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Rustling leaves, gently hooting owls, and the starry night sky, all of these things can help send you into a pleasant dream while you’re camping. But a comfy bed is still essential for a refreshing night’s rest. There are many types of camping beds to choose from; inflatable, self-inflating, foam mats, cots and more. But for most people, the right air mattress will be the most relaxing.

Sleep on a comfortable camping air mattress and you’ll wake up feeling restored; sleep on an air mattress that’s deflating as you slumber and you’ll wake up with plenty of aches and pains.

The best comfy air mattresses for camping don’t just stay inflated overnight; they’re easy to set up, portable, and don’t take up too much storage space. If you’re ready to add a camping air mattress to your kit, keep reading!

Available in twin or queen sizes, this camping air mattress from Sound Asleep is durable, comfortable and takes less than 3-minutes to inflate with the included pump. The mattress is made from durable PVC that’s puncture-resistant and you should be able to put this bed directly on the ground when you want to stargaze.

A waterproof flocked (textured) top makes it comfier to sleep on, but overall, this air mattress doesn’t offer much insulation from the cold ground. It also has a grippy underside which should stop it from sliding on your groundsheet.

This simple camping air mattress doesn’t have many bells or whistles; however, it does what it’s designed to do and comes with an affordable price tag. Along with the mattress, you also get a rechargeable electric air pump that you can charge from the mains or your car and a portable storage bag.

pros
  • Inflates quickly
  • Available in two sizes
  • Air pump included
cons
  • No battery indicator light on the pump
  • Not the lightest air mattress

The Intex Dura-Beam Prestige Downy Air Mattress is a budget-friendly bed to take on a camping trip. The twin size comes in at just under $40 with a battery-operated foot pump included or just over $20 with a manual built-in foot pump. This makes it one of the cheapest camping air mattresses on the market.

Despite its low price tag, the Dura-Beam Air Mattress is comparable to its higher-priced competitors. It’s constructed with a fibre-tech beam that should provide better support and stability than classic PVC air beds. Plus, the air-tight valve lets you adjust the firmness to your preference. Like the SoundAsleep mattress, it also has a soft top material but offers little insulation.

This mattress is available in three widths; 39-inches, 54-inches, or 60-inches. The smallest has a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs while the largest has a maximum weight capacity of 600 lbs, making it strong enough for most adults.

pros
  • Affordable
  • Available in three sizes
  • Built-in foot pump or battery pump included
cons
  • Pump batteries are expensive and not included

Best for Backpacking: PowerLix Ultralight Sleeping Pad

A great option for multi-day treks, the PowerLix Ultralight Sleeping Pad weighs just 1.32 lbs and rolls into a compact 4 x 11-inch travel bag. Instead of an electric pump, this lightweight air bed comes with a multi-purpose inflating bag that can double as a pillow, dry bag, or vacuum storage bag. According to the manufacturer, it takes just 45-seconds to inflate.

Although it’s only 2-inches deep, the hexagon air cells make this air mattress surprisingly comfortable. That’s because the bed supports all of the usual pressure points while you sleep and offers better insulation than many more luxurious air beds.

When it comes to durability, this air bed should be tough enough for rugged camping. It’s made with waterproof ripstop nylon and comes with two repair kits just in case you get a puncture. We also like that it’s backed by a lifetime warranty.

pros
  • Inflates quickly
  • No pump needed
  • Very lightweight
  • Available in multiple colours
cons
  • Small size – may not be comfortable for larger campers
  • Difficult to get it back in the stuff sack

Best for Car Camping: SAYGOGO SUV Air Mattress

Sleeping well is especially important when you’re driving long distances; that’s why the SAYGOGO SUV Air Mattress deserves a place in our top five.

Fully inflated, this mattress can comfortably sleep two adults or two adults and a child. You’ll need to fold the back seats down to fit the whole bed inside. However, this mattress can divide into two parts, offering maximum versatility. This gives you the option to leave one or two of the back seats in place and store your camping kit in the trunk.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to unpack the trunk to take a nap, the mattress can fit across the backseats and an inflatable filler is included for the footwell. Although it’s advertised as an SUV air mattress and could go well with an SUV tent, it’s also suitable for other cars, RV’s, minivans or tents.
Another useful feature is the 6-air chamber design (3-chambers in each part of the mattress), which includes a separate headrest that should make it more comfortable for sitting up and reading in bed. This model also comes with two pillows, a 50-watt rechargeable pump, and a storage bag.

pros
  • Versatile
  • Doesn’t leak
  • Separate headrest air chamber
  • Pump included
cons
  • Slow to inflate

If you’re someone who doesn’t like to camp without your creature comforts, then a luxury camping air mattress is an excellent addition to your glamping gear.

This raised air mattress from EnerPlex is available in three heights; the highest two are a similar height to an average bed so you won’t need to struggle up from the ground every morning. It also comes in a 38-inch-wide twin version or a 60-inch-wide queen version. That allows you to pick the bed that fits best inside your tent.

Another great feature is its coil beam construction that supports your spine while your sleep instead of dipping in the middle. For extra comfort, the top layer is soft flocked fabric. Meanwhile, welded seams should keep it inflated all night long.

Best of all, this air bed has a built-in and high-powered air pump that inflates the twin-sized bed in under 90-seconds. You can use the pump to adjust the firmness and deflate the bed after use. One drawback is that the pump is powered by a mains cord which tucks away inside the casing. Because there’s no DC power adapter, you might not be able to use this bed outside of a developed campground.

pros
  • Built-in pump included
  • High-profile
  • 2-year warranty
cons
  • The pump is powered by mains supply
  • Not the most durable

Are camp beds better than air beds?

This comes down to personal preference and the type of camping you’ll be doing; both have their pros and cons. However, when it comes to insulation, camp beds and air beds are more or less equal.

The benefits of air beds are that they’re often more comfortable because they conform to your shape and you can adjust the firmness to your preference. They also tend to fold down smaller, making them easier to pack in the car and store at home but you will need to bring a reliable air mattress pump.

Camp beds are usually a lot firmer than air beds which some people might prefer. They’re often higher too, which can make it easier to get up in the morning. However, their folding frames are bulkier and may not fit well in a small tent or a tent with sloped sides. Additionally, most camp beds only come in single sizes, while air beds are often available in single, double, queen, or king sizes.

What do you put under an air bed when camping?

If you’re camping in a tent with a groundsheet and there’s nothing sharp underneath, you might not need to put anything under an airbed. Most are durable enough to use directly on grass or earth.

But, if you’re camping on a very rough surface, then it’s a good idea to put a heavy-duty footprint, cardboard, or a foam roam matt under an airbed. Putting something thick underneath should prevent any punctures from spiky foliage or gravel. Similarly, if you’re camping in cold weather and you have a low-profile air bed, you could put a foil layer/emergency blanket under an air bed for extra insulation.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Sleeping outdoors doesn’t mean giving up a good night’s sleep. In fact, the combination of a comfy air mattress and fresh air should leave you feeling rested and ready for another day of adventure. And, it doesn’t matter if you’re an ultralight backpacker, travelling by campervan, or glamping. There’s an air mattress on our list for everyone.