The Best Budget Sleeping Pads Reviews

September 20, 2020

If you are going hiking, backpacking or camping, and are planning to spend the night in your tent, then investing in a good-quality sleeping pad is necessary. This is because after hiking, your body becomes exhausted and it is essential to get some rest.

The cheapest and lightest pads are closed-cell foam pads. These pads are durable and can double as a quick seat during a brief rest on the trail or during a meal.

The alternative is an inflatable pad. Many backpackers find these to be a little more “deluxe” than a closed-cell foam pad, providing a more comfortable sleeping surface. These can be a little heavier, however, and you must stay aware of your surroundings to avoid a puncture in the pad.

However, if you don’t have a good sleeping pad, you’re going to wake up tired and won’t be able to enjoy your backpacking trip.

Investing in a good one, on the other hand, will help you sleep comfortably by providing proper cushioning and insulation. If you are looking to buy one, then read on this article to choose the one which fits your needs and budget most perfectly.

So here is the list of best budget sleeping pads for backpacking that will help you sleep comfortably.

1. Klymit Insulated Static V Lite

Klymit Insulated Static V Lite
Type: Air pad
Weight: 1 lb. 3.6 oz.
Thickness: 2.5 in.
R-value: 4.4

Klymit Insulated Static V Lite has a very unique design. It has a V-shaped baffle system throughout the length of the pad that creates a comfortable position throughout the night.

It allows for minimal weight and materials while maximizing thermal efficiency. Also, there are air chambers between each baffle and that helps to create or trap warm air.

On the sides, there’re dynamic side rails which help to keep you on the pad all night. They help to cradle you no matter if you’re sleeping in a hammock or a typical sleeping bag. They’re very flexible and they curl up around the sides to make sure you stay on the pad.

The estimated R-value is about 4.4 with this pad which makes it good for 4-season use. Maybe not in the most extreme temperatures but some of those colder nights, this pad could perform well. The pad packs down small and it comes with its stuff sack. It also comes with a small repair kit just in case you need to do some field repairs.

Pros: Wide sleeping platform, lightweight, warm, baffles feel stable

Cons: Not a standout in any specific category.

2. NEMO Switchback

Nemo Switchback
Type: Closed-cell foam
Weight: 14.5 oz.
Thickness: 0.9 in.
R-Value: Rated at 20 to 35˚F

NEMO Switchback is a closed-cell foam pad that is ideal for lightweight backpackers. It packs down into an accordion-style pattern. The pad weighs in right around 14.5 ounces for the regular size.

It also comes in a small which is right around 10.5 ounces. It is also perfect for adding to another inflatable sleeping pad. So if you have a sleeping pad and you like to take out in the winter but it doesn’t have an R-value that is high enough, you can pair it easily and comfortably with a closed-cell foam pad like this one.

Keep in mind that this is not a good choice for you if you’re looking for a cushy and comfortable sleeping pad. All you get is a little less than an inch of closed-cell foam, along with a reflective coating designed to capture radiant heat.

The pad is lightweight and packs down small. You can lash it to the outside of a backpack so you don’t notice it when you don’t need it.

Pros: Durable, very affordable, doubles as a camp seat

Cons: Not recommended for sub-freezing temps (best for summer use), not as comfortable as inflatable pads

3. Therm-a-Rest Trail Pro

Therm-a-Rest Trail Pro
Type: Self-inflating
Weight: 1 lb. 10 oz.
Thickness: 2 in.
R-Value: 4.0

Therm-a-Rest is constantly innovating and developing new technology that has kept them at the top of the sleeping pad game for years. The Trail Pro is a tried-and-true pad and has gotten some enhancements. This pad is built for the backpackers, travelers who need a reliable, warm and comfortable pad.

You get some traditional design elements that keep the pad’s heritage. Inside, it’s lined with open-cell expanding foam just like a sponge absorbs liquid. This foam will essentially suck in air and expand or self-inflate when you open up the valve.

The Trail Pro has a perimeter air baffle that is going to bring up the loft a little bit and give you some stability around the edges of the pad. This helps staying on the pad throughout the night and to keep you nestled in.

It’s a diagonally cut foam that bolsters the warmth by minimizing heat loss. The pad itself is also pressure-mapped to give you support and softness in the area where you need it most. The foam is also strategically die-cut to reduce bulk in other areas that balance out the pad’s weight and size.

It does include a stuff sack for storage and packing away. When storing for a long time, keep it unrolled with the valve open under your bed or somewhere where it can just lay flat. This helps to keep that foam in the best shape throughout the pad’s life.

Pros: Quality build, self-inflating convenience

Cons: Weight and packed size can’t compete with an air pad.

