Best Sleeping Pads for Hammock Camping in 2018

We are sure you’ll agree that finding the best sleeping pad for hammock camping can be a daunting endeavor.

Or, is it?

It turns out selecting a sleeping pad that fits your needs may not be as tough as you’d have thought. All you have do is understand how you sleep at home and find a pad that replicates your mattress.

In this article, we’ll show how to evaluate hammock sleeping pads and how to choose the right one. Once you find the perfect pad, you won’t believe the amount of rest you’ll get.

If you want to know more, all you have to do is read on.

Picking the best sleeping pad for your hammock

Why do I need a hammock mat for a hammock? Since I am not on the ground, I should be protected from any temperature issues. Just remember that nice spring day when a cool breeze made you feel cold. It took several blankets to warm you up. And how comfortable were you? Some padding would make you feel like you were home in bed.

The purpose of the pad is to provide comfort and protection. Campers often complain they do not get adequate sleep out in nature and desire comfortable beds.

With the best hammock pad, you will make your camping experience better. If chosen wisely, you may sleep better on a camping trip than you do at home.

This guide examines several factors to consider when selecting a sleeping pad hammock.

Pad Weight for a Hammock

If you plan to backpack as part of your camping trip, every ounce counts. A heavy backpack eventually puts a damper on any hiking endeavor. With food, sleeping bag, a hammock and clothing already inside your backpack, the hammock pad needs to be lightweight. You want to enjoy the hike, and a heavy pack will have your mind on what items to shed instead of the trip.

The perfect sleeping pad for hammock camping can be either foam, inflatable, or self-inflatable. Even though they are the lightest, foam pads are the most difficult to place in a backpack. Inflated and self-inflated pads can be folded to take up minimal space. But these pads are heavier.

Size of Hammock Mat

To pick the size of the hammock mat, know your sleeping style (along with your weight and height). Back sleepers like different pads than people who sleep on their sides.

Select pads that provide additional support for the shoulders and hips (peak pressure points).

When sleeping in a hammock camping environment, the length and width of the pad determine how well you will sleep.

Lengthwise, a full-length pad keeps your feet warm and provides cushion for your heels. The torso-length variety weights less and allows your legs to hang over the edge.

Some campers like pads with more width to accommodate their sleep pattern like to spread their legs while sleep. Side sleepers usually like 20-inch wide pads.

Warmth and Insulation of sleeping pad for camping

The best hammock sleeping pad provides warmth and comfort on nights when the temperature drops. Like sleeping bags and home insulation, hammock pads are assigned an R-rating based on how much protection they provide against temperature conditions – from 1 through 10.

Pads with a rating at or below an R-5 provide adequate warmth for nights during the summer, fall, and spring. During the winter where ice and snow are possible, the best pad for hammock camping is rated above R-5.

Note that R-values are accumulative, just like an extra layer of insulation in your home. If you have two pads with an R-3 value and an R-2 value (placed on top of the first pad), you now have a sleeping pad with an R-5 value.


Foam pads, air pads, and self-inflated pads make up the three varieties of sleeping pads. The foam version is less expensive than inflatables. When folded up, the inflatables take up less room in a backpack.

Self-inflating pads work by allowing air to fill its foam cells. These pads are more puncture resistant than air pads. This feature lets the self-inflating pad maintain some padding if it deflates in the middle of the night. Because of the foam, the pads weight more than the air variety.

The foam pads are less comfortable, don’t pack as small and have a lower R-rating than the other options. But, the foam is old reliable. It does not deflate in the middle of the night and is extremely versatile.

Remember to have a repair kit handy in case your inflatables develop holes.

Shape of the pad for sleeping in a hammock

The shape of the best hammock pad for you depends on your sleeping style. If you wish to keep the weight of your backpack at a minimum, the mummy pad is your best choice. It cuts out the corners sections of the mat.

Back sleepers normally choose normal rectangular pads. This type allows the sleeper to spread their legs while sleeping.

Shell material

Foam is bulky and heavy but can be effective insulation.

Baffles are the lightweight fabric that keeps the insulation in place. It determines how air flows within an inflatable. Baffles are critical to pad design.

Heat reflective materials are insulation that helps your body heat from escaping the pad system. The material redirects the heat back to its source – your body to stay warm. An important issue with this material is it crinkles as your body moves on the pad.

Down is an effective and extremely light insulation. A major flaw of the material is that moisture reduces its effectiveness.

Primaloft is a great insulation option. Unlike down, moisture does not affect its effectiveness. Primaloft provides insulation near your body an optimal location for heat retention.

Inflated Thickness

While back sleeping evenly distributes your weight, side sleeping puts a higher percentage of weight around the hips and shoulders. Side sleepers need a hammock mat that is thicker in the middle and/or along the sides.

The thickness of the pad should not exceed what is needed for comfort. If it does, the sleeping pad will be like a pool float.

Noise and stability of a sleeping pad for hammock

Pads sometimes move when resting or sleeping on it. The solution is to reduce this issue is to place the sleeping pad for hammock camping inside a sleeping bag. Pads made from firm materials will improve stability.

Squeaky or crinkly noises are a major annoyance of pads. These issues cause problems with light sleepers.

The best hammock sleeping pad makes an attempt to lessen the noise, but none of them will be as quiet your home mattress. The noise normally goes away after continued use.

Remember, choose pads that come with repair kits. As you already know, Murphy’s Law happens a lot in the woods.

Intended use of a sleeping mat for a hammock

What are you planning to do on this camping trip? If you plan to do some backpacking, the best hammock pad allows you to move as quickly as you can. You can fold up the pad, place it into your backpack and hike to your next destination.

If you are on an overnight fishing expedition, you may choose a larger hammock mat for comfort. It may be some time before you catch your next fish. You want to be comfortable and enjoy your surroundings while waiting on that perfect catch.