Best Sleeping Pad for Side Sleepers in 2020 [with Buyer’s Guide]

What’s the point of going on fun trips if you can’t even enjoy a good night’s sleep?

That’s especially harder for side sleepers. Sleeping pads ultimately provide the comfort and support your body needs for getting a good night’s sleep.

In this article, we have reviewed the best sleeping pad for side sleepers and discussed the factors you should consider before buying your pad.

10 Best Sleeping Pads for Side Sleepers

Here is the summarized version of the product specifications:

Sleeping PadThicknessWeightR-ValueDimensions
Sleepingo Camping2.2”14.5 oz2.175” x 23”
Wellax Ultralight Air2.5”1 lb2.178” x 24”
Klymit Static V2.5”18.1 oz1.372” x 23”
Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol0.8”14 oz2.072” x 20”
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm2.5”15 oz6.972” x 20”
Sea to Summit Ultralight2.5”13.9 oz3.372” x 21.5”
Big Agnes Q Core SLX4.25”16 oz3.272” x 20”
Nemo Tensor Ultralight3.0”15 oz10-20°F 72” x 25”
TETON Sports Outfitter XXL2.5”9 lb6.282” x 38”
Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight2.2”16 oz2.273” x 21.6”

Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad

Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad

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One of the most popular choices currently on the market, the Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad takes care of your necessity and comfort both.

With a 2.1 R-value, this air mattress can be easily used as a three-season sleeping pad. Moreover, the 2″ thickness and 14.5 oz weight actually make it portable and packable for camping. It’s not self-inflating so you need to blow up the mattress a bit. The spacious 75″x23″ is enough for your body whether you’re tall or short.

Not only comfort, but the Sleepingo also ensures amazing durability and compatible with all terrain types. The 20D heavy-duty ripstop nylon fabric is noise-free, waterproof and tear-resistant. All these qualities contribute to the Sleepingo being a great outdoor option.

Pros

  • Built To Withstand The Rugged Outdoors
  • Easy To Clean And Maintain
  • Packs Down To The Size Of A Water Bottle
  • Ideal For Ultralight Backpacking

Cons

  • Hardly Any Complaints From Users

Wellax Ultralight Air Sleeping Pad

Wellax Ultralight Air Sleeping Pad

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Wellax Ultralight Air Sleeping Pad guarantees you a good night’s sleep after a long day of adventure. Ultralight and ultra-comfortable, this inflatable air pad comes with an affordable price to boot.

Because of its tight honeycomb design, the Wellax is a great sleeping pad for side sleepers. The single layer of 300 Air Sprung Cells adds more cushion and lightness to its only 14.5 oz weight and 2.5″ thickness without compromising compression. The pad has a 2.1 R-value and is able to reflect the heat back to you while you’re sleeping.

One of the amazing aspects of this pad is the advanced inflation technology featuring two flat valves for inflation and deflation each. Using these two valves, you can inflate or deflate in a much quicker and easier way. There’s also no question of its durability and material quality. The laminated 20D ripstop nylon and the TPU layer on the top make it virtually silent, waterproof and abrasion/tear resistant. You won’t need to worry over the air pad getting punctured overnight or making squeaky noises every time you shift/turn in sleep.

Pros

  • Designed To Support Weight Evenly
  • Flexible Sleeping Pad With Plenty Of Room
  • Easy To Inflate And Deflate
  • Great And Versatile Gear For On-The-Go Use

Cons

  • Not For Winter Use

Klymit Static V Lightweight Sleeping Pad

Klymit Static V Lightweight Sleeping Pad

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Quality gear at a reasonable price – that’s Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad explained in one sentence.

The Static V comes with specially developed V-shaped design which ensures less air movement and reduces heat loss. The slide rails prevent slipping and sliding thus providing a secure, comfortable sleep. The deep weld patterning is there for better thermal comfort and to keep you centered even while tossing and turning. With 1.3 of R-value, it is suitable for spring and summer trips.

