April 21, 2024
air mattress for camping

Camping is amazing and freeing but it can also be a little bit uncomfortable. I get it, not everyone wants to sleep on the ground.

For those concerned with comfort, a high quality, a durable air mattress is a great alternative to a sleeping pad.

With that being said, there are many things to consider when purchasing an air mattress for your camping trip. This guide aims to highlight them to ensure that you are able to pick the best camping air mattress that works for you. Let us begin!

Inflation Method

There are self-inflating thin air mattresses for camping which consist of open-cell foam. The majority of them, however, will require additional air to ensure they are firm enough.

While inbuilt pumps can be extremely convenient, they require batteries. Numerous air mattresses come with a pump, with some being rechargeable, battery-operated or requiring a 12-volt connection. If you don’t have a generator or source of power, a battery-powered pump is definitely ideal.

Does The Air Mattress Stay Warm?

R-value is the measure of how much an air mattress can insulate you from the floor during cold fronts. The larger the number, the better an air mattress can insulate. If you choose to camp during the cold season, you should select an air mattress that has a minimum R-value of 3.

Valve type

When it comes to air mattresses, premium products tend to come equipped with long-lasting and better valve assemblies. There are even some models that come with two valves in order to make deflation and inflation quicker.

Weight and size

Some of the most comfortable camping air mattresses are raised air mattresses, however, they are heavy and large. Additionally, if you happen to move around quite a lot, particularly if there are two of you using the air mattress, it would be best to get a mattress that is sufficiently wide.

Backpacking air mattresses have been designed to be small and light. If it is just you, then a backpacking air mattress is suitable for you, but if you have two or more people or have kids camping with you, then you require a large queen size air mattress.

If you’re interested in car camping, choosing an air mattress for your car, suv or truck bed will have different criteria than tent camping.


The majority of high-quality mattresses have been designed to be comfortable. Foam-filled, self-inflating pads can be softer than some air-filled models, making them much more comfortable for certain individuals. Camping air mattresses will generally put comfort first (at the expense of portability), while backpacking pads have been created specifically for portability.

For those that sleep on their back, then almost any style should be alright. Nevertheless, if you are the type of person to predominantly sleep on your side, a 1-inch thin mattress would be inadequate. It is recommended that you go for a 2 or 3-inch thick mattress as the extra thickness provides additional comfort.

Forget your pump? Here’s a quick hack.

If you happen to forget your pump, rather than trying to blow your air mattress with your lungs (which will never work), instead find a garbage bag and fill it with air. Take the end and wrap it around the air mattress valve opening. The air should be squeezed out into the mattress. This process should be repeated until the air mattress is properly inflated.

In Summary

It is important that you buy the most durable air mattress within your price range. A hardy air mattress will ensure that you do not wake up to find out that rocks have made a hole in your air mattress causing the air to leak.