In this text you have a list of best sleeping pads for car camping, all top-notch, top-rated, and reliable tools from renown brands.
Since this is about transporting a pad in the car, the focus is on comfort instead of weight. So the list includes either very wide pads (some are double) or very thick pads. If you have a car, you will probably have a bigger tent and not some claustrophobic bivy shelter, so such pads will fit well and you will feel comfortable.
My list of best car camping sleeping pads
The pads are ordered alphabetically, so this is not a rank list. They all are very different and a direct comparison wouldn’t make much sense. This is on purpose, I have picked up the pads to satisfy various needs because the term car camping may imply different things. For example, it may mean: i) sleeping in the car, or ii) just transporting all your gear by car and camping in a tent at a place with car access.
Clearly, you would need different pads for such two situations, regarding the width and the insulation. I sleep in the car very frequently and I have space for up to a 1-meter wide pad. But I use a 2-person tent solo when I sleep outside the car, so I have plenty of space for the biggest double pad.
All pads in the list are 4-season tools, and some are with huge R-values. So you can use them in any environment, but no worry those pads are not heaters, they only insulate you from the surface underneath you, regardless of where you sleep, and regardless if the surface is warm or cold, you see the point.
About some possible criteria for choosing the best car camping mattresses please have a look at my separate text. So here below are the pads, please have a look.
1. ALPS Mountaineering Apex Self-Inflating Air Pad
This ALPS Mountaineering Apex Self-Inflating Air Pad is built in three different sizes. The regular size pad weighs 4 lb 14 oz (2.2 kg), and its packed size is 22.5 x 9 inches (57 x 23 cm). From these numbers, you understand why it is here in the list of camping pads, so this is not a pad to be carried on the trail.
With its R-value of 6.9 and its two brass valves, this is an easy-to-use 4-season pad. It is 3 inches (7.6 cm) thick so this might be good enough even if you are a side sleeper. I have added it also to my list of best self-inflating camping pads.
2. ALPS Mountaineering Nimble Insulated Air Mat
This ALPS Mountaineering Nimble Insulated Air Mat is a thick and long inflatable sleeping pad. With its 3.9 R-value, it is suitable for 3-season camping. The pad is built in two sizes as single and double pads.
You have a stuff sack that doubles as a pump. The weight is 2 lb 9 oz (1.16 kg) for the single pad, and 3 lb 12 oz (1.7 kg) for the double. The thickness is 3.5 – 4.5 inches ( 8.9 – 11.4 cm).
3. ALPS Mountaineering Lightweight Self-Inflating Double Air Pad
This is a quite unique pad here in the list because it is a double sleeping pad that can be split into two separate single pads, or you can simply fold it and use it as a very thick solo pad. This is because of a hook and loop Velcro connection that runs in the middle.
The R-value 6.9 is such that you can use it in all seasons, and when you fold it, the R-value is higher by a factor of 2 so you can use it in the harshest conditions. The weight is such that it is most suitable for car camping but if you take half of it, then it can be carried on shorter overnight hiking tours. The pad weighs 9 lb 7 oz (4.28 kg).
4. ALPS Mountaineering Oasis Air Pad
If you want a really thick sleeping pad, this ALPS Mountaineering Oasis Air Pad is for you. It is incredibly thick with its 6.5 inches (16.5 cm). This is why I have included it also in my list of very thick sleeping pads for camping.
The pad is also incredibly big, it measures 80.5 x 31 inches (204 x 79 cm). This is an inflatable camping pad, they have made it easy to inflate with its integrated pump. You have a very durable fabric, and the weight is reasonable for such a size, it weighs 2 lb 12 oz (1.25 kg). The pad is also very affordable.
5. ALPS Mountaineering Outback Self-Inflating Air Mat
This pad weighs 7 lb 7 oz (3.37 kg) so this explains a bit why it is here in the list, but see its features as well. They build it in two sizes, and both are 4 inches (10.2 cm) thick. The XL version measures 80 x 32 inches (203 x 81 cm) So the pad is incredibly comfortable.
The R-value is 8.5 and this is because of its insulating foam. This is why I have added it also to my list of pads for cold weather. The pad is self-inflating and in view of its R-value, it is suitable for any weather conditions. It is included also in my list of best self-inflating camping pads.
6. ALPS Mountaineering Vertex Air Bed Queen Sleeping Pad
This ALPS Mountaineering Vertex Air Bed Queen Sleeping Pad is huge and very stable and supportive with its coil structure. It comes with a rechargeable pump included. Note that it is incredibly thick, no less than 6 inches (15 cm).