The high quality 75D polyester is tear-resistant and gives the pad a rugged and durable feel. Weighing only 18.1 oz, the Static V is considerably lighter and compact than similar-sized models. Moreover, the pad being superbly versatile, you can use it with a hammock, your cot, on bare ground and inside of your sleeping bag.

Pros

  • Body Mapping Technology For Comfort And Support
  • Secure And Simple Easy-To-Use Valve
  • Patch Kit Included In Integrated Pocket
  • Portable Design Perfect For Hiking

Cons

  • Little Difficult To Pack Down

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Ultralight Foam Backpacking Mattress

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Ultralight Foam Backpacking Mattress

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Considering the features and the price it comes with, the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol is the ultimate foam pad out there. If you prefer foam pads over air mats, then this is the best choice for you.

Being a foam pad, it comes ready to use out of the pack so no need for inflation. Weighing only 14 oz, the Z Lite Sol is ultralight and compact. You can fold it accordion-style and easily put inside the backpack or attach outside of the pack to carry.

Therm-a-Rest’s reflective ThermaCapture coating reflects the heat on the body and increases the overall warmth of the pad by 20 percent. Despite having 0.8” thickness and firm surface, the pad is far more comfortable and cushier than other models.

The sleeping pad is made of lighter and softer stuff at the top for comfort and of denser stuff at the bottom for insulation, durability, and protection from extreme elements. Whether to use it on the cactus-filled desert or as a second pad for extra warmth in winter, that’s up to you.

Pros

  • Best Value For Money
  • No Accidental Puncture Or Deflation
  • Packed Down In Several Configurations
  • Multipurpose And Durable Use

Cons

  • Losing Insulation Or Compression After Heavy Use

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress

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If insulation is your top priority for a sleeping pad, then look no further. The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm has a whopping R-value of 6.9, making it compatible with cold weather 0 degree F sleeping bags.

The reflective ThermaCapture technology traps radiant heat and the Triangular Core Matrix baffled design ensures stability and minimizes heat loss. The tapered design with textured, no-slip fabric makes sure you stay centered on the pad. However, the optimal warmth doesn’t mean compromising the weight; rather the XTherm has the best warmth to weight ratio with the pad weighing only 15 oz.

The pad has a 30D nylon ripstop fabric on the top and feels soft and nice even if you sleep without a pillow. besides, the bottom is made of rugged 70D nylon fabric which makes the pad nearly puncture-proof. The 2.5″thick air mattress inflates easily in less than two minutes by blowing into the valve. So, you don’t have to waste time or energy trying to set up the sleeping pad.

If you need the extra warmth and can afford it, then investing in the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm will be the smart choice.

Pros

  • Perfectly Suitable As Four Season Pad
  • More Durable Bottom Layer Of Fabric
  • Tapered Shape Reducing Weight
  • Highest Insulation With Comfort And Support

Cons

  • Expensive

Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Sleeping Pad

Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Sleeping Pad

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The Sea to Summit Ultralight Sleeping Pad has been specially designed with comfort being the top priority.

Particularly side sleepers won’t have to worry about this pad because the cell structure is engineered to support your weight even if you roll onto your side. The 181 Air Sprung Cells will give you the feel of a normal mattress without compromising comfort.

The 3.3 R-value with Thermolite insulation and Exkin Platinum thermal technology, the pad is suitable for three-season of backpacking and camping. The multi-function valve allows super-fast inflation and deflation along with customized adjustments so that you won’t need to waste breath and energy for it.

The outer shell has 40D nylon face fabric to enhance durability. Additionally, the TPU lamination with antimicrobial treatment is present to prevent delamination and internal bacterial growth. The Ultralight pad comes with several sizes including women-specific options that provide extra warmth.

Pros

  • Excellent Lightweight Warmth With Superior Durability
  • Dual Purpose Storage Sack And Pump
  • Nylon Stuff Sack And Repair Kit Included
  • Outstanding Insulation And Warmth To Weight Ratios

Cons

  • Rubbery Feel Or Sound

Big Agnes Q-Core SLX Ultralight Sleeping Pad

Big Agnes Q-Core SLX Ultralight Sleeping Pad

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The Big Agnes Q-Core SLX is a super plushy, fully rectangular lightweight sleeping pad.

