Camp Comfortably: Best Sleeping Pads For Side Sleepers (2020)

sleeping pad in tent

Are you a side sleeper who has woken up in your tent feeling like someone slammed your shoulder into your neck? Or like your hip is digging into the hard ground?

As a side sleeper myself, I know that feeling – sometimes it even happens in hotels when the bed is hard as a rock.

Here’s the secret to comfortable side sleeping in a tent – a sleeping pad designed for people like you and me.

So, if you don’t have the right sleeping pad for your side sleeping style, then let me help you out with some recommendations before you next camping trip.

Finding The Most Comfortable Sleeping Pad For Sleeping On Your Side

If you’re going to be comparing sleeping pads on your own, then we have a bit of advice for you. And don’t worry, I’m not going to waste your time on generalized information here because it won’t apply to you anyways.

As a side sleeper, you’re going to need to prioritize different things than a back sleeper or stomach sleeper.

For the most comfort, choose a thicker and wider sleep pad that has minimal collapse around the edges.

Without a doubt, the wider and thicker the sleeping pad is, then the more comfortable you’re going to be sleeping on your side in the tent.

Most camping sleeping pads are 20 inches in width, so you’re looking for something that is wider than that.

The narrow sleeping pads are best for people who sleep on their backs – so definitely avoid one of those for comfortable night’s sleep.

And the thicker the sleep pad, then the more comfortable you’re going to be since you’re not as close to the ground. So try to find something thicker than the standard of two inches.

Additionally, pay attention to the baffles on the sleep pad. We find that horizontal baffles tend to offer more support and comfort for side sleepers.

Below we’ll share our recommendations so your decision will be easier. These are the only pads we recommend for campers who are side sleepers.

This page contains some affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

1. Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Sleeping Pad

???? Best Value for the Money ????

If you are looking for a sleep pad that fits your budget will still offering lots of comfort, then this pad by Sea to Summit is the perfect intersection of cost and comfort.

Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Sleeping Pad

As you can see, it comes in the mummy-style shape, but it also is available in the more traditional rectangle shaped sleep pad.

Pros

  • Only takes one minute to air up
  • Available and short and long lengths
  • Thickness is 2.5 inches
  • Width is 21.5 inches on regular & short, 25 inches on long
  • Dual air chambers give you the ultimate in comfort control

Cons

  • Heavier than other options at 1 lb. 11.6 oz. for the regular size

Takeaway

This sleep pad is comfortable, quick to inflate, has an affordable cost and makes a great choice for car camping.

2. NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad

???? Premium Pick – Editor’s Choice ????

If you don’t mind spending a bit more on your sleeping pad, then this right here is the best of the best. It’s the most expensive option that we recommend, but it is definitely worth the little bit of extra money.

NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad

You can order this sleeping pad in both a regular wide and long wide size – just make sure that you don’t get the standard “regular” option because it isn’t wide enough for side sleepers.

Pros:

  • Ultra lightweight at 1 lb. 3 oz. for the Regular Wide
  • Available and regular and long lengths
  • Thickness is 3 inches
  • Width is 25 inches on both wide models
  • Two layers of insulation keep you warm on cold nights

Cons:

  • Higher cost than other options we recommend
  • Pump sack design is a bit odd

Takeaway

This is the most comfortable sleeping pad for side sleepers on the market right now. Definitely worth the cost.

3. REI Co-op Flash 3-Season Sleeping Pad

???? Budget Pick – Cheapest Option ????

If you’re cost-conscious and need a sleeping pad that you can take camping with out busting your budget, or being uncomfortable, then your best option right now is this sleep pad from REI.

REI Co-op Flash 3-Season Sleeping Pad

As you can see, it comes in the mummy-style shape, and this is the only shape that you can buy it in. It’s also important to note that this pad comes in regular and wide widths, and we only recommend the wide widths for side sleepers – so make sure you’re buying the wide one!

Pros

  • Quick and easy inflation with the pump
  • Available and short and long lengths
  • Width is 25 inches on the Wide models

Cons

  • At 1 lb. 4 oz. weight for the Regular Wide, there are lighter pads available to on the market
  • Only 2 inches thick

Takeaway

Though it’s only 2-inches thick, it’s still comfortable for sleeping on your side and it’s the cheapest option we’ve found that actually works for side sleepers.

Final Thoughts

As a side sleeper myself, I know how uncomfortable sleeping can be if your sleep surface is too firm. That’s why I’ve taken the time to only recommend sleep pads that I know work well for side sleepers like me.

I’m confident that if you choose one of the sleep pads above for your next camping or backpacking trip, that you’ll have a better night’s sleep compared to choosing some of the other models on the market.

Though all of the sleeping pads listed above are great, I really love the NEMO Tensor and I hope you check it out before your next camping trip.

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