Hiking Sit Pads

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pink sit pad on lumpy rock

Sit Pad on Coal Dirt Mountain

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When your legs need a rest, there’s no need to punish your butt

A hiking sit pad is a great comfort on the trail — in the snow, when it’s wet, and even in the hot months when you get to a rocky summit, or just a rough patch.

A light, compact hiking sit pad means you can sit anywhere comfortably without getting wet or dirty — well, dirtier…

Frequently Asked Questions About Sit Pads

What Do You Sit On When Backpacking?

Some hikers pack small chairs or inflatable cushions. But a small hiking sit pad is ready-to-go instantly, and has no mechanical parts to break down.

What Are Hiking Sit Pads?

Any dry comfortable pad can be a hiking sit pad. You just need a soft layer — one that won’t absorb any moisture — between your bum and whatever you want to sit on.

Is a Sit Pad Worth It?

IMO, absolutely. I even keep a spare one in my laptop bag for cafés that only offer hard stools, and for plane rides in economy!

Below, you’ll find three great sit pad options…

Hiking Sit Pad Options

Therm-A-Rest Z-Lite Panels

Many hikers and backpackers cut the last two panels from their Therm-A-Rest Z-Lite and use them as a sit pad. I did this too.

  • Advantage: no extra cost if you already have a Z-Lite in your kit
  • Disadvantages: this shortens your expensive sleeping pad and, honestly, it’s kinda bulky — I don’t know your life but my ass is not two feet wide
yellow side of sleeping pad
2 sections of Therm-a-Rest Sleeping Pad

Compass included just to give you a sense of scale.

I now regret cutting down my fancy sleeping pad, especially since I found a much more compact solution…

Dedicated Hiking Sit Pad

I’ve used lightweight hiking sit pads on a number of hikes this year and I really love them. These pads weigh less than an ounce, and they’re much more compact than the Z-Lite option.

  • Advantages: very light, compact, colorful, cheap
  • Disadvantages: none!
blue site pad
Sit Pad

The pads I bought are sometimes out of stock, so here’s a similar hiking sit pad you can throw in your cart.

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Here’s my own sit pad on Coal Dirt Mountain on the Nun-Da-Ga-O Ridge in the Adirondacks. There was no boulder or log to sit on right here, and the ground was very lumpy. Sit pad to the rescue for a comfortable lunch break!

pink sit pad on lumpy rock
Sit Pad on Coal Dirt Mountain

And here’s the same pad at The Megaliths on Schunemunk Mountain which is an enormous outcrop of bare conglomerate rock that is not at all comfortable to sit on. Once again, sit pad to the rescue.

pink sit pad on bare conglomerate rock
Sit pad on Schunemunk Mountain

Free Hiking Sit Pad

For a while, I used the bad boy below. It’s just a sheet of plastic packing foam that came with a delivery to my home. I actually felt good using this, knowing the plastic was enjoying a second life before going in the landfill.

  • Advantages: free, extends life of existing plastic
  • Disadvantages: not as soft as a dedicated hiking sit pad, a bit bulky, a bit ugly
packing foam plastic
Packing foam plastic, so cheap!

I like these hiking sit pad options because, unlike chairs and inflatable pillows, they’re light and don’t require any set-up.

I hope this makes your next hike more comfortable.

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