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An air mattress is a great way to get an excellent night’s sleep while outside. However, without an air mattress pump, setting up an inflatable sleeping pad can be a bit of a nuisance.

Indeed, air mattress pumps offer a quick and easy way to set up your sleeping area at night. Finding the right option for your needs, however, isn’t as easy as it may seem.

To get you started, we’ve put together this list of the best inflatable sleeping pad pumps on the market today. We also have some top tips for selecting the perfect mattress pump for your upcoming camping trip.

Designed to cut your sleeping pad inflation time in half, the Big Agnes Pumphouse Ultra is a versatile option for backcountry travelers.

This mattress pump is crafted so that you can quickly gather a whole lot of air in one go and then push it straight into your sleeping pad. If you need more air, you can quickly open up the pump bag, collect the air, and then pump the air into your sleeping pad.

The entire system weighs just 2.9oz (82.2g), so it’s small enough to pack even on a lightweight camping trip. Plus, the Pumphouse Ultra doubles as a stuff sack, dry bag, or even a camp pillow when it’s not in use.

While this pump is specifically designed for use with most Big Agnes air mattresses, it also works with pads from a handful of other companies, such as Nemo and Alps Mountaineering, so long as they have a similarly-sized round pump opening.

pros
  • Lightweight design
  • Compact and highly portable
  • Easy to use
  • Can double as a stuff sack or dry bag
cons
  • Not universally compatible with all air mattresses

When convenience is key, the Klymit Electric Rechargeable Pump is a solid choice. This tiny electric pump fits in the palm of your hand and weighs just 5.6oz (158.8g).

It comes with a flexible valve attachment system that’s compatible with all Klymit sleeping pads. However, while the seal might not be perfect, it can also be used to inflate pads from other manufacturers that have similar opening styles, such as those from Thermarest and Sea to Summit.

One of the coolest features of this air mattress pump is that it’s fully rechargeable via USB. As soon as the pump is powered up, it provides up to 60 minutes of run time. This means it carries enough power to last an entire backpacking trip.

pros
  • USB rechargeable
  • 60 minute run time off of one charge
  • Versatile attachment system can be used with many sleeping pads
  • Small and compact
cons
  • Pricey

Versatile to the core, the Sea to Summit Air Stream Pump is a multi-purpose sleeping pad inflation tool for all-around outdoor use.

It’s made from a durable 15D Ultra-Sil Nano Fabric for added ruggedness in the mountains. This pump is designed to collect large amounts of air inside its large central chamber, which you can then push inside your air mattress with relative ease.

Featuring a small packed size and a weight of just 1.7oz (48g), it’s among the lightest options on the market. When it’s not in use, this air mattress pump can double as a water-resistant and seam sealed dry sack for storing your sleeping bag or other gear.

Finally, the Sea to Summit Air Stream Pump is compatible with Sea to Summit, REI, and Exped sleeping pads for added functionality in the outdoors.

pros
  • Can double as a dry sack for gear storage
  • Very lightweight and highly packable
  • Compatible with mattresses from 3 companies
  • Durable 15D Ultra-Sil Nano fabric
cons
  • Waterproofing isn’t rated for use during paddling trips

When comfort and convenience are at the top of your list of priorities, the Airhead Foot Pump is a solid choice.

This affordable foot-powered pump is made from durable aluminum for long-term functionality. It has a high-volume bellows action pumping mechanism, allowing you to quickly inflate large queen-size air mattresses with relative ease.

It comes with a 54” long hose and 3 different adaptor options, so it’s compatible with valves on most inflatable mattresses. Additionally, it can achieve up to 2 psi of pressure, so it can also be used to blow up inflatable kayaks, inflatable furniture, and other similar objects.

Since the Airhead Foot Pump is a bit bulky and heavy, it’s not ideal for backpacking or trips to remote locales. For car camping, however, it can be a helpful way to inflate larger air mattresses, even when hookups aren’t available.

pros
  • Comes with 3 valve adaptors
  • 54” long hose for inflation
  • Can inflate up to 2 psi of pressure
  • Durable aluminum casing
  • Easy to use foot pedal mechanism
cons
  • Too bulky and heavy for backpacking

A multi-purpose inflation and deflation tool, the Flextail Gear MAX Pump Plus is a convenient option for blowing up backpacking sleeping pads.

