It hardly requires any explanation on how important it is to have your favorite camping air mattress or camping sleeping pad handy when spending your nights outdoors. The best camping bed is the one that, apart from being comfortable, is also portable, durable, and lightweight enough to carry. It should not be hard to use or set up, so you don’t get stuck in a pinch while you’re setting up camp to sleep.
The five best camping mattresses are:
Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D: Overall Best Camping Mattress
- Easier to inflate because of the stuff sack that also works as a pump
- Large valves make it easy to deflate, roll up and pack
- High level of comfort and warmth irrespective of the use-conditions or season
- Large packed size
- One mattress is not enough for two
- Type: Air Pad, Foam Pad
- Dimensions: 25 x 77 x 4in [Large]; 30 x 80 x 4in [XXL]
- R Value: 8.0
The Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D is a top contender for the position of the best camping bed available in the market for its four inches of luxurious foam comfort, packaged with unmatchable warmth, resulting in one of the deepest sleeps you could have had in the outdoors. I found the dual-valve system extremely convenient for campers. One can comfortably inflate it to a full-sized bed by attaching the stuff sack to the inflation valve.
On the flip side, the mattress has a significantly large deflation valve that makes it easier to dump out the air faster. Overall, it takes much less time than most of its competitors to prepare the bed and subsequently roll it up and pack it away after use. The mattress is also notably lighter than similar variants in its category.
Exped MegaMat Duo 10: Best for Comfort
- One mattress is enough for two campers to sleep together
- Vertical sidewalls and cushioning provide high levels of comfort
- Scores high on durability
- One of the most pricey options in the market
- Inefficient foot pump
- Type: Self Inflating Pad
- Dimensions: 77.6 x 52 x 3.9 inches
- R Value: 8.1
One of the most enticing features of this travel mattress is that it inflates into a full-size air bed providing the comfort of a foam self-inflating pad. One Exped MegaMat Duo 10 equals the size of two camping mats. It has a width of 52 inches complemented by a 3.9 inch-thick cushioning. What’s more, it has an easy inflation and deflation process and scores high on durability.
The product line has recently been enhanced with an expandable ‘Max’ version where one can increase the thickness from the standard 3.9 inches to 5.9 inches. Campers looking for comfort as the primary need in their camping mats have found Exped MegaMat Duo 10 one of the best options available in the market.
REI Kingdom Insulated Sleep System: Best for a Robust Air Mattress
The REI Kingdom Insulated Sleep System ranks high on our list for its wholesome offer. Not only does it come as a queen-sized sleep-system of a six-inch-thick air mattress, but it also includes a quilted cover, a comforter, sheets, and a large pump. The company offers the entire set in a convenient-to-carry duffel-style bag. The compactness of the set makes it very easy for the campers to quickly load and start traveling.
The hand pump works great for inflating the bed. The quilted cover helps to improve the mattress on its warmth and comfort rating. The comforter and the sheets are ready to wrap around the bottom to keep the toes warm and protect against the occasional mishap of losing blankets while sleeping. The insulation of the mattress works up to a temperature between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Alps Mountaineering Apex Series: Best for Affordability
- Extremely pocket friendly
- Scores high in durability and comfort among budget mattresses
- Uses suede upper fabric instead of plastic materials
- The regular variant is only 20 inches wide
- Not for frequent professional camping
- Type: Self Inflating Air Pad
- Dimensions: 20 x 72 x 3 inches (regular)
- R Value: 6.9
The Alps Mountaineering Apex Series is our pick for the best budget camping mattress available in the market. It is one of those rare self-inflating mattress variants that come under the price of $75. The mattress has a decent mix of air, foam, and hardened polyester walls. It’s also a significant plus that the product provides suede upper fabric at this rate. The mattress ranks well on warmth and comfort.
The pad scores high on durability, when compared to other products in its price range, and offers enough grip to not slide off during sleeping. If you are an occasional camper and all you look for is a good night’s sleep under the sky, it is a perfect product to go for.
Nemo Roamer: Best for Self-inflating Comfort
Convenient self-inflation features are a must-have for professional campers for their camping mattresses. Nemo Roamer is unarguably one of the best performing mattresses in this category. Unlike other mattresses, the Nemo Roamer inflates in around five minutes. It has a dual-valve system that makes deflation as easy as inflation.
Its insulating features are better than most of the other variants in its category. Being compact in packed size and lightweight makes it perfect to load and carry.
How to Choose a Camping Mattress
You should weigh multiple aspects before you choose a camping mattress. These aspects would mostly depend on the nature of your expedition, including how many people are accompanying you on the trip, the topography of the area you are traveling to, the temperature, and the vehicle you are planning to travel in.
The six most crucial parameters you need to consider are:
- Capacity: It is important to know how many people can sleep on the camping mat comfortably. Don’t only go by the number mentioned in the specifications. It differs depending on whether you have children or only adults accompanying you. The best way to check whether the capacity would be enough for your needs is to calculate the surface area.
- Durability and comfort: One should not come at the cost of the other. A durable mattress does not necessarily need to be hard and uncomfortable. Similarly, a mattress that uses comfortable and softer material should not fall prey to wear and tear. The material should provide a good grip over the body without making the mat irritable, itchy, or prickly.
- Weather resistance: Campers travel through uncertain, unpredictable, and varied weather conditions. Rain, snowfall, or too much heat changes the temperament of the surface. Variations in temperature between the day and the night also create tension along the surface of the mat. One should be mindful of the properties of the material and how they would react to the dominant weather traits of the area one is traveling to.
- Inflation and deflation: Inflation should be hassle-free and must not require a lot of manual energy. On the flip side, the bed should deflate quickly. A double-valve system works the best. Easy inflation and deflation features save a lot of time for the camper and increase his/her mobility.
- Packed weight and portability: How much packed weight one can bear for his camping mat depends on the mode of travel. Backpacking trips require lightweight mats that become compact. For in-car camping trips, one can go with slightly heavyweight material as portability does not create much of an issue.
While choosing the perfect mattress for your camping trip, your objective should be to optimize all these parameters as much as possible while staying within your budget.
How I Evaluated the Best Camping Mattresses
When evaluating the best camping mattresses, I looked at durability and comfort, price point, weather resistance, inflation and deflation, and portability. These are all factors that you must consider before finding the perfect camping air pad for your next trip. The mattress that provides the best mix of features that fit your needs is likely the best one for you.
Camping without a comfortable air mattress is not the way to go. Spend time reviewing the above options to find the best camping air mattress for you. You will be thankful you took the time to find one that will give you a a comfortable place to sleep while out in the outdoors.