Best Camping Mattresses
A good camping mattress could make all the difference in the world. It could help you wake up peacefully, surrounded by the sounds of nature, or be the reason you feel exhausted. In order to choose a high-quality mattress, there are many factors to be considered. Some of them are highly durable but quite uncomfortable to sleep on. Others are comfortable, but not luxurious enough. I guess, in the end, it comes down to the question of Camping or Glamping?
Nonetheless, if you could obtain luxury at an affordable price and acceptable weight, why wouldn’t you? Believe it or not, there are some air mattresses that are as comfortable as your own bed. And while that comfort level is not exactly necessary when you are only away for one weekend, it would certainly be a nice option and a great addition to your camping gear arsenal. A comfortable camping mattress could set the tone for the entire journey and your whole family will feel the difference.
With that being said, we have reviewed some of the best camping mattress models on the market and have explored the pros and cons of each product. It is up to you to balance the price and features to find the on-the-go mattress of your dreams!
- SoundAsleep Dream Series
- Internal pump
- Lightspeed Outdoors
- TPU material
- Coleman Airbed Cot – Queen
- Side tables
- Quick inflation
10 Best Mattresses For Camping
SoundAsleep Dream Series
Thanks to the 40 internal coils the bed retaining its form during the night, you won’t wake up sleeping on the ground as it is the case with many competitive products. The advanced coil technology is allowing the mattress to stay flat and maintain its original shape.
The weight that this mattress can hold is 500 pounds, which is quite impressive comparing to camping beds of this price range. However, it owes its durability to the high-quality material used in the manufacturing process. It is composed of multiple layers in order to prevent punctures. This is making the camping mattress more resilient to rough rocky terrains.
Nevertheless, placing it on sharp objects and rocks is never a good idea. Also, the material is tough enough so that the inflation and deflation don’t cause wearing off or changing its properties at all. The bottom is reinforced with a waterproof piece of material which is also preventing it from slipping if you place it on an uneven surface.
This camping mattress comes with an integrated pump that is very easy to use and the inflation and deflation process will finish before you put on your pajamas.
- Internal pump
- Maintains its shape during the night
- Pump is a bit noisy
Lightspeed Outdoors Mattress
This is one of the rare models that has the quality of a high mattress with coil technology. However, its structure is a bit different. It has integrated connectors between the top and bottom layers which are responsible for keeping the mattress firm and maintaining the desired comfort level. The TPU material means that it has non-stretchy properties, which means that it will maintain its firmness during the night. And of course, now you can sleep calmly while your partner is fidgeting right next to you.
Polyester laminated with thermoplastic polyurethane makes this mattress incredibly durable. It is oil and grease resistant, strong, and can resist high abrasion.
It is lighter than most models on the market and it weighs only 6 pounds. This makes it perfect for camping since it is convenient for transport. The carrying case is small and compact and sometimes it might take you some time to fit it in. However, it will ease the transport if you need to carry it.
- Firmness stabilizer technology
- TPU material
- Extra comfortable
- Battery pump
- Low height
Coleman Airbed Cot
As far as support goes, there is no other mattress that will give you this feeling and a good night’s sleep. It feels very similar to domestic beds and the weight it can support makes it really stand out. It could hold up to 600 lbs which is quite impressive.
The steel construction is connected to an inflating mattress with a low height which you can choose to use separately or combined. Using it separately is only recommended indoors or with an isolation pad because the material is not as tough.
When the steel construction and the inflatable mattress are combined, they are very durable. The pump is also going to last you for a long time and you could use it for other purposes as well. It is included in the price of the mattress, but it is a battery one pump, so you will have to purchase the batteries separately.
The additional features include tables on both sides of the mattress where you can keep your phone, battery lamp or some personal items that you might need.
- Versatile design
- Inflates fast
- Has side tables
- Pump needs batteries
- The material could be a bit tougher
Exped Comfort Megamat 10 LXW
It is interesting to sleep on a camping mattress that provides equal support at the center of it and on the edge. The fabric used in the production process is durable and very pleasant to the skin. It is also resistant to slipping so you are safe to use it on uneven surfaces.
