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Best Travel Mattresses

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I’m sure you can relate the nightmare of trying get a good night of sleep while traveling. While we’re at home we can control every single aspect of our sleep environment and tailor it to our individual preferences. Unfortunately you can’t bring your comfortable home mattress with you when you’re sleeping in a hotel, camping, or driving in an RV.

In this guide we’ll review some of our favorite travel mattresses. We’ve broken this article up into sections for air mattresses for camping, RV mattresses, and hotel mattresses.

Our top picks

Our favorite air mattress for camping is the ALPS Mountaineering Outback. The best thing about this bed is that it inflates rapidly and it’s easy to roll up.

The best RV mattress is the Zinus Gel-Infused Green Tea Mattress. Our reviewers liked how it kept them cool at night and that it did a great job of relieving aches and pains.

The best hotel mattress is the St. Regis Hotel Bed. We liked how this bed did a great job of reducing motion transfer, which is important for couples who sleep in the same bed.

Air mattresses for camping

The best air mattresses for camping are:

  1. ALPS Mountaineering Outback Self-Inflating Air Mat
  2. SoundASleep Camping Series Air Mattress
  3. Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Sleeping Mat
  4. Coleman Camping Cot
  5. KLYMIT Static V2 Sleeping Pad

#1. ALPS Mountaineering Outback Self-Inflating Air Mat

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The ALPS Mountaineering Outback is a 4″ thick air mattress that has a relatively unique feature: it self-inflates.

The included Qwikflate valve eliminates the need for hand pumping or noisy electric pumps. It inflates rapidly and when you’re done you can use the valve for two-way deflation.

Customers liked how this mattress makes it easy to adjust its firmness by adding or removing air, its comfort when car camping, and is ability to hold up well in extreme conditions.

This mattress is a little bit too heavy to use when backpacking, but if you’re staying put in one location it’s a great choice.

#2. SoundASleep Camping Series Air Mattress

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If you prefer air mattresses that come with an external pump, then the SoundASleep Camping Series is a great choice.

The company uses “ComfortCoil” technology, which consists of I-Beam air coils and eco-friendly PVC that the company specifically formulated to increase durability when sleeping outdoors.

The external pump comes with a rechargeable battery that you can charge up at home or with a car charger on the road. The mattress reaches full firmness and inflation in under 3 minutes, which is definitely on the faster side. The extra thick material that the company used in constructing this mattress held up well when sleeping on common objects that are found outside (rocks, branches, etc.). Our reviewers all noted that they woke up without any aches or pains, which is definitely important when camping.

It’s available in Queen or Twin sizes, comes with a carry bag, and is covered by a 1-year warranty.

#3. Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Sleeping Pad

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The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus is an air mattress that is constructed with two separate cell layers that help evenly distribute your weight while sleeping. We found that this was by far the standout feature of this bed and it’s the one that helped Sea to Summit earn a spot in this best-of list.

The two layers can be pressurized individually. If you want a softer sleeping surface without sacrificing support, you can inflate the top layer less and you won’t have to compromise.

Another cool feature of the Comfort Plus is that it does a great job of preventing heat loss. If you’re an experienced camper, you’ll know that the ground tends to draw body heat away from you. We’re happy to report that we didn’t have this problem with the Sea to Summit, and that we woke up feeling warm and refreshed.

#4. Coleman Camping Cot

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If you like to sleep up off the ground, then the Coleman Camping Cot is the best choice. Unlike the other air mattresses on this list, Coleman includes a metal frame with their bed that allows you to elevate yourself off the ground. As someone who gets tired of sleeping on top of rocks and uneven ground, this is a lifesaver.

At first we were worried that the metal frame running down the middle would be uncomfortable, but it turned out to be a non-issue. A few of our reviewers suffer from chronic pain, and they woke up feeling completely refreshed. People who are suffering from pain tend to have problems with sleeping on the ground, so we definitely recommend an elevated cot like the Coleman to prevent discomfort.

#5. KLYMIT Static V2 Sleeping Pad

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The KLYMIT is one of the most popular air mattresses for campers who are on a budget. The company just revamped their design for the all new V2 model of their mattress, making it 12% lighter (not that it was heavy to begin with).

Our testers were surprised to find out that this mattress did a great job of reducing motion transfer and preventing heat loss. The heat loss and motion reduction were comparable to much more expensive brands due to the v-chamber design.

It should only take about 10-15 breaths to fill this up, which makes it great for backpacking when you need to set up your sleeping area on the go. The only downside is that as you get close to filling it up, the mattress pushes some air out in between breaths. It would be better if it had a ball-and-socket mechanism to lock the air in, but that’s a small complaint given how affordable this product is.

RV mattresses

The best mattresses for use in an RV are:

  1. Zinus Gel-Infused Green Tea Mattress
  2. Serenia Sleep
  3. DynastyMattress Deluxe

#1. Zinus Gel-Infused Green Tea Mattress

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Our choice for the #1 RV bed is the Zinus Gel-Infused Green Tea Mattress. We like the Zinus because it offers the most pain-relief out of any of the mattresses we tried and because it does a great job of maintaining neutral temperature.

