Can You Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad? – 4 Pros and Cons

Can You Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad?
Can You Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad?

Yoga mats are a great buffer between you and the ground when you use them for their intended purpose. This may make them seem like they’d be useful as a sleeping pad while camping. 

In this blog article, we seek to answer the question, “Can you use a yoga mat as a sleeping pad?”

Also, many people have yoga mats at home, so it seems like a free/cheap, and convenient alternative to a sleeping pad.

Unfortunately, using a yoga mat as a sleeping pad is not recommended. Yoga mats are not thick enough to cushion you throughout the night and lack insulation. It’s only wise to use a yoga mat as a sleeping pad when it is thick in a warm climate.


Why You Shouldn’t Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad – Can You Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad?

Yoga mats are impractical compared to sleeping pads, even if they don’t sound too bad. The comparisons below should explain why using a yoga mat isn’t a great idea.

#1. It’s Uncomfortable – Why You Shouldn’t Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad

Yoga mats are hard, shock-absorbing foam pads designed to be used for an hour or so. Sleeping pads are much softer and suitable for use for longer periods. Their thickness is one reason that they work well for sleeping.

Average sleeping pads are around 2.5 inches thick, although some get up to 3 inches and beyond.

The thinnest sleeping pads you’ll find are an inch thick—but these aren’t comfortable, they’re not recommended for long-term use, and they’re really only a budget option.

In comparison, the standard thickness for a basic yoga mat is one-eighth of an inch. The thickest yoga mats are around a quarter of an inch thick. 

If an inch-thick sleeping pad is uncomfortable, then a quarter-inch yoga mat will definitely hurt.

#2. It’s Not Insulated Enough – Why You Shouldn’t Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad

Yoga mats aren’t insulated. This means they’re only suitable for summer camping.

The ground gets cold once the sun goes down, and your body cools naturally when you’re sleeping, too. The ground also absorbs most of your body’s heat, lowering your temperature further.

Good sleeping pads are designed to trap heat. They hold it close to your body and stop it from disbursing through the tent’s floor and into the ground below.

#3. They’re Not Compact – Why You Shouldn’t Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad

Some of the best sleeping pads are inflatable, so they’re easy to keep small and folded up when you’re traveling.

In comparison, yoga mats are huge. Most of them roll up into thick, long tubes. Their subpar performance and their bulk make them more trouble than they’re worth.

Closed-cell foam and self-inflating sleeping pads are also bulky, but at least they’re supportive and insulated. If you buy something bulky, then buy something bulky and comfortable.

#4. They Can Be Heavy – Why You Shouldn’t Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad

Most sleeping pads weigh under a pound or at least under two. Some premium, pricey pads can weigh up to 6 pounds, but their performance usually makes them worth their weight.

Thick yoga mats can weigh up to 7 pounds; unfortunately, their performance doesn’t make them worth it. 

The lightest yoga mats weigh around two pounds, and they are usually yoga mats designed for traveling. They’re ultra-thin and offer no support or insulation for sleeping.

Camper’s Opinions – Can You Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad?

Anyone who’s used a yoga mat as a sleeping pad will tell you that bad idea. Even people who haven’t tried it recommend that you never try it, either–look at this Reddit thread, and you’ll see what I mean.

That said, yoga mats are usable. They offer a small buffer between you and the ground, and they’ll absorb shock if you move a lot while sleeping.

It’s better to buy a sleeping pad if you have the choice, but if you already own a particularly thick yoga mat, you could try sleeping on it for a night to see if you’re comfortable.

However, ensure you only try sleeping on a yoga mat in warm temperatures. Even if it’s thick, it’s unlikely to be insulated well enough to help you retain your body heat while sleeping.

This video should help if you sleep on your yoga mat, though.

What Type of Sleeping Pad Should You Use? – Can You Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad?

You need a sleeping pad when you go camping, but you’re not stuck with just one option. There are a few types that you might like to consider.

#1. Closed Cell Foam Pads – What Type of Sleeping Pad Should You Use?

Closed-cell foam pads are the cheapest of the bunch and cost between $30 and $40—a little more than a thick yoga mat does.

They fold into a tube shape like yoga mats, but they’re lighter and tighter-rolled, so they feel less bulky and weigh less than a pound.

Because they’re so light, these are great for backpacking and hiking. You can attach them to the top or bottom of your backpack and get going. They also work well for first-time campers who don’t want to invest in a better sleeping pad.

This Redcamp sleeping pad is a good example of your average closed-cell foam pad.

#2. Air Pads – What Type of Sleeping Pad Should You Use?

Air pads take things up a notch. They’re more comfortable and compact, so they’re a little pricier. 

A basic air pad may only cost between $30 and $40, but a higher-quality, thicker one can cost $80 or more. 

This Powerlix sleeping pad is a good starter pad. It’s 3 inches thick and a great example of what you can expect from an air pad.

Air pads are great for all types of camping, and they work especially well for ultralight backpacking, given that they’re so light and compact. They can weigh up to a pound, sometimes a little over—the Powerlix is 1.32 pounds.

Rolled up, the Powerlix is around 11 inches long and 4 inches in diameter, about the size of a water bottle.

#3. Self-Inflating Pads – What Type of Sleeping Pad Should You Use?

With self-inflating pads, we’re really getting into luxurious gear. These pads work best for cars and regular camping trips, as they can get a little heavy. The one we’ll discuss today weighs 6 pounds, but it’s still lighter than the thickest yoga mats available.

Because of their convenience and comfort, these pads can get pricey. They can start off basic at around $40, but the better ones can reach almost $100! 