The Exped megamat can be used hundreds of times without worry. In the rare event that something did happen to your mattress pad, a repair kit and five-year warranty are included when you purchase. Some reviewers complain about how long it takes to deflate. This just proves that you won't need to worry about air leaking out while you're sleeping.
The brand Exped is known on the market by the design of its valves. They have integrated into this mattress two valves which are flat. They are both one-way valves which means that one is responsible for the air to get inside and the other for deflating the mattress.
- 3D technology
- Durable fabric
- A bit on the expensive side
AeroBed Comfort Anywhere 18
This camping mattress is specifically designed to provide extra comfort to your spine by utilizing a layering option. There are two layers of mattresses that are combined together in order to increase the level of comfort.
This is lowering the waterbed effect and giving you the feeling that you are sleeping on an actual mattress. However, the comfort comes at a price.
Many people prefer purchasing a cheaper mattress option that they will replace a couple of times over the years over one highly durable mattress that will last you for years to come. If you are looking to change that, this camping mattress is the perfect place to start. It is versatile, durable and its quality won’t wear out with frequent use.
The bed comes with a headboard which is convenient for people who tend to push their pillows up. Although you might not feel this is necessary, it is more popular than you’d think. The inflation and deflation are of course fully automated and the process takes no more than 5 minutes. However, you would require a power source in order to plug the device somewhere.
- Quite comfortable
- Easy to get in and out of
- Decent adjustability
- Top is very slippery
It offers great support which is shown with its R-value. The R value is recommended to be higher when the temperatures are higher since, with a higher R-value, your mattress will resist the heat better. The insulation power will also be higher, although this does not guarantee that it will stay the same during the night. This camping mattress has an R-value of 11.4 which is much better than the average of 9.
The urethane foam core promises a durable, long lasting mattress. While the company has been around since 1972, this particular mattress is new and may not have been tested enough to truly report on years worth of durability.
Thanks to the core construction made of foam, this is a camping mattress which you would be able to use in all weather conditions. The foam will keep your body warm and it will serve as an isolation between the ground and yourself.
The sleeping space is also about 20% bigger than the average size of such mattresses, and this definitely increases the comfort. The inflation and deflation is controlled by the valves on the top which are tightly closed and don’t leak air.
No air leakage
- Not convenient for rocky terrain types
REI Co-op Relax Air Bed
At this moment, this mattress is on sale online at REI, for $30 less than usual. Snag one while you can!
It provides a great support and it is able to maintain its firmness during the night. In fact, it is able to maintain the comfort level for the entire weekend so you probably won’t have to additionally inflate it. It will prevent sore muscles in the morning since the R-value is pretty high and the firmness it could reach is great.
This mattress is made from PVC-free thermoplastic polyurethane. Whether using this mattress for sleeping or as a low sofa in the daytime, you will not need to reinflate. The strong material of this mattress will stay firm for days (or nights) on end.
Even though the mattress is in top shape, the pump does not follow its lead. It is a bit louder than expected and it takes a bit longer to get the job done. It is also manual with 1 way valve which is able to inflate your mattress only. It is up to you to take care of the deflation process.
- Highly durable
- Great R-value
Low quality pump
Smaller than advertised
ALPS Mountaineering Rechrageable Air Bed
As far as comfort goes, this is somewhere in the middle. It's a typical air mattress so you're not looking at anything fancy. However, the design is comfortable and the rechargeable pump battery ensures that even in the middle of the woods, you'll never find yourself with a deflated mattress.
This is one of the few PVC air mattresses on our list. There is some speculation of PVC being toxic, but nothing solid yet. However, PVC is the strongest plastic, therefore, making this a very durable mattress.
Pump, Pump, and Pump. If you often find yourself with a dead pump battery this is for you. You can be out in the middle of nowhere, yet still be able to top off your air mattress with air before bed. The construction of the bed makes it a little bit heavier than others for carrying, but it's not outrageous and might be worth it for the added benefit of a working pump.
