Best sleeping pad for side sleepers- 2021

the best 3 sleeping pads for side sleepers

Hey campers or should I say, hey side sleepers, so real talk if you are looking for a decent sleeping pad that you can sleep on comfortably on your camping trips you have come to the right place🙂.

So, I have tried a bunch of sleeping pads over the years, and I’ve had many uncomfortable nights to the point where I slept on the ground, and so now I want to share with you guys the sleeping pads I have loved and used the most hoping to help you guys save some time and money

Quick note- The first four sleeping pads are the only ones that I have tried for myself, the rest 7 are sleeping pads i have come to know from fellow campers and through the internet.

If you have no time to read and you want to know my final answer it is the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT, check it out.

What to consider before buying a sleeping pad as a side sleeper?

Horizontal or vertical baffles?

Most side sleepers including me don’t like vertical baffles on sleeping pads beacuse they keep you from moving freely, on top of that the ends of the sleeping pad will curl up and you will look like you are sleeping in a taco, and so I highly recommend you get a sleeping pad with horizontal baffles.

Does the thickness of the sleeping pad matter?

Thickness is probably what matters the most in a sleeping pad, it’s like the thicker the better.

Side sleepers have two pressure points on which most of the body’s weight will rest on. The pressure points are the hip and the shoulder, Which means you want a sleeping pad that can support your body’s weight evenly, So I would say a sleeping pad that thinner than 2.5 inches is a no no!

The wider the better

Another very important thing for side sleepers is the width of the sleeping pad, I mean unlike back sleepers or stomach sleepers we side sleepers can’t get away with a 20-inch sleeping pad, it has to be something 25 inches or wider. The reason is simple we move a lot when we sleep and we also curl our legs too which means we need more room.

You need a big A** pillow

Another thing is side sleepers need a big pillow, sleeping pads like Sea to Summit Ether Light XT(which I will come in a moment) come with a pretty big pillow and place to stick the pillow on to which I find to be good because I move a lot when I sleep and I end up pushing the pillow of the sleeping pad. If your sleeping pad doesn’t come with a pillow you can get one from Amazon for like $10.

Packing size

If you have been on camping trips before you already know how important packing size is, especially among backpackers, because it is all about saving space when it comes to packing.

Luckily most sleeping pads don’t occupy that much space, an average sleeping pad is about 18 ounces. Expensive sleeping pads tend to be smaller and vise versa. Without further say let’s get straight to it.

These are the best sleeping pads for side sleepers:

1. Sea to Summit Ether Light XT

I loved the way this guy reviewed the Sea to Summit Ether Light, a very genuine review he compared it to another sleeping pad I love Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite, now let me give my opinions about this pad.

So, as I have said I am a side sleeper and I move a lot when I sleep, and so I am very picky when comes to sleeping pads, and I have tried 20+ seeping pads over the course of 9 years and this is probably the best sleeping pad I have slept on.

First of all, this thing is comfortable! I mean if your goal is getting the maximum comfort I bet you couldn’t find a better sleeping pad. It is also 4 inches thick and super cushiony, it supports your pressure points like a real mattress, and that is what a side sleeper basically needs, a sleeping bag that can support his/her weight evenly.

Like I have said when you sleep on your side your weight is not evenly distributed, most of the body’s weight is concentrated on the hip and the shoulders so you don’t want a thin sleeping pad that bottoms you out.

I prefer my sleeping pad a little loose I mean I don’t like sleeping on firm things so I don’t inflate it all the way, the best thing about this pad is it is 4 inches thick so you don’t have to inflate it all the way to have enough cushion.

Sea to Summit Ether Light XT

It also comes with a pump sack which I find to be very helpful especially if I went for a hike I don’t want to inflate a sleeping bag by mouth, so yeah it is a fantastic feature that would save you some headache.

It also has a place where you stick your pillow, I mean most side sleepers move a lot and it helps to keep the pillow in place.

Sea to Summit Ether Light XT specifications
size chart

You have both mummy and rectangular shapes. I personally find mummy-shaped sleeping pads just fine as long as the they are 25 inches or wider.

The R-value of this sleeping pad is 3.2’s for the men’s and 3.5 for the Women’s, it is made from 30/40 d fabric which makes it quieter than most insulated sleeping pads.

Am I making look like a paid advertisement ?😂 so, what are the things don’t like about this sleeping pad?

