View Full Version : Recommendations for a good sleeping pad

12-11-2018, 11:33
Hi All,

I presently have the foldable z-lite sol (silver/yellow) and I also own the Nemo Cosmo Insulated (which has a pump).

I will be using an EE quilt 15 degree so no bag.

I like to side sleep so I need something thick and comfy. But the Nemo Cosmo is so heavy...weighing at 37.8 oz.

Looking for a good pad recommendation! Thanks!!!

12-11-2018, 11:59
Side sleeper. Personally verified to 15 F. 6+ months of nights so far. Previously used short air mattress, self inflated pad and CCF pads. I didnít sleep well on any of the above.
Xtherm Large. 20 ounces.

Gambit McCrae
12-11-2018, 12:03
I have been very pleased with exped pads for about 5 years now. The synmat ul for 3 season and the synmat down 7 LW for winter and a downmat 9 for super cold(never gets used).

Their customer service is top notch. My issue with the mat is that in the yellow corn older version of the mat I blew a baffle out in it every mat I had(3 I think). They have since then replaced that mat with a super strong adhesive and after several hundred miles, I have seen no issues with the new orange synmat ul style. At 21 oz (for the LW) and 16.8 oz (for the medium) I value the comfort I get out of the pad. I am a side sleeper and weight 200 lbs. I blow the pad up pretty tight (when in my tent) and I don't bottom out.

My warning about this pad is that it can be quite noisy if blown up too tight on a shelter floor.

Lastly, it is the preferred brand for hammocks that have air pad sleeves.

12-11-2018, 12:09
Paria XL insulated pad? It's 4 inches thick, supposedly R value of 4.7, relatively inexpensive and 26 ounces.

12-11-2018, 12:13
We liked our Exped too, but like Gambit said, brutally noisy...

12-11-2018, 12:18
I got a Thermarest Neoair a few years ago, and my partner uses the insulated version, Xtherm. Not cheap, but my standard size Neoair is 12 oz and her Xtherm is 15 oz. I sleep on my side and fine it quite comfortable. When we were in Vermont with all the AT thru-hikers, almost all of them had Neoairs.

We we hike together we often take a 2-person Exped pad, which is insulated and very comfortable. Not sure what the equivalent single pad would be, but I like the double a lot.

12-12-2018, 21:05
I've been searching for my best pad too!

About me: I'm a side sleeper. I'm 220 lbs and 6' (so a bit heavy). I'm 47 years old. I sleep with either an AegisMax Outdoor Ultralight Sleeping Bag (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LZKAC25/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1) or a Stoic Vamp 30 (https://www.backpacker.com/gear/stoic-vamp-30) mummy bag. I sleep on platforms, in shelters, and in my tents (primarily a SMD Lunar Solo or Big Agnes FlyCreek Ul1). I hike and bikepack - both weight and bulk are important.

I've tried a few pads in the past year looking for a solution. I also figured out I sleep better with a decent pillow on all pads. Lying on my side and keeping my spine straight is helpful. I use a Paria Down pillow (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XS938PJ/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1) stuffed with a Trekology Inflatible Pillow (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LW4CRSM/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1). I am willing to carry that for a better sleep.

I have tried the following:

ThermaRest NeoAir Xlite
(https://www.thermarest.com/neoair-xlite) 13 1/8 Oz

Klymit Static V (https://www.klymit.com/static-v-camping-sleeping-pad.html) 20 1/2 Oz

Klymit Static V Luxe (https://www.klymit.com/static-v-luxe-sleeping-pad.html) 28 1/2 Oz

Big Agnes Q-Core SLX (https://www.bigagnes.com/Q-Core-SLX) 18 1/8 Oz

Zeldana Single Air Mattress
(https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007WX609S/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1) Pounds...

