9 Best Car Camping Sleeping Pads. Most Comfortable Mattresses

Last Updated January 12, 2023
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Whether you like to car camp with just the basic necessities, or prefer to go glamping, there’s no denying that you can get a much more comfortable night’s sleep when you don’t have to worry about the size and weight of your sleeping pad. Check out our top selection of the best car camping sleeping pads for the most comfortable night’s sleep ever in the great outdoors.

Best Car Camping Sleeping Pads

Here are the best car camping sleeping pads on the market, with a few ultralight models thrown in for those of you who also enjoy backpacking and fastpacking.

Best car camping sleeping pad for premium budgets

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Ultralight Air Mattress
The Therm-a-Rest car camping mattress product picture

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Primarily designed to provide superior comfort for backpackers, thanks to its premium lightweight construction, the NeoAir XTherm by Therm-a-Rest is one of the very best sleeping pads on the market. Available in multiple sizes, including a spacious wide version, it is ultra-packable, saving you space when you’re on the move.

Thanks to its patented Triangular Core Matrix of thermal foam alternated with ridges of insulative air and foam, this sleeping pad prevents heat loss with a high R-value of 6.9. The relative ThermaCapture Technology traps radiant heat, while the 2.5-inch thick baffled internal structure ensures stability and comfort, keeping you supported all night long.

Thanks to its highly dependable WingLock Valves, this hybrid sleeping pad is easy to inflate and deflate, complete with a one-way toggling system to help save your breath. This model also comes complete with a breath-saving pump sack, a handy storage stuff sack, and a repair kit. Made in the USA, you also benefit from a limited lifetime warranty for this highly durable sleeping pad.

Used worldwide for mountaineering in harsh conditions, if you are planning on car camping in cold climates, this exceptional sleeping pad will help to keep you warm and comfortable in the great outdoors.

While the NeoAir XTherm costs a lot more than you’d expect to pay for your average car camping sleeping pad, its low weight, excellent warmth, and high packability make it a popular choice, especially if you are also intending on backpacking at some point.

Pros – Things we liked
Premium lightweight construction
Available in multiple sizes
Patented Triangular Core Matrix
R-value of 6.9
Highly dependable WingLock Valves
Cons – Things we didn’t like
Very expensive

Best car sleeping pad for heat retention

Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated Sleeping Mat

Sea to Summit Comfort Light Sleeping Mat
The Sea to Summit car camping mattress product picture

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Looking for a three-season sleeping pad? Suitable for use from spring through fall, the Comfort Light Sleeping Mat by Sea to Summit makes a highly comfortable choice wherever you decide to camp.

Measuring 72 inches long by 21.5 inches wide, this pad has a highly supportive 2.5-inch thick air sprung cell structure that conforms to your body shape over 331 individual cells. A double layer in the torso region gives you extra warmth and support while a single layer in the upper and lower parts helps to keep weight down to just 1.28 pounds.

Aside from its exceptional stability and support levels, this sleeping pad also optimizes heat retention thanks to its Thermolite and Exkin Platinum insulation that help to prevent heat loss. With its 3.7 R-value, you’ll be warm enough to car camp even during early spring or late fall nights.

Fine-tuning your comfort level is nice and easy with this inflatable sleeping pad thanks to the multi-function valve that also helps ensure rapid inflation and deflation. Its quiet, tough fabric face is rated 40D, while the antimicrobial TPU-laminate gives you exceptionally durable welds for a completely airproof barrier.

Despite its high comfort, low weight, and excellent packability, this three-season sleeping pad by Sea to Summit is reasonably priced taking into account its premium construction. All in all, one of the very best, most supportive sleeping pads around.

Best car camping sleeping pad for comfort

Exped Megamat 10 Insulated Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad

Exped Megamat Insulated Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad
The Exped Megamat car camping mattress product picture

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If you mainly car camp, you can definitely get a more comfortable night’s sleep with a heavier sleeping pad.

The Exped Megamat 10 is a perfect option for wherever and whenever weight is not a priority. This luxuriously thick self-inflating 3D sleeping pad measures almost four inches high, just over 77 inches long and thirty inches wide for exceptional comfort.

