It is not easy to find a suitable sleeping pad for side sleepers. They tend to turn themselves on the left or right, creating pressure on the pad. As a result, most side sleepers encounter many problems, including noise produced while turning or tossing and uncomfortable feeling.
Like many other living their life on the edge, I had suffered from many cold grounds before I realized that I need a comfortable sleeping pad if I want to further my passion. So here I am, after scrolling down pages to pages for a right sleeping pad, I have gathered useful information and knowledge that would help you find out which are the best sleeping pads for side sleepers.
Best Sleeping Pads For Side Sleepers 2019
#1 - Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress
- Suitable for 3-season use: summer, autumn and spring
- ThermaCapture technology for maximum warmth
- The unstable edges make you fall off if you turn too often
- A little pricey (but it’s worth your money!)
Therm-a-Rest is one of the prominent names in the world of outdoor-gear manufacturers. Their NeoAir Xlite is a classic example of how comfortable and versatile Therm-a-Rest’s products could be.
Let’s first take a look at the comfortability. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress adopts the horizontal baffles, delivering the feel of stability compared to other vertical ones that slide your hips into the grooves while you’re sleeping. Plus, Therm-a-Rest has used better-quality interactions, making less noise when you turn around during sleep.
If you are looking for a light compact-size sleeping pad, the NeoAir Xlite should be your first choice. The largest version weighs only 1 lbs, making it one of the lightest sleeping pads on the market.
You can pack this pad down to a one-liter water bottle. This means you have plenty of space inside the backpack for other useful gears.
As you can see, due to its weight and compactness, the R-value of this product is around 3.2. This rating indicates that the NeoAir Xlite can perfectly keep you warm within three seasons, including summer, autumn, and spring. To maximize the ability to retain heat, this product features what’s called ThermaCapture to secure the heat radiance around your body.
There is one thing I don’t really like about this product. When fully inflated, horizontal baffles cause the edge to be unstable. If you turn around too often, chances are you will be likely to fall off during sleep. The price of this pad is also a significant concern for travelers who are on a tight budget.
|47 x 20 x 2.5 in|
72 x 20 x 2.5 in
77 x 25 x 2.5 in
|9 x 3.3 in|
9 x 4 in
11 x 4.5 in
If you are a frequent backpacker who doesn’t mind spending money for a high-quality 3-season sleeping pad, then you should choose Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite.
#2 - Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Trekker Mattress Regular
- The rectangular shape is suitable for side sleepers
- Quite noisy
This is another sleeping pad from Therm-a-Rest. Unlike the Xlite above with the oven shape to reduce weight and space, this Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Trekker Mattress Regular utilizes the rectangular shape that allows users to sleep comfortably and adjust their sleeping position freely.
The material for the NeoAir Trekker is also worth to mention. Therm-a-Rest has decided to use a non-reflective foil substance on which you can sleep comfortably. This synthetic material also reduces the cost of the pad. However, it lowers the ability to prevent heat loss. That’s why the R-value is only around 3.0. I wouldn’t recommend the NeoAir Trekker for any trips in late autumn or early spring.
The regular sleeping pad is slightly over 1 lbs and very easy to pack. You can put it inside your backpack and still have plenty of space for other gears. What’s not to love is the noise it creates. For a light sleeper, this may not be an ideal option to get through the night.
|Weight (Regular)||1 lb 1 oz|
|Dimensions (Regular)||72 x 20 x 2.5 in|
|Packed Dimensions (Regular/L Torso/L)||4.5 x 9 in|
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Trekker Mattress Regular makes a great multipurpose 3-season pad, especially in summer.
If you are looking for a comfortable product with useful features for your backpacking trips, you should put this item into consideration.
#3 - Klymit Insulated Static V Luxe Sleeping Pad
- V-shaped baffles reduce heat loss
- Offers generous space
- Sturdy shell material for tear-puncture resistance
- It’s hard to open the valve
Klymit Insulated Static V Luxe Sleeping Pad creates a unique V-shaped baffle system to keep track of your body map and deliver the utmost comfort regardless of your sleeping position.
The hollow V channels also prevent air movement – which is the leading cause of heat loss. Unfortunately, these deep V-shaped baffles make some people feel uncomfortable while sleeping.
This item offers a twist-pull valve that allows you to inflate the pad quickly and secure the air inside. You may need a few tries when you either over-inflate or under-inflate the pad to find the “sweet spot” where you feel comfortable sleeping on it.
It is also designed to suit even demanding users, offering generous space for people to turn and toss around without worrying about falling off.
Inflatable sleeping pads are easy to be ripped or punctured. Klymit Insulated Static V Luxe utilizes 75D Polyester for its exterior shell, providing excellent tear-and-puncture resistance. This material is also famous for its durability and lightweight.
