But whether your sleeping under the stars, in a hammock or in the safety of a well ventilated tent, comfort is king. It doesn’t matter if you sleep 5 hours or spend a solid 8 hours sleeping, for the best camping experience you need a well rested night on a comfortable surface.
The comfort level really comes down to the intent of your camping trip. For example if you are car camping on a powered site nothing beats a quality air mattress on a raised bed frame. It’s high off the ground which makes getting in and out easier, plus the sensation of sleeping on air cant be beat.
However, this is not ideal for many campers that don’t utilize powered camp sites or have large enough tents to cater to this kind of luxury form of camping. This is why other options like a camping cot, regular tent air mattress or a camping pad may be the best option.
The weight of the camping mattress is only a concern if you have to travel far from your car to the campsite. For example, if you plan on backpacking hiking through bushlands to set up camp then a lightweight pad is the best option. But for car camping where you don’t need to travel far to pitch a tent, then go all out and get the most comfortable camping mattress you can afford.
Qualities That Make Up A Comfortable Mattress When Camping
- Inner Coil Systems for air mattresses are detrimental to the comfort level. A poorly made air mattress will warp, bubble and not distribute weight well.
- Inner Foam Quality for self inflating pads or regular foam pads.
- Mattress thickness will affect how comfortable your nights sleep is. If your tent allows it, go with a double high airbed for maximum comfort. For sleeping pads, a good thickness of 3-4 inches is premium for comfort.
- Outer material of mattress is important for comfort in two ways. 1. A soft flocked top will always feel nicer on your skin. 2. A plastic rubbery top will creak and make noises whenever you move which can affect how well you sleep and others on your tent.
- Bottom of mattress must have some sort of grip technology. Nothing worse then laying down on your mattresses and have it sliding around in your tent during the night. Also adds to the durability of the mattress.
- For camping cots, you want to look for designs where the middle support bar does not grind into your back. This is very uncomfortable.
- Size is very important in regards to comfort and ability to fit in your tent. The width of the mattress means you get more space, but if you are a tall camper, you will need a extra long air mattress to remain comfortable the whole night.
Types Of Mattresses For Camping
Now that we have looked at a few of the important aspects to consider when looking to buy a comfortable mattress for camping, now is the time to get into some of the best options available.
To cater to a greater audience, below you can find the best mattresses for camping in the following categories:
Ultra Premium Camping Mattresses
In terms of high end supreme comfort, there are a couple contenders to be aware of. One is the Dream Series by Therm-A-Rest which I find to more ‘regular’ mattress like in terms of comfort. A little more firmer than a air mattress feel. For the review visit the Dream series Therm A Rest.
Inching it’s way ahead of the Dream Series is a self inflating pad known as the ‘MegaMat’ by Exped. This is in my opinion the best mattress for camping if you like the more softer yet bouncy type of sleeping comfort. While the above Dream Series is certainly up there in terms of comfort, what makes the MegaMat better is the controllable level of firmness.
The Exped MegaMat Is Pleasant To Sleep On
But further more a mini pump which is included is used to set the desired firmness level to match your comfort level. This is something very unique to self inflating pads and is a big stand out in terms of individual comfort. What this means is, side sleepers, back sleepers and even if you sleep on your stomach, you can set the mattress to exactly how you like it.
One Of The Thickest Self Inflating Pads
Adding to the level of comfort for the MegaMat is the almost 4″ thickness. Which is just under half the thickness of a regular air mattress. But without the hassles of being an air mattress.
Because the pad is foam and very thick, it makes for one of the best 4 season camping bed there is. Four inches of foam insulation means this bed is brilliant for colder conditions. With a R-Value of 9.5 (-54 temperature rating), this pad insults very well as the entry level R-Value should be 1.5 minimum from my experience.
Biggest Pro: The MegaMat By Exped is the most comfortable camping bed on this page. Almost as good as the quality mattress we use at home. Being a 4 Season mattress is also extremely valuable.
The Only Con: Very expensive if you only plan to use as a temporary camping bed. Camping enthusiasts however will get extreme amounts of value form the mattress.
Best Budget Yet Comfortable Self Inflating Camp Pad
Western Owl Outfitters provide this lightweight and compact pad at an extremely affordable price. How affordable?, find out by checking price on amazon. It weighs just 2.5lbs which is quite impressive alone. But it also rolls up to a compact 8″ x 10″ unit. So finding room for this mattress while tight on space is certainly not an issue.
While it’s only 2″ thick (Which is still above standard), the price means you can certainly stock up on these things for greater comfort. While it about half the thickness of the above MegaMat, it is still quite insulated with a R-Value of 4.9. Which is quite impressive for a camping pad to be honest.
Why The Western Owl Outfitters Is A Good Mattress For Camping
What makes his mattress very comfortable and well suited to camping are these simple facts:
- Won’t deflate and leave you laying on the hard ground.