This is an inflatable type, and the dimensions are huge, 80 x 56 inches (203 x 142 cm). It weighs 4 lb 12 oz (2.15 kg) and this is why I have included it here in the list of camping pads, this is not a piece to carry long distances in the pack although it is indeed portable. You will want to know that it comes with a great price tag.
7. Cabela’s 3″ Cot Pad
Here you have a classic foam pad with a removable and machine-washable polycotton cover. So it is easy to maintain clean and it is pleasant and very comfortable. The inner is an open-cell dual-density foam.
The pad is most suitable for off-ground sleeping on a camping pad. They build it in two sizes, and the R weighs 4.4 lb (2 kg). Its dimensions are 73 x 24 in (185 x 58 cm). But go for its XL variant if you are a tall person. Both options are 3 inches thick.
8. CAMEL CROWN Camping Sleeping Pad
This CAMEL CROWN Camping Sleeping Pad is self-inflating and it weighs 5.07 lb (2.3 kg) so you realize why it is here in the group of camping pads.
With its R-value 2 it is suitable for up to 2-season camping. The red fabric shown in the picture is waterproof, and it comes with an inflatable pillow of the same material and with the same foam fill.
There is also a carry bag shown in the picture. The pad is 2 inches (5.1 cm) thick, and you will want to know that it is also incredibly affordable.
9. Coleman Self-Inflating Camping Pad with Pillow
This Coleman Self-Inflating Camping Pad with Pillow is self-inflating and you realize from the name and the picture that it comes with an integrated pillow that inflates separately. There is a foam inside, but they do not provide the R-value. It should be fine as a 3-season pad.
In any case, this is a reliable and easy-to-use camping sleeping pad with an incredible price tag, so these are the reasons for having it here. When you see its weight you realize why it is in the car camping group, it weighs 6.4 lb (2.9 kg) so you would not carry it anywhere.
10. Exped MegaMat Duo 10 Sleeping Pad
As the name suggests, this is a double-wide pad, so it is suitable for couples, for a mother with a child, or simply for a solo use if you have space and want comfort; a more comfortable you will not find.
But this is also a very thick pad, the number 10 describes its thickness, so you have 10 cm of an open cell PU foam, which is Oekotex 100 certified.
But this is not all, this pad comes with an impressive R-value of 9.5, so this is an insulated sleeping pad suitable for the most severe conditions.
They describe it as the closest you can come to sleeping on your home bed, and I am sure this is so. This is the ultimate car camping mattress. You have vertical sidewalls here and an absolutely level sleeping surface.
The pad comes packed in a smart-pack sack with a height-adjustable roll-top and with a carrying strap so you can carry it also attached to your shoulder. You also have a Mini Pump included. The dual valve system is very efficient, and adjustment of the firmness can be achieved by simply tapping on the one-way flap of the inflation valve.
The thickness is 3.9 inches (9.9 cm) and the weight is 163.3 oz (4.63 kg).
Particular distinction: probably the most comfortable double pad.
11. Exped MegaMat Max 15 sleeping pad
This Exped MegaMat Max 15 sleeping pad is extra wide with its 30.3 inches (77 cm), and incredibly 5.9 inches (15 cm) thick. It also comes with an impressive R-value of 10.6 so you can use it in any weather conditions.
This is a self-inflating pad but you have a mini pump included, see the picture. It weighs 121.7 oz (3.45 kg) and you have a great 5-year warranty. The pad is Oekotex 100 certified.
12. Exped MegaMat Outfitter 10 LXW
This is a new 2017 version of the very popular and award-winning camping pad, a great option for side and stomach sleepers. This is definitely one of the most comfortable pads on the market. It is insulated and its R-value is an impressive 9.5, one of the highest in the list. The weight is 6 lb 15.5 oz (3.16 kg).
Particular distinction: comfort. Note that it is 3.9 inches (9.9 cm) thick.
13. Exped SynMat Mega 12
This is again an insulated sleeping pad most suitable for car camping but it is lightweight enough to be carried in the backpack for not so long distances. Its R-value is 5.3. The number 12 in the name is the thickness in centimeters, so this is the thickest pad here on the list.
It may be important to stress that this sleeping pad comes in 4 different sizes, so you can choose a proper size for you and your family members or your partner.
The pad is an inflatable type, suitable for 4 seasons and for very low temperatures. As an inflatable pad, it packs to a much smaller size than the other Exped models given here. But note that it has a quite different R-value, which is still good enough for all seasons.
