Below we discuss the key elements of finally choosing a sleeping pad. The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm is a sleeping pad worth writing home about. 3. It will bottom out if you sit on it this way with just your bottom. Trust us — you won’t be disappointed. The Comfort Plus Insulated actually inflates on both sides, so if you spring a leak in one you’ll be fine. page for more information, and check out our gear reviews and outdoor guides. The “big” refers to the price, the comfort, the warmth, and the durability, all of which have made it the go-to high-end pad for many backpackers. The main difference though (as the name implies) is the foam on the inside. If you want to test a solid budget air pad, start here. Also keep in mind the xlite noise decreases as the humidity of the environment increases. Offering quieter, more supportive sleep at a tiny packed size, Tensor™ ultralight sleeping pad stands apart as the ultimate backcountry adventurer’s best friend. I find that it is easily "too firm" for me, and I have to use it at a level that initially seems way under-inflated for it to be perfectly comfy. Finally, closed-cell foam pads are the most basic and simple of the three. The Big Agnes Insulated AXL Air sleeping pad is ultralight, quite warm, and uses a quilted baffle pattern for extreme comfort on the trail. We don’t think you sacrifice much by choosing the Tensor over the XLite. We’ve found that the lower the pad is, the firmer it is, with the closed-cell foam mat being the most firm and the flattest, though this depends on the ground you’re on. The downside? We find the Flash Insulated to be an excellent value in this field, and is a good place to starting looking when shopping for an air pad. The REI Flash Insulated takes REI’s classic approach of noticing a trend, making their own, and making it for cheaper. Cold air seeps from the ground into your sleeping setup, and a pad can help to keep that cold air away and keep your warm body air around you. The mode is very similar to the more beefy Comfort Plus Insulated above, but the UltraLight Insulated is the fast and light version. I’m 6’5” 220# and all have been able to keep me off the ground sleeping on my side. It is built for ultralight thru-hiking and has a very minimal weight no matter the size you get. Hardcore ultralighters take this and only this for their pad, mostly cause it’s cheap, indestructible, and easy to customize. The NEMO Tensor sleeping pad is a hot contender to the more well-known Therm-a-Rest pads above. This also changes depending on the type of pad — closed-cell foam pads are generally very thin, self-inflating pads are relatively thin but quite comfy, and air pads range a lot in height. The construction is identical, with comfortable and even-spaced horizontal baffles, 2.5 inches of height, and Therm-a-Rest’s outstanding build. Ill have a video about this next spring where I do some wierd stuff. It really depends on your sleeping style and the environments you plan to camp in. The best way to inflate it is to get just enough air in it to keep your entire body off the ground while laying down. The Alpine was a replacement for a warrantied "normal" Tensor. It's the tensor Insulated, but the only difference in the Alpine should be the insulation amount. Backpackers.com Affiliate Policy: This guide contains affiliate links, which help fund our website. NEMO Switchback UL N/A 2 NEMO Tensor Alpine UL N/A 4.8 NEMO Tensor Insulated N/A 3.5 NEMO Cosmo 3D N/A 3.3 NEMO Roamer SI NA 6 NEMO Nomad Camping N/A N/A NEMO Vector UL N/A 3.5 NEMO Astro NA 2.6 NEMO Astro Lite N/A 2.6Sea-to-Summit Ether Light XT Insulated Air 3.8 3.2. It’s a dilemma backpackers have faced for years and is the main reason the entire product category of sleeping pads were created. Join us and ask yourself the question: Do I really need that? I use the Tensor in warmer weather on extended trips, because it’s a bit longer and I can toss and turn without spilling over the side, and sleep on my stomach without my feet hanging over the edge. IME, at least. The Tensor uses ultralight 20D PU Polyester on the top and bottom, yet doesn’t suffer from durability issues. The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated sleeping pad is a burly air pad that aims for extreme comfort in a relatively lightweight package. The Thermarest NeoAir XLite is one of the most popular backpacking sleeping pads on the market due to comfort and packability. Proudly hosted by WP Engine. If you do it will feel like you're sleeping on a balloon and you'll keep sliding off. In my opinion, side by side, the Tensor Alpine is more comfortable and definitely more quiet. It features two separate inflatable sides, so that if one pops you still have the other to use, and flat valves, making inflation and deflation extremely easy. A tried and true choice for thru-hikers, the XLite is known for its minimal weight (12 ounces), tiny volume when packed up, and 2.5-inches of horizontal baffled comfort. The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated is a beast of a sleeping pad. When you click on the links to purchase the gear we get a commission, and this goes a long way to creating guides, gear reviews, and other excellent content. I feel like I’ve got the first two dialed in, but the “perfect” sleeping pad eludes me to this day. Considerations include ease of inflation, weight, compactness, insulation … Foam pads and inflatable pads models compared for Klymit, Sea to Summit, NEMO, Exped, Big Agnes, REI, Therma-Rest and Gossamer Gear. That said, you can blow it up and sit on it for about 20 minutes — that’s usually enough time to see if it’s losing air. Below you’ll find the best sleeping pads for backpacking with different styles and budgets in mind. This new model incorporates the comfortable “air sprung cells” we love from their other pads with a lofty 4-inch thickness to prevent bottoming out. It provides a very minimal, basic level of support, which is a step up from sleeping on the ground. That said, it weighs just 14 ounces, folds up easily, can be cut to your length, and has egg-carton ridges which are actually pretty comfy. The Klymit Insulated Static V is a unique, budget-friendly pad from an up-and-coming brand. It is an air pad that boasts 3 solid inches of height and an extremley comfy quilted baffle pattern that mimics your bed at home. Temps dropped to at least 20 deg on the lakeshore, FWIW. I am a stomach sleeper so really even my Nemo Switchback is comfortable to me at 47 years old as well, might be my beer belly is enough padding? The Insulated AXL is more comfortable than the XLite. Beyond orchestrating the daily flow of Backpackers.com, Daniel writes surrealistic short fiction and novels, adventures into the backcountry and abroad, surfs, reads, drinks tea, and obsesses over gear. Press J to jump to the feed. They don’t suffer from small leaks as much, and take up much more room when packed due to all that foam! Our team uses it, many on thru-hikes use it, and those who want a premium pad should seriously consider using it. I'm trying to decide on a new sleeping pad. Do you want to sleep .75 inches off the ground, or 3.5 inches off the ground? The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite is the lighter, warmer, slightly more popular younger sibling of the XTherm. While comfort is not the primary purpose, this pad is extremely durable (it can’t pop! In both insulated and non-insulated versions it has a respectable weight for an air pad, has 3 inches of cushion that’s dispersed very evenly through the quilted baffles, and is nice and quiet when you roll over. I'm between the XTherm/XLite or the Nemo Tensor. So I'm thinking about settling on an X-Lite wide. The Z Lite Sol is a closed-cell foam pad, meaning there is no air at all, just foam to lie on at night. Thermarest NeoAir Uberlite, on the other hand, is made of 15D Nylon, it’s not the best, but it does the job. NEMO Tensor Alpine. This pad is meant for the fast and light backpacker, and does its job well. For our comparison, Thermarest NeoAir XLite is the clear winner, both top and bottom of its fabric are 30D rip HT Nylon (which can be considered as a very durable material for an air sleeping pad). If you sleep like a log no matter what, don’t like air pads, or want a cheap but rugged option, consider the Z Lite Sol. The Klymit Insulated Static V is an air pad with a unique baffle system that provides 2.5-inches of thick, premium air cushioning. But it is quiet. I suspect the tensor is similar. ), weighs about a pound, is easy to hang off your pack, and will not break the bank. 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