About the author

Tim Moss

Tim Moss has supported over 100 expeditions across all seven continents. He has climbed new mountains, crossed a desert on foot and recently cycled 13,000 miles around the world. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society London and a Guinness World Record Holder. He aims to encourage more people to live adventurously. Read more...


  1. 1

    Poul Brix

    Hey Tim,
    This is an impresive collection of mats but what is your favorite mat?
    Cheers, Poul

    1. 1.1

      Tim Moss

      Hi Poul. Thermarest ProLite is the safest all-rounder. The NeoAir Xlite looks like a potential replacement but needs a bit more long-term testing. Otherwise, the Exped SynMats are far warmer and more comfortable than the competition and still really light.

  2. 2

    Tom Allen

    A very useful round-up indeed. Thank you!

    Worth mentioning that if you don’t sleep on your back and/or you’re not 5’11” tall, the Klymit Inertia is probably not for you. Or so I’ve heard. (I sleep on my side, hence didn’t buy one.)

    1. 2.1

      Tim Moss

      Thanks for that Tom. I remember reading that about the Inertia on your review of the NeoAir. Makes a lot of sense.

      The Inertia looks like it’s good for very specific, ultra light weight activities where every gram counts. The NeoAir looks more like just a good all-round mattress (that happens to be really light).

  3. 3


    In case you haven’t decided yet, I cycled around the world with the Exped Synmat 7 (non UL version) a couple of years ago, and absolutely love it. Really comfy (I sleep on my side, so have always had difficulties finding something comfortable), compact, lightweight enough and really robust. I also like the fact that you don’t breathe into it to inflate, which somehow in my mind meant it was less likely to have warm moist air causing mould growth! Especially good for sub-zero temperatures as well. The CPR-like method of inflation gets a bit tiresome though, to be fair…

    1. 3.1

      Tim Moss

      Hey Cliff,

      We’ve actually been given two SynMat ULs by Exped so that’s really reassuring to hear. We’ve got two super thin GoodNight foam mats to go underneath and protect them too.

      I’ve used the “CPR” inflation method before and agree it can be a little tiring. The new ones you either inflate by mouth (with the risk of moisture getting inside – not as bad as it would be for the down version) or with an inflation bag. As well as a normal one, there’s one that doubles as a pillow and another one is a waterproof compression sack.

      1. 3.1.1


        Hey nice article. can you suggest some ortho sleeping bags. i have cervical problem

      2. Tim Moss

        Hey Niky, do you mean orthotic camping mats rather than sleeping bags?

        I don’t know anything about them specifically but I would generally recommend the more solid options for anyone with back issues. That means foam roll mats and self-inflating mats but not inflatable air mattresses.

        Thermarest Z-Rest and Ridgerest are the best foam pads.

        Thermarest Prolite are probably the best bet for self-inflating.

  4. 4



    Let me tell you that I really enjoyed your article. And this is coming from a guy that knows his air mattresses. I spend a great deal of my free time writing on my blog about the camping and outdoor experiences I go through. I love you comparison chart I have actually worked on a similar one but mine involves mattresses from more companies.
    Also foam roll mats are a great idea and I recently started using them o lot.
    I am thinking of doing a round up and I would be glad if you would like to be featured.

    1. 4.1

      Tim Moss

      Thanks James. I’m glad you liked the article. I look forward to seeing your comparison chart when it’s ready. If you’d like to reference my article in your post then that would of course be most welcome. All the best, Tim.

  5. 5


    Hi Tim. I have created a definitive guide to sleeping pads. This will compliment perfectly your comparison tables above. And together we bring complete information to people who want to make a smart buy. I would definitely want to collaborate one of these days to create more of such resources.
    here is the link: http://www.bestairmattressguide.com/air-mattress/definitive-guide-sleeping-pads-2/
    and also you will find an expert roundup there. Top camping experts share their opinion on what is the best air mattress. check that out too.
    keep in touch,

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  8. 6


    Hi All,
    Just wanted to throw my 2 pence in, I have had the same exped 7 downmat for 6 years now and has been to the himalaya 4 times, I have always just blown into the down and its still as warm now as when I first used it, sod using the CPR method

    1. 6.1

      Tim Moss

      Thanks Neil, that’s good to know. I would have been worried about moisture build-up dampening the down and/or getting moldy.

