Getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging when you’re out in the backcountry. Backpackers are usually tired after a long hiking day, so you’d think they’d fall asleep wherever they can. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Your backcountry sleep will be transformed when you pack a top-notch sleeping pad. It keeps you warm and comfortable and reduces the weight of your pack. To bring you this list of the best sleeping pads for cold weather, our wilderness experts tested them on trails worldwide for years.
Camping sleep systems cannot be complete without sleeping pads. Outdoor nights can be more comfortable, safe, and warm with suitable sleeping bags. A sleeping pad can be used anywhere but is designed to accommodate different activities. A backpacking pad, for example, is packable and light, while a camping pad is thick and well-padded. It is essential to balance weight, comfort and warmth when choosing a pad. A sleeping pad keeps you warm by separating you from the cold ground with a layer of dead air. Every sleeping pad carries an R-value rating that describes how well it keeps your body heat from escaping to the environment. Generally, a place with a higher number will keep you warmer at night.
Sleeping pads: How do you clean and store them?
Now that you know a little about sleeping pads, you should also know that it is always necessary to clean and store sleeping pads properly to make them long-lasting.
- It would help if you always washed your sleeping pad with warm, soapy water and a sponge whenever required
- When washing, be sure to close the air valve.
- The sleeping pads should be unrolled and unpacked and allowed to air out for a minimum of 2-3 days.
- The sleeping pad should be stored in a cool and dry place, inside a closet or a bed.
List of some of the Best sleeping pads for cold weather
Camping during the winter is one of the best ways to enjoy the vacation. However, it is essential to have a good winter camping sleeping pad to remain warm when the temperatures are well below freezing. I have reviewed 8 of the top models on the market to help you find the best sleeping pads for cold weather.
01. Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pad-
The Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra offers a good balance between value and performance. Even though its R-value isn’t as high as some of its competitors, it provides good deals during the winter.
- This sleeping pad provides adequate back support and stability throughout the night.
- A heat-reflective film and integrated Thermolite insulation are included
- The I-Beam construction is proprietary to Big Agnes
- The TPU laminated soft fabric makes it extra durable.
- An outstanding balance between weight and comfort can be found in it.
- Long-lasting materials make it durable.
- The price is reasonable.
- Designed to withstand cold weather with thermolite insulation.
- To improve sleeping comfort, it has an I-Beam construction.
- It has a relatively low R-value.
02. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Camping and Backpacking Sleeping Pad-
This Therma Rest pad is a lightweight sleeping pad designed for winter camping and backpacking. The R-value of 6.9 makes it suitable for cold weather.
- This sleeping bag weighs just 15 ounces.
- This product provides a low-bulk design with a triangular core matrix.
- This pad provides a great deal of stability and support at night.
- You can even fine-tune the firmness of the NeoAir Xtherm with the WingLock valve.
- Backpacking-friendly lightweight construction.
- Compact size when packed.
- Pump sack included for faster inflation.
- The weight-to-warmth ratio is good.
- A little thin material is used in construction.
03. Exped MegaMat Max – Self-Inflating Insulated Sleeping Pad-
During the night, you’ll be able to cuddle up in the Exped MegaMat 15. Featuring a 15.6 R-value and also an extra-thickness of 6″ height, this oversized sleeping pad is specifically designed to provide superior comfort.
- A vertical sleeping pad prevents you from sliding off at night.
- A thicker and more insulating material is used.
- It is made of nylon tricot fabric with a 50D stretch.
- It is easy to inflate and quick to deflate.
- With the included mini pump, you can inflate the MegaMat in seconds.
- Added comfort with soft top fabric.
- It provides insulated and extra thick material.
- You can’t slide off due to vertical walls.
- Pump included for easy setup.
- It is a bit bulky and heavy.
04. Klymit Static V2 Ultralight Sleeping Pad-
Kylmit sleeping pads offer the best value for your money. A lifetime warranty, a stuff sack, and a patch kit are all included with the Kylmit Static V2. It is one of the current favorite products for many users.
