Car camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors.
But to be comfortable while sleeping in your tent, you need a great sleeping pad.
Don’t know what to get? Don’t worry. I’ve made a list of the best sleeping pads for car camping you can find on the market today.
So the only thing that’s left for you to do is to pick the one. Here are the best sleeping pads on the market today:
- Best Overall Sleeping Pad: Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Self-Inflating Sleeping Mat
- Best Double Sleeping Pad: KingCamp Luxury 3D Double Self Inflating
- Best Sleeping Pad for Kids: REI Co-op Kindercamp Sleeping Pad – Kids’
Best Car Camping Sleeping Pads
Let’s start with the best car camping sleeping pads you can find on the market nowadays.
Best Sleeping Pads for Car Camping
- Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Self-Inflating Sleeping Mat (Best Overall Sleeping Pad)
- Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad (Best Budget Sleeping Pad)
- Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pad (Best Inflatable Sleeping Pad)
- Therm-a-Rest MondoKing™ 3D Sleeping Pad (Best Premium Sleeping Pad)
- Sleepingo Ultralight Sleeping Pad (Best Ultralight Sleeping Pad)
- REI Co-op Camp Bed Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad (Best for Extreme Weather)
- Coleman Kompact Camppad Premium (Best for Summer Camping)
Best Double Sleeping Pads for Car Camping
- KingCamp Luxury 3D Double Self Inflating (Best Double Sleeping Pad)
- NEMO Roamer Sleeping Pad – Double (Best Double Sleeping Pad for Winter Camping)
- Exped MegaMat Duo 10 Sleeping Pad (Best Double Sleeping Pad for Tall People)
Best Car Camping Sleeping Pads for Kids
- REI Co-op Kindercamp Sleeping Pad – Kids’ (Best Sleeping Pad for Kids)
- Klymit Static V Short (Best Kids Summer Sleeping Pad)
- Sea to Summit Ultralight Self-Inflating Foam Sleeping Pad (Best Ultralight Sleeping Pad for Kids)
Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Self-Inflating Sleeping Mat
Inflation Type: Self-inflating | Sizes: Regular, Long, Rectangular, Mens, Womens | R-Value: 4.1 | Weight: 2 lbs
This sleeping pad by Sea to Summit gives you the best of both worlds.
When you combine the weight of an air mattress and the support of a foam-core pad, you get a very comfortable pad without the added weight and bulk.
The pad is three inches thick, which is more than enough for an enjoyable good night’s sleep.
There’s also the knitted polyester upper face fabric that provides a very comfortable surface to sleep on.
The bottom part of the sleeping pad features a silicone print, which prevents it from slipping on the tent floor.
The material is also coated with laminated thermoplastic urethane, which improves its durability.
The one-way inflation valve is a pretty neat feature.
It prevents the air from being drawn back in, which practically allows you to roll the pad by yourself without it getting reinflated at the same time.
- The bottom is non-slip and reinforced
- The 4.1 rating makes this sleeping pad suitable for the most part of the year
- The one-way valve makes it easy for you to deflate and roll the pad simultaneously
- The top material offers a soft, next-to-skin feeling
- Somewhat narrow
Best for: Campers looking for extra back support.
Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pad
Inflation Type: Air | Sizes: Regular, Regular Wide | R-Value: 4.5 | Weight: 1.4 to 1.7 lbs
This sleeping pad by Big Agnes checks all the boxes.
It’s warm, lightweight, durable and, most importantly, comfortable. What else could you ask for?
I guess a decent price tag is also a desirable feature, and guess what – this sleeping pad is quite affordable, especially given the fact that we’re talking about Big Agnes.
While the brand is known for high-quality products, it’s also known for premium price tags as well.
But this pad is designed with average campers in mind. With an R-value of 4.5, this sleeping pad is suitable for camping all year round.
It uses Thermolite insulation, which works with a heat-reflective film to trap body heat and reflect it back at you.
The I-Beam construction provides consistent stability and comfort while cutting back on weight.
This means you no longer have to sacrifice a good night’s sleep when you’re backpacking.
This comfortable sleeping pad weighs less than two ounces, so it won’t weigh you down by much.
