The Best Camping Mattresses and Sleeping Pads of 2022

From packable pads to comfortable air beds, we found the best camping mattresses and sleeping pads to fit every adventure and budget.

Car camping offers a lot of benefits. Not only do you get to enjoy being outside, but you also don’t have to be as concerned with limiting weight or gear.

In terms of a sleeping pad, this means you can get something more comfortable. From an ultra-cushioned double sleeping pad to our top pick for budget savings, these are the best car camping mattresses and pads.

We all have different needs when it comes to sleeping pads, so while there isn’t a single camping pad that will suit everyone out there, we’ve broken them up into categories to help you find the right camp pad for you.

Scroll through to see all of our recommended buys or jump to the category you’re looking for. At the end of our list, we’ve included a buyer’s guide which spells out the ins and outs of camping mattresses, ensuring you can key in on the one for you.

We’ve also included a product spec table for easy comparison. And if you still have questions about camping mattresses there’s an FAQ for that. 

The Best Camping Mattresses & Sleeping Pads of 2022

Best Overall: Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D

Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D Camping Pad

When you first lie down on this sleeping pad ($230-260), you realize what you’ve been missing. There’s room to spread out, all the warmth you could need, and tons of foam padding. The vertical sidewalls enhance the sleeping space by 20%, which means you can roll around without falling off.

The dual valves make inflation easier. And we like the way it completely opens up for a faster deflation. It will take a couple of times rolling it up tightly to fit in the carrying bag, which was one of our only issues with it, but it is possible.

On top of comfort and warmth, what really made this pad stand out is its long-term durability. We’ve used it for more than 200 nights, and it’s still going strong.

It’s withstood a rowdy, jumping toddler, lying directly on gravel and other variable surfaces, and constant adult weight-bearing through the night. Through it all, it’s maintained perfect inflation and comfort.

At $230 for the large, this pad falls in between the Therm-a-Rest LuxuryMap and NEMO Roamer in price, matches them in comfort, and beats them in warmth and longevity. So, you’ll have to decide which factor is most important to you.

If you go with the MondoKing 3D, rest easy knowing you’ll be ultra cozy all night long, and can bank on comfort for future trips you’ve yet to imagine. Overall, it’s the best camping mattress.

Available in large and XXL sizes.

  • Weight: 5 lbs., 8 oz.
  • Packed size: 10.3 in. x 26 in. rolled
  • R-value: 7
  • Thickness: 4.25 in.
  • Material: Polyester, open-cell foam
  • Warm
  • Thick
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Not as easy to inflate initially as other comparable pads

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

Best Budget: Therm-a-Rest LuxuryMap Sleeping Pad

Therm-a-Rest LuxuryMap


Do you like a good memory foam mattress? Let us introduce you to the Therm-a-Rest LuxuryMap Sleeping Pad ($160). Three inches of air and engineered foam provide plenty of cushioning for a good night’s sleep. And with an R-value of 6, it will keep you warm on chilly summer nights (and into the shoulder seasons with the proper sleeping bag).

The horizontal core foam is designed to pack up easily and (as you can see in the above image) is mapped out in such a way as to provide more support in the areas that will see the most weight. We learned the hard way one night that these foam baffles make for a lumpy, uncomfortable surface if not fully inflated. When topped off, however, this pad rivals any hotel bed for comfort.

A soft, stretch-knit surface is comfortable next to the skin, which means this pad won’t need any sort of sheet to be cozy. The twin high-flow valves are simple, and deflating the pad at the end of a trip is quite easy. If you want something that rivals the comfort of the Exped MegaMat but clocks in for a few dollars less, the Therm-a-Rest LuxuryMap is the pad for you.

  • Weight: 3 lbs., 4 oz.
  • Packed size: 9.5 in. x 21 in. rolled
  • R-value: 6
  • Thickness: 3 in.
  • Material: Polyester, open-cell foam
  • Comfortable
  • Reversible valves make inflating and deflating simple
  • Large packed size
  • Requires full inflation to avoid lumps

Check Price at AmazonCheck Price at Backcountry

Runner-Up: NEMO Roamer XL Wide

NEMO Roamer XL Sleeping Pad

Anyone who’s ever called their car home will appreciate the NEMO Roamer ($250). This is the ultimate adventure mobile mattress. It’s thick, warm, and it’s seriously comfortable. With 4 inches of open-cell foam, you can sleep soundly wherever home happens to be.

As with most self-inflating pads, you’ll need to top it off for maximum comfort. But the micro-adjust valve makes it easy to add air without worrying about losing any. And we liked how the one-way valves make quick work of deflating the pad fully when it’s time to pack up camp.

