A foam pad is a type of sleeping pad available for camping, hiking, backpacking, hunting, etc. One of the more basic sleeping pads, foam options come in open and closed-cell options. Both are inexpensive and lightweight in addition to providing quality insulation.

Open-cell foam pads don’t insulate as well as their closed-cell counterparts, but allow for water absorption. Closed-cell foam pads aren’t as bulky as open-cell options, and are more durable. Because they’re thinner, they roll up into convenient, compact bundles. However, they don’t provide the same amount of cushioning, and are a bit stiff. If you prefer hard mattresses, you’ll probably like closed-cell foam pads.

Easily the least expensive of all the sleeping pad varieties, they tend to work well on backpacking expeditions because they’re so lightweight. They also provide decent insulation, making them a viable option for year-round camping. And because foam pads are so cheap, they make excellent “starter” sleeping pads. You may also combine them with other sleeping pad options to create more insulation, or use them as a backup should one of your other options rip.

Whatever type of sleeping pad you decide on, know they’re great things to have when out in the big, wide open!