The pad is presented in detail in my separate review so please check the link below for more.
Particular distinction: the thickest of all.
14. HEST Sleep System Sleeping Pad
Here you have an impressive Sleep System that includes a foam pad and an inflatable pad. The combined thickness of the two is 18 cm. But see also its total R-value which is equally impressive, you have it 11.8. This makes it suitable for the coldest weather camping.
The inflatable pad is on the bottom and it is detachable. he cover of the upper foam pad is removable and machine washable. The system comes with a unique compression straps set and a carry bag. The total weight is 26 lb (11.8 kg), and the dimensions are 78 x 25 inches (198 x 63.5 cm).
15. Kelty Kush Queen Air Bed with Battery-Powered Pump
The Kelty Kush Queen Air Bed with Battery-Powered Pump is extra thick, and it is also double-wide. So you have 6 inches (15 cm) of cushion here, and its dimensions are 79 x 55.5 inches (201 x 141 cm).
This is an inflatable sleeping pad, best suited for summer camping. Note that it is lightweight for its size, the weight is 4 lb 15 oz (2.24 kg). As you realize from the title, you have a pump included, and the pad is PVC-free. The pad is also very affordable.
16. Kelty Waypoint SI Sleeping Pad
This Kelty Waypoint SI Sleeping Pad weighs 5 lb 6 oz (2.44 kg) so it is not built to be carried on the trail, and this is why it is included here. It is filled with foam that makes it self-inflating, hence the letter SI in the name.
The pad is large and thick, it measures 77.95 x 29.92 inches (198 x 76 cm), and its thickness 3 inches (7.6 cm). The foam insulates you from the ground and it gives the R-value of 5.6. The stuff sack doubles as a manual pump if you need to add extra air in.
17. Klymit Insulated Double V Sleeping Pad
This is one of the celebrated Klymit’s sleeping pads with the recognizable V-shaped air chambers. The pad is new, launched in 2017, insulated as the name suggests, and with the R-value 4.4. So this is again a 4-season pad with the Kl5mit’s Body Mapping technology, incredibly comfortable and suitable for couples and for solo use as well.
This is an award-winning design and technology so nothing can go wrong with such a tool. It is interesting that its stuff sack doubles as an air pump. It is with an integrated one-way valve that plugs in the inflation flat valve with a gasket on the pad. So you just roll and press the bag and this will inflate the pad. In such a way you avoid moisture accumulating in the pad (which may happen if you blow the air from your lungs).
Note that it is built in one size only, and it is not particularly long, so if you are a tall person, better check some other models. Please check the link below for more, the pad is described in detail in my separate review.
Particular distinction: body mapping.
18. Klymit Self-Inflate V Sleeping Pad
This sleeping pad is new on the market and it is also a new type for this brand which is best known for their iconic inflatable sleeping pads which you have here in the list as well. So here you have a self-inflating pad and it still has their V shape baffles in the design although not as prominent as in their other pads.
The pad is insulated and you have a 5.3 R-value which is roughly equivalent to the temperature rating of -4 F (-20 C). So this is a sleeping pad for all seasons. The shell is 30D stretch polyester on the top and 75D polyester on the bottom.
The pad weighs 2.9 lb (1300 g) so it is lightweight for an insulated pad, and this is the reason for adding it here; you can use it also for shorter overnight tours away from your car parking.
Particular distinction: this is a pad with an incredible price.
19. Klymit Static V Luxe Insulated Sleeping Pad
This pad is very similar to the Double model given above, with all the advanced features typical for these Klymit pads. So this is a luxurious single pad, insulated and with a 4.4 R-value. The insulation is synthetic Primaloft Eco, lightweight and compressible, and it includes 60% of the recycled materials. Such insulation is known for not absorbing water, it dries quickly and it retains its insulation even if it becomes wet.
The word Luxe in the name describes its great length and width, so if you are a tall guy, this is a pad for you. This is an inflatable pad so its packed size is incredibly small, bear this in mind if this feature is essential to you. Such a design makes it far more versatile than most of the pads on the list. For more info please follow the link to my separate review.
Particular distinction: great packed size.
20. KingCamp Luxury 3D Double Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad
This KingCamp Luxury 3D Double Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad is moderately thick and with a foam that provides an effective R-value of 4.7. So you can use it in all seasons. The pad is very comfortable long and wide, suitable for two people.
It comes with a storage bag included, and its weight is 10.6 lb (4.8 kg). So this is not something to carry around, you will use it at places with a car access. The dimensions are 79.1 x 50.3 inches (201 x 128 cm).