Traditional air mattresses are thin and more susceptible to tears, but with the foam construction and a 75-denier polyester bottom, the Roamer is truly built to withstand camping outside. As an additional perk, the toggles on the side allow you to connect two Roamers to create a two-person mattress.

While it’s not ultralight by any means, it packs down fairly small for the added comfort it offers (about the size of a winter sleeping bag, or 10 x 16 inches).

We put this sleeping pad through extensive use, and after more than 150 nights it finally stopped holding air. The valves developed a slow leak that left us needing to top it off every night. For a permanent van or car dweller, it may not be ideal. But, for someone who car camps when exploring, we’d highly recommend it.

The Roamer also comes as a double ($400).

Read our full review of the NEMO Roamer to learn more about this super-comfy camping pad.

  • Weight: 5 lbs., 8 oz.
  • Packed size: 10 in. x 16 in. rolled
  • R-value: 6
  • Thickness: 4 in.
  • Material: 75-denier polyester, open-cell foam
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Connects to another Roamer pad to create a queen-size mattress
  • Expensive
  • Valve leaks over time

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

Best Crossover Pad for Camping & Backpacking: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Topo Luxe

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Topo Luxe Sleeping Pad

Therm-a-Rest followed the winning formula of their NeoAir XLite and XTherm pads to produce their most luxurious NeoAir pad yet: the NeoAir Topo Luxe ($170). At 4 inches thick, it’s also easily the most comfortable, and fills an interesting niche between camping and backpacking better than any pad we’ve slept on thus far.

When we initially tested the Topo Luxe during an overnight in North Cascades National Park, we had reservations. Typically when a pure air mattress reaches a certain thickness it suffers from ‘water-bed syndrome’ — an ailment where any movement translates into a bouncy ride.

Our fears, thankfully, were unfounded, largely thanks to Therm-a-Rest’s use of their Triangular Core Matrix: a double-stacked layer of baffles that stabilize the pad across its length. It even performed admirably when used atop a campsite of loose alpine rock.

Since it’s the same recipe as other NeoAir pads, it doesn’t sport vertical sidewalls, which can make for less usable space for sleeping on. The pad also uses 50-denier polyester across the top and bottom, which is a thinner material than some of the pads on our list, and it’ll need to be treated as such.

No one trick pony, this pad even slipped into our packs on shorter backpacking overnights where we can indulge in a few luxury items. As a real master of two domains, the NeoAir Topo Luxe would make an excellent pad for those who split their time between the front country and the back, or who want to simplify their gear closet. 

The Topo Luxe is available in a number of sizes, including regular wide, large, and X-large.

  • Weight: 1 lb., 7 oz.
  • Packed size: 9.5 in. x 5.7 in. rolled
  • R-value: 3.7
  • Thickness: 4 in.
  • Material: 50-denier polyester, nylon
  • Packed size rivals some backpacking sleeping pads
  • Internal structure limits the amount of bounce
  • TwinLock valves make for easy inflation and deflation
  • Non-vertical sidewalls mean less usable space
  • Durability will be less than other sleeping pads

Check Price at REICheck Price at Backcountry

Best Double Sleeping Pad: Exped MegaMat Duo 10

Megamat Duo 10 Sleeping Mat

When comfort is your main concern, the MegaMat ($330-450) is your answer. What it lacks in packed size and affordability, it more than makes up for in size and comfort.

The open-cell polyurethane foam insulates and cushions. And while some double sleeping pads perpetually send one partner for a ride when the other moves, the MegaMat Duo is stable and quiet.

As with all self-inflating pads, expect to top it off after heavy use. But instead of having to blow into it, you can use the included mini pump, which simplifies inflation and minimizes effort. It also includes a repair kit should you ever get a tear (although we’ve found it impressively durable).

One of our favorite things about this pad is how level it is. Some camping mattresses pop up in the middle when filled, but thanks to the 3D construction, this bad boy stays flat even when fully inflated and being slept on.

At 77.6 inches long and 52 inches wide, the MegaMat is large enough to snugly fit two adults or spaciously sleep one. For reference, a double-size fitted sheet fits almost perfectly.

The durable sidewalls provide support, and as our tester noted, “The vertical sidewalls increase the usable sleeping surface. This small addition compared to other sleeping pads is instantly noticeable.” Apart from adding comfort and space, these impressive sidewalls also help keep you dry in really bad weather.

“During one stretch, Mother Nature pounded us with rain for 3 days straight. The bottoms of the tents were soaked. The height and larger surface kept me dry and warm even over wet ground.”

Not lightweight, you’ll certainly notice the heft of the MegaMat amongst your camping supplies — it’s easily one of the heaviest we reviewed that isn’t a full foam mattress design. Along with that will be a bulky packed size, which makes this a camping mattress best suited for close-to-the-car endeavors.

