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Air mattresses for camping: our top picks
- ALPS Mountaineering Outback Self-inflating Air Mat
- SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress
- Etekcity Upgraded Camping Air Mattress
- Coleman Camping Cot
- KLYMIT Static V2 Sleeping Pad
Picture this: You’ve just pitched your tent. Stakes are secure. You know because you’ve double checked. You pour yourself a celebratory mug (who brings wine glasses to go camping?) of Barolo, slightly warmed by the afternoon sun because you forgot to put the bottle in the cooler. As your third sip begins to work its magic on your bloodstream, you close your eyes and raise your face to the sky. You hear birdsong. You hear the gentle swish and swoosh of water as it hits the shore. The symphony of millions of rustling leaves somehow sound so clear that you can almost make out a melody. You open your eyes to the leaf-dappled sunlight and for the first time in a long time, you see things just as you should – with no filters, beautifully raw and gloriously natural.
Do you see it?
As proven time and again since the ’70s, when the health and wellness movement began in earnest, humans are biologically wired to not only crave the outdoors but to actually need to be in nature. While this may sound slightly woo to some, communing with nature is, by far, the best way to reconnect with one’s self without all the noise – to be more self aware, to recharge. Tell me, would you call seasoned campers/hunters/hikers woo? I think not. And yet, they know what it truly means to be one with the elements.
It does not matter whether you live in a city, in the countryside, in the outback, in the highlands or an island; it does not matter whether you’re a complete camping noob or a camping expert; it does not matter whether you’re in the woods or your own backyard, most of us need some semblance of comfort when it comes to sleeping in the great outdoors (well, unless you’re Bear Grylls).
While just a sleeping bag may cut it for some, others may want something a bit more luxurious – we’re no longer cavemen, after all.
1. ALPS Mountaineering Outback Self-inflating Air Mat
If you’re serious about your outdoor excursions and serious about comfort, then look no further than the ALPS Mountaineering Outback Self-inflating Air Mat. Coming in 2 sizes with the largest being 32 x 80 inches making it just a few inches shy of the dimensions of a standard single mattress; the ALPS Mountaineering Outback sleeps one happy camper quite generously (two if you don’t mind cuddling the person you’re camping with).
Even when deflated the 4 inch think ALPS Mountaineering Outback’s vertically cored foam interior is so plush that some people found that they could actually sleep quite comfortably on it, no air at all. But fully inflated, the Air Mat provides cushioned support for all your pressure points, giving all your tired joints the relief they deserve after a full day of exploring. This makes it great for all types of sleepers. With this much foam, you have no worry of feeling any rocks or any rough surfaces you lay the Air Mat on. The ALPS Mountaineering Outback self-inflates with its own proprietary Quikflate valve which makes inflation and deflation quick and easy.
The ALPS Mountaineering Outback has an R-value of 8.5, which is considered high, making it one of the best air mattresses for those who sleep cold or those who may camp at areas with extreme weather conditions.
The ALPS Mountaineering Outback utilizes a 30D elastic fabric on the top which makes for a super-soft feel and a 150D fabric on the bottom, making it extremely durable yet easy to clean. It also comes with its very own repair kit which makes it handy for any mattress emergencies. The only drawback we can see is that since the Air Mat is almost the size of a single mattress (and a little longer), it may not fit into your standard tent so this is something you should think about.
It comes in 2 sizes:
- Large – 27 x 78 x 4 inches with a packed size of 10 x 30 inches / Weight – 6 lbs 9 oz
- X-Large – 32 X 80 X 4 inches with a packed size of 12 X 32 inches / Weight – 7 lbs 7 oz
Warranty – is applicable only under company discretion provided that the item is bought directly on their website or from authorized third party retailers
Buy: ALPS Mountaineering Self-Inflating Air Mat, $131.49 (Large) from Amazon.com
2. SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress
Coming in at 2 sizes – a twin size and a queen – the SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress was especially made to fit 2 people comfortably.
With their very own SoundAsleep ComfortCoil Technology, their Camping Series Air Mattress features I-Beam Air Coils and a proprietary eco-friendly PVC specifically designed for durability during outdoor use.
The Camping Series Air Mattress also includes a patented, rechargeable external pump for easy inflation/deflation. The pump’s heavy duty battery may be charged at home ahead of time or even with a car charger when you’re on the road. The Camping Series Air Mattress reaches full inflation within 3 minutes and can be topped off at any time, should you need it.
The Camping Series Air Mattress inflates to a medium firmness on a regular mattress feel scale although SoundAsleep recommends to wait for the mattress to stretch to become softer. The option to top off makes it easy for you to reach your desired firmness or softness level.
SoundAsleep does not provide the R-value for their Camping Series Air Mattress and we have found that it will not provide enough insulation once the temperature drops to the low 30s so this may be a better option for camping in the summer or in warmer weather. That said, the mattress features a “sure-grip” bottom which prevents the mattress from unwanted sliding. The Camping Series Air Mattress also comes with an extra thick, waterproof flocked top for added comfort and durability made up of a multi-layer, puncture-resistant material.
