It doesn’t matter if you’re hiking through the Appalachian Trail, Section hiking the Ozark Highlands Trail, or touring the Yukon River.
A quality sleeping pad for any overnight outdoor adventure is key, especially if you’re one of the 74% of us who sleep on our sides.
Finding the best backpacking pads for side sleepers can be a daunting ordeal, but hopefully we can help you make an informed decision.
Quality and durability are important factors when selecting any gear, but for sleeping pads and side sleepers there are other things to consider. Our shoulders and hips bear the weight of our sleeping position so we need to support these with at least 3″ of padding in some way.
Also, side sleepers tend to toss and turn more than others so we looked at baffling and design for things like side rails, and for pads that are at least 25” wide.
Although most us sleep on our sides it seems like only a small portion of all sleeping pads on the market are made for it. Some brands like Big Agnes design their sleeping pads for side sleepers, while other brands design their sleeping pads for every sleeper. If hammocks are more your style, consider checking out “Best Sleeping Pad for Hammock Camping, Backpacking“.
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Big Agnes Really is the “Mother of Comfort”
Made for side sleepers the Big Agnes line boasts thicker sleeping pads with designs geared for those of us who need to protect our shoulders and hips while we sleep.
1. Big Agnes Q-Core Deluxe Sleeping Pad
The Big Agnes Q-Core Deluxe Sleeping Pad comes complete with a repair kit and manufacturing or material defect warranty. Big Agnes rates the insulated option to climates at 32°F, and the uninsulated option for 35°F.
This sleeping pad is a favorite among seasoned backpackers, and thru-hikers who are side sleepers because it checks all the boxes.
It weighs 24 oz., rolls into 4.5” x 8.5” size pack, has vertical baffles with larger outer chambers that help keep you in the center of the pad, and the Wide Regular and Wide long options meet that 25” requirement that offer side sleepers the extra space needed for comfort.
2. Big Agnes Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pad
The Big Agnes Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pad is the Mother of Comfort’s contribution to those side sleepers who need an ultra-light and compact option for bicycle or kayak tours, thru-hiking, and long backpacking trips.
Like all Big Agnes sleeping pads, this product comes with a patch kit, and an internal antimicrobial treatment to prevent microorganism growth.
This sleeping pad measures 3.25” thick on the internal baffles, and 3.5” thick on the outer baffles which provides you the needed support for side sleeping. Rolled up, the Air Core Ultra packs to 4”x7” and weighs 20 oz. for carrying.
A popular choice for their body mapping technology and patented V-shaped baffle design, Klymit delivers restful nights for the many seasoned side sleepers who enjoy their value.
Additionally, the patented V-shaped baffle is designed to conform to the shape of a sleeper’s body. The sleeping pads side rails give side sleepers a secure and comfortable night because it centers your body on the pad and inhibits air movement while you toss and turn.
3. Klymit Static V Luxe
The Klymit Static V Luxe extra wide comes 30” wide and 76” long. It provides 3” of comfort for a side sleeper’s shoulder and hip areas. Even though the V Luxe is wide, it’s light enough at 26.5 oz. for backpackers when ounces count, and packs down to 4.5”x8”. Klymit’s R value for the V Luxe is 1.3
4. Klymit Insulated Static V
The Klymit Insulated Static V weighs 25 oz and packs down to 5”x8”. Inflated, the Insulated Static V is 72” long and 23” wide with 2.5” thickness. Because it’s insulated, this sleeping pad is heavier than it’s heir, the Static V2, but it’s R-Value is a 4.4 which puts in within the 4 season spectrum.
5. Klymit Static V2
Speaking of the Klymit Static V2, like the V Luxe, the V2 has an R-Value of 1.3. Its 72” long, 23” wide, and 2.5” thick. The main difference between Klymit’s Static V and Static V2 is that the V2 is lighter at 16.33 ounces.
On thru-hikes and long tours when ounces count over cold weather protection, this is a favorite choice among seasoned outdoor athletes.
