The Best Hammock Sleeping Pad for Camping

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If you’re in a rush and want to find out what the best hammock sleeping pad is, we recommend the Klymit Insulated Hammock V sleeping pad.

Heading out for a hammock camping trip? Good luck sleeping…is what I’d normally say, but that just sounds too depressing. Truth be told, I find it easier to sleep in a hammock than in a tent, but even so, that’s not necessarily saying much. Cold temperatures and pesky bugs can make it difficult to get a good night’s rest, even if you don’t have to contend with the hard ground.

The best hammock sleeping pad can make things a little more comfortable, sometimes for a fraction of the price you might pay for an underquilt or similar type of gear. So, without further ado, let’s dive in and unpack some of our favorite sleeping pads for hammock camping.

In this article, we’ll be reviewing the following best hammock sleeping pads:

Why Hammock Sleeping Pads are Important

man and woman in hammocks touching each other

The fact that you’re reading this right now means that you know the value of a hammock sleeping pad, even if only in theory. But let’s take a moment to expand on the importance of these hammock camping tools to flesh things out a little further.

For starters, hammock sleeping pads are crucial for insulation. Especially in chillier environments, the hammock itself doesn’t do much to keep your backside warm, which means you’re in for a very miserable night if you don’t have something underneath you to provide insulation. To combat this, you could invest in a hammock underquilt as well, but we’ll talk more about that a little later.

Sleeping pads also provide some extra comfort and padding, since your sleeping bag and the hammock itself don’t have much to speak of. The cushion can make it easier to fall asleep, and the shape of the pad can provide a little structure to the hammock as well.

Insulation/R-Value

We talked about a sleeping pad’s ability to add insulation, but how do you know if a certain pad is good enough? Well, the first place to look is at the R-Value (short for “resistance value”), which is a measure of how resistant a material is to heat flow. The higher the R-Value, the more insulative a product will be.

As a general guideline, a sleeping pad with an R-Value of “1” will have the weakest insulation, making it ideal for warm climates and summer camping. An R-Value of “4” or “5” is what I would consider good for moderately chilly environments. Anything over “6” is what you want for insulation against the extreme cold.

Security

woman lying inside an orange hammock

One of the main issues that people have with using a sleeping pad in their hammock is the lack of security. There’s nothing to keep your pad from sliding around inside the hammock, so even minor body position adjustments can cause the sleeping pad to shift out of place.

It can be aggravating, to put it lightly, but there are measures you can take to prevent it from happening. Some sleeping pads, like the Klymit Insulated Hammock V, have wings that hug the vertical walls of your hammock. Not only do these wings keep the pad more secure, but they also add some cushion to common pressure points on the hammock.

I also find that wider sleeping pads don’t shift around as much during the night. They’re also easier to stay on top of (for obvious reasons), and provide extra structure to the hammock as a whole.

Weight

Backpacking or car camping? That’s the question you have to ask yourself when choosing the best hammock sleeping pad. Depending on your answer, size and weight are going to become more important to consider, with backpacking necessitating a lighter option.

Some sleeping pads are rather thick, which tends to be more ideal for comfort and insulation. But there’s always a compromise to be made, and with the increase in comfort, you get an increase in weight. In general, hammocks can only sustain a certain amount of weight as it is, so I usually recommend going for a lighter product anyway. An inflatable pad is able to conform to the shape of the hammock much better too, and you can always let a little air out to make it more flexible.

Thickness

four people in a green, red, blue, and black hammock

This idea of “thickness” piggybacks off the points we just made regarding weight. Heavier sleeping pads are thicker, they take up more useable space inside the hammock, and they’re less flexible. That’s why we’ve tried to steer away from listing thick sleeping pads in our review, since we tend to believe that they just don’t work as well for this style of camping.

Cost or Performance?

There’s an unfortunate, but understandable, relationship between cost and performance. More often than not, the more expensive product is going to be better performing, and the cheaper product is going to be subpar.