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  11. 7


    I really enjoyed your article, I love you comparison chart

  12. 8

    j a

    Oh, those synmats be comfy, but watch out. 2 year warranty, and many many people having theirs delaminate makes it a no go for me.
    Just unrolling my new xtherm, and from what everyone is saying, I am gonna looove it!
    Lifetime warranty. Dig that!

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  14. 9

    Frank Apodaca

    This is one heck of a guide. I’ve used the Thermarest Pro-lite Mattress and its great cause its super light but not all that great if you are a side sleeper. Good thing I learned to become a back sleeper on the trip.

    1. 9.1

      Tim Moss

      Cheers Frank. I’m a big ProLite fan (despite being a side-sleeper)!

    2. 9.2

      Joe Trudo

      I am 200 lbs and sleep on side on this pad and never have hip bottom out. Great mat and compresses very small.

      1. 9.2.1

        Tim Moss

        Yeah, they’re great mats!

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  16. 10

    Michael Grüber

    I’ve had the exped Synmat – nice, but after some weeks using a non-repairable hole next to the valve so I got only halfpriceback.
    And it’s produced in the far east under working conditions you don’t know…

    Now I’ve got thermarest, the thickestin your test with 30 years guaranty – and made in Ireland…

    1. 10.1

      Tim Moss

      Ah, sorry to hear about your problems with the SynMat Michael but glad you’re now sleeping sound with Therm-a-Rest and guarantee!

  17. 11


    Hi Tim, Do you know something about self inflatable matresses from the brand Gelert?

    1. 11.1

      Tim Moss

      Hi Janny, I don’t know a lot about the Gelert self-inflating mats but from looking at their website, they are very cheap (£7.50+) and very heavy (1kg+). If you just want a cheap mat that you’ll transport in a car then these would be a bargain. If you want one to carry in a backpack then a few extra quid for an Alpkit mat would cut your weight in half and, probably, be slightly better build quality.

      Does that help?


  18. 12

    Jonny Mason

    Hi, great article and website in general. Some more opinions to help people…

    1)Neoair Xtherm is great – my friend has used it countless times on trips the last 2 years. They do rustle but not too bad and I don’t get bothered when he turns over..however, I wouldn’t own one myself as I’d be in control of the sound and that would irritate me…!

    2) A lot of air mattresses can be too slippy and I have found myself waking up with my feet pressing into the end of the tent when sleeping on unlevel ground. I’m a side sleeper and very picky. I have found my warm winner though: Klymit Static V Insulated (709g, R-value 4.4). The diagonal baffles keep me in the same place and it is thick, easy to inflate, cheap(ish), easy to roll up, and tough fabric. Seems they are bringing out a lite version in USA and also do a much lighter, non-insulated version.

    3) Klymit Inertia Ozone…Massively mixed feelings about this one – If it suits your body type its very comfy, super light, and has a pillow, all for about 350g. BUT NOT WARM! ignore their ‘loft pocket’ marketing…I got cold on a 6’C summer night with a Sub-zero sleeping bag (in a tent!). So, great for superlight warm treks if your profile perfectly fit into the holes, nothing more. (try one out first if you can!).

    4) A good combo(touched upon many times in this article) under 500g would be a superlight foam matress with a superlight air matress on top…If you don’t mind the bulk its a double winner: more comfort, more insulation, less chance of puncture and if you do puncture the air matress all is not lost! I don’t do this currently simply because I try very hard to keep everything inside my pack to make me more agile walking through forests etc.

    P.s. Your whole website is great!



    1. 12.1

      Tim Moss

      Thanks for the kind words and tips Jon. Sounds like I need to try some of these Klymit mats. You’re dead right about some of the mats being really slippy though. Glad you agree with the thin foam + inflatable mat combo!

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  20. 13


    So many to chose from!! Don’t know which one to take now.

    1. 13.1

      Tim Moss

      Can I help? Let me know what your priorities are e.g. cheap, light, warm.

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  23. 14

    Lace Thomas

    The self-inflating pads would go perfectly in my hammock!

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  25. 15


    Hi, thanks for such useful information. My partner and i are planning on cycling through Africa for 5 months this year and I am finding it very hard to make a decision on the best sleeping mats for us! Any advise would be appreciated!

    1. 15.1

      Tim Moss

      Hi Emily,

      Safest best as an all-rounder are self-inflating pads. If you want cheap, go AlpKit. If you want really good, go Thermarest ProLite.

      If you prefer guaranteed comfort and don’t mind mending a puncture or two, get an Exped HyperLite or a Thermarest NeoAir. (Or, again, try the AlpKit offering if budget’s important. I’ve not tested it myself).