You will easily notice that Klymit has raised the thickness of this particular pad to 3” compared to the standard 2.5”. The thickness coupled with a high R-value, 4.4, make this pad a perfect choice for cold weather. The only downside of this product is the valve. I have spent a good 10 minutes trying to open it.
|Dimensions||76″ x 30″ x 3″|
|Packed Dimensions||5.5″ x 10″|
Klymit Insulated Static V Luxe brings great value for frequent campers and hikers, especially who are conscious about both weight and comfort.
It can be used in late autumn or early spring when the temperature is low but not close to the freezing point.
#4 - Therm-a-Rest LuxuryMap Self-Inflating Foam Camping Mattress
- High R-value, suitable for winter camping
- The mapping technology delivers ultimate comfort
- Quite bulky and heavyweight
Therm-a-Rest LuxuryMap Self-Inflating Foam Camping Mattress allows the emphasis to be placed upon the comfort and warmth. This pad features mapping technology that addresses different pressure points of human bodies while sleeping.
Therm-a-Rest has later decided to reduce the foam in those pressure points to remove air displacement consequence and deliver comfortable sleeping space. This item is 3 inches thick, so even some pressing points are less dense than the others you don’t have to worry if you will sink too deep that your body touches the ground.
Therm-a-Rest LuxuryMap Self-Inflating Foam Camping Mattress is one of the most well-insulated air beds in the market. It offers an R-value of 6.8. It’s perfectly usable for winter-camping when the temperature can drop below the freezing point.
The LuxuryMap features two twist spigots that work for both inflation and deflation. Though it helps the mattress to swell up faster, you still have to add up quite a few breaths to reach the ideal point.
As for the portability, this item is not something that backpackers want to carry along. It is bulky, hefty and not very compressed.
The Luxury Map is a wonderful all-season sleeping pad that delivers ultimate comfort and warmth. Due to its weight, I only suggest using this mattress for car camping trips when the weight isn’t a problem.
|3 lbs 4 oz|
4 lbs 3 oz
5 lbs 2 oz
|Dimensions||20 x 72 x 3 in|
25 x 77 x 3 in
30 x 77 x 3 in
|Packed Dimensions||21 x 6.2 in|
26 x 6.4 in
31 x 6.5 in
Therm-a-Rest LuxuryMap is a wonderful all-season sleeping pad that delivers ultimate comfort and warmth.
Due to its weight, I only suggest using this mattress for car camping trips when the weight isn’t a problem.
#5 - KingCamp DELUXE Series Thick Self-Inflating Camping Pad
- Offers high R-values, perfect for winter camping
- Top-notch performance regarding the ability to keep warm, self-inflate and deflate
- Quite big and bulky, hard to roll over
KingCamp DELUXE Series Thick Self-Inflating Camping Pad is so far the one with top-notch features in this list. Both single and double size offer an R-value of 7.5.
The other two versions with plus and wide sizes have an R-value of 10. This makes The DELUXE Series the sleeping pad with the highest ability to keep warm. If you are a frequent camper in extreme weather, this pad is an ideal partner to keep you through the night.
Depending on the size, this item can be inflated up to 4 inches of thickness. You certainly must give some extra breathes to reach this supreme point, but once it’s done, you can enjoy the extreme coziness it delivers. If you are a side sleeper, this mattress will make sure your hips stay securely with plenty of cushions.
One thing that most self-inflating mattress’s users struggle with is the deflation process. If the air doesn’t go out completely, it’s hard to roll the pad over and pack it tight. With the KingCamp DELUXE Series, you only have to wait roughly 3 minutes for the pad to complete its self-defeating. You can also give it a few pushes to make sure there is no air left inside.
The only problem is the packing-up process. This pad weights up to 11 lbs depending on different sizes. The larger it is, the harder it gets to roll over.
|77.95 × 24.8 × 2.95 in|
77.95 × 24.8 × 3.94 in
77.95 × 29.92 × 3.94 in
77.95 × 51.18 × 2.95 in
|26.37 × 9.05 × 9.05 in|
26.37 × 9.44 × 9.44 in
29.92 × 9.44 × 9.44 in
26.37 × 12.59 × 12.59 in
Well, KingCamp DELUXE Series is indeed not a good choice for those weight-conscious travelers.
However, if you only care about warmth and extra comfort, then this sleeping pad is perfect for you.
#6 - Therm-a-Rest ProLite Ultralight Self-Inflating Backpacking Pad
- Reasonably priced
- Perfect for summer trips
- Incredibly light
- Only 1 inch thick, may not suitable to use on uneven ground.
Therm-a-Rest always knows how to satisfy their customers, especially when it comes to outdoor gears. Their ProLite Ultralight Self-Inflating Backpacking Pad is a great item for summer camping, especially for kids. If you think you have to pay a fortune for a great-quality sleeping pad for ultimate comfort, the ProLite Ultralight Pad from Therm-a-Rest will make you think again.
One thing I like about self-inflating sleeping pads is that they don’t require physical work. You only need to open the valve and let the pad inflate itself.
Therm-a-Rest ProLite Ultralight Self-Inflating Backpacking Pad offers a couple of features that would make you fall in love with it instantly.
Unlike other air mattresses, the Prolite doesn’t give off bouncing sensation. It makes you feel stable and well-founded.