21. Lightspeed Outdoors XL Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad
This pad is too heavy to be carried on the trail, it weighs 6 lb (2.72 kg), this is why it is here in this list of camping pads. This is a very comfortable pad and with a huge official R-value of 9.66. In view of this, here you have a pad for all seasons. It is self-inflating and with an integrated headrest visible in the picture above.
This is also a very popular camping pad, and for all the good reasons, you will want to know that it is very affordable. A carry bag is included. The dimensions are 77 x 30 inches (196 x 76 cm).
22. NEMO Roamer Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad
This is a new pad on the market which Nemo launched for the season 2019. They build it in two sizes and they both are 4 inches (10.2 cm) thick. So this is an incredibly comfortable sleeping pad, great even for side sleepers.
The pad is self-inflating with foam inside which provides insulation, the temperature rating for this pad is -30 F (-34 C) and this is close to a 7.5 R-value. So this is a pad for all seasons.
The larger version (XLW) is with the dimensions 80 x 30 inches (203 x 76 cm) so it is suitable even for very tall people. It weighs 5 lb 4 oz (2.38 kg) and it is surprisingly well packable. Please follow the link to my full review.
23. QOMOTOP Ultra Thick Self-Inflating Camping Mattress
This QOMOTOP Ultra Thick Self-Inflating Camping Mattress is double size and its dimensions are 80 x 52 inches (203 x 132 cm). It weighs 13.6 lb (6.2 kg), and it is comfortable even for side sleepers with its 4 inches (10 cm) foam. So you realize why it is here in the list of best car camping sleeping pads.
The pad is with 9.5 R-value so it is suitable even for extremely cold weather. As the name tells you, this is a self-inflating pad, and its stuff sack doubles as an inflation sack in the case you need to blow more air in.
24. Sea to Summit Comfort Deluxe SI Sleeping Pad
This brand is best known for its trail pads, but here you have one for car camping. It is built in several different sizes and all of them are 4 inches (10 cm) thick with a foam inside. So this is a self-inflating pad and with their Delta Core technology.
The R-value is 6.5 and note that their pads come with the new ASTM R-Value standard so the insulation should be reliable.
Here you have also their Pillow Lock feature, and it is packed in a nicely designed carry bag. The weight of the RW size is 4 lb 6 oz (1995 g).
25. Teton Sports Camp Pad
There are several reasons why you might want to consider this pad.
♦ If you are on a budget, this is one of the most affordable options.
♦ This pad comes in three different sizes. This is the longest pad in the list.
♦ All pads are built to fit the Teton Sports cots. So the largest of the pads, Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Camp Pad fits the Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Camping Cot.
♦ On the other hand, this Outfitter Cot is built to be used as a platform for the Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Quick tent, so you have a combination known as tent-cot, with the tent sitting on the cot.
So as you realize, this is a complete sleeping system of a particular type, ideal for car camping. You can see it described in the link below, in my separate review. The largest of the pads in the group is huge, see the dimensions below, though it is not particularly thick. Note also that you have an exceptionally strong fabric here.
There is no declaration about its R-value, but this is a foam pad and it definitely provides some insulation.
26. TETON Sports ComfortLite Sleeping Pad
In this TETON Sports ComfortLite Sleeping Pad, you have an insulated and self-inflating built in three different sizes. Its declared R-value is in the range 4.4-5.9 dependent on the size.
Note that it has a Velcro strap along the sides so you can attach it to other pads of this type and create a large continuous sleeping area. You have a carry bag is included. The regular size weighs 3.6 lb (1.6 kg), this makes it heavy to carry in the pack, this is why it is in the list here. You will want to know also that it is also very affordable.
27. Therm-a-Rest BaseCamp Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad
This BaseCamp sleeping pad is light enough to be carried on shorter trails, its R size weighs only 2 lb 8 oz (1.14 kg). So obviously it is much lighter than most of the pads here in the list and this is a versatile pad. The thickness is a bit modest 2 inches (5 cm), but as I said, this is something for both worlds, for car camping and also for hiking.
They build it in three sizes and this is always good to know so you can find your best fit. As the name suggests, this is a self-inflating type, and the open-cell foam inside gives you good insulation with an R-value of 5.8. So the pad is suitable for all seasons. You might want to know also that it is very affordable for such a type and for such a top brand.
28. Therm-a-Rest DreamTime Mattress
So, what is so special about this pad, and why is it here? There are some unique features here, and you will not find them in other pads. This DreamTime pad is a three-component system that includes the following elements:
- A memory foam layer.
