Do I Put a Sleeping Pad Inside a Sleeping Bag?

One of the most inconvenient aspects of a sleeping pad is that it relocates itself to a different place, and now you are sleeping on the ground.

So many people just think, “What if I put my sleeping pad inside my sleeping bag”, is that a sane thing to do?

Sleeping pads are designed to be placed beneath a sleeping bag, so for your best interest you should put your sleeping bag under your sleeping bag, but if your sleeping bag has enough space to put it inside well put it inside then.

Pros and Cons of Putting Your Sleeping Pad inside your Sleeping Bag


  • Because sleeping pads tend to migrate while you sleep on them, you can keep the sleeping pad from moving around by placing it inside your sleeping bag.
  • Sleeping pads, particularly foam pads, have a tendency to scrunch up at the ends, leaving you with only the tent floor between you and the ground. If you put the pad inside your sleeping bag, it will move along with your bag, eliminating cold spots.
  • While hammocking, sleeping pads can be especially difficult to work with. Putting your sleeping pad in your sleeping bag while in a hammock makes staying on top of your pad much easier.


  • Many popular sleeping pads made by companies like Exped and Big Agnes (Exped Megamat on Amazon is one example) are designed to be extremely comfortable and thus have a wide range of sizes. As a result, your sleeping pad is unlikely to fit inside your sleeping bag.
  • One of the primary functions of a sleeping pad is to keep you warm from the ground. Sleeping bags aren’t great at keeping you warm from the ground, and the bottom of the bag will compress. When you put your sleeping pad inside your sleeping bag, it no longer insulates the bottom of your sleeping bag, which means your bag may not stay as warm.

My sleeping pad does not fit inside my mummy sleeping bag. However, it was encouraging. Because the sleeping pad was too long, it had to be rolled up at the head, which could actually work very well as a neck support or a pillow if done correctly.

The sleeping pad did not reach the toes because the mummy bag is tapered, which isn’t a big deal because the majority of the insulation is needed in your trunk. You could cut a sleeping pad to fit perfectly inside your sleeping bag if you were serious about it.

what bout sleeping on Hammock

Finally, what are the differences between using a sleeping pad and pitching a tent or hammock while camping?

In a tent, whatever is in contact with the ground serves as an insulator between you and the cold. Sleeping bags provide poor insulation because they lose the majority of their insulation value when compressed.

Because many sleeping pads are designed to be compressed while still providing insulation, a sleeping pad can make a significant difference in keeping you warm. Cheaper sleeping pads (like the blue foam ones) provide some cushion for comfort, but their primary function is to act as an insulating layer.

Because air is a poor heat insulator, many camping sleeping pads (such as the OutdoorsmanLab sleeping pad I mentioned above) are filled with air to prevent heat from your body from being sucked into the ground.

When you put your sleeping pad in your sleeping bag while in a tent, the sleeping bag compresses and loses insulation, allowing cold air into your sleeping bag. However, the pad will still provide insulation and keep you warm.

Sleeping Pad on a Hammock

Sleeping pads or other forms of insulation (such as underquilts—see my post for more information on underquilts) are essential for staying warm while sleeping in a hammock. If you plan to sleep in a hammock in temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, you should definitely consider some sort of insulation system, because a gust of wind can scoop up under your hammock and steal all of your body heat. (Isn’t that rude?

Putting a sleeping pad inside a hammock is a pain from personal experience. You must carefully position it so that it is not rolled or scrunched, and you must enter the hammock without disturbing the hammock’s positioning. If your sleeping pad fits, you can definitely try putting it in your hammock to make this process easier!

Which types of sleeping pads work best for putting in your sleeping bag?

As previously stated, you probably don’t want a pad that becomes rigid after inflating. Some models do this, but thankfully, sleeping pad manufacturing is improving year after year to help provide campers of all types with the best pad for comfort.

Make sure the pad contours to the shape of your sleeping bag as much as possible on the top and bottom. It will fit much better if the ends are rounded or tapered rather than squared.

This gives the pad some additional flexibility, such as if you are trying to place the sleeping pad inside your sleeping bag, and you have to curve the edges to get the pad to fit.


Whether you use a sleeping pad inside your sleeping bag or not, I have provided you with important information to consider that will hopefully assist you in making your decision. Regardless of which route you take, owning a sleeping pad, whether foam or inflatable, is an excellent idea. There are so many options these days that I am confident you will easily find one that meets your specific requirements.

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