The same is roughly true for hammock sleeping pads. You can get a good option for cheap, but the more comfortable, insulative, and specialized products are going to cost quite a bit more. If you’re a serious hammock camper who wants to spend several weeks of the year camping, I’d recommend paying a little more for something that feels good and will last a long time.

Sleeping Pad vs Underquilt

two hammocks in a forest at night

Alright, one last point to talk about before we dive into the best hammock sleeping pads. If you’re familiar with hammock camping at all, you probably know what an underquilt is, but just for review, it’s a quilt that wraps around the underside of your hammock, providing warmth and insulation. It’s often used as a barrier to prevent bugs from biting you through the thin material of your hammock.

Since sleeping pads and underquilts are roughly designed to do the same thing, the common question is: which is better? Do you still need a sleeping pad, or is an underquilt enough to get by? Each product has their own pros and cons, so let’s take a look at what they are:

Underquilt:
When it comes to warmth and insulation, underquilts always come out on top. There’s just nothing better when you need a little help staying cozy in chilly environments, since underquilts provide full body coverage without developing cold spots.

Another benefit is that they come with temperature ratings, as opposed to sleeping pads which only have somewhat arbitrary R-Values. You’ll have a much better understanding of how warm an underquilt will keep you, as opposed to a sleeping pad.

The downside is that underquilts are more expensive and less versatile. They can only be used with a hammock (for the most part), whereas sleeping pads can be used in a hammock or in a tent.

Sleeping Pad:
As I just mentioned, one of the biggest reasons why hammock sleeping pads are so popular is because of their versatility. You can literally use them anywhere, and if you already have one that you use tent camping, you can probably use it in your hammock too. They’re also more affordable than underquilts, which is perfect for people on a budget.

Of course, the drawback is that most sleeping pads aren’t designed for use inside a hammock, so they won’t be as comfortable or secure. They’re also inferior when it comes to insulation, they’re not breathable, and you run the risk of them deflating during the night.

Best Hammock Sleeping Pads – Reviewed

Kammok Insulated Pongo Pad

  • Shape: Mummy
  • Insulation Type: Synthetic
  • R-Value: 3.1
  • Weight: 1.5 Pounds

Right off the bat, you’ll probably notice that the Pongo Pad is made by Kammock, a brand that specializes in hammock gear. That being said, you know it’s going to be one of the best hammock sleeping pads out there since it was specifically designed for hammocks. At the same time, you’re going to pay a premium for this specialization.

The shoulders and hips are extra wide, giving the hammock more support and a flatter sleeping surface. It also gives you more space to spread out on, making it (mostly) impossible to fall off of it during the night. In fact, the bottom of the pad has a nonslip surface that keeps everything at an optimal angle makes it difficult to move once it’s in place.

A 3 inch loft provides enough cushion to make it comfortable without taking up too much useable room inside the hammock. Your back and hips will receive the support they need, taking unwanted pressure off of your tailbone and lower back. Which is to say, you can kiss stiffness goodbye when you wake up in the morning – for the most part.

The 3.1 R-Value isn’t great but it isn’t terrible either. For most 3 season camping, it will be sufficient enough to block the chill. When paired with an underquilt, you could easily take your hammock out in the winter and be perfectly comfortable.

Pros:

– Designed for hammock use
– Wide shoulders and hips
– Good thickness
– Nonslip surface
– Decent insulation

Cons:

– Price

NEMO Tensor Alpine Air Pad

  • Shape: Semi-Rectangular
  • Insulation Type: Air
  • R-Value: 4.8
  • Weight: 1.5 Pounds

The Nemo Tensor Alpine is another product that was designed for use off the ground. Except, in this case, the intent was to use it on a portaledge high up on a rock face.

Since the Tensor was built for rock climbers, it’s lightweight and highly portable, which translates nicely for backpacking. And despite the reduction in weight and materials, it doesn’t seem like any compromises were made elsewhere. In fact, the only downsides I see to this product are that it wasn’t designed for hammocks, and it has a rather high price tag.

