Best Backpacking Air Mattress for Side Sleepers

Sleeping pads are an essential part of your sleep system. Even with the world’s best sleeping bag, having the Best Backpacking Air Mattress for Side Sleepers can make or break your sleeping experience. A sleeping pad not only adds some comfort but also adds insulation, so your back does not freeze when you sleep.

Sleeping pads work fine for most people. But most pads just don’t work very well when it comes to side sleepers. People often found complaining about their sleeping pads being uncomfortable. And so, the best sleeping pads for side sleepers is one of the most asked questions among hikers.

The reason this happens is that the weight distribution of a person sleeping on his side and a person sleeping on his back or chest is different. The weight of a person sleeping on his back is evenly distributed over a wide surface area.

But the weight of a side sleeper gets concentrated on a narrow surface area pressing more firmly against the ground. The pressure is more intensely felt at the shoulder and hip joints.

This results in a night of disturbed sleep and pain in these joints. Intense pressure against the ground also means less insulation, and you also feet every pointy thing, rocks, and twigs, beneath you.

What Are the Main Types of Sleeping Pads?

Sleeping pads come in three major types depending on the material and how they function. 

Best Backpacking Air Mattress for Side Sleepers

This article will review the best sleeping pads for side sleepers and then explain what features a mat needs to have to provide a good night’s sleep for a side sleeper.


Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad

Sleepingo Camping Sleeping PadThe Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad is ultra-light and super comfortable without weighing you down. The pad is convenient for any backcountry camping and hiking, and it can keep you comfortable under any terrain.

The material is water- and rip-resistant, ensuring that you will rest perfectly with minimum interruptions.

The nylon material is noise-free and flexible and will remain inflated throughout the night. It’s also perfect for any sleeping position. Additionally, it is ultralight to aid in backpacking.

Constructed from heavy-duty ripstop tear-resistant nylon and treated with abrasion-resistant TPU, this sleeping pad is waterproof, flexible, and noise-free.

An R-value of 2.1 gives enough insulation for warmer months and summer adventures and can get paired with another sleeping pad for additional comfort in other seasons.

Though it is lightweight, this is a quality camping mat that stays comfortable and sturdy enough to support campers of various sizes. Users weighing more than 350 pounds can add a couple of extra breaths while inflating the pad to get the support they need.


  • This ultralight sleeping pad doesn’t take up space and won’t weigh you down!
  • The nylon material’s flexible and noise-free since it’s treated with abrasion-resistant TPU
  • Designed for side or back sleepers, the sleeping pads for backpacking won’t bottom out no matter how you like to lay


  • It’s built to withstand the rough outdoors.
  • Water-Resistant design for use in moist conditions.
  • Lightweight design makes portability a breeze.
  • Ideal for ultralight backpacking
  • Easy to inflate and deflate.
  • Flexible sleeping pad with plenty of room.
  • Great for both back and side sleepers.




Sea to Summit Comfort Plus SI

Sea to Summit Comfort Plus SI

The Comfort Plus SI series combines the comfort of a 3-inch air mattress with the support and self-inflating performance of a foam core – without the expected weight penalties.

This is possible by the patent-pending Delta Core technology, which removes the optimal amount of foam without sacrificing support or durability.

Triangular cutaways within the open-cell foam core add structural support while cutting down on bulk and enabling the mattress to roll up more compactly when not in use. The 30D stretch-knit top fabric feels cozy next to the skin, and the 30D plain-weave base fabric bolsters durability.

A stand-out feature on Sea to Summit pads is the low-profile multi-function valve. A one-way design allows for fuss-free inflation, and an internal button lets you make micro-adjustments to firmness.

A larger port beneath the top portion of the valve makes deflation quick and easy. Additionally, by setting flush to the surface of the pad, the valve also cuts down on potential warranty issues.


  • A lightweight sleeping pad for camping and backpacking
  • Three-inch thickness offers plenty of plushness
  • Multi-Function valve is self-inflating and adjustable
  • Delta Core reduces packed volume and maintains durability
  • R-value of 4.1 keeps you warm during spring and fall trips


  • Double pad means no cold gap
  • The most comfortable pad we know of
  • Impressively compact for its size
  • Soft non-slip fabric
  • 3-inch thickness
  • 4.1 R-value
  • Backed by Sea to Summit’s incredible customer service and a lifetime guarantee


  • Delamination issue
  • Not ultralight



Zermätte Roll Up Memory Foam Camping Mattress

Zermätte Roll Up Memory Foam Camping Mattress

To make your sleeping bag feel more like your bed at home, opt for this memory foam sleeping pad. It features 2 inches of support foam and 1 inch of memory foam that contours to your body to support you while you rest.

