How to Choose the Best Sleeping Pad for a Hammock

A Survival Artist's Guide To Reclaiming Your Wild Side

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When it comes to hammock pads, several things come to mind: insulation, comfort, and noise. Most hikers and campers prefer hammocks because they’re lighter to carry compared to sleeping bags. However, hammocks have a few issues that can make users more inclined towards sleeping bags.

Fortunately, you can address these issues simply by using a sleeping pad! Sleeping pads are a fantastic solution, but there are some things you should keep in mind when getting one. First of all, you can find pads of different materials, so you should choose the one you like best.

Some materials might make more noise when you move around, which can be an annoyance for you and your fellow hikers. Other materials might not feel right for you, but that’s more of a preference thing. One of the main features of sleeping hammock pads is insulation; it doesn’t matter how comfortable or silent it may be, it’s useless if it won’t protect you from the cold!

Identifying the Ideal Hammock Pad

It might be challenging to find the right pad for your hiking adventures, but we’ve compiled a list with the best pads available to help you choose!

1. Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad (ASIN: B07FP4Z3RZ) – The Best Overall

Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad
Specifications
  • Size: 75″ * 23″
  • Weight: 0.9 Pounds
  • Water Resistance: Waterproof
Pros
  • Heavy-duty tear-resistant nylon
  • Lifetime warranty
  • High comfort
  • Accessible pricing
  • Light and compact for transport
Cons
  • It could be a little wider
  • Not ideal warmth for temperatures below 32º F

This product is by far one of the best options available, comfortable, compact, and light. Using heavy-duty nylon, the company is confident enough in their product to provide you a lifetime warranty along with this pad! The pad is 2 inches thick, and its deployed dimensions are 10.91 x 3.43 x 3.23 inches.

Furthermore, it only weighs 0.9 pounds, but it rolls down to the size of a water bottle, making it convenient to carry. Its R-value has a 2.1 score, so it’s ideal for temperatures down to 32º Fahrenheit (0º Celsius), keeping you both warm and snugly. It’s comfortable enough for you to even sleep on your side.

Some users wish this pad were slightly more expansive. Fortunately, this issue is not significant for hammock campers. If this sleeping pad could handle lower temperatures, it would be perfect for any camping trip! Regardless, it’s still a fantastic choice. We love how compact it becomes, allowing you to travel light and burden-free.

2. IFORREST Sleeping Pad (ASIN: B08H8MZD14) – The Best Value

IFORREST Sleeping Pad
Specifications
  • Size: 79″ * 29″
  • Weight: 3.6 Pounds
  • Water Resistance: Waterproof
Pros
  • Comfortable material and design
  • Perfect insulation
  • Durable material
  • Easy to carry and lightweight for all its features
Cons
  • More expensive than other choices

You might be on the lookout for something more “complete.” IFORREST’s sleeping pad has a design that allows for comfort and insulation without being a burden on your traveling gear. Furthermore, since it’s self-inflating, easy to set up and pack.

Its dimensions while deployed are 79 x 29 x 2.1 inches, and it only weighs 3.6 pounds. It comes equipped with armrests on the sides, which are ideal for keeping you from rolling out of the pad while you sleep. They’re also very comfortable and snugly! Speaking of snugly, the R-value score of this path is an impressive 6.8, making it the perfect choice for camping anywhere, in any season.

The material on this sleeping pad is 80D polyester, which is both resistant and waterproof. Since it’s 2 inches thick, you’ll be far from the cold ground in total comfort. The armrests inflate separately, as does the pillow attached to the pad.

Although the price is higher than most other options, you can be sure you’ll get your money’s worth. Despite all its unique features, we love the armrests on this sleeping pad. It might not seem like much, but these armrests can be the difference between a good and terrible experience camping. Overall, this is a versatile sleeping pad. Whether you’re using a hammock or not, it’s great anywhere!

3. Hikenture Backpacking Sleeping Pad (ASIN: B07QZ1SQ9K)- The Best Budget

Hikenture Backpacking Sleeping Pad
Specifications
  • Size: 73.62″ * 22.05″
  • Weight: 560 Grams
Pros
  • Affordable price
  • Durable and waterproof material
  • Compact and lightweight
Cons
  • The warranty falls short

This sleeping pad uses polyester, making it comfortable, flexible, and perhaps most important of all, silent. The material used on this product is 20D nylon, which is durable, waterproof, and insulated. Furthermore, it only weighs 600 grams, and its dimensions, while stored in its bag, are 9.4 x 3.9 inches.

