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Air vs self inflating sleeping pads

Features and Best Uses: Air vs Self Inflating Sleeping Pad for your Next Camping Trip

Planning a camping trip and wondering what to choose: air vs self inflating sleeping pads? We have the answer for you. Read through our article to find out what are the features, best uses, and pros and cons of both types of sleeping pads. In the end, you will make your judgment and choose the best choice for your needs.

Don't confuse air pads with air beds or air mattresses. Air sleeping pads are thinner than air mattresses. Air pads are thin sleeping pads used in camping that are compact, have a light weight, and are easily transportable. 


Self-Inflating
Sleeping Pad

thermarest inflatable sleeping pad

Air Sleeping Pad

FEATURES

R-Value

✅

Adjustability

✅

Ease of Use

✅

Packability

✅

Weight

✅

Durability

✅

Price

✅

✅

BEST USES

Car Camping

✅

Backpacking

✅

Family Camping

✅

Air vs Self Inflating Sleeping Pads: Features

R-Value
Winner: self-inflating sleeping pad

In our air vs self inflating sleeping pad comparison, the self- inflating sleeping pad had a higher R-value than the air mat. Self inflating sleeping pads have a foam inside, which expands when air is added to the inside of the pad. This foam is open-cell foam. It offers much more insulation than an air pad. 

Air pads don't have this foam inside, they are hollow. We inflate air pads manually and while they offer insulation to our body. Also, it is often smaller than that of a self-inflating pad. There are some deviations in this rule, especially for more expensive models of air pads. 

girl showing comparing sleeping pads

Adjustability
Winner: Air sleeping pad

Air pads are easily adjustable to your needs when sleeping, regardless if you want a stiff or soft sleeping surface. You can deflate and inflate air pads to your liking. 

Man Laying On Sleeping Pad

Ease of Use
Winner: Self-Inflating Sleeping pad

The self-inflating sleeping pad will self-inflate. You should fill it up with a few breaths to be ready for the night. The air mat works differently. You have to open the valve and manually inflate the pad.

We believe the self-inflating pad is easier to use than an air mat. The self-inflating seeing pad is much easier to open and sleep on. You can unroll the pad, open the valve and wait. 

rolling slef inflatng sleeping pad

Packability
Winner: Air pad

Both the air and self-inflating pads offer packability. The air pad can be compressed to a smaller volume. The reason behind this is the fact that air pads don't have any foam inside. Unlike the self-inflating pad, which is harder to compress since their foam is thicker. In this case, the air pad is the winner, with a smaller packed size. 

packed camping gear

Weight
Winner: Air pad

The winner of the weight section is the air pad. Its build has made it very light to carry. That's why we recommend this type of pad for backpackers, thru-hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts that need a light sleep setup. 

air pad in tent

Durability
Winner: Self- Inflating Sleeping Pad

Both air and self -inflating sleeping pads leak once punctured. This is because the self inflating pad has foam inside, which holds air much longer than the air mat. The air mat will deflate the moment we puncture it, while the self-inflating pad will deflate a small amount but not fully

In terms of durability, the self inflating pad is our winner. It will keep you insulated and not leave you without a place to sleep during the night. 

Camping Pillows on a sleeping pad

Price
Winner: it's a tie!

Self-inflating sleeping pads, as well as air mats, come at the same price. One can find an air bed at a cheaper rate, but if you are looking for something durable that will offer you insulation during a cold night, you should look for intermediate price ranges.

The same goes for self inflating pads. You can find both cheap, medium-priced, and professional sleeping pads. If you are a beginner, both a cheap air pad and self inflating pad will come at the same price. 

Air vs Self Inflating Sleeping Pads: Best Use

Car Camping
Winner: Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad

You must look for a way to relax during your summer camping trip. Are you also looking for a way to feel you're sleeping in your bed while in the tent? An self-inflating pad is the best choice since it gives the most comfort.

Self-inflating sleeping pads are easily adjustable to your body and sleeping needs. That is why we recommend a comfortable sleeping pad for your next camping trip. 

car camping

Backpacking
Winner: Air pad

Do you want to fill your backpack and head out to find the perfect camping place? You will need a backpacking sleeping pad for your backpacking trip. Since a self-inflating sleeping pad can get on the bulky and heavy side, an air pad is the best option. 

These pads are easy to install and very light. What a backpacker might appreciate the most is how small the packed size of the mat can get. Since it holds no inside layers of foam, the air pad is very easy to break down and roll up. 

backpacking

Family Camping
Winner: Self-Inflating sleeping pad

When camping with your family, you want to look for a cushioning sleeping pad. The best idea is to use self-inflating sleeping pads, and let your kids enjoy their time in the tent. Air mats are great options for camping, but they can be loud and easy to puncture. This is not a good option for camping with kids. 

Family on Sleeping Pad Kamui Outdoors

Our Choice: The KAMUI Sleeping Pad

If you are looking for an self-inflating sleeping pad, we manufacture a great option for you. It's affordable and great for almost any kind of camping. Also, if you are family camping, you can clasp it together with other pads to make a bigger sleeping surface. If that still doesn't make it for you, you need to know that it holds an R-Value of 5.7, perfect for even winter camping. 

In the end, it's up to you to choose the right option for your needs, in this air vs self inflating sleeping pad choice. The KAMUI sleeping pad will surely satisfy your camping needs. 

comparing KAMUI Air vs self inflating sleeping pads
comparing KAMUI Air vs self inflating sleeping pads

Conclusion

In the end, make your own choice of what best suits you: air vs self inflating sleeping pads? We hope our article helped you make your choice and find the best match for a sleeping pad for you. We wish you happy camping!

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