The pad rolls up easily with the included straps, but since this is the heaviest option on the list — 11.4 pounds — it’s best for camping in one place. To help ensure you get quality sleep, it also comes with a soft washable cover, gel eye mask, and memory foam earplugs.


  • Memory foam: 1.”
  • Base foam: 2″
  • Cover: machine washable
  • Available in kid, twin single, twin xl, and full sizes to sleep the entire family
  • It is designed to provide the most supportive and comfortable solution for anywhere sleep.
  • A protective cover with gripped bottom easily unzips and removes for machine washing.
  • The mat comes complete with a matching carry bag.
  • Straps let you wear it like a backpack, while built-in pockets safely stow your personal belongings for travel.



Goplus SUV Air Mattress for Back Seat

Goplus SUV Air Mattress for Back Seat

Goplus features very quick inflation and deflation process. Yet, the firmness of the air mattress is fully adjustable to suit your preferences. The inflation process is easy enough since you only have to plug in the pump to pump the air into the bed.

It is made of soft and strong materials. It offers a flocking surface that is 100% friendly to your skin. Moreover, the bottom part is made of PVC, and it includes tight stitches to prevent air leakage.

There are five compartments in this one air bed, and each of them has its air inlet so that it is more flexible for the number of users.

Since it has a very portable design, it is suitable for both indoor and outdoor usage. It is compatible with a variety of car models, and it can get mounted easily. Also, the cleaning process is made easy thanks to the waterproof surface.

The air mattress is easy to inflate with the included electric air pump, which plugs directly into your car outlet, and when it’s time to pack up, the deflated air mattress folds neatly into the included storage bag. The flocked top makes for a soft sleeping surface, and the waterproof bottom will resist damage from any accidental spills.


  • This car air mattress can turn the back of your car into a comfortable bed, and it has five separate airbags with independent air inlets.
  • This double-sided air mattress can get used as a resting bed whether you’re in the car, outdoors, or at home.
  • This portable inflatable mattress is compatible with most car models and can be easily mounted on the rear seat.
  • The premium PVC bottom has tight stitches, and doubles sealed air nozzles, ensuring this air mattress completely air-tight and not easy to get cracked.


  • Affordable price tag
  • Ideal for one or multiple campers
  • Made of five easy-to-inflate segments
  • Thick and comfortable with soft flocking
  • Comes with a pump, nozzle set, and durable storage bag


  • Weak air pump
  • Punctures easily



Big Agnes Insulated Q Core SLX

Big Agnes Insulated Q Core SLX

The Big Agnes Q Core SLX is an improvement over the popular Q Core and the Q Core SL. The pad loses 2.5-ounces over the Q Core SL and 7.5-ounces over the Q Core making it super lightweight at 18-ounces and ideal for all kinds of hiking aside from thru-hiking.

The one-way valve system on the Q Core SLX makes it very easy to inflate or deflate the pad. The button on the valve eases the fine-tuning pad.

The pad can get inflated to 4 inches which helps prevents rocks and pines, on the ground, from making pressure points. This feature makes it a great choice for side sleepers.

The Q Core SLX is a good choice for all seasons and can get used in temperatures below freezing points. The pad has a quilt-like baffle system which, along with the thickness of the pad, makes it very comfortable.


  • Light, insulated sleeping pad designed for three-season backpacking
  • Primaloft Silver insulation offers lightweight warmth
  • Heat-reflective technology bounces your body heat back to you
  • Laminated ripstop packs small and provides increased durability
  • High-volume valve allows efficient inflation and fast deflation
  • I-Beam construction reduces weight without disrupting stability
  • It comes with a stuff sack and pad inflation sack for quick inflation


  • The pad is very thick. At 3.5″ off the ground, you get plenty of cushioning.
  • It doesn’t sound like a potato chip bag.
  • This pad will inspire envy in all of your tentmates.


  • Not ideal for super cold weather.
  • The material is not very durable.



Nemo Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad

Nemo Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad

Looking for a sleeping pad that offers quieter, more supportive sleep at a tiny packed size, the Tensor ultralight sleeping pad stands apart as the ultimate backcountry adventurer’s best friend.

Updated with a zero-profile, micro-adjustable valve and included Vortex pump sack, NEMO’s lightest sleeping pad uses premium 20D fabrics to shave grams without sacrificing plush comfort.

