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11 best camping mats for sleeping comfortably in the great outdoors

Whether it’s for a hiking trip or festival season, make sure you snooze soundly with this essential gear

Sian Lewis
Monday 20 May 2024 14:53
From wild camping in Scotland to glamping on the Cornish coast, these mats were tested thoroughly
From wild camping in Scotland to glamping on the Cornish coast, these mats were tested thoroughly (The Independent)
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Aside from a cosy tent, the best way to get a good night’s sleep while camping or hiking is by kipping on a warm and comfortable camping mat. These not only raise you off the ground but provide insulation and help you sleep comfortably all night.

Broadly, there are two models of camping mats available to buy: inflatable or foam mats. Inflatable or self-inflating mats are the best camping mat choice if you’re off on a multi-day trip, as they’re typically more comfortable to lie on than foam. They also pack down smaller when not in use, so they’re the best choice for backpackers and wild campers. However, they are at risk of puncturing.

On the other hand, simple foam camping mats are much cheaper and more robust than inflatable models. That’s why we reckon they’re ideal for festivals, for budget campers or for sleeping on rocky ground (as they can’t puncture). That being said, they are less comfortable and you’ll still feel the ground underneath you, which is definitely worth taking into consideration.

Material aside, you should also take into account something called an R-value – this tells you how warm your new mat will be to sleep on (measured by its capacity to resist heat loss, hence "R"). The main job of a good camping mat is to keep you insulated from the cold ground, and the higher the R-value, the more insulating it’ll be. Broadly, an R-value below two is best for summer use, two to four will suit three-season use, and winter campers should look for four or above.

Don’t forget to think about the weight and size of your new camping mat, too. Backpackers and wild campers will want a compact and lightweight mat (some compress as small as a water bottle and weigh less than 400g). Meanwhile, family and car campers can pack something bigger and bulkier that offers great comfort, or even go for a double camping mat that two adults can share.

How we tested the best camping mats

We packed our backpacks for camping trips, ranging from wild camping in northern Scotland to glamping on the Cornish coast, to test out these camping mats. We slept on each one for multiple nights in autumn and winter conditions, to test their warmth, all-night comfort and durability.

The best camping mats for 2024 are:

  • Best camping mat overall – Therm-a-Rest neoair xlite NXT camping mat: £178.50,
  • Best budget camping mat – Nhowin self-inflating camping mat: £29.99,
  • Best lightweight camping mat – Nemo tensor ultralight insulated camping mat: £139.97,
  • Best self-inflating camping mat – Vango comfort 7.5 double camping mat: £160,
  • Best camping mat under £10 – Mountain Warehouse roll mat: £6.99,

Therm-a-Rest neoair xlite NXT camping mat

therm-a-rest neoair xlite nxt camping mat with logo
  • Best: Camping mat overall
  • R-value: 4.5
  • Dimensions: 183cm x 51cm x 7.62cm
  • Weight: 377g
  • Storage dimensions: Packs as small as a conventional 1-liter bottle
  • Seasons: All
  • Why we love it
    • Lightweight
    • Excellent insulation in cold weather

For all-round performance in all seasons, we really rate Therm-a-Rest’s neoair xlite camping pad. This bright yellow mat is very lightweight at 377g, packs down small and offers solid quality, night after night. The surface of the pad is firm yet supportive, and we found this mat provides excellent insulation even in cold weather, with an R-value of 4.5.

The xlite comes in a range of sizes, with models available to suit taller, shorter and wider campers. The price means this is an investment for dedicated wild campers and multi-day hikers, while casual campers can pick something cheaper.

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NHOWIN self-inflating camping mat

NHOWIN self-inflating camping mat.png
  • Best: Budget camping mat
  • R-value: N/A
  • Dimensions: 196.5cm x 65cm x 9cm
  • Weight: 850g
  • Storage dimensions: 28cm x 10cm
  • Seasons: Not specified
  • Why we love it
    • Self-inflating
    • Comfortable
    • Pillow included

Many of the best air mats on the market are painfully expensive – not so NHOWIN’s self-inflating mat, which is a bargain at less than £30. This inflatable design has clocked up 4.9 stars on Amazon, and, after testing, we’d have to agree with its fans. This comfortable mat is lightweight (900g) and compact when rolled up. Once inflated using the built-in foot pump, it provides an effective bed (although, side sleepers may need something thicker) with a brilliant pillow included. Poppers enable you to attach another of these mats to one side, to create a double mattress.