Of course, not everyone has the same sleeping preference, so the high-volume valves with micro-adjustments allow you to finetune how firm your want the pad to be.
- Very lightweight, so you can bring it backpacking as well
- With an R-value of 4.5, it’s suitable for all weather
- The I-Beam construction reduces weight while providing stability and comfort
- Comes with a replacement valve seal and 3M repair patches in case it gets damaged on the trail
- Not very wide, so it’s more suitable for back sleepers
Best for: Campers looking for a durable and versatile sleeping pad.
Therm-a-Rest MondoKing™ 3D Sleeping Pad
Inflation Type: Self-inflating | Sizes: Large, XXLarge | R-Value: 7 | Weight: 4.4 to 5.5 lbs
Right from the bat, the high price tag of this sleeping pad grabs everyone’s attention.
And true, this model is definitely on the more expensive side compared to other picks on this list.
But you can rest assured that the price is also well justified.
First, you don’t need a pump for this sleeping pad.
In fact, you don’t need to do much aside from rotating the valve to let air in.
The whole thing inflates in seconds, and you can also finetune how firm you want it to be.
An R-value of 7 makes this sleeping pad suitable for any kind of weather you might experience, be it sun or snow.
With 4.25 inches of loft, you’re well above the ground underneath.
And the open-cell foam insulation ensures the cold can’t reach you.
This sleeping pad might be thick when inflated, but it packs down pretty compactly.
It takes practically no space in your trunk, so there’s plenty of room for other camping gear.
- Comes in two sizes, depending on how much sleeping space you need
- Open-cell foam is thick and comfortable, allowing you to sleep on any type of terrain
- Compresses down for easy packing
- With an R-value of 7, you can use this pad all year long
- Pretty expensive compared to most picks on this list
Best for: Campers willing to splurge for a good night’s sleep.
Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad
Inflation Type: Air | Sizes: Regular | R-Value: 1.3 | Weight: 1.17 lbs
If you plan on camping during warmer months of the year, you don’t need to invest in an ultra-warm sleeping pad.
In that case, a pad with an R-value of 1.3 will do just fine, like this one by Klymit.
The low R-value comes as no surprise given that this is an air pad.
But this model is designed with backpackers in mind as well.
Or if you plan on hiking and sleeping away from your campsite for a night, then this is a great pad to have with you.
Not only does it weigh just 1.17 pounds, but it also packs down pretty compactly.
When rolled up, it takes no more space than a water bottle.
And even though it’s an air pad, inflating it is not too much of a hassle.
It takes no more than 10 to 15 breaths to get it fully inflated.
And when it’s time for packing, an easy-to-use push valve allows for quick deflation.
- V-chamber design limits air movement and heat loss for optimal comfort in your sleep
- Weighs just 1.7 pounds, so it’s suitable for hiking and backpacking as well
- Rolls up compactly so that it doesn’t take up much space in your trunk
- Very affordable, so it doesn’t break the bank
- Only suitable during warmer months
Best for: Car campers on a budget who camp during the warmer part of the year.
Sleepingo Ultralight Sleeping Pad
Inflation Type: Air | Sizes: Large | R-Value: 2.1 | Weight: 0.9 lbs
This might just be the sleeping pad I’m most impressed with when it comes to portability.
It weighs just 14 ounces and packs down compactly, to a size of a water bottle!
Now, not only that it takes no space inside your trunk, but it’s also suitable for other types of camping trips.
For an air pad, an R-value of 2.1 is to be expected. And that’s more than enough for most car camping trips between spring and fall.
What’s great is that it’s pretty easy to inflate – in just 10 to 13 breaths.
Now, the ergonomic chamber design is pretty innovative.
It locks air in and evenly distributes weight, which helps relieve tension from pressure points.
That’s why, even though it’s just two inches thick, this pad is extremely comfortable to lay on.
The pad is made of heavy-duty ripstop nylon, which is rugged and waterproof.
It might not be the most gentle surface to lay on, but you shouldn’t be touching a pad with your bare skin anyway.
- Packs down to a size of a water bottle, so it’s very compact
- Very affordable compared to most picks on this list
- Ergonomic chamber design evenly distributes weight, allowing a comfortable sleep
- The ripstop nylon is waterproof and can withstand wear and tear
- Not suitable for colder weather
Best for: Occasional overnight hiking expeditions during a car camping trip.
