Best Sleeping Pad For Side Sleepers
If you are having trouble finding the right and the best backpacking sleeping pad, we just love to do the research for you.
But they are for side sleepers.
We do this so you do not have to lose a lot of time searching and researching tirelessly and losing your sleeping time.
Believe it or not, we spent about 36 hours non-stop, analyzing from reviews sites, Amazon, eCommerce sites, company’s website, experts.
Now we have a good idea how backpacking sleeping pad can effect how comfortable it is when sleeping in the middle of camping ground or other adventurous place.
We analyze from the cheapest backpacking sleeping pad to the most expensive ones. There are also the lightest, the most comfortable and sleeping pad with mix features.
While it is hard to get a good night sleep on a backpacking trip. with the advanced technology used by sleeping pad manufacturer, today’s sleeping pad are very much improved compare to their previous models.
Comfort is the main features, manufacturer of sleeping pad trying to achieve, since it is the most important feature to consider.
The weight is being drop from the feature as well as the packed size.
The cell and baffle design are better and better than the previously designed.
When you are going out on a cold weather, the insulation and warmth will be provided.
There are several models that we analyze and breakdown including self-inflating, foam models and self-inflating.
A good adventure have to be supported by good gear. The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm is the best choice as good gear. It has features like: it is comfortable, it is lightweight and it is a versatile sleeping pad. If you really want a comfort sleeping pad, it would break the bank but you feel it is worth the value.
With the combination of durability, lightweight and comfortable, no sleeping pad can match. The durability means that it is made of 70 denier nylon bottom. The fabric is nearly puncture-proof and it has the added air pump as bonus.
With R-values more than 5, it can conquer all season when taking an adventure in the mountains. If you do not want to have an expensive sleeping pad, this is not the one to buy. Buy if you prefer a long lasting performance of the three main features of all type of sleeping pad, this is the recommended one. Choose other sleeping pad below if this can not meet your criteria of sleeping pad.
For warmth, this is the one to choose, with added silver lining (literally) with ThermaCapture technology. The R-value 5.7 will be enough and ready for cold winter nights in the mountains.Check It Out
Why we like this:
Why we do not like this:
Compare to the previous Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm sleeping pad, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Venture is far more lower price. The surface material provide a comfortable sleep at night. It has the durability features because of its durable fabric making it not vulnerable to be punctured and teared down. The weight is above 21 oz because of its thickness
For one easy camping and backpacking, this is the right choice. If we combined the features, it is affordable (only $74.95 on Amazon), it is durable (thickness: 21 oz) and it is comfortable (the good quality surface material). Sleep well at night during camping is more important than the extra weight. You do not have to worry about getting puncture and you can always bring your repair kit if something happen.Check It Out
Why we like this:
Why we do not like this:
The Z Lite Sol is durable because of the Crosslinked Polyethylene material. It is rather inexpensive for a sleeping pad. It is comfortable but you can not be compared to the $100 plus sleeping pad. It is uncomfortable when you compare it with them.
It is so ideal for warmer weather or as can become a secondary or supplement to more expensive and comfortable sleeping pad in colder temperatures. It use the Metalized ThermaCapture technology to reflects the body heat back to the person sleeping on it. It is very useful in lower temperature.
It’s ideal for the budget hiking or camping for mountain climbers, long distance hikers and other easy adventure who rather choose light simplicity of closed-cell foam. At a very low price of $34.95, you can call it very cheap, compared to self-inflating sleeping pads and air sleeping pads. It is compact and quick to store plus an excellent low budget pick for those wanting to go light.
With thickness of 0.75 inches, it is considered very thin. There is not much cushioning from the ground because closed-Cell foam pads are not thick. It is light (14.4 oz) but of course it is heavier than the more expensive sleeping pad.Check It Out
Why we like this:
Why we do not like this:
When you wake up in the morning on a sleeping pad, you do not want to suffer from aching hips. In order to get a good night sleep, the sleeping pad must be comfortable, durable, light and warm enough. These four features can be achieved by Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad.
The thickness can give cushion for hips and it is a standard thickness for high end air pads. It has all four requirements: a small size pack that can be as small as a water bottle, it is stable at 2.5 inches high, and a lightweight of 12 oz.
The Therm-a-Rest itself is well known and one of the first inventor of sleeping pad that had been doing so many testing and research to to discover the best backpacking sleeping pad. The surface has firm horizontal baffles that will provide a stable sleep surface.
This Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite is our Best Lightweight Buy award for hiking trips. It works for every fast and light backpacking in winter and summer. In summer backpacking, the sleeping pad do just well in giving warm. It has a decent R-Value (3.2), good enough to withstand temperatures just above freezing. It also have been favorites to many hikers, backpackers, climbers and it still does until this day.Check It Out
Why we like this:
Why we do not like this:
It is a good idea for going outdoor camping or hiking. It is just far away from the modern life, from the sound of traffic, the car honk, construction drilling, people yelling. It is a distant sound to avoid. This time of life is very good and of course it is a quiet life for a moment. When enjoying this kind of life, all the gear must give the confidence of sleeping like in a five-star resort bed without any disturbance.
Why the Sea to Summit is the best comfort buy? It is really a product of such comfort, provided by the Comfort Plus Insulated Mat. The one keyword said comfort, they really mean comfortable. It is design to be like the bed’s comfort. The weight distribution is also even and it is thick enough to be damaged by a little incident. With patented Air Sprung Cell technology, the comfort level just getting higher.Check It Out
Why we like this:
Why we do not like this:
When winter is coming and you have planned for few months of a winter backpacking. The issue is to face your fear of the cold and to try winter backpacking, hiking and camping for the first time. Two months before you bought the gear and equipment needed for winter backpacking on Amazon.
You check all the list like the backpack bag, the tent, portable solar charger and portable heater. You might miss an important piece to your winter backpacking, the sleeping pad.
It is very important for a good very cold night’s sleep. You need to keep your body warm so the sleeping pad must provide enough warm for a freezing nights.
This cold temperature can be solved with the MegaMat 10. It is made by Exped, a Swiss company with a reputation for innovative design. The MegaMat 10 is just the right sleeping pad to solve the problem of sleep on a cold night.
The features had the combination of simple valves, self-inflating deluxe foam, simple valves, rugged and stylish design, and a smart carrying case. We are talking about adjustable firmness, oversized width and length, four inches of height.Check It Out
Why we like this:
Why we do not like this:
You can feel the cushion of premium air provided by the Klymit Insulated Static V. The baffle design is unique with 2.5-inches of thickness. Klymit itself is a an innovative company and this line of product is affordable. It can be easily blow up to be inflated.
Hikers, mountain climber and backpackers would choose a low budget self-inflating sleeping pad, because simply they are on a budget. The technology of this sleeping pad maybe the best and can outperform other comparable self-inflating sleeping pads. When seeing on the label, it says to weighs 25 ounces.
It is light enough for backpackers. It is even lighter than other comparable self-inflating sleeping pads. When deflated, its packed size is relatively small and should fit in a backpack easily.Check It Out
Why we like this:
Why we do not like this:
Best Backpacking Sleeping Pad Buying Advice
How the weight of backpack sleeping pad should be considered
Your choice of the best backpack sleeping pad is considered to be the fourth heaviest in the pack you are carrying. The other heavy lifting are the shelter, sleeping bag, backpack and then the backpack sleeping pad. The average weight of the shelter is about 2 pounds, plus the average weight of sleeping bag is 2 pounds, the backpack is about 20 pounds and the sleeping pad is about 1 pound.
So the total weight could be about 26 pounds. So you can reduce the overall weight by choosing the right size and weight of sleeping pad you are carrying. If you can reduce the weight of the pack you are carrying, it would be comfortable while on a hiking trip or just a short day camp.
All outdoor sports enthusiasts especially the backpacker type, would keep those weight as light as possible when carrying all the pack. Weight would be the most important factor of purchasing decision of outdoor gear. But unfortunately, the most comfortable and the lightest of them all is usually the most expensive price. By all mean, people buy because of the quality over price.
The weight is the key metric, if you are having a dream adventure tour to the Rocky Mountains or wanted the highest performance of gear to carry. But if you just want to have fun and only a 1 day adventure without any serious purpose in mind, weight, should not be a concern then. There might be some people do not care about weight at all, because they just want to be comfortable, safe, secure, warm and have a good night sleep.
If you are traveling to an elevated ground or rough terrain or will have many miles to cover will make the weight very important factor. Commonly, sleeping pad made of foam are lightweight but unfortunately they are not comfortable. The air core sleeping pad is the lightest of the all, they are even lighter than the self-inflating sleeping pads.
If there is a ratio between performance and weight, we analyze that the air constructed sleeping pads will score the highest of them all. As we stated before, if you are only hiking about 2 miles and then setup a base camp for more than 3 days, the weight of the sleeping pad will not be an issue.