The R-value is low, which is acceptable for not-so-cold nights. It is not compatible to use for extreme weather. Since it is only 1 inch thick, it may not be suitable for lumpy ground.
If you don’t want to have any uncomfortable feelings around your hip and butt areas, it’s better to find an even surface to sleep on. After all, you can’t ask for too much in a design that emphasizes on the portability and lightweight.
Using 50d mini Hex Rip Polyester for exterior material, this pad can assure you about its durability even with little care. What’s more, the ProLite is very compact thanks to the perforated foam formation.
For an affordable sleeping pad, the ProLite Ultralight Self-Inflating Backpacking Pad is certainly a product of value. Backpackers who aim at a lightweight yet durable sleeping pad should not ignore this product.
1lbs 2 oz
1 lbs 8 oz
|20 x 36 x 1 in|
20 x 47 x 1 in
20 x 72 x 1 in
25 x 77 x 1 in
|11 x 3.3 in|
11 x 3.3 in
11 x 4.1 in
13 x 4.5 in
For an affordable sleeping pad, the ProLite Ultralight Self-Inflating Backpacking Pad is certainly a product of value.
Backpackers who aim at a lightweight yet durable sleeping pad should not ignore this product.
How To Attach Sleeping Pads To Backpack?
Travelers often find themselves struggling to attach a sleeping pad to their backpack. If you are not careful, the sleeping pad is easy to get torn or ripped apart in transit.
I would recommend you to pack your sleeping pad inside the backpack if there is enough space and the pad is not too heavy. You should put it vertically to save space for other items.
In case you have a big sleeping pad, the ideal position is the center of your bag since it helps balance off the total weight of your gears. If you don’t want to put it inside, attaching it outside using straps in the back or bottom is also a good idea.
What Is R-value Of Sleeping Pads?
R-value is a specification that implies the ability to secure heat and insulate users from the ground. This is quite similar to the temperature rating you often see in sleeping bags. There are several contributing factors to an R-value: materials, structures, and design.
Summer sleeping pads are often designed without insulation, offering an R-value of around 1.0. As the temperature descends, you need a better-insulated pad, meaning a higher R-value. A 3-season sleeping pad often falls between 3.0 to 4.0, while 4-season one – which can be used under the extreme weather – offers an R-value of 9.0 to 10.0.
How To Inflate Sleeping Pad?
If you buy a self-inflating sleeping pad, the task is quite simple. For a newly purchased item, unroll it first, open the valve(s) and let it self-inflate. Each item requires different time to be fully inflated, and you may need to give it several breaths to help the pad reach its peak. Close the valve(s) after finishing.
As for inflatable sleeping pads, you need to inflate the pad yourself. It can take 3 minutes or more to fully inflate the pad with your breaths. Most of the inflatable pads offer additional hand pumps, which are sold separately so that the inflating process is less time-consuming.
You can adjust the firmness of your sleeping pad by squeezing out air. Remember that if you use the mattress under extreme weather, avoid inflating the pad with your breath since moisture from your breath can reduce the ability to reflect and retain heat.
What are the differences between the self-inflating & manual-inflating sleeping pads?
There are two prominent types of sleeping pads in the market: self-inflating and manual-inflating ones. Both offer numerous features for different purposes.
- Manual-inflating sleeping pads:
- It's quite popular among backpackers and weight-conscious travelers. This kind of pads bestows a myriad of advantages.
- Lightweight and compressible, it's suitable for travelers who prefer light-packing. Most of inflatable sleeping pads offer an R-value of 3.0 or more, which means you can use it within three seasons: spring, summer, and autumn. Plus, recent inflatable sleeping pads have come with well-insulated and reflective materials for maximum warmth.
- The problem with this type of pads is that you have to inflate it yourself. Also, it can be easily ripped or punctured, especially if you share space with pets.
- Self-inflating pads:
- It minimalizes your physical stress when it comes to inflating process. You only need to open the valves and let the pad fills up itself.
- When shopping for a sleeping pad, you can also find manual inflating pads that offer high R-values and great designs for retaining heat. However, it’s not a wise idea to choose those if you don’t want to waste your breath or bring an additional hand pump. Plus, there is limited choices for this kind inflating pads, so self-inflating pads are still the number 1 choices.
- Self-inflating pads are famous for its excellent insulation, designed for both backpacking and car camping in winter. You will easily notice in the list above, 2 out of 3 items offer an R-value rating of above 6.0 – which is ideal to use under extreme weather.
- Great insulation often comes with great heft. Most self-inflating sleeping pads are bulkier and pricier compared to their counterparts.
To wrap up, if you are a side sleeper it is essential to choose thick and well-insulated sleeping pads. Types of baffles are also crucial if you want to sleep comfortably.
My recommendation is horizontal baffles rather than the traditional vertical ones. Also, remember that the shell material plays an important role in keeping you within the pad and create minimum noise when you turn around.
Hope this article help you find a perfect sleeping pads for you.