It’s easy to carry around during hikes, but it’s also easy to deploy since it only takes a few breaths to inflate. The company offers a 12-month warranty along with this sleeping pad.

We like this sleeping pad because of how silent it is without sacrificing comfort. This feature may not seem like much, but your fellow hikers will appreciate you not interrupting their sleep while you rest!

4. ECOTEK Outdoors Insulated Hybern8 (ASIN: B07QLYQLLB)

ECOTEK Outdoors Insulated Hybern8
Specifications
  • Size: 74″ * 22″
  • Weight: 24.5 OZ (695 grams)
  • Material: Polyester
Pros
  • Highly insulated for temperatures down to 10ºF
  • Durable and resistant materials
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Comfortable size
Cons
  • Price is higher than other options
  • The inflation valve is positioned on the head level, which may cause discomfort

You might be in the market for a sleeping pad that can handle temperatures below 32ºF. The ECOTEK Hybern8 sleeping pad has an R-value of 4.5, making it ideal for extremely low temperatures. This sleeping pad uses a woven polyester blend with nylon, which is resistant, comfortable, and a miracle worker when it comes to insulation.

However, the material is not the secret for high insulation on the Hybern8. Its inflated pads have a middle layer that traps the air, helping you maintain your body temperature. Besides comfort, the material is silent, so you don’t have to worry about annoying your companions.

Its design is versatile, accommodating to your body for maximum comfort, and barely weighs 700 grams. The dimensions while deployed are 74 x 22 x 2.5 inches, but while packed, it’s only 10 inches by 4.5 inches, making it easy to carry. Besides being easy to handle, you can quickly deploy it in 10 to 12 breaths. 

Additionally, each purchase of this sleeping pad helps fund the planting of a tree in national forests throughout the United States. This campaign aims to repair forests damaged by fires, diseases, and other similar plagues.

The price of this sleeping pad might seem a little steep, but its insulation and comfort step up to it. We like this product due to its high level of insulation, as it makes it ideal for any kind of hike, regardless of the location.

5. Clostnature Self Inflating Sleeping Pad (ASIN: B07Q2PGG8Z)

Clostnature Self Inflating Sleeping Pad
Specifications
  • Size: 6′ 3″ * 2′
  • Weight: 3 Pounds
  • Material: Foam, Memory Foam
Pros
  • Convenient self-inflating feature
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Waterproof and durable material
  • Quite comfortable
Cons
  • Some users have an issue with the flat surface

Clostnature is a brand founded by mountaineers for mountaineers and hikers. Their sleeping pad uses memory foam for increased comfort and even comes with its own inflatable pillow. The pillow is attached to the sleeping pad and cannot be removed, but if you don’t need it, it inflates separately, so just tuck it under the pad.

This sleeping pad uses 210T polyester taffeta fabric, making it waterproof and resistant. Furthermore, it has an impressive R-value score of 4, making it ideal for low temperatures. Deploying takes only a few minutes once you open its valve, and to deflate it, you need only roll up the mattress.

Once packed, it’s barely the size of a football. Its dimensions are 13×5.9×6.3 inches, and it barely weighs 3 pounds. Thanks to its straps, you can carry this sleeping pad as compact as possible, and since it’s lightweight, it’s easy to travel with it.

Some campers might find the sleeping pad uncomfortable first, but once the memory foam kicks in, the discomfort will be a thing of the past. We love the use of memory foam on this sleeping pad; it’s almost like bringing the comfort of home with you!

Clostnature recommends inflating the sleeping pad manually the first time you deploy it to activate the memory foam. And at such accessible pricing, it’s hard to find a quality deal similar to this one.

6. Gear Doctors Self Inflating Sleeping Pad (ASIN: B07GGZWRK6)

Gear Doctors Self Inflating Sleeping Pad
Specifications
  • Size: 72″ * 22″
  • Weight: 2.2 Pounds
Pros
  • Great durability and insulation
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Great customer service
Cons
  • Great durability and insulationPortable and lightweightLifetime warrantyGreat customer service

Gear Doctor, too, is a brand created by fellow hikers and explorers. They pride themselves on creating quality products based on their own experiences and the feedback of their customers. Gear Doctor’s customer service is exceptionally attentive, as they focus on improving their products based on your response.