      Does that help?

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  28. 16

    Mark Wright

    About the inflatable ones… Thirdly, they are cold to sleep. Well, most of them are. Something to do with the air inside being a heat sink and heat exchange with the air in the tent.

    1. 16.1

      Tim Moss

      Thanks Mark. I think that might be true for the inflatable mats without any filling inside. But most of these, if not all, have some kind of filling e.g. down or a synthetic equivalent. Based on their R-values and my own experiences, I’d say that inflatable mats are actually the warmest sleeping pads available.

    2. 16.2

      Tom Davies

      I use an uninsulated Klymit with a cheap foam mat on top. The Klymit is very cold without the foam. I need the thickness of the Klymit to feel comfortable.

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  33. 17


    Great tips. i was wonder which one to pruchase. but thanks to god i browse your website. now i find the answer

    1. 17.1

      Tim Moss

      Glad it was useful Niky.

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  38. 18


    Hello Guys, Please Suggest which sleeping pad is good for me. I have some back pain problem.

    1. 18.1

      Tim Moss

      The most comfortable are the inflatable Exped mats. However, if your back problem is of the aching nature then you probably want something much firmer. I’d suggest a Thermarest Z-Rest or Ridgerest.

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  42. 19


    Hello Guys, Please Suggest which sleeping pad is good for me

    1. 19.1

      Tim Moss

      I’d recommend one of the mats above.

    2. 19.2

      David Hasse

      I used the intex mattress for camping. It was awesome!
      btw, thanks for an awesome post !

  43. 20

    James Menta

    Hey Tim,

    I’d have two questions:

    * What would you say is the best value for money out there in self-inflating pads?

    I do love Therm-a-Rest, I really do, but how to you think they compare to ALPS Mountaineering in terms of the “bang for the buck” they offer?

    * What are your thoughts on comparing R-values across brands?

    I know R-value is a standard, with a precise formula and all, but the way values that go into that formula are measured, company to company, there’s no standard for that. It always gives me pause when people ask me this exact question…I just wanted to hear your take on this.


    1. 20.1

      Tim Moss

      Hi James,

      Thanks for the thoughtful questions. In response…

      Therm-a-rest vs ALPS Mountaineering:
      Thermarest are excellent on both the stats and on their quality. Cheaper alternatives tend to fall down on one of those things i.e. they’re bigger/heavier or don’t last as long. I’ve not used any ALPS mats so can’t comment on the quality but their stats are decent. So, if their quality’s good then they are probably better bang for your buck. But if they’re more prone to failure like, say, an AlpKit mat, then it’s a decision on whether to invest in long life or risk buying cheap, buying twice.

      I’ll add ALPS to my list of companies to contact about reviewing their products.

      Comparing R-values across brands:
      R values appeal to me as they’re a neat, mathematical way to compare one mat with another. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it’s a very good measure. I report the values in this review because they’re the only metric available for measuring the warmth of a camping mat but I would definitely say they should be taken with a pinch of salt between brands.

      With sleeping bag ratings, the better known (and usually more expensive) brands tend to be more conservative with their temperature ratings whereas cheaper, budget alternatives are sometimes a little more gung ho (though there are notable exceptions, like AlpKit who tend to be very honest with their information). I’ve no evidence that mat manufacturers do the same but I think it’s unlikely a big brand like Thermarest, for example, would exaggerate their ratings when they have a long held reputation to keep.


  44. 21

    Looper pedal

    So informative.. i have bought one last year for camping now i will find according your info thanks a lots

  45. 22


    Dear Tim. Incredibly helpful comparison chart. Just wondering if you’ve any experience of the new SV thermarests? Looking at one of these and wondering if they are better that the original? Thanks.

    1. 22.1

      Tim Moss

      Hey Rachel. Thanks for the question. I’ve not yet tried the SV/Speed Valve mattresses but will try to get one from Thermarest ASAP. Same with their Evolite hybrid mats. Will report back soon!

  46. 23


    Hey tim, i may be poking an old post here, but how comfy do you find the prolite plus for side sleeping? Or even the prolite? I noticed youre a side sleeper so your opinion is much appreciated. Im just skeptical of 2.5cm of cushion being comfy. Also, how comfy are torso length pads? Many thanks tim.

