How to choose the best air mattress for camping

As urbanization continues to grow, camping is gaining more and more popularity, especially among the cityfolk. But, considering you’re leaving your comfy home for the great outdoors, are you still going to get a good night’s sleep? Realistically, you’re not going to be able to set up camp in the outdoors and sleep on a luxurious California king mattress. That’s not really what camping is all about. It’s also not very likely that you’re going to sleep on the hard, cold ground like a caveman, so it’s important to be able to find a balance right in between. 

With that said, regardless of how long you plan on camping for, sleep is still very important and it has ripple effects onto your day-to-day functionality. 

Because camping is all about stuffing the truck with materials and items, being able to bring a mattress that can be stored easily, blown up quickly, and taken down effectively, air mattresses are the most popular form of camping mattresses.

Besides, when you have a air mattress that is easy to carry, you can even trek further out into the wilderness with the option of sleeping wherever you decide to set up camp. Getting in touch with nature is the name of the game when it comes to camping and air mattresses help to alleviate the pressure of lugging around a huge mattress. 

Imagine trying to set up a queen size bed every time you put up your tent? Not ideal. 

When choosing an air mattress for camping, there are a few things you’re going to need to consider and we’ve got you covered. Speaking of covered, don’t forget the bug spray. 

Heavy or light?

Air mattresses for campers come in light and heavy varieties which are defined by the difference in materials that are used to put them together. If you favour sleeping on a comfier blow up mattress, you’ll want to go with one that is heavier because they’re made out of thicker fabrics that will last longer. 

Light mattresses are better for people who want to add a bit of hiking or climbing to their camping trips. Light mattresses aren’t as durable but they’re super convenient. 

Hand pumps or electric?

An electric pump is ideal if your camping site is close to a car or an electric outlet. If you’re heading deep into the wilderness however, you’ll want a portable hand/foot pump which doesn’t take up any energy or electricity. Just good old-fashioned hard work and sweat. 

You can always buy a portable pump that comes with AC/DC plugins. These bad boys can plug into wall outlets and pump up a mattress in under a minute. 

Some air mattresses also come with built-in battery-powered pumps that are ideal if you’re not close to an outlet/don’t want to waste valuable camping electricity.

Better Habitat CertiPUR-US SleepReady Solid Memory Foam Floor & Camping Mattress (75 x 36 x 3). 100% Memory Foam Roll Out, Portable Sleeping Pad, Waterproof Cover & Travel Bag.
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Better Habitat CertiPUR-US SleepReady Solid Memory Foam Floor & Camping Mattress (75 x 36 x 3). 100% Memory Foam Roll Out, Portable Sleeping Pad, Waterproof Cover & Travel Bag.
  • SLEEP READY in SECONDS: (i) UNCLIP & ROLL OUT. (ii) Comes w/ fitted WATERPROOF cotton terry sheet & Non-slip water resistant bottom. (iii) Premium stitching, fasteners, & zippers. (iv) Our sleeping mat is much more CONVENIENT than an air mattress.
  • PEACE OF MIND: (i) Certi-PUR-US Memory foam. NO mercury, lead, formaldehyde, phthalates, fire retardants, & ozone depleters. (ii) Low VOC emissions for indoor air quality. (iii) Passes stricter European REACH safety standards. (iv) Hypoallergenic cover blocks dust mites, allergens, bacteria, mold & mildew and gives you the soft & dry feel of breathable cotton terry.
Coleman Camping Cot, Air Mattress & Pump Combo | Folding Cot with Side Tables, Air Bed & Battery Pump, Queen
  • 3-PIECE COMBO: Includes cot with side tables, air mattress, and battery-operated pump (4 D-cell batteries sold separately)
  • SUPERIOR SUPPORT: Air bed's coil construction contours to body for better support
Coleman Air Mattress | Double-High SupportRest Air Bed for Indoor or Outdoor Use, Queen
  • SUPERIOR SUPPORT: Coil construction contours to body for better support
  • DOUBLE HIGH: Extra height makes getting in and out of bed easier
Lunvon Twin Air Mattress for Home and Camping Self Inflatable Pad Blow Up Bed with Built-in Pillow Anti-Leakage Raised Airbed with Rechargeable Pump for Guest, Height 10", 2-Year Warranty
  • REMAIN FLAT & FIRM - Still woke up again and again just due to deflation of air bed? Why not get a this camping air mattress right in the comfort of your own home or outdoor all night? With 21 internal air coils for added durability and support your bed will remain flat & firm for days. Plus, upgraded seams and superior welding crafting keep this camping air mattress completely firm & air tight to maintain its form. You would not experience that you are lying on the ‘‘floor’’ in the morning.
  • COMFORTABLE & DURABLE - Thanks to the unique wave veins which could match all parts of your body well and simply let your stress melt away. All you need to do is to lie on the queen air mattress and enjoy a deep sleep all night. Built-in pillow ensures you maximum comfort while you sleep and will mimic the experience you get with a real bed. Also, puncture-resistant and extra thicker PVC makes this mattress extremely durable and long-lasting. A soft flocked top provides the perfect durability.
RikkiTikki Premium Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Pad - Compact Camping Mat for Sleeping - Best Air Camping Mattress Pad for Backpacking, Camping, Hiking (Grey)
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND WARM: The backpacking sleeping pad for camping weighs only 20 oz and has an R-value of 2.4 which makes it one of the best warmth-to-weight ratio products in its class.
  • BIG for SLEEPING, COMPACT for CARRYING: The size of an unfolded pad is 75 x 25 x 2 in. The sleeping mat easily folds down to 11 x 3 in.


If you’re setting up a small tent, you won’t want to splurge and get a king-size air mattress. It all comes down to what makes the most sense for you and your family. When camping, you’re always going to want to keep size in mind in relation to which spots you’re going to be setting up camp. When you’re camping, space is valuable and wasting a giant bed somewhere you can set up a fire might make a little bit more sense. 

Reviewing your purchase

There’s always going to be a lot of competing brands out there trying to lure you into buying their stuff but the best thing to do is to get a little bit of information about each product from the manufacturer itself before veering off and doing your own research. User reviews supply a much more real picture of what exactly you’re about to buy. Reviews will give you the pros and cons of each mattress and you’ll be able to make a decision yourself using critical thinking. 


Since camping is becoming so popular, there’s going to be an air mattress for every budget. If you’re camping on a tight one, you won’t want to splurge on a luxurious mattress. If you have some of the important accessories, like a pump, on hand, you’ll want to by a mattress that can help maximize it. 


In the end, camping is a hobby that might require some specific handiness and skills. But with that said, you still want to make sure you, your friends, or your family remain comfortable. The one thing that can make camping pretty disastrous is a bad night sleep, especially if you’re exposed to the elements of nature. Be sure to do plenty of research and invest in a mattress that will provide comfort, longevity, and durability. If you go buying a new mattress every summer, you’ll start to find it very expensive and might even end up hating camping as a result.