This sleeping pad is convenient for long hiking and camping trips, as it is both light and easy to handle. Once its air valve is open, it only takes a few minutes to inflate on its own. Once it raises, it needs a few breaths on your end to finish up and have a steady sleeping pad for the night!

While deployed, its dimensions are 72 x 22 x 1.5 inches, which is impressive as its R-value score is 4.3. Despite being only 1.5 inches thick, this sleeping pad is capable of insulating you in relatively low temperatures. Furthermore, it only weighs 2.2 pounds and measures 8 by 12 inches while packed. 

This sleeping pad uses sturdy 75D polyester, which is both water and UV-resistant. Gear Doctor is confident enough in their product’s durability to give you a lifetime warranty along with it.

Narrow sleeping pads are, for the most part, a no-no since touching the cold ground will quickly make you lose body heat. Fortunately, hammock users shouldn’t have an issue with this since you’ll be far away from the ground! We like the insulated foam on the product the most because it’s impressive for such a thin pad. Furthermore, it makes it easy to carry around.

7. POWERLIX Sleeping Pad (ASIN: B07Z827T8Z)

POWERLIX Sleeping Pad
Specifications
  • Size: 31.19cm * 12.19cm
  • Material: Nylon
  • Water Resistance: Waterproof
Pros
  • Comfortable design
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Durable nylon and waterproof
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Accessible pricing
Cons
  • Its R-value is 1.6, which is not ideal for temperature above 32ºF

You may be looking for utility along with a quality sleeping pad. POWERLIX’s sleeping pad uses tear-resistant nylon to give you a comfortable night’s sleep while camping. This sleeping pad also looks and weighs as much as a water bottle with 1.32 pounds, allowing you to carry it without any issues.

The nylon material it uses isn’t just tear-resistant. It’s also waterproof, as is its carrying bag. Speaking of the bag, you can use it for more than just transporting your sleeping pad. You can inflate it and use it as a pillow, or it can even help you carry your other belongings. It also comes in several colors, so you can pick whichever design you like best.

While deployed, it’s 2 inches thick, enough to keep you away from the bare ground and providing you with a comfortable rest. Its hexagon-shaped pads are not just for show either; they help adapt to your body shape to maximize comfort.

It’s challenging to consider this sleeping pad as properly insulated for low temperatures. However, some users report it performed well on temperatures ranging from 38-42ºF. Regardless, we like this sleeping pad because of how durable it is without sacrificing comfort. Overall, this is a fantastic choice!

Understanding Sleeping Pads

Sleeping pads never limit themselves to a single purpose; at least the best ones don’t. If a sleeping pad’s design allows for hammock use, it should work fine for sleeping bags. Hell, why not both at the same time? Some hikers don’t even use sleeping bags and are content with simply rolling out a sleeping pad on their tent.

Depending on the season and location where you’re going, a sleeping pad has more or fewer purposes for your camp. If you’re going to a warm place, then it’s likely you use one to avoid sleeping on rough terrain. Comfort is one of their main uses, after all.

Sleeping pads also make it easy to find a place to rest, even if there’s plenty of uneven or rocky terrain. You can avoid having a lousy rest thanks to a comfortable surface. This can also keep you from resting directly on muddy or wet terrain, so it’s pretty convenient.

However, if you’re camping in a cold season or some cold place, insulation is quite essential. If you sleep directly on the ground, you’ll lose heat quickly, which can be dangerous. This is why some camper prefers using hammocks instead of sleeping on the floor, as this way you avoid this potential problem.

Unfortunately, you’re not out of the woods yet just because you’re using a hammock for sleeping. Particularly in cold environments, wind can quickly make you lose heat as much as the ground does. This is because while suspended in the air, you’re exposed to the wind.

You should keep this in mind when shopping for a sleeping pad for your hammock. Make sure you’re well insulated and comfortable with your sleeping pad. Check out our buyers guide if you’d like to know more!