The mattress is constructed with a comfort layer made out of gel memory foam with a high-density polyfoam base for support. The bed is available in four different profiles: 6-inch, 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch. RV owners should choose either the 6-inch or the 8-inch option. The other two options are designed for people who are using this as a standard home mattress.

We rate the Zinus as being a medium level of firmness. Medium mattresses are great for the vast majority of sleepers, particularly if you sleep on your back or side. They’re also great for people who suffer from chronic pain since the mattress isn’t too soft or too firm. Soft mattresses tend to not provide enough support while firm mattresses may put too much pressure on painful areas.

The Zinus Gel-Infused Green Tea Mattress is available at a very affordable price point and is backed by a 10-year warranty.

#2. Serenia Sleep

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The Serenia Sleep mattress is available in an 8-inch profile, a standard size that should fit perfectly in most RVs.

We rate this mattress as being at a medium level of firmness. We recommend that most sleepers use a medium mattress unless they have a particular preference for a really soft or firm bed. Medium mattresses are great for all sleeping positions, people who are within the average weight range, and those who have back pain.

This mattress is constructed with a low-density foam top layer which rests on top of the base. Our reviewers really liked how this mattress kept them cool throughout the night.

The Serenia Sleep mattress is made in the USA and is available in the following sizes: twin, short full, full, short queen, queen, and king.

#3. DynastyMattress Deluxe

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The DynastyMattress Deluxe is made out of Visco-Elastic Memory Foam with a 7″ profile, a standard size that should fit in most RVs.

The company claims that their mattress is comparable to Tempur-Pedic mattresses. Our testers found that while it is definitely very similar, but a slightly lower quality than what you’d get from a home mattress.

The comfort and contouring layer is made out of memory foam with a high-density base for support. The memory foam is dual-side layered to help regulate airflow.

The DynastyMattress Deluxe comes with a 120-night free trial and a 20-year warranty.

Hotel mattresses

The best hotel mattresses that are available for purchase are:

  1. St. Regis Hotel Bed
  2. Marriott Bed
  3. Westin Heavenly Bed
  4. W Hotels Pillow Top Mattress

#1. St. Regis Hotel Bed

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Out of all of the hotel beds we’ve slept on, we think that the St. Regis Hotel Bed is by far the most comfortable.

This bed is manufactured using cashmere quilting, a plush pillow top and all-natural fabrics. Our favorite feature of the St. Regis Hotel Bed is that it reduces motion transfer.

St. Regis manufactures their mattresses right here in the USA using a pocketed coil spring design. Pocketed coil springs are great for the vast majority of sleepers, unless you know that you prefer a different type of construction (like memory foam or a waterbed, for example).

When you buy a St. Regis Hotel Bed you’ll get a 10-year warranty that protects you against manufacturing defects. You also get free shipping when ordering from their official Amazon store.

#2. Marriott Bed

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This exclusive mattress is the exact same bed that you can find in any of Marriott’s locations. It’s constructed out of high-density soy-based foam, which gives it a medium-firm level of firmness.

According to our testers the foam-based construction and the quilted topper did a great job of reduces aches and pains, reducing motion transfer, and helped them avoid tossing and turning throughout the night. The comfort foam layer definitely had a noticeable cooling effect.

Some customers have noted that the new memory foam version isn’t as good as the older innerspring coil version that Marriott formerly used. In our opinion this is a matter of personal preference. If you prefer innerspring coils, you’re obviously not going to enjoy a mattress made out of memory foam. If you enjoy the feel of memory foam mattresses we can confirm that this is a solid choice.

The Marriott bed comes with a 10-year warranty on their mattress and a 20-year warranty for the box spring.

#3. Westin Heavenly Bed

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This Westin Hotel exclusive is a 13.25 inch mattress with individually-wrapped pocket coils, a quilted pillow top, and a medium-firm level of support. This is the exact same bed that is used in Westin Hotels and Resorts worldwide.

All of our testers loved how the Westin Heavenly Bed isolated motion transfer, which is especially important for couples who share the same bed.

Some customers have noted that this bed sags over time. We didn’t have that issue, but if you’re worried about sagging it’s definitely something that you should consider when making your purchase decision.

#4. W Hotels Pillow Top Mattress

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If you’ve every stayed in one of W Hotels many locations, you’re undoubtedly familiar with this mattress. The W Hotels Pillow Top Mattress features pocket coil construction with an added emphasis on edge support, which helps maintain the shape of your bed over time.

We found that the diamond-quilted pillow top was extremely comfortable and definitely helped recreate that hotel comfort at home. Like most hotel beds, this mattress from W Hotels features motion transfer isolation. If you’re in a relationship you most likely sleep as a couple (unless you decided to have a “sleep divorce“), and you’re familiar with how annoying it is to wake up every time your spouse moves. You won’t have that problem with this bed.

This made-in-America mattress comes with free shipping when you order from Amazon.