With 3.5″inner thickness and 4.25″ side baffles, this is the thickest pad on our list. The large side baffles are there to keep you centered in the middle of the pad. The massive air volume contained in the SLX means you hardly ever feel the ground even while kneeling on the pad. And don’t think the thickness adds extra weight to the pad since it weighs only 16 oz.

The Q-Core SLX is a good choice for all-season trips because of the R-value of 3.2, except for winter adventure. The regular size comes in 72″x20″ but the pad is also available in a wide variety of lengths and widths. According to Big Agnes, the SLX is 25% more durable than its predecessors such as Q Core and the Q Core SL.

The one-way valve system on the SLX helps to inflate or deflate the pad easily. It is covered with a luxurious quilted top with flat valves for increased durability and rapid deflation. This feature makes it a great choice for side sleepers.

Pros

  • Portable Construction At A Good Price And Weight
  • Multi-Directional Support And Stability
  • Interior Treated With Antimicrobial To Prevent Mildew
  • Quilted Top For Extra-Comfortable Cushioning

Cons

  • Narrower Profile Than Other Pads

Nemo Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad

Nemo Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad

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Having minimal weight and size with a quieter, more supportive nature, the Nemo Tensor is the ultimate backpacker’s sleeping pad.

Nemo sleeping pads don’t come with R-value but the Tensor has a rating of 10-20 degree F, which means you can use this pad even during chilly weather. Moreover, Nemo offers several shapes and size options for Tensor, including mummy, rectangular, wide, etc. So you can choose the model most fitting to your body size. 

The 3″ of stable cushioned loft with two layers of Thermal Mirror insulation deliver warmth and comfort for a whole night of sleep. The Spaceframe construction and undulating baffle design evenly distributes the weight and prevent any loud or crinkly noise while shifting. The premium 20D fabric covers the outer surface to resist punctures.

The Tensor model has updated the Vortex pump sack and Laylow micro-adjustable valve for inflation and deflation. Along with fast and easy inflation, you can adjust the pad to get your desired firmness.  Laylow zero-profile, multi-functional, micro-adjustable valve is flush to the pad and offers customized control over your inflation. Once the pad is inflated, carefully tap the deflate valve to adjust the Tensor to your desired firmness.

Pros

  • Premium Fabrics For Soft Luxurious Feel
  • Pump Sack Minimizes Moisture Entering The Pad
  • 100% Recyclable Packaging Materials
  • Repair Kit Included

Cons

  • Slightly Expensive

TETON Sports Outfitter XXL Camp Pad

TETON Sports Outfitter XXL Camp Pad

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In terms of versatility, nothing can come close to TETON Sports Outfitter. Whether as a ground pad, with a cot or on the guest bed, you can use it conveniently.

The Outfitter comes in XXL size measuring 82”x38”, which is way more spacious for one person. You can even use it as a couple pad as it can easily accommodate two average-sized persons. The 9 lb weight may seem heavier compared to other models, however, the built-in roll-up straps, a roll assister, and compression buckles ensure a compact package.

The 2.5″thick open cell foam design adds an extra layer of insulation. The astonishing level of an R-value of 6.2 provides warmth and comfort throughout the night. The removable cover can be easily slipped off and cleaned. Also, this sleeping pad has built-in pockets for storing essentials like keys, wallet, phone, etc.

Pros

  • Portable Design Best Suited For Car Camping
  • End Bar Attachments For Keeping The Pad In Place
  • Retains Shape And Comfort Even After Unfolding
  • High Level Of Heat Retention Perfect For Cold Weather

Cons

  • Heavy Weight

Outdoorsman Lab Camping Sleeping Pad

Outdoorsman Lab Camping Sleeping Pad

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Outdoorsman Lab Sleeping Pad is perhaps the best budget option out there. You won’t find such high-quality features and performance from other similar price range models.

