The best backpacking sleeping mats reviewed (2023)

An integral part of your sleep system whether you’re bivvying or backpacking, a decent camping mat will prevent sore hips and stiff shoulders while helping to keep you warm.

Best sleeping mats for hiking and camping 2023 reviewed

by Ben Weeks |

You may think that sleeping mats are all pretty much the same, but you'd be wrong. We actually see a boatload of variation from one mat to another, which is why we send our lovely testers out for several nights' sleep. After the better part of a week in the wilderness, we've selected the five best sleeping mats for 2023.

When choosing a sleeping mat, you need to consider your body, your sleeping habits, and of course, your budget. Like every area of outdoor gear, the ceiling for both price and quality is staggeringly high. But the floor isn't half bad either – there are some very respectable mats with reasonable prices out there. You just need a group of dedicated campers to try them all out and let you know what's what.

Speaking of which, for a bit more info on what to look for in a hiking sleeping mat, go ahead and scroll to the bottom of this article to read our comprehensive buying guide. Now, you too will be able to use phrases like 'R value' in conversation with other outdoorsy folk. Don't panic if they start yapping on about the best sleeping bags for 2023, we've got you covered there too. But first, mats.

Our Shortlist

Exped Ultra 3R – Best 3-season sleeping mat

Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus – Best self-inflating sleeping mat

Robens Polarshield 80 – Best winter sleeping mat

Klymit Inertia Ozone – Best compact sleeping mat

Multimat Camper 8 – Best foam sleeping mat

A good mat is more than a luxury like a camping chair. It's an essential component of a restful night's sleep. It immensely improves your comfort and insulates your sleeping body from the cold ground. Not to mention, aesthetically, a nice mat can really tie the whole room – or tent – together. Before you start getting into portable coffee makers, foldable solar panels, and all the other cool camping gadgets, make sure you've got the right kit to rest and regain energy for the next day's hike.

Hiker inflating a sleeping mat
©Live For The Outdoors

We've curated a list to cover the best examples from each subcategory of sleeping mats. Whatever outdoor adventures you're getting into, we've got the mat to match. Take a look.

The best sleeping mats in detail

1. Exped Ultra 3R

Best 3-season sleeping mat


The lightweight and packable Exped Ultra 3-season inflatable mat has impressed us for it's


  • Ultralight for long hikes
  • Sustainable construction
  • Pumpbag included for easy inflation


  • Long-term durability may be an issue
Exped Ultra 3r best 3 season sleeping mat

2. Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus

Best self-inflating sleeping mat 


A great combination of weight, pack size and warmth, and at a good price. The Therm-a-Rest ProLite


  • Compressible foam allows easy packing
  • Efficient design gives good insulation for weight
  • Convenient self-inflating function


  • Tapered shape won't suit all campers
  • Can still require some manual inflation
Thermarest prolite plus sleeping pad

3. Robens Polarshield 80 

Best winter sleeping mat


Using new foam profiles and fabric bonding techniques, this chunky Polarshield self-inflating mat


  • Spacious and plush for increased comfort
  • Highly durable construction
  • Light for its size
  • Carry pack included


  • Takes up a lot of space
  • Not ideal for fast 'n' light hiking
Robens Polarshield 80 best winter sleeping mat

4. Klymit Inertia Ozone 

Best compact sleeping mat


Astoundingly lightweight and packable, albeit not the warmest, the Inertia Ozone relies on your


  • Ultralight with tiny pack size
  • Air pockets create loft for your sleeping bag
  • compatible with Klymit USB Rechargeable Pump


  • Doesn't offer standalone insulation
Inertia O Zone Regular Sleeping Mat

5. Multimat Camper 8 

Best foam sleeping mat


Light, tough and exceptionally budget-friendly, this Multimat Camper 8 mat is suited to warmer


  • Fantastic price
  • 3-season rating
  • Constructed in the UK


  • Less insulation than inflatable mats
Multimat Camper 8 best foam budget sleeping mat

What to look for in a sleeping mat

Type: Mats fall into one of three categories:

Foam mats are lightweight, cheaper and weather-resistant but provide minimum cushioning and are bulky to carry.

Self-inflating (take this with a pinch of salt) mats pack down small but are not always the most supportive.

Inflatable mats are like compact air beds and tend to be more comfortable, but unless they have some kind of insulation inside, they can be cold.

man in shorts putting inflated sleeping mat into a tent in the mountains

R-Value: R-value is a measure of thermal resistance; the higher the R-value, the warmer the mat. As of 2020, a new industry standard was adopted by most brands to standardise the measurement of R-value – the ASTM FF3340-18 R-value standard.

Weight: A sleeping mat will spend more time being carried in a pack than being slept on, so lighter is better, but toughness can diminish with weight, so there's a balance to be found.

Packed size: Mats with smaller packed sizes are easier to fit into a rucksack along with your other camping gear. Warmer mats tend to be bulkier, so really compact mats are best saved for summer.

Repairability: Self-inflating and inflatable mats become unusable if punctured, so usually come with some kind of repair kit. Foam mats are far more resilient and continue to offer insulation even when wet.

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