Durable, comfortable, and stable — this is the ultimate sleeping pad for two people. It’s also available as a single. If you don’t mind the weight, it’s one of the best camping mattresses you can buy.

Check our full review on the Exped MegaMat.

  • Weight: 9 lbs., 14 oz.
  • Packed size: 11 in. x 22 in. rolled
  • R-value: 9.5
  • Thickness: 3.9 in.
  • Material: 50-denier nylon top, 75-denier polyester bottom, open-cell foam
  • Supremely comfortable
  • Durable
  • Expensive
  • Large packed size
  • Heavy

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

Mega Size, Warmth, & Comfort: Exped 'MegaMat'
Mega Size, Warmth, & Comfort: Exped 'MegaMat'
Designed for car campers, Exped made a sleeping pad you will dream about while fast asleep on it. Read more…

Best Air Mattress: Sierra Designs Air Bed

Sierra Design Airbed

This two-person air bed ($60) from Sierra Designs is a quality camp mattress at an affordable price. It’s not as packable as a sleeping pad like the MegaMat Duo, but we still found it quite comfortable, portable, and easy to set up. It’s sized to fit standard queen-size sheets and comfortably sleeps two.

The included battery-operated pump does a surprisingly good job inflating the mattress, but it does take some time to fully inflate. This air bed has proven durable over several months of use, even withstanding being placed directly on the ground.

It’s not as insulated as some other pads on the list, but this Air Bed is easily one of the best camping mattresses you can find for the price.

  • Weight: 5 lbs., 6 oz.
  • Packed size: Unavailable
  • R-value: Unavailable
  • Thickness: 7 in.
  • Material: TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane)
  • Comfortable
  • PVC-free
  • Not as plush as larger air mattresses
  • Not insulated

Check Price at AmazonCheck Price at Sierra Designs

Best Mattress for a Truck Bed: Hest Dually


HEST Dually Mattress

The Hest Dually ($549-579) is an incredibly comfortable mattress that sleeps two and folds in half for travel. But its remarkable comfort and durability are matched only by its hefty price tag. Despite the price, the Dually Mattress is an excellent purpose-built truck bed sleep system.

To achieve great comfort at just 3.9 inches thick (open), the mattress uses two layers of high-performance polyfoam. It cradles your body for sleeping while providing effective insulation against the cold truck bed below you. Our tester has enjoyed wonderful nights of sleep on this mattress, and would recommend it for anyone looking for a permanent, portable truck bed mattress.

The bottom and sides of the Dually mattress use heathered nylon woven with a polyurethane backing for durability. It’s a tougher fabric that can handle jostling around in the back of a pickup truck with other gear. We packed lots of gear on top of the mattress when folded, and it showed no signs of wear.

Due to the seamless center-fold design, there’s also no noticeable seam where the mattress folds. Other cool features include phone pockets on each side and handles for easy carrying.

Learn more with our comprehensive Hest Dually review.

  • Weight: 32 lbs.
  • Packed size: 78 in. x 25 in. x 7.8 in.
  • R-value: Unavailable
  • Thickness: 3.9 in.
  • Material: Polyurethane-backed nylon, two types of polyfoam
  • Highly durable
  • Ideal for truck bed camping
  • Expensive

Check Price at REICheck Price at Hest

Best of the Rest

Klymit Klymaloft

Klymaloft Sleeping Pad

Like the NeoAir Topo Luxe, this pad shines in the spaces between camping and backpacking, with an added twist. The Klymit Klymaloft ($160) adds a supremely soft foam topper to the upper two-thirds of the pad, and we aren’t lying when we say this pad just felt good to sink into.

By using a combination of air and foam construction, the Klymaloft sleeping pad straddles the line between comfort and packability — compressing down to a respectable 8-inch x 11.5-inch cylinder. We greatly appreciated being able to bring along such a small package, without sacrificing any comfort to do so.

Since it’s an air mattress first, the pad won’t self-inflate much and you’ll need to do some of the heavy lifting. Thankfully the pad is compatible with Klymit’s USB Rechargeable Pump ($60), a little device that we’ve come to love for quick inflation while setting up camp.

There was one issue, however: the R-value of 2.3, which keeps this pad firmly on the summer side of a three-season designation, and on the lower end of all the pads we tested. You’ll need to bring a bit more insulation to stretch this pad into shoulder season use. With a better R-value, we could have seen the Klymaloft higher on our list.

At $160, this pad is an affordable and compact way to bring along a good bit of comfort on your next camping foray. It’s available in regular, extra large, and double sizes.