4. Therm-a-Rest Z Lite SOL

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol
Type: Closed-cell foam
Weight: 14 oz.
Thickness: 0.75 in.
R-Value: 2.0

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite SOL is a lightweight and classic sleeping mat that couldn’t be any simpler. If you’re an ounce-counting backpacker or looking for an affordable and durable pad this one is a perfect choice. The pad is also perfect for adding to another inflatable sleeping pad.

It is a closed-cell foam mat and the great thing about this mat is that it’s not inflatable. So there is no way that you can puncture or pop it. There is a shiny silver color on top that is a thermal reflective barrier.

It’s going to reflect your body’s heat to you to make it much more thermally efficient. The other stand out feature is the egg crate design. When you fold this up, the egg crate design folds down into itself and that saves a lot of space.

A pad like this has multiple uses that go beyond just sleeping on it at night. You can use it as a seat. Fold it up and create a cushiony seat! You can also use it to prop up against trees.

Unlike an inflatable sleeping pad, you don’t have to worry about this being punctured. You can put it on different surfaces and not worry about it getting damaged. Use it in the truck of your car, going to the beach, on picnics, anything you can throw at it. This is a great companion.

Pros: Lightweight, affordable, great warmth adding supplement

Cons: Dimples gather dirt and moisture, breaks down over time

5. Big Agnes Air Core Ultra

Big Agnes Air Core Ultra
Type: Air pad
Weight: 1 lb. 4 oz.
Thickness: 3.5 in.
R-Value: Rated at 35°F

The Big Agnes Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pad is an extremely light and compact pad, ideal for summer backpacking and camping trips. It provides you with a smooth and stable surface to sleep on and will help you get a sound sleep after a tiring day.

This model is very easy to inflate and deflate which means when you are ready to sleep, it will only take a few breaths to inflate, and you would be able to sleep immediately. It’s also sturdier and warmer as compared to its award-winning forerunner. Thanks to its advanced heat reflective mechanism.

Available in beautiful gold color, this sleeping pad is available in 4 different sizes. Price varies according to the size, of course. This pad is also antimicrobial so you don’t have to worry about microorganism growth inside the pad due to moist air. Those who purchased it found this pad extremely lightweight and found it easier to fold and pack.

Overall, this is a lightweight, low volume backpacking pad that will make you forget you’re sleeping on the ground.

Pros: Lightweight, very compact, easy to inflate/deflate, easy to roll up and stuff back into its carrying bag.

Cons: This pad is not self-inflating and moving around on it is a bit noisy.

6. Klymit Insulated Static V Luxe

Klymit Insulated Static V Luxe
Type: Air pad
Weight: 2 lbs. 3 oz.
Thickness: 3 in.
R-Value: 4.4

Klymit is known for using the minimal amount of materials to give the maximum amount of comfort in the backcountry. Static V Luxe is the wider and more comfortable luxurious type of sleeping pad.

It is going to be comfortable and offers a lot of thermal efficiency throughout most seasons throughout the year. It has side rails that provide a secure sleep and keeps your body in the center of the mattress.

The V-Chambered sleeping surface allows you to toss and turn freely without feeling confined. This body-mapping technology allows you to sleep on your back, your stomach, or your sides whichever way you like.

And the best part: it’s wide. The pad provides a lot of warmth while you sleep on it thanks to its lofted synthetic insulation which gives the optimal thermal performance.

Its twist-pull valve is simple to use and you only have to blow up to 10 breaths to inflate it. You can fold the pad over twice lengthwise and roll it up.

The valve allows the air to exit so you don’t get any bubbles trapped in sections that are cut off. It’s compact and can be effortlessly rolled up into a small cubicle and can be tucked in your backpack without adding any weight. The pad comes with a patch kit in case you need to make emergency repairs.

Pros: Extra-wide, great for people who tend to move about more at night, there’s less of a chance of you rolling off

Cons: Could take a while to inflate if you blow it up.

7. NEMO Astro

NEMO Astro
Type: Self-inflating
Weight: 1 lb. 11 oz.
Thickness: 3.5 in.
R-Value: Rated at 15 to 25°F

With a pack size so small and weight so light and a comfort level so supreme it is hard not to love the NEMO Astro insulated sleeping pad. The pad comes with stellar support provided by its lateral baffles that do not allow the pad from curling under the person’s body weight.

In terms of the comfort provided by this pad, it has an oversized pillow baffle towards the end to give you extra loft which prevents your pillow from sliding away from the pad while you are asleep.

It is ultralight and doesn’t add bulk when folded, and it serves as the perfect companion when you are camping in the mountains on colder nights.

Thanks to its PrimaLoft insulation that helps to keep your body warm throughout the night and allows you to wake up fresh and energized. It has a rugged ripstop top to provide extra durability even when used on rougher, mountainous surfaces or forest floors.

Customers love it because it is very compact and hardly takes up any space in their backpacks, and of course because it’s sturdy and provides a good value for money.

Pros: Excellent comfort, sturdy construction, easy valve mechanism, very quiet, packs well

Cons: The surface is a bit slippery.

8. Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus

Therm-a-Rest Prolite Plus Ultralight
Type: Self-inflating
Weight: 1 lb. 7 oz.
Thickness: 1.5 in.
R-Value: 3.4

This is a lightweight and warm self-inflating pad that offers a lot of comfort and convenience for colder weather adventures ski touring or just all-around backpacking.

The pad especially comes in handy during winter because it provides extra warmth and keeps helps you sleep comfortably throughout the night. You wake up fresh and warm, thanks to its diagonal cut foam which offers more warmth as compared to the traditional vertical-cut form found in other sleeping pads.

Although it is especially good for winter, its 3.4 R-value makes it ideal to be used throughout the year. It is self-inflating and if you like to sleep on a firmer pad, it would just take a few more breaths into the valve.

It is available in three sizes, has a limited lifetime warranty, and is accompanied with a stuff sack and an emergency repair kit.

Customers who bought it gave it five stars because of its thickness which allows a person to sleep on their sides without having to feel any pain. Also, people found it extremely lightweight and durable, thus, perfect for backpacking.

Pros: Good balance of warmth, convenience, cushion, weight, and packability. It also works great with hammocks.

Cons: The folding up isn’t great, it’s hard to get all the air out but doable after a couple of tries.

9. ALPS Mountaineering Lightweight Series Air Pad

ALPS Mountaineering Lightweight Pads Series
Type: Self-inflating
Weight: 2 lbs. 4 oz.
Thickness: 1.5 in.
R-Value: 4.0

ALPS Mountaineering is a renowned name in outdoor gear manufacturing and has been around for 25 years. Their products are famous for being performance-driven and high in quality.

The ALPS Mountaineering Lightweight Series Air Pad is a self-inflating pad which is extremely lightweight and sturdy. You can quickly and effortlessly inflate and deflate it with its jet stream foam and roll it up to fit in your backpack without adding bulk or weight.

The top fabric is tough made up of abrasion-resistant Polyester ripstop fabric which makes it very comfortable to sleep on, while the inner air pad keeps your body warm at night.

It comes with a free-of-cost stuff sack, repair kit, and compression straps, which earns this air pad extra points. It comes in five different sizes following your height, and prices vary accordingly.

What makes ALPS Mountaineering products stand out is that they come with a limited lifetime warranty, which shows that they are committed to making their products better and take customer services very seriously.

Pros: It’s lightweight and attaches easily to the outside of a backpack.

Cons: Slow to inflate and doesn’t inflate completely without blowing into the mat. It’s also very thin.

10. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Ultralight
Type: Air pad
Weight: 12 oz.
Thickness: 2.5 in.
R-Value: 4.2

This ultralight and inflatable air mattress is perfect for backpacking and mountaineering expeditions and offers maximum comfort and warmth in all seasons.

It comes with the reflective ThermaCapture technology, which as the name suggests, traps radiant heat within the mat to provide warmth, while its Triangular Core Matrix prevents the loss of heat when a person is sleeping on it.

This pad is perfect for sleeping outdoors in spring, summer, and fall seasons as well because it has an R-value of 4.2 which measures how much insulation the pad can provide.

It inflates just by blowing into the valve and the job is done effortlessly within minutes. It’s extremely lightweight and makes a perfect travel companion.

The pad also doesn’t add bulk because of its tapered design and materials. The pad comes in three sizes following your height, and you will also get a repair kit and stuff sack with it.

Customers who bought this sleeping pad found it very comfortable and warm to sleep on, and recommend others to buy it too.

Pros: Lightweight and durable. We’d also recommend this to anyone who wants a lightweight inflatable sleeping pad.

Cons: Makes a bit of noise because of the reflective layers within, not very budget-friendly

Tips to Purchase the Best Budget Sleeping Pad

While all the listed sleeping pads in this article are best in their own right, there are a few suggestions to keep in mind when purchasing a sleeping pad.


Before purchasing any sleeping pads, make sure which type are you looking for. Types include air pads, self-inflating pads, and foam pads. Each one has a different function, so make sure to decide which one will work best for you.


If you are hiking or camping frequently, look for the sleeping pad that can provide you with maximum durability. So that it will last longer and you don’t have to purchase it again and again.

Insulation and R-value

If you are looking for a sleeping pad which will keep your body warmer through greater insulation, then check the R-value of the sleeping pad. Anything more than 3 is an average R-value, and the higher it goes, the more insulated it is.


Whether you are tall or short, always check if the pad is available for your height. If you are too tall, you wouldn’t want to end up sleeping on a pad which is shorter than your body length. So look for the pad that is long enough.


If you want to buy a sleeping pad that can provide you the best posture, is anti-slip, and can allow you to sleep in any position whether on your back, stomach, or sides, then choose a pad that can adapt to the contours of your body.