5 Best Sleeping Pads For Side Sleepers Going Camping

Backpacking is a fun way to explore nature. But to make sure that you’ll stay comfortable, you should get the right sleeping pad, especially if you’re a side sleeper. This way, you’ll have restful nights without back pain as other campers and backpackers experienced. For this post, I listed the best backpacking sleeping pad for side sleepers, which you can use on your next trip.

Great sleep can be challenging inside a tent. Still, you can make your backpacking nights comfy with the right choice of bedding. See which of these five picks you’ll find comfy to sleep on:

 Our Top Pick! 
Nemo Tensor Ultralight
Sleeping Pad
Check Price
INVOKER Insulated
Sleeping Pad
Check Price
Therm-a-Rest Prolite
Plus Backpacking Pad
Check Price
Lightspeed Outdoors
Flex 3.0 Sleeping Pad
Check Price
Big Agnes Air Core
Sleeping Pad
Check Price
Top Rated Sleeping Pads

Best Backpacking Sleeping Pad For Side Sleepers – Top 5 Picks!


OUR TOP PICK: Nemo Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad
best backpacking sleeping pad for side sleepers

Product Name: Nemo Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad

Product Description: If you’re looking for the best backpacking sleeping pad for side sleepers, I recommend the Nemo Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad. This has three inches of a cushioned loft as well as Thermal Mirror insulation to keep you cozy and toasty while backpacking. Moreover, this sleeping pad has two layers of suspended insulation. It’s rated for use on 35F to 45F, which is perfect on chilly days. Aside from that, this is easily packable, thanks to its inflatable design. It has Laylow multivalves that make the pad easy to inflate and deflate when needed. I also like its high-capacity Vortex pump sack that keeps the air in.

Offer price: $$$

Availability: InStock

  • Level of Support
  • Ease of Use
  • Durability
  • Value for Money



The top portion of this sleeping pad is made of soft and textured fabric. It’s also quieter than other pads, which is ideal if you keep on tossing and turning in bed. This sleeping pad also has deflection resistance, which prevents your elbows and knees from touching the ground. You can also get this in regular, wide, and long wide versions to suit your body size. Overall, this is one of the most comfortable sleeping pads I’ve ever had. It’s extremely tiny when packed, which is perfect for backpackers.


Laylow multivalves Thermal Mirror insulation Vortex pump sack included


Not for the coldest days


INVOKER Insulated Sleeping Pad

best backpacking sleeping pad for side sleepers

The INVOKER Insulated Sleeping Pad offers a comfy and light backpacking experience. This has a flat design, which makes it similar to your bed at home. It also makes the sleeping pad easy to pack.

This sleeping pad boasts of its Rapid Inflation Technology. It allows the pad to inflate in as fast as 25 seconds. While other campers are blowing and pumping, you’re already fast asleep. It’s convenient and something that every backpacker would surely like to enjoy.

Moreover, the INVOKER sleeping pad has an R-value of 9.5, which makes it an all-around choice. It sports a 3.15” FlexFoam material wrapped with tear-resistant fabric. It feels like an actual mattress to give you restful nights.

This sleeping pad can be used on almost every terrain, thanks to its elastic foam. I also like how this pad holds the air in overnight, so you won’t wake up lying flat on the ground.

Overall, this is a useful sleeping pad for the money. You can also get this in green, blue, and gray colors to match your style.

The only thing I noticed is that this pad is slightly bulkier than the one from Nemo. But if you don’t mind the extra load, this sleeping pad would be fantastic for side sleepers.


  • FlexFoam material for all terrains
  • Rapid Inflation Technology
  • Refund guarantee if you’re not happy


  • Slightly bulkier than other sleeping pads

Therm-a-Rest Prolite Plus Backpacking Pad

best backpacking sleeping pad for side sleepers

If you want a lightweight option, you can consider the Therm-a-Rest Prolite Plus Backpacking Pad. This is a three-season camping or backpacking pad that provides comfort at a lightweight design.