Homemade Balloon Bed (http://www.balloonbed.co.uk/) Few Oz's

REI Flash Hammock (https://www.rei.com/product/127400/rei-co-op-flash-air-hammock) > 2Lbs

Thoughts on each:
NeoAir Xlite - I know everyone loves this thing but I've never had a good night on it. It crinkles. And it's really small. Mine is 20 inches wide. It's like sleeping on a diving board. My hips poke the ground no matter what inflation level. And it crinkles. My legs constantly fall off. And it crinkles. I often take it because it's light - but it always reminds that I want something better. Did I mention it crinkles? And my legs fall off?

Static V - OK. Seems like it would have nice R value - but I haven't been out in the winter with it. Side baffles do work to keep me centered. Baffle pattern provides more support. At 23" it''s wider than most. But fairly standard depth. I've had punctures with mine. It's a bit bulky too.

Static V Luxe - I know it's heavy, but this has become my "go-to" pad for bike-packing. I love the width. And the depth is OK. The side rails keep me centered. This is posh.

Anges Q-core SLX - This pad is quite thick and that's why I bought it. The inflation valve is noticeably better than most too. However it's narrow at 20 inches. Like above, my legs fall off. Over and over again. My legs fall off. Soooo narrow. Nice weight and bulk but the narrowness really chaps my a$$.

Zeldana - I bought this in desperation. It's like a six inch deep mattress. Nice but heavy. And I'm worried about leaks. I've reserved this for car camping. I think it weighs close to three pounds. Not bad for price. But it's a pool toy.

Balloon bed - this isn't as crazy as it sounds. Lotsa ultra-marathoners use this. It's a nylon fabric bed with tubes for 7-8 long party balloons. I made mine for a couple bucks. It's crazy light but also crazy stiff. And the balloons can't be re-used. And they require a small hand pump to blow-up. You can't do it with your mouth. But it's crazy light. Like 3 Oz. I've never actually used it due to concerns over the balloons and the stiffness.

Hammock - not quite in the same class as pads...

I find myself usually using the NeoAir Xlite or the Static V Luxe. Reading this, I think I should try the balloon bed for real!

12-12-2018, 22:15

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12-12-2018, 22:20
Xlite or xtherm are really the only pads to consider anymore, except for down filled.

Dont know why people make it hard.

Ive got around 150 nights on neoairs, never an issue.

If someone isnt trim and fit enough to roll over in place, without using arms or flopping around, they need wide pad. These people put on a show when show up at shelter, pad squirting out from under them, etc. Youd think they would try it out before hitting trail.

12-12-2018, 23:17
I like how tiny and light the Klymit pads are, and I don't mind a few puffs to fill it. I also have have a Thermarest self-inflating pad and find it to be a little more comfortable, but I don't feel the slight improvement is worth the effort to get the air out and roll compactly.

One of my recent outings, I took a closed cell foam pad (also made by Thermarest) and used my Klymit on top of it. The double layer was nice, but still pretty light. The foam pad was rolled and tied across the bottom of my pack on the outside; handy when having to sit/rest in wet or muddy areas. Because it's the last thing to go on the pack, it's available to put on boots after everything else is packed.

Emerson Bigills
12-13-2018, 17:54
I have over 150 nights on my Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm. Good four season pad that was thick enough to provide me comfort on front, back, side, whatever. It seems to have started to lose a little air on the last trip and I fear it's time has come. Great pad and never let me down. Not cheap, but what price do you want to put on being awake at 2am in your tent with a 20 mile day staring you in the face? Weighs slightly more than a pound. Winner, Winner.

12-14-2018, 14:04
Get yourself: Exped SynMat UL LW. 78 inches long by 25.6 wide.


12-15-2018, 08:52
i'm a side sleeper, and an older guy...and I've had off and on minor back problems.

I've been a fan of my thermarests for a long time. upgraded from an original to a thicker trailpro and gave my old one to my son. I've even slept on concrete floors with the trailpro, comfortably!...
but it's just too big and heavy for backpacking....

A couple years ago I putting together my light weight kit, I went with e Nemo Tensor after trying several other inflatables in the store(rei). It seemed to make the least noise. I really wanted to like it. Tried hard...but I had to use REI's return policy. Swapped it out for a lighter self inflating pad.

