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Self Inflating Pad Vs Air Mattress Vs Cots – Which Is Better?

Sleeping Pad Vs Air Mattress

When it comes to portable sleeping arrangements such as hiking, camping, backpacking or overnight stays. Choosing the right sleeping platform is critical to a good nights sleep.

If you are faced with the situation where you are determined to buy either a Self Inflating Pad Vs Air Mattress or a camping cot, but can’t quite decide which one. Fear not, cause we will be revealing the pros and cons of both the sleeping pad and the air bed. As an alternative to both, a camping cot could be a suitable candidate as well.

Without knowing your exact use for either a pad or mattress and camping cot, there will be some discrepancies as to which is best. Instead of telling you directly that the self inflating mattress is the way to go, or why you should buy a air mattress, we will discus what we have found to be common reasons to buy a vs b. Although I must admit, I have been a air mattress fan myself for as long as I have been a camper. But this will hold no weight in the cot vs air mattress vs sleeping pad comparison.

Quick Buyers Guide Links

Best Air Mattresses For 2024

Top Rated Camping Cots

Self Inflating Pads Buyers Guide

When It Comes To Camping…Sleeping Pad Vs Air Mattress Camping

Sleeping Pad Vs Air Mattress Vs Cots

Camping is a hugely popular escape from reality for many American families. More often then not, the classic horizontal channel air mattress is the bed of choice.

With modern advancements in camping air mattresses, the lifespan of what used to considered a joke is now a highly sort after sleeping platform. Many air mattresses have become tougher, longer lasting and better designed to handle tough outdoors terrains. But how do they compare to the tough camping cot.

The Air Mattress Versus The Cot For Camping Outdoors

The Pros Of A Air Mattress

  • Without a doubt more comfortable to sleep on
  • Adjustable support via the addition or reduction in air
  • Lightweight and can be packed up tightly to reduce wasted trunk space
  • Better suited to more than 1 persons

Camping Cons For Airbeds

  • They are not ‘Hole Proof‘, so at some stage or another you will face a air leak. Be prepared and take along a hole repair kit or 2. However, to give yourself the best chance of surviving a camping trip without a tear, it’s recommended to buy a more puncture safe airbed. These types of beds are made from thicker more durable materials.
  • Airbeds can take up a large area of a small tent, if not the whole tent.
  • For camping a external pump is recommended, so compared to a self inflating pad or cot. A pump is one extra item to tag along for the trip.
  • Cheaper plastic topped air mattresses make a squeaky noise whenever you move around which is annoying for other campers.

Camping Cots Comparison

Comparing the cot to the air mattress/self inflating, will certainly have some distinct pros and disadvantages. Cots are generally used for camping, scouts and often used by the Army as a portable sleeping arrangement.

The Pros Of Buying A Cot For Camping

  • Heavy Duty if you buy the right cot. If you choose a cot, don’t go looking for the cheapest because well it probably won’t last. Buy a heavy duty cot for maximum lifespan.
  • Raised off the ground. As a cots sleeping surface are not in direct contact with the earth, they can prove to be beneficial for both Winter and Summer. In Winter, being away from the cold frozen ground is the best way to stay warm as you don’t loose body temperature into the cold ground. In summer, being raised above the ground allows extra air flow/breeze to keep you cooler.
  • Space Savers! Being raised above ground allows for extra storage underneath the cot.
  • No pump or further accessories needed except for maybe a sleeping pad.

Disadvantages Of A Cot

  • They can be quite bulky and heavy. Not all but many are so be sure to check dimensions and the actual carry weight.
  • Without the addition of a sleeping pad or a air mattress, some people find the canvas platform to be less comfortable.
  • Can be difficult to set up and dismantle.

What’s The Best Bed For HikingBest Sleeping pad For Hiking reviews

Between a self inflating pad, a cot and an air mattress there is clearly one winner here. The self inflating pad. Hiking adventures can last anywhere from 1 day to weeks in a row. So traveling ‘light’ is crucial.

For air mattresses, you generally need a pump which is extra weight and space taken up in the back pack. While a air mattress can be rolled up and hung from the back pack, they are still heavier than a pad. While you may not think a few pounds isn’t much right now, after a few hours hiking, those few pounds will feel like you are transporting bricks around.

Cots are completely eliminated in regards to hiking or back packing. There are simply too bulky and too heavy to lug around. Cots are better left to camping purposes.

What About Indoors For Guest Rooms, Everyday Use Etc..

The Best Air Beds For Everyday Use 2016
See Everyday Use Airbeds Here

Either a cot, self inflating pad or a air bed is suitable for indoors use. However, there is one clear advantage the air mattress can offer. That is the ability to not only resemble a real bed, but actually be comfortable like one.

Everyday use Airbeds are not your typical air mattress that you so often use for camping. These beds are typically double raised to about 19-22 inches in height and have built in pumps. The built in pumps require access to power which is why they are perfect for indoors use.

Some airbeds have a second built in pump which takes the everyday airbed to the next level. This second pump is commonly referred to as a Never Flat pump. This pumps acts as a 24/7 air assistant. Whenever the air bed looses any air the secondary pump kicks in and inflates the air bed to your desired level.

A cot can be used for extended periods indoors, however without the addition of a air mattress or sleeping pad, they may become too uncomfortable for months in a row.

Which Is The Best – Air Mattress, Self Inflating Pad Or The Camping Cot?

What type of sleeping platform do you prefer and why?. We would love to hear your experiences, both good and bad with any of the common portable beds used in today’s era. Feel free to share your experiences below in the comments section or go back to top to See Our Buyers Guides.