How To Choose The Best Camping Mattress In 2024

Undoubtedly, inflatable air mattresses are the best choice of bed for camping because they are lightweight, compact, and affordable. Besides, these mattresses come in different sizes and levels of comfort.

Camping is one of the best ways to escape from the hassles of your daily life. You may want to camp for days or even weeks. It will be uncomfortable if you don’t have the right mattress.

For many people, sleeping on the ground might be an option. For others, blankets, duvets, and comforters may work well. Still, some might opt to carry a mattress topper.

Now, while each of the above items might help you rest during sleeping hours, none of them can replace the role of a good camping mattress. So why use an air mattress for camping?

An air mattress is portable. Usually, you can fold them into a compact piece and shove it into your backpack. Since they are lightweight, it is easy to carry the mattress to your camping site or from one camping site to the next. That sounds promising, right?

You should know that not all air mattresses are similar. There are glaring differences in structure, material, and support systems.

When it comes to choosing the best air mattress for camping and outdoor usage, you have to make a choice, and it should be the right one. Our tips below should hopefully help you make the right choice. Don’t forget to check our recommendations if you need help deciding.

Camping Mattress Buying Guide

Sleeping in a tent

By now, you should know that there are multiple kinds of camping air mattress choices on the market. Understanding how each one functions, its durability, portability, and maintenance modes, among other factors, will make you choose the right one. Nonetheless, let’s look at principal factors to put in mind:

Types Of Air Mattresses For Camping

First, it is important to understand the different types of air mattress in the market today. Here they are:

  • Self inflating air mattress: Overall, possibly the best camping air mattress is the self-inflating type. You do not need an external pump to inflate them. That means you can take them anywhere. Additionally, they are lightweight, which makes them highly portable. Still, some manufacturers add a layer of foam or flocking on the mattress surface to make them comfortable.
  • Standard camping air mattress: These are the thinnest and lightest of all camping mattress. You will find them in all the camping shops. You can easily roll them up into a compact piece. However, you will need a pump to inflate them, and they have poor insulation.
  • Double height bed: These mattresses are suitable for people who want to keep high above the ground. When you sleep on them, they give you a feeling of sleeping in the real bed, thanks to a high level of comfort and raised double-height. Note; these mattresses are bulky, and you can only inflate them effectively using an electric pump. So, not the best choice unless you have close access to a power source.
  • All in one bed: These versions of airbeds have a sleeping bag attachment, a design that makes them ideal for camping. They offer decent comfort to sleepers of all kinds. Another advantage is that they are self-inflating.

Weight & Dimensions Of Mattress

Camping mattresses fall into two major categories – heavy and lightweight. The weight depends on the dimensions and the materials used in the construction.

A lightweight air mattress is an excellent option if you will be doing lots of trekking, hiking, and mountain climbing. However, these categories of mattresses will not offer you decent comfort as their heavier counterparts. Besides, the majority of bulky mattresses are built from quality material, which means they last longer than the lighter mattresses.

Inflating Mechanism

Usually, the majority of the camping mattresses are self-inflating, but different mechanisms power them. The self inflating air mattress is a good option for many people going camping because they are lightweight and easy to deal with.

Other mattresses use pumps for inflation. And of course, when you buy a mattress, it comes with a pump (sadly, not all air mattresses do). Sometimes you may opt to buy a more powerful pump. Just make sure it is compatible with your choice of camping bed.

There are different kinds of pumps:

Electric pumps work faster than any other pump. However, while camping, you always do not have access to electricity. However, if you have your car nearby, you can use it as a source of power to inflate your camping mattress.

In other cases, you may opt to buy a battery-operated or rechargeable pump. These pumps do not need electricity to work. Alternatively, you can use a hand or foot pump, but such a pump might take you a while to fully inflate your outdoor mattress.

Measure Your Tent

As we already mentioned, the dimensions of an air mattress matter a lot, especially when searching for the best camping mattress for couples. What you should look at is whether the mattress will fit into your tent. So if you have a small tent, you must buy a small mattress, which comfortably fits the tent. On the other hand, if your tent is large, you can get a wider and thicker mattress.

Keep in mind that most air mattresses come in Twin, Full, and Queen sizes. This gives you an idea of what you should buy.

The thickness is vital in giving you comfort and the much-needed support for a restful night. However, the comfort level in air mattresses is highly subjective. The best way is to consider the bed’s design and how supportive the mattress can be.

The best air mattress is one that has a stabilizing system. The system ensures that you remain stable all night long, even if your sleeping partner tosses around the bed. What’s best is that you can adjust the firmness of these mattresses. Such a feature ensures that you get the right comfort and support regardless of your sleeping position. However, these are usually powered by an electric pump (or car), so not ideal where there is no power source.

Air Mattress Material

The majority of air mattresses for camping are built from PVC. Nonetheless, some people may not like such air mattresses considering that PVC isn’t environmentally friendly. Therefore, you might want to find air mattresses that are built from ecofriendly material such as TPU.

Still, you can purchase camping beds in different feels. For instance, some have a soft suede-like surface. You can sleep on such surfaces comfortably, even without sheets.


Camping mattresses come in different price ranges. Therefore, you can buy a mattress based on your budget, whether it’s low, medium, or high. The price of an air mattress is determined by the size, material, and the type of the pump. Before you hit the air mattress market, set a budget, and then compare the various features versus the price.


A decent warranty is a show that the airbed will last longer. So you must look at the details of the warranty – length and aspects it covers. It doesn’t feel right to spend money on something that won’t last beyond a few camping trips.

Our Favorite Camping Mattresses

Finding The Best Air Mattress For Camping

Online Deals Checked
Sources Researched
Hours Of Research
Air Mattresses Evaluated

To find the best mattress for camping, we narrowed it from 24 mattresses down to 10. We then validated and checked prices and availability for the selected products. For research, we cross-checked references against 8 different sources which totalled 44 hours. Below are some of the criteria we evaluated:

  • How lightweight and portable it is
  • Whether or not a pump is included
  • Whether a pump is required or if it’s self-inflating
  • How comfortable it is
  • The sizes available
  • The material 

Our Top 10 Picks In Summary

Bottom Line

If you are an ardent camper, you thoroughly understand the importance of getting the best air mattress for camping. You need to have enough support and comfort as you sleep. Besides, it should be easy to inflate, deflate, and pack away. Above all, the material and construction should stand up to the outdoor conditions.

That notwithstanding, it is essential that you take great care of your air mattress. Even the best camping air mattress won’t last long if you subject it to conditions you would otherwise avoid.

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