- Soft Flocked top for added comfort
- Highly portable
- Rechargable battery pump
- Solid coil design
- Easy to use
- Only single height mattress
Intex Classic Downy Mattress
This Intex mattress can comfortably support up to 600pounds. It's soft surface and official Queen size make using a fitted sheet simple. If you don't mind a bit of bounce, this mattress will work well for you. You may be able to feel the movements of your partner, but you will otherwise feel very comfortable.
To be honest, you get what you pay for. This mattress is about 1/5 the cost of other mattresses on our list. The reason for its low price lays in the durability of the product. If you are looking for a comfortable sleep for the weekend and know that you may not get many more uses out of it afterward, this may be the product for you. Although if you take good care of it, it will last you for years. If you want it to last, some reviews suggest using a pad underneath.
The top of the mattress is covered with a waterproof material which makes it ideal for a camping trip in wet conditions. It is light enough to be moved from one place to another. In fact, you would feel perfectly ok carrying it to your campsite for a couple of hours. Its case is small and compact and when inflated the mattress doesn’t look too bulky. It is the ideal choice for a two-person tent.
Inflatable pillows included
Shorter lifespan than other mattresses
Intex Cozy Kidz Inflatable Airbed
Transporting this is easy at a light 4.21 (Lbs)
This will support a child's weight up to 200 (Lbs). A pillow is built into the product for ample head and neck support.
Many people are surprised by the durability of this mattress. It is strong enough for inside and outside use, and some have even used it as a make-shift crib mattress while traveling. We all know how tough a child can be on toys and mattresses, but this one seems to stand up to them.
This inflatable mattress is good for camping or as a put-me-up at home if your child has a friend sleep over. The surface area for sleeping is flocked to ensure a gentle contact with the child's skin. Even better, is the built-in pillow, so you have one less thing to carry. This mattress is also available in a nice range of kid appealing colors. This is a single bed model, with dimensions of 34x62x 7inches.
Easy to transport
Nice choice of colors
Not for children under 15 months of age.
Here Are The Main Things We Looked At
Since most of our suggestions are air mattresses because they really are the best choice on the market, we are mainly going to focus on explaining the features they possess.
A high-quality mattress should be able to support your body by distributing your body weight evenly and prevent lumps from being formed. This is a quality which is pretty difficult to find and if you do manage to find a model that possess it, it will come at a higher price. Such a model would have a net of air coils that are well distributed and as many as possible. These internal chambers would contribute to the comfort of the mattress and they could count as high as 30. If you are looking for a double bed, it is recommended that you do not even look at the models that are without internal chamber system. If they don’t possess this feature, your partner and you will end up cuddling all night. This might not be such a bad thing if you are the cuddling type, but if you are not, definitely go with the coils.
Inflation and deflation process
If you are looking for a single sized mattress you might manage without a pump. However, anything above that size would greatly require a pump that will take care of the inflation process. If you blow it with your mouth it would take about half an hour to get it fully inflated. If you, however, have a pump at your disposal, it only takes 1 minute and you don’t even have to get yourself involved in the process. However, a pump requires that you are camping near an electricity source or at least camp with your vehicle nearby. Most pumps come with a car charger, so this is one way to go.
The tricky part is that once you manage to inflate the mattress to the desired level of firmness, it should stay that way during the night. However, with air beds, this almost never happens. Over the night, the temperature outside is not constant. In fact, it greatly differs. For this reason, the air inside the mattress is spreading or shrinking depending on the temperature. This causes that the mattress gets more inflated or deflate itself. The only way to prevent this is by purchasing a mattress with an inflation control system. This system is measuring the pressure inside and it is maintaining the desired level. This way, you are able to sleep on your mattress and not wake up in a hole in the morning.
Another thing is that when using an air bed, always make sure that the valves are tightly sealed. This will prevent air leaks and it will decrease the temperature deflation.
The weight is an important factor to consider if you are not located right next to your vehicle. A mattress should be light enough so that you could carry it in your backpack for at least an hour without getting too tired from the hike. The size also matters. It shouldn’t be too bulky since it would take too much space in your trunk. Instead, it should come at a compact size that you are able to carry with ease. If you have the luxury to sacrifice this factor, you might end up with a cheaper, but a mattress with the same quality.
