Therm-a-Rest sleeping pads are found in every kind of campsite you can imagine–high in the alpine, rolled out in the back of hatchbacks and on every major thru-hike in the world. Go ahead and name your adventure.  We’ve got a sleeping pad for it. But how do you choose the one (ones?) you need out of 25 models? With variables spanning thickness, weight, warmth and a whole lot of technologies, finding the right one might seem daunting.

thermarest sleeping pads guide

However, to help you find the right pad for your style of adventure, we’ve put together The Ultimate Guide to Therm-a-Rest sleeping pads. The aim is to create a centralized source of our pad’s specs and descriptions, creating quick and clear comparisons that will help you find the right sleeping pads for your personalized sleep system.

Jump ahead to: 
1. Fast & Light Sleeping Pads
2. Trek & Travel Sleeping Pads
3. Camp & Comfort Sleeping Pads
4. Sleeping Pad R-Value
5. Sleeping Pad Construction
6. Sleeping Pad Valves
7. Sleeping Pad Sizes
8. How to Choose a Sleeping Pad
9. Sleeping Pad Maintenance

uberlight sleeping pad

Fast & Light Sleeping Pads

Our Fast & Light sleeping pads are designed to keep you safe, comfortable and moving fast in the backcountry. Backcountry sleeping pads need to be lightweight, warm, compact and durable. This tricky combination is made possible by the use of premium materials and industry leading construction techniques. In this category you’ll see why Therm-a-Rest has defined the cutting edge of  sleeping pad technology for 50 years.

Model R-Value Sizes Weight Thickness Best Use
NeoAir® XLiteNeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad 4.2 Small
Regular
Regular Wide
Large
8.3 oz / 0.24 kg
12.5 oz / 0.36 kg
1 lb / 0.44 kg
1 lb 1 oz / 0.47 kg
2.5 in / 6.4 cm Backpacking, thru-hiking, bike packing, kayaking, canoeing, ultralight
Women’s NeoAir® XLite™
Women's NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad
5.4 Regular 12 oz / 0.34 kg 2.5 in / 6.4 cm Backpacking, thru-hiking, bike packing, kayaking, canoeing, ultralight
NeoAir® XTherm™
NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad
6.9 Regular
Large
1 lb 1 oz / 0.47 kg
1 lb 6 oz / 0.62 kg
2.5 in / 6.4 cm Cold weather/winter, backpacking, thru-hiking, bike packing, kayaking, canoeing, ultralight
NeoAir® XTherm MAX™
XThermMAX Sleeping Pad
6.9 Regular
Regular Wide
Large
1 lb 3 oz / 0.55 kg
1 lb 9 oz / 0.71 kg
1 lb 7 oz / 0.64 kg
2.5 in / 6.4 cm Cold weather/winter, backpacking, thru-hiking, bike packing, kayaking, canoeing, ultralight
NeoAir® UberLite™
NeoAir UberLite
2.3 Small
Regular
Regular Wide
Large
6 oz / 0.17 kg
8.8 oz / 0.25 kg
11 oz / 0.31 kg
12 oz / 0.34 kg
2.5 in / 6.4 cm Ultralight pursuits
ProLite Apex™ProLite Apex Sleeping Pad 3.8 Regular
Regular Wide
Large
1 lb 6 oz / 0.62 kg
1 lb 12 oz / 0.79 kg
1 lb 14 oz / 0.85 kg
2 in / 5cm Backpacking, all-around use, canoeing, rafting
ProLite™
ProLite Sleeping Pad
2.4 Small
Regular
Large
12 oz / 0.35 kg
1 lb 2 oz / 0.51 kg
1 lb 8 oz / 0.69 kg
1 in / 2.5 cm Backpacking, all-around use
ProLite™ Womens
Women's ProLite Sleeping Pad
2.7 Regular 1lb 2 oz / 0.51 kg 1 in / 2.5 cm Backpacking, all-around use
ProLite™ Plus
Women's ProLite Sleeping Pad
3.2 Small
Regular
Large
1 lb / 0.45 kg
1 lb 7 oz / 0.65 kg
1 lb 15 oz / 0.88 kg
1.5 in / 3.8 cm Backpacking, all-around use
ProLite™ Plus Womens
Women's ProLite Sleeping Pad
3.9 Regular 1 lb 7 oz / 0.65 kg 1.5 in / 3.8 cm Backpacking, all-around use
Z Lite Sol™Z Lite SOL Sleeping Pad 2.0 Small
Regular
10 oz / 0.29 kg
14 oz / 0.41 kg
0.75 in / 2 cm Backpacking, sleep system layering, thru-hiking, ultralight, all-around use, multi-function
Original Z Lite™
Z_Lite
1.7 Regular 14 oz / 0.41 kg 0.75 in / 2 cm Backpacking, thru-hiking, ultralight, all-around use, multi-function

