Best Sleeping Pad for Hiking

Spend a good night in the mountains is very important: recover efforts of the day and be in shape for the big day looming the next day. It is therefore imperative to take time to choose his ground mattress, paramount, because it will bring you comfort AND insulation.

We often think that having a good sleeping bag ensures a good night in the mountains.This is false. For a great night, need you a good sleeping bag BUT also a good mattress that you will ensure comfort and especially the insulation.

What is a mattress to floor hike?

Comfort is the first thing you think of, of course. Beyond to compensate for the vagaries of the terrain (rocks, holes), it allows you to sleep comfortably in any position (we think especially to the position “lie on your side” which is hardly tenable without regularly have ants in the arms)

Insulation: floor mats will isolate you often cold soil and avoid direct contact. The pads work the same way as the layers of clothing. They trap a mass of air between your body and the cold ground. This layer of air ‘death’ becomes an insulating barrier (in reality this air is trapped in a multitude of cells, thus avoiding the transfer of cold).

The different types of pads

1 / the mattress “foam”

These basic hiking mat feature dense foam filled tiny closed cells of air. It is the ancestor of the pads, but he still has a lot of advantages. This type of mattress folds or rolls according to the models.

Its main weaknesses are space and comfort offered little. In contrast to budget or occasional use, it is clearly the best solution.


  • Light
  • Low price
  • Very resistant
  • Correct insulation


  • Very uncomfortable (“lying on the side” is difficult.)
  • Large (for those that we bend) to very large (for those that you drive).

2 / The Self-Inflating Mattress

Launched by the Therm-a-Rest® brand, these mattresses combine foam insulation and valves that fill with air automatically by opening the valve (hence the name of self-inflating). Simply complete The inflation at the mouth to get more or less firmness.

These mattresses are generally little thick (between 2 and 4 centimeters) and therefore provide lesser comfort compared to inflatable mattresses (often between 5 and 8 centimeters). The part against the ground is generally strong enough to withstand the vagaries of the field.

For the part in contact with your body, choose a mattress with a nice envelope to the touch and avoid envelopes smooth (nothing worse than to have the feeling of sliding on his mattress overnight).


  • Comfortable
  • Good insulation


  • A bit bulky
  • More weight than an inflatable mattress
  • Quite fragile

3 / the inflatable sleeping pad

These mattresses are so inflated directly with the mouth (and Yes, if you are hiking, it will keep a little breath to inflate your mattress at night).

Long reserved for the traditional camping, these mattresses are currently market including outdoor light products to ultra-light (less than 400 grams). They begin to supplant the self-inflating mattress, because they are lighter, much less bulky and much more comfortable.

Some models will also very far in insulation with fittings type synthetic shoes or even down.

“The ultimate: very compact, very isolating and comfortable.” But watch out for the price!”

These mattresses are generally quite thick (between 5 and 10 cm) and ensure excellent comfort (with particular position “lie on your side”). Weight issues, more the mattress is lightweight, it is expensive (weights vary between 400g and more than 1 kg).

The main disadvantages of mattresses: fragility. Simply a thorn to make your mattress unusable (see answer above question)


  • Very comfortable
  • Very compact (fits easily in Backpack)
  • Very light (for the more expensive models)
  • Very isolating (especially the more expensive models)


  • Fragile
  • High price

Some mattresses come in “short” or 3/4 model. 1.20 m. These sizes are very useful in mountaineering or expedition to save weight.