The Camping Series Air Mattress comes with it’s own matching carrying case and includes the a/c home charger, a 6-v car adapter, a nozzle adapter and of course, the pump.
SoundAsleep offers 1 year warranty on their Air Mattresses.
- Twin – 75 x 42 x 9 inches / Weight – 9 lbs
- Queen – 78 x 60 x 9 inches / Weight – 10 lbs
Buy: SoundASleep Camping Series Air Mat, $89.95 (Queen) from Amazon.com
3. Etekcity Upgraded Camping Air Mattress
Built to mimic the experience of sleeping on a real bed, The Etekcity Upgraded Camping Air Mattress can easily sleep 2 people with a combined weight of 550 lbs very comfortably.
Fully inflated, the Etekcity Upgraded Camping Air Mattress provides a medium to medium soft support which could benefit side sleepers and combo sleepers alike and can help with better spinal alignment. The mattress also features a non-skid bottom as well as a 20% thicker water resistant flocked top for better protection against the elements.
The built in electric pump fully inflates the mattress to desired firmness in just 3-5 minutes and the power cord can be stored away in a built in compartment to keep the area clutter free.
The Etekcity Upgraded Camping Air Mattress is made with non-toxic PVC materials that have passed rigorous Official US CA Prop 65 tests on Cadmium, lead and Phthalates, making it safe to use for the whole family (but please, as with all air mattresses, try to keep it away from pets with sharp claws). That said, the seams of the Etekcity are reinforced and welded together to keep all the air in. It also features excellent edge support and there should be no danger of the mattress tipping over if you sit on the edge. The double layer construction with puncture-resistant material ensures the air mattress will maintain its form, despite prolonged use.
While most camping air mattresses are not recommended for use indoors for extended periods of time, Etekcity is confident enough in their Air Mattress for them to recommend that it can be used for short periods indoors, specially for those who are in the process of moving, those who are living in temporary accommodations or for overnight guests.
Etekcity has not given the R-value for their Upgraded Camping Air Mattress but we have found it to be sufficiently insulating in milder temperatures.
The Etekcity Upgraded Camping Air Mattress comes with its own carrying case and a built in electric pump. The thickest mattress on our list, the Etekcity Upgraded Camping Air Mattress is 18 inches thick.
Every product from Etekcity comes with 1 year warranty with an option to extend up to 1 year more.
Buy: EtekCity Upgraded Camping Air Mattress, $79.99 (Queen) from Amazon.com
4. Coleman Camping Cot
Want something a little extra? Try Coleman’s Air Mattress with its very own foldable camping cot. Designed for the more discerning campers (or should we say glampers), Coleman offers 2 sizes for their Air Mattress, a Twin and a Queen. The Twin can hold up to 300 lbs of combined weight while the Queen can hold a whopping 600 lbs – that’s enough for 3 average sized Americans.
Coming in a 3-piece combo: this set includes a cot with side tables, an air mattress and a battery operated pump (batteries sold separately). Yes, you read that right – side tables. The side tables come with cup holders to keep your drinks clothes and other personal items handy. (We did say glamping, didn’t we?). Both the air bed and cot can be folded easily and stored in its accompanying carrying case for maximum portability.
The Air Mattress boasts Coleman’s own superior ComfortStrong coil construction that contours to the body for maximum pressure relief and is of medium to medium soft feel, which benefits all types of sleepers. It also features an airtight system as well as a double locked valve, ensuring no air leakage of any kind. As for the cot, it is made up of strong, durable steel and is able to hold a good amount of weight as we have mentioned above.
But, here’s a neat little trick: want to maximize what you have? You can use the cot and the mattress separately. In fact, Coleman suggests that you do, if you want to. Throw a sleeping bag on top of the cot, or if you and your partner are happy with firmer surfaces, then the cot itself will do nicely and give the mattress to the kids or friends you are camping (I’m sorry, glamping) with. Always a good idea to get the most bang for buck, even when you’re the type who glamps.
While the idea of carting around a queen sized air mattress and a cot can be a little daunting, most verified reviews have discovered that it was quite easy to move around with – just not when you’re hiking up a mountain or through rugged terrain. Again, this is not for that kind of camping experience although if you really want to, who are we to stop you?
Coleman offers a 1 year warranty on their Camping Cot Bed.
- Twin – 74 x 23.5 x 40 inches / Weight – 13.9 lbs
- Queen – 59 x 22 x 78 inches / Weight – 41.9 lbs
Buy: Coleman Camping Cot, $157.05 (Queen) from Amazon.com
5. KLYMIT Static V2 Sleeping Pad
Coming in at 1 pound, KLYMIT’s Static V2 Sleeping Pad is the lightest air mattress on our list. And when we say light, we mean ultralight – like packs into the size of a large can of soda light.