NeoAir® XLite™/NeoAir XLite Women’s

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The industry standard and award-collector for lightweight three-season backpacking performance. From ultralight purists to casual weekenders, everybody benefits from the XLite’s combination of cutting-edge tech, premium materials and legendary build quality. At 2.5-inches thick, it’s comfy and supportive for side sleepers and still able to pack down to about the size of a water bottle. Does inflating and deflating all that volume sound tiresome? The high-flow, one-way inflation of the WingLock Valve makes setting it up a breeze. Plus, it comes with a breath-saving pump sack.

Triangular Core Matrix construction offers the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any pad construction in the industry. That ratio is further boosted by the embedded, patent-pending ThermaCapture™ layer that efficiently radiates escaping body heat back toward you, rather than letting it just drift worthlessly into space. The result is an R-Value of 4.2, which sits right on the border of three- and four-season warmth. (The shorter and warmer Women’s model has a firm four-season R-Value of 5.4.)  If you need a reliable and high-performance foundation for your backcountry sleep system, there is no better choice than the XLite.

SHOP NEOAIR® XLITE™  |  SHOP NEOAIR® XLITE™ WOMEN’S

NeoAir® XTherm™/NeoAir XTherm MAX

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The award-winning XTherm provides the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any sleeping pad on the market and is a must-have for winter backcountry objectives. While it’s slightly bulkier than the XLite due to thicker materials and added warmth features, it still packs down plenty small to be an easy choice for thru-hikers and alpinists. Its top mandate is warmth (R-Value 6.9) and, in addition to the now standard mummy shape to save weight, the MAX model is a  rectangular cut, delivering added surface area for even more protection from drafts and the cold, hard ground. The baffled, internal Triangular Core Matrix construction makes for a super-supportive 2.5-inch pad that assures you better rest in even the coldest conditions.

Like the XLite, the WingLock valve eases inflation and deflation especially when combined with the included pump sack. One piece of feedback we regularly get from customers is that the XTherm has become their go-to pad for every trip, not just the cold ones. One reason is that for a few extra ounces, they get the extra durability of slightly heavier materials on the bottom, and peace of mind knowing punctures are less likely. The XTherm is a cold-weather specialist, but the qualities that make it great are useful on any trip.

SHOP NEOAIR® XTHERM™  |  SHOP NEOAIR® XTHERM MAX™

NeoAir UberLite™

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A gram-counters dream, the NeoAir UberLite is the lightest insulated air pad ever built. Compared to an XLite, the lighter-weight materials are immediately noticeable. Of course, with a pad this light, you’ll need to be mindful of taking extra care to avoid abrasions and rough surfaces, but if the lightest comfort possible is your Holy Grail, this is your pad. At 2.5-inch thick, it provides plenty of comfort and warmth for three-season adventures thanks to the stabilizing Triangular Core Matrix construction. And like all of our NeoAir pads, a WingLock valve and included pump sack deliver fast and easy inflation and deflation that speeds you rolling in and out of camp.