REI Co-op Camp Bed Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad
Inflation Type: Self-inflating | Sizes: Regular, XL | R-Value: 7.6 | Weight: 3.6 to 4.2 lbs
Winter camping is great, as long as you have all the appropriate equipment.
That, of course, includes a sleeping pad with a high R-value. This model by REI Co-op not only checks that box, but many others as well.
With an R-value of 7.6, you can sleep on this pad and not feel any cold coming from underneath, no matter how cold it might be outside.
The pad is just 2.5 inches thick, but it’s the open-cell foam that ensures it has great insulation.
Now, this model isn’t among the lightest ones on this list – far from it.
That’s not too big of a deal when you’re car camping, especially because it packs down compactly.
But if you plan on making a hiking or kayaking overnight trip, this might not be the best option.
The bottom part of the sleeping pad is reinforced with 150D polyester, which is heavy-duty and waterproof.
The seams are welded for additional leakproof strength in case water gets inside your tent somehow.
- The rugged and bottom can withstand wear and tear
- The seams are welded for leakproof length
- Vert comfortable, due to the soft open-cell foam padding
- Suitable for even extreme winter weather
- Somewhat heavy
Best for: Camping in extreme weather.
Coleman Kompact Camppad Premium
Inflation Type: Air | Sizes: Standard | R-Value: N/A | Weight: 1.76 lbs
This sleeping pad by Coleman is the classic air pad – it’s lightweight, compact and decently comfortable.
If you have limited space in your car trunk, this is a great option.
Packs down small when not in use, but doesn’t take much room even when it’s inflated all the way.
This is not the wide standard-sized sleeping pad out there, but you might not need one anyway.
If you have a small car or you sleep in a pretty much straight position, then this pad will work just fine.
I really like that the bottom part has a non-slip design. When you’re sleeping on a flat surface, it’s so easy for a pad to slide away, leaving you sleeping on cold ground.
To make this clear – this isn’t a very warm sleeping pad. But it does provide decent insulation during warmer months.
You also don’t get a pump with the purchase, but you don’t really need one anyway.
It won’t take you more than 20 breaths to fully inflate this sleeping pad.
- The size makes this sleeping pad suitable for small cars
- In case it gets dirty, you can easily clean it with a damp cloth
- The non-slip bottom prevents slipping even when on a flat surface
- Made of nylon, which is durable and waterproof
- Not very warm
Best for: Campers with small cars.
Best Double Sleeping Pads For Car Camping
If you’re camping with your better half, then a double sleeping pad is a better choice than two regular pads.
So here are the best of the best double sleeping pads for car camping you can find on the market.
KingCamp Luxury 3D Double Self Inflating
Inflation Type: Self-inflating | Sizes: Queen | R-Value: 9.5 | Weight: 10.6 lbs
Whether you’re camping near the coast of California or up in the Alaskan snowy hills, this KingCamp will keep you comfy and warm at night.
It’s called 3D because it really offers you the most out of every dimension.
With a thickness of 3 inches, you won’t even notice you’re not sleeping in your own bed at home tonight.
And an R-value of 9.5, this sleeping pad is as warm as it gets.
Of course, a sleeping pad this large won’t pack down that compactly.
Still, it fits into a medium-sized carry bag that doesn’t take too much of your trunk space.
The thick high rebound foam does weigh a bit more, but that’s not too big of an issue for car camping.
Don’t worry, even though it’s large, this sleeping pad is easily inflated. Just turn the valve and it will do the rest itself.
Just make sure to not lay on it for the first hour of being inflated, allowing it to reach its full thickness.
The 30D fabric is waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about spillage.
The TPU coating makes it tearproof, so even your dog can sleep on it without damaging it with its claws.
- The R-value of 9.5 makes this sleeping pad suitable for any weather
- Very wide, considered to be queen size
- With a thickness of 3 inches, this sleeping pad is extremely warm and comfortable
- TPU coated, so it’s resistant to tears and scratches
- Very heavy and somewhat bulky
Best for: Couples that enjoy having a bit of extra room.