The R-Value is 4.8, so it performs wonderfully in cold weather. And like the Pongo Pad listed above, it has a thickness of 3 inches, providing that perfect balance of comfort and space preservation. While it’s not wide enough to say that you’ll never slide off of it, that’s pretty much the case with the majority of sleeping pads. However, the “long” size is just over two feet wide, which should be sufficient for most of you to sleep comfortably.

In terms of inflation, the Tensor comes with a pump sack, so you don’t need to waste your breath by blowing into it. The adjustable air valve also makes deflation quick and simple. Thermo-reflective technology will keep you toasty in the 20s, which more than justifies the price for me, especially when you consider how well Nemo did all of the other features on this pad.

Pro:

– Lightweight
– Comfortable
– Easy to inflate
– Very well insulated
– Packs down small

Cons:

– Price

Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated Rectangular Sleeping Pad

  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Insulation Type: Synthetic
  • R-Value: 3.8
  • Weight: 1.5 Pounds

Built for comfort, lying on the Sea to Summit Ether will make you feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud. It has a whole extra inch of thickness, compared to the two products we’ve mentioned so far. While that does make it a tad bulkier to store and put away, it actually doesn’t weigh any more than the others, coming in at 1.5 pounds.

That extra padding is supposed to prevent side sleepers from touching the ground through the pad, but in a hammock, it’s just there for extra comfort and support. It’s also worth mentioning that this pad is made from extra grippy nylon, so while it’s not as stable as the Kammock Pongo, it’s certainly better than most.

The R-Value comes in at 3.8, which is decent but not spectacular. When paired with an underquilt, you could easily stay comfortable in temperatures that drop down into the teens. Otherwise, I’d stick to locations that don’t get colder than 40 degrees. Inflation is quick and easy thanks to the included pump sack, allowing you to save your breath and prevent moisture from accumulating inside the pad. Deflation is just as easy, given the low-profile valve that resists reinflation while you’re trying to squeeze out every drop of air.

Pros:

– Very comfortable
– Easy inflation and deflation
– Lightweight
– Grippy nylon
– Good insulation

Cons:

– A little noisy

Exped Ultra 5R Sleeping Pad

  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Insulation Type: Synthetic
  • R-Value: 4.8
  • Weight: 1.5 Pounds

Like the Nemo Tensor, the Exped Ultra 5R has an R-Value of 4.8, making it one of the few pads that I would feel comfortable recommending for winter use. It’s solid, and incredibly comfortable, thanks in part to the vertical baffle design. This structure helps reduce cold spots while providing the support you need to wake up well rested and energized.

The microfiber fill is very warm and effective at insulating, and it’s also light enough to carry around without issue. I will say that it’s rather bulky when packed up, which may leave some backpackers feeling a little annoyed, but a mummy variety hasn’t been developed yet. And for hammock camping, I tend to prefer the rectangular shape anyway.

With the pad, you can expect to find a pump to help you inflate it. Given how pervasive these air pumps are, I don’t think I would buy a product that didn’t come with one. The Ultra 5R also comes with a stuff sack and a repair kit, in case you need to patch a hole while you’re out exploring the backcountry.

Pros:

– Well insulated
– Comfortable
– Sturdy
– Multiple size options
– Comes with air pup

Cons:

– A little bulky

Therm-a-Rest Trail Pro Sleeping Pad

  • Shape: Mummy
  • Insulation Type: Synthetic
  • R-Value: 4.4
  • Weight: 2.3 Pounds

The first self-inflating pad to make our list, the Therm-a-Rest Trail Pro pretty much has the simplest setup imaginable. I still think “self-inflating” is a bit misleading, as you do need to use your lungs to fill it with air. But on the bright side, it takes far fewer breaths to get it to your desired firmness, and the one-way valve prevents air from escaping when you take your mouth away.

