When you are trying to get some sleep in the wilderness, there is no need to give up comfort and suffer through a rough night. All experienced campers and hikers know the benefits of using a sleeping pad to get the support for a good sleep. Unfortunately, for those among us who side sleepers, it seems they do not always work. The good news is, there is hope! With a few tweaks, you can find just as much comfort as a back or stomach sleeper while you are in the backcountry.
Side sleepers can face some discomfort when trying to spend a night in the wilderness.
- Sliding off your pad in the middle of the night
- Hips, shoulders, and elbows digging into the pad and touching the ground
- Waking up in pain the next morning from misalignment
Because side sleepers lay on either one side of their body and rely on their sleeping pad to keep them in place, unfortunately, many traditional pads simply will not cut it.
Finding the best sleeping pad for side sleepers is a task in itself, and there are unique features that one has to look for if this is your sleeping style. If you are someone who’s been searching for the best camping sleeping pad for side sleepers, we’re here to help. We can show you the features to look for that will make for a great night’s sleep and some other tips you can use to ensure you have a comfortable rest even if your preferred position is sleeping on your side.
The Best Option of Sleeping Pad for Side Sleepers
If you’ve ever tried to camp with a generic closed-cell sleeping pad you probably already know that they were not designed for side sleepers. At best, a basic sleeping pad provides a little comfort from the ground and maybe some protection from colder climates. If it’s luxury you’re looking for, you’re not going to find it with a generic sleeping pad.
Closed-cell foam pads are often thin, bulkier when rolled or folded up, and heavier to carry. Their thin separation from the ground does not benefit side sleepers. Self-inflating or air mattress sleeping pads are better for side sleepers and those looking to improve overall comfort.
The most common problem with sleeping pads is their thickness, and if you’re someone who sleeps on your side, then you will need something extra thick. Sleeping on your side means your hip, knee, arm, shoulder, and neck will all be touching the floor through your sleeping pad. Feeling the hard ground on your body like this will lead to a lot of pain and discomfort.
The inner material is also important because it not only provides a layer of comfort but also keeps you in place. It is a common occurrence for side sleepers who might find themselves rolling in the night. If you’re camping, the last thing you want to do is to roll off the pad onto the cold ground.
Although you want it to be thick and durable, you also need something lightweight that’s easy to carry, so you can see why it requires such a specific solution. Finally, you might even want your sleeping pad to be versatile enough to suit all kinds of sleeping solutions. Look for something that can do it all, like a hammock or setting up camp in your car.
A sleeping pad like the standard design from KAMUI offers all these things and is one of the best sleeping pad for side sleepers. The sleeping pad itself weighs 3.5lbs, it has a thick R 5.7 value, and it’s made with durable foam on the inside to keep you in place. These features let you carry a sleeping pad from one location to the next without adding too much extra weight to your pack.
The R 5.7 value means you are sleeping pad is on the thicker end, which is great for comfort and warmth. Having durable foam on the inside provides additional comfort to your sleeping situation. Plus, they are easy to stack and sometimes can fit together side by side for a wider sleeping platform. This sleeping pad has everything you need for a great night’s sleep outdoors.
Tips To Improve Your Sleep As A Side Sleeper
Many of us find great comfort in sleeping on our side, and the thought of laying on our backs conjures up an instant feeling of discomfort. If you’re a side sleeper, there are some things you can do to make your rest even better just by following a few simple tips.
Lighten Your Load
Choosing the best lightweight sleeping pad for side sleepers is important so that you are not straining your neck and back carrying it around. When camping, the goal is to pack as lightly as possible while getting the most out of your gear, so a light sleeping pad can help you get a good sleep at night.
Sleeping on your side is comfortable, and to make your night even more convenient you may place a pillow between your knees. If you’re camping and want to travel light, you could even roll up a piece of clothing and rest it between your knees to get the same type of support. Resting a pillow between your knees helps with spinal alignment and creates a more comfortable sleeping situation.
If you’ve ever slept all night on one side you might have noticed you feel a little numb in the morning. When you wake in the night, take the opportunity to switch sides so that you can give the other side of your body a break.
Use your backpack, or another large item, to provide support to your back when you sleep. Taking some pressure off of your hip and shoulder should help with comfort. Placing your backpack behind you, like a full body pillow, and leaning up against it will help reduce the strain on your sides.
Contour the Ground
What kind of surface are you sleeping on? If you’re sleeping on a malleable surface such as dirt or sand, try molding the ground to the curvature of your preferred side. It will provide support and alleviate any pressure you may be feeling while you sleep. Yet, If adjusting the surface is impossible, you may always try to support the natural curvature of your spine with items from your pack.
Choose The Right Pillow
Side sleepers require a much thicker, firmer pillow than those who sleep on their backs or stomachs. Choose one quality pillow to take camping and be prepared to carry a little more weight for all the comforts that it can provide. Having that support in the space between your neck and shoulder is imperative.
Proper Inflation of Sleeping Pad
If you are a true side sleeper, it might be worth it to purchase a thicker sleeping pad. We suggest this so that you could inflate your sleeping pad just below full. This will let your sleeping pad mold to your body better as opposed to being a flat surface your body has to contour.
Stack Them High
Do you have two thinner sleeping pads? Or maybe you purchased a new, thicker sleeping pad to accommodate your side sleeping, and you still have your older pad as well. Combine the two for additional comfort. Stack your sleeping pads to added warmth and thickness.
The Best Sleep System For Side Sleepers
Don’t slack on your choice of the sleep system. What you’re sleeping in or on makes a huge difference in comfort. The way that you sleep should influence what type of sleep system you choose to take camping.
The best sleep system for side sleepers is a hammock. As you hang between two trees in a hammock, the cloth contours the shape of your sleeping body, meaning that side sleepers don’t need to worry about trying to get comfortable on a hard, flat surface. Pressure points will become a thing of the past if you choose to hammock over tenting.
It’s important to note that you do need two trees within proximity of one another to use a hammock set up. If you are camping in an area that is short on trees, a hammock might not be your best option. If this is the case, we suggest you consider all the tips we’ve mentioned for you to improve your sleep as a side sleeper while in a tent.
Choosing The Right Gear For You
When it comes to camping or any other type of outdoor recreation, there’s never going to be a one size fits all approach. Each of us has unique needs for how we live, what we find comfortable, and the gear that we require. Doing the research and finding a piece of equipment that will make your outdoor experience as enjoyable as possible is a necessity.
Getting a good night’s rest is always important, but it becomes imperative when we’re camping. We use this time to rest up and recharge for the following day. Something as simple as adding the right sleeping pad to your campsite setup and following some simple tips for added comfort can pay off huge dividends in terms of comfort. Don’t settle until you’ve found the equipment that ensures you get a rest that’s just as good as the one you have in your bed at home.
Side sleepers certainly don’t have to give up their favorite style of sleeping. There’s no need to suffer from an uncomfortable sleep because of the uncomfortable pad. With the right sleeping pad that suits all kinds of sleepers, even those who do it on their sides, you’ll have the quality of sleep you deserve and need while you’re spending the night in nature.