Weighing only 16 oz and 2.2″ thick, the pad is ultralight and compact. The air valve helps to inflate and deflate very quickly and easily. So you can fold the pad down to the size of a water bottle and conveniently carry around in your backpack.

Outdoorsman Lab’s patented pad technology utilizes individual and interconnected diamond-shaped air cells. The smooth air cells self adjust to the shape of your body to provide maximum comfort, support, and warmth.

The sleeping pad comes in 73″x21.6″ size that is pretty fitting for side sleepers and you won’t need to fear any hip or back pain occurring the next day. The fabric is made of durable 200 ripstop nylon with a laminated TPU coating which is both water and abrasion-resistant.

Whether you’re on your backyard stargazing or on rugged terrain for adventure, the Outdoorsman Lab Sleeping Pad got your back.

Pros

  • Easy To Roll Up And Pack After Use
  • Sturdy But Comfortable Sleeping Surface
  • Well Sealed Inflation Port
  • Inexpensive Yet Well Built

Cons

  • More Appropriate As Three-Season Sleeping Pad

Buying Guide

Side sleepers have to be more concerned with sleeping pads. Since they have a limited area of contact with the ground to support the weight and provide comfort. These points of contact should be well supported and cushioned to prevent sore muscles or an uncomfortable night’s sleep. So to determine the best sleeping pad for side sleepers, you need to consider some factors first.

Type

Most sleeping pads come in three categories: Air, Foam, and Self-Inflating.

Air Pads

Comfortable, light and compact – air pads offer unparalleled thickness. They can be expensive but still popular for their impressive warmth. The only downside is the risk of sudden puncture and thus ruining the trip. The solution – always keep a repair kit with you on trips.

Foam Pads

Foam pads are more affordable, easy and quick to set-up, and have multipurpose use. However, they’re bulkier, don’t have the highest R-values and need to be replaced often. Some users still prefer foam for its dependable nature as there’d be a zero percent chance of accidental deflating during the trip.

Self-Inflating Mats

Combining both the attributes of aid pads and foam pads, the self-inflating mattresses are pretty comfortable, convenient and durable. They’re more puncture resistant than air pads, but not as lightweight due to having foam. Still, self-inflating mats come off as great alternatives with the best of both worlds.

Thickness

For a side sleeper, the thickness is one of the most important factors. Thicker pads don’t automatically mean more comfortable. Rather the extra thickness helps the heavier parts of your body to sink into the pad while the lighter parts keep being supported.

As mentioned above as a side sleeper there are fewer points of contact with the sleeping pad. So it’s important to make sure that those few points of contact are well supported by a thicker sleeping pad.

While no camping sleeping pad is going to compare to your full-size mattress at home there are plenty of sleeping pads that offer a decent amount of thickness or support.  When looking at sleeping pad thickness for side sleepers make sure the sleeping pad has at least a few inches of thickness.

Most of the time you’ll be sleeping on uneven or rocky ground, so your pad needs to be comfortable enough for the hard surface. Sleeping pads with a thickness of 2″ or more are recommended for the side sleepers. Because they offer the best support and cushioning, they also keep the hips and shoulders from sinking to the ground.

Comfort

Thicker pads are more comfortable that’s true but comfort also depends on the amount of foam and insulation and type of construction. You can determine the comfort of the sleeping pad by feeling the surface. The smoother surface is likely to be more comfortable to sleep on.

However, for side sleepers textured surfaces like a honeycomb or horizontal support system provide the most consistent and comfortable support. There’s less chance of your sleeping pad from slipping or sliding off during your sleep.

Moreover, sleeping pads can be noisy and make the annoying crinkly or squeaky sound when moved. Side sleepers tend to toss and turn more and at night the sound gets amplified. Thicker pads with lots of padding reduce the noise aspect and can be helpful in this regard.

Weight and Packed Size

Whenever it’s time for adventure weight becomes a major issue for concern. Ultralight gear is the ultimate dream but sometimes it comes in the form of sacrificing comfort.

