Best Air Mattresses for Camping (2020): Reviews and Buyer's Guide

By Stephanie Janetos

When the lure of a long weekend sleeping under the stars calls to you, your sleep quality might not be your highest priority. But with the right camping air mattress or sleeping pad, you’ll wake up every morning of your camping trips ready to take on the day and enjoy your time in nature.

We’ll share our top picks for the best air mattresses for camping and then fill you in on everything you should consider when looking for the right sleeping surface to rest on under the stars.

Best Air Mattresses for Camping 

Whether you’re camping in your car, an RV, or a traditional tent, we’ve gathered the best of the best. Take a look at our top-rated air mattresses for camping below.

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SoundAsleep air mattress

Editor’s Choice

SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress with Eco-Friendly PVC 

This mattress is made with I-beam coils which add sleeper comfort and support. It is made of thick, eco-friendly PVC material, which is generally considered the most durable material for air mattresses. This mattress for camping comes in twin size or queen size. Standing at 9” high and weighing just over 13 pounds, this low-top mattress won’t take up too much space in your tent.

It takes about three minutes to inflate with the included air pump.The air pump is what makes it really special. It is battery-powered and rechargeable, and can be charged at home before your trip or recharged from your car. This makes the mattress ideal for trips where you might be away from electricity. The SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress also comes with a sweet 1-year warranty.

REI Co-Op Camp Dreamer Double Air Mattress

Best Luxury Option

REI Co-op Camp Dreamer Double Self-Inflating Deluxe Bed 

This is a truly luxurious, self-inflating pad for true luxury camping. It’s only 4 inches high, but still warm and comfortable with a foam core and separate valves so co-sleepers can each choose their desired firmness. It also has vertical sidewalls to enhance stability and is equipped with extra durability due to the welded side seams which will prevent air leaks. Finally, it comes with a compression storage bag to minimize its storage space.

Intex Dura-Beam Air Mattress

Best Budget Option

Intex Dura-Beam Standard Series Pillow Rest Raised Airbed w/Built-in Pillow & Internal Electric Pump 

With a weight capacity of 600 pounds, this queen-sized inflatable mattress is a great other for couples. It’s one of the most comfortable budget-friendly options available. Why? The flocked top stops sheets and sleeping bags from slipping when you move around in the night. It also stops heat-build up if you’re camping in hot temperatures.

Most importantly, this is a dura-beam mattress. That means it is constructed of internal chambers which separate the air, keeping it evenly distributed. This adds stability and prevents you from sinking into the middle of the bed. Finally, it inflates and deflates with a built-in pump, which you manually shut off when your mattress reaches your perfect firmness.

Klymit Static V2 Sleeping Pad

Best Value Option

Klymit Static V2 Inflatable Sleeping Pad

We love this sleeping pad because it’s super comfortable while still being light and streamlined. It features side-rails to increase stability if you’re sleeping on uneven terrain. It also has a V-chamber design which limits heat loss overnight and adds to insulation, and prevents the air from moving if you toss and turn. And most importantly, it is easily the smallest packed size on our list, at only 3” x 8” and just over 1 lb.

Nemo Cosmo 3 Sleeping Pad

Best For Backpacking Camping

Nemo Cosmo 3D Sleeping Pad

This mattress includes a built-in pillow to evenly distribute your weight and to save packing space. You may also choose to top off the built in pillow with your own, depending on your preferred sleeping alignment. The body-mapping design allows for stability and keeps sleepers centered and comfortable. This is made from durable 7SD fabric which resists tears and punctures. Its hero feature is a built-in foot pump which allows for quick inflation without introducing moisture to the mattress.  

Lightspeed Super Plush Camp Pad

Best Self-Inflating

Lightspeed Outdoors XL Super Plush FlexForm Premium Self-Inflating Sleep and Camp Pad 

This self-inflating mattress includes dual oversize air valves, which mean a pump is not necessary to inflate it. It can be topped off with a few breaths if you prefer a firmer sleeping surface. It is PVC-free so it carries no plasticky smell. Plush FlexForm material keeps your body weight evenly distributed.

We love it because of the super high insulation rating or R-value of 9.66. This rating makes this sleeping pad the best for extreme temperatures. It means the sleeping pad minimizes heat loss and will keep sleepers warm in cold temperatures. Keep in mind that it weighs in at 6 pounds and packs at 30” x 7” x 7” and won’t fit inside a backpack.


Buyer’s Guide: How to Find the Best Air Mattress for Camping

Sleeping in a tent on a camping trip

Choosing the right inflatable air mattress may not seem like a big deal, but there are many different types available and when you’re looking for an air mattress for camping there are special considerations you’ll want to make. 

Camping mattresses are not the same as other air beds for hosting overnight guests in your home, and other factors than simple comfort should be considered.