Bringing an air mattress to a hotel

Can you bring a mattress to a hotel room? You sure can as long as it can fit in the room and as long as it doesn’t violate hotel policies – things you have to check with the hotel. You also need to bring an air pump or ask the hotel for one. 

Many hotels will give you an additional bed if you need one, but some people may prefer sleeping on their own mattress for other reasons (perhaps allergies or bed quality). 

The hotel may also ask additional questions if you’re coming with a family as they may want to avoid a situation in which a large family overcrowds a small room.

How to inflate an air mattress

Inflating an air mattress with a pump is fairly easy, especially if you’re using an electric pump.

  1. Find the valve on the side of the mattress and open it.
  2. Put the pump into the valve. It should be inserted well so no air can get out while you’re pumping.
  3. For electric pumps – just plug it in and hit the on switch. For manual pumps, start pumping the air making sure the air is not escaping (you’ll notice it if the mattress is inflating too slowly).
  4. Check the mattress firmness – once it’s inflated enough remove the pump and close the valve tightly.

Can I bring an air mattress on a plane?

According to the Transportation Security Administration you can bring an air mattress with a built-in pump on the plane as checked baggage and in a carry-on bag (as long as it follows the size and weight regulations of your airline).

Sleeping pads – types, pros, and cons

Air pads 

Air pads are inflatable as well as weight and space-saving, so they can be ideal if you’re backpacking or going camping. Some air pads have additional insulation whereas some are super light. The lighter they are, the more expensive they tend to be. Unfortunately that also means they are more likely to get punctured. You can inflate them easily with your breath but you may want to use a hand pump just to make sure the moisture from your breath doesn’t build up in the mattress (you don’t want mold problems in hot weather).

Self-inflating pads

These pads combine foam insulation with air. They have open-cell foam and as you open the valve the air will enter the pad. They tend to be wide and warm as foam gives you good insulation and they will not get punctured or torn as easily as air pads. Their drawback is that they are heavier and more space-consuming than air pads.

Closed-cell foam pads

They are very thin and stiff – it’s just a layer of really firm foam that contains small air cells. They are not inflatable and can survive a lot harsher treatment than other pads. They are the most inexpensive option but don’t really offer comfort and can take up much space when rolled up. If space isn’t your problem you can use it under an air or self-inflating pad to add protection and insulation.

How to make sleeping in a tent more comfortable

Equipment

What do you need for a good night’s rest in a tent? First you should have a proper surface for sleeping – one that provides insulation and makes the hard ground tolerable (such as a good pad). Test your inflatable pads and mattresses prior to the trip – see if they hold air well and if they need any repairs.

You may also need a comfortable and warm sleeping bag.

Some sleeping bags have a pillow attached or sewn-in but if that’s not the case you may need to bring a travel pillow with you. 

Earplugs and eyemask are optional, but not something you want to forget about. The sounds of nature could be too loud or even scary for some people and if the sky is clear and the moon is full the moonlight could keep you up at night. 

Check the tent for any holes and openings that could allow mosquitos and other insects to enter. 

Location

Choose a spot for your tent wisely. The surface should be flat and even – avoid any tree roots that are raised above the ground level and remove rocks and any other objects. If the best spot you can find is inclined to one side put up the tent so that your head is on the upper side. 

Food and drink

Don’t eat heavy and spicy food just before sleep. Burdening your stomach late at night can cause restless and poor sleep (probably paired with nightmares and awakenings). If you have to eat something go for a light snack – crackers or fruit. You can have a warm calming tea about an hour before your sleep time, just leave enough time to go to the bathroom and avoid getting up in the middle of the night. Also try to avoid coffee or caffeinated foods and drinks in the evening. 

Is camping good for you?

Camping is perfect for you! You get to breathe clean, fresh air; connect with nature and have great sleep. Sure enough sleeping in a too-cold environment or on a hard, rocky surface will probably impair your sleep; but if you have a proper place to sleep – here’s how you can benefit from it.

Spending time outdoors will help you get exposed to sunlight approximately four times more than when you stay at home. Daytime light exposure helps reset your circadian rhythm so that your inner clock corresponds to natural day/night changes. This means you’ll go to sleep earlier and spend more time sleeping. 

One study showed that people who spent a week out camping with no artificial light or technology would go to bed about two hours earlier than they did at home and they spent about ten hours of sleeping per night. After the experiment they were back to their normal lives and later on were returned to nature once again but only for a weekend – and they would still go to bed about two hours earlier than those who spent the weekend at home. Their melatonin was increasing earlier in the evening and they had much better rest. 

Remember that melatonin helps us fall asleep, stay asleep, and it has a role in the immune system. It is believed that melatonin kills cancer cells that have started developing. Also, cancer patients who take melatonin supplements while having their regular treatment recover faster and better than those who don’t.

How we rate mattresses

We rate mattresses using the following criteria:

  1. Comfort
  2. Structural integrity and durability
  3. Firmness and support

Learn more about our mattress rating process and methodology here.