In this post I want to share with you my recommendations for the best sleeping pad for hammock camping.
You might be thinking, do you really need a sleeping pad when you’re using your hammock?
During the warmer summer months you’ll be fine with a blanket or lightweight sleeping bag.
As it starts to get colder there’s more preparation required for a comfortable night camping in your hammock.
Without a sleeping pad and sleeping bag the wind and cold air is going to suck all of the warmth out of your body.
A sleeping pad provides a physical barrier that shields you from the wind and cold air.
This keeps you warmer during cold weather and adds more comfort and stability to your hammock setup.
Let’s take a look at some of the best hammock sleeping pads designed to hold your body heat and keep you comfortable during the night.
The Best Sleeping Pads for Hammock Camping
Choosing the right hammock sleeping pad depends on your preferences and style of camping.
Some people prefer a lightweight, foam pad while others might opt for an inflatable, warmer pad.
The best sleeping pads will easily fit into your hammock and form to the length of your body.
You want something that will stay in place and prevent wind and cold air from blasting through.
Let’s take a look at some of the best hammock pads I’ve come across over the years:
ENO AirLoft Hammock Mattress
It’s the ENO AirLoft Hammock Mattress that I found to be the most ideal choice for the best hammock pad.
This pad was actually designed specifically to be used in hammocks so it’s great if you need one just to use when you’re hammocking or doing some camping as well.
Along with the full length pad this also comes with wings on the side of the main pad that not only help to keep you in place when you’re inside the hammock but also to keep your shoulders warm and prevent your upper body from pressing up against the fabric.
The wings also help to prevent movement so that the pad is better kept in place when you’re laying inside the hammock it also keeps you more snug so that you’re not rolling around as much throughout the night.
If you just need a regular sleeping pad then you can remove the wings so that you can use this one whether you’re camping or hammocking without the need for two different pieces of equipment.
Getting it set up is really easy as it’s self-inflating and it’s designed from a 1-inch solid core foam that’s coated with a nylon material for more comfort and better durability.
It weighs only 45 ounces so if you’re backpacking and trying to keep your pack light then this is something to consider and because it’s a self-inflating there’s no need to spend any time getting it ready to go – you simply unpack it and then position it inside your hammock however you want.
It’s even a suitable choice for taller individuals that might have trouble finding long enough sleeping pads and this one measures 6 feet 8 inches in length.
For better portability it comes with straps that help to keep everything in place when you’re not using it and overall I would definitely recommend checking out the ENO AirLoft Hammock Mattress if you’re looking for a sleeping pad to use in your hammock.
Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest Classic
The Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest Classic is another option that I would recommend checking out if you’re looking for a sleeping pad to use in your hammock.
This is a fairly basic pad and I’ve used one myself for regular camping as well as hammock camping depending on the weather and where I’ll be going.
There are a few different sizes to choose from and I like the large size because it’s quite wide at 25 inches in width and this helps to keep the hammock spread out while still offering me enough room inside for laying in.
It’s very lightweight and the foam material is quite durable so I would argue that it’s a good choice for both seasoned campers and those just heading into the backcountry a few times throughout the year.
One interesting feature is that the Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest Classic comes equipped with these peaks and valleys as part of the design that help to keep heat trapped and also offer more comfort than just a regular fat sleeping pad.
I did find that once it was rolled up the pad actually took up a surprising amount of space but since it was clipped onto the outside of my backpack this wasn’t really an issue at all, although if you’re looking for something smaller there are plenty of smaller sleeping pads available.
I would recommend taking a look at the Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest Classic if you’re looking for something that’s a lightweight, durable, and well designed for regular use for both camping and hammocking.
Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Mattress
The Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Mattress is actually another sleeping pad that I’ve used and it’s one that I’ve had for the longest period of time.
I started out using mind for just a regular camping and eventually decided to take it with me to see how it would hold up in the hammock.
It’s very versatile because it can be used for both hammocking and regular camping and rather than rolling up it actually folds up so it doesn’t retain a rolled shape and you don’t have to fumble around trying to roll it back into place in the morning.
Once it has been folded I recommend picking up a pair of straps that you can use to keep it shut.
It’s designed using closed-cell foam and one interesting feature about it is that it comes with a unique surface that helps to reflect heat back to your body to help keep you warmer during the night and the dimples that you see on it actually help to keep heat trapped for more warmth as well.
It’s a very lightweight sleeping pad so it’s a good choice if you’re hoping to keep the weight of your backpack down and when it’s folded it up it doesn’t take up too much space either.
One small issue that I ran into when I was using it in my hammock is that during the night sometimes it would fold up underneath me and I would have to wiggle around to hopefully get it back into place.
Other than that one inconvenience I would still recommend the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Mattress as a suitable hammock sleeping pad.
Klymit Static V Lightweight Sleeping Pad
I’ve heard quite a lot of good things about the Klymit Static V Lightweight Sleeping Pad so it’s only fair that I recommend it if you’re looking for one to use for hammocking.