To choose a camping mattress, campers should consider:

  • Durability
  • Comfort
  • Cost (camping mattresses can range from $15 to $500)
  • Size
  • Weight capacity
  • R-rating, which is the mattress’ ability to retain heat in cold weather and stay cool in hot weather
  • Air retention
  • Mode of inflation and deflation
  • Warranty

Because there are so many important considerations to make, Mattress Advisor is here to help walk you through your decisions to be sure you get the best air mattress for your camping trips.

Durability

One of the most important factors to consider when searching for the right air mattress to accompany you on your outdoor camping trips is durability. In a bedroom, your mattress is supported by a foundation, covered in regularly washed linens, and in a temperature controlled environment. Out in nature, your air mattress will be exposed to the elements and you need something that can withstand that.

The more durable, the better. The last thing you want to do is worry about fixing a leak in your air mattress when you’re out in the wilderness. Additionally, an air mattress that is waterproof or at least water-resistant will be ideal since you never know when it could rain or the ground could be damp.

Type

When it comes to looking for an ideal air mattress for camping, you’ll want to think about what type you choose. The best way to distinguish what kind you will need is based on whether you are car camping or backpacking.

Car camping mattresses are a bit larger and designed to pack into the trunk of your car. They’re ideal for campsite camping, where you have more packing space and access to electricity. These include low-top inflatable air mattresses and high-top inflatable air mattresses.

Sleeping pads and mats take up less space. They’re best for backpacking trips where you’ll carry all your supplies with you.

Don’t worry, we’ve covered both of these types in our list of the best air mattresses for camping above.

Comfort

You don’t want to sacrifice on comfort, even when you’re camping. Waking up with a sore neck or back from a bad night’s sleep is sure to ruin your trip. Here are a few quick tips for how you can sleep comfortably while camping on an air mattress:

  1. Add a topper
  2. Dress the mattress in comfortable bedding
  3. Choose an appropriate pillow that properly supports your neck
  4. Sleep on a raised, high-profile air mattress of at least 10″ thickness
  5. Keep the mattress well-inflated

Read more: Is Sleeping on an Air Mattress Bad for Your Back?

Cost

Air mattresses can range anywhere from extremely cheap to extremely pricey. When you’re looking for one that will be suitable for your camping trips, we suggest you shop in the upper ranges and avoid super cheap air mattresses.

This doesn’t mean you can’t find one that’s affordable. You can find a quality air mattress for around $100. That may seem expensive, but keep in mind that most standard queen-sized mattresses cost around $1,000, so you’re really only looking at a fraction of the price for a good night’s sleep. Plus, you want to find something sturdy that can last you for many camping trips to come.

Size

The ideal size for a camping mattress depends on two questions:

  1. Who is sleeping on the air mattress?
  2. Where are you placing the air mattress?

If you’re sleeping solo, a twin size should be fine. But if you have a companion sharing the sleep surface, you’ll at least need a full-size and more ideally a queen. Some air mattresses only come in one or two sizes as well which can be tricky.

Perhaps more important is where the mattress will be placed. If you’re sleeping in a limited size area, you need something small enough to squeeze in. But if you have a ton of room in your tent or camper, you could even splurge on a king-sized air mattress from some brands.

Weight Capacity

We’ll ask again: Who’s sleeping on the air mattress?

You need to find one that can support all of that weight that will be placed on it. Otherwise, you’ll be sinking to the ground pretty quickly.

R-rating

R-rating, or R-value, is a measurement of how well the air mattress will insulate you from the cold. Generally, R-value ranges between 1-5. The higher the R-value, the better it will keep you warm and insulate you from the cold.

If you’re sleeping in a desert area, this won’t be as important. But if you’re sleeping somewhere cold and snowy, you’ll want to really take this into consideration.

Air Retention

Air retention is particularly important when you’re camping, especially when you’re using an air mattress that requires electricity to inflate and you don’t have access to an outlet.

Air retention simply means how well the mattress holds air before deflating. How well a mattress is inflated is a critical indicator of comfort and support, so you’ll need one that does exceptionally well at holding air or at least provides an option for inflation other than requiring a power outlet.

Mode of Inflation and Deflation

Speaking of inflation options, this is another key factor when looking for the best air mattress for camping. There are several ways an air mattress can be inflated including manually (such as using mouth, hand, or a foot pedal), using battery power, or using an electrical outlet. Some air mattress are even self-inflating, meaning they can refill the air in the bed while you sleep.

It’s important that you have the ability to both inflate and deflate your air mattress while you’re traveling, so be sure you look at the modes available when shopping and pick what works best for you. Electricity power is more convenient for quickly inflating the bed, but that may not be an option for you depending on where and how you are camping.

Warranty

It’s always important to check for a warranty when you’re buying products. In case of a malfunction on the manufacturer’s end, you want to be covered. Check for at least a one to three year warranty so you can feel secure in your purchase.


Summary

You may think finding an air mattress for camping is as simple as picking up the first one you see with a reasonable price tag, but your sleep is something you should value, especially while on a camping trip. Staying well-rested and sleeping comfortably will undeniably enhance your experience. Trust us, your sleep is worth it.

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