When you lose sleep, your brain doesn’t function the way it should — a good night’s rest is essential for a clear mind. According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health), the structure of the brain is in a drastically different state during sleep, helping you to store memories and clear out toxic molecules that are developed throughout the day. This is why investing in the right gear for peaceful sleep is critical for anyone, and this goes for sleeping gear for camping, too.
What you’ll need for your expedition is a comfortable, durable camping air mattress so you can sleep peacefully under the twinkling night sky. Of course, there are other factors that go into getting restful sleep, but having a homely air mattress will help prevent you from tossing and turning all night. So you can spend more time absorbing the wonders of nature, we’ve decided to gather the best camping air mattresses available on the market right now.
Air Mattress vs. Air Pad
The Fine Line
Terms for inflatable sleeping squares for camping can get a little complicated, so let’s clear things up a bit, shall we? On your search, you’ll probably run into the terms air mattress and air pad quite often, as they are used interchangeably at times. Air mattresses and air pads are very similar, and there are plenty of gray areas in comparing the two options. In general, a camping air mattress is a larger option with more cushion. An air pad (or sleeping pad) is usually a smaller variation and is typically constructed for one individual. When you think of a mattress, you usually picture the one used in your bedroom, so we’ve made an effort to gather options that are larger or thicker. Air mattresses are also referred to as air beds, so we’ll be using those two terms in this guide.
What To Look For
When you’re shopping for a quality camping air mattress, you should know what you’re looking for. Otherwise you’ll be overwhelmed by all the features and may end up dropping dollars on one you won’t be happy with when you’re ready to “catch some z’s” after a long day of hiking. To make your search easier, we’ve put together a short guide on what to take note of when you’re looking for the air bed of your dreams.
Obviously, comfort is the number one aspect you should consider when choosing a camping air mattress. However, comfort is subjective, so you have to analyze what the term means to you. Some people like to sleep on a firm mattress, others want a cloud they can sink into, and everyone else falls somewhere in between those two preferences. Unless you can kick off your shoes and test the mattress at the store, you’ll want to check if you can adjust the firmness of the mattress. You should also consider the materials and topper of the air bed. Note that you can also place a sheet over the mattress for extra softness.
Sure, you’ll have an insulated or goose down sleeping bag with you, but your air mattress should also provide warmth. The thermal properties of a camping air bed are typically overlooked, but they should be considered because your body weight will compress the heat out of your mattress. Don’t forget to check out the R-value of the mattress you’re considering. The larger the R-value the more efficient the air bed is at insulating against cold and heat. In freezing temperatures, everything counts, so make sure that you get the appropriate air bed for cold-weather camping.
Setting up camp is important, but it’s a task most don’t enjoy doing. Unfortunately, there isn’t a magical button for popping everything out in one swift motion. Nobody wants to spend precious time outdoors blowing up an enormous camping air mattress when there’s adventure waiting. Make sure the air bed is self-inflating or comes with an air pump. You also want an air mattress that’s easy to roll out and pack up. When you’re at the store, you can ask an associate they can demonstrate the air bed’s ease of use.
You want an all-around winner when you’re looking for the perfect air camping mattress. That means you should be able to use it no matter what the season or activity so you can just pick up and leave for those spontaneous trips. Can the mattress fit into a carry-on? Is it great for car camping, tent camping, and backpacking? Is it large enough to accommodate a few people comfortably? Try and look for an air mattress that checks off as many factors as possible.
Self-Inflating vs. Air Pump
Which Type Suits You Best?
Unless you want to give your lungs a workout, the two types of camping air mattresses you should consider are self-inflating ones, or those with air pumps. We’ll shed some light on both versions so you can choose which type is right for you.
A self-inflating camping air mattress is typically designed for single-person use. This type of air bed is convenient because all you have to do is unravel it, kick back while it expands on its own, and then close the valve when it’s done. You can adjust the air pressure for comfort by squeezing out air after it’s fully inflated or by blowing in air through the valve to make the mattress more firm. If you decide to blow air with your own lungs, keep in mind that moisture from your breath may accumulate and freeze the inside of the mattress if it’s cold enough. Under freezing temperatures, this type of air mattress might inflate slower.
There are a variety of air pumps for air beds, including hand, foot, and battery variations. Many camping air mattresses come with their own air pumps, but you can get a high-end version if you want a more efficient device or need one to use as a back-up. Battery-driven air mattress pumps are convenient because they require little to no work on your end, but when you’re out in a remote area, you can never rely solely on technology. Hand and foot pumps take more effort, but they will save you money, weigh less, and aren’t reliant upon a source of electricity. Keep in mind that air camping mattresses inflated by pumps tend to be larger.
Air Mattress Lineup
For Your Consideration
Now that we’ve gone through all the information and tips you need to know before choosing a camping air mattress that’s right for you, it’s time to take a look at our picks. We’ve chosen air beds that we’d want to use ourselves on a camping adventure. Some are a better fit for certain seasons, but most will do well year-round. There are a few single-person air mattresses on the list, but many of them are built so they can be connected to form a larger sleeping space. Take your time while looking through the list and choose a few that best fit what you’re looking for.
Coleman SupportRest Double High Airbed
If you’re looking for a cushiony camp mattress you can sink into, the Coleman SupportRest Double High Airbed will feel like you brought your bedroom to the great outdoors. This leak-free camping air mattress is antimicrobial to resist mold and odor, has soft plush for a velvet feel, supports up to 600lbs, and has an ‘AirTight’ leak-free system. It also has a ‘PillowStop’ design to keep your camp pillow from slipping and fits standard queen-size sheets. For your convenience, it comes with a 120V pump for quick, powerful inflation.
