How Much Air Should You Put in a Sleeping Pad?


Do you toss and turn all night, rolling off your sleeping pad? I could never seem to get comfortable on a sleeping pad. After years of struggling with dozens of inflatable sleeping pads, I was almost at the point of giving up and going back to my old foam pad.

I knew that something about my setup had to be wrong. After asking around and searching the web I finally figured out the problem. I was overinflating my sleeping pad which was forcing me to roll around all night. So how much air should you put in a sleeping pad?

How Much Air Should You Put In a Sleeping Pad?

How much air you need depends on the way you sleep. Side sleepers will need more air than stomach and back sleepers. Most people tend to overinflate their pads which ends up causing you to roll off.

I’ve found that the most comfortable position is when your butt is almost touching the ground. Once your bag is inflated lie on top of it and let out a little bit of air. The pad should conform to your body so your hips and butt dip down a bit.

Aim For 50-75% Full

Your pad should look like it’s about 50-75% full of air. Heavier people will need more air to keep their butts off the ground. I’ve found that it’s easier overfill your bag and slowly let the air out rather than trying to get it right as you’re filling it up. You almost have to go by feel to get that sweet spot.

You’re Rolling Off The Pad

Do you roll off your sleeping pad at night? This is a very common problem with a simple solution. First, you need to figure out what’s causing you to roll off the sleeping pad.

Check Out my post on other ways to stop yourself from rolling off a sleeping pad.

My Shoulders are Too Wide

Most standard sleeping pads are 20″ wide. These pads just aren’t big enough for most grown men. If you have wide shoulders you should purchase a wider 25″ sleeping pad.
Definitely go with the Large NeoAir Xlite(On Amazon) if you’re wide or tall. The extra 5″ of length and width makes a huge difference.

Rolling Off The Sides of My Pad

This is usually caused by a sleeping pad that’s overinflated. Just open up your pad for a second or two to let out some air. Sleeping pads are most comfortable when you sink down into the pad.

The Pad is Slippery

Buy a tube of Seamgrip(On Amazon) and put dots all over the top of your sleeping pad. One tube should be enough to cover the entire pad. Just make dab a dot every couple of inches paying special attention to the hip and torso area. Add a couple dots to the bottom so your pad doesn’t slip on the bottom of your tent.

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