  1. £29 from
Prices may vary
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Mountain Warehouse roll mat

Mountain Warehouse roll mat.png
  • Best: Under £10 camping mat
  • R-value: N/A
  • Dimensions: 180cm x 50cm x 0.8cm
  • Weight: 230-235g
  • Storage dimensions: 18cm x 50cm
  • Seasons: Not specified
  • Why we love it
    • Ideal for rocky ground
    • Affordable
  • Take note
    • Less comfy than an inflatable

Roll mats may not be quite as comfy to sleep on as inflatable mats, but they do have one redeeming feature: they’re nigh-on indestructible (unlike air mats, which, if pierced, will immediately deflate and be rendered useless), so they’re a great choice for rocky, uneven ground or for popping under an air mat for extra protection. Roll mats are also far more affordable than air mats: Mountain Warehouse’s simple but effective model costs less than £10, and is tough, insulating and long-lasting. For colder conditions, try Mountain Warehouse’s trek mat (£12.99,, which has an aluminium layer that reflects back body heat.

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Big Agnes divide insulated sleeping mat

Big Agnes Divide Insulated Sleeping Mat Regular resize.jpg
  • Best: For multi-day hikes
  • R-value: 4
  • Dimensions: 20cm x 13cm
  • Weight: 652g
  • Storage bag dimensions: 183cm x 51cm x 9cm
  • Seasons: Spring, summer, autumn
  • Why we love it
    • Lightweight
    • Easy to pack and carry
    • Thermolite insulation

Big Agnes’s distinctive yellow divide mat boasts the excellent combination of being lightweight, well-insulated and pleasantly thick, while also packing away neatly into a compact storage bag. This makes it a good choice for multi-day hikes, when you don’t want to add too much weight to your backpack but also need a comfy mat to ensure you’re well rested on your adventures. It took a bit of puff for us to get this mat inflated, but the 9cm thickness combined with Thermolite insulation kept us warm and comfortable out on the trail, even in temperatures that hovered around freezing. At £120, it’s pretty great value for a high-performing three-seasons camping mat.

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Snugpak XL self-inflating camping mat

Snugpak XL self-inflating camping mat.png
  • Best: For comfort
  • R-value: N/A as Snugpak uses a different testing method
  • Dimensions: 195cm x 62cm x 5cm
  • Weight: 1.7kg
  • Storage bag dimensions: 64cm x 25cm
  • Seasons: All seasons
  • Why we love it
    • Extra long and wide
    • Inflatable pillow
    • Foam layer for protection on rocks

A comfy night’s sleep is built right in to Snugpak’s XL mat. Extra long and wide, this design will make you feel like you’ve got plenty of space to stretch out, and a handy inflatable pillow (so you’ll never forget to bring one again) also helps to make this mat a treat to sleep on. While it isn’t quite self-inflating, despite its name, it does only take a few puffs to get Snugpak’s XL mat ready, and a foam layer adds welcome comfort and warmth as well as protecting you if you stretch out on rockier terrain.

  1. £86 from
Prices may vary
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Nemo tensor ultralight insulated camping mat

Nemo tensor ultralight insulated camping mat.png
  • Best: Lightweight mat
  • R-value: 4.2
  • Dimensions: 183cm x 51cm x 8 cm
  • Weight: 410g
  • Storage bag dimensions: 20cm x 7.5 cm
  • Seasons: All seasons
  • Why we love it
    • Lightweight at 410g
    • But still winter-ready with 5.2 R-value

A pleasingly lightweight (410g) meets a hefty, winter-ready R-value (4.2) in Nemo’s high-performing tensor, which is ideal for campers who like to venture far from the madding crowds with their tent. Ultralight and easy to pack into the dinkiest daysack, this mat unrolls to provide great comfort and warmth in the wild and holds you 8cm off the ground, which really helps side sleepers get a comfy night’s sleep. There are four sizes available, including a wide and a long version, and the fabric of the pad is 100 per cent recycled. Top marks.

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Vango comfort 7.5 double camping mat

Vango comfort 7.5 double camping mat.png
  • Best: Self-inflating mat
  • R-value: 7
  • Dimensions: 200cm x 130cm x 7.5cm
  • Weight: 5.47kg
  • Storage bag dimensions: 64cm x 20cm
  • Seasons: Ideall for night temperatures up to 13 degrees
  • Why we love it
    • Self-inflating
    • Soft-touch upper

Free yourself from the faff of footpumps on your next camping holiday with a self-inflating double mat. Open a valve and Vango’s comfort mat fills with air and is ready to go in seconds, or you can top it up quickly if you prefer a firmer sleeping mat. Once inflated, this design stays in shape all night long. We also love the soft-touch upper of the comfort mat, which helps sleeping bags stop sliding off in the middle of the night. However it is worth mentioning that this mat isn’t as thick as some premium double designs at 7cm, so if you’re looking for an alternative to your bed at home, pick a thicker pad.

