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Sleeping Pad R Values

Sleeping Pad R Values

Sleeping Pad Insulation

A sleeping pad’s R-Value measures its ability to insulate you from cold ground and keep you warm. The higher the R value, the more effective it is.

R-Value Recommendations

  • For winter backpacking and camping, an R-value of 5, or higher, is recommended.
  • For three-season backpacking and camping, an R-value of 2, or higher,  is recommended.
  • R-values are additive, so you can combine two pads to increase your warmth level.
  • Women need higher R-values pads because they have lower body mass than men. An additional R value of 1 is usually a good hedge for women and other cold sleepers

For purposes of backpacking, you also need to factor in weight, comfort, compressibility, and rigidity when you make a sleeping pad selection. In addition, side sleepers may not receive the full R-value of benefit of an inflatable insulated pad because their bodies are not in full with the surface of the pad. This is particularly true for insulated sleeping pads that depend on your body heat to warm them up.

Sleeping Pad R-Value Comparison

The following table provides a side by side comparison of the major sleeping pads available in the US market. The pad weights listed are sized for 72″ long x 20″ wide pads, though there are a few exceptions below. The R-Value of a pad should remain the same if you select a longer, shorter, or wider variation of the pad. If a sleeping pad has a R-Value of “NA”, it’s because the manufacturer has not supplied one or R-value testing has not been performed.

Make / ModelR-ValueWeightThicknessType
1.49.60.375Foam
2.6140.75Foam
1.5120.38Foam
2.4171Self-Inflating
3171Self-Inflating
3.2122.5Inflatable
5.7152.5Inflatable
3.2162.5Inflatable
4.9192.5Inflatable
3.5190.79Foam
2.8141.5Foam
3.4201.5Self-Inflating
4.2201.5Self-Inflating
1.8242Inflatable
4302Self-Inflating
4.8302Self-Inflating
3.4281.5Self-Inflating
1.311.92Inflatable
4.415.22Inflatable
1.318.72.5Inflatable
1.318.72.5Inflatable
1.3192.5Inflatable
1.6273Inflatable
4.4242.5Inflatable
4.4242.5Inflatable
4.4242.5Inflatable
4.419.92.5Inflatable
NA8.51.5Inflatable
NA14.11.5Inflatable
NA5.61.5Inflatable
NA10.91.8Inflatable
1.316.62.5Inflatable
NA10.51.5Inflatable
5353Inflatable
4.4252.5Inflatable
1.646.42.5Inflatable
1.643.23Inflatable
4.457.63Inflatable
1.327.32.5Inflatable
4.4352.5Inflatable
0.713.92Inflatable
527.62.5Inflatable
4.221.82.5Inflatable
4.1313Self-Inflating
2.6191Self-Inflating
5353Inflatable
2.5252.5Inflatable
118.12.5Inflatable
4251.5Self-Inflating
5.333.74.7Inflatable
9.589.63.9Self-Inflating
9.51203.9Self-Inflating
831.63.5Inflatable
722.23.5Inflatable
749.43.5Inflatable
5372.8Inflatable
515.23.5Inflatable
520.63.5Inflatable
632.33.5Inflatable
831.63.5Inflatable
2.518.22Inflatable
2.924.72Inflatable
1.712.32Inflatable
3.7152Inflatable
5.219.42Inflatable
4.2261.5Self-inflating
4.2251.5Self-inflating
5.6401.75Self-inflating
3.5512.75Inflatable
2.9212.5Inflatable

Sleeping Pad Temperature Ratings

Some manufacturers do not provide R-values for their sleeping pads, most notably Big Agnes and NEMO, but instead provide minimum recommended temperatures or ranges. The problem with using temperature rating is there are no standard testing procedures to determine them. Some brands, like Big Agnes, also have a poor consumer track record when it comes to temperature range accuracy. So buyer beware.

Beginning in 2020, new sleeping pad R-value testing standards are expected to come into effect that all sleeping pad manufacturers will have to use. Until then, you’re pretty much on your own when it comes to manufacturers that use temperature ratings to label their pads.

Make / ModelTemperature RatingWeightThicknessType
Above Freezing9.63.75Self-Inflating
32F / 0C11.93.75Inflatable
Above Freezing213.5Inflatable
32F / 0C233.5Inflatable
Below Freezing242Self-Inflating
Below Freezing341.5Self-Inflating
32F / 0C164.25Inflatable
32F / 0C234.25Inflatable
Above Freezing223.5Inflatable
32F / 0C120.5Foam
35F / 2C193.5Inflatable
35F / 2C143.5Inflatable
15F / -9C273.5Inflatable
15F / -9C193.5Inflatable
35F / 2C243.5Inflatable
15F / -9C293.5Inflatable
40F / 4C486Inflatable
25F / -4C606Inflatable
30F / -1C173Inflatable
15F / -9C193Inflatable
30F / -1C183Inflatable
30F / -1C83Inflatable
15F / -9C213Inflatable
15F / -9C173Inflatable

Updated 2018.

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11 comments

  1. Whether you’re car camping, backpacking or just looking for a pad which can handle any outdoors sleeping duty in absolute comfort. You have shared a great content, hope this might help campers and hikers.

  2. Hi Philip, long time! Thanks so much for this info. It’s the only place on the internet I could find it in a pinch. You come through once again.
    -Erika K

  3. I have both Big Agnes Insulated Air Core (4.1 R value) and NeoAir XLite (3.2 R value) and tested them in my back yard on an icy night with the temperature in the teens. My back froze with the Big Agnes pad and I switched to the NeoAir pad and was plenty warm. Although the Big Agnes has a higher R value, for me, the reflective internal baffles seem to work better than the insulation. I have since spent a number of cold nights on the NeoAir and have never been uncomfortable.

    I just bought the XLite for women on MassDrop. It has a 3.9 R value and is a little shorter than my regular but will still work fine for me. The regular will go to my grandson, who has certainly outgrown his small one.

    I’ve also bought some of the insulated Klymit pads on MassDrop but haven’t given them a proper test yet. I may back yard test one in our next cold snap.

  4. Great overview of sleeping pads for comparison. Thanks!

  5. I have two Exped Megamat 10 LXW’s. They are by far the best pads I’ve ever slept on. They are self-inflating, are big, (30x78x4- I cover them with a fitted sheet to make a queen bed), and have straight sidewalls so you get the full width. I’m a side-sleeper, and these are very comfortable for me. They also each have an R-value of 9.5. I’ve used these in sub-zero temps, and they never transmit any cold. Very expensive ($200+ each), but highly recommended!

  6. I’m getting an REI Flash Insulated mattress in their next 20% sale. It is a 3 season mattress good for (if my Prolite is any guide) to around 15 F. at least. This is the best R value for the weight other than an X-Therm, which I eschew.

    REI sez they guarantee the welds and that’s all I worry about. Other small holes I can patch myself.

  7. Thanks for the list. 1. You need to add products from pariaoutdoorproducts.com and 2. if it were sortable it would be bomber!

  8. Hi Philip,

    I was wondering if you might add a “generic 1-1/2 foam pad” to the list, since it’s my understanding that EN 13537 and ISO 23537 use about 1-1/2″ of foam padding for their sleeping bag tests. If I recall, the pads they use have R value ranges between 5 – 5.8.

    It might be very useful for consumers to know that the sleeping bag EN/ISO Ratings they are examine ar are tested on a fairly substantial amount of insulation, compared to most of the pads out there.

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