The Best Wide Sleeping Pads of 2023: Tested

Our crew of member-testers cued up the best sleeping pads available for backpackers seeking longer lengths and more spacious widths.

Heather Balogh Rochfort

9 reviews with an average rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars
A camper with the Therm-a-Rest ProLite Apex Sleeping Pad.


Editor’s note: Inventory can be unpredictable these days, so some of the items in this list might be temporarily out of stock when you read this guide. 

Backpacking often means ultralight, but that doesn’t mean it should feel ultracramped. Thankfully, our favorite outdoor brands are finally reading the room and realizing that campers come in all shapes and sizes—so gear should, too. What does that mean for you? More space to sprawl. “Standard” sleeping pads traditionally measure 20 inches wide and 72 inches long. But each backpacking pad on this list hits 25 inches wide and almost all of them boast extended length options.  

We know it’s difficult to sift through the numbers, so we did that for you. We worked with 11 member-testers ranging in size from XL to 4XL to test out a bevy of wide (and sometimes also long) backpacking pads offered at REI. Our crew spent nearly nine months sleeping under the stars and rolling through the dirt, all in an effort to bring you the best wide sleeping pads.  

Our Top Picks
Check out the results of our field test here or scroll down for in-depth reviews.
Best All-Around Wide Backpacking Sleeping Pad
NEMO Quasar 3D Insulated Air Sleeping Pad
Best Wide Backpacking Sleeping Pad for Ultralighters
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Sleeping Pad
Best Wide Backpacking Sleeping Pad for Year-Round Hikers
Sea to Summit Comfort Plus SI Rectangular Sleeping Pad
Best Value Wide Backpacking Sleeping Pad
Therm-a-Rest ProLite Apex Sleeping Pad

Test Results

Best All-Around Wide Backpacking Sleeping Pad

Test Results: Since 74% of the population sleeps on their sides, we’re willing to bet at least 74% of our readers are stoked to find the Quasar. But a number of smart details add up to utter comfiness for sleepers of all kinds.

To fix a common complaint for those who don’t sleep stock-still on their backs, NEMO created a body-mapped depression in the center of the 25-inch-wide pad that prevents campers from rolling off in the middle of the night. The built-in pillow at the top of the pad will also help sleepers rest easy as their limbs and hips relax just like at home. Add in the 3.5-inch thickness—by far the cushiest in test—and our testing crew found themselves in dreamland. “My hips never once hit the ground,” reports one Wisconsin tester. “Honestly, the Quasar is so comfy that I’ve been using it for naps on my living room floor.” Yes, you read that right: It’s replacing her mattress at home. 

The plush-and-lush 30-denier polyester stretches over the top, adding sheetlike coziness to this rectangular pad. Synthetic insulation up-levels the warmth, making the Quasar a toasty pick for the worst of three-season conditions. Even with all these features, the pad still rolls up (stuff sack included) to the height of 1.5 Nalgene bottles. “I try to keep my pack weight at 12 to 18 pounds, but I’ll still make this pad a priority,” one tester reports after a trip to Wisconsin’s Northern Highland American Legion State Forest. Bonus: The entire backpacking pad is made from 100% postconsumer recycled materials.

Bottom Line: Backpackers wanting unmatched comfort (no matter how they sleep) and respectable packability should reach for the plush NEMO Quasar 3D Insulated Air Sleeping Pad.

Testing Stats: 

  • Nights out: 22 
  • Testing states: Minnesota, Wisconsin 
  • Best testing anecdote: After one successful backpacking trip, our Wisconsin tester suffered a slipped disk (Ed. note: Not from the hike!) and had to do her laptop work while laying on her stomach to aid the healing process. As a result, she “has now spent more hours on the Quasar than any other camping or furniture item.” She says, “And it’s still the most comfortable!” 

Best Wide Backpacking Sleeping Pad for Ultralighters

Test Results: It’s rarer than a unicorn: extended sizing (25-inch width and 77-inch length) with a negligible weight penalty. The NeoAir UberLite pulls off this sorcery by using lighter materials, like the 15-denier nylon that covers the top and bottom of the pad. For some testers, this was nail-bitingly thin (most pads use a 20-denier or higher), but they were willing to make the tradeoff for a lighter backpack. “I agonized over every twig and pine needle, but it sure felt good throwing that pack over my shoulder!” proclaims one Colorado tester after spending a weekend near Kenosha Pass. Pro tip: Use a ground cloth to relieve your stress. 