  • Weight: 2 lbs., 6 oz.
  • Packed size: 8 in. x 11.5 in. rolled
  • R-value: 2.3
  • Thickness: 3 in.
  • Material: 75-denier polyester, open-cell foam
  • Compact packed size
  • Plush and soft foam topper
  • Single flip valve works well for inflation, deflation
  • R-value of 2.3 is on the lower end of the pads we tested

Check Price at AmazonCheck Price at Klymit

Sea to Summit Comfort Plus SI Sleeping Pad


Comfort Plus Self-Inflating Sleeping Mat

This sleeping pad has a lot to offer. It’s priced under $200 ($150 for the regular version) and provides 3 inches of self-inflating comfort. We’ve only been testing it for a few months now, but overall we’re highly impressed.

Although it’s not quite as plush as a thicker pad like the MondoKing, it’s incredibly comfortable. Even the side sleepers among us like it.

The 4.1 R-value means you’ll stay warm and could even use this camp mattress year-round (paired with the right sleeping bag). This upgraded mat is noticeably thicker and more comfortable than the previous models.

The Comfort Plus SI also scored top marks for next-to-skin comfort. The 30-denier knitted upper fabric is soft to the touch — but is a bit thin when compared to other mattresses we’ve tested. We have used this pad directly on the ground and in tents without a ground cloth, and so far it’s been holding up.

We also appreciate Sea to Summit’s flip-over valve system. It creates a one-way flow for inflation, and then you can pull it completely out for quick deflation. At nearly 3 pounds in the large size (our preferred), this pad is better suited to car camping, but you could conceivably use it for short backpacking stints if needed.

And if you have an Aeros Camp Pillow, you’ll appreciate the “Pillow Lock” system. It’s really just a bit of hook and loop on the pad and pillow, but it does help keep your pillow in place.

The Comfort Plus SI is available in regular and large versions, as well as double wide, rectangular wide, and even a rectangular large.

  • Weight: 2 lbs., 2 oz.
  • Packed size: 6.5 in. x 11 in. rolled
  • R-value: 4.1
  • Thickness: 3 in.
  • Material: 30-denier polyester, open-cell foam
  • Comfortable
  • Reversible valves make inflating and deflating simple
  • Heavy
  • Thinner denier fabric may lead to lower durability

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Exped MegaMat 15 Max

Exped MegaMat Max 15 Sleeping Pad

If the 4 inches of comfort of the Exped MegaMat Duo 10 doesn’t quite do it for you, don’t stray far: The Exped MegaMat 15 Max ($320) bolsters their thickest camping mattress to a luxuriant 6 inches, and we’re here to say that bigger often is better.

With a thickness often only seen in purely air mattresses, this sleeping pad can be soft-inflated for the maximum in body cradling — and it avoids the typical bounce with the inclusion of channeled foam throughout the pad.

During testing, our reviewer had to often arm wrestle their tent mate over who would get the ‘big mattress’ that evening. Such a large pad does take a while to fully expand, and once the foam has done its thing we needed to top it off with the included mini pump. Alternatively, Exped does offer its Widget Pump ($50), an ingenious little electric pump that speeds up the process significantly. 

When it came time to roll we greatly appreciated Exped’s inclusion of a roll-top style stuff sack that opens on the long bias. This made storing the pad a breeze, which is saying something — this pad is a beast in its stored form. Easily one of the largest in our testing, you’ll want to ensure you’ve got space set aside to bring this one along.

When comfort is king (and money is no object), the Exped MegaMat 15 Max reigns supreme. 

  • Weight: 7 lbs., 9 oz.
  • Packed size: 11 in. x 31.1 in. rolled
  • R-value: 10.6
  • Thickness: 6 in.
  • Material: 50-denier nylon top, 75-denier polyester bottom, open-cell foam
  • Air-mattress thickness without the bounce
  • Includes Exped Mini Pump for inflation top off
  • Packed size is a beast
  • Pricey

Check Price at REICheck Price at Exped

Kelty Mistral SI Sleeping Pad

Kelty Mistral SI Sleeping Pad

The Mistral SI ($45) is an incredible value. A quality sleeping pad for less than 50 bucks is a darn good deal. That said, at only 1.5 inches thick, this isn’t the most luxurious pad. We never had any instances of feeling the ground beneath us, but it’s certainly more minimalist than other pads and mattresses on this list.

If you’re looking to maximize comfort, go with a plusher mat. However, if you’re looking for a well-made, solid sleeping pad that won’t empty your wallet, this is it.

The Mistral inflates and deflates quite easily. There’s nothing fancy to it, but it serves its purpose with no major downsides. Despite how thin it is, the insulation kept us warm even when temps dipped into the 20s (with a good sleeping bag, of course). This pad is only available in a regular length, so if you’re extra tall, it may not be the best choice.

It weighs a reasonable 2 pounds, 12 oz, and packs down relatively small. We’ve used it for short hike-in camping, but wouldn’t recommend it for backpacking, as it takes up considerable room in your pack.

