What is the Best Air Mattress for Camping?

So, you’ve decided to live it up outdoors for a bit, and you want to be well-rested so you could tackle all the activities nature entails? Unless you’re Bear Grylls, you’ll need either a cot or an air mattress, and in this contest, air mattresses win hands down, simply because they take up a lot less space when deflated.

Plus, air mattresses have come a long way in recent years and there are some fantastic models out there that will not only keep plump and cushy through the night but are lightweight enough to be lugged around through the woods.

Not that you have to use them outdoors only - the best air mattresses for camping fold up nicely and can be stored away during the winter months to provide comfortable bedding for guests who stop by. And if you choose the right air mattress, these guests will never even know they're sleeping on air. That's how comfy the best of these can get!

So how do you make sure you choose the best air mattress for camping and indoor sleeping? Well, there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind...

How to Choose the Best Air Mattress for Camping

The last thing you want is to lug a gargantuan bag of bedding along your hike only to settle in for the night and...deflate. Not a good camping memory any of us are aiming for.

To prevent that from happening, you'll want to consider a few factors that'll help you choose the best air mattress for camping. Here goes!

What's your budget?

The first consideration is most likely your budget, which is a smart move since air mattresses can range from $15 all the way up to hundreds of dollars. 

The lower range, cheaper air mattresses will obviously have fewer convenient features but that's not the only reason that shelling out a bigger buck for a bigger bang is not a bad idea. You see, it doesn't cost that much to get a really good air mattress for camping. 

You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars for a sturdy, comfortable mattress that won't deflate on you as soon as you blow it up. In fact, many of the best air mattresses are between the $50 to $100 price range, which is pretty affordable especially if you plan on using it regularly.

So think about forking over a few extra dollars. Getting a quality air mattress for $100 over a cheap one for $20 means you get a lot of use over a longer period of time so it equals out anyway!

What are you using it for?

Once that’s settled, think of what you’ll primarily be using it for, as this will affect the ideal weight you should aim for.

For example, if you’re planning on doing some low key camping, it makes sense to go for comfort even if it's a little heavier. In which case, you can take a heavier mattress that's made of thick, more comfortable and longer lasting material.

On the other hand, if you plan to do a lot of hiking, trekking and/or climbing, then your main parameter is portability, in which case it’s better to buy a lighter mattress.

How do you like to pump?

Next, think of the pump you need/want. Electric pumps are fine as long as you intend to camp close to your car, but are a lot less portable, and fairly impractical if the camping spot is far away.

If latter, opt for a hand/foot pump. Alternatively, you can get a mattress with a built-in pump, in which case you’ll need a pair of 4D batteries to run it, which is great for situations where you don’t have easy access to your car or an outlet (and don't want to do any extra work).

Finally, you can get a self-inflatable mattress – these are very lightweight, easy to handle and are therefore ideal for long distance hiking or trekking. They’re not the most comfortable mattresses out there, but they sure beat the bare ground.

What's the perfect size?

You should also think about the size you want – you don’t want your mattress to occupy the whole tent; there’s no actual preferred mattress-to-tent size ratio, so just see what works best for you. 

Does fabric matter?

Most camping mattresses are made of PVC, which raises some environmental and health issues, though PVC can be recycled up to seven times and the jury is still out on the health issue. In the meantime, unless your immune system is weak, most of you don't have to worry about it. Just do your best to recycle your old air mattress.

However, ​if you or your family have allergies and sensitives, you'll want to opt for a PVC-free air mattress. There's some great ones out there so you'll find something that's perfect for you!

Reputation matters

Finally, don’t forget to ask around, or, if ordering online, check the reviews. Keep in mind that a brand name does not always equal quality, so what you want to do is check out both user reviews and those written by the industry, and try to find some middle ground. Ultimately, the choice is yours and yours only. After all, you're going to be the one sleeping on it 🙂

So What's the Best Air Mattress for Camping?

Now that you've got a good idea of what you're looking for, we've gathered the best of the best air mattresses for camping (and sleeping indoors). Read on to scope out quick details and find your airbed soulmate!

SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress

best air mattress for camping
best camping air mattress

If you’ve decided to go easy on your legs, and instead of trekking go for some more localized activities, like fishing, then you might as well provide yourself the ultimate comfort and a good night’s rest out in the wilds.

If that sounds right up your alley, then the Dream Series Air Mattress by SoundAsleep is hands down the best air mattress.

Why? It features the Comfort Coil Technology, which gives an added measure of durability and support, making it ideal even for those with back issues. This is possible thanks to the 40 air coils within the mattress that enable it to remain flat and firm.

Inflating this air mattress is a simple matter of letting the patented 1-click pump do its work. It takes roughly 4 minutes for the pump to fully inflate the mattress. On the other side, when it comes to deflating, the pump will suck out the air completely, so you won’t have to mush-out the trapped air like you would with other models.

