Camping Sleeping Mats

Anyone who goes camping knows the value of good outdoor sleeping equipment. While most people focus on getting a good sleeping bag, you should also consider getting a good sleeping mat. Good mats offer more than just comfort; they also provide a layer of insulation that keeps your body from losing heat to the ground.

Foam Pads

The simplest option for many people is to take a look at foam pad camping sleeping mats. The big advantage of foam is that all you have to do is lay it out and you're ready to go, which many people appreciate after a long day's hike. They don't weigh very much, and you can carry them outside your pack. However, they are less comfortable than some of the alternatives.


Self-inflating foam is an interesting hybrid of inflatable and foam mattresses. Unlike a conventional foam pad, it uses open cell foam rather than closed cell foam. When you open the valve, it immediately draws air into the cells, making the pad thicker and more comfortable. You close the valve and there's your pad. The next morning, just open the valve and squeeze the air out. It's more comfortable than foam alone, and it's more compact.


A camping air mattress is the lightest and most portable option. It rolls up the smallest, and is often the most comfortable. The biggest drawbacks are that you need to spend the time to inflate one, and they are liable to punctures. Still, if you have an air pump you can put one up very quickly.

Choosing Your Pad

The first thing to do when choosing a pad is figure out how you will be using it. For longer trips you may want the added durability of a simple foam pad. Campers concerned about weight should look for the smallest and lightest air mattress they can carry. Self-inflating pads are a good choice for most uses, as they are both light and comfortable. The fact they pack small doesn't hurt either.