Anyone dipping their toes into camping or looking for a great deal will appreciate this sleeping pad.

  • Weight: 2 lbs., 12 oz.
  • Packed size: 7.5 in. x 12 in. rolled
  • R-value: 4.7
  • Thickness: 1.5 in.
  • Material: Vinyl-coated polyester
  • Affordable
  • Packable
  • Less comfortable than other mattresses
  • Bulky for anything other than car camping

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

REI Co-op Camp Bed Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad

REI Co-op Camp Bed Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad

This self-inflating sleep mat ($125-$139) gets high marks for durability and reliability. Year after year, night after night, it keeps inflating and providing plenty of warmth and cushion.

With an R-value of 6.8, it will keep even cold sleepers warm all summer long. And for most, it’s even enough insulation for winter camping. In addition to warmth, the open-cell foam provides a boost of comfort.

To inflate, simply unroll, open the valves, sit back, and relax. The foam will expand, and the pad will partially inflate. From here, you can top it off with a few breaths to reach your desired firmness.

For the easiest inflation, we recommend fully inflating your pad before your first camping trip. This will allow it to expand and prepare it for self-inflation.

Deflation is rather quick thanks to the high-flow valves, but it can take a couple of tries to get it rolled up tightly enough for packing. The polyester upper has a soft and comfortable fabric feel.

Once deployed, we comfortably laid directly on the sleeping pad and appreciated its furniture quality. With a 150-denier bottom, this pad has ample durability, and we didn’t worry about sticks or rocks when lying down.

At more than 3 pounds, it’s not the best camping mattress for backpacking, and is best used for car camping or short hikes into camp.

While there are thicker pads on this list, we found the Camp Bed to be a top pick thanks to its affordable price, ability to last through years of heavy use, comfort, and softness.

  • Weight: 3 lbs., 10 oz.
  • Packed size: 5.5 in. x 26 in. rolled
  • R-value: 6.8
  • Thickness: 2.5 in.
  • Material: 150-denier polyester bottom, soft polyester top, open-cell foam
  • Nearly indestructible
  • Good value
  • Warm
  • Easy to use
  • Not as thick as other car camping mattresses

Check Price at REI

HEST Sleep System

HEST Sleep System

Let’s start with the obvious — this pad is heavy. Like, 26 pounds heavy.

That said, if you’re creating a van life oasis or building out your truck bed, the weight isn’t an issue. And quite frankly, the incredible comfort is worth it. We’ve heard many rave reviews that it’s “better than my expensive mattress at home.”

Essentially two sleeping pads in one, the HEST Sleep System ($449) includes an inflatable base and foam mattress. The base is incredibly easy to inflate thanks to the large pump, and we love that it can be inflated to high pressure for maximum comfort.

With a combined 7 inches of padding, you don’t have to worry about pebbles keeping you up at night. It’s also incredibly warm. With an R-value of 11.8, it’s the warmest camp mattress on this list.

The mattress packs up well into the included duffel bag and has a well-thought-out design. At $449, it’s a big investment, but if comfort is your top concern, the price and weight won’t matter.

If you’re looking for a double camp pad that’s more easily maneuverable for car camping, check out the Hest Dually.

  • Weight: 26 lbs.
  • Packed size: 14 in. x 25 in. rolled
  • R-value: 11.8
  • Thickness: 7 in.
  • Material: Polyester, two types of open-cell foam
  • Comfortable
  • Warm
  • Durable
  • Heavy
  • Expensive

Check Price at REICheck Price at Hest

Exped DeepSleep Mat

Exped DeepSleep Mat 7.5 Sleeping Pad

Rounding out the family of Exped camping mattresses, the Exped DeepSleep Mat ($160) is the budget choice of the bunch — but don’t count it out too quickly. It’s still got all of the excellent Exped tech baked in, just at a shorter stack height of 3 inches.

Something we really appreciated was the retention of Exped’s 3D construction in this sleeping pad, giving it a full-length sleeping area that doesn’t give an inch to seams. The upper fabric is also a brushed 75-denier polyester, meaning it’s both more durable and softer than the 50-denier nylon used in the Exped MegaMat Duo 10 and Exped MegaMat 15 Max

Compared to other mats of the same thickness like the Sea to Summit Camp Plus SI Sleeping Pad, we’d far rather be atop the DeepSleep, although for only a few more bucks, the Therm-a-Rest Neoair Topo Luxe offers a thicker and lighter pad, all in a more compact package.

The cost savings had to come from somewhere, and besides being a thinner pad than the other MegaMat offerings, the DeepSleep also doesn’t come with a pump or repair kit. Thankfully the pad self-inflates well enough, but it’ll be a sad day when we inevitably poke a hole in it.