Therm-a-Rest continued the slim-down by using a mummy shape that tapers toward the bottom, cutting excess material and grams. As a result, the NeoAir is the most packable pad in test—it’s barely larger than a 16 oz. soda bottle—but the sleek profile received mixed reviews. “I have wider hips, so my body is shaped like an ‘H’ and not a ‘V,’” explains one Kentucky-based tester. “My feet always dangled off the sides, which is fine when it’s warm out, but less so when it’s chilly.” Still, the 2.3 R-value is surprisingly high for such a featherweight, and the pad still boasts 2.5 inches of thickness. Assuming you stick to warm summer camping with this one, you’ll likely be comfortable enough. 

Setup is also a cinch. The NeoAir UberLite comes with its own pump sack, but it adds weight and still took one tester nearly 30 pumps. Our recommendation: Ditch the sack at home, save the weight and use your lungs. Three cheers for ultralight! 

Bottom Line: Ounce cutters willing to swap out creature comforts for a minimal pack weight may appreciate the sleek size and ultralight nature of the NeoAir UberLite.

Testing Stats: 

  • Nights out: 17 
  • Testing states: Colorado, Kentucky 
  • Best testing anecdote: One tester brought her 2-year-old nephew to camp in the hopes of converting him into a lifelong outdoor enthusiast. First thing he saw: his new trampoline. “He immediately began jumping and I began panicking that he’d pop it!” she laughs. “Thankfully, we found some rocks that caught his attention, and my pad was saved.” 

Best Wide Backpacking Sleeping Pad for Year-Round Hikers

Test Results: Looking for a pad that can keep you going when the mercury drops? Reach for the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus SI, the only pad in test that allowed one tester to proclaim, “Cozy!” after a 20-degree overnight during an early-season snowstorm near Escalante, Utah. The secret: Sea to Summit utilizes a unique Delta Core™ technology. Unlike most self-inflating pads, which use a cylindrical coring system that removes circular sections of foam to cut weight, the Comfort Plus cores out triangular shapes. Not only does this cut the weight by roughly 40% according to Sea to Summit, but it increases the R-value of the pad since the top and bottom of the polyurethane foam still maintain constant contact with the 30-denier polyester top and base. This enables consistent warmth that emphasizes heat on core body zones, like our torsos. “It was 65 degrees Fahrenheit overnight when I first tested the pad, and I got so hot!” says one Montana tester after an evening in Custer Gallatin National Forest. 

One of two self-inflating pads in the group, the Comfort Plus SI is a cinch to set up. Our Montana tester notes that she had to leave the valve open for a full day to successfully inflate it for the first time, but it fully filled within a few minutes on subsequent adventures.   

Comfort isn’t lacking, either. At just over 3 inches of thickness, the Comfort Plus is one of the cushier pads on this list. However, the added warmth and luxurious padding come with a caveat: It’s also the heaviest. Still, one tester says it’s worth it: “It’s my pampering item.”

Bottom Line: The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus SI boasts a high R-value, ample thickness and expanded dimensions, making it the top wide pad for backpackers who want to adventure every month of the year.

Testing stats: 

  • Nights out: 17 
  • Testing states: Montana, Utah 
  • Best testing anecdote: During an overnight in Montana, one tester woke up to find herself battling with her two dogs. “They realized Mom had a really nice sleeping pad and wanted in on the action,” she explains. “They whined and stared for a while in the hopes that I’d share, but eventually, they accepted the loss and settled in next to me. I did find one of their heads on the pad in the morning, though!” 

Best Value Wide Backpacking Sleeping Pad

Test Results: Extra space? Check. Ample insulation? Check. Packability? Check. Therm-a-Rest didn’t skimp on the details, which means the ProLite Apex delivers up similar features as pads that cost a lot more money. The added dimensions (25-inch width and 77-inch length) are similar to other pads, but the brand combines those with alternating internal chambers of foam and air to uptick the warmth while keeping the weight backpacker-friendly. In general, self-inflating pads are less bouncy than air pads, but our testers felt the ProLite Apex hit the sweet spot: “It almost sleeps like memory foam,” says one California tester. “It’s firm but cushioned where you need it to be.” Ding: Larger testers (2XL or bigger) grumbled over the mummy cut. 

