How to Choose a Sleeping Pad for a Backpacker

For backpackers, every inch of their backpacks matter. Everything has to be considered before being purchased; weight, size and utility. Unplanned packing can make your trip miserable.

After a long day of travelling, you would love to have a comfortable sleep. Which sleeping pads are good? There are tons of sleeping pads on the market for you to choose. But before making a decision, read the tips below to know what factors should be considered before getting one for your next trip.

Foam Pads or Inflatable Pads

There are two main types of pads for sleeping; a closed cell foam and an inflatable pad. A closed cell foam is the cheapest and most durable but it is not as comfortable as other types of pads and hard to pack in your bag.

An inflatable sleeping pad can be manually inflated or self-inflated. It is more comfortable to sleep on as it provides cushion but it is less durable. You have to be careful of leak when using on ground. A self-inflating may not be self-inflating anymore after several uses. Prepare to blow it up with your month like regular pads. Some inflatable pads use one way valves meaning that the air you have blown will not come out instead you use a separate valve to deflate them.


Travelers know that weight is an important factor to consider. Also with sleeping pad, it has to be as light as possible to carry around easily. It should weigh less than a pound.

The lightest weight of foam and inflatable are comparable. It depends on your purpose. You have to choose between weight and durability; if you choose the extra light one, you have to be careful when using in rough areas.

Length and Width

Sleeping pads nowadays are getting smaller to save the space. The regular size is 72 inches long by 20 inches wide. Some brands may make it narrower or shorter, choose one that you can lay down your feet comfortably.


The thicker sleeping pads, the more comfortable they are. Sleeping pads in the market are available from two inches to four inches thick. The problems of thicker pads are not compact to carry and it takes longer time to inflate by mouth.

Another of size factor to be concerned is packed size. Travelers need everything to be compact to have more space in their backpack. There are sleeping pads that have a bottle size when packed down. Look for the one with can be packed to 4-5.5. Inches by 8-11 inches.


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