For the money, the Exped DeepSleep Mat offers an easily obtainable slice of the good life, and is available in a dizzying number of sizes to fit any body type.

  • Weight: 6 lbs., 9 oz.
  • Packed size: 11 in. x 22 in. rolled
  • R-value: 9
  • Thickness: 3 in.
  • Material: 75-denier polyester, open-cell foam
  • On the budget end of the range
  • Retains many nice features of Exped’s higher-end pads
  • Pump and repair kit sold separately
  • Pack sack is vertical loading, and you’ll need to roll the pad tight to get it in

Check Price at REICheck Price at evo

Coleman Self-Inflating Camping Pad With Pillow

Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad with Pillow

For the casual camper, it’s hard to beat $60 for a two-in-one camping sleeping pad and pillow. This iteration from Coleman isn’t the fanciest on the list, but if you only plan to sleep outside a few nights each year or want to test the camping waters without breaking the bank, this is a solid option.

For inflation, expect to have to add a few breaths to the pad to top it off. You’ll also need to blow up the attached pillow to your desired firmness.

At a little over 3 pounds, it’s not outrageously heavy or bulky for car camping. And at a 76-inch length, it’s a good option for tall people.

Although the quality of the pad itself is acceptable, the attached straps are strangely fragile and prone to breaking off at the rivet. If you don’t particularly care about using the straps, the Coleman Self-Inflating pad is one of the best camping mattress budget picks.

  • Weight: 3 lbs., 4 oz.
  • Packed size: Unavailable
  • R-value: Unavailable
  • Thickness: 2.5 in.
  • Material: Unavailable
  • Affordable
  • Good for tall campers
  • Long-term durability concerns
  • Less comfortable than other mattresses

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Camping Sleeping Pad and Mattress Comparison Table

Camping Sleeping Pad Price Weight Packed Size R-Value Thickness
Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D $230-260 5 lbs., 8 oz. 10.3 in. x 26 in. rolled 7 4.25 in.
Therm-a-Rest LuxuryMap $160 3 lbs., 4 oz. 9.5 in. x 21 in. rolled 6 3 in.
NEMO Roamer $250 5 lbs., 8 oz. 10 in. x 16 in. rolled 6 4 in.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Topo Luxe $170 1 lb., 7 oz. 9.5 in. x 5.7 in. rolled 3.7 4 in.
Exped MegaMat Duo 10 $330-450 9 lbs., 14 oz. 11 in. x 22 in. rolled 9.5 3.9 in.
Sierra Designs Air Bed $60 5 lbs., 6 oz. N/A N/A 7 in.
Hest Dually $549-579 32 lbs. 78 in. x 25 in. x 7.8 in. N/A 3.9 in.
Klymit Klymaloft $160 2 lbs., 6 oz. 8 in. x 11.5 in. rolled 2.3 3 in.
Sea to Summit Comfort Plus SI $150-200 2 lbs., 2 oz. 6.5 in. x 11 in. rolled 4.1 3 in.
Exped MegaMat 15 Max $320 7 lbs., 9 oz. 11 in. x 31.1 in. rolled 10.6 6 in.
Kelty Mistral SI $45 2 lbs., 12 oz. 7.5 in. x 12 in. rolled 4.7 1.5 in.
REI Co-op Camp Bed Self-Inflating $125-139 3 lbs., 10 oz. 5.5 in. x 26 in. rolled 6.8 2.5 in.
HEST Sleep System $449 26 lbs. 14 in. x 25 in. rolled 11.8 7 in.
Exped DeepSleep Mat $160 6 lbs., 9 oz. 11 in. x 22 in. rolled 9 3 in.
Coleman Self-Inflating Camping Pad With Pillow $60 3 lbs., 4 oz.  N/A  N/A 2.5 in.

Why You Should Trust Us

As avid campers ourselves, we’ve spent hundreds of nights sleeping outside. From backpacking in the Desolation Wilderness, overlanding in Apalachicola, to camping out across the Rocky Mountains, we’ve logged a lot of hours testing sleeping pads.

During our testing process for this roundup, we focused specifically on camping pads and mattresses that aren’t strictly designed for backpacking. Backpacking pads tend to be ultra-light and packable, so certain sacrifices are made related to comfort and durability.

Because this list mostly includes pads that are campground and car-camping friendly, our testing primarily occurred in truck beds, family-size tents, and directly under the stars.

Our primary considerations while testing were packed size, comfort, warmth, and ease of use. Secondarily, we looked at durability and value. These mattresses were carefully inspected and repeatedly slept on. We took many of these pads on our annual GearJunkie Camp Test — a full week completely devoted to thoroughly field-testing camping gear.

At the end of the day, we’re confident these are the best camping mattresses available today.