 

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ProLite™ Apex™

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While the air pad innovation has stormed the industry with its reductions in weight and bulk, we’re finding the ProLite Apex is taking some sleepers back to the self-inflating side of things—with good reason. Its StrataCore construction combines the lightweight and compact attributes of a true air pad with the ease-of-use, comfort and durability of a self-inflating sleeping pad. Alternating ridges of air and open-cell foam make this 2-inch pad super comfortable, warm and supportive for all types of sleepers across three season use (R-Value=3.8).If the self-inflation doesn’t simplify inflation enough, a WingLock valve makes it so all you have to do is top it off with a few breaths to find your desired comfort level.

Open-cell foam core pads will never be as light and compact as a NeoAir pad but, by carrying some extra weight, you get ease-of-use, the added durability of slightly studier materials.

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ProLite™/ProLite Women’s

prolite_poppy_reg-wmns

The ProLite pad is an absolute Therm-a-Rest classic that recalls our invention of the very first self-inflating sleeping pad. It is designed for the modern backpacker in need of a lightweight, reliable and easy-to-use self-inflating performance and comfort at an affordable price-point.

At 1-inch thick, the ProLite provides sleepers with essential comfort and three-season warmth.via an open-cell foam core. It utilizes strategic, diagonally-cut air channels to eliminate bulk without sacrificing warmth or support.

Based on extensive pressure-mapping analysis of how we sleep, a customized Women’s model is designed with a boost of foam density in the hip area for added comfort, resulting in slight boost in warmth as an added bonus.

Pro Tip: Pick up a small size for serious weight savings. You’ll get the essential comfort where you need it most—your torso—and cut a lot of weight.

SHOP PROLITE™  |  SHOP PROLITE™ WOMEN’S

ProLite™ Plus/ProLite Plus Women’s

prolite_plus_reg-wmns

The ProLite Plus is a thicker and warmer version of the classic ProLite. Although the added comfort measures increase the overall weight, the ProLite Plus is no less backcountry ready. At 1.5-inches thick with a supportive die-cut foam core, this pad can be relied on for compact and durable backcountry comfort. The open-cell foam does most of the inflation work, requiring just a few breaths to find your desired comfort level. Much like its sibling, the ProLite Plus gives the sleeper simple and durable three-season performance at camp.

Based on extensive pressure-mapping analysis of how we sleep, a customized Women’s model is designed with a boost of foam density in the hip area for added comfort, resulting in slight boost in warmth as an added bonus.

SHOP PROLITE™ PLUS  |  SHOP PROLITE™ PLUS WOMEN’S

Z Lite SOL™/Original Z Lite™

zlite_blue_reg-original

The legendary, original “accordion egg carton” closed-cell foam sleeping pad. These have become the standard for ultralight thru-hikes and entry-level backpackers alike. Why? The Z Lite series is darn-near perfect with its approach to being an indestructible, ultralight and multi-use tool for your backpacking kit. Yes, it’s a sleeping pad, but it easily doubles as a seat, a dog-bed, a fly-swatter or and even a first aid tool for splinting injured knees.  Honestly, your imagination is the limit.

The textured design allows heat-trapping dimples to capture your body heat and hold it. Moreover, the SOL model features a layer of our proprietary reflective ThermaCapture coating to bump its R-value up to a fair-weather 2.0. That may not seem like much, but if you layer it under another pad, that 2.0 is added to your other pad’s R-Value. For example, an XLite—with a three-season R-Value of 4.2—on top of Z Lite SOL achieves an overall R-Value of 6.2—firmly in the four-season range–plus an indestructible bottom layer for added protetion. That level of backcountry usefulness is hard to find at this price, in any gear category.

SHOP Z LITE SOL SHOP Z LITE™ ORIGINAL

inflating trail pro

Trek & Travel™ Sleeping Pads

The modern adventurer rarely restricts themselves to a single lane of adventure. Weeks spent sleeping in a tent deep in the backcountry are followed up by weekends car camping with friends and family. Our Trek and Travel pads are are built to bridge that gap. They’re light and compact enough for the backpack, while still bringing the premium comfort features you want in the frontcountry.

