After a long day of hiking and exploring nature, and perhaps a good hot meal by the campfire, there’s nothing more relaxing than retiring to your tent and falling asleep on a nice camping air mattress to the sound of the wilderness around you.
As experienced campers can tell you, and amateur ones might guess, a good night’s sleep is important to start the day off right, especially if you plan on partaking in tiring activities. To this end, you should only sleep on the best air mattress for camping!
Read on to learn more about camping air mattresses and our picks for the best ones on the market.
Our Top Picks for Camping Air Mattresses
Coleman Quickbed Airbed
Coleman Quickbed Airbed
The Coleman Quickbed Airbed is my top pick for best air mattress for camping because it has great features, thousands of amazing reviews, and an incredibly affordable price that’s hard to find in other camping mattresses.
- Antimicrobial and velvety-feel sleeping surface
- Factory-tested airtight system
- Comes in three different sizes
- Much cheaper compared to other camping air mattresses
- At least 5 pounds, depending on the size
Best for Couples Camping
Intex Dura-Beam Standard Single-High Air Mattress
Going on a camping trip with your hubby? No problem! The best air mattress for camping for you both is going to be the Intext Dura-Beam Air Mattress. Its almost-ten inches of luxury will ensure you a good night sleep before any long day of romantic adventures!
This air mattress doesn’t include a pump, so you’ll need to purchase one that runs on electricity if you’re campground or car camping. If you’re backpacking overnight, bring a battery-powered pump.
This air mattress weighs six and a half pounds when deflated and rolled up, so if you’re hiking a ways to reach your campsite, bear this in mind!
- 9.84 inches thick
- Ideal for camping in campgrounds or car camping
- Velvety surface for sleeping
- On the heavier side, at 6.5 pounds
- Pump needs to be purchased separately
WEY&FLY SUV Air Mattress
Whether you want some more glamping vibes for you and your partner or just want extra room, consider this WEY&FLY SUV Air Mattress. It takes car camping up a level, but it can also be used for tent camping.
There are four inflation chambers that allow you to inflate one side for single-person camping (either the 40% side or the 60% side) or both sides for couples. This allows for a variety of seat configurations in an SUV.
This air mattress is double-sided, so you can have the light or dark side facing up — your choice! There’s also a nifty two-layer inflation valve with a large valve for quick inflating and a black gasket valve used to replenish air when there’s been some deflation.
Be aware that this isn’t a waterproof, or even water-resistant air mattress. It also weighs eight pounds when deflated and rolled up, so it’s hefty to pack it into a remote campsite.
- Three different inflation options
- Two-layer valve for inflation
- Heavier, at 8 pounds
- Not water-resistant
Hikenture 4 INCH Thick Self Inflating Sleeping Pad
Organizing a backpacking trip and simply don’t have room for an external pump for a traditional air mattress? Then let me introduce you to this Hikenture Sleeping Pad.
With a 9.5 R-value, its four inches of thickness provide the perfect insulation for camping in all four seasons. It’s covered in a poly-spandex material which is not only soft but also makes very little noise when you move during the night. The pad can also hold up to 600 pounds.
The Hikenture Sleeping Pad works great for car camping or campground tent camping. But because of its size and weight of 8.82 pounds, it’s not an ideal choice for overnight backpack camping trips.
- High R-value for winter camping
- Soft, quiet fabric covering
- Convenient carry bag
- Expensive for a single-person-sized pad
- On the heavier side, at nearly 9 pounds
- Not for backpack tent camping
Camping Air Mattress Buyer’s Guide
Still overwhelmed by all the options? With all the products on the market, I don’t blame you. Here are some more things you should consider when deciding how to choose the best air mattress for camping for you!
Type of Camping
As with all camping gear, the most important determining factor is the intended use for said gear. In regards to a camping mattress, be intentional about picking one that fits your typical camping situation best.
For example, are you a one-night camper or a long backpacking trip sort of camper? Does your typical campsite usually exist close to the parking lot where you park your car? These questions should help guide you in choosing the right weight and packing shape of your best air mattress for camping.
If you’re a car camper, then the weight of your deflated air mattress won’t matter that much because the car will be doing the heavy lifting. But if you’re camping trip is itinerant and all on foot, then how heavy and small the air mattress packs suddenly becomes a make-or-break it feature. It certainly can’t take up your entire backpack!
Size and Shape
The size and shape of the air mattress aren’t just important in terms of its transportability but also what it means for the mattress when it is inflated. To begin with, you’ll need an air mattress long enough for your entire body—it’s no fun to sleep with your feet sticking out at the end!
Secondly, the shape of the mattress will be determined by whether you’re sleeping on your own or perhaps with a partner. If you usually camp with your partner, you might want to consider getting an air mattress for two to save the hustle of having to set up two single air mattresses.
Last but not least, in regard to size and shape, think about how big or small your tent is. You want to make sure your best air mattress fits inside!
Since we’ve already discussed the importance of considering an inflatable air mattress’ weight when it is deflated and needs to be transported, this section is actually to remind you to check the air mattress’ weight guidelines in terms of your own body.
If you’re on the heavier side, make sure to find out the weight limit to ensure that you’re buying a product that works best for you!