    1. 23.1

      Tim Moss

      Hey Monty, I think the Prolite Plus is pretty comfy, even for sleeping on your side, especially if you inflate it fully. Of course, if comfort is the number one priority then an inflatable mattress like a NeoAir or Synmat will be much thicker.

      As for torso length mats, as long as you put something underneath your feet like a rolled up waterproof jacket then they’re fine. I use three-quarter length pads more often than full length.

      1. 23.1.1


        Thanks tim, much apprieciated

  47. 24


    Tim! What an incredibly detailed guide. This will make life a lot easier. Cheers

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  51. 25


    Such an informative post thanks so much!

  52. 26

    David Hasse

    Hi Tim,
    I’ve checked your recommended/major air mattress brands! I would love to hear from you which air mattress brand will be best for camping ? Can you please suggest me an air mattress ?

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  55. 27

    [email protected]

    A lot of useful information on choosing sleeping pads. thanks for sharing, teach me a lot

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  58. 28

    Rob Thomson

    Tim, great writeup, especially loving the T-value!

    It would be nice to see widths reported in the comparison tables. I ended up buying a Sea to Summit ComfortPlus Insulated purely because it was the widest I could find. I find that mats like the Neo Air are already quite narrow on paper, and then once sleeping on it the edges collapse a little, making the usable width even less.

    On a thick inflarable matress in particular I like to be able to lie on my back without my arms falling off the sides.


    1. 28.1

      Tim Moss

      Thanks Rob. You’re right about the NeoAir being narrow and that’s interesting to hear that the Sea to Summit mats are wider. Exped are wider too. The rectangular ones in particular are really big.

      I may add a width column to the tables next time I get the energy – so many variables!

      All the best,

  59. 29

    Mason Smith

    I’ve been using an $18 Walmart air mattress on my camping trips until it finally got worn out! I am looking to upgrade to a more compact inflatable mat and would like to test one out before my next camping trip. For taller people (5’11”) who toss and turn and prefer a wider side, what do you recommend? Your guide is thoroughly detailed but with so much choice, I’d like to narrow it down further.

    1. 29.1

      Tim Moss

      Hi Mason,

      Thanks for the question. For a taller person that wants a wider mat, I would recommend an Exped DownMat 7 or SynMat 7. They are long (I’m 5’11” and they work for me), wider than most alternatives and rectangular (rather than tapered) so give plenty of room for rolling around.

      I have heard that Sea to Summit mats are slightly wider too but they’re still tapered (mummy shaped).

      Good luck!


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  61. 30


    Great article Tim, I found exactly the info I was looking for! The Thermarest Prolite is perfect for me.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.


  62. 31

    Brian John

    Very detailed article. As you said: It is based on 17 years’ experience, it is very helpful.
    Thak you Tim.

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  64. 32

    The Travel Gears

    Beautifully written article. such great ideas about camping mats here i found here. Informative this one blog really appreciate to all of you guys for this stuff. Thanks for sharing

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  70. 33

    Paul Smith

    Yeah i already bought camping mats of this site have really is this good quality products

  71. 34

    Paul Smith

    I have back pain from the last one I year pls suggest me any comfortable for me

    1. 34.1

      Tim Moss

      Exped Down- and Syn-Mats are the most comfortable. However, if your back doesn’t respond well to soft and squashy mattresses, you might be better sticking with a Thermarest Ridgerest and/or ProLite.

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  73. 35


    When I lastly went to Adirondack Park for Camping, I had a big problem with the mat. I couldn’t sleep the whole night. When I was searching for finding perfect mat for camping , I reached your article. That’s a great content. Thanks for sharing.

  74. 36

    Jason Masud

    Love to read this Excellently written article. such great ideas about camping mats here I found here. Informative this one blog really appreciate to all of you guys for this stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  75. 37


    Thank you for this guide, took some time to digest, but now I think I know what I will go for.

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  78. 38


    Hi Tim,
    My wife and I got some Vaude mats from our wedding list last year. They’re semi-selfinflating and blown up with a cushion or squeeze bag.
    I tought I’d refer to them since I really like the mats; I am quite happy with all my Vaude gear so far – not the cheapest, but they do a good to great job and it seems quite an ‘aware’ brand. I wonder how their options compare :)

    1. 38.1

      Tim Moss

      Hi Maarten

      Thanks for the heads-up.

      I had not come across the Vaude pads before but I have added them to the tables above and contacted them for a review product.

      Much appreciated!


      1. 38.1.1

        Tim Moss

        Update: Vaude are sending me a mat this week. Thanks again Maarten!

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