Model R-Value Sizes Weight Thickness Best Use
NeoAir® Topo LuxeTherm-a-Rest Topo Luxe Sleeping Pad 3.7 Regular
Regular Wide
Large
XLarge
1lb 7 oz / 0.65 kg
1lb 11 oz / 0.77 kg
1lb 13 oz / 0.82 kg
2lbs 2 oz / 0.96 kg
4 in / 10 cm Backpacking, all-around use, car camping, side sleepers
NeoAir® Topo
Therm-a-Rest Topo Sleeping Pad
2.3 Regular
Regular Wide
Large
1lb 5 oz / 0.59 kg
1lb 12 oz / 0.80 kg
1lb 14 oz / 0.85 kg
3 in / 7.6 cm Backpacking, all-around use, car camping, side sleepers
NeoAir® Venture™ NeoAir Venture Sleeping Pad 2.2 Regular
Large
1lb 3 oz / 0.54 kg
1lb 10 oz / 0.74 kg
2 in / 5 cm backpacking
Trail Pro™
Trail Pro Sleeping Pad
4.4 Regular
Regular Wide
Large
1lb 13 oz / 0.82 kg
2lbs 5 oz / 1.04 kg
2lbs 7 oz / 1.11 kg
3 in / 7.6 cm Backpacking, all-around use, car camping, rafting/canoeing, truck/van sleep systems, side-sleepers
Trail Lite™
Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite Sleeping Pad
3.2 Regular
Large
1lb 10 oz / 0.74 kg
2lbs 3 oz / 0.99 kg
1.5 in / 3.8 cm Backpacking, car camping
Trail Lite™ Women’s
Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite Sleeping Pad
4.5 Regular 1lb 10 oz / 0.74 kg 1.5 in / 3.8 cm Backpacking, car camping
Trail Scout™
Trail Scout
3.1 Small
Regular
Large
15 oz / 0.43 kg
1lb 8 oz / 0.68 kg
2lb 1 oz / 0.94 kg
1 in / 2.5 cm Entry-level backpacking, backpacking, car camping
RidgeRest® SOLite™
Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOLite Sleeping Pad
2.1 Small
Regular
Large
9 oz / 0.26 kg
14 oz / 0.40 kg
1lb 3 oz / 0.54 kg
0.625 in / 1.5 cm Backpacking, sleep system layering, multi-use
RidgeRest® Classic
Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest Classic Sleeping Pad
2.0 Regular
Large
14 oz / 0.40 kg
1lb 3 oz / 0.54 kg
0.625 in / 1.5 cm Backpacking, multi-use

NeoAir® Topo™

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The Topo strikes that perfect balance between specialist, lightweight backpacking pad and a super-comfy frontcountry bed. Made of premium materials, the Topo boasts a 3 inches (7.6 cm) of ultra-supportive loft while being able to pack down small when it’s time to hit the trail. WaveCore™ construction ensures the necessary insulation for three-season pursuits.

It comes with a pump-sack for easy inflation in addition to the standard WingLock Valve system that features one-way inflation.

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NeoAir® Topo™ Luxe

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As the name suggests, the Topo Luxe takes the backcountry comfort profile of the Topo and goes all in. A full 3 inches thick, with a balanced and supportive rectangular sleep surface, means restless nights searching for a comfortable position at camp are a thing of the past. Premium materials and Triangular Core Matrix construction make this comfort-conscious pad compact and backcountry ready, but with the chops to be the envy of any car campsite.

Unlike its sibling, the Topo Luxe uses the TwinLock Valve system. This system features dedicated one-way valves for deflating and inflating all that deluxe loft super-easy. Our unique, Triangular Core Matrix construction gives the Topo Luxe plenty of warmth for three-season use and unrivaled air pad stability.

Pro Tip: Layer a Z-Lite SOL underneath, to booth your Topo Luxe into the four-season range.

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NeoAir® Venture™

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A classic NeoAir design, the Venture air pad provides access to the benefits of our most advanced air pad technology and benefits at a great price. WaveCore construction makes it supportive and compact, and its rectangular cut and 2-inch thick profile offer the outstanding air pad comfort with a 2.2 R-value that is ideal for summer backpacks, road trips, or anywhere cold is not a major concern.  And of course, our WingLock valve keeps inflation and deflation quick and easy.