  1. £160 from
Prices may vary
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Outdoor Revolution camp star double self inflating mat

Outdoor Revolution camp star double self inflating mat.png
  • Best: Double camping mat
  • R-value: 6.1
  • Dimensions: 201cm x 135cm x 10cm
  • Weight: 6.7kg
  • Storage bag dimensions: 73cm x 30cm x 28cm
  • Seasons: Not specified
  • Why we love it
    • Double size
    • Self-inflating
  • Take note
    • Weighty at almost 7kg

If you’re cosying up with a fellow camper in a big family tent or fancy recreating your double bed from home in your canvas glamping tent, a self-inflating double mat is a clever choice. We rated the camp star double from Outdoor Revolution on test – it takes only a minute or two to inflate and combines a warm foam core with inflatable panels for a very comfy night’s sleep indeed, with plenty of support for two adults sharing. At almost 7kg this mat is bulkier than most, so it’s best used on longer car camping holidays.

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Sea to Summit comfort deluxe camping mat

Sea to Summit comfort deluxe camping mat.png
  • Best: Luxury mat
  • R-value: 6.5
  • Dimensions: 183cm x 64cm x 10cm
  • Weight: 1.995kg
  • Storage bag dimensions: 18cm x 67cm
  • Seasons: All seasons
  • Why we love it
    • 10cm thickness
    • Ideal for campervans

Sea to Summit isn’t messing around when it sticks “comfort” and “deluxe” in the name of this rather sumptuous sleeping pad. A plush, mattress-like knit topper, four-season warmth and 10cm of thickness make this self-inflating single mat feel like a more portable version of your mattress at home. We also like that you can attach a Sea to Summit pillow to the mat so that it stays put during the night. The comfort deluxe is ideal for tents but was actually designed with campervans in mind – it’d work brilliantly in both.

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Outwell dreamcatcher single XL camping mat

Outwell dreamcatcher single XL camping mat.png
  • Best: For single sleepers
  • R-value: 7.5
  • Dimensions: 200cm x 75cm x 12 cm
  • Weight: 3.3kg
  • Storage bag dimensions: 78cm x 21cm
  • Seasons: Not specified
  • Why we love it
    • Extra-large design
    • 10cm of depth

If you’re taller than average, tend to be a restless sleeper or just hate the restrictive feeling of some barely-there camping mats, treat yourself to an extra-large design. Our pick of the pack is Outwell’s Dreamcatcher, which is a generous 200cm in length and 75cm wide, suiting most body types. It also has 10cm of depth which keeps you well off the ground, even if you sleep on your side – no more achy shoulders or hips here – and stays inflated until morning. A treat for solo campers, and the high R-value means you’ll only need one mat for year-round trips.

  1. £117 from
Prices may vary
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Robens iceshield camp 55 camping mat

Robens iceshield camp 55 camping mat.png
  • Best: For easy packing on-the-co
  • R-value: 4.2
  • Dimensions: 195cm x 65cm x 5.5cm
  • Weight: 1.075kg
  • Storage bag dimensions: 32cm x 19cm
  • Seasons: All seasons
  • Why we love it
    • Lightweight and easy to carry
    • Tough and durable outer
  • Take note
    • Material is a little squeaky

A lot of mats that offer reliable warmth and pillowy comfort end up being heavy and hard to care about, but that’s not the case in Roben’s new iceshield camp 35. At 1kg it isn’t prohibitively heavy and it also deflates easily before packing away into a backpack. The iceshield also stood on test for its great quality – the outer fabric is tough yet comfortable and the mat keeps its shape once inflated and feels like it’ll withstand years of sleeping under the stars. Be warned, light sleepers: the iceshield is slightly squeaky when you move.

  1. £111 from
Prices may vary
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The verdict: Camping mats

For comfy summer camps at a great price point, we recommend the Therm-a-Rest neoair xlite NXT camping mat. Anyone looking for a seriously comfy sleep in a campsite should splash out on Sea to Summit’s comfort deluxe mat, while wild campers will love the lightweight but seriously warm Nemo tensor.

Want even more comfort while camping? Try one of the best airbeds in 2024

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