NEMO Roamer Sleeping Pad – Double
Inflation Type: Self-inflating | Sizes: Queen | R-Value: 6 | Weight: 7.5 lbs
When it comes to the sleeping pad thickness, you can’t find a better option than this model by NEMO.
With 4 inches of thickness, this sleeping pad is pretty much the same size as the mattresses most of us have at home.
Now, that also speaks volumes of this pad’s comfort level.
The Innovative Flow Core™ construction makes the pad soft and plush as if you’re sleeping on the clouds.
At the same time, it also makes it very easy to self-inflate and deflate.
The micro-adjust valve allows you to finetune how soft or firm you want the pad to be, depending on your sleeping preferences.
The R-value of this sleeping pad is 6, meaning it’s suitable for use throughout the whole year.
The top part is made of 50D polyester, which is very soft and gentle on your skin.
The bottom, on the other hand, is made of 75D, which is more rugged and durable.
- For a self-inflating pad, this model packs down pretty compactly
- With 4 inches of thickness, this sleeping pad can be placed on any rough terrain
- The R-value of 6 makes the pad suitable for adventures in extreme cold conditions
- The micro-adjust valve alloy you to set up a custom inflation
- Somewhat expensive
Best for: Couples who prefer extra comfort over anything else.
Exped MegaMat Duo 10 Sleeping Pad
Inflation Type: Self-inflating | Sizes: Medium Double, Long Wide Double | R-Value: 8.1 | Weight: 7.5 to 9.9 lbs
I really like that this sleeping pad by Exped comes in two sizes.
Double sleeping pads are, logically, quite big, so they might be harder to fit inside a car.
But with more size options available, it’s easier to find the right match.
In both cases, this sleeping pad is 3.9 inches thick and filled with open-cell foam. That means it has very good insulation while staying warm at the same time.
This sleeping pad has an R-value of 8.1, meaning it’s suitable for any kind of weather you might experience here in the States.
The top surface is soft but durable. It’s made of polyester and it’s laminated, which makes it tear, mildew and water-resistant.
The bottom, on the other hand, is waterproof and non-slip.
Here’s one thing. This sleeping pad needs a hand when self-inflating.
What I mean is that, while it does self-inflate, you still need to do a few pumps yourself for it to be firm enough.
This isn’t a big deal, but it’s slightly annoying nevertheless.
But as long as you can get past that little thing, this is a wonderful sleeping pad. It’s comfortable, durable and extremely warm.
- Intake valve has a flap to prevent air from escaping while inflating
- Comes with a repair kit featuring adhesive and fabric patches
- Laminated polyester is durable, airtight and humidity-resistant
- With an R-value of 8.1, it provides high levels of insulation from the ground
- You need a pump to make it firm enough
Best for: taller people.
Best Sleeping Pads for Kids
And how about your little ones? If you’re camping with kids, here are some of the best sleeping pads you can get them.
REI Co-op Kindercamp Sleeping Pad – Kids’
Inflation Type: Self-inflating | Sizes: Standard | R-Value: 4.5 | Weight: 1.8 lbs
Now, what’s there not to like about this sleeping pad by REI Co-op? It’s affordable, comfortable, warm and durable.
Everything you need in a product for your little one.
It’s self-inflating, so you can leave your kid in charge of setting up their sleeping area.
The pad features two valves, one for inflating and the other for deflating, so there’s no way to mess that up.
The sleeping pad has an R-value of 4.5, which makes it suitable for camping for most part of the year.
What’s also great about this pad is that it’s pretty lightweight.
With just 1.8 pounds, your child can easily carry their own equipment to a campsite.
When deflated and rolled up, this sleeping pad is no bigger than a sleeping bag.
- Separate valves for inflation and deflation make setting up easy
- The polyester surface is water, tear and puncture-resistant
- Pretty lightweight, so kids can carry it
- Horizontally cored foam prevents the creation of cold spots
- Not as water-resistant as other models on this list
Klymit Static V Short
Inflation Type: Air | Sizes: Short | R-Value: 1.3 | Weight: 0.9 lbs
The Static V turned out to be quite popular soon after it hit the market, so it’s no wonder that the brand came up with different sizes as well.
This one, in particular, is designed for kids.