This sleeping pad is equipped with a WingLock valve that lets you inflate the pad easily. The valve also prevents air from escaping, so you can sleep soundly at night.

Moreover, this has a 3.2 R-value to give side sleepers the comfort they want. It’s slightly thinner at 1.5”, but it won’t feel like you’re touching the ground.

I also like the polyester cover of this sleeping pad, which is soft to touch. It’s relatively quiet and won’t be bothersome even if you toss and turn.

Inside the sleeping pad, there are diagonally cut foam strips for added warmth and airflow. This design allows you to pack the pad in a small bag for easy carrying while backpacking.

Overall, this comfy pad is available in small to large sizes. However, it has a fixed width, and color options are pretty limited. Other than that, this sleeping pad is a great buy that you can use straight from the box.


  • Self-inflating WingLock valve
  • Lightweight design
  • Quiet polyester top


  • Thinner than other sleeping pads I’ve used.

Lightspeed Outdoors Flex 3.0 Sleeping Pad

The Lightspeed Outdoors Flex 3.0 is made for exceptionally cold days. It has an R-value of 9.66 to keep you warm in and out of your sleeping bag.

Aside from that, this sleeping pad is 3” thick with no bottoming out. It’s made of non-slip stretch material as well as PVC materials to prevent off-gassing. Inside, there’s soft foam insulation to keep you warm while camping.

This has dual and oversized air valves that self-inflate and deflate without using a separate pump. It’s very convenient to use across ages.

Moreover, the Lightspeed Flex 3.0 has an integrated pillow for added comfort. It doesn’t produce a crinkling sound, which many campers hate when using a sleeping pad.

I also like how it rolls into a small size. From 77” x 30” x 3”, this sleeping pad packs for just 30” x 7.75” and weighs a meager 6 lbs. It’s very lightweight and easy to carry even if you’re traveling light.

However, I want to mention that you have to be very careful when opening the valves because it’s made of plastic. Also, you may have to deflate it a few times to remove all the air inside.


  • Self-inflating with no pump needed
  • Soft foam insulation
  • Integrated pillow


  • It may not be the best pick for very heavy users.

Big Agnes Air Core Sleeping Pad

My last pick for this roundup is the Big Agnes Air Core Sleeping Pad. It has built-in advanced heat reflective technology to keep you warm outdoors.

Moreover, this is equipped with THERMOLITE insulation for added warmth as well as an offset I-beam to keep the pad stable. This way, you can sleep soundly without feeling the ground or deflating the pad prematurely.

Aside from that, the Big Agnes Air Core Sleeping Pad is made of double Ripstop nylon with aviation-grade TPU lamination. It makes this three-season sleeping pad durable against regular wear and tear.

This also uses a high-volume valve that allows fast and efficient inflation. It also makes deflation a total breeze, so you can pack and keep going right away.

Overall, this sleeping pad makes sleeping on bumpy ground comfortable. It has large outer chambers and a minimalist I-beam that will cushion your weight and prevent the pad from bottoming out.

The only thing I noticed is that you have to put a lot of effort into removing all the air inside this pad. If not, it will be challenging to pack.


  • THERMOLITE insulation for warmth
  • Ripstop nylon material with lamination
  • Large outer chambers


  • It requires more effort to remove all the air out of the pad.

How to choose the best backpacking sleeping pad

Are you looking for the right sleeping pad for backpacking? Here are some of the things to consider:

✔️Sleeping pad type

There are three major types of sleeping pads available in the market. It’s the manually inflating, self-inflating, and closed-cell foam types. Here’s a quick rundown of each type:

  • Manually inflating. Manually inflating sleeping pads are the most common pick. It’s cheaper than the other two types, but it requires a pump. Nevertheless, it’s simple, light, and reliable for most outdoor uses.
  • Self-inflating. If you want to skip the manual pumping, you can opt for the self-inflating sleeping pad. This uses a special valve that sucks in air to inflate the material. It will require some level of manual deflation, but a few blows into the valve should suffice.
  • Closed cell foam. This sleeping pad is a basic type composed mainly of a dense foam material. It often comes with a reflective top for added warmth. However, it’s thin and suitable only for short stops during backpacking and when the weather is extremely hot. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer enough body support for side sleepers.