Double sleepers are a popular choice for pairs and couples. It doesn’t matter if you’re counting ounces or centimeters, or if you’re looking for extra comfort while camping, double sleeping pads are convenient for pairs and groups. Even though a double pad will weigh more, and take up more space when packed down, these pads will usually still take up less space and weigh less than two single sleepers together.
6. Hikenture Double
The Hikenture Double Sleeping Pad measures 79” long, 47.5” wide, and 3.65” thick. It weighs 3.64 lbs, and packs down to 13.8”x5.9.” The thickness and vertical baffles make this sleeping pad ideal for side sleepers.
The storage bag this sleeping pad comes in can be used as a pump sack. This pad is equipped with 2 valves: one for inflating with a pump bag, and the other for deflation.
7. Nemo Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad
The Nemo Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad is 3” thick and made for side sleepers. Unlike the sleeping pads listed before and after this one, the Nemo Tensor UL is specifically designed to be quiet.
One of the main issues with sleeping pads is the crinkly noise they make. This is one is designed for side sleepers because the pad itself is quieter than most while you toss and turn through the night.
The insulated models of the Nemo Tensor UL Sleeping Pad are rated to between 10°F and 20°F. The uninsulated models are rated for 35°F to 45°F. It weighs between 1lb, 2 oz. and 1lb, 5oz; packs down to 8”x3” up to 9.5”x3”; and ranges in size from 72” x 25” to 76” x 25”.
Overall, the Nemo Tensor comes in 3 different sizes of insulated or uninsulated, and in Mummy shapes and sizes. It has Spaceframe baffles for stability and weight distribution, and 2 layers of Thermal Mirror film for the insulated options.
Bottom line: This sleeping pad is an industry favorite because it provides quality and relevant options.
8. Paria Outdoor Products
Paria Outdoor Products ReCharge Sleeping Pad, like the Nemo Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad, offers a variety of options for outdoor enthusiasts. The options range from 2.5” to 4” thick with an R-Value starting at 3.5.
For backpackers and thru-hikers, the ReCharge UL weighs 20 oz., and packs down to 7”x4”. Where warmth and comfort take importance over weight, the ReCharge XL weighs 26 oz.; has an R-Value of 4.7 for 4 seasons; and packs down to 8”x5”.
Favorite options tend to be the choices in sleeping pads that we side sleepers make when we’re not really sure of what we’re looking for. It’s a given that how well a sleeping pad packs down, it’s weight, the type of baffling, thickness, and width are all important, but when do some options become more important than others?
To that end, price and materials become factors as well.
The KingCamp Ultralight Sleeping Pad comes with an attached pillow. Even though it’s got horizontal baffles, it has those side rails that many side sleepers need for added support.
Its 82.7” long, 25.6” wide, and 3.9” thick when unpacked, and weighs 2.9lbs. Packed away, the KingCamp Ultralight rolls down to 15.7”x3.9”x3.9”.
Though that’s a bit large for seasoned thru-hikers, this may be a perfect option for hikers and backpackers new to the adventure who are looking to try other options while they decide which variables are most important in gear.
The OlarHike Camping Sleeping Pad is 75” long, 23” wide, and 2.5” thick when it’s inflated. It weighs 1.3lbs, and packs down to 10”x4”x4”.
OlarHike’s weight capacity is 300 pounds so even though it’s slightly thinner than other sleeping pads for side sleepers, it does have a 300 pound weight capacity which may provide the cushioning needed for elbows, hips, and knees.
OlarHike comes with a tail inflation bag attached to the sleeping pad itself, and a 100% unconditional 2 year return and replacement guarantee.
Best Backpacking Pads for Side Sleepers – Conclusion
For all outdoor sports, the durability, weight, functionality, and value of each piece of gear is always key. Finding the best backpacking pads can be difficult for side sleepers, so we just have to dig a little deeper. Luckily the market is saturated with options for sleeping pads.
Many of those sleeping pads are intentionally designed for all sleeping postures, and work great for side sleepers. It’s just a matter of what factors matter most to you. Happy traveling!