To help you to get a perfectly customized support level, this car camping sleeping pad comes complete with a mini pump so you can add extra air if you prefer a firmer sleeping surface. For easy transportation, it packs down into the included smart packsack complete with carry strap. There is also space for the repair kit, mini pump, and repair manual that comes with your purchase inside the packsack.

Ideal for four-season camping, thanks to its Bluesign-certified insulation, this mat has an impressive R-value of 8.1, making it suitable for use in temperatures as low as -54 degrees F. The top is honeycomb embossed to prevent you from slipping off in your sleeping bag, while the entire sleeping pad is Oeko-Tex 100 certified, so you can rest assured it is free from harmful chemicals.

The durable bottom is made from a TPU laminate, complete with a hydrolysis-resistant polyester top. Self-inflating in just minutes, this highly luxurious sleeping pad comes with a five-year warranty as testament to its high-quality build. While it does cost a fair amount, car camping doesn’t get any more comfortable than this.

Best car camping sleeping pad for small budgets

TNH Outdoors Premium Self Inflating Sleeping Pad

TNH Outdoors Premium Self Inflating Sleeping Pad
The TNH car camping mattress product picture

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If you are looking for a budget sleeping pad for car camping, the TNH Outdoors Premium Self Inflating Sleeping Pad could be just what you need. Its 1.5-inch thickness will help to cushion your back, while the core foam helps to keep you warm with a surprisingly high 4.5 R-value.

Thanks to its water-resistant 75D polyester nylon shell, you won’t have to worry about morning dew. However, do take care when setting it down as it is fairly easily punctured. While this model is quite bulky, it is fairly lightweight at two pounds three ounces.

Comfortable for back sleepers, this sleeping pad is less suitable for side sleepers or anyone who likes glamping. It will keep you warm and fairly comfortable though, making it not a bad purchase for the money.

Like a lot of lower-priced self-inflating sleeping pads, this one requires quite a bit of blowing up to get comfortable. Untwist the 500 series pneumatic valve to allow air to enter the foam core. After unrolling blow into the valve until it reaches your desired support level, then twist it closed.

Larger campers might find this sleeping pad a little on the snug side and it’s fairly easy to slip off it when you’re in your sleeping bag. However, if you are looking for an inexpensive sleeping mat for car camping, it makes a good no-nonsense choice that is backed up by a lifetime warranty

Best car sleeping pad for backpackers

Nemo Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad for Car Camping

Nemo Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad
The Nemo car camping mattress product picture

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If you enjoy camping, you may like to invest in an ultralight sleeping pad that you can also use when backpacking. Weighing as little as just 13 ounces, the Nemo Tensor Ultralight is Nemo’s most technical sleeping pad, balancing high comfort levels with extra low weight and packability.

Thanks to its three inches of cushioned, insulated loft, the Tensor Ultralight makes for a comfortable night’s sleep. With its two layers of suspended Thermal Mirror film, this sleeping pad is rated down to 10 to 20 degrees F, keeping you warm without those irritating chip packet noises you often get from ultralight sleeping pads.

Space Frame baffles provide stability and support, as well as keeping any noise down if you move around in your sleep. The textured fabric surface is both quieter and softer than other models, while the superior point deflection resistance stops your elbows, knees, and hips from touching the ground, making this sleeping pad a good ultralight choice for side sleepers.

The included vortex pump sack works really well, as does the laylow micro-adjustable valve that allows you to finely tune your comfort levels. True, this sleeping pad is fairly expensive, however, so are all ultralight models and it does come complete with Nemo’s lifetime warranty against defects in workmanship and materials.

Best sleeping pad for occasional use

Outdoorsman Lab Camping Ultralight Inflatable Sleeping Pad

Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight Inflatable Sleeping Pad
The Outdoorsman Lab car camping mattress product picture

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The Outdoorsman Lab Camping Inflatable Sleeping Pad is a very basic, inexpensive model, ideal if you rarely camp and don’t want to spend more than the bare minimum. It folds down real small to eight by three by three inches and weighs just 16 ounces.

