Best Camping Mattresses
A good camping mattress could make all the difference in the world. It could make you enjoy your morning or feel exhausted all day. 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 enough luxurious. Still, who needs luxury when camping or backpacking?
Nonetheless, if you could obtain luxury at an affordable price and acceptable weight, 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 that necessary when you are only away for the weekend, it would certainly be a nice addition to your camping gear during the summer holidays. A comfortable camping mattress could set the tone for the entire journey and your whole family will feel the difference.
That said, we have reviewed some of the best camping mattress models on the market and we are pointing out the features and downsides they all possess. It is up to you to balance the price and features and find the model that best suits you!
Our Top 3 Picks
- Lightspeed Outdoors
- TPU material
- SoundAsleep Dream Series
- Internal pump
- Coleman Airbed Cot – Queen
- Side tables
- Quick inflation
10 Best Mattresses For Camping
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.
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
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
Coleman Airbed Cot
As far as support goes, there is no other mattress that will give you this feeling and good night’s sleep. It comes very closely to the domestic beds and the weight it supports is making 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 combined, the steel construction and the inflatable mattress, 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, 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 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
Serta Raised Air Mattress
It is convenient with this mattress that you could inflate it to your desired level and it has a stabilizer that will maintain the desired firmness for as long as yu want. This is done by including monitors inside the mattress that are constantly maintaining the pressure and dealing with its changes.
The whole process of inflation and deflation is fully automated and it is done quietly, and quickly. However, Serta mattress has one additional feature that other competitive models lack. It has a pump feature that allows the pump to be turned on off once the mattress is fully deflated or inflated. Although this might seem redundant it is a useful feature that will save your mattress from creating lumps due to your lack of attention or changing temperatures.
- Quiet inflation and deflation
- A pad is needed for increased warmth
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 water bed effect and you have the feeling like you are sleeping on an actual mattress. However, the comfort comes at a price.
The bed comes with a headboard which is convenient for people who tend to push their pillows up. Although you might doubt that this could happen to anyone, it is more common 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.
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.
- 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.
This is a camping mattress which you would be able to use in all weather conditions, thanks to the core construction which is made with foam. 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 – Queen
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.
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
Airlite Sleeping Mat
As far as comfort goes, this is an excellent example that if you must sleep on the ground it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. This mat is bringing the comfort with you on your camping trip. It provides a great support to your whole body and you are able to adjust the firmness to your own tastes. Even though this is not your home bed, it is quite comfortable.
The pump is not its brightest additional feature. Even though it comes with one, it is only a foot pump meant to prevent you from blowing it with your mouth and creating an infection for yourself. The deflation and inflation are with valves which are working perfectly. The mattress is made from high-quality fabric, Diamond Ripstop material which is known to prevent tearing. This would come handy if you are camping on rough terrains that include rocky sleeping surfaces.
- Great support
- Fast inflation and deflation
- Diamond Ripstop material
- Foot pump
Intex Classic Downy Mattress
The reason for its low price lays in the durability of the product. Although if you take good care of it, it will last you for years.
Although there are Intex mattresses that come with coil technology, this particular model comes with pillows that support your weight. This makes it less comfortable than the coil one, especially if there are two people sleeping on it. However, if you are a tight sleeper that doesn’t mind waving a bit, this is the perfect choice for you. You will be able to feel the movements of your partner but you will otherwise feel very comfortable. It has an internal pump which placed at the bottom of the mattress and makes the inflation process quick and easy.
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 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. However, if you want it to last, it would be wise to use it with a pad underneath.
- Coil technology
- Thin material
Criteria for Evaluation
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.
Support it offers to your body
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 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 sized 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 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 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 isolation 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 Factors To Consider
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.
Health benefits from sleeping on an air 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 deflatable 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
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 grows 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. They mat is made from 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 lever 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 them and each one work on different principles. For instance, the self-inflating mattresses are working with help of 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, they are much more 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 be on batteries which would additionally require that you get batteries or they could work with a power source. Regardless of the power source type, the pump will take care of this process for you and it will be over in about 5 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 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 below 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: Even though we all have a different perception of what comfort means to us, one thing is sure, if a mattress is comfortable, it is comfortable for everyone. The question is how high or low is the level of comfort. That said, there are some mattresses that are pretty decent rivals to your sofa or click clack bed. However, in order for a mattress to be more comfortable, its surface should remain flat and firm even though you’ve been enjoying spending the entire day in bed.
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 since by blowing it with your mouth you are introducing bacteria and moisture inside the mattress. This could cause moisture freezing, therefore you will feel extremely cold while sleeping on low temperatures or you could even help grow mold inside the mattress. Needless to say, there is no way of getting the mold out, so you would be stuck with a new old mattress!