Translation: there's pretty much no work for you involved. ​

It’s important to note that the Dream Series is designed for in-house use, primarily, given it weighs just a pound shy of twenty. With this in mind, the mattress features the “sure-grip” bottom which prevents the bed from unwanted sliding, while the velvety top is great for keeping the sheets in place. 

Overall, this air mattress is perfect for both indoor use and for the ultimate comfort on (non-trekking) camping trips​!

Coleman SupportRest Double High Airbed

best camping air mattress
best air mattress for camping

The Coleman SupportRest Double High Airbed is exactly what it claims to be – it’s an excellent raised platform for comfortable and supportive sleeping, whether indoors or out. 

Available in a variety of sizes, the mattress features heavy-duty PVC construction which, combined with Coleman’s patented Airtight System prevents any air-leaks and gives you a comfortable, yet supportive sleeping platform, capable of withstanding even the attack of a hyperactive five-year-old.

As far as inflating and deflating go, the mattress does require an external air pump, which, sadly, does not come with the purchase.

This ten-pound mattress is very dependable, durable as well as convenient. The Leak-free Airtight System, in particular, makes it ideal for heavier folks, as it’s guaranteed to hold air and remain at its 18-inch height (irrespective of the size designation – Twin, Queen, King, it’s all the same in this regard).

It does sway slightly when two people sleep on it, simply because it’s twice as tall as standard air mattresses, but it’s negligible. Overall, a supremely supportive, cushy air mattress for camping and overnight guests!

Lightspeed Outdoors PVC-Free Air Bed

best camping air mattress
best camping air mattress

The Lightspeed Outdoors is meant for eco-warriors, or, at the very least, folks who are concerned with potential adversary effects PVC can have on their health. It’s PVC and Phthalates (chemicals that make PVC soft) free and instead made of durable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). It’s also available in a variety of colors (Green, Brown/Blue, Blue, and Blue/Tan).

The TPU that goes into making this product does not only make it more environmentally-friendly than its PVC counterparts but also more temperature stable, abrasion resistant, as well as more generally durable and long-lived.

The mattress measures 779 x 55 x 6.25 inches (18.4 x 9.2 when packed, which makes for very efficient storage), which makes it a two-person bed, and able to fit standard Queen sized sheets. Best part? It only weighs about six pounds, which is roughly only half the weight of a standard air mattress, making this thing great for travels and all sorts of outdoor needs.

When it comes to inflating and deflating this fella, you’ll need an external air pump. Luckily, the mattress comes with a battery operated pump, as well as an oversized storage bag for convenient stowing. Unfortunately, the batteries are not included in the deal. But hey, nobody's perfect.

SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress

best camping air mattress
best air mattress for camping

If you’re looking for something to give you that much-needed beauty sleep during wilderness camp-outs or weekend warrior trips, then you might want to try out the aptly named SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress, which comes in Twin or Queen Size.

The mattress features the Comfort Coil Technology with proprietary I-Beam Air Coils specifically designed to be durable during hours of outdoor use. It’s made of extra-thick, heavy-duty PVC, specifically designed to withstand anything the elements can throw at it.

As far as the inflating the thing goes, it takes roughly 3 minutes for it to reach its full height and firmness while topping it off is just as easy and quick. To do either you’ll need the patented SoundAsleep external air pump that features a heavy-duty rechargeable battery, which you can charge either in advance of your trip or with a car charger on the road.

It might be also worth noting that the mattress comes with a carrying bag for ease of transport and storage, as well as a one-year limited manufacturer’s warranty, so you’ll be able to enjoy peace of mind.

Coleman Queen Airbed Cot

best air mattress for camping
best air mattress for camping
best camping air mattress
best camping air mattress

Love camping but hate what it does to your back? The Coleman Queen Airbed Cot is exactly the air mattress you need to continue camping in serious comfort.

Fo starters, it's hands down the winner when it comes to versatility in its respective industry. What you get with this puppy is the best of both worlds – you get the comfort of an airbed, but also the elevated sleeping support of a cot. It is a bother to stow it, and it does cost a pretty penny, but rest assured you’ll feel where each and every of those pennies went.

Moreover, the cot and airbed are separate, so you can double the sleeping space and get both or either, depending on what you need. The durable heavy-duty steel frame supports up to 600 pounds of weight, while the two side tables with cup holders (yes, it has cup holders) can support drinks and personal items, such as glasses, phones, or whatever you have.

You can use it either indoors or outdoors, although its 90-odd pounds of weight make it better suited for camping trips that happen close to the car. Its measurements are also quite roomy so make sure you have a big enough tent to accommodate this beauty. 

When it comes to setting it up, the mattress makes use of a heavy-duty 4D battery pump to inflate and deflate, while the cot packs by simply closing on both sides. The mattress, for its part, is guaranteed not to leak air thanks to Coleman’s patented Airtight System. When set-up, the platform can accommodate folks up to 6ft 2in tall.

It’s also worth noting that the mattress and cot come with a complementary carry-bag for toting and stowing, as well as one-year limited warranty.

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