A difference of 15 ounce can not be compare to the features provided like the warmth and comfort. It is a big difference compare to hiking and trekking adventure to the Grand Canyon, the extra 15 ounces will have a big and significant affect on the carrying.
Why the warmth is important
R-value or a suggested degree rating have been the two ways of determining the warmth of a pad. Do you know what’s the difference? Why does the warmth of the sleeping pad matter?
Of course it matter. It matters to you and anyone on an adventure to wake up in the morning being ready and fresh for the day’s adventure. Throughout the night, the cold weather and ground can eliminate the body of heat. After 8 hours of absorbing cold temperature while you were sleeping, you will wake up feeling tired and lost the essential energy for an adventure.
That is how very important and really matter the cold resistance of sleeping pad to human body. It is a way to get a really a crucial better rest for the next day. When you rest better, the adventure will play better.
The R-value of a backpacking sleeping pad will determine how good it will insulate your body from the cold ground temperature. The more value of R-value, the better insulating the body and the warmer the sleeping pad. When you see on the label of a sleeping pad that show the R-values between 0-2 it means that it is good for a warm weather hiking trip.
The neutral weather sleeping pad will have the R-values between 2-4. This means it can be used on any weather (cold, cool and warm) backpacking conditions. And when you are seeing the label that say the R-values between 4-6, they are good for temperature below freezing or very cold. In a winter backpacking condition, you have to choose sleeping pad with R-value 5+, because you are sleeping on ground covered with snow.
In backpacking winter, the temperature difference between the ground covered with snow and your body can exceed to 60 degrees. If you sleep on ground covered with snow with only a 2 R-values, the cold temperature of the ground covered with snow can eliminate the body heat away from you faster than the freezing air temperature.
Preventing this heat loss process is arguably the most important purpose of your sleeping pad. The comfortable level may be determine by keeping you having a good night sleep and keeping you feel warm. Waking up fresh and have energy means everything and really matter.
But the sleeping pad can also force loss of heat when the cold air moves around inside the pad. To avoid this, the thickness of sleeping pad, it really means thicker sleeping pad is warmer. The air circulation, this means the more air circulation within the sleeping pad pad the less warmth. And last the insulation of sleeping pad.
So once again, you’ll need a sleeping pad that gives some level of protection. On an average temperature should get a pad with an R-value between 2-4. In a backpacking summer, the best R-values number would be 0-2. For a very cold backpacking winter, the R-values should be more than 5.
Why the comfort is everything
According to many expert and review sites, a thicker sleeping pad is better than thinner sleeping pad. It does means more comfortable than thinner sleeping pad. The more flat surface can also mean more comfortable for the head to lay down. If the sleeping pad is a larger surface area this could also mean more comfortable than the smaller area sleeping pad.
Comfort is relative when you are talking about sleeping on the ground. The most comfortable sleeping pad will depend on your own preferences, so the rating could be relative too. One person who like to sleep on the side prefer to sleep on thick air construction sleeping pad. The self inflating sleeping pad is more comfortable for people who like to sleep on their back.
Back sleeping will evenly distributes a person’s weight, whereas side sleeping distribute weight around the shoulders and hips.
The packed size
The fabric thickness, the insulation amount and the function of the sleeping pad determine the packed size. If the sleeping pad is lightly insulated or even not insulated at all, are the compact packed size. The not insulated sleeping pad can be compressed to the size of a wine glass. While the self-inflating type and the foam sleeping pad are far than a compact size. Most air sleeping pad type can be packed down and small enough to fit inside your backpack.
And some model is small and can be gripped in one hand. Not all self-inflating sleeping pad may pack down to fit inside your backpack. Only newer designs use less foam and can pack down relatively small.
When sleeping pad id fully inflated and unpacked the packed size will be related to the weight, the smaller the packed size commonly means less weight. Today’s hikers, campers, climbers and backpackers have so many sleeping pads to choose from. Many sleeping pad are bulky and heavy. Many products are lighter than the backpack and when being packed down can be smaller than a can of soda.
These are some of the types sleeping pads considering the weight and packed size.
Usually backpackers who chose lightweight gear will want to stay under 16 ounces (1 pound) when choosing a sleeping pad. Air sleeping pads, and closed-cell foam sleeping pads are the type they choose considering the weight. They will not want to buy a self-inflating sleeping pad because of the weight concern.
