Ask anyone who goes camping regularly and they’ll tell you there’s nothing like the great outdoors — from the fresh, clean air to warming up by a cozy campfire after hiking through a forest all day. It’s exhilarating, challenging and relaxing all at the same time. But to really enjoy all that camping has to offer, it’s important to prioritize your sleep and ensure you still have a restful slumber. A sleeping bag works in a pinch, but an air mattress is ideal for many. So what is the best air mattress for camping and why do you need one?
You’ll need a restful sleep for energy to take on the day, after all. And sleeping bags can only do so much for the body, which is why air mattresses can really come in handy here.
The right air mattress can be the ideal solution to any camp site, and today, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the best options to choose from. Let’s dive in.
Why is an Air Mattress Great for Camping?
An air mattress (also known as an airbed or a blow-up bed) is an inflatable mattress commonly made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), textile-reinforced urethane plastic, or rubber. The sizes are the same as regular mattresses: twin, full, queen, and king. They can be adjusted to your comfort preferences, easily cleaned or repaired, and are great for everyday use (including camping). Here are some benefits an air mattress provides when camping:
Ease of use
Air mattresses are very easy to inflate and deflate. Most even come with a built-in or rechargeable air pump. No further assembly is required.
Once deflated, an air mattress can be quickly rolled up from end to end and placed in a backpack or duffel bag. At home, you can store it inside a compact box or bag.
If your campground is a bit of a hike away, you should have no trouble carrying along your air mattress. Heavier mattresses usually have extra comfort features like self-inflating capabilities or a built-in pillow, so keep that in mind when deciding which one you’d like to bring along on your trek.
Air mattresses are made of very strong PVC-style materials and can withstand up to 600 pounds of weight. They can be used continuously and never lose their form, unlike foam mattresses.
Large sleep space
Air mattresses simply provide a larger sleeping space than sleeping bags, cots, and hammocks. If camping with family or friends, one full or queen mattress could easily accommodate more than one person.
With an air mattress, you’ll have soft, supportive comfort similar to your bed at home. You can also adjust how firm your air mattress is for a customized sleep.
What to Look For in an Air Mattress
If you’re now ready to invest in an air mattress for your next camping trip, here are some features on what to look for before making your purchase:
Beyond a standard, portable air mattress, there are two other types worth considering. Depending on the details of your camping trip, you could choose an all-in-one bed which includes an attached sleeping bag so you don’t have to carry it separately. You could also choose a double height air mattress, which keeps you much higher off the ground and is as close as you can get to an actual bed (though it’s also at a higher price tag). Whatever type of mattress you choose, you’ll want to make sure that it is puncture-proof.
The majority of strong air mattresses are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), both of which provide long-lasting durability.
How big is your camping tent? Will it just be you or someone else sleeping on the air mattress? These are questions you should ask yourself before purchasing. Also, be aware of the dimensions of the mattress when fully inflated, as well as deflated and folded up. If you’ll be hiking for a bit before setting up camp, choose a lighter air mattress for easier toting.
Some air mattresses come with their own pumps (rechargeable or battery-operated) or have pumps built-in, while others require you to have your own pump. Some may need you to use your breath to inflate them, which is something to consider if you don’t want the added weight of a pump in your backpack.
The R-value of an air mattress is how high its material can resist heat flow. A higher R-value means that it powerfully insulates you from the cold ground. A value of under 2 is only suitable for warm weather camping, while a value of 2 to 4 is good for 3-season camping. For camping in the winter, you are better off with a value greater than 4.
Comfort plays a huge factor in determining what air mattress you take camping. Some feature a soft top surface which can eliminate the need for sheets or a sleeping bag. Be sure to know if you can adjust the firmness of the mattress. Also, some come with a stabilizing system for sharing the mattress, which lets you sleep peacefully even if your mattress partner is moving around.
What Air Mattress Should I Get? The Best Air Mattress for Camping
With so many options out there, it can be hard to cut through the noise and determine which is the best air mattress for you. We did the research for you and rounded up our top picks for air mattresses that will meet the needs of every type of camper:
Active Era Luxury Camping Air Mattress
This low-to-the-ground mattress features a soft-touch, waterproof surface above a unique wave beam cushioning system that provides stable, total body support. It inflates quickly with either a USB rechargeable pump or a handy foot pump that is built right into the mattress. It holds up to 330 pounds.
EZ INFLATE Queen Air Mattress
This mid-sized mattress is made of extra soft, triple-layered PVC that is also puncture-resistant and waterproof. Coil beam technology on the inside creates real mattress comfort and support. It also features a built-in electric pump that fully inflates in two minutes. It holds up to 600 pounds.
EnerPlex Queen Air Mattress
This air mattress is another mid-sized model that includes puncture-resistant, triple-layered PVC with a plush, premium quilted top. It has cushioned coil beams that support like a traditional mattress as well as an anti-slip bottom that keeps the mattress in place. It also features a built-in electric pump for fast inflation. It holds up to 600 pounds.
King Coil Queen Air Mattress
This extra high mattress features enhanced coil technology with air-filled coils and extraordinary internal layering that naturally supports your body, keeping your spine aligned as you sleep. It also has a waterproof, quilted top and built-in electric pump for instant inflation. King Coil is actually endorsed by the International Chiropractors Association to help promote proper spine alignment and a healthier night’s sleep. It holds up to 600 pounds.
If you were wondering what the best inflatable mattress for camping is, know that there are plenty of options out there to help you have a restful night’s sleep while out in the wilderness. Air mattresses are great for camping because of their portability, ease of use, durability and comfort. You’ll also want to be sure to look for specific features when looking for an air mattress that works for camping. The material, weight, means of inflation and R-Value all play big roles in determining your choice.