Another important aspect of the Venture is its durability. If you prioritize durability over light weight, and are willing to bag a few extra ounces for extra peace of mind, the NeoAir Venture could be your pad.

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Trail Pro™

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The Trail Pro distills our best designs and ideas into one go-anywhere unicorn of a sleeping pad. This under-appreciated staff favorite is a masterpiece of self-inflating performance and could be the Quiver Killer you’ve been looking for. Compact and light enough for backpacking pursuits, the Trail Pro brings the comfort you would typically reserve for car-camping to remote destinations. The stretch-knit fabric surface is plush and feels great next-to-skin, while the StataCore foam construction offers peak support for sleepers of any type (we’re talking about you, side-sleepers).

At three inches thick, with a cold-conquering 4.4 R-Value, the Trail Pro promises supreme comfort anywhere you take it. “Three-inches with a foam core, that must be too bulky for a backpack, right,” you ask?  Wrong. The StrataCore foam construction uses alternating ridges of air and foam to cut bulk, while the tapered cut of the pad provides maximum comfort and significant weight reduction.

SHOP TRAIL PRO™

Trail Lite™/ Women’s Trail Lite

trail lite_reg-wmns

The 1.5-inch thick Trail Lite is the go-to pad for campers and backpackers looking for the ease of self-inflation, enough warmth for three-season adventures and  Therm-a-Rest quality without breaking the bank. The premium die-cut foam core keeps weight down, ensures packability and offers all-night support so you can follow your adventure whims anywhere they may take you.

Based on extensive pressure-mapping analysis of how we sleep, a customized Women’s model is designed with a boost of foam density in the hip area for added comfort, resulting in slight boost in warmth as an added bonus.

SHOP TRAIL LITE™  |  SHOP TRAIL LITE™ WOMEN’S

Trail Scout™

Trail Scout Dark Forest

Essential comfort is the name of the game for this popular three-season classic. While ideal for novice backpackers, the build quality, low weight and compact profile make this pad suitable for anyone seeking outstanding value. The self-inflating, open-cell foam core does much of the inflation work, requiring just a few breaths into the WingLock Valve to reach your desired comfort level.

SHOP TRAIL SCOUT™

RidgeRest® SOLite™/RidgeRest Classic

ridgerest_solite-classic.jpg

The closed-cell foam of the RidgeRest series offers indestructible reliability, basic comfort and multi-function peace of mind; traits that have earned it high praise and a place on the backpacks of backpackers of all experience levels for over four decades.  The “peaks and valleys” thermally formed into each foam provide a supportive sleep surface and space to trap heat. The SOLite model traps even more that warmth with its metallic ThermaCapture layer reflecting it back to you for optimal efficiency.

RidgeRest pads roll up into a compact cylinder for easy packing and come sizes small through large.

SHOP RIDGEREST® SOLITE™  |  SHOP RIDGEREST® CLASSIC

large camping sleeping pad

Camp & Comfort Sleeping Pads

There are few things as sublime as a leisurely weekend spent camping with family and friends. In your favorite state park, dispersed in a National Forest or by a river, lake or crag; these are happy times. With premium materials and an eye for what the human body needs for comfy sleep, our Camp & Comfort series is designed to provide the sleep foundation for these happy times. Lay down on one of these comfort-focused pads for a sublime night’s rest under the stars.

