Are Air Mattresses Good for Camping?

Empty tent set up outdoor in the nature. concept photo of travel outdoor.

Many people love going camping, but they don’t go because they don’t want to sleep on the ground. There are things that they can purchase so they can sleep more comfortably, but they first think of bringing an air mattress on their camping trip. So, are air mattresses good for camping, or should you avoid bringing them?

Air mattresses are good for camping, but they can be inconvenient and heavy. Most campers prefer to bring mattress pads or alternative things to sleep on, especially if they have to hike to their campsite. However, air mattresses provide a soft material for campers to sleep on.

Air mattresses are slept on by many people while they travel, but they are typically slept on while people are indoors rather than outdoors. For more information about why air mattresses are good for camping, but other alternatives might be better, keep reading.

Are Air Mattresses Good to Bring Camping?

Air mattresses are useful when you are camping and as long as you aren’t hiking to your campsite, they can easily be brought on a camping trip. If you bring an air mattress with you on your camping trip, a good night’s rest is almost completely assured. You won’t be sleeping on the ground and can easily sleep in your sleeping bag or go all-out and bring sheets, blankets, and pillows from home.

Since you won’t be sleeping on the ground, you won’t wake up in the morning with sore muscles and a sore back. When you go to sleep, you will fall asleep quite quickly while listening to the sounds of nature around you.

However, bringing an air mattress with you on a camping trip is not always fun and games. Most campers try to pack light, especially if they have to hike rather than drive to their campsite. If you have to hike to your campsite, you may want to avoid bringing an air mattress because they are bulky and can be quite heavy.

They are also hard to roll up tightly, so they will take up a lot of room in your backpack that you wanted to use for other supplies like food or fire starters. However, you can purchase camping air mattresses that are more compact than traditional ones. (Source)

If you bring an air mattress with you on a camping trip, you have to bring extra supplies. If your air mattress doesn’t self-inflate, you have to bring a pump or decide that you want to pump it up with your breath, which is not always possible in a short amount of time. If you bring an electric air mattress pump, you may want to bring extra batteries. You may also want to bring an air mattress repair kit. (Source)

Air mattresses are easy to puncture and sometimes have seemingly invisible holes in them that allow air to slowly leak out as you are sleeping. I have brought an air mattress with me on a camping trip and it leaked air the entire night during multiple camping trips. I can tell you that it is not fun to wake up on the ground or on a slightly deflated soft air mattress when you are camping. Keep in mind that there were no holes in the air mattress, the cold air simply made the air mattress deflate over the course of the night.

People are often cold when sleeping on air mattresses because of the air directly beneath them, but that can easily be remedied with an insulated sleeping bag. They also make a lot of noise when you move, which causes some people to wake up. One of the main irritations many campers have when putting an air mattress in their tent is how much space it takes up. If you put a twin-sized air mattress in a 1-2 person tent, you won’t have room to step around it.

Air mattresses can be expensive, at least the ones that self-inflate and won’t deflate as you sleep on them at night. Not everyone has $100 or more to spend on an air mattress they will rarely use. Luckily, it is relatively easy to find cheaper air mattresses that will work for your camping trip.

However, the pros often outweigh the cons when you bring an air mattress to sleep on during your camping trip. You will have a comfortable place to sleep and lay down during the day. If your air mattress deflates, you can easily inflate it again until it is more comfortable to sleep on. You will also have a place to sit as you rifle through your backpack that isn’t on the ground or floor of your tent.

Should You Bring an Air Mattress Camping?

inflatable air mattress being filled up inside a tent. High quality 4k footage

If you are driving to your campsite instead of hiking and don’t have anything else to sleep on, you should absolutely bring an air mattress with you on your next camping trip, especially if you already have one.

If you have back or spine issues, bringing an air mattress will ensure you won’t wake up with back pain and will be able to sleep comfortably through the night.

If you are middle-aged and are starting to wake up sore after you sleep on an uncomfortable mattress, you should definitely bring an air mattress with you on your next camping trip. Many people that go camping regularly have found that they can no longer sleep on the ground as they get older, and an air mattress allows them to continue camping in comfort. (Source)

Ultimately, it is up to you whether or not you bring an air mattress with you on your next camping trip. However, before you decide whether or not to do so, you should consider some of your other options.

How to Bring Air Mattress Camping

If you want to bring an air mattress with you on your next camping trip, you will need to pack it properly. If you are driving to your campsite, simply put it in its carrying case and put it in your car. If it doesn’t have a carrying case, you want to compact your camping gear, or you simply want to make it easily accessible when you aren’t near your car, put it in a plastic tote.

You could also simply roll up your air mattress and put it in the bottom of your backpack. If you put it in the bottom of your backpack, you won’t notice the weight on your back as much. However, it may be hard to access when you arrive at your campsite.

