test, and these are my top picks this year.
- Hammock-friendly: ECOTEK Hybern8
- A lightweight foam pad: ALPS Mountaineering 375
- Rugged: Klymit Static V
- Reflective warm and cushioning: Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOLite
- Best insulated pad: Paria Outdoor Products Recharge Ultralight
Hammock-friendly: ECOTEK Hybern8Staff Pick
The ECOTEK Hybern8 takes the work out inflating your sleeping pad, something no long-distance hiker wants to do after a long day. In less than ten breaths, the Hybern8 inflates, giving you 2.5 inches of loft. You get 3 season warmth and cushiness from this pad, and its versatile design also fits inside a hammock. This sleeping pad folds down to the size of a one-litre bottle and weighs just 18 ounces, so it sits right in your pack. The Hybern8 is waterproof and tough enough to go on all your adventures.
A lightweight foam pad: ALPS Mountaineering 375
The lightest sleeping pads are foam. They roll up tight and slip under the floating lid or in the bottom straps of your backpack. Foam pads don't usually offer as much cushioning as inflatable varieties. Still, this model from ALPS Mountaineering may be the exception. Adding just nine ounces of weight this affordable option is thick enough to put some warmth between you and the hard ground and is the best bang for your buck.
Rugged: Klymit Static V
I pack the Klymit Static V pad for rough terrain because it stands up to sticks, stones, and sleeping right on the ground. With a 75D polyester exterior, it never punctures or tears, and is abrasion-resistant. The comfort level is off the hook too. Whether you're a stomach, back or side sleeper, the Static V supports your body in a V-shaped design that cradles you and prevents the tossing and turning that can come with sleeping in the outback.
Reflective warm and cushioning: Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOLite
The cross-linked polyethene in the Therm-a-Rest SOLite keeps this sleeping pad lightweight yet durable so that you can strap it below your pack without worry. The ThermaCapture surface reflects radiant heat from your body and locks it in, so you stay warm and dry all night long. This 3 season sleeping pad comes in small, regular, and large sizes, and adds only 13 ounces to your pack weight. When you need a lightweight foam pad that will keep you warm on chilly nights, don't pass up the SOLite.
Best insulated pad: Paria Outdoor Products Recharge Ultralight
When temperatures drop, you want something that will provide a buffer between you and the cold outside. The Recharge pad from Paria Outdoor Products locks body heat in with high-loft-synthetic microfiber insulation to keep you warm even when temps dip below freezing. Comfort is not sacrificed in favour of warmth with the Recharge, either. You'll get several inches of thick, soft padding that rivals the comfort of your own bed. When you're ready to get back on the trail, this sleeping pad packs down small in an included cinch sack and fits right in your pack.
From one backpacker to another
If you're looking for a sleeping pad that compact, comfortable, and easy to inflate, you want the ECOTEK Hybern8. This sleeping pad weighs just 8 ounces and folds down to the size of a one-litre bottle, which makes it a great space-saving addition to your backpack. Its comfortable design is durable, waterproof, and inflates with less than ten breaths.
Geared toward thru-hikers and minimalist backpackers, the sleeping pad from ALPS Mountaineering adds a thin layer of cushion and warmth between you and the ground. This is a dense closed-cell foam pad that weighs only 9 ounces and works well as part of your 3 season gear.
If you're a cold-weather camper, you want the Recharge from Paria Outdoor Products. This spacious pad is a true 3 season model that locks heat in when temps dip below freezing.
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