Spaceframe baffles offer unparalleled stability, weight distribution, and a quieter sleeping experience by using low-stretch die-cut trusses to eliminate springiness and keeping your elbows and hips from poking through to the ground.

Insulated versions come updated with two layers of suspended Thermal Mirror metalized film, resulting in a lighter, remarkably quiet sleeping pad as compared to the competition, which can be noisy and crinkly at night.


  • It has an 8cm of the stable, cushioned loft.
  • New, included Vortex pump sack provides easy and fast inflation, saves breath at elevation, and minimizes moisture entering the pad.
  • New Laylow zero-profile, the multi-functional, micro-adjustable valve, is flush to the pad and offers customized control over your inflation.
  • Spaceframe baffles offer unparalleled stability and weight distribution.
  • Premium 20D fabrics offer a soft luxury feel and shave grams for minimal packed size and weight.
  • Remarkably quiet sleep as compared with other sleeping pads due to suspended film construction. No loud crinkly noise when shifting in the night.


  • Large sleeping area
  • Doesn’t make noise


  • The valves can be a little difficult to open.



Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress

Sleep well on a textured fabric that reduces noisy rustling. The surface is also non-slip and soft against your cheek. Inside, a matrix of triangular cells reduces convective heat loss while ThermaCapture layers reflect radiant heat at your body. The combination makes a light, super-packable pad for spring through fall camping.

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite is one of the lightest pads in the market, weighing just 12-ounces making it great for ultralight backpacking. The small version weighs just 8 ounces. The pad packs down to the size of a 1-liter water bottle.

The pad has horizontal baffles that are very stable, making it comfortable. Therm-a-Rest has also updated the material as there were complaints in the previous models about a “crackling” sound.

The NeoAir Xlite, 30 denier nylon, is not as durable as others on the market. But it still holds decently and there people who have been using it for years. The pad has an R-value of 4.2 and so does not require a foam pad when used in very cold environments.


  • Made of high-tenacity nylon, top and bottom.
  • The Triangle core matrix traps heat and creates a stable sleeping platform.
  • Air-only pads have no insulation that can get compromised by moisture, often added when you inflate them by mouth.
  • Curved corners for greater packability.


  • Lightweight
  • Packs downs super small with no sacrifice of comfort
  • Easy to inflate
  • Remains perfectly inflated throughout the night.


  • It is a little noisy and a bit slick.



Big Agnes Air Core Ultra

Big Agnes Air Core Ultra

The Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pad is an insulated sleeping pad for colder weather camps, down to 15°F. The magic comes in the form of heat reflective technology coupled with high-quality insulation, preventing the cold ground from sucking the heat straight from your body.

The durable nylon ripstop fabric helps prevent tearing, taking on the constant rigors of living in the woods for weeks. Pump up your mattress with the high-volume valve and get yourself a little shut-eye. Until your hiking partner asks if you heard that twig snap in the woods.

The Big Agnes Air Core series took the market by storm. It came as an alternative to the self-inflating thin pads and at a competitive price. The rectangular shape provides a good length and width to compensate for even large body types. The pad weighs 25-ounces, which isn’t heavy but isn’t lightweight either.

The pad utilizes a double ripstop nylon face fabric, so it maintains the overall lightweight construction of the pad but also does have nice durability and abrasion resistance. The I-beam construction on the vertical baffles gives this pad a full thickness of three and a quarter inches.


  • Insulated sleeping pad designed for backpacking
  • Primaloft insulation offers lightweight warmth for chilly nights
  • Laminated ripstop packs small and provides increased durability
  • High-volume valve allows efficient inflation and fast deflation
  • I-Beam construction reduces weight without disrupting stability
  • It comes with a stuff sack and pad inflation sack for quick inflation


  • The simple and effective valve design
  • Acceptable weight for the price
  • Super easy to deflate and get back into a compact size
  • Quality construction
  • The bright orange color would be great as a signal device in an emergency
  • Eco packaging—simple cardboard box


  • Insulation feature is of limited benefit
  • Lack of an R rating to use in comparison to other Manufactures insulated mattress designs



Nemo Roamer Camping Sleeping Pad

Nemo Roamer Camping Sleeping PadThe NEMO Roamer Sleeping Pad is a luxury sleeping pad for car camping and crashing at your friend’s house. Self-inflating with a generous 4-inch thickness, you’ll be sleeping like a baby outdoors. Plus, it still packs down reasonably small for travel, half the size of other pads.

