When we’re sleeping out under the stars, there’s no reason to be uncomfortable.
While most people think that campers are out ‘roughing it’ every night on a foam sleeping mat, there are a plethora of amazing inflatable mats that can provide a fantastic night’s sleep.
Luckily for campers, we no longer have to huff and puff to get our luxurious inflatable mat ready for bedtime.
These days, there are a number of great self-inflating sleeping pads that combine the quick set-up of a foam mat with the comfort of an air mattress so you can get right to sleep.
After the reviews below, we’ll discuss what to look for to find the best self-inflating sleeping mat to suit your needs.
Our top pick: Thermarest Prolite Plus Self-Inflating Mat
The Prolite Plus is Thermarest’s flagship self-inflating sleeping mat for four-season use.
At a mere 450g, it is the lightest pad in our review but doesn’t sacrifice insulation as a very solid 3.4 R-value makes it ideal for year-round camping.
The foam core on the Prolite Plus expands quickly and can be topped up with a few breaths to customise the pad to your desired firmness.
If you’re concerned about the weight and bulk of your sleeping pad, but don’t want to sacrifice your sleeping comfort, then this might be your go-to mat.
- Lightest in review (450g)
- Stuff sack included
- Very compact in storage
- High R-rating
- More expensive than other options
Best value: Sea To Summit Ultralight Self-Inflating Mat
Sea to Summit brings us the fantastic Ultralight Self Inflating mat that combines a great low weight, with a respectable 2.6 R-value, all at an affordable price.
The Ultralight provides enough insulation in its memory foam core for shoulder season use without any extra weight.
You can close off the air valve when packing the mat so it doesn’t try to inflate on you, either, which is quite convenient.
Anti-slip print on the underside of the mat also holds it in place on uneven surfaces for a comfortable night’s sleep.
It even has extra insulation in key body areas, so you can stay warm in the chilly nights of Autumn and early Spring.
The Ultralight is a great value buy for weight and bulk-conscious campers.
- Very light (550g)
- Anti-slip print on underside
- Extra insulation in key body areas
- Lockable air valve for storage
- Three-season mat only
Thermarest Trail Pro Self Inflating Mat
The fantastic Thermarest Trail Pro is a four-season sleeping mat with the best warmth-to-loft ratio of any self-inflating mattress on the market.
It uses ultralight foam to save weight and space in your pack without sacrificing the comfort you expect. With 5cm of loft, it’s amazingly comfortable, even on the roughest of surfaces.
We’d recommend this pad to campers who want to be comfortable at night yet want a fairly light and well-insulating pad. It’s slightly heavier than some ultra-light varieties but makes up for the extra grams in blissful sleep.
- R-value of 4.0 for four-season use
- Great warmth-to-loft ratio
- Ultralight foam for weight savings and comfort
- Slightly heavier than ultralight varieties (740g)
Sea To Summit Comfort Plus Self Inflating Mat
Another great sleeping pad from Sea to Summit, the Comfort Plus is all about, you guessed it – comfort.
The Comfort Plus has the highest R-Value in our review at 4.1, which is great for year-round use.
Plus, it has the most loft of all the mattresses in review with a whopping 8cm of insulation from the group.
If that wasn’t good enough, it even has a nice knit fabric top for next-to-skin comfort while you sleep.
This pad combines the comfort of an air mattress with the support and easy setup of a self-inflating foam core.
Although it is the heaviest mat in our review, it is still fairly light at 895g, so it’s suitable for most backpackers.
Campers who value comfort over everything else would really appreciate the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus.
- 4-season use with R-value of 4.1
- Knit fabric top for next-to-skin comfort
- Lockable air valve for storage
- Heaviest in review (895g)
Thermarest Basecamp AF Self-Inflating Mat
The Basecamp AF from Thermarest packs small but doesn’t sacrifice on comfort. It’s thick when inflated and uses a stabilizing foam core to support you while you sleep.
Made of incredibly durable materials, it can withstand whatever you throw at it. Plus, you can even add a few extra breaths of air into the mat to customise it to your desired firmness.
The Basecamp AF is the only rectangular mat in this review and, as such, it is a bit bulkier than the other options.
We’d recommend this mat to people who want to be comfortable at night but that primarily sleep at basecamps where they don’t have to worry about packing this mat away into their rucksack every morning.
- Stabilising foam support
- Durable materials
- Very comfortable and large
- Heavy (820g)
- R-Value of only 1.7
- Least packable of all mats in review
How To Pick a Self-Inflating Mattress
Choosing a self-inflating mat is fairly simple, once you know what to look for.
When you’re considering a sleeping pad, these are some key considerations you ought to keep in mind.
Size and weight
When we’re camping, we always have to keep the size and weight of our gear in mind.
Inflatable sleeping pads vary in weight from really heavy car-camping versions to ultralight backpacking mats.
All of the pads in this review are under 1000g, so they’re ideal for backpacking, but some of them are incredibly light, which is great for the gram counters amongst us.
In addition to weight, we’re always concerned about the size of our gear. One of the benefits of an inflatable mat over a standard foam pad is that they are much more compact for packing.
The more compact, the better, though a desire for a tiny sleeping mat means that you end up less comfortable at night, so there’s certainly a trade-off.
Finally, inflatable sleeping pads come in a variety of lengths to suit people of different heights.
All of the mats in this review are listed as ‘regular’ length, which is great for people up to 1.8m tall, but they all come in larger and smaller sizes, too.
There are two main shapes of sleeping pads – mummy and rectangular.
The rectangular is much more spacious for sleeping but adds extra weight and bulk to your gear.
Mummy pads are designed to match the shape of our bodies and are comfortable while also saving weight and space.
R-values are a measure of a sleeping pad’s insulation abilities, in terms of thermal resistance.
For our purposes, we just need to know that the higher the R-value, the more insulating the sleeping pad.
Three-season pads usually have R-values between 1.5-3.0 while four-season usually mats have values above 3.0.
If you like to camp year-round, this is an important consideration for your sleeping pad.
In the end, there can be only one winner, and for this review, we give the top prize to the Thermarest Prolite Plus for its great warmth-to-loft ratio, high R-Value, and excellent comfort at a reasonable price.
Ultimately, it’s about finding the mat that’s right for your needs.
So, keep our key considerations in mind as you decide on a self-inflating mat for your next adventure.