Designed for the more active camper and the even more serious backpacker, the V2 allows you to get the sleep you deserve, anywhere your steel-toed, hiking boots may take you. Redesigned from it’s classic version, the Static V – hence the V2 – it features the same innovative V-design, only 12% lighter. The V-chamber design limits air movement and heat loss although its R-value is only 1.3 – which in all honesty does not really bother us. You see, sometimes you must sacrifice something you sometimes deem important in order to get something better. In this case, heat for supreme portability. That said, the V2 is only recommended for use in warmer weather.
While the V2 may look like it comes straight out of some sci-fi movie, with its lime green color and its deep weld patterning – they all serve a purpose. KLYMIT’s patented V-design delivers support and comfort to all types of sleepers, while the side rails provide you with extra security by centering you on the pad whilst you sleep as well as working as extra insulation by inhibiting air movement while you may be tossing and turning.
KLYMIT’s V2 does not come with an external or built in pump, you would have to inflate it and it takes approximately 10-15 breaths for it to fully inflate so if you’re lungs are not up for the challenge, make sure you camp with someone who has great lung capacity. The V2 also comes with its own stuff sack and patches.
Coming in only one size and made out of reinforced polyster, the V2 works great for ground, cot or even hammock sleeping, should you find yourself in a semi-deserted island somewhere (like I hope to do soon).
KLYMIT offers a limited lifetime warranty on all their sleeping pads.
- One size – 72 x 23 x 2 inches / Weight – 16 oz
Buy: KLYMIT V2 Sleeping Pad, $45.99 (One Size), from Amazon.com
Camping air mattresses at a glance
|Air Mattress Brand||ALPS Mountaineering Outback Self-inflating Air Mat||SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress||Etekcity Upgraded Camping Air Mattress||Coleman Camping Cot and Air Bed||KLYMIT Static V2 Sleeping Pad|
|Sleeping Position||Back, Stomach and Side sleepers||Back, Stomach and Side sleepers||Side and combo sleepers||Back, Stomach and Side sleepers||Back, Stomach and Side sleepers|
|Air Pump type||Self-inflating||Rechargeable external pump||Built in Electric pump||Battery operated pump||Breath|
|Thickness (inches)||4||9||18||Twin - 40 (including cot)|
Queen - 78 (including cot)
|Weight||Large - 6.9 lbs|
X-Large - 7.7 lbs
|Twin - 9 lbs|
Queen - 10 lbs
|Twin - 13.5 lbs||Twin - 13.9 lbs|
Queen - 41.9 lbs
|Dimensions (inches)||Large - 10 x 30|
X-Large - 12 x 32
|Twin -75 x 42 x 9 |
Queen - 78 x 60 x 9
|14.5 x 13.5 x 7.5||Twin - 74 x 23.5 x 40 |
Queen - 59 x 22 x 78
|72 x 23 x 2|
|Price||from $131||from $77||from $79||from $118||$64.95|
|Jump to Review||Learn more||Learn more||Learn more||Learn more||Learn more|
|Link to buy||Buy Alps Mountaineering||Buy SoundASleep||Buy EtekCity||Buy Coleman||Buy KLYMIT|
What makes up a great camping air mattress?
Specifically designed to be used when camping or when outdoors, camping air mattresses are highly portable (and usually come with their own carrying bag), reinforced to withstand the elements, are puncture-proof and also come in different heights and sizes. Some even come with their own foldable foundation.
Usually made with PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) due to the fact that PVC is waterproof, flexible and affordable. That said, some people have found that the smell of PVC was too off-putting so companies have developed a PVC alternative – Thermoplastic Polyurethane.
Thermoplastic polyurethane, or TPU is lighter, more flexible, odorless and more environmentally friendly than PVC. TPU is also considered to be more durable than PVC and can withstand even the most extreme outdoor conditions so for those of you of find camping in below zero temperatures pleasurable, you can do so in utmost comfort. (Tip: it’s always a good idea to air out your camping air mattress prior to use, TPU and PVC alike).
All air mattresses need one important thing in order to work – air. There are a variety of pump systems available – electric, rechargeable battery pump or manual. The most common means of inflation is the rechargeable battery pump and a few companies offer the convenience of bundling their air mattresses with a kit that includes the air pump and a repair kit. Some have even gone a step further and developed an air mattress that – you ready for this – self inflates.
Another important factor is portability. All air mattresses come rolled and usually with its own carrying sack making them easy to travel around with but some mattresses can be quite heavy so if you are planning to hike more than a few miles from car to camp site, then this is something you should definitely take into consideration.
Last but certainly not the least, you would want a camping air mattress that would retain heat without drenching you in sweat. Sleeping outdoors is vastly different from sleeping indoors and no matter what the weather may be like when you go camping, temperatures always drop at night. Air mattresses are notorious for sleeping cold. The main indicator to look for is the R-value of the mattress. R-value is short for resistance value and is a value that is used to measure how well a specific type of insulation can resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation and in air mattresses this means, simply, you won’t wake up with frostbite.
Now, that we’ve covered the basics, you can check our roundup for the best camping air mattresses available above.
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