Sleeping Pad Comfort
A good pad can be a camp comfort game changer; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Sleeping Pad

Before reading our buyer’s guide, take a few moments to think about how you plan to camp and sleep.

Will you be driving up to a camp spot, sleeping in your vehicle, hiking a mile or so in, or heading out on a weeklong backpacking trip? Do you sleep on your back, side, or stomach? Is extra cushioning important, or do you care more about saving weight?

Understanding your sleep preferences will help determine the best sleeping pad. Read on for the most important factors in choosing a camping pad.

For this particular roundup, we focused specifically on pads made for car camping and similar applications. We did not test pads or mattresses designed to fit into a backpacking pack. If you’re looking for a backpacking pad, check out our favorite products here.

Camping Pads Comparison
Remember, camping pads are made for comfort! You’ll be hard-pressed to fit two of these mats in a backpacking tent; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Sleeping Pads vs. Mattresses

The difference between a sleeping pad and an air mattress is a gray area. On this list, we refer to products that are thicker, cushier, and less portable as air mattresses. At 7 inches thick and 26 pounds, the HEST Sleep System is definitely in the “mattress” category.

Sleeping pads are relatively thin, light, and portable. Though this list mostly focuses on car camping products, certain sleeping pads are portable enough to bring along on river trips and short backpacking missions. The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus SI Sleeping Pad is a prime example of a versatile sleeping pad.

Weight & Packed Size

If you’re mainly car camping, you can maximize comfort by going with a more padded, inflatable option like the NEMO Roamer or a deluxe air mattress like the Hest Sleep System. The tradeoff is that these don’t pack down as small and are too heavy for backpacking.

If you plan on hiking into the backcountry, a pad that packs down small and weighs less is ideal. Just how small and light you want to go is up to you. The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Topo Luxe packs down to the size of a Nalgene bottle and weighs just 1 pound, 7 oz.

REI Sleeping Pad
Many camp pads combine the comfort and convenience of foam and self-inflation; (photo/Mallory Paige)


In general, the thicker the pad, the more comfortable it is. Additionally, having a bit of foam or extra insulation increases the comfort factor and decreases the noise (see below).

Since camping sleeping pads don’t need to often be carried far, they can afford to bump up the thickness in many cases. The average thickness across the pads we tested was 4 inches, with the thinnest of the bunch being the Kelty Mistral SI Sleeping Pad at 1.5 inches and the thickest being the luxurious HEST Sleep System at 7 inches.

Pads that rely on air alone for their structure can sometimes feel a bit bouncy if underinflated, which is why many will incorporate closed-cell foam in their construction. This gives the pad a self-inflating quality as the foam bounces back. 

If you’re a side sleeper, you understand the need for plenty of cushioning under your hips and shoulders. For a better night’s sleep, you’ll want to consider a thicker sleeping pad.

Exped Camping Sleeping Pads in Tent
Close to identical in construction, the Exped DeepSleep and MegaMat Max offer considerably different cushioning due to their thicknesses. (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Durability & Denier

Denier is a unit of measurement used to describe textile strength. The higher the denier, the thicker and stronger the fabric. For a sleeping pad, this is mainly important for puncture resistance.

On one end, the ultralight, backpacking-friendly Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite is made with 15-denier nylon. On the other end, consider that the NEMO Roamer is made with 75-denier polyester. As you can imagine, there’s often a tradeoff between durability, weight, and packability.

Consider also the durability of the components used elsewhere in the pad, such as the interior closed-cell foam, or the inflation valves. As in most things, the maxim of getting what you pay for applies here as well. 

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Topo Luxe Fabric
The 50-denier polyester used in the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Topo Luxe is a bit thinner than most camping pads, but greatly improves the packability of this dual-use mattress; (photo/Nick Belcaster)


We love a good value. But even more than that, we appreciate gear that performs well and lasts through several seasons of use.

If you only plan to sleep outside a weekend or two a year, a cheaper pad may get the job done just fine. But if camping is a regular occurrence, it’s worth investing more in a pad.

This is the foundation of your sleep, and getting enough rest at night will make spending all day outside that much more enjoyable. In general, forking over a few extra bucks will get you some combination of increased comfort, durability, and warmth.

The Best Camping Mattresses and Sleeping Pads Review
Camping pad thickness directly relates to the overall comfort and warmth; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Warmth & R-Value

In addition to comfortable cushioning, a good camping pad should provide some insulation from the ground. Enter the R-Value: a measure of thermal resistance that can shed some light on just how warm a sleeping pad might keep you.

R-Value testing goes a little like this: inside a cold chamber, a sleeping pad is placed between two metal plates. An array of sensors measure the temperature flow between these plates, and provide a numerical value relative to the sleeping pads ability to retain and reflect warmth.

