The 5 Best Durable, Comfortable Camping Air Mattresses
Camping out doesn't need to mean lost sleep. These are the best camping air mattresses to keep you comfy for years of adventures to come.
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
RD.COM, VIA MERCHANT (3)
Camping is one of my favorite ways to enjoy the outdoors—and I’m not the only one, as interest in camping has surged over the past few years. Like many people, I love the peace and quiet a campsite offers. But I’m also a very sensitive sleeper, so I tend to toss, turn and wake repeatedly throughout the night. As such, it’s essential that I have the best camping air mattress in my tent.
While many beginners make first-time camping mistakes, bringing the wrong gear doesn’t have to be one of them. Bring along one of best air mattresses for camping on your next—or first!—overnight outdoor adventure!
Best camping air mattresses
Best camping mattress overall
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Sleeping Pad
There’s a boatload—er, tent load—of options for the best camping air mattress, so it’s a matter of weighing the pros and cons of each. Upon considering price, size, weight, comfort, ease of inflation and durability, we think this Therm-a-Rest sleeping pad strikes the perfect balance.
In addition to being comfortable and ultra-durable, it comes in various lengths and widths for adults and kids alike. Choose what works best for your body type, available sleeping space and personal preferences. With the regular 72-inch by 20-inch pad weighing only 12 ounces and packing down to the size of a water bottle, this air mattress works for all types of adventurers from car campers to backpackers to thru-hikers.
The one-way wing lock valve allows you to send air in without it escaping between puffs. And because the valve is cleverly located off the sleeping surface, you won’t roll over it during slumber. The pad’s durable nylon material is engineered to be heat-reflective with a insulation R-value of 4.2, meaning you won’t sleep cold on chilly nights in most conditions. It has a huge weight capacity of 1,440 pounds, and comes with a repair kit for patching accidental punctures, too.
All things considered, we think this is the overall best camping air mattress and a great gift for a new camper in your life.
- Ultralight and packable for any camping expedition
- Multiple sizes available
- Thermal-reflective material doesn’t sleep cold
- One-way valve makes it easy to inflate
- Pump sack, stuff sack and repair kit included
- Weight capacity of 1,440 pounds
- Doesn’t include a pump
- Not suitable for very cold conditions
Best value camping air mattress
Intex Classic Downy Airbed
This budget-buy Intex mattress is not technically designed for camping, but at 5 pounds for the twin size, it will hardly weigh down your trunk on a car-camping trip. A plush, waterproof top makes this air mattress safe to use outdoors, and its 300-pound capacity suits a wide range of users. The main drawback: It doesn’t come with a pump, though the valve is compatible with most electric and manual air pumps.
“Inflates and stays that way,” says 5-star reviewer Skye. “Great for car camping or tossing out on the porch for sleeping under the stars.”
- Budget-friendly price
- Rated for outdoor and indoor use
- Easy inflation and deflation with an air pump
- 300-pound capacity
- Pump not included
- Bully size not ideal for backpackers
- No suitable for cold conditions
Best camping air mattress for couples
Sierra Designs Queen Airbed
If you prefer to sleep curled up next to your partner, consider this queen-sized camping airbed. It’s an affordable, lightweight option that’s comfortable, abrasion- and puncture-resistant and large enough for two people up to 400 total pounds. The bed itself weighs under six pounds and easily packs into the provided storage bag for portability, and inflation and deflation are a breeze (albeit slowly), thanks to the provided battery-powered pump. The built-in raised ridge also offers neck support for both sleepers.
“This mattress is amazing! I ordered mine in February 2022 and it’s still going strong,” writes 5-star reviewer Alexander M. Wolf. “We have left it for months on end fully inflated and it just stays inflated and ready to be used when we got on it again. My wife and I both use it in our tent when we camp outside and it fits perfectly. It’s also perfect for people who are sensitive to plastic or smelly products—it doesn’t have offensive odors! We really love this mattress for our needs!”
- Accommodates two people and standard queen sheets
- Simple inflation and deflation with included air pump
- Comfortable neck support
- Lightweight and easily packable
- Single size also available
- Not insulated for cold-weather camping
- Four D batteries not included
Best camping air mattress for cars
Exped MegaMat Auto Mat
If you have a larger vehicle and you plan to sleep inside it rather than a tent, the best camping air mattress is specifically designed for that purpose. This self-inflating camping mat accommodates two people and fits into most SUVs, compact SUVs, trucks and wagons. Whether you camp at a national park or an RV park, this soft and plush mat has you covered. It comes with everything you need to use and fix it, including a small repair kit. The mattress’s high R-value of 8.1 means it’s suitable for year-round use in temps as low as -40 degrees.