When putting your air mattress in your car, try to put it near the top and make sure there isn’t anything sharp nearby that could puncture it. The last thing you want to happen is to have to repair or replace your air mattress during your camping trip because it was punctured by your marshmallow roasting sticks.

Air Mattress Alternatives for Camping

If you don’t want to sleep on the ground when you go camping but don’t want to bring an air mattress with you, you have other options. Some of them include:

  • Hammock
  • Foam pad
  • Sleeping pad
  • Camping cot
  • Sleeping bags

Hammocks are great alternatives for air mattresses, but not if you want to bring a tent or are camping in an area that doesn’t have a lot of trees. However, they are easy to set up, comfortable to sleep in, and can be set up almost anywhere.

Foam pads may be thin, but they take the edge off of sleeping on the ground and can be rolled up quite tightly. Some foam pads are shaped like an egg container (eggshell foam pads).

Sleeping pads are a great alternative to air mattresses. Some sleeping pads are inflatable, and they are more supportive than foam pads. You can attach sleeping pads to many hiking backpacks with the straps on the bottom, so they won’t take up any space in your backpack. Sleeping pads won’t pop or leak air as air mattresses will. However, you can also sometimes do so with air mattresses.

You could also use a camping cot instead of an air mattress. They keep you off the ground, but oftentimes when sleeping on a camping cot, you are only supported by a thick piece or two of fabric, which isn’t very comfortable. If you want to be extremely comfortable as you sleep on your camping trip, put an air mattress on your camping cot. (Source)

Some sleeping bags have padding on the bottom, so you can use a sleeping bag instead of an air mattress while camping. Many people use sleeping bags while sleeping on an air mattress, but you don’t have to use them at the same time, especially if your sleeping bag is padded so you won’t be uncomfortable while sleeping on the ground.

rolled up polyurethane mat and folded air mattress for camping and tourism isolated on white background

Best Air Mattresses for Camping

Some of these camping air mattresses are technically called mats because they are thinner than traditional air mattresses, but they have to be filled with air, so I am counting them as air mattresses.

MegaMat 10

The MegaMat 10 is a 4-inch thick air mattress that costs $229.95 and is rated 5 stars. You can choose from two sizes and it fits about one person at a time. It comes with a pump, so it won’t take long to fill it with air. If you overfill it, you can easily release some air by pressing on one of the valves until it is the desired firmness. The fabric is extremely soft and durable, so it won’t leak and will be extremely comfortable to sleep on throughout the night.

MegaMat Duo TXY

The MegaMat Duo TXY is an almost 4-inch thick camping air mattress that has a unique shape that allows you to store your gear nearby, even if the mattress takes up most of your tent. It costs $399.95 and is rated 5 stars by consumers. It comes with a pump but self-inflates most of the way, so you simply will need to top it off with air to ensure you can sleep on it comfortably. If you aren’t camping in a tent, it fits in the backseat of many cars, including a Tesla Model X or Tesla Model Y.

DeepSleep Mat 7.5 Duo

The DeepSleep Mat 7.5 Duo costs between $279.95-$309.95 and you can choose from two different sizes when you order it. It has extremely soft fabric and is only 3 inches thick, but it will keep you from feeling any rocks or twigs that may be underneath it while you are sleeping. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with an air pump, but because of its thickness, it won’t take a long time for you to blow it up, even without a pump. If you still want the air pump for this mattress, it can be purchased separately.

Sierra Designs Camping Air Bed Mattress

The Sierra Designs Camping Air Bed Mattress costs $60-$70, which is much cheaper than the previous options mentioned here. It is rated 4.4 out of 5 stars. It comes in two sizes: queen or single. It comes with a built-in pillow and is made out of quite durable material. It comes with an air pump, but you will need to put batteries in it. It has a 1-year warranty, so if it malfunctions during your camping trip, you can have it fixed or replaced for free. It is resistant to extremely cold and hot temperatures, so it won’t deflate or crack as the temperature drops.

Coleman QuickBed Elite

The Coleman QuickBed Elite costs $40 and is rated 4 stars. It is a twin-sized air mattress and is 9.5 inches tall, so it will definitely keep you from feeling any rocks and tigs that are beneath you as you sleep. It comes with a carrying bag and has a built-in air pump, so you won’t need to bring one. It can support up to 300 pounds and is made out of soft, but durable, material, so it won’t be extremely easy to puncture.

Overall, you can absolutely bring an air mattress on your camping trip. Durable air mattresses are great to use while camping as they keep you comfortable as you sleep, but they are inconvenient if you need to hike to your campsite. Luckily, you don’t need to bring an air mattress camping to sleep comfortably, as there are many other options that may work better and will be more compact.

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