Best Sleeping Pad for Backpacking in 2021 Reviews

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I live right off of the AT which means I spend a fair amount of time on it. I love the view and I love waking up and seeing nothing but the mountains around me but it really isn’t fun having to keep buying a new air mattress all the time, which is why I got tired of replacing my Neo Air and found the Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus.

While it’s not as comfortable as my own bed it’s still light, packable, and suitable for all seasons. It’s ideal for backpacking because it stuffs down and is self-inflatable so I don’t need to worry about a pump and because it’s foam I can technically skip the mat too.

The red color is nice and bright and it’s also a bonus because it’s noticeable in the event of an emergency and will float.  

Best Sleeping Pad for Backpacking – Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus

The best part about this sleeping pad has to be the design of the foam. It’s a 1.5” thick eggshell design that has a diamond cut to seal in warmth for the winter. The foam comes in several sizes, all of which are quite compact which is ideal for backpacking so you’re not carrying excess weight (which by the way it’s not heavy at all).

It’s very comfortable, more comfortable than the Neo Air, and comes in several nice colors. The foam is a latex blend which is a bit like memory foam and reflects your body heat back which also keeps you warm when it’s super cold.

The design is nice for all 4 seasons too which means I don’t have to have more than one pad. And they do mean this. You won’t feel the cold even in winter because the foam is insulating enough to protect you and there’s a fair difference between what you’ll feel touching the pad and touching the tent floor or sleeping mat underneath it.

The mat is also covered in fabric which gives it an added layer of insulation and helps protect you from the feel of the diamond cut texturing. It will work well for all trails and terrains because of this design.

The diamond cut is very clever actually because it reduces the density and weight of the foam significantly so that the pad weighs just over a pound. The foam squashes down well and comes with its own stuff sack but it’s a good idea to let it sit out for a few days before use or it tends to stay in the shape it’s used to.

The actual weight is 1.25lb which is a little heavier than the Neo Air but since you’re getting more comfort it’s kind of worth it. It will squash down into another bag though so you don’t have to bring the stuff sack and can fit it into a pack or roll it into a pocket instead depending on how you’re packing.

Features and Specifications

  • It weighs only 1.25lb (very light)
  • The foam is quiet and won’t rustle
  • It’s Atmos cut in a diamond design that traps air for extra warmth
  • The women’s regular is 1.8x20x66
  • It’s available in two red colors – poppy and cayenne
  • The foam is self inflating
  • It squeezes small and comes with its own stuff sack
  • The pad is suitable for use in all 4 seasons
  • It won’t get a hole or deflate so it’s more reliable than an air pad
  • It’s thick and comfortable
  • The foam is a latex blend
  • It’s 1.5” thick with an egg crate texture

What Customers are Saying

The most noticeable thing about this pad is that it’s so light, especially for a foam pad. I was so skeptical because an air pad is basically nothing but this foam pad really doesn’t weigh a noticeable amount unless you’re packing ultralight. It’s very convenient and packable at just over a pound.

The only bad thing about this specific pad is that it’s very narrow. At only 20” it’s rather small and it’s not good if you toss or turn because you’re likely to come off. The longest size is only 74” so it’s really designed only for women – in which case neither of these things should be a problem!

I’m very comfortable recommending this as the best sleeping pad for backpacking because it’s not only comfortable, but even though it’s foam it’s so light you really won’t notice that few ounces difference over bringing an air pad.

Who Should Buy This Product

This is ideal for anyone who wants to sleep outdoors – camping, backpacking, trekking, hiking, etc. I’m not sure if it would be good for ultralight because it does weigh over a pound.

This is great for anyone who only wants to buy one pad but wants to be outdoors in all seasons and doesn’t like feeling the cold ground and anyone, like me, who is tired of replacing their air pad because it’s getting leaks. I would also think this would be a good sleeping pad for someone who likes to sleep on their side or stomach because of the thickness of it or someone that is heavier for the same reason.

Who Shouldn’t Buy This Product

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This would not be a good sleeping pad for someone who is taller or wider like a man, it’s very narrow and quite small. Similarly, I think if you move about a lot while you sleep then you’re probably going to fall off of it since it’s only 20” wide.

This is also probably not suitable if you’re going ultralight, but it would depend on your weight allowance and pack size. I would also not recommend this is you have a latex allergy as I believe this is a latex foam inside.


This is a very comfortable sleeping pad and because it’s so light it’s ideal for backpacking. I love that it comes in a bright red color so in the event of an emergency I can even use it for signaling! The foam has good insulation and is a very clever design without being bulky, just don’t forget to let it sit out for a bit to reshape first.


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Meet the Author

'Mountain Man' John

'Mountain Man' John is a Survival and Preparedness enthusiast who loves everything outdoors. He has a passion for learning anything and everything to help sustain his and his families way of life post SHTF. He frequently shares his knowledge on a variety of topics from his hands on DIY projects, learning new skills such as hunting and trapping along with reviews on his Survival related purchases - Prepping has been in his family for generations, it's in his blood.