Best Kids Camping Sleeping Pads

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Do you love camping but tend to avoid it because your kids have issues sleeping through the night? I know that this can be a significant issue for many families, but buying one extra piece of camping gear can be a complete game changer.

If you plan on taking more camping trips with the family, you will want to ensure that your kids are comfortable. However, for most, just a sleeping bag won’t do. Kids can struggle to fall asleep on the tent floor, making the trip more challenging.

Luckily, sleeping pads can make it more comfortable for young ones to fall asleep. Before you pack for your next camping adventure, you will want to make sure you have one of the best sleeping pads for your kids.

In my experience, these small pads make a world of difference during the night. The following is everything you will need to know about buying a camping pad for kids.

What is a Camping Sleeping Pad?

A sleeping pad is almost like a portable mattress. They offer support, cushioning, keep you off of the ground, and can provide insulation for more warmth. These pads are lightweight and allow you to place a sleeping bag on top of them. Since most use air, they deflate for easy storage and transportation too.

tent camping pad

When do Kids Need a Sleeping Pad?

These sleeping pads are so helpful to have. We have a set for our kids that we use for camping. If your child has trouble sleeping through the night, they will likely be in a bad mood the next morning. These pads help keep them comfortable so they can get enough sleep.

lodore camping

I’ve noticed that while my youngest kids don’t need a pad for comfort, starting at around age 3-4, kids sleep better when they’re on a camping pad.

I would recommend parents have a sleeping pad ready if you spend your camping trips in a tent. If you have any light sleepers in your family, you will notice a difference the first time you set out the pad.

Will a Camping Pad Keep Kids Warmer While They Sleep?

An insulated camping pad for kids will help keep them warmer through the night, since they cool ground won’t come in direct contact with their sleeping bag. Some kids camping pads are uninsulated, or very lightly insulated, allowing air to circulate under the sleeping bag. These camping pads kids use will tend to cool them down.

When you’re trying to determine how to keep your kids warm enough while they sleep, here are a few things that you need to consider:

  • Is your child naturally warm or cold. Kids who are naturally warm need less insulation to keep them warm while camping.
  • What will your kids be wearing while they sleep? If you are trying to keep kids warm while camping, have them wear wool socks, insulating base layers (or fleece pajamas), and a knit hat to sleep in.
  • How warm is your child’s sleeping bag? We notice that kids stay comfortable in their sleeping bag about 10 degrees above the lowest temperature rating. That means that a kid will stay toasty down to 40 degrees in a 30 degree sleeping bag.
  • How insulated is the child’s camping pad? The more insulated a camping pad, the warmer it will keep your kids while sleeping.

Do Kids Sleep Better With a Camping Pad?

In our experience, they certainly do! Our kids fall asleep faster since the pads keep them off of the ground, which can be uneven or a little rocky when you sleep in a tent. If your kids are restless in a tent, these pads are cost-effective- especially when compared to upgrading to a camper. Your kids will get much better sleep with these handy items.

baja camping kids

Are There Downsides to Sleeping Pads?

There are not many downsides. Overall, I would have to say that they are just another camping item to buy, remember to pack, then set up in your tent. You can find models that do not take up too much space, although sometimes they can be annoying to fiddle with. There are plenty more positives than negatives when it comes to sleeping pads.

What to Consider When Buying Sleeping Pads For Kids:

Camping Pad Insulation

If you are camping in a tent, you will probably be familiar with the cold that can travel through the ground at night. I recommend that you use a camping pad with insulation features. It stops the cold from reaching your kids, helping them stay warm and comfortable while they sleep.

Camping Pad Weight

If you like to travel light like us, you will want to consider the sleeping pad’s weight. It’s another piece of equipment to pack and carry around as you travel, so you will not want it to be heavy. Super lightweight pads tend to be expensive, but the cost is much lower in a child’s size.

Camping Pad Length

And finally, you want to be sure your kid will fit on the sleeping pad well. You will want to consider the length of the pad. Plus, kids grow quickly. If you want to use the pad for a few years in a row, make sure you get it a size or two larger.

Top Camping Sleeping Pads For Kids

Rei Co-op Kindercamp Sleeping Pad For Kids

Best for ages 3 – 9

This sleeping pad comes with all the same features as an adult pad, in a smaller size. It is 1.5 inches thick and only weighs a little more than one pound. The pad inflates itself, making it very convenient to use.