This can be resolved if you decide the nature of your trip beforehand and plan according to it. For instance, backpacking demands lightweight, compact gear whereas you can take slightly bulky gear for car camping. Moreover, nowadays technologically advanced sleeping pads offer comfort and support along with being lightweight.

The foam pads are comparatively lighter than inflatable air pads or the self-insulating ones. But most inflatable pads can be packed down into a compact, portable size. Some can be even packed down to the size of a water bottle.

So, it’s better to go for inflatable pads if you’re looking for a lightweight option.

Warmth and R-Value

The level of insulation you need in a sleeping pad depends on the weather during your trip. During summer, insulation hardly matters, but in winter or cold weather greater insulation will save you from the cold, hard ground.

The R-value refers to the pad’s ability to insulate heat between the ground and body. Most sleeping pads come with a layer of built-in synthetic insulation. The higher the R-value, the warmer the pad will be. Most models’ R-value ranges from 1.0 that is minimum insulation – to 11.0 or more for maximum insulation. The majority of the pads currently on the market can be used as three-season pads since they offer a medium level of insulation. For specific purpose use like cold or extreme weather, you need pads with a high level of R-value.

Recommended R-values for sleeping pad are:

  • Summer-only trip: 1-3
  • Three-season trip: 3-5
  • Winter camping on snow: 5+

Dimension

Most sleeping pads models on the market have unisex design and offer multiple sizes. It’s advisable to choose the sleeping pad according to your body proportions and comfort preferences. Not only just your height, but your pad should be able to accommodate your hips and shoulder as well.

Generally, most sleeping pads come in regular and long sizes, with occasional wider sizes being available. Longer and wider pads tend to weigh more as well. Side sleepers don’t have much problem sleeping on a standard width pad. However, pads with raised edges keep the body-centered and prevent from rolling around in the sleep.

Some sleeping pads also come in a women’s version which is shorter and have little more insulation than the unisex version. Because of the smaller size, shorter adults can also use them with ease.

Shape

In general, sleeping pads come in two basic shapes: mummy and rectangular. Mummy shaped pads shave weight by cutting out rarely used corner sections. Some may feel constricted by the shape but the lightweight design packs small as well. The rectangular shape is perfect for those who want more space to spread their body while sleeping.

For side sleepers, mummy-shaped sleeping pads are more suitable than the rectangular ones. However, you should find the pad best fitted to your body for superior support and comfort, regardless of your sleeping position.

Durability

For side sleepers, durability matters a lot, as your body will apply the force on a small surface area. Because of that, your sleeping pad should be able to withstand the hard surface, pointy rocks, and twigs on the ground. Outer fabric material ensures the durability and how long your pad going to last. No doubt, water, and tear-resistant nylon/polyester will perform better and last longer.

As for different types, the foam pads are most durable and air pads the least. Even though, good quality inflatable air mattresses have less chance of accidental puncture. Inflatable air pads with flat valves tend to be more durable than air pads with stick valves since they keep flush with the surface of the pad and don’t catch on obstructions.

Inflation

If you’re planning to buy an air mattress or self-inflating pad then inflation is a major factor to consider.

Self-inflating pads are technologically advanced and made of air and cell foams which can inflate on its own. Most air pads come with a twisting valve where you need to turn it in one direction to inflate and the other direction to close it. To get rid of this tiring and slow method, nowadays air pads have a float valve. It includes inflation and deflation settings with a flap to lock in the air.

You should look for sleeping pads with easy and fast to inflate/deflate option. And if you really don’t want the hassle of inflating your pad after a long day of hiking, then buy a foam pad instead. You can save your time and energy as there’s no need for inflation at all.

Conclusion

Finding the best sleeping pad for side sleepers shouldn’t be that much challenging. Decide on your budget, think about your wants and needs, search features according to it, and if you find a sleeping pad covering all these – then that’s the one for you.

You can also try other measures if you’re having trouble with controlling body aches while sleeping outdoors. Use a travel pillow, change your sleeping position, or keep more support, etc. Hopefully, you’ll be able to overcome the restless nights and get refreshing whole nights of sleep.

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