- A self-inflating core pad.
- On the outside, you have a removable and machine-washable microfiber cover.
- Connect Two system.
So with these features, this pad stands out. The pad is built in two sizes, and they are both great, Large, and Extra Large, see in the Specifications below. But this is not all, its R-value is 10, one of the highest here in the list. So this is an insulated pad for all weather conditions.
The materials are durable, so you have 75D polyester on both sides. The foam is urethane. If you are puzzled by the side straps which you can see in the picture, this is the Connect Two system, to mate it with another DreamTime mattress for a double-wide configuration.
Particular distinction: three-component system.
29. Therm-a-Rest Luxury Map sleeping pad
This pad is built in three sizes, R, L, and XL, so you have enough options to choose from. It is self-inflating and insulated, with an R-value of 6.8. So it is in the upper range and a very warm pad for any weather.
The materials are 50D polyester knit on the top and 75D polyester on the bottom. The core foam is urethane. The stand-out feature here is the Pressure Mapping system used to provide optimal support where it is most needed, so something similar to what you have in the Klymit pads.
This means that they measured the pressure created by the body in various sleeping positions, and introduced an innovative die-cut foam to provide comfort and support at the right places. As a result, you have a more even and supportive sleep surface. This is probably the origin of the word Map in the name of this pad.
Particular distinction: pressure mapping for optimal comfort.
30. Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D Self-Inflating Foam Camping Air Mattress
This is an insulated sleeping pad suitable for all seasons and with an impressive R-value of 11.4, the highest of all pads here on the list. It is built in two sizes and they both are big.
The fabric is a very soft and pleasant 75D reverse diamond polyester on the top and the same durability polyester is on the bottom. The inside foam is urethane, and you might want to know that the pad is built in the USA. Much more is available in my separate review, please follow the link below.
Particular distinction: one of the most insulated pads.
31. WELLAX UltraThick FlexFoam Sleeping Pad
WELLAX UltraThick FlexFoam Sleeping Pad is a 4-season pad that comes with memory foam, and its declared R-value is 9.6.
It is here in the list of car camping sleeping pads because it is heavy, it weighs 7 lb (3.18 kg). But this is a comfortable pad that is 3 inches (7.6 cm) thick. The fabric is a quiet ripstop, and you have two brass valves. It has an integrated self-inflating headrest that inflates together with the rest of the pad. Note that it is very affordable.
32. YOUKADA Sleeping Pad Foam Self-Inflating Camping Mat
When you see this Youkada sleeping pad, you realize it is huge, so indeed you have a double-wide pad that offers 74 x 52.8 inches (188 x 134 cm) of very comfortable sleeping space. The comfort is due to its memory foam that provides decent insulation, but the manufacturer did not provide any information about the R-value. So although there is no way to know, there is no doubt that you can use in all weather conditions in a 3-season use.
Because of the foam, this is a self-inflating pad, and I have included it also in my list of best self-inflating camping pads. As you realize from the picture, it comes with inflatable pillows that must be inflated separately. Note that it is not very thick, you have 1.4 inches (4.5 cm). But it comes with an incredible price tag.
How to choose
So you have plenty of options here, and they all are great. In my view, those are the best sleeping pads for car camping currently on the market.
Nothing can go wrong with such quality tools, except that they can get punctured of course. If this is your concern, then go for the Teton Sports pad, this is a great foam pad that will last forever.
But how to choose really? First, check your budget. The prices are very different here, you have them in the range of $25 – 370.
Next, you might want to think about versatility. All of them are relatively heavy and bulky, but some are still nicely packable and lightweight enough to be carried in the pack. Those are mainly the inflatable pads in the text above, both Klymit pads and the Exped SynMat. But regarding the versatility, the Alps Mountaineering Double pad is clearly without a match because of its 2-in-1 feature.
As for the comfort, the thicker and the wider the better, as simple as that. I love to use double pads solo. But I have yet another reason, I feel claustrophobic in a sleeping bag, so I use either a double bag solo, or I unzip one of my rectangular bags completely and use it as an ordinary blanket. In such an arrangement, a double pad comes really well. This works fine if it is not cold too much (but it is usually, I mostly sleep at very high elevations well above 2000 meters in the Alps).
Note that this is not a sponsored text and I am not paid by any of the brands represented here in the list. Thank you for reading. Please let me know if you want to add something here or if you have a question, there is a comment box below. I wish you a nice day.