The Cabela’s Ultralight Air Pad is a lightweight entry-level air sleeping pad that is great for backpacking or camping. It has a simple but effective cushion design that is 2.5-inches thick. Better yet, its regular price is just $59.99, making it one of the best overall sleeping pad values available today.
Cabela’s provided us with a review unit to get us a closer look at the company’s new sleeping pad, so we promptly took it backpacking. Most other sleeping pads in this weight and durability range cost significantly more but only shave a handful of ounces off the overall weight (which is why the Cabela’s Ultralight Air Pad also makes our Best Sleeping Pad list).
Here is what we learned about the new Cabela’s Ultralight Air Pad.
Cabela’s Ultralight Air Pad Review: The Specs
The Cabela’s Ultralight Air Pad comes in two sizes, regular and large.
The regular is 23” x 72” which makes it about three inches wider than most other ultralight “regular” size sleeping pads. If you’re a bigger backpacker or camper, you’ll appreciate the extra three inches in width. And its weight? Just 18.5 ounces.
The large is much bigger — 30” x 78” and it weighs in at 1 lb. 14.5 oz. While it’s possible to take the large backpacking, the width could create a problem in your backpacking tent. In addition, the large is nearly two pounds, which makes this version best suited to car camping. Still, it’s very roomy for a lightweight camping air pad, and it’s a good choice for someone who wants room to sprawl but doesn’t have a lot of cargo space to spare.
What about insulation? The R-Value is just 1.2, which means this pad is best suited to warmer weather camping unless you have some other insulation from the ground or take it camping and are using a thick sleeping bag.
For backpacking use, the regular size in the summer months will work for most people in most places as long as they have a backpacking sleeping bag rated to a versatile 20-degrees or so.
The Cabela’s Ultralight Air Pad has another handy feature — particularly for new backpackers and campers who might be hard on gear: It’s made from a relatively thick 75-denier polyester. Many lighter sleeping pads will drop down to 30-denier in order to save a few more ounces. The risk is that they’re more susceptible to punctures or tears. If you go camping or backpacking with dogs that might trample over your pad, 75-denier is worth the extra weight.
If you do end up needing to repair it, Cabela’s sends along a patch kit, which fits inside the included stuff sack. The overall size of the regular air pad rolled up in the stuff sack is about 7.5” x 3.5” — less than the size of a standard 32 oz Nalgene water bottle. So it’s totally packable for backpacking.
Any cons? Two of our backpacking testers appreciated the comfort of the Cabela’s Ultralight Air Pad while using it in the Eagle Cap Wilderness area in Oregon, but they also commented on the noise. The fabric of the pad makes a bit of a crinkly noise as you roll over on the pad. For tame sleepers, it didn’t seem to cause much concern but when one sleeper tossed and turned while testing a home-made ultralight backpacking quilt that left her chilly, her partner — and another backpacker in a nearby tent — noted that the Cabela’s Ultralight Air Pad made more noise than most other air pads in camp. The takeaway? If you’re a wild sleeper or have a sensitive partner, we’d probably steer you toward a more expensive (but quieter) sleeping pad. Check out our guide to the best sleeping pads for more detail.
All-in-all, the Cabela’s Ultralight Air Pad in the regular size is a great new entry in the backpacking sleeping pad category. It offers a fantastic blend of comfort with durability and it comes in at a price point that makes it especially competitive for backpackers on a budget. Better yet, it’s light enough that you can ignore the extra few ounces compared to more expensive sleeping pads while you bank your savings to spend on other lightweight gear.
Get the Gear:
- Cabela’s Ultralight Air Pad – Regular & Large