The best camping mats for nights outdoors

Your multi-day trip is only as satisfying as your bed.

tent at night
Sleep soundly.Wilson Ye via Unsplash

Some days you get lucky, and your campsite is on a bed of flat, fresh grass or matted down pine needles. Sometimes, no matter how hard you look, you just can’t find a soft place to sleep. Either way, separating your tired hips, shoulders and knees from the hard, cold ground is crucial to a good night’s sleep. Fortunately, options abound, and we narrowed it to four that will suit basically any camper’s need.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress
Sleeping well in the backcountry cannot be overrated.Amazon

This isn’t the cheapest sleeping pad on the market, but it’s worth every penny. The four-season mattress is 2.5 inches thick when inflated but weighs only a hair over a pound and packs down to the size of a 1-liter bottle. It’s perfect for sleeping well after a long day carrying a heavy pack. ThermaCapture technology traps heat as the pad’s construction minimizes heat loss. No slip fabric keeps you and your sleeping bag on the mat and off the ground.

Exped Megamat 10 Insulated Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad
Stop falling in the crack.Amazon

Anyone who has camped with a partner knows it’s only a matter of time before one of you is sleeping on the ground in between sleeping pads. Fortunately for you, that particular relationship issue is an easy one to solve. This pad is marketed as more of a double bed than a sleeping pad and is guaranteed to keep you comfortable and warm down to -54 degrees Fahrenheit. The best part? It self inflates in 10 minutes.

Nemo Roamer Camping Sleeping Pad
Why sacrifice comfort?Amazon

If you’re not carrying all your belongings on your back, then why skimp on sleeping comfort? Fortunately, this pad is both ultra-comfortable with 4 inches of space between you and the ground and small enough to fit in the truck of a car. It’s warm down to -30 degrees Fahrenheit, has a lifetime warranty, and the top has 50D stretch fabric making it feel much more like a mattress than a camp pad.

KLYMIT Static V2 Sleeping Pad, Ultralight
Sleep tight but don’t break the bank.Amazon

Not all sleep systems require big investments. But there’s still a difference between your Boy Scouts foam pad and an inflatable mattress. This air mattress walks the line between foam pad and high-end sleep technology. It’s not meant for very cold temperatures, but how many of us actually camp in the snow? And for just over a pound, it won’t break your back or your bank.