How to choose the best camping mattress

As camping starts to become more and more popular due to the rise of urbanization, sneaking out of your home and into the wilderness and the great outdoors is a pretty appealing activity. 

But with camping, comes the result of not being able to sleep in your big, comfy bed. 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 is a huge plus. 

Campers are experts when it comes to comfort, especially of the makeshift variety. One thing campers know that shouldn’t be compromised when setting up camp is a comfy place to sleep. Think about spending the entire day outside and then having a crummy place to doze off for the night — not fun. As opposed to backpacking or hiking, campers can actually set up a pretty cozy little set up using cushions and support to make sure you get a good night’s sleep among the wild. 

If you plan on spending a night under the stars, you’re going to want to do it with a comfy place to sleep. Here are some of the best mattresses to choose before you go off camping. 

Camping pads

Self-inflating sleep pads are a great addition to tack onto your camping repertoire. These things provide plenty of warmth, cushion, and you don’t have to keep inflating it over and over. Plus, they’re tiny enough to be stored easily and you can roll them up to optimize your space even more. To inflate them, all you have to do is unroll them and open up the valves and let the pads do the work. The foam expands and then you need to only add a few breaths at the end to make sure they’re as thick as you want. It might take a few tries to roll them up and pack them, but they’re super handy and pretty comfortable given its size. 

They tend to weigh only three pounds but are ideal if you’re heading away and want to maximize space. Camping pads are next to indestructible, provide really good warmth, and are very user friendly. Admittedly, they’re not the comfiest and thickest camping beds on the mattress but you can’t go wrong with these for starters. They usually come with a price tag in the $100 to $200 price range. 


Unlike camping pads, roamers are thick and tend to be a little bit more warm resulting in a little bit of added comfort. They have micro-adjustable valves that make it easy to blow up and deflate and they can be rolled up and stored and easily transported. Roamers, usually weighing between three to five pounds, are a bit pricier ($230) but they are very durable and can withstand all of the elements that nature throws its way. You can also easily connect them to other roamers with velcro to form the equivalent of a queen size mattress. Since it’s a bit thicker, they’re not as ultra lightweight as pads but they tend to be a bit more luxurious for campers looking for extra cushion. 

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Camping pads will built-in pillows

Again, when you’re heading out to camp, you want to maximize as much space and some caming pads come with already built-in pillows. Plus, they tend to be pretty inexpensive running at about $40 to $60. They don’t have any valves to automatically blow them up and they’re not very thick but they are very easy to transport and store. Considering they’re made out of lightweight latex, they’re also quite durable for the price and tend to be good choices for taller campers due to its 76 inch-long length. Plus the pillow is built-in so you can sneak off for a wicked nap while the rest of the clan jumps in the lake. 

Double air mattress bed

Air mattresses are great choices for the traditional camper who doesn’t mind blowing up their mattress from scratch. Contemporary models even include built-in battery-powered pumps so you don’t have to waste all your breath to prepare yourself to sleep. Save your breath for blowing into the fire and let these 80 inch mattresses blow up themselves. Air mattresses don’t tend to have a very long lifespan considering a small little hole will render them effectively useless. But, they can be blown up pretty thick and are surprisingly comfortable. They usually cost anywhere between $60 and $90. 

Foam sleeping pads

Foam pads are expensive but tend to be the best option to use while camping. They’re made out of light foam fabrics and provide a lot of warmth and a really good amount of comfort. Like roamers, these mattresses also have dual valves that help to inflate them quickly and they’re both wide and long for campers who do want a bit of comfort when they hit the hay. Foam sleeping pads are not as easy to inflate as camping pads, due to the memory foam, but they are very comfortable. The price tag usually lads in the $215 to $300 range. 

Backpacking sleeping pads

At just 8 ounces in weight, backpacking sleeping pads are extremely light and can pack into the size of a soda can. So, while they lack insulation and comfort, you essentially fit your camping mattress into your back pocket which is a massive luxury when you’re trying to maximize space. Considering they’re size, they’re revered to be comfortable for a single sleeper and are in a decent price range, ranging from $150 to $300 for higher-end models. 


In the end, you’re going to want to do your research. Camping mattresses vary depending on the person and if you’re someone who already has aches and pains while sleeping, you might want to consider a thicker and more stable mattress versus a lightweight one. If you think you’ll trek off even further away from your camping site, something that is small and less comfortable might prove to be very valuable. 

As always, conduct a good amount of research online and be sure to check out plenty of customer reviews to ensure the camping mattress you’re looking into is the best choice for you. A fun weekend of camping can be completely ruined by a couple of uncomfortable nights of sleep. Nobody wants to wake up in a tent full of water with a soaking wet bed.