Once inflated this camping pad expands to 73 inches long by 22 inches wide. It has a depth of 2.2 inches and an R-value of 2.2, making it a good choice for three-season and warmer weather use. Like a lot of air mattresses, it can be fairly noisy if you tend to move around at night.

While it is only 20D nylon, it does benefit from a TPU coating to help to keep it air-tight. However, this is not the most durable of models, so don’t expect to get a full season’s camping out of it, although it should be fine for occasional use.

The easy-to-use air valve makes it easy to blow up in around 10-15 breaths, with a few extra for more support. Although this sleeping pad is not the most insulated or the most comfortable, if you are going camping as a one-off trip with your family or friends, it is one of the cheaper options.

Great cheap sleeping pad

EcoTek Outdoors Hybern8 Ultralight Inflatable Sleeping Pad for Hammocks

EcoTek Outdoors Ultralight Inflatable Sleeping Pad
The EcoTek car camping mattress product picture

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Another highly affordable option for camping, the Hybern8 Ultralight Sleeping Pad for Hammocks by EcoTek can be used with or without a hammock for three-season warmth. Thanks to its 2.5 inches of loft and an R-value of 2.2 you should have no problems sleeping on it, although side sleepers may struggle to get comfortable.

Flexible and supportive thanks to its FlexCell honeycomb design, this sleeping pad provides good cushioning to any hammock and weighs just 18 ounces. Its custom blend of 75 denier woven polyester helps to make it more wear resistant and weatherproof.

Unfortunately, like most air mattresses around this price point, this camping mat is fairly noisy, although not overly so. Its one-way valve makes it easy to inflate, so you won’t have to squeeze it every time you blow into your pad. It should fully inflate with just 10 breaths, while deflating and packing it away into the included stuff sack is also nice and simple.

If you need a budget-priced sleeping pad for car camping, this model could be a good choice, especially if you don’t weigh a lot or are looking to add some extra cushioning to your hammock.

Best large camping sleeping pad

ALPS Mountaineering Outback Self-Inflating Air Mat

ALPS Mountaineering Self-Inflating Air Mat
The ALPS car camping mattress product picture

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Make sure you sleep well this camping trip with the extra-large Alps Mountaineering Outback Self-Inflating Air Mat. This luxurious camping pad inflates to measure 80 inches long by 32-inches wide with a four-inch thickness.

Thanks to its high 8.5 R-value, this highly insulative camping mat will keep you cozy all-year-round. Its vertically cored foam keeps its weight down to just seven pounds seven ounces, while also making it much easier to roll up single handedly.

Completely self-inflating, simply turn the innovative Qwikflate valve and watch your air mat transform itself into a comfortable bed. The upper fabric is made with a soft elastic 30D material, while the bottom is made from a highly durable 150D fabric to ensure your mat lasts.

Complete with a stuff sack and repair kit, if you are looking for an easy way to a comfortable night camping in the great outdoors, the Outback Self-Inflating Air Mat makes a good choice at a reasonable price.

Convenient, easy to set up, and deflate, it’s a great choice for anyone looking for a larger than average sleeping pad and enhanced comfort levels.

Best camping sleeping pad for hammocks

ENO AirLoft Hammock Mattress

ENO AirLoft Hammock Mattress
The ENO car camping mattress product picture

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If you love camping with your hammock, why not improve your comfort levels with the Eno AirLoft Hammock Mattress. Thanks to its detachable comfort wings, you get all-around cushioning from every angle whilst lounging above ground.

If you want to use this self-inflating hammock mattress without a hammock, you can simply remove the wings for ground use. Bear in mind that this product is not an insulated version – if you are looking to stay warm when car camping in your hammock, you’ll need to look for a hammock underquilt to use in addition.

Thanks to its unique shape, the Airloft Hammock mattress helps to transform your hammock into more of a bed-like shape, allowing you to sleep with flatter shoulders. It weighs approximately 45 ounces and has unfolded dimensions of six-foot eight inches length by three-feet width – plenty large enough for most users.

A good model for fair weather use when camping with a hammock, this self-inflating mattress is very easy to set up and take back down. A firm favorite for improved back support and extra comfort in your hammock, while there are cheaper options out there this particular air pad stands out thanks to its high-quality construction and great design with removable wings.

