Best Sleeping Pads for Car Camping

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Camping is a great way to escape the daily grind and find peace and calm within the wild outdoors. While many people prefer to camp in tents, some like to rest in their own cars to stay safe from wild animals roaming in the outdoors.

While you can put the driver’s seat back and get some shut-eye in your car, sleeping for over seven hours in the awkward position is ill-advised. You could experience back pain or neck pain after a night’s sleep. The same goes for the back seat of a vehicle. If you are serious about camping in your car, invest in a top-quality sleeping pad.

In a Hurry? Here are Our Top Choices

The 4 Best Sleeping Pads for Car Camping

There are a variety of sleeping pads available in the market.  To help you find the right product, we have separated the wheat from the chaff and compiled a list of best sleeping pads for car camping. This list should help you find a sleeping pad that suits your needs and your wallet.

1. Coleman Self-Inflating Camping Pad with Pillow

For casual campers who go on camping once or twice a year, the Coleman Self-Inflating Camping Pad with Pillow is an affordable and durable option. At a low price, you get foam padding, self-inflating construction, and a built-in pillow.

The pillow isn’t very comfortable, but it is a nice addition and may come handy in case you forget yours at home. Inflated dimensions of the pad are 76 x 25 inches, which means that you will have plenty of room to spread your legs, and it should fit inside your car with the doors open.

Pros of the Coleman Self-Inflating Camping Pad with Pillow

  • Inexpensive
  • Built-in pillow
  • Durable

Cons of the Coleman Self-Inflating Camping Pad with Pillow

  • Not too comfortable

2. Therm-a-Rest Basecamp Self-Inflating Foam

If you are looking for a mid-range sleeping pad for car camping, the Therm-a-Rest Basecamp is worth considering. This sleeping pad features self-inflating foam that automatically inflates when unpacked. The R-value of the pad is 5, which means that it is primarily designed for summer camping.

One good thing about the Therm-a-Rest Basecamp is that it is available in three different sizes – regular, large, and extra-large. This means that you can choose the size that is right for your vehicle.

Pros of the Therm-a-Rest Basecamp Self-Inflating Foam

  • Reasonable pricing
  • Comfortable and durable
  • Available in three different sizes

Cons of the Therm-a-Rest Basecamp Self-Inflating Foam

  • Not suitable for winter camping

3. Exped DownMat XP 9 Insulted Sleeping Pad

If you fancy winter camping and need a sleeping pad that will keep you warm while you sleep in your car, consider the Exped DownMat XP 9. This sleeping pad is packable and insulated – rated at -36-degree Fahrenheit – owing to the 700 fit goose down that’s bonded to the pad’s interior.

The DownMat XP 9 is built to withstand sub-zero conditions. It uses a very tough 75-denier polyester shell, reinforced with TPU laminate. For situations where portability and warmth are top priorities, this sleeping pad is hard to beat.

Pros of the Exped DownMat XP 9 Insulted Sleeping Pad

  • Good for winter camping
  • Rated at -36°F
  • Packable and insulated

Cons of the Exped DownMat XP 9 Insulted Sleeping Pad

  • Very expensive

4. Alps Mountaineering Apex Self-Inflating Air Pad

Finding a decent quality sleeping pad at a low price can be tough, but the Alps Mountaineering accomplishes just that with their Apex Self-Inflating Air Pad. This air pad features a tough polyester shell with foam construction to provide sufficient comfort and good warmth for car camping.

The suede upper fabric material is a unique feature at this price range, and we are glad to see that Alps Mountaineering didn’t go with cheap plastic materials. Not only is the air pad comfortable to lay on, but its upper material prevents you from sliding off the pad while you are getting some shut-eye during the night. For the price, the Alps Mountaineering Apex Self-Inflating Air Pad works well and is durable enough to last a long time.

Pros of the Alps Mountaineering Apex Self-Inflating Air Pad

  • Inexpensive
  • Comfortable and durable
  • Good quality materials

Cons of the Alps Mountaineering Apex Self-Inflating Air Pad

  • A bit narrow

What to Consider When Buying a Sleeping Pad for Car Camping

· Cost

Sleeping pads vary wildly in price, with the most inexpensive ones coming in at less than $20 while the high-end options go over $200. If you are an avid car camper and often go on outdoor trips in your vehicle, it is better to invest in a sleeping pad that is a little expensive. This way, you would get a good quality sleeping pad that’ll last for many seasons. If you seldom go on car camping, you can settle for an inexpensive sleeping pad.

· Built-in Pillows

Some sleeping pads come with built-in pillows while others don’t. You need to consider whether this feature is important to you or not. If you like sleeping on your own pillow during car camping, you won’t need a built-in pillow. On the other hand, if you don’t want to take your own pillow with you, opt for a sleeping pad with a built-in pillow.

· Size and Shape

You must make sure that the sleeping pad that you are buying can actually fit into your vehicle. It’s no good if it doesn’t easily fit inside your car when inflated because then you would have to put it outside on the ground. You should also check whether you can actually fit onto the sleeping pad you are planning on buying. You won’t feel comfortable if your legs are hanging over the edges of the pad. If the sleeping pad is too small, you might roll off it during the night.

The thickness of the pad should also be taken into consideration. Additionally, if you are opting for an inflatable sleeping pad, make sure that it can handle your weight.

· Portability

Portability is another important factor to consider when shopping for sleeping pads for car camping. Some sleeping packs can be packed compactly, while others don’t pack down at all. Some weigh less while others can be very bulky. Make sure that the sleeping pad you buy can easily pack down so that you can put it in the trunk of your vehicle and inflate it during the night when you have to sleep.

Our Final Thoughts

We have discussed some of the best sleeping pads for car camping. Now that you know about all these great sleeping pads, you need to pick one and enjoy camping in your car. When you are looking to buy a sleeping pad, pay attention to the features listed above, including portability, size and shape, built-in pillows, and cost. This way, you would be able to buy a sleeping pad that suits your needs and your wallet. For queries and questions relating to the products mentioned here, feel free to contact us.

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