Even though the height of a camping mattress is a factor often disregarded, it is sometimes a crucial one. The air acts as an insulation between yourself and the ground underneath you. If you are looking for a mattress that you will be able to use all 4 seasons than it is recommended that you get a higher camping mattress.
The reason for this is simple. The higher the mattress, the more isolation you have. In the summer, this might mean that you won’t feel as hot as you normally would. However, in the winter, this might be the only thing preventing you from catching a cold. Higher mattresses are also recommended for older people or people who have physical troubles getting out of the bed.
On the other side, a lower height mattress will be much easier to fit into small space, such as a two-person tent. Since we are on the subject, it is important that you measure the tent’s size before purchasing your mattress, since it might not fit.
Other Important Things To Think About Before Buying
Needless to say, the mattress should come with a warranty. The warranty time varies from one brand to another. However, if it is not at least one year, it is not a recommended model. There are warranties for the pumps as well regardless of whether you have purchased it separately or it came together with the mattress.
This subject is always open for a debate and experts don’t agree on only one solution. In fact, their opinions are divided between sleeping on an air mattress that provides your body with a soft support and flexibility or a hard pad surface that is similar to the ground, the natural firmness our bodies should experience.
However, there are those who believe that an air mattress is even better from a regular mattress because it is providing your body with the perfect alignment while you are sleeping.
Types of camping mattresses
There are several types of mattresses that could be used for camping. Some of them are more comfortable and some focus on the weight as their main feature. If you are camping with a tent, the size and mattress dimensions will be of great significance to you. However, if you are an RV camper you might as well take your domestic bed with you. Nevertheless, that type of camping will not be discussed in this buying guide. We will focus on sleeping on rock hard rough terrain that will make your sleeping least possibly comfortable.
Mattress for a caravan
If you are camping with a caravan you probably have enough space for storage and gear packing. For this reason, no caravan camper is going to focus on the size of the mattress. In fact, foldable or inflatable camping mattresses would be redundant in this case since you would be paying for a feature that is of no good use to you. For this reason, the best choice for this type of camping is the foam mattress that is filled with high-density material that is providing the comfort. Needless to say, it comes double size and its flexibility is down to a minimum. This means that if you need to fit it into a tent or other type of small space you could be able to manage it by folding it in half, but that is as flexible as it gets. These mattresses don’t come at a high price, but they do need replacing after a while because the foam is a material that tends to pack down, therefore, the support it provides significantly decreases over time. Nevertheless, they are pretty comfortable and they are as close home bed option as it gets.
The self-inflating mattresses are often promoted as 4WD inflating mattresses and they are often used for camping. However, due to the lack of comfort, they are only being used for shorter camping trips. They are often confused with the classic pads that are considered as pads more than mattresses. They have a specific design that is making them different than any other type of mattress on the market. The self-inflation is supported by the valves which are usually located at the bottom of the mattress. The basic principle of how they work is in the rolling. When you roll the mattress the air inside is pushed and directed toward the valves. When the mattress is placed in a horizontal position, the valves are open and it self-inflates. Their main downside is that the rolling part is a bit more difficult than promoted and it requires some skills. It is also a bit bulkier version than other types of mattresses and a bit heavier. However, the biggest concern regarding the mattress is the storing part. It is important that you store such a mattress with open valves in order to prevent further expansion of the mattress. Nevertheless, they are quite comfortable, come at a relatively low price and they are very durable since they are made from a thick PVC material.
Blow up mattresses or otherwise known as air mattresses are the best way if you have limited storage space. They could be deflated into small dimensions and stored in a convenient place. The material they are made of defines their quality. Latex or nylon are the most frequently used materials in the manufacturing process and the thickness of the material varies from one brand to another.
Not rarely, they are used as spare beds, so you get a double use with this type of mattress. Air beds have only one valve comparing to the self-inflating ones. Even though it is possible that you blow it with your mouth, this is not recommended because of the bacteria that grow inside if you practice such method. For this reason, most air beds come with pumps which significantly shortens the blowing process. If you decide to go for this type of mattress, make sure you check if the company offers a pump since there are those who sell it separately from the product.