✔️Dimensions and weight

Once you’ve chosen the type you need, you should now consider the dimensions of the sleeping pad. Make sure that it suits you well based on your height and weight. There should be enough space for you to stretch slightly without falling from the sleeping pad.

Aside from the size, you should also factor in the weight of the sleeping pad. As much as it’s inflatable, you should never underestimate the concentrated weight of the pad once it’s rolled and packed.


R-value refers to the sleeping pad’s ability to resist heat loss. With that, a higher R-value number means that the pad is warmer and suitable for cold days. During hot days, you’d want an R-value that’s lower than 4 or 5. Meanwhile, cold days beg for R-value higher than 5.5.

✔️Inner material

Next, you should check the inner material and construction of the sleeping pad. Many sleeping pads have soft foam and an I-beam construction to add support to the body. This is suitable for side sleepers to prevent body pain.

Aside from that, make sure that the sleeping pad has large air chambers. If possible, look for one with multiple chambers to prevent fast deflation.

✔️Surface material

The surface material of a sleeping pad is often a make-or-break part for many campers. Personally, I hate sleeping pads with squeaky and crinkly fabric covers.

Try to look for polyester covers and avoid nylon if you’re easily bothered by the sound whenever you move. Also, the sleeping pad’s outer material should withstand sharp objects on the ground.

✔️Price range

Lastly, you should consider how much you’re willing to spend on your sleeping pad. Cheap ones are convenient, but it doesn’t offer enough support for side sleepers.

On the other hand, investing in premium sleeping pads will give you the comfort you need. While it costs more, it will pay off in terms of your sleep quality while backpacking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How should I sleep comfortably while backpacking?

A: While backpacking, you can be comfortable by investing in a sleeping pad that matches your sleeping position. Also, you should choose the right spot to pitch your tent, in case you’re also camping. Getting a nice meal and emptying your bladder before bed will also keep you comfy at night. This will also prevent you from being awakened during late hours.

Q: Does the sleeping pad go inside the sleeping bag?

A: It depends on your preference and which of the two is larger. For example, if you want to insert the sleeping pad into the sleeping bag, make sure that the latter is wide enough to accommodate the former. However, this will affect the snug fit of your sleeping bag, which could be a problem during the winter season.

Q: Can I use a yoga mat as a sleeping pad?

A: Yoga mats aren’t ideal as sleeping pads. It’s thin, and it doesn’t offer enough support for a tired body. Also, side sleepers require enough height to keep their bodies comfortable. Yoga mats also lack the insulation sleeping pads have.

Q: Are sleeping pads worth it?

A: Sleeping pads add comfort while sleeping on a tent. It will cushion your body against the cold ground. Ultimately, sleeping pads will prevent back pain, especially if you’re suffering from back issues. Just make sure that the pad has enough height, insulation, and material based on your needs.

Q: How do I stop my sleeping pad from rolling off?

A: If you keep rolling off or sliding from your sleeping pad, you should consider putting it inside your sleeping bag. You should also place a mat underneath the pad to keep it in place. A wider pad will also help if you’re a squirmy sleeper.

Final words

The best backpacking sleeping for side sleepers will provide comfort wherever you’re going. While it’s true that sleeping in a tent is far from comfortable, you can reduce the suffering by using the right pads. It will save you from back pain and sleepless nights. After all, your outdoor adventure should be enjoyable and not a cause of stress.

What do you think of these sleeping pads? Let us know below!

Add Comment