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Sleeping Pad vs Air Mattress

Sleeping is extremely important if you want a fun, relaxing camping trip. In order to sleep well and comfortable, you need to choose the proper gear. If you want to know the differences between “Sleeping Pad vs Air Mattress” and if you wonder which one is the best? You should know that when it comes to camping, proper gear depends on your condition.

We will explain everything about a sleeping pad and an air mattress, for you to make a choice. At the end of the article, you will be able to choose the perfect gear for your condition.

Here is a quick simple comparison table of Sleeping Pad vs Air Mattress

Sleeping Pad vs Air Mattress Comparison Table

 Sleeping PadAir Mattress
PictureTherm-a-Rest LuxuryMap one of the best sleeping pads for bad backsSleeping pad vs. Air Mattress SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress
WeightLight (varies between 1 lb to 5 lbs)Heavy (varies between 5 lbs to 20 lbs)
Stuffed SizeSmall and compressibleBulky
ComfortLess ComfortableMore Comfortable
SizeAlthough most of them are small and solo type, there are also quite enough types of queen sized sleeping padsGenerally big and queen-sized
Best ForBackpackingCar Camping

Features to Consider on Sleeping Pad vs Air Mattress


When it comes to comparison between Seeping Pad vs Air Mattress weight is one of the biggest elements to consider.

Man carrying a backpack sleeping pad vs air mattress

Air Mattresses are much heavier than sleeping pads. In general, the weight of an Air Matress varies between 5 lbs to 20 lbs, on the other hand, the weight of a sleeping pad varies between 1 lb to 5 lbs.

If you are planning a backpacking trip you should go with a sleeping pad. But if you are planning a car camping trip, then the weight is not the first priority. You can consider other features such as comfort, warmth, etc.

Stuffed Size

Sleeping pads are much smaller than air mattresses when packed. Although it depends on the brand and the type, solo sleeping pads can be compressed down to Ø 5″ x 8″ while the air mattresses twice/ thrice bigger when compressed.

If you are planning a backpacking trip you should consider purchasing a sleeping pad. If not, stuffed size doesn’t have to be the first priority.


Air mattresses are much more comfortable than sleeping pads, they are much thicker.

While a person sleeping on an air mattress is completely off the ground, a person sleeping on a sleeping pad can feel the ground (especially when moving during sleeping).

Compared to sleeping pads, air mattresses are better for your back. But if you are going for a backpacking trip and if you have a bad back there are also sleeping pads for bad backs as well.


Although both sleeping pads and air mattresses can be found in every size, sleeping pads tend to be smaller than air mattresses.

If you are planning a trip with your partner, you should also know that; most of the sleeping pads are made for solo-sleeping. But that is not the case with the air mattresses, most of them are queen-sized.


If you are planning a trip where weight and bulkiness are important issues (such as a backpacking trip) you should definitely go with a sleeping pad.

Sleeping pads are more feasible since they can be both used in backpacking and car camping trips.

But if you are a fellow who doesn’t compromise on comfort and if you are going for a car camping trip, you should consider purchasing an air mattress.

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