How to Buy Camping Sleeping Mats

Going out on a camping trip involves roughing it in the wild, which can be quite exhausting. However, it doesn’t have to be rough all the way. Choosing the right sleeping mat for your camping trip ensures that you get some well deserved rest, to keep you fresh and ready for the following day’s activities. Considering the range of options available in the market that leave you spoilt for choice, buying the right sleeping mat can be a confusing affair. Here’s the help you need in buying the perfect camping sleeping mats.

Camping sleeping mats

Balance Between Cushioning and Warmth

These are the two basic criteria while selecting the ideal sleeping mat – cushioning and warmth. The cushioning of the mat determines the thickness and comfort that it has to offer. Selecting the cushioning is a personal preference since some people prefer softer, thicker mats while others like a firmer, harder surface.

                 The warmth that a sleeping mat provides is determined by its R-value. This determines how effectively the mat resists heat flow. The R-value scale goes from 1 to 10. An R-value of less than 5 should do for warm and moderate climates. Colder climates will require mats with an R-value of greater than 5. Find a sleeping mat that has a good balance between cushioning and an appropriate R-value.


Since you might end up lugging your camping mat around during hikes and treks, it’s a good idea to do a test carry of your mat at the store before buying it. The three most common choices available in camping mats are Air Mattress, Self Inflating and Foam Mats. Air mattresses are the closest you can get to the feel of sleeping at home, but they can be quite bulky and offer little portability. Foam mats are very light and portable, but have poor cushioning and are stiff. Self inflating mats offer a good balance between portability and cushioning.


The choice of the sleeping mat depends on the kind of camping trip that you plan. If you are camping somewhere close to home with your family and can afford to carry heavy gear, Air Mattresses are a perfect choice. If you have a fair bit of trekking and backpacking planned, you might want to opt for a self inflating mat. These are easy to carry when deflated, and automatically inflate via a vacuum mechanism to make for a plush, comfy mat when inflated. If you plan on heavy trekking and adventure sports like rafting, a simple Foam mat should suffice. They provide little cushioning but ample insulation and are easy to lug around.

Test Nap Your Sleeping Mats

You’re probably going to be re-using your camping mat several times. So don’t hesitate to ask the store clerk if you can try them out before buying them. Some camping stores have different models on display to try out. You could snuggle into your options and check if the mat is the right length and width for you. Make sure you’re wholly satisfied before buying the sleeping mat best suited for your needs.

                  Choosing the sleeping mats also depends on your physique, style and the activities planned. As cushioning is the most useful function of the sleeping mat, decide how much cushioning you need to be comfortable before buying one. Sleeping mats also keep you warm from the cold surfaces so make sure you buy the right one that fits your size.

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