- No pump is needed as it self inflates in just minutes.
- Much more insulated than a air mattress so you wont wake up in the middle of the night freezing to death.
- Quite durable and resistant to punctures form rocks and such.
- True padding which doesn’t rely on air as much as a airbed.
- Decent size at 72″ in length and 22″ wide at the top (head and shoulder end) while 18″ at the feet end.
A Comfortable Camping Air Mattress Starts Here
This SoundAsleep mattress comes in two sizes, either Twin or Queen. I like how it gives you the option because not everybody can accommodate a queen size mattress in their tent.
Where this air mattress wins me over in regards to comfort level is within their unique ‘I Beam’ inner construction. Most cheap air mattresses utilize a horizontal air channel inside the mattress. This is what can cause the air mattress to warp, bubble in the middle and bot distribute weight evenly.
But with the SoundAsleep model it uses horizontal channels of air. What theses ‘I Beams’ do is act as support bars for the airbed to hold up your weigh evenly. For example, if you lean over to one side of the bed, you are not going to hit the ground and send the person on the other side of the bed flying into the air.
Maybe a bit dramatic, but I hope you get the point. Regardless of where you sit or lay on this mattress, the I beams will evenly support your body. This is what makes this air mattress so comfortable for sleeping on when camping.
Good For Camping?
So the Sound Asleep camping edition air mattress has my tick of approval in regards to comfort. It’s simply one of the best. What it also does well that is crucial for camping is adapts well to the conditions.
It’s a PVC mattress, so it is naturally rather durable. But for this model, SoundAsleep has reinforced the fact by making the materials thicker to withstand harsh camping environments. While you shouldn’t camp on top of rocks, twigs and sharp objects, at least you have the confidence knowing that this mattress is thicker than most.
Inflating Is A Dream
This mattress comes with an external rechargeable air mattress pump. So no need to rely on a power source at the camp site if you fully charge this pump before heading out. But make sure you allows 12-24 hours charging before heading out. The good thing is if the pump does go flat, you can recharge it via your 12v cigarette lighter in your car.
One yip I would like to pass on is this. This applies to most PVC air mattresses. Inflate the air bed fully at home before going camping. Leave it over night to ‘stretch’. If you don’t do this, it will feel like you have lost air during the night when all that really has gone on is the PVC has stretched like it is meant to do on the first couple of uses.
Most Comfortable Double High Camping Mattress
If you have a high ceiling tent or a tent with vertical walls rather than a dome style tent, a double air mattress can really increase the amount of comfort you experience as you sleep. A double high air mattress resembles the height of most actual beds found at home.
A double high aired makes getting into bed so easy . When it comes to getting up in the morning, you don’t need to find all the energy you have to drag yourself off the floor. This as well as the natural comfort you get from the extra height in the air mattress make the Coleman SupportRest ‘Plus’ a super mattress for camping.
The Coleman SupportRest Plus also comes in twin and queen sizes. Both sit at about 18 inches in height. So the Queen size makes for the perfect couples air mattress due to the size. It has a 600 pound weight capacity and is 60 inches wide while an impressive 78 inches in length.
Any Features Worth Noting?
First and foremost, it comes with a 4D or 120V external pump. So preferably go out and buy rechargeable 4D batteries and you are ready to get going straight away.
Like the above SoundAsleep air mattress, this Coleman also has a vertical air chamber support system. So you are completely supported on the bed no matter where about you sit or lay.
But whats even cooler is if you sit on the very edge, you wont sink and cause the edge of the mattress to give way. This is down to the unique feature on this bed called the ‘Support Lock’. Something I have not seen on a air mattress like this before.
What it does is creates a reinforced wall around the edge of the air mattress so that it doesn’t crumble under your weight. I really like this feature as I tend to sit on double high air mattresses a lot. Whether its for reading a book, playing with the kids or just relaxing.
On the top of the mattress around the outer edges is a raised section called the ‘pillow stop’. What this does is restricts the pillow from sliding off the mattress onto the floor while you are asleep. Even tho it has a flocked topping, pillows can still fall off the mattress. So having this ‘pillow stop’ is a really good feature to have.
With just these features alone, I am confident in saying that the Coleman SupportRest is one of the most if not the most comfortable air mattress for camping there is.
Most Comfortable Memory Foam Roll Up Mattress
Unlike any other camping mattress on this page, there is absolutely no work involved to setting up a camping bed. This is your classic roll up and strap together mattress.
However, with the LaidBack model you can connect multiple pads together to make an even larger padded comfortable sleeping surface. This is great if you have kids as they can all sleep on the same pads in a comfortable yet safe location.