It boasts a fully electric design for maximum convenience on the trail. Flextail Gear packages this pump with 4 different nozzle options so it can be used to inflate a wide range of different objects, from sleeping pads to larger air beds and even inflatable furniture.

This tiny air mattress pump is powered by a built-in 3600mAh lithium-ion battery. The battery is fully USB rechargeable, so you can power it up at home or in the car with the appropriate adaptor.

It’s rated to IPX4 for water-resistance for added functionality. Moreover, it weighs just 4.7oz (133.2g) and measures 3”x2” (7.6×5.1cm) for easier transport to and from camp.

pros
  • Lightweight and portable
  • IPX4 water-resistance rating
  • USB rechargeable
  • Comes with 4 different adaptor nozzles
cons
  • Takes a long time to charge

How to choose an air mattress pump

As with any piece of gear, you want to be sure that you get the right air mattress pump for your camping trip. Here’s everything you need to know about air mattress pumps so you can choose the best option available.

Types of Air Mattress Pumps

There are 3 main types of air mattress pumps. This is how they perform in the real world:

Bag-Style Pumps

Bag-style pumps, like the Big Agnes Pumphouse Ultra or the Sea to Summit Air Stream Pump, are essentially large stuff sacks with purpose-built attachment systems for inflating sleeping pads. 

To use this style of pump, you fill up the bag with air, close it up, then push the air into the sleeping pad. After 3-5 rounds of filling the bag and pumping it into your mattress, the sleeping pad should be fully inflated.

The main advantage of this style of pump is that it’s lightweight and highly compact. Moreover, they are multi-purpose tools as they can often double as a stuff sack when not in use.

That being said, the downside is that they are only good for use on backpacking-style sleeping pads. This is because these pumps can’t create the pressure you need for a larger air mattress.

Foot Pump

Foot pumps, as the name suggests, are designed to be operated with your foot. They feature a pump, a long hose, and an attachment point that fits securely onto the valve of your air mattress.

The primary benefit of foot pumps is that they are easy to use. In general, they require relatively little physical effort. But, they can create a decent amount of pressure in a short amount of time. This makes them suitable for use on large air mattresses.

However, they are usually quite large and bulky. So, they’re best for use while car camping, rather than backpacking.

Electric Pumps

Aptly named electric pumps are small devices that use battery-powered motors to inflate an air mattress. These nifty tools are popular because they are easy to use and require minimal effort.

But, electric pumps are often more expensive than their counterparts. Additionally, like any electrically-powered item, they can and do break in the outdoors. They also need to be charged on a regular basis, which can be problematic for longer backpacking trips.

Weight & Packed Size

Weight and packed size are concerns for any piece of gear and air mattress pumps are no exception. 

For backpacking, a pump that weighs less than about 5oz (141.7g) would be considered ideal. On the other hand, for car camping applications, weight and packed size aren’t as big of a concern. Therefore, larger foot-powered pumps are often a popular choice.

Compatibility Concerns

It’s important to note that not every air mattress pump is compatible with every air mattress on the market.

Indeed, some companies create pumps that are specifically designed only for use with their sleeping pads. However, even a pump that’s not purposefully crafted for a specific pad may still be compatible, though it might be less efficient.

If you’re not sure whether a pump is compatible with your air mattress, consider asking the pump manufacturer. Since new pumps and mattresses hit the market every day, they can’t necessarily answer specific questions about every sleeping pad that exists.

What you can ask, however, is about the size and shape of the pump nozzle. Most pumps that are designed for backpacking sleeping pads aren’t designed to create a perfect seal – they simply cover the sleeping pad opening.

Therefore, you’ll generally just need a nozzle that’s larger than the inflation port on your mattress. Even if the nozzle is larger than necessary, it will usually still work.

For larger air mattresses, you’ll often need a cone-shaped nozzle. These will be inserted into the inflation port on the mattress, so a good seal is essential. Thankfully, this inflation port style is fairly common, so many manufacturers will make a compatible pump nozzle.

Final Thoughts

Air mattresses pumps can make your camp set-up process much easier each night. What’s important is that you identify which type of pump is right for your needs. That way, you can spend more time enjoying your camp and less time getting everything set-up while you’re outside.