The matter of the mattress’ thickness is completely up to what you prefer (and, of course, what can fit into your tent).
If you’re more the glamping type of camper, than you’ll probably prefer a thicker air mattress that seems more like a real bed—these tend to be more padded and cushioned. If you’re fine with more rustic, down-to-earth camping, then you’ll probably be ok with a thinner version, self-inflate air pad.
Though we tend to think about warmth in relation to blankets and not mattresses, different types of air mattresses have different types of insulation, which determines how much coldness you might absorb from the ground beneath you.
Think about the kind of sleeping bag you’ll be using and how much of your warmth depends on the air mattress instead.
Keep in mind that the warmth from the insulation of an air mattress is measured on a scale of zero to six in R-value—the lower the R-value, the less insulation you can expect.
You should always consider the material that makes up any product you buy. Most air mattresses are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC is durable, easy to make, inexpensive, and waterproof, but also bad for the environment. PVC is made of petroleum, which is made from fossil fuels, which means it virtually never biodegrades.
Additionally, some people are allergic to phthalates, which are contained in PVC.
If you have concerns about the environment or potential allergic reactions, you should keep an eye out for the best air mattresses for camping made with thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). TPU is still very durable, not chemically treated, and is a bit easier to recycle, which means it’s more allergy friendly and less bad for the environment.
The camping air mattress industry still has a long way to go, however, because it remains pretty difficult to find air mattresses without PVC.
As mentioned above, traditional inflatable air mattresses have different inflation methods.
The cheapest and most rustic air mattresses need to be inflated using your breath, like a balloon. Thicker air mattresses require a pump: some models include the pump, and others need to be purchased separately.
Air pumps could be built into the air mattress or included externally and might be compatible with more than one air mattress.
Electric air pumps are great because they inflate air mattresses quickly, but it’s not a sustainable option for campsites without outlets (which is most of them!). In that case, you should opt for a rechargeable, battery, or hand air pump.
Ask yourself the following questions to figure out which inflation method is best for you: Will I mind carrying around an external pump? Would I prefer to spend ten to fifteen minutes physically blowing up an air mattress? Will a battery-powered air pump last me for my entire trip?
I always include this category because it’s easy to forget about your budget in the excitement of shopping for your next camping trip. Like most things, you usually get what you pay for, and camping air mattresses can cost anywhere between $20 to $300 plus.
Take a look at the reviews to make sure you’re getting the bang for your buck both if you decide to treat yourself with one of the more expensive air mattresses or if you decide to take a risk on a cheaper option.
In general, the more money you pay, the more features are included.
Different Types of Air Mattresses for Camping
As with all camping gear, air mattresses come in different shapes in sizes. Though it might seem overwhelming, this is good news for you because it means that with a little research, you can find your best air mattress for camping that fits your specific needs.
Let’s take a look at two broad categories:
Inflatable mattresses are your good old air mattresses that need to be manually inflated, meaning you’re doing all the work. Within this category of air mattresses, you’ll find ones that you need to inflate by physically blowing into a valve as you would a balloon; and ones that require an air pump and avoid you the headache.
As you might imagine, the camping air mattresses that you need to blow up using your breath are usually pretty thin, whereas the ones that come with pumps are thicker and more heavy-duty.
If the air pump runs on electricity (and not battery), you’ll need an outlet to inflate your air mattress. Inflatable air mattresses are convenient because they take up very little space when deflated, but they are less durable than air pads.
Self-Inflate Air Pads
If we’re being honest here, self-inflate pads aren’t 100 percent air mattresses because they are also filled with open-cell foam (and pad is in the name instead of mattress), but I’ve included them because they are related. In self-inflate pads, the open-cell foam expands when you open the self-inflate air valve, and the chamber fills with air to provide further support in addition to the foam.
To pack the pad up again, you reopen the valve and squish the pad into whatever shape it needs to be to fit into its bag, squeezing the air out as you go along.
Self-inflate pads are valued for their comfort, warmth, and durability. They’re called pads instead of mattresses because they’re a cross between more basic foam pads and actual inflatable camping air mattresses.
Keep in mind that whether you choose an inflatable mattress with a hand pump, or a self-inflate, or any other camping air mattress, you will usually get to choose from different sizing options to accommodate one or two sleepers and their height and weight.
Now Go Pick Your Own Best Air Mattress for Camping!
Camping air mattresses are a perfect option for those of us that love camping but not so much the sleeping on the ground part. Needless to say that an air mattress, no matter how thin, will always be more comfortable than sleeping directly on the hard earth. In other words, it’s a great compromise between your bed at home, and the most primitive of campsites!
We hope you’re now confident to go out there and find the best air mattress for camping for you!
For help choosing other items for your camping trip, check out the Camping Gear page on our website for more guides and recommendations.
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
Margherita Bassi is a freelance writer, journalist, and editor. She grew up between the US and Europe, and nurtured her love for nature and the outdoors in both countries.
In the US, she went on dozens of RV trips with her family, scouted out the best restaurants in every city she visited, and learned how to grow herbs and veggies of all kinds by watching her mother.
With an MA in International New Media Journalism, Margherita is also a skilled researcher in a wide range of topics, and has extensive experience interviewing both individuals and experts.