  • Weight– This sleeping pad is not the lightest sleeping pad, I mean the one I own (large) is about 625 g i mean it is not that heavy, but when you compare it to other sleeping pads like Therm-a-Rest uber light it is not the best.
  • Not the warmest sleeping pad– As I have said this has a 3.2 r-value, for a sleeping pad that is this heavy I would expect more.

So if you like this sleeping pad you can check it out on sea to summit.

Finally, combine this sleeping pad with Sierra Designs Cloud 800 sleeping bag and you have got yourself the ultimate side-sleeper’s gear. check this article I wrote if you want to read my review on best side sleepers sleeping bags.

2. Nemo Tensor

I can’t explain it more

If not Sea to Summit Ether Light XT then this can be a pretty good alternative. Nemo is a very reputable brand in the outdoor niche they are known for their high-quality products. This sleeping pad is probably one of the most sold sleeping pads in the world and it is for a reason it is one of the most comfortable sleeping pads on the market.

To start with, this pad is 3 inches thick, which I would say is not bad but I would have loved it more if it were 3.5 or 4 inches thick.

nemo-equipment-spaceframe-baffles-thermal-mirror

The r-value is sleeping pad 3.5. It has two thermal mirror films that are suspended a little bit lower the outer layer of the sleeping pad which makes it quieter than most insulated sleeping pads, I mean sleeping pads like Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite can get pretty loud.

What makes this sleeping pad stand out is the fact the top fabric is super soft and plushy. you know that plasticy feel most pads have, well this doesn’t have that it feels like a smooth fabric you can lay on without a sleeping bag.

you have short, regular, regular-wide, and long-wide, you also have mummy and rectangular versions. like I said I don’t see the benefit of getting a rectangular-shaped sleeping pad if you are a side sleeper it is just adding extra weight.

Nemo Tensor

I got the regular-mummy it weighs 1 lb 1 oz / 490 g which is not bad I mean it is 200 grams lighter than the long-wide version of the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT.

I bought this from the manufacturer’s website Nemoequipment, but it is also available on amazon. you can also add a pump sack for $30 I don’t have it, I would prefer to save my space and money but check it out if you want.

There is also an uninsulated version, it has the same dimensions and everything but is a bit lighter.

If you ask which one I prefer, this or the sea to summit? I would choose the sea to summit, it is just wider and thicker and more comfortable I would argue but this well built and have a smooth finish.

3. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite

therm-a-rest neoair

This is probably the most sold sleeping pad on the market, if you don’t know this sleeping pad you have been living under a rock😂 I mean this thing is everywhere.

Back story on how I got this sleeping pad– So I was doing a quick google search couple of years back, for the “best sleeping pads for side sleepers” and after a couple of minutes I came across this sleeping pad “Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite” and I was not sure if it was the right one to get and so I checked it out it it is said to be a nice pad for side sleepers, in addition to that I read some Q&A on the amazon customer review section and it has great reviews, so I bought it and as expected it is one of the best sleeping pads I have slept on.

Amazon customer review

So, this sleeping pad is a very high-quality and very lightweight sleeping pad which amazing for backpackers, I mean the largest size weighs less than 16 ounces, and it is 2.5 inches thick.

SmallLargeRegularRegular-wide
Weight8oz16oz12oz15oz
Inflated 47in x 20in77in x 25in72in x 20in72in x 25in
Packed size9in x 3.5in11in x 4.6in9in x 4.1in 9in x 4.6in

This sleeping pad has the best weight to warmth ratio, the r-value is 4.2 and it weighs 12 ounces on average which is pretty impressive.

So many good things right? so, what are the things that I don’t like about this sleeping pad?

  • It doesn’t come with a pump sack– You will have to blow it up by mouth. I mean it is not that hard to blow up a 2.5-inch thick sleeping pad but the air we blow out is warm and once it is inside the pad it starts to get cooler which results in a volume decrease so you might have to blow it up again if it is cold. The second problem is when you inflate it by mouth you are introducing moisture to the inside which give molds a comfortable environment to grow on.
  • Noise– The most annoying thing about this sleeping pad is probably the noise it makes. it has some cracking voice every time you move, it feels like you layered a bunch of plastic bottles with an aluminum foil and start jumping on them😂, personally don’t mind it but if you are a person disturbed by a little sound when you sleep I wouldn’t recommend this sleeping pad.

you can check this pad on amazon if you liked it.

4. Nemo Roamer

Nemo Roamer Camping Sleeping Pad

Best side-sleepers sleeping pad for car camping

Another Nemo sleeping pad🤠

If you are not backpacking you can definitely benefit from a foam sleeping pad. This right here takes your camping trip to a whole new level, it will be more of a glamping trip than camping.

