Nothing beats the freedom of strolling through the great outdoors and pitching up your hammock whenever the feeling takes you. Sleeping under the stars really is a magical experience but, as much as we love hammocks, it’s no fun waking up full of aches and pains the next morning.
If only there was a simple way to get a good night’s sleep in your hammock without lugging loads of burdensome gear around.. oh what, there is!
Hammock sleeping pads are a great bit of kit that can make all the difference to your outdoor sleeping experience, and the best bit is they won’t weigh you down either. Although there is a range of hammock pads out there, all the best ones are lightweight, durable, and fold down super small.
At A Glance:
To help you find the one that’s right for you, we’ve put together this list of the best sleeping pads for hammocks – trust us, you won’t regret investing in one of these!
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If you want some serious comfort but don’t want to have shell out a fortune for it, then you should definitely check out the ECOTEK Ultralight Sleeping Pad.
Unlike many air-bubble pads, this pad is constructed from premium polyester rather than nylon. While both materials are water- and abrasion-resistant, the woven polyester is softer, resulting in a more comfortable and quieter sleeping pad. This softness works especially well in hammocks, as it provides the flexibility needed for the sides to engulf you.
On top of that, this pad uses a unique ‘FlexCell’ technology to prevent heat loss, which essentially works by constricting the passages between the air bubbles to reduce airflow (reducing heat loss via convection).
This clever insulation mechanism adds nothing to the overall weight of the pad and, at just 18 ounces, it’s one of the lighter bags on our list (although slightly heavier than the other air pads).
It also compresses down to the size of a large water bottle, can be inflated in less than ten breaths, and won’t break the bank either – what a winner. Oh, and we almost forgot, the company plants a tree for every pad purchased so who knows, maybe one day you’ll hang your hammock on a tree that’s there because of you.
Make sure you save some strength for packing up, as this pad can be a little tricky to get back in its stuff sack. However, all in all, this is one great bag at a very reasonable price.
The WELLAX Ultralight Sleeping Pad is a great choice for any backpackers out there looking to shed some extra pounds without compromising on comfort.
Constructed from laminated nylon with a TPU layer, this pad is ultra-lightweight yet resistant to tears and abrasions. On top of that, these materials make it virtually silent so you can wiggle around to your heart’s content without waking up your fellow campers…
And if that wasn’t enough, these materials bounce body heat back toward the user, resulting in an overall R-value of 2.1 – which is pretty impressive for its weight and makes it a great 3-season mat.
It also features hundreds of air bubbles (that can be filled in fewer than 10 breaths) to provide fantastic back support in the same way a pocket-sprung mattress would. We also love that the inflation valve is one-way, so you can pause in between and avoid getting a headrush.
The deflation valve lets all the air out in seconds, and it folds up into a tiny bundle you can easily two in your backpack.
Bear in mind that although a single layer of air bubbles enables the weight to stay low and fantastic compressions, if you like a big fat mattress underneath you, this might not be the one for you.
Otherwise, it’s a great bit of gear that’s been cleverly designed to offer tonnes of high-end features at a very reasonable price.
The Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight Sleeping Pad is another fantastic air-filled pad designed for backpacking hammock enthusiasts.
It may take a few more breaths to inflate than the WELLAX pad, but it compresses even smaller – right down to a teenie tiny 8 x 3 x 3-inch bundle. This, combined with its lightweight, means that you’ll barely know you have this pad in your pack.
There’s a compatible pillow too if you really want a touch of luxury, although it must be purchased as part of a bundle.
This 3-season sleeping pad has an R-value of 2.2 and is made of durable rip-stop nylon with TPU lamination. Really, there isn’t much in it between this and the WELLAX – this is slightly smaller and more affordable, whereas the WELLAX is easier to inflate – both are great mats so we’ll leave the final choice up to you.
And now for something designed specifically for hammocks, the Eagles Nest Outfitters Hammock Mattress. The self-inflating foam design does all the hard work so you don’t have to and inflates itself within seconds.
At 1 inch in thickness, it is thinner than the air bubble pads discussed previously yet, due to more physical contact with the back, this pad will still keep you warm.
This hammock works best with Eagles Nest Outfitters hammocks but is also compatible with tonnes of other models.
The fact it’s been designed for hammocks in particular means it has ‘wings’ that cushion the sides of the hammock as well as the base, so you really will feel like you’re inside a cozy little cocoon. Don’t worry though – the wings are detachable so you can still use this pad for ordinary ground-based camping if you need to.
At 44oz, it’s considerably heavier than most options we’ve found come across, but for how comfortable you’ll be, we think it’s worth carrying around the extra weight (to and from the car that is, not on a backpacking adventure).
It’s also a little bit expensive but, again, for 1-inch of airloft padding and durable TPU-coated nylon construction, we think you’re getting what you pay for.
Struggling to find a lightweight pad that’s comfy on your side? Well, you’re in luck, the Klymit Static V2 Sleeping Pad is a great option for any side-sleepers out there.