Compare the Best Car Camping Sleeping Pads

Table Comparing the Top 9 Car Camping Sleeping Pads
Image Title Price Rating Buy
OpenTherm-a-rest Ultralight Air Mattress Compare Therm-a-Rest NeoAir
Buy on Amazon
OpenSea-to-summit Sleeping Pad Compare Sea to Summit Sleeping Mat
Buy on Amazon
OpenExped Megamat Self Inflating Sleeping Pad Compare Exped Megamat 10
Buy on Amazon
OpenFoam Car Camping Sleeping Pad Compare TNH Outdoors Sleeping Pad
Buy on Amazon
OpenNemo Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad Compare Nemo Tensor Sleeping Pad
Buy on Amazon
OpenOutdoorsman Inflating Sleeping Pad Compare Outdoorsman Lab Inflatable Sleeping Pad
Buy on Amazon
OpenEcotek Comfortable Car Sleeping Pad Compare EcoTek Ultralight Sleeping Pad
Buy on Amazon
OpenAlps Mountaineering Self Inflating Air Mat Compare ALPS Mountaineering Air Mat
Buy on Amazon
OpenEno Hammock Mattress Compare ENO AirLoft Hammock Mattress
Buy on Amazon

Buyer’s Guide to Buying the Best Sleeping Pads for Car Camping

When you are car camping, you have plenty more options than when you’re backpacking. Here’s how to choose the best sleeping pad for your next car camping trip.


Unlike expensive ultralight sleeping pads, you can find reasonably priced car camping pads that are really comfortable. As you don’t have to worry about the weight, you can select thicker models that cost less to make.

However, while we’d rather take a cheap car camping pad any day over a cheap ultralight one, there are numerous high-end car camping sleeping pads that will provide you with unparalleled comfort when you’re out in the great outdoors.

If you regularly go camping, we suggest spending more on a higher-quality, more durable model that you will enjoy sleeping on trip after trip. Expect to pay between $100-$200 for a good car camping sleeping pad.

If you also enjoy backpacking, it can make sense to purchase an ultralight model that you can use for both car camping and hiking, however, you should expect to pay at least double the price for the savings in bulk and weight.

For occasional campers, you can easily get away with a budget car camping sleeping pad under $100, with some versions priced under $50. Models nearer to the $100 mark are more likely to last longer, have better materials, and keep you warmer. At the end of the day, it’s for you to consider what your anticipated usage is going to be and to adapt your budget accordingly.

Shape and Size

Regular-sized sleeping pads measure between 72-78-inches long and can be anywhere between 20-30 inches wide. For car camping, you can find various larger sizes, as you’re not restricted by bulk and weight, unlike backpackers.

While ultralight and standard backpacking sleeping pads tend to be smaller in size to save precious ounces, car camping sleeping pads are often rectangular in form as there is little need to contour them to save weight.

Inflated Thickness and Weight

Take advantage of the fact that you’re car camping and opt for a nice thick sleeping mat for extra comfort. Car camping versions are often around four inches thick giving you comparable comfort levels to sleeping in a bed. Provided you’re not parked up miles away, weight shouldn’t be an issue and extra weight can give your sleeping pad extra stability.

Warmth – R Value

A sleeping pad is essential to keeping you insulated from the cold ground below. When you camp without one, your body continuously loses heat to the ground, leaving you cold even in mild weather.

The R-value of your sleeping pad measures how much it can resist heat flow, preventing you from losing your body heat. Higher R-values provide better insulation, whereas lower R-values are for warmer seasons only.

R-values of two or under are suitable for warm conditions with anticipated night time lows of 50 degrees F. Doubling the R-value gives you twice as much warmth, with an R-value of four being suitable for cold weather down to 20 degrees F. Higher R values are suitable for extreme cold.

Shell Material

If you tend to move about at night make sure you look out for a sleeping mat with a textured or brushed fabric shell. This will help to keep the noise to a minimum and will also help to prevent you from slipping off your mat in your sleeping bag. Ideally, look for sleeping mats that have been certified free from harmful chemicals.