The Different Types of Sleeping Pads

It’s difficult to pin down an “ideal” or “best” type of sleeping pad, as it comes down to preference. Some people might prefer specific design types or materials, which is why you may find divided opinions regarding sleeping pads.

We should clarify that, in our eyes, versatility is what makes a sleeping pad great. With that said, there are some features worth looking at, these being durability, comfort, and insulation. As long as your choice fulfills these three requirements, feel free to choose whichever type you like the most.

When it comes to different sleeping pads, you’ll find air pads, self-inflating, and closed-cell foam pads.

– Air Sleeping Pads

This type of sleeping pad requires you to inflate them manually, either with your breath or a pump. They’re not hard to set up, but they usually don’t have much insulation. They tend to be on the affordable side and are pretty lightweight. Their lack of insulation makes them ideal for warm locations and seasons, though they fall behind when it comes to cold weather.

– Self-inflating Sleeping Pads

This kind of sleeping pad uses a combination of foam and air to create a cushion between you and the floor. This trick is also what grants them better insulation compared to other types. The foam itself helps sustain your body temperature, but it also creates air chambers that don’t touch the floor.

As you lay on this pad, your body’s warmth heats the air inside the pad, which becomes trapped in-between you and the foam. These help keep you warm as you sleep.

– Closed-cell Foam Sleeping Pads

This kind of sleeping pad is quite resistant. Since it doesn’t rely on air like other types, you don’t need to worry about air leaks. They’re pretty compact and don’t require set-up beyond rolling them out where you want to sleep. The insulation they provide is decent, but their strong suit is their durability.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.    What is R-value, and why do I hear it repeatedly when it comes to sleeping pads?

The R-value is a score that represents how well a barrier can insulate the flow of heat from one side to another. In other words, whenever you hear about “R-values,” they refer to how well-insulated a sleeping pad is. The higher the score, the more insulated it is. Here’s an easy score table to understanding R-value scores:

  • Low scores from 1 to 3 are ideal for the summer season
  • Scores from 3 to 5 are suitable for spring, summer, and autumn (3 seasons)
  • High scores above 5 know winter’s coming (4 seasons)

Also, that’s not a reference; you know nothing.

2.    How do I clean my sleeping pad?

First of all, if your sleeping pad is inflatable, make sure it’s well sealed. You don’t want any liquids getting inside. Sadly, you can’t use a washing machine, but it’s not difficult to clean it in a bathtub or similar. You can use an all-purpose cleaner to wipe it clean.

If you need to remove nature substances such as tree resin, use alcohol. Afterward, throw some talc or baby powder on it to remove any stickiness from the surface.

3.    How long does it take to inflate a sleeping pad?

Generally speaking, it takes anywhere from 10 to 15 breaths to inflate them manually, though it depends on their size. Self-inflating sleeping pads can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes before you have to finish up yourself with a couple of breaths. Air pressure may affect the time it takes, but unless you’re in a mountain, it shouldn’t come into play.

4.    What’s better for hammock camping, an under quilt, or a sleeping pad?

Under quilts seem to be the favorite among hammock users, but that doesn’t mean sleeping pads are a bad choice. Under quilts tend to be more expensive than sleeping pads because they’re often custom-made. Besides, regular campers are likely already to have a sleeping pad among their camping supplies, so no need to spend extra on an under quilt.

Furthermore, under quilts seem to be more useful when camping in colder weather. Anywhere else, a sleeping pad works just fine.

Sleeping in Comfort With Mother Nature

Hardly anything beats a cozy night’s sleep while being rocked by calm winds. However, sleeping bags alone won’t protect you from the cold while using hammocks because of the position you sleep in. Being compressed diminishes their ability to keep you warm, particularly on your rear! This effect causes the dreaded “cold butt syndrome,” which is exactly what it sounds like.

To avoid waking up in the middle of the night with this nightmarish experience, sleeping pads greatly help. The good thing about using a sleeping pad is that even if you’re just trying out hammock camping, sleeping pads are great for regular camping as well.

Versatility’s the name of the game, and sleeping pads are masters at it. Affordable, practical, and compact, you should always have one on your camping trips. Who says you can’t camp with style and comfort?

There are plenty of options to choose from, but hopefully, we made the task easier for you!