Unlike the traditional air bubble pads, the v-chamber design of this pad was developed to provide support whether you lie on your side, back, or front (or any other way!).
This design also limits airflow, reducing heat loss via convection and resulting in an overall R-value of 1.3. And if that wasn’t enough, the design also incorporated ‘rails’ at the edges, that hold you while you sleep so you don’t slide off your pad.
A mixture of polyester has been used for the construction, with thicker fabric on the bottom for durability and thinner material on top to keep the weight down. We love that this pad comes with a stuff sack and a repair patch just in case you run into trouble.
It might not be the absolute lightest option, but it’s not far off and it packs away nice and small too. Our main complaint is that it can be a little tricky to push the cover back over the valve once the pad is inflated, but we’re sure you’ll get the hang of it with time.
Overall, even if it is slightly expensive, this pad has a lot of nice touches and is the best we’ve found for side-sleepers.
And now for our best sleeping pad for winter hammock adventures, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm.
This pad has an incredible R-value of 7.2, which means it can keep you warm in frosty temperatures that fall well below freezing. This rating is largely thanks to the layer of thermal foam located in between numerous ridges of air and foam, plus tonnes of baffling to keep everything where it should be.
Obviously, we doubt you’ll be in a hammock at temperatures this cold, but the insulation can be very welcome on a crisp evening in any season and can negate the need to bring tonnes of blankets with you – a warm base does wonders.
The WindLock valve won’t let you down either, and we were pleasantly surprised to see that, despite its impressive insulation, this pad is by no means the lightest we’ve come across. The valve itself enables rapid filling with zero effort, and there’s a pump sack, stuff sack, and repair kit included.
Unfortunately, this pad can be a little stiff to use in very narrow hammocks, and it’s also got a hefty price tag on it. However, if you want something that will keep you warm no matter the weather, then this is the way to go.
Here’s another sleeping pad designed specifically with hammocks in mind… the Klymit Hammock V Sleeping Pad.
Like the Klymit V2, this pad features a V-chamber design that’s great for side sleepers as well as for insulation. The wings on the side, however, make it perfectly suited to hammock life, although the wings do add a considerable amount of weight to the pad (although it’s still by no means heavy).
One of the things we like best about this pad is its anti-microbial laminate – it’s almost like they know how filthy hammocking can get. It also comes with a repair kit in case you find yourself punctured while in the wilderness.
This is fairly unlikely thanks to the durable 20D polyester construction. Plus, if it does break of its own accord, it’s covered by a lifetime warranty (which is just as well, looking at the price tag).
Like the static, it features ‘railings’ to stop you sliding off your pad in the night, which is even handier when you’re in a hammock as a fall would be a very rude awakening. On top of that, this pad has an R-value of 4.4, making it one of the warmest we’ve looked at.
Overall, if you can afford to make this investment, we think you’ll be very happy with this pad.
So, there you have it, our list of the top sleeping pads for hammocks. But what is it you should be keeping an eye on when you’re shopping around?
This is how we measure how effective the pad is at insulation (the higher the R-value the more insulation). How much insulation you need will depend on the type of trips you have planned, but be sure to check out the R-value, particularly if you plan on doing some cold hammocking.
Both of these will come down to personal preference. Some people find foam mats way comfier than air, and vice versa. It’s good to try them both before you buy if possible, so you can get a feel for which one suits you best. Keep an eye on thickness too – generally, the thicker the mat the comfier it will be, but the added thickness will add to the weight and possibly the cost.
Again, how important this is will depend on the trips you’re taking. for backpacking, you want as light and compact as possible, but remember you’ll have to shell out a fair bit for decent, lightweight insulation. If you’ll be taking a vehicle with you on your hammocking adventure, then you may as well ignore the weight factor and focus on comfort or save some dollars.
And finally, for anyone who has yet to decide which pad is their favorite, here are ours to help with that tricky decision:
Our top hammock pad in terms of all-round performance has to be the Klymit Hammock V Sleeping Pad.
With all-engulfing wings, decent insulation, and anti-slip markings, you can guarantee a good night’s sleep on top of this.
On top of that, it’s durable (it even has antimicrobial properties), includes a repair kit just in case, and is covered by a lifetime warranty – definitely worth the investment!
For anyone keen to take a hammock and a pad on their next backpacking adventure, we strongly recommend the WELLAX Ultralight Sleeping Pad.
This pad is durable, compact, and lightweight – everything you want in a backpacking pad – and, what’s more, it’s affordable, has decent insulation, and inflates in no time, perfect!
But if we had to pick just one pad which one would it be? The ECOTEK Ultralight Sleeping Pad of course!
We’re just astounded that something this comfortable can maintain such a lightweight, remain robust, and still have a reasonable price tag… what’s the catch?
Technically, you’re doing the world a favor by buying one of these (as a tree will be planted), so what are you waiting for?!
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