At 3 inches thick, it’s pretty standard in terms of plushness. It’s also sporting a mummy shape that almost feels semi-rectangular, which I find works well inside of a hammock. While there are three sizes to choose from, I’d recommend going with either the large or the regular wide, as these are both 25 inches wide. The regular is only 20 inches wide, so it won’t fill the space in your hammock quite as well.

With an R-Value of 4.4, warmth won’t be a problem, regardless of where you find yourself in the world. I’d still recommend pairing it with an underquilt, but you could definitely get away without one, if you use this pad. It folds down well and can be easily carried, despite being on the heavier side. Still, for 2.3 pounds, you get a hammock sleeping pad that won’t let you down. If you can bear to carry it to your destination, you won’t be disappointed with the Trail Pro’s performance.

Pros:

– Very warm
– Comfortable
– Fits well in a hammock
– Folds down well
– Self-inflating

Cons:

– A bit heavy

Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core Deluxe Sleeping Pad

  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Insulation Type: Air
  • R-Value: 4.3
  • Weight: 2.5 Pounds

Despite touting the name “Big Agnes,” this brand is well known for making ultralightweight gear that can take a beating. And while I wouldn’t call the Q-Core deluxe an ultralight pad, some of Big Agnes’s philosophy still applies, especially in the realm of durability.

But let’s start off by looking at its performance against the cold. With an R-Value of 4.3, it’s one of the better insulated products in our review, making it more than suitable for winter camping or more extreme alpine environments. For very extreme conditions, I’d still recommend pairing it with an underquilt, but it still does the job nicely by itself.

One of the reasons why I like the Q-Core for hammock camping in particular is because of the almost concave design of the pad. The center (where you’ll be sleeping) has a thickness of 3.5 inches, while the outer edges are 4.25 inches. It creates a sloped effect that helps keep you from rolling off of the pad, which is even more necessary when you’re in a hammock.

You have two sizes to choose from: regular and long. Personally, I find that regular is best for women, and long is a nice length for men. However, the long is also extra wide, with 10 more inches in width than the regular. Whether you’re a man or a woman, that extra width is going to come in handy inside the hammock.

Pros:

– Good weight
– Nice thickness
– Well insulated
– A variety of sizes to choose from
– Thicker rim to keep you from rolling off
– Very comfortable

Cons:

– Can take awhile to blow up

Therm-a-Rest Trail Scout Sleeping Pad

  • Shape: Semi-Rectangular
  • Insulation Type: Synthetic
  • R-Value: 3.1
  • Weight: 2 Pounds

Another one by Therm-a-Rest, the Trail Scout is the least expensive and lightest pad in our review, depending on which size you get. Much of the reason why it’s so light is because it lacks a significant amount of thickness, coming in at a mere 1 inch thick. But aside from that, it shares quite a few similarities with the Therm-a-Rest Trail Pro mentioned above.

For starters, it’s also a self-inflating pad. Since it’s much thinner, you barely need to blow into it at all before it’s full. It also has the same WingLock valve which is easy to use, even when your hands are covered by gloves. The one-way valve ensures that air won’t escape in between breaths, making it far less frustrating to fill it up.

However, considering the size long is the only one with a 25 inch width, it’s hard to say that the Trail Scout is better than the Trail Pro. I say that because they’re roughly the same weight, despite the Trail Scout having a lot less cushion. That being said, it’s still a very good sleeping pad if you don’t need as much padding or insulation, and you don’t have the money to spend on something like the Trail Pro.

Pros:

– Low profile
– Very lightweight, depending on the size you choose
– Self-inflating
– Packs down small
– One-way valve
– Affordable

Cons:

– Heavy for the size
– Lacking cushion and insulation

ALPS Mountaineering Nimble Insulated Sleeping Pad

  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Insulation Type: Air
  • R-Value: 3.9
  • Weight: 2.6 Pounds

Another affordable option, the ALPS Mountaineering Nimble also happens to be the heaviest product in our review. It’s the compromise you make for a pad that costs less than $100, and I find it to be a pretty good tradeoff.

