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The 6 best sleeping pads for side sleepers

If you’re a side sleeper, you know it can be tough to find a sleeping pad that will keep you comfortable at night when you're camping or backpacking. The best sleeping pads for side sleepers feature several inches of foam or inflated support to relieve pressure on your shoulders and hips, so you’ll wake up feeling refreshed — not sore. Also important: Many sleeping pads are lightweight enough to tote comfortably in your backpack.

For side sleepers, the best sleeping pads will be on the thick side in order to keep your hips and shoulders from digging into the ground. This can get tricky if you're backpacking, since you'll have to balance thickness with weight considerations, but fortunately, there are many lightweight and inflatable sleeping pads for camping that provide a few inches of support without adding too much bulk to your pack. Of course, if you're camping in one spot (or camping in your car), weight is less of an issue, so it's not a bad idea to opt for a thick foam sleeping pad or even an inflatable car camping mattress.

Also, depending on how much you move around during the night, you may want an extra-wide pad or one with built-in side rails to keep you centered. Whichever style is right for you, these are the best sleeping pads to help keep you comfortable all night long.

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1. The fan favorite

Thickness: 2 inches

Weight: 0.91 pound (or 14.5 ounces)

What makes it great: With more than 7,000 five-star Amazon reviews, this insulated sleeping pad provides the right amount of support for side sleepers, without adding a lot of bulk to your backpack. The inflatable sleeping pad features weight-distributing interconnected air cells that adjust based on your sleep position, so your hips and shoulders won't hit the ground. Made with waterproof nylon, it's insulated for chilly nights, and since it weighs just 14.5 ounces — the lightest on the list — it's a breeze to pack and carry around.

One reviewer says: “I purchased this sleep pad for a 5 day trip on the John Muir Trail. It was lightweight and never deflated throughout the night. It’s as easy to deflate as it is to inflate. I’m a side sleeper and for the first time, I didn’t wake up with sore hips. Highly recommend to everyone.”

  • Available sizes: 75 x 23 inches

2. The lightweight hybrid one

Thickness: 3.1 inches

Weight: 3.07 pounds

What makes it great: For a cushier sleep surface, check out this inflatable Sea to Summit sleeping pad, which offers a generous 3 inches of cushioning. Made with soft polyester knit fabric and Delta Core foam, it provides plenty of support but is still relatively lightweight at just over 3 pounds. The pad is insulated to keep you warm on cold nights, and it also features a nonslip grip and a pillow lock to keep your sleeping bag and pillow in place.

One reviewer says: “I need a pad when camping. I sleep on my side and this pad was great for that, plenty of support. [...] I wouldn't go camping without it now.”

  • Available sizes: 67 x 21 inches, 79 x 25 inches

3. The extra-wide one

Thickness: 3 inches or 4 inches (depending on size)

Weight: Roughly 5.7 pounds

What makes it great: If you tend to shift from side to side throughout the night, this extra-wide foam camping mat is a great way to keep yourself from rolling onto the hard ground. Made from plush "FlexForm" foam, it equalizes pressure so that every part of your body — including the hips and shoulders — is supported. Insulated for warmth, the pad automatically expands when you unroll it, but you can also add a few breaths of air for extra support, and the straps make it easy to roll up and secure. It weighs just under 6 pounds and is fairly bulky, though, so it may not be the best bet for backpacking. Choose from two colors and two thickness options.

One reviewer says: “I am a side sleeper and I was very comfortable the entire time. [...] The extra width helped keep me in place and I never felt like I was going to roll off the side, or that my sleeping bag would slide off. It was actually just as comfortable as my regular bed, believe it or not!"

  • Available sizes: 78 x 30 inches, 77 x 30 inches

4. The one with side rails

Thickness: 2.5 inches

Weight: 1.5 pounds

What makes it great: Another great option for those who toss and turn, this ultralight sleeping pad features side rails that keep you in place — and off the ground. The unique V-shaped chambers provide extra support and alignment for all sleeping positions while also working to limit air movement and keep warmth concentrated at the top of the pad. At only 1.5 pounds, this is another lightweight, insulated option that's great for backpackers. The pad inflates in about 10 to 15 breaths, and it's available in four colors: orange, black, sand, and tree print.

One reviewer says: “Genuinely the most comfortable sleeping pad I've ever used. I'm a side sleeper, and I get a great night's sleep on it.”

  • Available sizes: 72 x 23 inches

5. The memory foam one

Thickness: 3 inches

Weight: 11.4 pounds

What makes it great: To make your sleeping bag feel more like your bed at home, opt for this memory foam sleeping pad. It features 2 inches of support foam and 1 inch of memory foam that contours to your body to support you while you rest. The pad rolls up easily with the included straps, but since this is the heaviest option on the list — 11.4 pounds — it's best for camping in one place. To help ensure you get quality sleep, it also comes with a soft washable cover, gel eye mask, and memory foam earplugs.

One reviewer says: “Amazing comfort. A bit bulky but worth the extra padding.”

  • Available sizes: 75 x 25 inches, 75 x 30 inches, 75 x 38 inches

6. The one for car camping

Thickness: 4.5 inches

Weight: 8.71 pounds

What makes it great: Easily one of the best car camping sleeping pads on Amazon, this inflatable mattress features five separate air chambers, and you can add air to each one on an as-needed basis or to fit your car's dimensions perfectly. The air mattress is easy to inflate with the included electric air pump, which plugs directly into your car outlet, and when it’s time to pack up, the deflated air mattress folds neatly into the included storage bag. The flocked top makes for a soft sleeping surface, and the waterproof bottom will resist damage from any accidental spills.

One reviewer says: “Works great. Fits fantastic in my mini van. My kids love it. It’s very comfortable. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for comfort for a long ride or camping."

  • Available sizes: 74.5 x 50.5 inches