Model R-Value Sizes Weight Thickness Best Use
MondoKing™ 3D
MondoKing™ 3D Sleeping Pad
7.0 Large
XXLarge
4lbs 6oz / 1.99 kg
5lb 8 oz / 2.50 kg
4.25 in / 11 cm Car camping, truck/van sleep systems, impressing your friends at camp
LuxuryMap™ LuxuryMap Sleeping Pad 6.0 Regular
Large
XLarge
3lbs 4 oz / 1.48 kg
4lbs 3 oz / 1.90 kg
5lbs 2 oz / 2.33 kg
3 in / 7.6 cm Car camping, truck/van sleep systems
BaseCamp™
BaseCamp Sleeping Pad
6.0 Regular
Large
XLarge
2lbs 8 oz / 1.14 kg
3lbs 6 oz / 1.53 kg
4lbs / 1.82 kg
2 in / 5 cm Car camping

MondoKing™ 3D

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This aptly name pad is the pinnacle of camp comfort; spend a night on one and you’ll likely reach the same conclusion.  “3D” refers to the sidewall construction style that allowed us mimic a traditional mattress with a broad, flat and supportive sleep surface and four inches of thickness. The use of sidewalls makes it possible to capture the comfort and ease of self-inflating foam without a tapered-off sleep surface around the edges. Other key comfort features include the next-to-skin delight that is stretch-knit fabric, and the four-season R-Value of 7.0—the highest R-value of any Therm-a-Rest sleeping pad.

Despite the outsized comfort aspirations of the design, the Mondo remains compact thanks to StrataCore construction. With the dedicated deflation valve of the TwinLock Valve system it will easily roll up slot into any car trunk. When it’s time to set up camp, the combo of open-cell foam and the high-flow valve makes inflating this beast as easy as topping it off to your comfort level with a few breaths or rolls of the included pump sack. Whether you are pitching a tent in summer or crashing in your van for first chair in Jackson Hole, the MondoKing provides more than enough warmth and comfort for a good night’s sleep anywhere.

Pro Tip: Lay it out in your home when you need an extra bed for visiting friends or in-laws, it’s that comfortable.

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LuxuryMap™

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The LuxuryMap is the perfect bridge between the essential performance of the BaseCamp and the mammoth comfort of MondoKing 3D. It utilizes the same plush stretch-knit fabrics as the Mondo that make it delightful to the touch and comes in at a cold-conquering 6.0 R-value. Thicker than the BaseCamp at three inches, the LuxuryMap lives up to its name with a broad and supportive sleep surface that accommodates side-sleepers and those that toss and turn at night.

The self-inflating foam core provides ease-of-use for this high-volume pad, while the TwinLock Valve system makes topping-off and deflating it remarkably easy. It steps up from the BaseCamp with a pressure-mapped foam core designed to provide the perfect balance of supportive comfort and weight-saving packability. Without vertical sidewalls, it’s less bulky than the Mondo, but still provides outstanding comfort in the frontcountry.

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BaseCamp™

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The BaseCamp pad’s simple form factor harkens back to the original self-inflating foam pads, but with modern-day frontcountry comfort. Two inches thick, with a supportive open-cell foam core wrapped in comfortable and durable fabrics, the BaseCamp pad can be relied upon as a  refuge from the elements time and time again—just like a base camp ought to be.The real kicker though is its incredible value. If you’ve been using your backpacking pad for car camping and are looking for something more deluxe for roadside use without breaking the bank, the BaseCamp is an excellent choice.

 

SHOP BASECAMP™

sleeping pad in snow

Sleeping Pad R-Value

R-Value is a measure of thermal resistance. The higher the R-value, the slower heat will pass through a given material or structure. Practically speaking, the higher the R-Value, the warmer a pad is.

Keep in mind that R-Value is not the same as the temperature ratings used to rate the warmth of sleeping bags and quilts. While a sleeping bag uses its insulation to keep cold air out and trap warm air in, a sleeping pad creates a thermal resistance against the cold ground. Heat flows from warmer to cooler space until there is no difference in temperature. Your sleeping pad is the barrier that prevents that heat loss, and R-Value is the rating of how well it does that.