The downsides of these mattresses include air leakage which is quite common as well as variations in the firmness of the bed due to temperature changes. However, the firmness could be adjusted with the valve. It is also important to mention that air mattresses are not suitable for rocky surfaces since they are highly vulnerable to sharp object punctures. Even though every air bed comes with a patching kit, it is certainly not a quick process to repair a leaking hole. So if you happen to notice it in the middle of the night, you would probably not get enough night sleep.
This is not a too comfortable option, but it is the fastest and the cheapest one to use. Stretchers are a type of camping beds that are made from an aluminum frame that holds the mat structure. The mat is made of polyester and it is very tightly attached to the aluminum construction making it possible for a person to lie down. However, they usually don’t have a foamy surface which lowers the level of comfort. Nevertheless, they do have their advantages. They are perfect when you need to be isolated from the ground because of low weather temperatures, muddy terrains or wet grounds.
Q: How does an air mattress work?
A: As you can notice from the suggested products, as well as the previously explained features that a mattress could possess, there are several types of mattresses and each one works on different principles. For instance, the self-inflating mattresses are working together with a valve, or several valves, that are responsible for the inflation and deflation process. Since they are self-inflating, the air is pretty much sucked in or thrown outside through the one-way valve and you are good to go.
However, the self-inflating mattresses are much different than the ones that require a pump to do the inflation and deflation process. These camping mattresses come with a pump or it is sold separately. However, you cannot inflate the mattress without one. The pumps could run on batteries, which would additionally require that you purchase batteries, or they could work with a power source. Regardless of the power source type, the pump will take care of the inflation and deflation process for you and it will only take about five minutes. Although this is quite impressive, remember that the pump is adding extra weight which is not too pleasant if you should walk to your campsite.
Q: What is R-value of a camping mattress?
A: Simply put, R-value represents the capacity of the mattress to be inflated to the maximum. This means that some mattresses have the possibility to be more inflated and have a firmer surface and others are not recommended to inflate as much and they provide a softer, less comfortable support. The higher the R-value, the more insulated/thermal resistant the mattress is. Depending on the climate where the mattress will be used, your sleep can be interrupted by an unstable temperature inside the air mattress. If the ground is extremely cold, or hot, a low R-value will not keep you from feeling these effects. An R-value of 1 is fine for summer, while an R-value of 5 or higher is recommended for winter or extreme cold. All in all, the higher the R-value, the better is the camping mattress.
Q: What to look for in a camping mattress?
A: The most important features you should consider are the R-value, which is explained in the previous question, the size and height of the mattress and whether it can maintain the level of firmness that is promoted. Some mattresses come with great R-value and non-stretchy materials but over the night, their firmness changes.
This is because of the variation of temperature and it is normal for most mattresses. However, there are those who have a stabilizer integrated inside and it is constantly measuring the firmness of the mattress. Once it gets the desired support, the pump is activating and the re-inflation begins. However, in order for a mattress to possess such qualities, it is important for it to be made from non-stretchy materials such as TPU.
Q: How comfortable are the camping mattresses?
A: This is a popular question but varies from person to person. Just like taste buds, we don’t all love the same mattresses. Comfort is person specific. Browsing this list, you will see a range of mattresses from firm to cushiony soft. I personally prefer a soft mattress, while my partner prefers firm. To please us both, we each have our own twin size mattress and push them together when we sleep. Through research and a bit of trial and error, you will find which style gives you the best nights rest.
Q: If my camping mattress is self-inflating, should I add extra air?
A: This is a practice that most campers ignore, which is why they will need to throw away a perfectly good mattress after a while. Experts suggest that you sustain yourself from this desire. By blowing into the mattress with your mouth, you are introducing bacteria and moisture inside the mattress. This could cause moisture freezing and could cause you to feel extremely cold while sleeping in low temperatures. Even worse, you could even grow mold inside the mattress. Needless to say, there is no way of getting the mold out, so you would be stuck with the burden of buying a new one, or sleeping on a smelly old mattress. If you insist on adding extra air, it might be worth it to you to buy a hand pump. This is much safer and saves you time and energy.