It’s ¾ of the original version, meaning it’s 50 inches long. This makes it suitable for most kids up to middle school.
Now, this is an air pad, so it’s not the warmest option out there.
But if you’re camping during hotter months of the year, then it’s more than great for your little one.
And because it’s so lightweight, your kid can carry it along with other gear.
This sleeping pad is rather easy to inflate. You can bring a minipump with you, but it’s really unnecessary.
You can inflate the whole thing in no more than 5 or 6 breaths. Of course, it’s just as easy to deflate.
- The unique, V-shaped design allows the kid to sleep comfortably in any position
- Takes just 5 to 6 breaths to inflate
- Laminated to make the material more durable and to prevent the growth of microorganisms
- Side rails inhibit air movement while tossing and turning
- Not for cold weather
Best for: summer camping with kids.
Sea to Summit Ultralight Self-Inflating Foam Sleeping Pad (X-small)
Inflation Type: Self-inflating | Sizes: X-Small | R-Value: 2.6 | Weight: 0.9 lbs
This sleeping pad by Sea to Summit gives you the best of both worlds. It’s lightweight like an air pad, with just 0.9 pounds.
But this sleeping pad actually uses foam as insulation, which is superior in warmth and comfort.
Speaking of warmth, this model has an R-value of 2.6. This makes it suitable for use from late spring to early fall.
The pad is just one inch thick, but the Delta Core foam cushioning provides adequate support nonetheless.
No matter whether your kid sleeps on the back or the side, this sleeping pad stays warm and comfy.
The 30D polyester cover is strong and durable, resisting tears and rips with ease.
It also features non-slip patterns on the bottom, which prevents it from skidding across the floor.
What I really like about Sea to Summit products is that they’re covered with a lifetime warranty for defects in materials or workmanship.
That means you’ll definitely get your money’s worth – or your money back.
- Very lightweight, so it’s suitable for hiking and backpacking trips
- The multi-function reversible valve allows quick and easy inflation and deflation
- Lifetime warranty against defects in materials or workmanship
- The non-skid bottom keeps the pad in place during the night
- Slightly thinner compared to most models on this list
Best for: Short camping trips during warmer months.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Camping Sleeping Pad
Finding the right model for you isn’t an easy task. So before you pick your sleeping pad, here are the things you should keep in mind.
Typically, sleeping pads range between 1 and 4 inches in thickness. But why does that matter?
Well, that mostly has something to do with how you sleep.
You see, side sleepers put a lot of pressure around the hips and shoulders. These parts will sink into the pad way more than the rest of the body.
And for that reason, you might want a slightly thicker pad if you’re a side sleeper.
Ideally, you should get a sleeping pad that’s at least 3 inches thick.
If you sleep on your back, then you don’t have to go that thick. But it’s all up to your personal preference.
Of course, insulation is also very important. If your sleeping pad can’t keep you warm, then there’s little point in using one aside from comfort.
We’ll get into more details about R-value below, but for now, it’s important to know that these numbers indicate how warm a sleeping pad is.
If you plan on camping during warmer months of the year, then an R-value between 1 and 3 is suitable for you.
For spring-to-fall camping, you should get a pad with R-value between 3 and 4.5.
Finally, anything above that is suitable for winter camping.
Of course, you should also take into consideration whether you’re a warm or cool sleeper and make a choice based on that.
Material and Comfort
To be clear – comfort is very subjective. One person might prefer a soft and fluffy sleeping surface, while another might want something that’s way firmer.
But one thing is clear. The thicker the pad, the more comfort it provides.
And you’ll see that most thick pads on the market feature some kind of foam.
Of course, the outer material is nothing less important. Not when it comes to comfort, but the durability and overall performance.
In other words, make sure to pick a sleeping pad made with material that’s water, tear and rupture-resistant, at the very least.
As you’ve seen in the review part of the article, sleeping pads come in different sizes.
Aside from the regular one, you can also find queen pads for you and your partner, as well as a small version for your kid too.
Of course, that’s not to say you can’t use regular pads in all cases. But why do that when you have other products more tailored to your needs?
You should also consider the size that the sleeping pad packs down to as well!