Why is knowing about R-Value important? Having a pad with the right R-Value for the present conditions will allow you to be thermally efficient. Of course, thermal efficiency is achieved by the right combination of all the gear that makes up your sleep system (more on that in a moment), but your pad is the foundation of the system. Here’s a quick breakdown of R-Value ranges and how they pertain to the seasons:

sleeping pad r value chart

Keep in mind that this is general guide. There are no absolutes when it comes to conditions outdoors and the preferences of a sleeper’s body. Some people sleep cold even if it’s warm, and sometimes the weather changes unexpectedly. Choosing the pad that fits your preferences—both of where and how you adventure, as well as what type of sleeper you are—will ensure you follow that key rule of going outside: be prepared.

ultralight sleeping pads

Sleeping Pad Layering + R-Value

One mantra that is often tossed around when talking about preparing for any outdoor adventure is, “expect the unexpected.” In the category of sleeping pads, the best way to prepare for this is the same as clothing (and even sleeping bags and quilts): layering. R-Value is additive. Meaning if you stack two pads you can add their respective R-Value’s together for higher overall rating. We don’t recommend stacking two inflatable pads, chances are you would fall off overnight, but a closed-cell pad is a different story.

We mentioned it above but its worth repeating, a Z-Lite SOL is a downright useful thing to have. If temperatures unexpectedly drop, layering that Z-Lite under your inflatable pad will boost your overall R-Value by 2.0 and allow you to stay warm. If you don’t need it for your warmth, then you have something comfy to sit on or to swat flies with. That’s winning at preparation.

ASTM standard R Value machine

Sleeping Pad Construction Technology

Different construction types allow Therm-a-Rest sleeping pads to be unique and excel in different areas.

NeoAir Construction Types

triangular core matrix

Triangular Core Matrix: This patent-pending technology is a big reason our NeoAir line has created better experiences in the backcountry and collected numerous awards along the way. Two stacked layers of triangular baffles minimize heat loss and create an incredibly stable sleep surface despite the use of ultralight and compact materials. No other construction tech can match its warmth-to-weight ratio.

wave core

WaveCore: Utilizes a single layer of horizontal baffles that slows convective heat loss without adding extra bulk. It doesn’t quite match the warm-to-weight ratio of Triangular Core Matrix, meaning it’s found in our warmer weather pads. Less material and manufacturing intensive means WaveCore pads are usually less expensive.

Self-Inflating Construction Types

open cell foam

Open-cell foam: The original construction type and the technology that revolutionized outdoor sleep. Nowadays its less a construction type than it is the raw material that we use in the next three types. Still, the properties of open-cell foam are what makes self-inflation happen. Empty open cells act as a vacuum when the pad is rolled out and the valve opened. Air fills them until equilibrium  is established with the outside air pressure.

stratacore

StrataCore Construction: StrataCore marries the attributes of air pads and self-inflating pads. A continuous layer of thermal open-cell foam is cut in an pattern of a series of ridges. The spaces in between the ridges are filled with air to accompany the support of the foam. This allows significant weight savings, but here’s the best part: StrataCore yields the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any self-inflating foam construction.

vertically die-cut foam

Vertically Die-Cut Foams: A cut structure that cuts vertical channels out of a solid open-cell foam core. This allows us to trim weight off the pad and keep it compact while still being supportive.

diagonally die-cut foam

Diagonally Die-Cut Foams: Like vertically cut foam, except the channels are diagonally cut. Diagonal channels reduce heat loss by minimizing air flow while providing the same support and reduced weight and bulk.

Winglock-Twinlock-Valve

Sleeping Pad Valves

Classic Valve: While not on any of our pads anymore, understanding the classic valve puts the advancements of our next two valves in perspective. The original valve focused on three key principles, ease-of-use, durability and repairability. Its easy twist-to-open and close action made it intuitively easy to use with gloves on, in the dark or in the cold. Having it set off the surface of the pad made midnight adjustments possible. Set into a plastic valve seat in the pad and sealed with an adhesive made replacing the valves a simple process that could be done at home or in the field.