So Nemo roamer is a foam sleeping pad for car campers and for road trips. foam sleeping pads have many advantages like they are not made with nylon or some kind of plastic which makes them feel nicer to sleep on, and most foam pads are self-inflating which is a big energy saver

This thing is 4+ inches thick and super cushiony so just forget bottoming out and all that stuff that comes with thin air sleeping pads, it is also very wide the large is 25 inches wide while the extra-large one is 30 inches wide, and even if you want more room the pad can be attached to another pad of the same kind to be a double sleeping bag for two people to sleep on😀

Long-wideExtra long-wide
Inflated size76 x 25 in.80 x 30 in.
Packed size12.5 x 8.5 in.15.0 x 10.5 in.
Weight6383 oz.

The temperature rating is just perfect for extreme weather it is rated 6 r-value, which means you can take it anywhere you can think of and sleep on it without feeling the cold.

Cons: as you guessed it is bulky and heavy.

The price is on the expensive side, you can check it on nemo equipment if you like it.

5. Klymit Static V Luxe

brown klymit sleeping pad

Best 4-season backpacking pad

Klymit Static V Luxe is a sleeping pad that has a fair price but at the same time it is made with high-quality durable materials.

Some people don’t like the v shapes I had a couple of chances to try this pad out I think they are ok, I think this pad is more suited for hammock camping though it will give your hammock a defined shape and the v shapes will help you stay in the center. so if you are a side sleeper and you are planing a hammock camping trip this would be a great product

It is bulky compared to the other sleeping pads though, it weighs 26. 5 ounces and it has a packed size of 5 x 10 inches I mean it is not that massive but compared to other backpacking sleeping pads it is kinda big.

But before you complain, the r-value is 5. which mean it is 4 season sleeping pad😀 you can slay the winter season with this pad, you can even hike through the Appalachian trail in the winter season with this(am kidding don’t)

Like I said it is very cheap, both the insulated and the uninsulated version are under 100 bucks, and it is also sold on Amazon if you want to check.

6. Outdoorsman Lab

Outdoorsman Lab Sleeping Pad

Best budget side-sleepers sleeping pad

If you are tight on a budget this sleeping pad might be the one for you, the price is around $35 it can go up to $40 if you want a pillow with it. I would say is one of the cheapest sleeping pad on the market that a side sleeper can sleep on without any trouble.

My only concern would be it is too thin I have said this earlier if a sleeping pad is thinner than 3 inches it might not be suitable for a side sleeper. and this sleeping pad is 2.2 inches thick I mean if you inflate it to its full size it might be good enough I haven’t tried this for my self so I can’t tell you original opinions it is all from what I have read.

It weighs around 14.5 oz and it has a packed size of 8 x 3 inches. The R-value is 2.2. on a good day you can fill this pad up with 15 breaths that is normal for a 2.2-inch pad, and it is easy to deflate too.

You have three colors to choose from green, orange, and blue. the green one is the cheapest, if you order the blue you will get a pillow with it.

They have a full money refund so if you don’t like what you get you can get your money back but I haven’t seen many complaints so you are good on that I guess.

You can check it on amazon if you want to read more of the product specifications.

7. Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOLite

Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOLite

Best Closed-cell Foam sleeping pad for side sleepers

I know what you are thinking right now, why in the world would I put this sleeping pad best side sleepers sleeping pad list? I added this is for the people who like sleeping on dry surfaces. Most side sleepers might not find this comfortable but it can also be added as a second layer under your air pad to add extra comfort and warmth.

This thing is about 1.5 cm thick and it has an R-value of 2.1. if you put this under your air sleeping pad it will increase the lifetime of it. Plus, let us say you have a sleeping pad with a 4 r-value if you add this pad under it you will have a total of 6.1 R-value which means you got yourself a winter sleeping setup.

The best thing about this pad is it is super durable, you can use it for years without any problem. I mean even if you want to rip it you probably can’t without a tool😂

It has a short, regular and a large version and they all are 20 inches wide. The regular size weighs 14 ounces which is the same weight as most air sleeping pads.

It doesn’t compress down or anything so you cant fit it into a backpack. Most people hang it to the bottom of their backpack it doesn’t weigh that much so no worries, if you want to read more about this product you can check this article.

8. Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm

This is another product that I love from therm-a-rest. with an R-value of 6.1, it is one of the best 4-season side sleepers sleeping bag.

