Using Yoga Mat as Sleeping Pad for Camping? Here’s What We Think About That!

You’re heading out on a family camping trip soon, and you want to save some money on a sleeping pad. What’s the next best thing to sleeping pads? You thought of a yoga mat. In this article, we will talk about using a yoga mat as sleeping pad.

woman on yoga mat doing yoga

Can I Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad? 

No, you should not use your yoga mat as a sleeping pad. A yoga mat and a sleeping pad may appear similar at first glance, they are not the same thing.

These items serve very different purposes. One is intended for exercise while the other is specifically designed for sleeping.

We would not recommend using your yoga mat as a sleeping pad. We will now share all of the benefits of using a sleeping pad over a yoga mat on your next camping trip.

Reasons Why You Don’t Want to Use a Yoga Mat

You don’t want to use a yoga mat on your next camping trip for several reasons, and these are:

  • It won’t help to keep you warm or provide cushioning.
  • Your yoga mat might be in pretty rough shape after a camping trip.
  • They’re not designed to hold up to the elements.
  • Your yoga mat is simply isn’t designed for sleeping on it.
mats rolled up

Here is what sleeping pads have to offer:


Yoga mats do not provide any insulation. Sleeping pads provide insulation from the ground. The cold ground pulls heat from your warm body. Ultimately, sleeping pads act as a protective layer between you and the ground.

A sleeping pad’s ability to resist heat transfer is measured by R-value. The higher the R-value, the warmer you’re likely to be while you are sleeping. It’s tough to say what the R-value of a yoga mat would be since it isn’t designed for sleeping.


Your yoga mat is comfortable for a meditation session or a yoga practice, but a full night’s sleep is not comparable to this. Sleeping pads utilize foam and/or air chambers to create space between your body and the ground. This space provides cushioning and support throughout the night.


Sleeping pads come in different sizes to account for different body types. This helps all people to find comfort in their outdoor sleep system.

Length and width are the most common sizing features people look for in a sleeping pad. They also come in different shapes and have customizable firmness. This allows you to customize your sleeping pad to your body and what you find comfortable!

sleeping in tent on sleeping pad


A yoga mat might roll up and be portable enough for a quick trip to the studio, but it’s no good for camping. Sleeping pads are designed to be packed up and moved from one location to the next in a timely and space-saving fashion. 


There’s a reason you don’t wear sneakers on your yoga mat. It’s not durable enough to withstand the stepping and sliding of your sneaker. This is why it’s not designed for the wear and tear of the outdoors either.

Sleeping pads are designed for the outdoors. The materials they are made out of are durable. Most inflating sleeping pad exteriors are made of highly resistant Ripstop nylon or polyester.


The ability to control the air pressure inside of your pad can help to create a more comfortable sleeping space. Adjusting the firmness of your camping mattress is something you can’t find with a yoga mat.

woman with mat in park

How to Find the Right Choice of Sleeping Pad?

Several types of sleeping pads are suitable for a camping trip. We have a detailed article that will help you choose the best sleeping pad for your camping and travel needs. The three most popular options are listed below:


Self-inflating sleeping pads are popular camping mats for front-country camping and backpacking. They’re thick and comfortable while maintaining packability. The simple design creates a comfortable outdoor sleeping experience through its use of open-cell foam. The foam alone is comfortable, it expands when the valve is open as it pulls in air. 

We have a great self-inflating sleeping pad here at KAMUI. It has the perfect combination of heavy-duty and travel-friendly. Our self-inflating sleeping pad includes the following features:

  • 2” Thick
  • 3.5 lbs
  • Water-Resistant
  • Heavy Duty
  • Polyester Fabric
  • Storage Sack & 3 Compression Bands
  • Stackable
  • R-value of 5.7
KAMUI sleeping pad in tent

Air Mattress

An air mattress is a great option for people who will be car camping. Air mattresses are incredibly comfortable and come in many different sizes. They’re larger and heavier than a traditional camping mat which makes them tough to carry for a distance.

Air mattresses require a pump to fully inflate. This pump will plug into an electrical outlet which will then allow you to inflate your mattress. If your front country campsite doesn’t have an electric hookup, you can use your car or truck if it has a power outlet in it.

Dog on Matress

Closed-cell foam

A closed-cell foam mat is an ideal sleeping pad for thru-hikers. They’re nearly indestructible, inexpensive, and incredibly light. This makes them a great option for backpackers looking to hike many miles at a time, otherwise known as thru-hikers.

These camping mats are made of dense foam filled with tiny closed air cells. They can roll or fold up in a “Z” formation for storage and travel.

What Can I Use Instead of a Sleeping Pad?

What could I use in place of a sleeping pad when camping? You have a few options, which include:

Camping Cots

camping cot, or a camp bed, is a portable, lightweight bed. Camping cots elevate you off the ground. Your surface is softer and often wider, creating a better sleeping platform. Being raised off the ground prevents the ground from stealing your heat, making a camping cot even more comfortable.


Many campers today choose to swap their traditional tent for a hammock setup. It’s often the lighter option and requires less equipment overall. Your hammock, equipped with a bug net and rainfly, is lighter than a tent set up which requires poles and stakes.

Because a hammock is suspended from the ground, a sleeping pad is mostly not required. This makes hammocks a great option for campers looking for an alternative to a sleeping pad.

hammock in woods

Should I Use My Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad?

You should not use your yoga mat as a sleeping pad. It’s simply not your best option for a good night’s sleep in the wilderness. Luckily, multiple camping mat options are both cost-effective and comfortable. We hope our article helped you in sorting your yoga mat as sleeping pad question out.

KAMUI Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad

  • Connectable with multiple sleeping pads
  • 4-season sleeping pad
  • Provides great back support
  • Comes with a storage bag
KAMUI Self-inflating Sleeping Pad Green with Blue variation