There’s something to be said about roughing it with nothing but a sleeping bag and tent, but there’s no shame in being a little more comfortable than that. A mattress will add some extra weight to your pack, but if you don’t like sleeping right on the ground, you’ll be happy to have it.
Nothing’s worse than carrying the extra weight for an air mattress that ends up being a total dud, or falling asleep on a perfectly inflated mattress only to wake up flat on the ground. This can be avoided by going with a sleeping pad, for example. A sleeping pad is more reliable in terms of survival gear and if you opt for one you need to keep that extra weight in mind. We ensured that the weight was kept below 5 lbs for our reviews. Anything higher would be too taxing for your pack.
There are options, but how do you choose the best bed for camping? It’s easy. Take a look at the pros and cons of all the highest rated options, figure out what best fits into your budget, and you’re well on your way to finding the best camping mattress. Don’t worry, you aren’t on your own. As usual, we’ve got you covered with an informative and helpful guide that takes the guesswork out of buying camping gear.
Top 5 Portable Camping Mattresses
We’ve done all of the heavy lifting for you, so here are our top choices in several different categories. No matter which type of camping bed you’re looking for, we want to help you pick out the best one. Even if you aren’t really sure what you’re looking for yet, by the end of this page you’ll know more than enough to make up your mind.
Coleman Self-Inflating Camp Pad with Attached Pillow
This is a smaller, lighter version of the traditional air mattress that you might be picturing. It gives you that little extra bit of cushion between yourself and the ground, without taking up as much space in your pack. It’s a good compromise if you want to save room compared to a full air mattress or a camping pad, but when you also want a little more comfort. It’s also very affordable, and has great reviews. It self-inflates, but you’ll need to blow up the pillow yourself. If there’s a single weak point to this item, it’s the pillow – so just keep that in mind, you may want to bring something better for your head, or just wrap up a couple of shirts to use instead.
TETON Sports Camp Pad
This is a great camping pad. The Adventurer Camp Pad weighs only 4.25lbs, which isn’t negligible but if you’re backpacking and have the extra room, it’ll make life a lot more comfortable. The foam is two inches thick, so it gets you off of the ground and helps if you’re not on the flattest surfaces, too. It’ll fit on most standard size cots, and has ties on the ends to make sure it stays in place, along with a fold for your pillow. It includes a roll-assister which helps you pack it up as small as possible when it’s time to pack up camp. Overall, it’s a very solid choice with hundreds of 5-star reviews.
Coleman Pack-Away Cot with Side Table
But if you don’t want your pad right on the ground, and you’ve got some extra room and don’t mind the extra weight, you can grab a nice camping cot to go with it.
As usual, Coleman’s got you covered. This easy-folding cot stores away into a small carrying bag, and is super simple to setup. You can put your camping mat on it, and you’ve got something close to the best bed for camping without breaking the bank.
It can support up to 300lbs, and somebody who is up to 6 feet 8 inches tall. The little table that attaches to the side is also handy, we all know how hard it can be to keep track of our belongings in a tent. For its size and weight, it’s a very solid unit – not flimsy at all. You’ll be using it reliably for many seasons to come.
SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress
If you’re looking for a full-size air mattress for the ultimate in camping luxury, this is going to be your best bet. With almost 10,000 positive reviews, you really can’t go wrong. It includes a built-in pump so you don’t have to remember to bring one, and you also don’t have to stand around for an hour with a hand pump trying to get in inflated.
Now, keep in mind that you will need an outlet in order to power it up. This really isn’t the choice for people who are camping in any kind of deep woods. This is the “luxury” option, it’s basically designed for in-home use but it can be used in a camper, trailer, tent, cabin… it’s great if you have a significant other who isn’t too keen on camping, tell them it’ll be an incredibly comfortable sleep and they’ll be a little more excited.
We usually cater to the more serious and hardcore of campers, but every now and then we like to throw in a little something for the rest of ‘em. It’s also great to keep at home for when you’ve got guests.
SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress
Now if that last one had you thinking “Uhh okay, but… that’s not really what I’m looking for,” here’s a similar bed by the same brand, which also has tons of great reviews, that’s specifically made for camping. If you want to sleep on the best air mattress that’s available at an amazing value, this has got to be it. It also includes a built-in air pump, except this time around the pump is rechargeable. The bed itself won’t be quite as comfortable, but it’s more than good enough for a great night’s sleep under the stars. It’s not as thick as the previous one, but it offers more support than just a plain mat or than the thinner Coleman self-inflating camping bed we looked at earlier. It’s a good compromise. We’ve looked at thinner mats, we’ve looked at an epic inflatable mattress – and this one right here falls somewhere in the middle.
Between all of the different options, you’re bound to find the perfect balance between price, size, weight, and comfort.
Lastly, save your money on expensive pumps or even hand pumps. Nothing says survivalist like doing it yourself. The video below goes over how to blow up an air mattress on your own, without wasting your own energy and oxygen supply. I always carry a trash bag, regardless of the situation and this is one of the reasons why.