Since testing can occur in different ways, many sleeping pad manufacturers have adopted the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) R-Value Standard. The higher the R-value, the warmer and more insulating the sleeping pad will be. The MegaMat clocks in with a whopping 9.5 R-value, making it cozy for year-round car camping.

The R-value you need depends a bit on if you tend to be a warm or cool sleeper. In general, you’ll want a sleeping pad with a value greater than 5 for comfortable winter camping. For summer, something in the 2 to 4 range should work for warmer nights.

If waking up with a cold back is a common complaint, consider choosing a warmer sleeping pad or adding a foam pad like the Z-Lite under your normal pad for additional insulation.

Length & Width

Most camping sleeping pads come in regular and long versions. Some also come in short, wide, and extra-long varieties. The length and width you need depend not only on your dimensions but also on your camping goals.

We’ve found that while many backpacking sleeping pads begin at around 20 inches wide, many camping pads start at around 25 inches and expand from there.

We know tall thru-hikers who happily cut their Z-Lite pad in half to shave a few ounces off their pack weight. And we know some tiny testers who prefer a wide sleeping pad because they like the ability to roll around in their sleep.

The main thing to remember is an increase in length and width almost always corresponds to an increase in price and packed size.

Sleeping Pad Valve
A flip-valve allows air to pass into the mattress in one configuration, then dumps air out when you’re ready to pack up; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Valves & Inflation

Up until recent years, almost all sleeping pads utilized a twisting plastic valve. Turn one direction to open it for inflation, and (quickly!) turn the other to close and trap air inside.

While this system works, it’s not the easiest to inflate. Because air can freely move back and forth, you need to either create constant pressure while blowing it up or skillfully use your tongue to stop air from exiting the pad while inhaling. It can be done, but we prefer the new inflation technology when tired on the trail.

Luckily, many sleeping pads now use flat valves with dedicated inflation and deflation settings. Best of all, a flap keeps air from escaping during inflation.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Topo Luxe Sleeping Pad
The two TwinLock valves make for quick and easy inflation and deflation, with the ability to bleed off pressure to dial in the comfort; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

While many pads feature separate valves for inflation and deflation, the Klymit Klymaloft has a valve that flips from one mode to the next. This makes achieving the perfect firmness a breeze.

In addition to valves, many pads now come with inflation bags. The Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D comes with an inflation bag integrated into the stuff sack. The Big Agnes Pumphouse Ultra ($35) is sold separately and works as both a dry bag and an inflation bag.

Finally, many manufacturers are now coming out with diminutive electric air pumps to assist in getting your sleeping pad up and running. These include the Exped Widget, the Klymit USB Rechargeable Pump, and the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Micro Pump ($40).

Camping Pads Inflation Styles
Often pump sacks are integrated into the stuff sacks that camping mattresses travel in, but some are stand-alone extras; (photo/Eric Phillips)


The most common complaint about camping sleeping pads is the loud, crinkly noise. While packing less is great, sleeping on a pad as noisy as a potato chip bag is less than ideal. And having your tentmate toss and turn all night is even worse.

Fortunately, brands are taking note and making quieter sleeping pads. On this list, the Exped MegaMat is noticeably crinkle-free.

NEMO Roamer XL Sleeping Pad
Waking up after a pleasant night on a top-notch sleeping pad; (photo/Eric Phillips)


What Is the Most Comfortable Sleeping Pad?

If price and weight are no concern, the HEST Sleep System is a unique inflatable and foam combo that provides top-tier comfort. For a more packable camp mattress, the Therm-a-Rest MondoKing is a winner.

How Thick Should a Sleeping Pad Be?

This depends entirely on your individual comfort level. Generally, we’d recommend 1.5 inches as the minimum.

And if price and space are not a concern, go with something in the range of 4+ inches. This not only offers increased padding, but also greater warmth and protection from the ground.

How Do You Choose a Sleeping Pad for Camping?

Finding the right sleeping pad can make or break your camp trip. First consider, where, when, and how often you plan to camp.
Are you camping in the hot, humid South? Or do you camp a lot in the winter? And are you spending a lot of time outside or just getting started with a night or two camped out?

If you’re camping when it’s cold, you’ll want to prioritize a higher insulation (R-value) level. And if you’re just testing it out or on a tighter budget, go with something like the sub-$50 Kelty Mistral.

What Is the Best Mattress for Car Camping?

The best thing about car camping is that you don’t need to obsess over the weight or packed size. As long as it reasonably fits in your car, you can focus more on comfort.

After more than a year of testing, we found the Therm-a-Rest MondoKing topped the charts for durability, comfort, and ease of use. If you’re looking for an air mattress, the Hest Sleep System delivers traditional inflatable comfort along with a convenient (and cozy) sheet and comforter setup.

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