sleeping pad valve

WingLock Valve: The WingLock kept the core principles of the classic valve and took it to the next level. Still with the simple twist action, the added “wings” allow for the valve to be set to inflation or deflation mode. In inflation mode the valve is one-way, ensuring that the air you put in doesn’t escape between breaths or rolls of a pump sack.  When the wings are set in deflation mode, and the valve opened, the air can escape. We made the orifice larger so there is 3x the airflow in and out. The high-grade plastic parts are durable and easy to grip with gloves and cold hands. Still set of the surface of the pad and into a plastic valve seat, replacing the valve is just as easy with a valve repair kit. The WingLock valve is found on most of our pads, including all of the Fast & Light series pads.

deflating sleeping pad twin lock valve

TwinLock Valve: Reserved for our high-volume pads, the TwinLock takes all of the functionality of the WingLock and splits into two valves. A dedicated one-way inflation valve, and a dedicated deflation valve that allows you to rapidly dump air out of your pad.

sleeping pad size

Sleeping Pad Sizes

Women’s Size: A few of our sleeping pads offer a Women’s size that is shorter and warmer. Our research shows that on average women tend to sleep colder and benefit from a little extra insulation. The dimensions of the Women’s size maintain the width at 20-inches wide (51 cm), like the standard Regular size, but trim the length down to 66 in (168 cm) from the Regular 72-inches (183 cm). We’ve found that a significant number of men opt for Women’s sizing due to the decrease in weight and increase in warmth. Likewise, plenty of women opt for our standard sized pad’s.

Small: 20-inches (51 cm) wide and 47-inches (119 cm) long. This sizing is commonly referred to as the ¾ pad, and is popular amongst thru-hikers and other ultralight focused adventurers. This size offers warmth and comfort for the most critical area of the body—the torso—and cuts a significant amount of weight by not supporting the legs. Sounds uncomfortable? Not so fast, a common solution is to put your backpack under your legs. Not for everybody, but the weight savings and packability gains makes it worth it for some.

Regular: 20-inches wide (51 cm) and 72-inches (183 cm) long. The baseline size of our sleeping pads. The Regular size offers full body support for people up to 6-feet tall.

Regular Wide: 25-inches wide (64 cm) and 72-inches (183 cm) long. Added width supports broader shoulders and body types without adding unnecessary extra length.  

Large: 25-inches wide (64 cm) and 77-inches (196 cm) long. The Large size offers full body support for those that are taller than 6-feet. Added width accounts for broader shoulders and body types.

setting up sleep system in tent

Sleep Systems & How to Choose a Sleeping Pad

Sleep systems are the combinations of sleeping pads, sleeping bags, quilts and pillows used to achieve a good night’s sleep outdoors. When choosing a sleeping pad, it’s critical you consider your choice in context of the other gear you will be using alongside it.

Choosing the right sleeping pad is a function of matching the attributes of a pad to your sleeper profile, the climatic conditions you expect to encounter, and the performance of your other sleep equipment. There’s a lot to consider here, so in addition to the sleep system blog linked above here’s some additional reading materials to help you out:

 

submerging sleeping pad to look for leaks

Sleeping Pad Maintenance

You’ve done all your research, you’ve spent the money and now you have a new sleeping pad (or maybe even sleeping pads!). Get stoked, better sleep makes for better adventures. That stoke will quickly disappear when your pad fails and you find yourself waking up on the ground. Here are some materials about caring for and repairing your pad to ensure that doesn’t happen.

If your punctures and you are unable to repair it, you can always send it into our repair shop and let the pros do it. We make our gear to last and to be repairable. Keeping it out of landfills is an important step in sustainability. In the event that a manufacturing defect causes a failure, we will replace the pad free of charge under our Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Final Thoughts

A good night’s rest can mean the difference between a safe day outside and a dangerous one. While the difference between full mental engagement and a bit of grogginess doesn’t always lead to questionable safety, the point remains: better sleep = better days.

This is why we are invested in making sure you get the right sleeping pad, not just a sleeping pad. We hope this guide was helpful to your gear research efforts and advanced your knowledge of sleeping pads. If there is any way that you think it could be better, please leave us a comment and share your thoughts. We are always interested in improving our customers experience on the trail as well as in the marketplace. Happy camping!

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Updated. Originally Published Jun 8, 2021.