Best Hammock Sleeping Pad
The Ultimate Review

hammock dog

If you are going to consider sleeping outdoors in a hammock then you need to consider warmth and comfort. One simple and popular option is to use a sleeping pad. In this review I will discuss what are the most important features to consider when you are looking for the best hammock sleeping pad.


How to Choose the Best Hammock Sleeping Pad


Why do you get cold in a hammock?

Sleeping in a hammock on a warm summer evening can be a great experience and you should have a wonderful night's sleep. However, the problem with hammocks is that you are surrounded by air and that tends to rob your heat by the process of convection. In the summer that can be great as it helps to keep you cool but in the other seasons that can lead to real problems with keeping warm. On cooler nights, as the temperature drops below 70F, then you may find yourself suffering from "Cold Butt Syndrome"! 

Is a sleeping bag not enough?

There are a few different options to help you keep warm and avoid a cold butt during hammock camping. The most obvious for beginner hammock hangers is to use a sleeping bag. This may be OK on a summer night but the issue with a sleeping bag is that the insulation gets compressed under your weight so you loose most of the insulation benefit under you legs, butt, back, shoulders and arms. This tends not to lead to a pleasant cosy night. So unless you can be sure of the temperature not dropping then you are going to need something else in addition a sleeping bag. Most hammock beginners chose a sleeping pad as their first option in keeping warm. There are other, sometimes better (and usually more expensive), options but sleeping pads are a definite option for "warmer" nights. However, in winter a sleeping pad alone will definitely not be enough and then you will need more sophisticated options like under quilts and over quilts.

Sleeping Pad Types

There are multiple types of sleeping pads that have originated from tent camping that can be suitable for use in a hammock. Typically these are either closed cell foam, self inflating or manual inflating (by mouth or pump).

Closed Cell Foam Sleeping Pads

The closed cell foam are typically the least expensive option but often the bulkiest to pack. However they do have the great advantage that they are very robust as their is nothing to burst! and they can also be cut to size if required which is a major benefit to hammock campers.

Self Inflating Sleeping Pads

Self inflating hammocks are very popular with all types of campers and offer a number of benefits over closed cell foam and manual inflating sleeping pads.

Manual Inflating Sleeping Pads

Manual inflating pads are probably the best pads in terms of weight and size as they pack down very small. The main form of insulation is air which you either blow or pump into the pad when you want to use it. This is the typical "air bed" type of sleeping pad but for hammock camping there are plenty of narrower and thinner options available compared to those suitable for car camping. The main downside of these type of pads is that they are prone to leaks.


Therm-a-Rest ProLite Mattress


The ProLite is Therm-a-Rest's lightest and most compact self-inflating mattress. It is ideal for those who want to pack and travel light and fast.

Product Specifications

The ProLite is available in 4 sizes: XS, S, Regular & L

XS

S

R

L

Length

36"

47"

72"

77"

Width

20"

20"

20"

25"

Thickness

1"

1"

1"

1"

Weight

9 oz

12 oz

1 lb 2 oz

1 lb 8 oz

Packed Dimension

11" x 3.3"

11" x 3.3"

11" x 4.1"

13" x 4.5"

R Value

2.4

2.4

2.4

2.4


Insulation

The insulation of this pad is a self inflating expanding foam core (Urethane foam). All of the sizes have the same insulation R value of 2.4.

Color

The ProLite is available in one color - Poppy Red

  • Packed dimension
  • Comfort
  • Price
  • None



Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest Solar


The RideRest Solar is Therm-a-Rest's warmest, thickest and most comfortable foam mattress. It features a heat-reflecting ThermaCapture surface which adds to the effectiveness of the heat trapping valleys and ridges to allow camping in any season. For maximum warmth you should sleep with the reflective side up.

Product Specifications

The RidgeRest is available in 2 sizes:  Regular & Large

R

L

Length

72"

77"

Width

20"

25"

Thickness

0.75"

0.75"

Weight

1 lb 3 oz

1 lb 10 oz

Packed Dimension

20" x 8.6"

25" x 9.3"

R Value

3.5

3.5


Insulation

The insulation of this pad is a molded closed cell foam. All of the sizes have the same insulation R value of 3.5

Color

The RidgeRest Solar is available in one color - Silver/Blue

  • Warmth
  • Durability
  • Price
  • Packed Dimension



Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOLite


The RideRest SOLite is Therm-a-Rest's lightweight alternative to the ever popular RidgeRest Solar mattress. It features a heat-reflecting ThermaCapture surface which adds to the effectiveness of the heat trapping valleys and ridges to allow camping in any season. For maximum warmth you should sleep with the reflective side up.

Product Specifications

The RidgeRest SOLite is available in 2 sizes:  Regular & Large

R

L

Length

72"

77"

Width

20"

25"

Thickness

0.625"

0.625"

Weight

14oz

1 lb 3 oz

Packed Dimension

20" x 8"

25" x 8.5"

R Value

2.8

2.8


Insulation

The insulation of this pad is a molded closed cell foam. All of the sizes have the same insulation R value of 2.8. This means that the SOLite model is slightly less insulated than the gold standard RidgeRest Solar. But it is also lighter and has a smaller pack size.

Color

The RidgeRest SOLite is available in one color - Silver/Sage

  • Warmth
  • Durability
  • Price
  • Packed Dimension



Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest Classic


The RideRest Classic is Therm-a-Rest's budget offering but don't let this put you off it is virtually indestructible and offers the same level of insulation as many of the more expensive self-inflating sleeping pads.

Product Specifications

The RidgeRest Classic is available in 3 sizes:  Small, Regular & Large

S

R

L

Length

48"

72"

77"

Width

20"

20"

25"

Thickness

0.625"

0.625"

0.625"

Weight

9oz

14oz

1 lb 3 oz

Packed Dimension

20" x 6.5"

20" x 8"

25" x 8.5"

R Value

2.6

2.6

2.6


Insulation

The insulation of this pad is a molded closed cell foam. All of the sizes have the same insulation R value of 2.6

Color

The RidgeRest Classic is available in one color - Charcoal

  • Warmth
  • Durability
  • Price
  • Packed Dimension