ALPS Velocity Air Bed Queen
No matter if you’re using it for camping or blowing it up for guests in your home, the ALPS Velocity Air Bed Queen will get the job done. It’s made from a lightweight PVC-free 150D TPU Polyester Oxford fabric and a coil system for a durable, comfy sleeping area to rest without interruption. The air bed also comes with a rechargeable pump complete with wall charger and car charger so you can inflate the mattress in minutes. When you’re ready to pack everything up, deflate it with the pump and roll it up to place in the complimentary carry bag, and you’re ready to go.
Klymit Static Insulated Double V
With room for two, the Klymit Static Insulated Double V air mattress utilizes with lofted synthetic insulation to keep you warm during cold camp nights. It isolates warmer air and pushes it to the top of the mattress while the ‘V-Chamber’ design reduces the movement of air for incredible warmth during the night. Thanks to a patented V-shaped design, this mattress will provide you with unrivaled comfort no matter what position you sleep in and features side rails to help you stay centered. The antimicrobial sleeping air mattress also has flat inflation and deflation valves for easy set up, as well as a pump-integrated stuff sack.
Eureka Rio Grande Queen Air Bed
According to Eureka, their Rio Grand Queen Air Bed simulates the comfort of sleeping at home. As part of Eureka’s ‘Camp Comfort Sleep System,’ this mattress utilizes an environment-friendly TPU welded construction, and is built with everything you need to have a peaceful night’s rest. It has a revolutionary internal stabilization system to keep you steady, non-slip ‘Stealth-Grip’ to keep you in place throughout the night, a large inflate/deflate valve, and an integrated raised pillow. The camping air mattress also comes with a 120V AC + 12V DC rechargeable pump so you can get it ready in no time.
Therm-a-Rest DreamTime Mattress
As the name promises, this Therm-A-Rest air mattress will send you to dreamland with ease. The Therm-A-Rest DreamTime Mattress is made for the outdoors with its premium foam core comfort, providing excellent warmth and support. It also sports a modular protective cover you can remove and wash after every trip. The 2.5-inch self-inflating mattress has an R-value of 6 for solid heat during cold weather. You can use this air mattress in the back of your pick-up truck or inside a camping tent for portable comfort.
Nemo Roamer Self-Inflating Mattress
Take the comfort of your home to the backcountry with the Nemo Roamer Self-Inflating Mattress. The thick, lightweight camping air mattress is a go-anywhere option made with soft 50D stretch fabric for a plush surface and bottomless feel. You can toss this open-cell foam mattress in a tent or on gravel without a change in its comfort. It has two zero-profile valves for custom inflation, along with a one-way dump valve for quick deflation so you can pack up and scoot out without wasting too much time. It also includes toggles so you can connect two of them together to make a queen-sized mattress. And with a lifetime warranty, you’ll be ready for plenty of camping trips.
Exped MegaMat 10 LXW
Constructed to withstand temperatures as low as -54.4°F with an R-value of 9.5, the Exped MegaMat 10 LXW is perfect for your basecamp. Although it’s not as lightweight as other options, this self-inflating 3.9-inch 3D air mattress will provide you a level sleeping surface and boasts amazing comfort. It comes with a smart pack sack with a height-adjustable roll top bag equipped with a carry strap and a repair kit in case of an emergency. For luxury comfort in the great outdoors, the MegaMat 10 LXW is your best option.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Dream Mattress
Indulge in the best sleep you’ve ever had on a camping expedition with the Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Dream Mattress. This air mattress features a rich three-layer system, a plush cover, and a one-inch thick foam pillow. It provides solid insulation without being bulky and a removable, washable cover so you can clean it easily between trips. You can even connect two of these together with the integrated straps to create a larger sleeping space. It comes with the ‘NeoAir’ Torrent pump and has an R-value of 2.6, making this ideal for spring or summertime camping.
REI Kingdom Insulated Sleep System 40
You can rough it during every activity on a camping trip, but sleeping shouldn’t be one of them. The REI Kingdom Insulated Sleep System looks like it belongs in a bedroom, but it’s built for backcountry adventures. It has an R-value of 3.6, which means it can withstand temperatures down to 40°F and has a quilted mattress cover for a soft, cozy feel that’ll help you melt into dreamland. It also has a quilted top-sheet attached to prevent drafts during chilly nights. The synthetically insulated mattress comes with its own hand pump and storage bag for easy transportation.
Big Agnes SLX Tent Floor Pad
Cover your tent floor with the Big Agnes SLX Tent Floor Pad and transform it into a full-fledged bedroom. The extremely comfy air mattress is built with double ripstop nylon, improving durability by 25% when compared to standard air mattresses, aviation grade TPU lamination, and ‘WRM HL,’ which is high-loft synthetic insulation, providing you with amazing warmth without the bulk. The antimicrobial mattress also has a quilted top, a minimal offset ‘I-Beam’ construction for stability, and large outer chambers to keep you in the center throughout the night. And with two high-volume valves, you’ll be able to inflate and deflate this air mattress with ease.
The Complete Guide To Dispersed Camping
Now that you’ve picked up a cozy camping air mattress, it’s time to educate yourself on the abundance of available camping spots. Check out our complete guide to dispersed camping to explore some natural campgrounds.