Backpacking, Camping, Outdoor Education, Outdoor Gear

How to Select the Right Sleeping Mat – 5 Important Considerations

select a camp sleeping Mat

A good sleeping mat can mean the difference between a good night’s rest and waking up sore, stiff, and cranky. With that in mind, it is important to know how to select the right sleeping mat.

It is one of the most important parts of your camping gear and it’s worth investing in one that will work best for you. Comfort is king out on the trail. Especially at night.

We know how hard it can be to choose the right product, which is why we’ve put together this guide to help you make an informed choice. You’ll learn about the different types of sleeping mats, as well as the main factors that go into selecting the right one for you. Follow these five important considerations to select the right sleeping mat.

Check out our Top 3 Sleeping Pad Options Now!

Why do you need a sleeping mat?

select the right sleeping mat
WOLF WALKER Moisture-Proof Foldable Closed Cell Foam Sleeping Pad

Sleeping mats provide a comfortable, insulated place to sleep for the night. They give extra padding

under your sleeping bag and help keep your body temperature regulated throughout the night.

They provide a layer of comfort between you and the earth below so that your body is protected from rocks and other sharp objects that may be in the area where you’re camping.

Overall, they make sure that you’ll get some restful sleep!

What are the different types of sleeping mats?

There are many different types of sleeping mats available for camping, and each has its own benefits.

Closed cell foam mats are extremely lightweight and compact. This makes them ideal for backpacking. They’re also very durable, so they’ll last a long time even with regular use. The downside is that they don’t provide much cushioning or insulation against the ground below.

Self-inflating pads are another popular option because they’re so easy to inflate. You just open the valve on the pad and let air flow into it until it’s fully inflated (usually takes around 5 minutes). Then all you need to do is close the valve and roll out your sleeping bag! If you’re looking for convenience and ease of use, this is probably what you want.

Non-self-inflating pads are great if you’re looking for something that’s lightweight but still provides some cushioning from hard ground surfaces like rocks or tree roots. They’re usually made from materials like foam or polyester fabrics. Thses may provide better comfort than closed-cell foam mats.

What factors to think about when buying a sleeping mat?

If you’re thinking about buying a sleeping mat for camping, there are a few things you should think about. Here are 5 top factors that will help you make the right choice:

1. The Weather

You’ll want to consider the weather that you’ll be camping in, as a major factor when buying a sleeping mat.

If it’s going to be cold, you’ll want a thick sleeping mat with insulation.

Hikenture 4 INCH Thick Self Inflating Sleeping Pad with 9.5 R Value

Sleeping mats with higher R-values are more heat-retaining than those with lower R-values. So, if you’re camping in colder weather look for a high R-value.

For hotter weather, it’s best to look for a lightweight sleeping mat that keeps you cool by allowing air to flow through it.

If you’re looking for something in between (not too hot and not too cold), then consider buying a 3-season sleeping pad. Do this instead of one specifically designed for either extreme temperature range.

If you’re going camping in a place where it might rain, you’ll need to make sure you get a waterproof mat. Waterproofing can help keep moisture at bay while still being comfortable enough to sleep on.

Prepare for camping in the rain with these tips!

2. Size and weight 

WOLF WALKER Moisture-Proof Foldable Closed Cell Foam Sleeping Pad

When you’re buying a sleeping mat for camping, weight and size are definitely important factors to consider. Just like when it comes to your backpacking stove selection. Do you need a light one that’s easy to carry, or do you value comfort more? Is it big enough for your body size? Is it small enough to fit in your tent so that nothing gets wet while camping?

If you’re camping out in the wilderness and have no other option but to carry your gear on your back, weight is especially important. The lighter the better! However, if you’re going on a trip where weight isn’t as much of an issue, for example, car camping then comfort can be prioritized.

A good sleeping mat should be long enough for your body size. It should also be wide enough to keep your hips from rolling off the edge of the mat while you sleep. If you have trouble staying on top of your sleeping pad, then this could cause some serious problems with back pain in the morning!

3. Age of user 

The age of the user is an important factor to consider when buying a sleeping mat.

If you are buying a sleeping mat for your children, then you must ensure that it is suitable for their age group. Some inflatable camping mattresses are not suitable for babies. However, babies can sleep on foam camping pads.

Foam roll-up mats are a good choice for kids as they are lightweight yet durable. They’re also affordable compared with other options on the market today! Plus as they grow you can easily replace their mat.

If you’re an adult, you may prefer something with more cushioning and support. I know I do!

In general, choosing the right age-appropriate sleeping mat will ensure that your trip goes smoothly and everyone has a good night’s rest!

4. Durability 

select the right sleeping mat
Sleepingo Sleeping Pad for Camping

An important factor when choosing a sleeping mat for camping is durability. It doesn’t matter how much you love the color, or how well it fits in your car or backpack—if it’s not going to last through the trip, then what’s the point?

Consider the length of time that you plan on using your mat. If it’s just one night, then a lightweight synthetic may be fine. More than one night? Then consider spending more money on something more durable and comfortable.

Also, think about what kind of trip it will be? If it’s backpacking, as mentioned earlier then you’ll want something lighter and more compact. Also you want it durable enough to withstand some wear and tear along the trail. This might mean choosing a foam mattress over one made from other materials that could be prone to punctures or tears. If it’s car camping, then once again comfort is able to be prioritized.

The best way that you can ensure that your sleeping mat is durable is by choosing a brand that has been around for many years and has proven itself over time with great customer feedback.

5. Cost

Sleeping mats come in a range of prices, but do we need to go for the most expensive option?

If you’re going to be hiking, an inexpensive mat might not be a good choice, you’ll probably want to invest in something that’s waterproof, durable, and lightweight, and these will inevitably be more expensive.

However, if you’re camping at a festival or in your backyard, you can probably get away with selecting a sleeping mat from the lower price margin.

The key thing here is find a mat that provides for your needs without breaking the bank. A little tip. You can find lower cost options by buying used. For your first few trips out this may not be a bad option to test what works for you. Consider even renting your gear first to test things out.

Final Thoughts to Select the Right Sleeping Mat

Whether you are a regular camper or joining friends for a one-off trip, a good sleeping mat can last you for years, so it is often worth spending a little extra on one that you like. A camping mat is a small part of your investment into camping equipment overall, but it has a big impact on your comfort level, so it’s definitely worth taking the time to find the best one! 

If you’re on a tight budget, don’t sweat it. There are plenty of affordable options out there and keep an eye out for offers or one-time users giving them away secondhand. No matter how you purchase your sleeping pad use these five considerations to select the right sleeping mat for you. You are sure to wake up refreshed if you do!

We hope you found this guide helpful and we’d love to know what your favorite type of sleeping mat is? Tell us in the comments below, on our Facebook, or on Reddit!