If you plan on camping no more than once or twice per year, then you don’t have to worry about durability as much as comfort.
And for that reason, a more affordable sleeping pad will perform just fine.
But if you’re a regular camper, then investing in a good product is definitely the most cost-efficient thing you can do.
After all, you don’t want to repurchase it every other year, do you?
Types of Sleeping Pads
We’ve covered the basics, but did you know there are different types of sleeping pads? By type, we actually mean what’s inside – what makes them a good surface to sleep on.
As the name suggests, this type of sleeping pad is filled with air.
Air pads can be quite comfortable. Depending on the brand and the design, they can even be on par with foam pads.
What makes them great is their weight and packability, which makes them suitable for all kinds of camping trips, including backpacking.
When you don’t need it, you simply deflate, roll the pad and store it in a designated bag.
Of course, the drawback is that they’re not very warm. Air isn’t that good of an insulator, so most air pads have R-values between 1 and 3.
Another drawback is that, if you somehow get it ripped or pierced, the pad is unusable unless patched. Luckily, most products do come with a repair kit.
The name of this type of pad can be somewhat confusing.
Yes, it mainly inflates on itself (once you turn the valve), but in most cases, you do need to still breath a bit of extra air inside to make it firm enough.
Self-inflating pads use open-cell foam combined with air to provide comfort and warmth.
And really, foam is an excellent insulator. In fact, most self-inflating pads have R-values over 4.5, making them suitable for camping all year round.
When it comes to drawbacks, the main one is the fact that this type of sleeping pad is rather bulky and heavy.
That might not be that much of an issue when you’re car camping, but it makes the pad less versatile nonetheless.
Also, self-inflating pads tend to cost a lot more than air pads.
But the reason for their price is well justified, especially given their durability.
Finally, we have foam pads.
To be clear, this type of sleeping pad only works sleeping in your car. Why? Well, because foam pads are both heavy and bulky.
But when it comes to comfort and warmth, they’re definitely top-notch.
What’s also great is that a foam pad can last you decades if you take proper care of it.
So even though it might be pricey, it’s well worth it.
R-Value of Sleeping Pads
Up until a few years ago, there wasn’t a standard classification for sleeping pads.
So choosing the right model to go with your camping equipment was a tough task.
Luckily today, we have R-value to help us figure out how good a sleeping pad is for specific conditions.
An R-value indicates the insulating power of a sleeping pad. And the higher the number, the warmer the sleeping pad is.
And I won’t get too technical into how those numbers are decided and what they mean – because that’s too much information, which you can read about in our R-value guide.
What you need to know is how the numbers correspond to temperature conditions:
- Summer: 1 to 3
- Spring and Fall: 3 to 5
- Winter: 5 to 6
- Extreme Cold: 6+
Do I need a sleeping pad for car camping?
A sleeping pad should be a part of your camping equipment, regardless of the type of camping trip.
Whether you’re sleeping inside your car or in a tent, a sleeping pad gives you comfort and keeps your body off the cold ground.
What is the most comfortable sleeping pad for camping?
The answer to this question is subjective, as everyone has different sleeping preferences.
But we find the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Self-Inflating Sleeping Mat to be among the most comfortable pads on the market right now.
What kind of mattress do I need for car camping?
That depends on many factors, including weather, the number of campers and your sleeping preferences.
If you’re sleeping in the car, make sure the dimensions of the pad correspond to the dimensions of your car.
Can you use a high R-value sleeping pad in summer?
You absolutely can. A high R-value pad has great insulation, but it won’t somehow overheat you during warmer months.
Does stacking sleeping pads increase R-value?
Yes, R-values are additive. That means you can use two sleeping pads, and together, they will provide you with much better insulation.
How to sleep comfortably when car camping in winter?
During winter, a sleeping pad with an R-value of over 5 is a must. But you also need a good winter sleeping bag.
Bedding and blankets can also help you stay warm, as your car can get pretty cold at night.
To Sum Things Up
Car camping can be quite an enjoyable experience when you’re properly geared.
For a very comfortable good night’s sleep, Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Self-Inflating Sleeping Mat is a great choice.
It’s warm, comfortable, light and easy to pack. It’s also very durable, so it will last you many years to come. What more do you need?