There is a closed-cell foam sleeping pad with packed sizes of 20 x 5 x 5.5 inches. A very large packed size sleeping pad but very light so this can be chosen by backpackers.
While the common packed size of an air sleeping pad in is 9 x 4 inches, a very small packed size sleeping pad. It is packed down easily and will not take up much space any more.
The ease of deflating and inflating
When you find a sleeping pad difficult to inflate, it is a drawback of air construction pad. Many manufacturers have resolved this issues by adding valve styles to achieve ease of inflation and deflation. The inflating task was difficult back in the old days. Self-inflating sleeping pad is more heavier and bulky than air construction sleeping pad, so it is less comfortable.
When you hear the word self-inflating sleeping pad you might think a high expectation. Actually in the real world, first you must open the sleeping pad, unroll and wait for about 10 minutesfor the internal foam to expand and draw air in. After 10 minutes, the job is not done 100%. In the 10 minutes of waiting, the sleeping pad is only about 60% inflated. So you have to finish the job of inflating the sleeping pad. It would be useful when you are in a big camp mattress pads. For a small volume sleeping pad, it would be less useful.
The durability of sleeping pad
The most common measure of durability in the outdoor gear world is denier (D), which measures the thickness of a fabric. The higher the denier, the tougher the material will be. Let us be clear: denier matters and you can feel the difference. So does weight, however, so it’s important to find the right balance for your backpacking style. Ultralight backpackers cut every possible ounce and usually know how to take care of their gear (otherwise it would be an extremely expensive hobby). The downside is that lower denier fabrics have shorter lifespans and a higher propensity to have durability issues in the back country.
In today’s advances in textile technology development make lightweight inflatable sleeping pads durable. Even with many shaking and other hard care handle of inflatable sleeping pads, there would be no incident of tearing or torn apart. Some reviewers stated that after using their sleeping pads for quiet sometime, they counter not a single durability issues. But when you see any puncture of the sleeping pad, you might to consider taking with you a mini repair kit.
Because even if you have the most durable sleeping pad, it can experience to be punctured with a rock or sharp tree branch. The repair kit would come very handy and important, because with just a little puncture, sleeping pad can become useless. Imagine when during in the middle of the night the sleeping pad got puncture suddenly and you can not use the sleeping pad at all. This could be dangerous because you have to sleep at a very cold bight without the protection pf sleeping pad.
The other way to protect the sleeping pad to being punctured is by using ground cloth as the cover material under the sleeping pad. It is strong, lightweight and durable enough to protect to bottom of the sleeping pad.
What are types of sleeping pad?
The types of sleeping pad types in the market are: self-inflating sleeping pad, air sleeping pad, and closed-cell foam sleeping pad.
The air sleeping pad can not be compared to the other type of sleeping pad because of its compact size. It also provide thickness as well as the lightest option.
The majority of air sleeping pads are usually made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). In recent years some sleeping pad are made of urethane plastic or rubber versions. The deflated sleeping pad can be rolled up or folded and carried or stored relatively easily. That is why they are the most popular choice for hiking trips and camping trips.
You can inflate the air sleeping pad orally or with an electric pump. The primary downside is that the air sleeping pad can have a greater risk to get punctured. There is no reason for not to buy air sleeping pad, because you can still carry with you a repair kit patch.
The self-inflating sleeping pad is combining open cell foam and a space for the pad to expand and fill with air. With this feature, comfort, durability and convenience can be achieved. It more more puncture resistant. The problem is, it can bring extra pound to the pack and can not be packed down as small as air sleeping pad.
The closed-cell foam sleeping pad is the less comfortable, not small, just an average R-values, but they do not deflate in the middle of the night. They might not be the first option of sleeping pad, but they are perfect for secondary sleeping pad to bring along as a backup.
How the sleeping pad baffles are constructed.
Sleeping pad baffles bear a resemblance to baffles used on down jackets and sleeping bags, and they also utilize the same general principles for heat retention.
There are five main types of baffle construction in sleeping pads:
1. Dimpled Flat Surface Patterns
This baffle pattern are mostly constructed on the self-inflating sleeping pads. The surface made to be leveled, very even, and insulating without major baffle patterns.
2. Horizontal Baffles Patterns
The horizontal baffles patterns are constructed mainly among air sleeping pads. The horizontal baffles are considered stable with ridges to keep the shoulders spread out and distribute body’s weight evenly when lying down.