It comes At A Cost…
Unfortunately like all good things in the camping world, they come at a cost. I find the LaidBack memory foam pads to be rather expensive for what they are. You can easily buy 2 or 3 other cheaper pads for the same cost as this one.
However, what the other pads lack is padding and comfort. This is what makes the LaidBack stand out from the crowd. It simply smashes the rest of the foam pads in terms of comfort. Being memory foam, you also get a much warmer pad during the colder months. This is because memory foam is not the best distributor of heat. Which is certainly a bonus for winter camping.
Overall, if you can afford to buy a LaidBack memory foam pad, I doubt you will regret it. It’s very comfortable, well sized and can be joined to make bigger pads. Due to being a dense memory foam, it isn’t all that light. So do keep this in mind if you are not car camping. Otherwise it rolls up into a nice carry bag for easy transport.
Lightweight Yet Thick Air Pad Perfect For Camping
Utilizing the lightweight of being a pad weighing just over 2lbs while incorporating the comfort of sleeping on air, the Airlite is truly a unique camping mattress. Being on the thicker side for a sleeping pad (Just under 4 inches thick), there is much comfort to be found, even if you are a side sleeper like myself.
How Does It Work?
No external pump or power source is needed whatsoever. This air mattress sleeping pad comes with a built in foot pump. So if you can tap your foot between 80 and 90 times, you can have a nice firm air mattress set up in just a few minutes. Regardless of where you are camping. This is what makes this air mattress really in a class of its own.
The other huge benefit to the Airlite sleeping pad is how well it is constructed. In my opinion, the outer material resembles the material of a water raft. Which is quite durable and strong. The actual material is called Diamond RipStop to prevent rips and tears. The top of the pad is a felt like material and not a slippery rubbery surface.
My only real concern with this pad is that it is designed for one person only and is not the best in colder temperatures due to no insulation like a foam mattress. Other than that, it has great length, pure comfort and very easy off the grid set up capabilities.
Glamping Beds For The High End Campers
Is it glamping, or is it just making the most of sleeping on air mattress on top of a camping cot. For the ultimate in outdoors sleeping comfort, you cant go past a high end camping cot. The stability, support and amount of storage space you create under the bed create an all round comfortable camping experience.
With this type of cot, a twin or queen size air mattress is attached to the cot. This is when the high end comfort really comes into it’s own. Taking the support of the vertical air chambers and the height and stability of the camping cot, you are left with a seriously comfortable camping bed.
Again, this style of bed is only feasible if your tent allows the head room. If you are camping large and want supreme comfort, this is the route I would recommend the most. It is sleeping off the ground so in cooler months your body heat is not lost in the cold earth, while also allowing greater under cot storage. To learn more click to see these dual airbed cots.
Factors That Can Contribute To The Comfort Of A Camping Bed
Sometimes there are factors that can contribute to the level of comfort your camping mattress is providing. These factors may make you believe its the mattress at fault, when in reality, it has nothing to do with the bed.
Double High Mattresses
A double high mattress, while an be extremely comfortable, can also cause some folks to feel like they are falling off the bed. Even on high end mattresses this can occur. Getting the right amount of air inside the mattress to support you is a challenge in itself.
Too little air and you sag down to the floor. Add too much air and you can feel like you’re sliding off the bed as its too firm. The firmness of the bed makes it difficult to get your body into a comfortable position.
Uneven Terrain Can Cause Discomfort
Often you will book your campsite without first reviewing the conditions. As its practically impossible to do when you live far from the campgrounds. Sometimes you draw the shortest straw and end up with a camp site that’s not on level ground.
So when setting up your tent, you need to be aware of where you would be sleeping. Try and position the tent so that where your head would be while sleeping is facing down the slope. Have you ever tried sleeping with your body tiled downwards, its not easy.
Also avoid sleeping across the slope of the land, especially if you’re using a double high airbed. When you do this, you are constantly battling yourself from rolling down the slope and off the bed. I have had to sleep like this on a number of occasions and believe me, its not great.
During the night I would wake up atleast 100 times thinking I was going to fall off the mattress. Needless to say, the next morning the tent got re-arranged to better position the bed.
How The Early Morning Sun Can affect Your Comfort Level
If you’re not one to get up at the crack of dawn, you will need to position your tent in a a manner that won’t affect the comfort of your sleep. The morning sun glaring down on a nylon tent at 6am can get quite hot quickly. So you will want to position your tent so that where you sleep is on the west side of the camp site.
Avoid setting up the mattress on the side where the sun rises, otherwise you will have first contact with its heat first thing in the morning.
Did You Find A Comfortable Camping Mattress?
While there are many more mattresses you could use for camping, these presented on this page are what I consider the most comfortable.
With the various styles and types of bedding, just about any new camper could find the perfect camp bed for them from this page. However, if there is a particular mattress or bed that you are searching for, leave me comment below and I’ll be sure to chase it up for you.