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Your Ultimate Guide to Buying a Sleeping Pad for Camping

As important as your work or business may be, sometimes you do really need to get away.

A little relaxation and a nice mental reset every now and then are vital to both your mental health and your ability to work more effectively.

And what better way to truly get away than spending a few quiet nights out in nature?

Each year, more than 40 million Americans spend a few nights under the stars.

While there are many important items that you’ll want to take on your next camping trip, few are more important to your ability to be comfortable and relax than a sleeping pad. Though often ignored, a quality sleeping pad is one of the most important pieces of camping gear you’ll ever buy.

Read on for a closer look at what to look for when buying a sleeping pad for camping.

Why Do You Need a Sleeping Pad?

The first thing you’ll want to consider when shopping for a sleeping pad is how you’ll be using the pad. If you’re taking a rugged backpacking trek up into the mountains you may want something a little different than what you might take on a car camping trip with the family.

Be sure to keep your trip in mind as you shop for the right sleeping pad.

Sleeping Pad Types

If weight and size are a factor, consider shopping for a lightweight pad designed for backpacking. If not, going with a thicker air mattress will do just fine and may even be more comfortable.

Most sleeping pads are either made of a solid foam material or are inflatable.

For hiking, a quality self-inflating pad is often the lightest, most packable choice. But, foam sleeping pads can also be easily packed and are often more affordable.

Sleeping Pad Insulation

Another factor you’ll want to consider when shopping for a sleeping pad is insulation.

While most campers probably don’t even think about their sleeping pad when considering warmth or insulation, many sleeping pads can provide an extra layer of insulation from the cold, hard ground.

As you’re shopping, check the R-Value of the sleeping pads you’re looking at. Higher R-Values mean better insulation. So, if you’re going to camp in the fall or winter, look for a pad that will help keep you warm as the temperature drops.

Picking the Right Shape And Size

Camping sleeping pads come in many shapes and sizes. Some pads are just long rectangles, while others are rounded or tapered at the end to save weight and size. Some even come in shorter lengths to save even more weight.

Be sure to pick one that is long enough for you while meeting your shape and weight needs. Use a sleeping pad guide to help find the right length and shape for you.

Choosing the Right Sleeping Pad for You

With so many choices available, picking the right sleeping pad can be a challenge.

But, don’t ruin your next camping trip with an uncomfortable or poorly sized pad. Keep your size needs in mind and the conditions you’ll be camping in.

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