The only downside is that these pads are large. They’re often 25 inches long while folded up, so they’re not great if you dislike yoga mats for their bulk. However, if you were to choose between a 25-inch yoga mat and a self-inflating sleeping pad, I’d definitely recommend the pad.

The Invoker is one of the more luxurious self-inflating sleeping pads available. It’s only three inches thick, plush, insulated with a foam covering, and has a built-in pillow. It offers the most comfort that you’ll find with a sleeping pad.

Alternatives to Sleeping Pads – Can You Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad?

There are many ways to sleep comfortably in a tent. This article will give you an in-depth comparison of your best options, but for now, let’s briefly review some of the alternatives to sleeping pads.

#1. A Large Quilt or Comforter – Alternatives to Sleeping Pads

This alternative is only for people who a) have no other option and b) don’t mind transporting something huge.

I once used a kingsize comforter folded down to the size of a twin bed. It was thick, decently padded, and got the job done for the night.

This works well in an emergency, but if you want to transport it efficiently, you must vacuum pack it. That adds even more hassle.

#2. Sleeping Cot – Alternatives to Sleeping Pads

A sleeping cot is perfect for someone who wants to be off the ground.

These little beds fold up and are lightweight. But they’re long, so they don’t work well for backpacking. They’re not particularly padded, but they’re supportive, and they keep you away from the hard, cold ground.

#3. Thick Sleeping Bag – Alternatives to Sleeping Pads

A thick sleeping bag works well if you want something that’s highly insulated. They’re not hugely cushioned, but they’re soft, and they’re better than sleeping on a hard surface without a buffer.

Sleeping bags are excellent for staying nice and cozy and are particularly good if combined with a sleeping pad.

#4. Hammock – Alternatives to Sleeping Pads

Hammock – Alternatives to Sleeping Pads

If you’d like to sleep outdoors in summer, consider a hammock. Hang it low so that you’re just above the ground, and you’ll feel weightless while sleeping.

You can assemble a tarp over the hammock to protect yourself from the elements and wildlife, but the tarp won’t keep you safe from heavy rain. If you want to sleep in a hammock with a tarp, make sure it’s during a dry, warm period.

Pair your hammock with a mummy-style sleeping bag if you wish to sleep without a tarp or if you want to sleep outdoors in colder weather.

#5 Air Mattress – Alternatives to Sleeping Pads

Many tents give you specifications on how many queen-size air mattresses fit inside them at once. If you want something as close to a real mattress as possible, an air mattress may be your best choice.

But nothing is perfect. For most air mattresses, you must bring a separate pump, another item that adds to your already-long checklist.

Also, air mattresses are a lot more prone to accidents and punctures, that is, than the other alternatives listed.

Conclusion – Can You Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad?

Can You Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad?
Can You Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad?

Yoga mats aren’t good for sleeping on, but you’ll never be out of options for sleeping pads and their alternatives. If you own a quilt, you always have something to sleep on—as long as you’re okay with bulk.

So I’m sure you’ll find something that works for you. Just make sure you’re sleeping on something comfortable, insulated, and easy enough to transport for you.

Frequently Asked Questions – Can You Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad?

1. Is it Safe to Use a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad? – FAQs

Yes, it is safe to use a yoga mat as a sleeping pad as long as it is thick enough, properly cleaned and kept away from bugs or pests.

2. What Are the Benefits of Using a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad? – FAQS

A yoga mat can provide additional cushioning and insulation from cold conditions compared to just the ground. It is also lightweight and easily transportable, perfect for camping or backpacking trips.

3. Are There Any Drawbacks to Using a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad? – FAQs

The main drawback of using a yoga mat for sleeping is that it does not provide as much insulation from cold temperatures as an inflatable mattress. Additionally, if not properly maintained, the mats can become brittle and tear easily over time or when too much weight is applied.

4. How Thick and Long Should the Yoga Mat Need to Be For Sleeping? – FAQs

Generally speaking, most people find that anything between 1/8th inch and 1/2 inch thickness works well for a comfortable sleep on a yoga mat – though consider investing in thicker if planning extended trips in cold climates. In regards to length, look for something around 6 feet long, so you have coverage up your whole body without leaving any gaps exposed when lying down (if taller, remember to leave room for head/feet!).

5. Can I Use an Inflatable Mattress Instead of a Yoga Mat? – FAQs

Absolutely! An inflatable mattress provides far more insulation from colder weather than even the thickest mats plus, they’re easy to store due to their compact sizes when deflated [and] they’re incredibly comfy once inflated thanks to adjustable surfaces… meaning no more sacrificing comfort while camping!

6. Are Additional Accessories or Gear Required When Using a Yoga Mat as a Sleeping Pad? – FAQs

Not necessarily, but if planning extended trips into colder climates, then invest in some thermal blankets which can be laid onto mattresses to increase warmth retention – alternatively, those intending to pack smaller may wish to invest small lightweight tarp, which will help keep moisture at bay while providing some extra insulation against chillier nights outside!

7. Does the Type of Material Matter When Selecting an Appropriate Mat for a Sleeping Pad? – FAQs

Yes – always check labels before purchasing – generally speaking, look closed-cell foam mats that offer extra cushioning/support yet remain resistant to moisture and compressed over time as other styles tend to… Also, important, bear in mind specialized models are sold specifically outdoor use, meaning these often come insulated with heavier densities good choice if you plan to take longer hikes during colder periods year!

Ben Wann- Tent Camping Expert

My name is Ben Wann, and I’m a lifelong tent camper and backpacker who jumps on every opportunity to get out and enjoy nature! I created this site to inspire others to get outside and to make the process easier for you.