The value continues for the four-season crowd. The ProLite Apex isn’t the warmest pad in this group, but it’s a close second with an R-value that still makes it appropriate for winter weather. Combined with its minimal weight (it weighs nearly 1.5 pounds less than our other reviewed four-season pad), the ProLite packs a lot of punch as the most affordable wide pad in test. Bonus: Durability is top-shelf. Thanks to the 50-denier polyester on the top and bottom, the ProLite is practically a fortress. But the benefits come with a penalty: comfort. At two inches thick, this pad is also the thinnest pad by a half-inch—and our testers noticed.

Bottom Line: A perfect trifecta of four-season warmth, light weight and affordability make the Therm-a-Rest ProLite Apex our favorite pick for backpackers counting every penny.

Testing stats: 

  • Nights out: 24 
  • Testing states: California, Oregon 
  • Best testing anecdote: Our California tester had never used a self-inflating pad before the ProLite, so she was pleasantly surprised when she got to camp in the Eastern Sierra and realized the work was done for her. “I was so tired, so I just opened the valve while I made a cup of coffee,” she says “I came back a few minutes later, the pad was inflated and I didn’t have to do anything. It felt like my birthday!” 

Buying Advice

Here’s a little-known fact: Your sleeping pad is just as important as a sleeping bag when it comes to keeping you warm at camp. We know it can feel confusing to wade through all the tech specs and industry jargon, so here are a few factors to consider when nabbing yourself a wide sleeping pad for backpacking.  

Types of Pads 

You have three main sleeping-pad styles to choose from: air pads, self-inflating foam pads and closed-cell foam pads. 

Backpacking pads can be found in all three categories, but you’re most likely to see air pads. These types of pads are comfortable and often more packable. They don’t self-inflate, but they often come with a pump or inflation bag since using our lungs takes a bit of work! The air inflation makes it easier and often quicker to inflate than the self-inflating pads, but it does mean they tend to soften in cooler temperatures.  

The wide air pads in this guide are the NEMO Quasar 3D Insulated and Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite sleeping pads. 

Self-inflating pads take less personalized work to inflate than air pads: Open the inflation valve and watch the magic happen. This will typically take five minutes and will often require a manual top-off with your mouth on the valve to get it to the perfect plumpness. 

Self-inflating pads also use open-cell foam inside to add warmth. The more foam used, the warmer, heavier and larger the pad. For backpacking pads, it’s a fine line to walk between maintaining a low weight while also adding insulation for warmth. 

The self-inflating pads in this guide are the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus SI and the Therm-a-Rest ProLite Apex sleeping pads. 

Pad R-Values 

R-value measures a pad’s resistance to heat flowing through it (hence the “R”). Higher R-values are warmer. Below are rough guidelines about temperature conditions for different R-value ranges: 

  • R-value less than 2.0: Warm-weather pads 
  • R-value 2.0 to 3.9: Cool-weather pads 
  • R-value 4.0 to 5.4: Cold-weather pads 
  • R-value 5.5 and greater: Extreme-cold-weather pads


We culled through this year’s REI inventory and distributed the best wide backpacking pads to a crew of 11 plus-size testers from around the country (sizes XL to 4XL). In the past nine months, our team cowboy camped in California, sweltered through humid evenings in Kentucky, and trekked along the Continental Divide in Colorado, logging more than 200 nights of testing.  

At the end of the testing cycle, we asked each tester to evaluate the wide sleeping pads based on comfort, warmth, durability, packability and ease of setup. We then took their scores, found the averages and identified the top picks for you in this guide. 

The top overall scorer is the NEMO Quasar 3D Insulated Air – Regular Wide (94). Following the Quasar, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite – Large (92), Sea to Summit Comfort Plus SI (91), and Therm-a-Rest ProLite Apex – Large (91) scored high in most—but not all—categories. 

About the Author

Heather Balogh Rochfort

Heather is a freelance writer and author specializing in the outdoors and adventure travel, particularly as they apply to women and families. Her organization WildKind educates and empowers families to find their wild. REI member since 2008.