Valve Types

Most car camping pads are self-inflating and utilize simple twist valves. Cheaper air pads may require fully inflating, however, as you’re car camping, you can bring along a foot or hand pump to make matters easier.

Some self-inflating models have micro-adjustable valves that allow you to add extra air by blowing in, or preferably using a pump or pump bag to prevent humidity, then you can adjust to get your preferred level of firmness.

One-way valves make blowing up cheaper car camping mattresses by mouth much easier, although if you’re a regular camper, there’s no reason not to invest in a small inexpensive pump.


Foam pads make the least noise, while air mattresses can wake up the whole family if you tend to move about a lot in your sleep. Self-inflating foam and air versions also make less noise, and models with stabilizing baffles can help to keep your pad securely in place under you for reduced noise.

Car camping sleeping mats with thick, heavy insulation make much less noise than some insulated ultralight version that can have an annoying crinkling sound. In any case, as mentioned earlier, if you do tend to move about a lot in your sleep look out for pads with a textured soft upper fabric to help keep any noises down.

Repair Kit

All good sleeping pads that risk deflation should come with a repair kit. Sometimes it’s just a case of having put your pad down in the wrong spot and sustaining a small puncture, other times you may get abrasion-related tears. A good repair kit will allow you to fix both eventualities and continue to get a good night’s sleep.

Carry Bag

A carry bag can make setting up camp much easier, as well as protecting your sleeping pad whilst you’re transporting it to your destination. Your sleeping pad carry bag should be large enough to easily accommodate your rolled or deflated pad, as well as having carry straps to make it easier to unload and set up.

Durability & Denier

As weight is not really an issue when you’re car camping, you can choose a heavier, more durable fabric that is less likely to become damaged. Denier is a measure of fabric density based on the thickness of your fabric fibers.

Higher denier fabrics are more durable and harder wearing, ideal for the lower part of your sleeping pad which may need to stand up to abrasion, dirt, and vegetation.

Types of Sleeping Pads

Car camping sleeping pads come in three main types, self-inflating mats, air mattresses, and foam pads. Here’s all you need to know about the different types.

Self-Inflating Mats

Combining open-cell foam with air, self-inflating pads are available at a wide range of price points. Easy to use, simply open the valve and the compressed foam expands for a comfortable and well insulated sleeping surface.


Easy to set up and roll up after use.
Excellent insulative properties.
Adjustable firmness by adding or removing air.
More durable than air pads.


Heavier than foam pads
Can be punctured.

Air Mattresses

Today’s air mattresses feature insulation and alternative inflation methods for an easy set up. Comfortable, they are available in a wide variety of sizes. They are also easy to store, taking up next to no space. Use a pump to prevent moisture buildup inside and potential mold issues.


Compact storage.


Can lose firmness as temperature changes.
Some are easily punctured.
Noisier than other types.

Foam Pads

Very basic, foam pads are not that different from your average yoga mat. They are, however, good insulators and you can easily boost the R-value of other sleeping pads by adding a foam pad underneath your sleeping pad.


Foam pads are lightweight.
Highly durable.
Can double as sitting pads.


Not very comfortable.
Fairly stiff.
Bulky when folded/rolled.

Top Car Camping Sleeping Pads

Final Thoughts

There’s no shortage of excellent car camping sleeping pads out there, so don’t spend another night restless under the stars, upgrade your current sleeping mat to one of the best models in our top car camping sleeping pad selection.

Do you like to backpack, as well as going car camping? Opt for the Nemo Tensor Ultralight. Specially designed to weigh less without increasing bulk or reducing comfort levels, this highly technical sleeping pad is a good choice for hikers who occasionally camp.

One of the most comfortable sleeping pads designed specifically for car camping is the Exped Megamat 10. Car camping is all about relaxing and enjoying your time in the great outdoors. With this heavenly 10-inch thick sleeping pad, you’ll have the most restful night ever camping.

Looking for an extra-large camping sleeping pad? The Alps Mountaineering Outback Self-Inflating Air Mat is available in extra large for more space and greater comfort. It also has a high 8.5 R-value making it suitable for year-round use.