I’m on the fence about whether or not I prefer an inflatable one or just a foam pad but ultimately it’s up to you to decide which type you’re most interested in using.
This one comes with an interesting V-chamber design that’s very visible in its appearance and this unique design helps to control the movement of air when you’re laying on the pad while offering more comfort and better support.
It folds down quite small so it’s a good choice if you’re looking to keep your weight down when you’re out backpacking with camping and it even comes with a stuff sack for better portability and organization.
It’s equipped with a push valve that’s used for inflating or deflating it and supposedly it can be fully inflated in just to 10 to 15 breaths so you don’t have to spend half the afternoon huffing and puffing trying to fill the mattress up.
For using it in the hammock I don’t recommend inflating it the entire way because you’ll still want a little bit of give when you get inside and lay down and your body weight should help to more evenly distribute the air inside.
To deflate it you just need to open the valve and roll it up so that the air gets a chance to escape and once you’re done you can pack it into the stuff sack and pack it away.
I would definitely recommend taking a look at the Klymit Static V Lightweight Sleeping Pad if you’re looking for something lightweight and inflatable to use in your hammock.
ALPS Mountaineering Featherlite Series Air Pad
The ALPS Mountaineering Featherlite Series Air Pad is another inflatable sleeping pad that you can use for more comfort and better protection against the outdoor elements when you’re sleeping in your hammock.
I like this one because rather than having to blow into it to inflate the pad it actually comes with a built-in pump that takes just a few minutes of pumping to get the pad ready for you for the night.
Its narrow design means that it can be placed inside your hammock without taking up too much space and as an inflatable it’s not going to fold up on you by accident when you’re trying to get some sleep.
As for packability, it packs down quite small so that it’s not taking up too much space in your backpack and it even comes with a stuff sack for better organization and to help keep it protected from any sharper objects inside your bag.
Depending on your height you can choose between a regular length one and a long one.
Over the years I’ve heard quite a few good things about ALPS Mountaineering so I have no problem recommending the ALPS Mountaineering Featherlite Series Air Pad for anyone looking for a hammock sleeping pad.
Inflatable vs Foam Sleeping Pads
There’s actually quite a lot of debate going on all the time about whether or not it’s better to go with an inflatable sleeping pad or a closed cell foam one.
I believe that it really comes down to preferences but I want to explain the differences between the two and why I prefer one over the other.
Closed cell foam pads are quite popular and have been around for a very long time.
They are typically made from foam and they come in a wide variety of different shapes, designs, and textures.
For any budget backpackers or those that aren’t spending too much time out in the backcountry then closed cell foam sleeping pads are a pretty good choice.
One of the main drawbacks with this type is that they don’t typically fit inside a backpack because they either fold up or roll up when they’re not in use and this means they have to be attached to the exterior of a pack.
On the other hand, the foam design helps to keep them durable and you don’t really have to worry about any sharp objects or banging the sleeping pad around since it takes a lot to damage them where they’re not able to be used anymore.
Depending on the thickness foam pads can be very comfortable although if you’re not used to sleeping on the ground you might not find it comfortable at all.
For hammocks, using this type is very easy and you simply unroll it or unfold it and position it inside of the hammock however you want it.
Inflatable pads tend to cost a little bit more than the foam ones but they offer a few different benefits.
Because they have to be inflated rather than already coming ready to use they’re actually a lot smaller when there isn’t any air inside and depending on the materials that they’re made from they can be lighter as well.
Right off the bat this makes them a better choice for backpackers looking to travel light and keep the weight of their backpacks more reasonable.
When they’re not inflated these pads don’t take up as much space as the foam ones either so they can actually be packed away rather than having to stay attached to the outside of a backpack.
A lot of people argue that inflatable pads are more comfortable because they’re closer to a regular mattress and the air inside helps to keep you off the ground so your bones or other body parts orange constantly under pressure.
This makes them a good choice for side sleepers and in the hammock they can be fairly comfortable to use but they’re not as practical compared to if you were using them just on the ground.
Since they need to be inflated to be used properly you also have to spend time blowing air into the pad and manually deflating it every morning when you’re ready to go.
This just means you have a few extra steps to take to get your camp set up and take it down the next day and it takes away from the amount of time you can relax or just enjoy yourself.
The reason that I mostly prefer using foam sleeping pads is because they’re very straightforward, easy to use, and I really don’t have to worry about anything going wrong out in the backcountry.
Of course while inflatable pads come with patch kids that’s just one more thing I don’t want to worry about and I would hate to have to wake up in the middle of the night and deal with a random puncture just to get my pad working properly.
I also like being able to just clip my pad on to the outside of my backpack and get on with the rest of my day rather than having to worry about fit it inside and then worrying about something inside puncturing it by accident.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s ultimately up to you to decide which type of sleeping pad for hammock camping you want to use and if it’s possible I recommend trying out both types so you can experience the benefits and drawbacks that each type offers.