.....so I ended up with a compromise. I picked up REI's rail pad, a women's version, and bit shorter than ideal & I find it comfortable...but I would not plan to use it on concrete

12-15-2018, 15:12
One of my recent outings, I took a closed cell foam pad (also made by Thermarest) and used my Klymit on top of it. The double layer was nice, but still pretty light. The foam pad was rolled and tied across the bottom of my pack on the outside; handy when having to sit/rest in wet or muddy areas. Because it's the last thing to go on the pack, it's available to put on boots after everything else is packed.

I've always used a CCF pad, for this reason. I use my pad for a lot more than just sleeping: trailside rests, stretching exercises, warm, dry place to change pants or socks without balancing like a flamingo on a steep hill. I'm mostly a side sleeper, and I've always been able to be quite comfortable with just a Ridgerest Solite, so long as my pillow is thick enough to leave my bottom shoulder unsquished. I suppose that's a caveat regarding any comfort reports from me :-)

I recently decided to experiment with some extra comfort, and added a Thermarest Prolite X-Small. It's worked really well! At 5'9", this self-inflating pad covers me from shoulder to mid-thigh (to knees, when I'm curled up a bit on my side). It's contoured shape fits easily inside a mummy bag, or it can go on top of the Ridgerest beneath the sleeping bag. I find the whole setup to be very cushy, and quite warm (r-value 5.2 to the knees, and 2.8 below that). Together, they weigh 23.3 oz, provide a comfy night's rest, and gives me the versatility of having a foam pad to use for activities other than sleeping. I also really like never having to inflate or deflate my pad.

I've laid on a dozen inflatable pads, and haven't yet found one that was remotely comfortable for me. I find I don't like the soft edges, drafty feeling, or big dropoff (the noise doesn't bother me). From what I've read, the "Xtherm Max" in a large size might solve all these issues nicely. If I went that route, it would be about the same weight, but without additional gear I'd have nowhere warm to stand in socks, an no firm "yoga mat", as it were. So for me that would wind up being a slightly heavier setup overall.

If that mattress is what it takes for you to get a good night's sleep though, then even if you are a CCF proponent maybe those ounces are worth it (and the CCF pad could be reduced to, say, a thinner ensolite type).

12-15-2018, 16:45
You have two issues 1) comfort as a side sleeper 2) an appropriate pad to be used with a EE 15* quilt. An appropriate pad is a mandatory component as part of a sleep system built around a core of a quilt particularly in a quilt with a 15* rating.

As a side sleeper toss and turner when using a Katabatic 15* Sawatch quilt when I know, which is virtually always, I'm taking the temp rating down to 15*, thrown into the mix is a Thermarest Woman's sized 66" long R value 3.9 inflatable. The added length and R value(compared to the Mens NeoAir short or reg length ) in those temps helps me keep all or most of my 6'4" frame on the pad offering more warmth. Since these pads are pricey but since I'm a strong ULer I like to use this as my all season core pad to be used with a zipper less quilt tweaking warmth in a modular approach as necessary by adding in a reflective warmth enhancing ground cloth, bivy, liner, sleep wear, thin CCF pad, warming techniques, etc. Perhaps, you want a dedicated cold weather inflatable pad. I prefer not to go that direction.

12-16-2018, 03:37
For the price, weight and comfort I love my Klymit Static V Insulated Lite. It is wider than most of the pads out there. I recently posted a gear review of it on my blog here:


12-20-2018, 14:21
Expeds for me. I find the baffle orientation more comfortable than the Thermarest ones(actually love Thermarest self-inflators, their weight just ramps up after the ProLite, and they don't provide as much cushion for rocks and roots when you don't have an ideal spot).
I use a Synmat Hyperlite down to a bit below freezing, but don't love it, and wish I'd bought the Synmat UL7 that isn't tapered.
For cold weather, the Downmat UL7, which I do love.

I like the *idea* of CCF, but not the bulk. My Z-Lite small got cut down into a couple of sit pads, which are about the handiest things ever.