Just like the NeoAir Xlite this one also makes that crackling sound when compressed, I am not sure if they are made from the same material but they sure have the same sound, I hope Therm-A-Rest resolves this issue or try to decrease it in the coming versions.

The price is on the expensive side, you have two sizes choices regular and large. The large one is 5 inches wider than the regular one and so I recommend that one, their price difference is just $30.

RegularLarge
Inflated size72 x 20 in.77 x 25 in.
Packed size11 x 4.5 in.9 x 4 in.
Weight15 oz.20 oz.

There is also a rectangular version called “Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm MAX“ it basically has more room than the mummy-shaped one. they are both 2.5 inches thick. check it on amazon if you like it.

9. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Venture

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Venture Lightweight Camping Air Mattress

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Venture is a lightweight pad that is ideal for backpacking and hiking,

I would say it is a high-end sleeping pad with a price lower than most of its competitors. The regular size is sold for $72 which is nice considering it is a sleeping bag with a notable quality.

This pad is 2 inches thick, might not be as thick as I would want it to be but it is fine for some people. it has two size choices, regular and large.

RegularLarge
Weight19 oz.26 oz.
Inflated72in x 20 in.77 in. x 25 in.
Packed9 in x 5.0 in11 in x 5.2 in

Unlike other therm-a-rest sleeping pads, this has tiny horizontal baffles which a lot of people like and say that it might even be superior to the normal bigger baffles on most Therm-a-rest sleeping pads.

It has an R-value of 2.2 R-value, which means it is a 2 season sleeping pad or in other words it is slightly better than a typical uninsulated sleeping pad. It can be nice for mild weather, and for the summer season generally.

If you like it you can check it out on Amazon.

10. Therm-a-Rest LuxuryMap

Therm-a-Rest LuxuryMap

Another luxuries foam sleeping pad from Therm-a-Rest, this is a foam sleeping pad that feels real mattress according to the reviews I have read. It is also self-inflating, all you have to do is open the valve next thing you know you have an inflated pad. You can help it with your mouth if you want to set it to the perfect firmness you like.

The R-value of this pad is 6.2 which means it is a piece of gear that you can also use throughout the year. If you are backpacking this probably won’t work for you because it is heavy, the regular size weighs 3.25 pounds but it is perfect for car campers

RegularLargeXL
Weight52 oz.62 oz.82 oz.
Inflated size72 x 20 in77 x 25 in 77 x 30 in
Packed size21 x 9.5 in26 x 9.5 in31×10 in

It is 3 inches thick for all sizes. the regular size costs $125 it can go up to $190 depending on the size you pick. you can check it on amazon if you want

11. Therm-a-Rest Trail Scout

Therm-a-Rest Trail Scout Self-Inflating Foam Camping Mat

Last but not least, Therm-a-rest trail scout, another sleeping pad from Therm-a-Rest at this point you might be wondering why 6 of the 11 sleeping pads are from Therm-a-rest😂, I don’t even know why I think I love them very much.

So, this is a solid closed-cell foam sleeping pad, just like most closed-cell pads it is not lightweight. The regular size weighs 22 ounces that seem pretty lightweight till you found out that it is only 1 inch thick.

The r-value is 3.1, it is considered as a three-season sleeping pad(can be used in all seasons except winter)

The price starts from $49.99 and can go up if you choose a bigger size

SmallRegularLarge
Weight14 oz.22 oz.30 oz.
Inflated47 x 20 in.72 x 20 in.77×25 in.
Packed11 x 4.6 in.11 x 6.3 in.13×7 in.

It is in fact self-inflating like most closed cells, you can adjust the firmness by mouth. It has both the wing lock and standard valve to choose from I recommend wing lock because it is way more effective than the standard valve

It might be too thin for you if you are a heavy person, and so it might not support the pressure points adequately. I wish it was a bit thicker. Anyways if you are interested you can also check it on amazon.

Best sleeping pad for side sleepers summary:

SLEEPING PADSWEIGHTR-VALUETHICKNESS
Sea to Summit Ether Light XT17 oz.3.24 in.
Nemo Tensor21 oz.3.53 in.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite12 oz.4.22.5 in.
Nemo Roamer63 oz.-30°F+4 in.
Klymit Static V Luxe26 oz.1.33 in.
Outdoorsman Lab14.5 oz.2.22.2 in.
Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOLite14 oz.2.20.62 in.
Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm15 oz.7.22.5 in.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Venture19 oz.2.22 in.
Therm-a-Rest LuxuryMap67 oz.63 in.
Therm-a-Rest Trail Scout22 oz.1.251.25 in.