Best described as a camping mattress, the Roamer brings a new meaning to the term “glamping,” with over four inches of plush, open-cell foam protecting your back, shoulders, and hips from the ground. Self-inflating by design, this pad lets you save your breath for the sunset hike by doing most of the work for you, and the micro-adjust valve ensures that you get the perfect amount of cushion for the long night ahead.


  • Over 4 in. of expansive, open-cell foam and a micro-adjust valve offer fast self-inflation and personalized comfort; a 1-way dump valve ensures fast deflation
  • Dual-axis core design reduces weight while maintaining mattresslike comfort and support; it creates a level sleeping surface even on bumpy surfaces
  • Soft and cozy 50-denier stretch top fabric offers a plush surface for sleeping
  • The durable, 75-denier polyester bottom can get laid down in a tent, in the back of your truck, on your friend’s floor, or gravel
  • Toggles let you connect multiple pads
  • The packaging is from recycled materials and is 100% recyclable


  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Connects to another Roamer pad to create a queen-size mattress


  • Expensive



IFORREST Camping Sleeping Pad

IFORREST Camping Sleeping Pad

This self-inflating sleeping pad comes in two colors: army green and blue. It also comes in two sizes: large and extra-large. When fully inflated, the large measures 26 by 77 by 1.5 inches with a 2-inch armrest.

The extra-large pad measures 29 by 79 by 2.1 inches with a 3-inch-thick armrest. The large and extra-large sizes have R-values of 4.9 and 6.8, respectively, which makes this a four-season pad.

What makes this pad stand out is its durability. It’s made of 80D polyester that’s waterproof. It’s also more comfortable to lie on because it has an inner foam core that provides increased support.


  • This camping air mattress is of strong waterproof 80D Nylon TPU
  • With fast inflation and 30-sec deflation with a new two valve system, you will never worry about air leakage.
  • Camping pads include built-in armrests and ergonomic pillow – suitable for tent, travel, cot, hammock, and sleeping bag!


  • Includes armrests and pillows
  • Comfortable, compact, and lightweight air bed
  • Support at both sides for added comfort


  • Side chambers deflate after some time


Factors to Consider Before Buying Best Lightweight Sleeping Pad for Side Sleepers

Below are factors you may need to consider before deciding to buy a sleeping pad for side sleepers.


The choice of shape greatly depends on the sleeping position as “mummy” shaped pads are great for back sleepers. They also save you weight by shaving off extra space as much as possible. Side sleepers would prefer to go with a conventional rectangular-style one as it supports their position well.


A regular sleeping pad designed for an average person comes in 72 inches in length and 20 inches in width. If you want a longer one, go for a 75-78 inches one. If you need more space to roll around, especially when you are a side sleeper, you might have to look for a pad of 25-30 inches in width.


The most common material used in the sleeping pad is foam, as it provides insulation for the user. The amount of layers of foam, heat-reflecting materials, or synthetic fill determines if your sleeping pad is suitable for cold conditions or just for moderate weather.

In addition to it, brands also utilize ripstop nylon or other similar material to adopt for rough terrains and prevent the sleeping pad from getting damaged. Some even have a waterproof coating.

Bacterial Growth Prevention

If you have owned a sleeping pad before, you would know that there’s a tendency for mold and bacterial buildup. Luckily, some pads have a system to prevent microorganism growth. Whether your sleeping pad has it or not, it’s a good idea to treat it with care.

Sleeping Pad Weight

Ultralight pads are excellent for backpacking but are more expensive. You can save weight by choosing a mummy or tapered shape that reduces volume and packs smaller.

Closed-cell foam pads in short lengths are also quite low in weight. If you’re backpacking with a partner, a two-person lightweight sleeping pad can save ounces.

Sleeping Pad Inflation

Some pads have both a high-volume inflation valve and a deflation valve, which can speed airflow in or out. Some new pads have larger “neck” openings that allow fast inflation with fewer breaths.

Pads with separate inflation chambers or layers can give you peace of mind; if one layer fails, the other will still give you some cushioning.

Final Thoughts

Our favorite pad for ultralight backpacking is the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite. Sixteen ounces give you an R-value of 4.2 — a packed size roughly equal to a liter bottle and a lot of plush comforts to boot.

What length sleeping pad should I buy? At a minimum, your shoulders and hips need to fit on a pad. Regular (typically 72 inches long) and long (typically 78-inch) pads will insulate your legs and feet—a big plus on chilly fall and winter trips.

We know the pain of sleeping through the night and waking up with a sore shoulder and hip; that’s why we put together this list of the best sleeping pad for side sleepers. We hope it was of help to you.

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