- Despite being incredibly lightweight, this is extremely comfortable as well.
- The backpacking pad will keep you warm even if you’re 6 feet tall and 180 pounds.
- This backpacking pad fills up in just 10-15 breaths
- Most sleeping mats leak air, but this one doesn’t.
- For the balloon to fully inflate, you must breathe ten to fifteen times.
- The price is reasonable.
- The product comes with a lifetime guarantee.
- All essentials are included in this product.
- It takes some time to get used to an air gauge.
5. Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Backpacking Sleeping Pad-
If backpackers are looking to prioritise an ultralight approach, and this sleeping pad is a good option. With a no-frills design, it balances being lightweight while providing a comfortable experience every time.
- The weight is just 1.1 pounds.
- It provides a comfortable and warm sleeping surface
- The jacket is filled with high-loft fiberfill and made from a reflective fabric to keep you warm
- Pillow Lock patches, field repair kit, and stuff sack are all included
- The comfort-to-weight ratio is excellent.
- Easily packable.
- With this valve, you can quickly inflate the balloon in just a few seconds.
- This product is durable and quiet as it has a 30-d and 40-d nylon face fabric that does not slip.
- Unlike foam cell pads, these are not so light.
06. Nemo Switchback Foam Sleeping Pad-
When it comes to saving space and reducing weight, the Nemo Switchback is a great option. In colder 3-season climates, the pad offers exceptional warmth, making it an excellent choice.
- Setup and packing are lightning fast.
- Sound sleep is possible with this high-tech pad.
- A perfect balance of support and comfort is achieved with The Switchback
- An abrasion- and compression-resistant dual-density foam with a minimalist 0.9-inch thickness
- Heat is reflected in the camper’s body by a metallised thermal film layer which is great
- Lightweight and compact.
- It is extremely soft and comfortable to use.
- It is average in quality.
07. Elegear Double Sleeping Pad for Camping-
The Elegear Double Sleeping Pad is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a double sleeping pad. Not many double sleeping pads can compete with the Elegear, especially regarding comfort, affordability, durability, and weight.
- 40D nylon and TPU materials are used in this product.
- It measures 79” x 55” x 4”
- When packed, the product weighs 5.5 lbs
- An integrated pump makes it easy to inflate the sleeping pad
- An innovative drawstring support technology is used in the sleeping pad.
- It feels puncture-proof and is very durable.
- The body does not touch the ground, so it is highly comfortable.
- It has a lightweight design.
- This thick queen sleeping pad inflates in just 2 minutes.
- Air leakage is effectively prevented by the pillow’s double-layer valves, allowing rapid deflation.
- There is nothing to dislike.
8. Outdoorsman Lab Sleeping Pad for Camping-
A compact sleeping pad from Outdoorsman Lab is an excellent addition to any camping trip. An indispensable part of any mountain or trail trip, this patented camping mattress provides convenience and comfort. This cushion inflates to a somewhat cuddly 2.2 inches when inflated and can be folded into a small, easy-to-carry water bottle size.
- In cold weather, it has an R-value of 2.2
- When rolled up, it measures 8 x 2 x 3 inches.
- Its patented design promotes optimal temperature regulation and support
- It is abrasion-resistant and moisture-resistant
- Inflating and deflating is easy.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Water-resistant and durable.
- The price is reasonable.
- Pillows must be purchased separately.
Things to consider while Best sleeping pads for cold weather
You need to know what to look for when shopping for a quality winter camping sleeping pad. The following are some key considerations when buying the best sleeping pads for cold weather.
- Comfort level– Regarding sleeping pads, comfort is paramount. Considering two metrics when choosing a place for comfort is essential: its thickness and shape. It is more comfortable to sleep on thicker pads because they provide more cushioning. Moreover, rectangular models are generally heavier yet more comfortable since they are less likely to cause you to fall asleep.