“I bought this air mattress for some backpacking trip almost three years ago and still have to say it’s the best piece of camping gear I’ve ever bought,” writes 5-star reviewer James Nelson. “From festivals to backpacking to sleeping in my new unfurnished apartment, this pad is lightweight, easily inflates, durable and extremely comfortable for nights with both my girlfriend and myself. If you were on the fence about making the purchase, I promise you won’t be disappointed in spending the money on this one.”
- Specifically designed for use in cars and SUVs
- Can accommodate two people
- High thermal rating for use in all seasons
- Includes a pump, stuff sack and repair kit
Most durable camping air mattress
Big Agnes Goosenest Inflatable Cot
If durability and comfort on craggy ground is your ultimate requirement of a camping air mattress, look to this inflatable cot. Big Agnes uses high-quality nylon and TPU and offers a lifetime warranty, so you’ll sleep extra-well knowing repairs are covered.
On its own, the 6-inch thick, 78-inch long by 26-inch wide cot offers a comfy single mattress, but two can be placed side-by-side for partners to co-sleep or stacked up as a double-decker bed that’s easier to get onto and up from. It comes with an inflation sack in lieu of a pump, which is slower but does the job. It also has its own carry bag and packs down to the size of a thick yoga mat weighing under 4 pounds, for easy portability.
- High-quality materials
- Durability backed by a lifetime warranty
- Can be use solo, side-by-side or stacked
- Inflation sack included
- Extremely comfortable
- Lifetime warranty
- Inflation process is slow
What to consider when buying the best camping air mattress
While there is no one-size-fits-all in terms of camping gear, when it comes to choosing the best camping air mattress, a few rules apply across the board.
First of all, you want one that is durable and long-lasting so you don’t have to replace it every year. If you camp infrequently, a budget buy will do, but if you’re out in the woods every weekend, it may be worth splurging on something sturdier.
Second, you want the air mattress to be comfortable—if you’re a sensitive sleeper or have a bad back or neck, choose an especially supportive style.
Third, you want your camping air mattress to work well for your specific situation. For instance, if you only camp during warm weather months, you’ll do fine with a lightweight camping air mattress. However, if you camp year-round, you should look for a mattress with an appropriate R-value, or thermal rating, to suit the cold temperatures you may experience overnight in winter. That said, you may want a non-insulated mattress for hot summer nights, as the higher the R-value, the more of your body heat retained.
Consider who will use the camping air mattress when debating size options. A two-person mattress may be unnecessarily large and heavy if you always camp alone, prefer to hike in to camp or go backpacking, or have limited storage space at home. That said, if you’re usually car camping, the bulkier size and weight might not matter much, and you may appreciate the extra roominess a two-person mattress offers, even if you sleep solo.
Finally, understand that while price often does convey quality, it’s not always necessary to break the bank when investing in good camping gear.
How we found the best camping air mattress
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
How thick should a self-inflating camping mattress be?
The thickness of self-inflating camping mattresses varies from model to model, but if you’re an especially sensitive sleeper, as a rule, the thicker, the better. The thicker an air mattress is, the more distance between your body, uneven ground and uncomfortable rocks and sticks.
What are the disadvantages of inflatable mattresses?
Inflatable mattresses tend to be less comfortable than proper bed mattresses, but because it’s usually impractical to haul a standard mattress or even a foam pad around, inflatable mattresses usually are the best option for camping.
How do you stay warm on a camping air mattress?
The higher the R-value of a camping air mattress, the better it is for cold temperatures. Keep in mind that if you’re getting a mattress with a very high R-value, it can be used for four-season camping, but it may be too hot for especially sweltering summer nights. To add warmth to your camping air mattress setup, slide a mat under the air mattress to absorb the cold from the ground and add a warm sleeping bag or blanket on top.
Stop hunting for the best products and deals—get our expert scoop on secret sales and discounts, gift ideas for everyone and can’t-miss products. Sign up for the Stuff We Love newsletter.