I am to thankful to all of the beautiful people who took the time to respond to my roundup.
I have asked a question to a part of my favourite camping and outdoors bloggers and experts and I was pleasantly surprised to get such a good feedback.
My thinking was to create a resource were people searching for a specific air mattress will find the answers given from people that have hands-on experience and could offer insight that one gets only through experience.
Some of the people answered with full descriptions, others offered their quick reply and a part did not answer at all.
I can only thank them all and hope that in the future we will create more resources of this type because I can only see benefits of such an endeavour.
I you are a proven expert and would like to participate in the upcoming roundups please feel free to contact me.
To the people that are getting their answers here I can say only this: take your time to digest all of the information here, and if you did not find a complete answer you can always contact me and I will do my best to offer as much help as I can, and also I have included the links to the Twitter & Facebook accounts for each of the camping experts below so that you can easily reach out to them and connect or share your thoughts.
Table with the air mattresses that the outdoors experts recommend:
even more information I have created a definitive guide to sleeping pads where you can get the full picture of what features are important and what you will need for your specific environment. So here we go:
“What is the best air mattress for a perfect camping trip and why?”
Mike from Wild Tide
However saying that I can definitely give some good advice!
As with most things you definitely get what you pay for, I had several very cheap and poorly made airbeds that leaked terribly, It was then that I took the plunge and spent a bit more on a higher quality bed and have never looked back. Buy cheap and buy twice!
You also need to think about a pump. A useless pump is infinitely far more frustrating than an airbed that you need to top up half way through your camping trip. I’ve had pumps that were so shoddy that it made it literally quicker to blow up the bed with a bit of old fashioned huffing and puffing – that definitely isn’t the perfect camping trip.
I use a double airbed in the back of my VW T4 all the time and have a fantastic little electric pump that simply plugs into the cigarette lighter. You just sit back and watch it fill up – awesome!
Hopefully during the summer I will try out a selection of airbeds and get an opinion in terms of my favourite branded airbed.
Chris from The last adventurer
The best air mattress for a perfect camping trip depends on the trip – if it’s just me on an ultralight backpacking weekend, then the answer is no air mattress.
If I’m going on a mountaineering expedition, I’ve never gone wrong with my much patched Thermarest.
And, if I’m exploring with my family, we can’t leave without our Coleman – provided that a pump’s been packed as well.
Emily from Dirty Gourmet
Mattress features to consider while camping:
- Warmth, insulation from the ground, above all else
You use a mix of your body heat and insulation to heat up the air mattress, which will keep you warm while camping.
This means that the big, thick, luxurious air mattresses are not generally ideal for any type of camping, because they have too much air to heat up during the night. They also take up way too much space and weight, whether in your car or in your backpack.
An insulated air mattress around 2-4 inches thick is ideal for any camping situation that you won’t be required to carry your mattress on your back. My favorite is the REI Camp Bed 3.5.
If I were going to choose one air mattress that would be sufficient and versatile in almost any situation, I would choose the Therm-a-rest Prolite Plus sleeping pad.
A great superlight air mattress that would be ideal for backpacking when you are focused on decreasing weight and space while still keeping warm is the Big Agnes Insulated Q Core SL Pad.
Stephen Berei from Granite Rocx
- Packs easily
- Not super easy to inflate
Meghan J. Ward from The Campsite
My pick for a camping mattress is the Therm-a-Rest Fast & Light Series.
My first mattress was a Therm-a-Rest and I have never looked back!
I prefer to camp off the beaten track and in the backcountry, so I need something compact and lightweight but comfortable.
The ProLite has always performed well, so I’ve stuck with it.
Craig & Kathy Copeland from Hikingcamping
The perfect camping mattress?
It has to be versatile: reasonably light and compact for backpacking, yet sufficiently thick, long, and comfortable for car camping.
And it has to be insulated, so it keeps you warm regardless how cold the ground — without wearing extra layers of clothing, or the addition of a closed-cell foam pad, or the need for a heavier sleeping bag.
Plus it should be durable.
Even with a patch kit, a deflated mattress can ruin your night, or even your trip. We nominate the Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Mummy.
We’ve been using ours for several years — car camping and backpacking — and we’d buy them again.
Katie Levy from Adventure-inspired
Overall, I’m a huge fan of Therm-a-rest air mattresses, specifically the NeoAir All Season.
It’s lightweight, durable, packs down well, is easy to carry on backpacking trips and comfortable enough to sleep on anywhere.
The Outdoorplay Team from Outdoorplay
The best mattress is going to depend on the type of trip, season, and whether the camper is male or female.
Therm-a-Rest makes a great selection of mattresses for camping, and I use several, including a MondoKing for car camping trips, and a NeoAir All Seasons for backpacking and camping trips.
You can view their line-up of mattresses here. For multi-day river trips, it’s hard to beat the durability and versatility of Paco Pads from Jack’s Plastics.
Thanks for the note and I appreciate you reading.
Glad you like my blog!
For backcountry adventures I sleep on a Thermarest NeoAir XLite.
At 2.5 inches thick and under 12 ounces in weight it is easy on my back weather I’m carrying it or sleeping on it.
All folded up its a little bigger than a can of coke leaving plenty of room for a bear canister or other bulky supplies.
In terms of mattresses for family camping – we only recommend self inflating mats (ie. mats that require no additional accessories, like pumps, to inflate).
Our information on self inflating is here: We have tried air mattresses in the past, and have found them not to be suitable for camping in a tent – if the ground is cold, then the air mattress becomes like a block of ice to sleep on.
To avoid this, plenty of insulation would be needed under the mattress and that means taking more gear.
Plus the thought of a leak or puncture on air mattresses isn’t something I want to contend with during the night.
For size, ease of use and packing up and storage, we find self inflating mats to be the mattress of choice for us.
It’s hard to beat the Therm-A-Rest XLite in terms of weight and warmth for a three season camping trip.
It rolls up to the size of a half litre plastic bottle, weighs 350 g in Regular length and offers backpackers and campers a comfortable & warm night in the outdoors.
It’s a highly functional mattress that’s also very durable, and ensures you sleep well after a day on the trail.
We reckon the Insta-Bed with pump is the go. We have a small inverter that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket and pumps it up in no time. Since we’ve had the air bed, our friends call our tent ‘The Palace’! Cheers and Happy Camping
Now it’s your turn. Please use the comment section below telling us what pad or air mattress do you usually take in your camping trips and why. Also please feel free to make any comment on this roundup on just leave your thoughts on it. Sleep tight !
Latest posts by James Menta (see all)
- The Homeowner’s Guide to Mattress Cleaning & Disinfection - March 26, 2018
- Air mattress size chart & top choices by size - March 14, 2017
- Materials used for air mattress production – (TPU vs. vinyl) how to eliminate the risk completely - March 13, 2017