- Measurements – The dimensions of the sleeping pad should be compared with your dimensions to determine whether or not you will fit onto it. The place should check your entire body if you are tall. It will be easy to save weight if you are short or petite. The pad must have the most diminutive dimensions possible for it to be portable.
- R-Value– Sleeping pads are rated on their R-value to measure their insulation. Sleeping pads are generally warmer when the number is higher. The minimum R-value for wintertime use is 4. Cold weather pads will keep you warm, however, as long as they have a higher R-value.
- Packed Size & Weight– Campers should consider weight and packed size, but backpackers should pay particular attention to these factors. To choose a winter sleeping pad that is right for you, you should opt for a model that weighs under 48 oz/1.4 kg and can pack down to less than 5″x10.”
- Price– Depending on how good the sleeping pad is, it can cost as little as $50 or as much as $200. Air pads are usually the most expensive, while foam pads are the cheapest. If you plan to spend a lot on your sleeping pad, keep in mind that after a long day on the trail, your sleeping pad will affect your ability to rest well
- Durability– In particular, if you are planning a long trip, this is an import essential to consider. To stay insulated and warm while sleeping, you need a durable sleeping pad if you plan a long cold adventure. Be sure to choose a sleeping pad with an R-value that indicates how well it will withstand long hikes and that it will last for decades.
- Material quality- Waterproof camping pads are easier to wash, so you should opt for one. While camping, it is easy to get things dirty, but they can be cleaned up easily with a hose. Usually, waterproof pads are less comfortable than pads made of soft materials. So it would help if you decided whether hygiene or comfort is more important to you at the end of the day.
Sleeping pad’s care instructions
- Wear long merino pants and a long merino top to prevent dirt and body oils from getting on the sleeping pad. Some people also use sleeping bag liners.
- Keep sleeping pads away from mosquito repellent, stove fuel, and campfire embers. If sleeping pads contact such things, ensure they are washed off immediately.
- Backpacking air mats can deflate if campfire embers come into contact with them.
- Packing up a wet sleeping pad for short-term storage while it is still wet is possible. Sleeping pads cannot always be kept dry. It should be aired out with an open valve as early as possible.
- Sharp objects or thorns should not puncture air mattresses at the campsite. So take special care of it.
Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ
Yes, of course, it does matter. As the air inside the sleeping pad attempts to reach temperature equilibrium with the ground, its R-value measures the effectiveness of the sleeping pad at resisting heat. The R-value of a place is more significant when it has a higher value. R-Values for sleeping pads usually range from 2 to 5, with five being the best. The ideal sleeping pad should have an R-Value of 4 or more.
Yes, Mummy bags can be used with rectangular pads. However, depending on your sleep, you may find your sleeping bag gets dirty or moist on the sides or feet if you use a mummy-shaped pad and rectangular bag.
Pads and bags for sleeping are generally universal. It does not matter what brand of sleeping bag you own; you can use any brand’s sleeping pad. The sleeping pad you buy may need to be specifically compatible with the quilt you sleep with if you want to snap it to your sleeping pad.
Yes, one of the most comfortable sleeping pads on the market is the Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Backpacking Sleeping Pad.
I recommend investing in a high-quality, 1.5-inch thick sleeping pad. A thicker mattress might be more suitable for side sleepers.
Yes, tall people can use sleeping pads explicitly designed for them. Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pad is an excellent example of this pad.
Some pads require manual inflation, but most are self-inflating. My top recommendation for a self-inflating sleeping pad is the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad.
You can choose from various sleeping pads based on their lengths and widths. The wider the place, the more room it provides for campers, while the smaller the residence, the more space and weight it saves backpackers. Women’s sleeping pads typically have less insulation and are shorter. I hope you find this guide helpful in finding the best sleeping pads for cold weather to meet your needs. I will love to hear from you if you have any additional questions or suggestions. I would appreciate your sharing this guide on social media if you found it helpful!