The Kindercamp sleeping pad is designed with cored foam, which is very insulated at a rating of R 4.5. The material is also waterproof and durable, making it perfect for kids. Once you have the pad set up, its dimensions are 60 x 20 x 1.5 inches. That makes it a perfect size for most children.

Features We Love About the REI Kindercamp Pad

  • Self inflates and deflates
  • Well-insulated
  • Comes with a storage sack
  • Waterproof
  • Easy to clean
  • Lightweight

What We Aren’t Crazy About With the REI Kindercamp Pad

  • Nothing! It’s a great size for most kids.

Klymit Static V Short

Best for ages 2 – 6

The brand states that the pad is designed to provide support for all types of sleepers. Whether your child sleeps on their back, side, or stomach, they should be comfortable. Plus, the design is made to hold in air, even if it is under a restless sleeper. You probably won’t need to inflate it during the middle of the night.

This model is very lightweight, as it is only 14 oz. When laid out, its size is 50 x 23 x 2.5 inches, making it perfect for young children. The company even offers a lifetime warranty on the item, which I appreciated.

However, I do wish that this option had more insulation. It has an R-Value of 1.3, which is not that much. Still, it will keep your kids comfortable and off of the ground. I would not recommend it for use during the colder months, though.

Features We Love About the Klymit Static V Short

  • Great size for young kids
  • Holds air well
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Great warranty
  • Self inflates and deflates

What We Aren’t Crazy About On The Klymit Static V Short

  • Not well-insulated

Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX Sleeping Pad

Best for all ages 

This model is somewhat well-insulated, lightweight, easy to inflate and deflate, is compact, and overall comfort. The best part is that it comes in six different sizes- making it easy to find one for your child, no matter their age. The smallest size is a 20 x 72 inch, but the largest goes all the way to a 40 x 72 inch.

You can use this sleeping pad with any sleeping bag that includes an integrated pad sleeve as an added benefit. This feature is super handy, as it prevents the pad from sliding away from your kid during the night.

The insulation is also decent, with an R-Value of 3.2. It could be higher, but this amount is still perfect for camping through the spring and some of the fall. However, the biggest downside to this product is the cost. It is more than twice the price of other options on this list. Still, it is a quality made sleeping pad.

Features We Love About The Big Agnes Sleeping Pad

  • Comes in sizes for all kids
  • Comfortable and durable
  • Easy to inflate with inflation sack

What We Aren’t Crazy About

  • The price

ThermaRest RidgeRest SOLite Sleeping Pad

Best for all ages 

This is our go-to sleeping pad for when we take younger kids backpacking. It’s super lightweight, and even though it doesn’t roll up especially small, it actually makes young kids feel like they’re really involved in carrying their own weight.

This sleeping pad is a great alternative to air-filled pads and comes in a short length for kids. You can find a small, regular, and large size on the website. We would recommend the small and regular for kids, with most young ones needing a small. Older kids could benefit from the regular, depending on their height.

I love the unique design of this sleeping pad. It uses your own body heat to keep you warm and is extremely durable.

The sleeping pad has an R-Value of 2.1, which is decent. However, since it can trap your body heat, the pad would still be great for kids to use in the fall. I would not recommend this for winter trips, however. Finally, the price is amazing for the quality you get.

We’ve had this pad for over 20 years, and it still works great.

Features We Love

  • Unique insulation system
  • Very light
  • Easy to transport and store
  • Cost-effective

What We Aren’t Crazy About

  • Reflective coating can wear off with time

Coleman Youth Self-Inflating Camp Pad

Best for ages 2 – 9

The Coleman Youth Camp Pad is made from high-quality materials, ensuring that it lasts. The brand says that this sleeping pad is durable and easy to store and transport on your trips. Its dimensions are 21.5 x 7.75 x 1.75 inches, which would be perfect for young kids.

I appreciated that this pad does not need a pump to inflate or deflate; it handles all of that on its own- saving you a lot of effort and time. Plus, it is a really great price for what you get. The sleeping pad is also lightweight, only weighing about 1.6 pounds.

However, it still seems to be a bit bulky when deflated. That may make it more difficult to pack when you already have a lot of equipment to carry.

Features We Love About The Coleman Camping Pad

  • Good price
  • Great size for young kids
  • Durable
  • Self inflates and deflates

What We Aren’t Crazy About

  • Bulky when deflated
  • Short, kids may grow out of it fast

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