I mostly say that because the Nimble has an R-Value of 3.9, which is somewhat higher than average. It’s a warm pad with a 2 foot width, making it more than suitable for hammock camping. You may also notice the concave design that sort of looks like a fuller on a sword. It’s similar to what we find on the Big Agnes Q-Core deluxe, and it creates a nice, recessed space for you to sleep. It’s honestly one of the biggest reasons I like this pad for hammock camping, as it really works well to keep someone from sliding around during the night.

The included stuff sack seconds as an air pump with its own valve that connects to the flat valve on the Nimble. It really helps make inflation easier, and prevents moisture from accumulating inside the sleeping pad. Made up of 40 denier nylon fabric, it’s also one of the most durable pads in our review, so you’re far less likely to need to make emergency repairs in the backcountry.

Pros:

– Affordable
– Good cushion
– Great insulation
– Durable
– Easy to inflate

Cons:

– Heavy

Klymit Insulated Hammock V Sleeping Pad

  • Shape: Mummy Hybrid
  • Insulation Type: Air
  • R-Value: 4.4
  • Weight: 1.7 Pounds

Time to wrap up our list with another product that was specifically designed for use in a hammock. You can probably tell right away that the Klymit Hammock V sleeping pad looks different than all the others we’ve mentioned so far. That’s because it has wings (those four flaps that extend from the sides of the pad), which serve a variety of purposes.

First, the flaps add padding to common pressure points that you’ll experience while lying in your hammock. Shoulders, elbows, and knees will have a nice amount of padding to lean on, and the rest of your body also has the pad itself, which is abnormally wide. With 2.5 inches of thickness, it’s a little below average, but that doesn’t mean it’s less comfortable. The R-Value is also pretty high, coming in at 4.4, making this a suitable option for 3 season camping, and perhaps some light winter expeditions.

Secondly, those flaps also provide support and stability. Since they’re pressed up against the sides of your hammock, it prevents the pad from sliding around during the night. It’s a superb design that’s more than worth the somewhat hefty price tag.

One of the bigger downsides is “inflation,” since there’s no easy way to do it. At the end of the day, it comes down to pure breath power, usually taking between 15-20 breaths for the pad to be fully inflated.

Pros:

– Designed to be used in a hammock
– Very stable
– Comfortable
– Good R-Value
– Decent weight
– Very wide

Cons:

– Needs to be inflated through lung power

FAQ

Can You Sleep with a Pad and a Hammock?

You certainly can sleep with both a pad and hammock, and more often than not, I would recommend you do so. Hammocks are thin and lack insulation, causing cold air to press right up against your backside. A sleeping pad will provide some much needed warmth and cushion to give you a solid night’s sleep.

You have a few options to help you stay warm in a hammock. First is a sleeping pad, but there’s gear more specific to hammocking that can also help. An underquilt and top quilt will cradle you between cozy layers of warmth, and of course, you’ll have your sleeping bag as well.

Sleeping pads have a number of benefits. They’re incredibly versatile tools, with the ability to provide comfort and warmth in a tent, in a hammock, or on the floor of your friend’s house. And as far as camping gear goes, sleeping pads are often the cheaper end of the spectrum, remaining accessible to folks on a budget.

Final Thoughts

Sleeping in a hammock is a great way to bring some novelty to your camping experience. But just because you’re swinging above the ground doesn’t mean you don’t have to deal with the common problems of comfort and insulation. This is why you need the best hammock sleeping pad added to your gear collection, and at the end of the day, nothing does it quite like the Klymit Hammock V pad.

It’s hard to argue with a product that was specifically designed to be a sleeping pad for hammocks. With an extra wide frame and wings that add comfort and support, there just isn’t anything that can beat it. While the weight is a tad high, most hammock campers can afford to pack on a few extra ounces, since they don’t have a tent in their pack.


Spencer Yeomans

Spencer Yeomans

A lover of the outdoors, and especially the mountains, Spencer has always enjoyed pushing people to step outside their comfort zones. His mission is to help others get out of their homes to have fun and stay active in nature.

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