3. Vertical Baffles Patterns
The vertical baffles pattern is typically less stable. Sometimes it makes the sleeping slippery.
4. Quilted Baffles Patterns
This type of patterns are newer model than the other baffles patterns. It is a combination of vertical and horizontal baffle so it feels like a small mattress. The pattern should be stable, provide enough heat and give comfort.
5. The Unique Baffles Patterns
There is one baffle patterns that shape like a V. Not many brand uses this unique baffles patterns.
How to take care your best backpacking sleeping pad
You do not go on a hiking trips every week or every month, at least for most of backpackers. The planning, packing and going only happens once to twice a year mostly.
If you own a self-inflating sleeping pad, the best way to store them is as simple as keeping them unrolled and keep the valve open. Store them behind your couch or simply under your bed. You do not want your sleeping pad to be overly compressed and keep the natural shape of the self-inflating sleeping pad.
While the air sleeping pad care and storage simpler. Rolled them up after removing all the air from the sleeping pad, put them in its storage bag to minimize the risk of getting punctured.
Avoiding the risk of getting punctured is way easier than patching one. The safest thing to do is to give your sleeping pad a safe haven during your hike. The last thing to store the sleeping pad to lash them to the bottom of the pack and that is what many backpackers do.
This idea is a bad idea because most of the time when backpackers want to take off the pack is to drop them on the ground. It will be risky because the ground might have rough edges and this could damage the sleeping pad immediately.
If the bottom is not a good idea, so you might wan to consider lashing the sleeping pad to the top of your pack. This option has risk too, where sharp edge tree branches can grab the sleeping pad on top while you are not looking at all.
The best option to store the sleeping pad while hiking is to put them inside your pack. Make sure it does not collide with sharp edges like ti knife or other rough edges gear that might puncture or damage the sleeping pad.
How to cleanup the sleeping pad
The dirt, the dust or stain will not damage or harm your sleeping pad. But there are things you should do immediately.
– because you will bring your insect repellent, they contain DEET which can damage your sleeping pad fabrics very fast. When your sleeping pad is exposed to DEET or insect repellent, you must wash and rinse your sleeping pad as quickly as possible. Use a biodegradable soap to wash if possible.
– when you camp around pine tree, your sleeping pad might touch its grit and needle somehow. The two will glom onto pine tree sap and this will damage your sleeping pad. You can use alcohol in your first-aid kit to remove pine tree sap.
– after every use or once in a season, you should wash you sleeping pad to remove any contaminants like molds or body oil. These substances may lower the performance of your sleeping bad, so washing your sleeping pad is a must do.
How to store your sleeping pad
After washing the sleeping pad, simply just inflate the sleeping pad inside or outside and let it dry. It would not be a problem when drying inside, but when drying outside try not to expose the inflated sleeping pas to direct sunlight. The UV rays can damage and reduce the quality of the material.
There is a chance that the sleeping pad accumulate mold growth caused by the moisture inside the foam. To deal with this, after every each trip you can lower the moisture level by inflating it, and then deflating it for a few times. Use a hair dryer on lowest heat to inflate and then deflate.
Sleeping pad is vulnerable to extreme temperature and moisture. Avoid places like the attic or the basement or the garage, these places can provide moisture and heat. The good place to store sleeping pad would be in a closet inside the house where there is no heat or moisture nearby. Or inside a room maybe your bedroom where moisture and heat is not an issue. Make sure the sleeping pad is thoroughly dry inside and out before storing them.
The benefits of sleeping pads for side sleepers
There are 2 benefits when you buy a sleeping pad
1. It will give you comfort.
The feature is obvious. A sleeping pad will give a cushion from any rough and uneven ground.
When you choose one type of sleeping pad, it is often become a substitute of a bed mattress.
So if you do not want to have uncomfortable eight hours of sleep every night, sleeping pad can definitely replace bed mattress at home.
2. During the cold night, you will feel the warmth.
A camper can get the right warmth they can get by sleeping on a sleeping pad in the cold of the night.
And this is a very important benefit.
This is what most campers do not understand that sleeping pad is an important factor to get warm in the night.
Even if a camper own a very thick and fancy sleeping bag, when they get to sleep at night, the insulation of the bottom sleeping bag will be crushed by the weight of the camper.
When it is crushed, without sleeping pad, it is as well as sleeping on a cold ground.
A sleeping pad will keep the insulation between the cold ground and the camper.
If you have a thick sleeping pad, it will provide more insulation.