The 9 Best Air Mattresses for Camping, Backpacking, and Other Outdoor Adventures

·10 min read
Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress
Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress

Courtesy of Amazon

Camping is one of the best ways to get outdoors and connect with nature. But when you get back to your camping tent after spending the day hiking and exploring, it makes sense to want something cozy to sleep on at night. That’s where air mattresses for camping come in handy. They’re significantly more comfortable than sleeping bags alone, and they come in a wide range of options to suit just about any camper’s needs.

Since not every air mattress available online can be used outdoors, we scoured thousands of customer reviews to find the best ones for camping, backpacking, and more. From a lightweight sleeping pad to an air mattress and cot set, these are the best air mattresses for camping in 2021:

When shopping for the best camping air mattresses, there are a few important factors to consider. First, decide what size bed you need. You’ll typically find air mattresses in twin, full, and queen sizes, but some come in slightly different dimensions. Then, think how close to the ground you’re comfortable sleeping. Some of the most lightweight and portable camping air mattresses are just a few inches off the ground, while others are between 10 and 16 inches high for a more bed-like feeling.

If you often camp in the winter, you should also keep an eye out for R-value, a.k.a. a way to measure thermal resistance and insulation. The higher the number, the warmer the air mattress will keep you. Not all brands list the R-value, but some that are designed for all-season camping (like Therm-a-Rest's backpacking air mattress) do.

Related: The 8 Best Hammocks for Backyards, Rooftops, Parks, and More

Another thing to think about is storage space. If portability is important to you (especially if you’re backpacking with little space), opt for an inflatable sleeping pad that folds down to the size of a water bottle. But if you’re driving to the campsite and don’t have to carry your gear very far, then you’ll be able to get away with bringing a cot, like this popular air mattress cot from Coleman.

Finally, make sure you take note of what kind of pump your air mattress requires, and whether or not it’s included. Some require electricity, so you’ll need access to an outlet with a car adapter or portable power bank. Others have battery-powered pumps, which are very convenient as long as you remember to stock up on the right batteries. You’ll even find some outliers that can be inflated by mouth or with a foot pump.

Keep reading to learn more about the best air mattresses for camping, from top-rated brands like Coleman and Intex.

Best Overall: Intex Dura-Beam Series Pillow Rest Raised Airbed

This popular camping air mattress from Intex has a built-in pillow rest and additional support on the edges so you can sleep comfortably outdoors. Customers appreciate that it’s so easy to set up, with the entire process taking just a few minutes. There’s an internal pump for when you have access to electricity, but you can also inflate it with a manual pump. Plus, the air mattress has slightly indented sides that prevent fitted sheets from sliding off. One customer said it’s so cozy, it feels “like a real mattress.” Others love how it’s on the taller side: “The height of the mattress is great because even if the plastic stretches a little from your weight, you won’t come close to feeling the floor,” one wrote. The 16.5-inch tall air mattress is available in twin and queen sizes, with 300- and 600-pound weight limits, respectively.

To buy: amazon.com, from $52

Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress
Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress

Best With Rechargeable Pump: SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress

SoundAsleep, the brand behind Amazon’s best-selling air mattress, also makes a version that’s designed for camping. It comes with a rechargeable pump, so it’s great for camping trips when you don’t have access to any type of electricity. Just charge it before you leave (or while you’re in the car), and it’ll inflate your mattress within minutes of arriving at the campsite. You can also use the pump to quickly deflate the camping mattress when your trip is over. “There are so many wonderful features about this product,” said a customer who has used it “at least a dozen times” so far. “I love the rechargeable pump that you can charge via car or outlet. The pump is powerful enough to inflate at least to queen mattresses and seems to have power to [inflate more].”

To buy: amazon.com, from $80

Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress
Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress

Best Waterproof: EnerPlex Dual Pump Air Mattress

If you refuse to let rainy weather ruin your camping trip, opt for this waterproof air mattress from EnerPlex. With more than 11,500 five-star ratings, the air mattress is extremely popular on Amazon for plenty of other reasons, too. Customers love that it’s easy to inflate and that it actually stays inflated for over a week. Designed for both indoor and outdoor use, the air mattress is made with heavy-duty PVC that’s puncture-resistant. The top consists of a velvet-like fabric, which one reviewer confirms dries quickly when exposed to water. Unlike many other air mattresses for camping, this one is also available in a king size so you have ample space to sleep. Just note that you’ll need a portable battery pack or car outlet adapter to inflate it with the built-in pump. “This is by far the best, most durable air mattress I've ever had (and I've had plenty),” wrote one shopper.

To buy: amazon.com, from $60

EnerPlex Dual Pump Luxury Twin Size Air Mattress
EnerPlex Dual Pump Luxury Twin Size Air Mattress

Best Cot: Coleman Camping Cot, Air Mattress, and Pump Combo

Coleman’s best-selling camping cot is a great option for anyone who doesn’t want their bed directly on the ground. The set comes with an air mattress, a cot frame, and a battery-powered pump (you’ll need to supply four D batteries, though). Available in twin and queen sizes, the cot has a removable side table that’s perfect for small things like water bottles, glasses, and books. It even has a sewn-on cover to keep the air mattress in place. “I like camping, but I hate sleeping on hard ground with rocks in your back,” said a reviewer. “I first was looking at normal cots to use with just a pad and sleeping bag, then I found this new glorious addition to my camping setup. It is obviously not as comfortable as a normal bed, but it was the best camping experience I have ever had.” Another customer called it “life-changing,” writing: “This is the most amazing camping bed I've ever witnessed, and I've camped my entire life.”

To buy: amazon.com, from $121

Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress
Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress

Best Lightweight: Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad

If you’re looking for an extremely portable air mattress for camping or backpacking, this popular inflatable sleeping pad is definitely worth checking out. It weighs less than a pound, which makes it the most lightweight option on this list. The sleeping pad is about two inches thick when fully inflated, but shoppers say it still provides enough support. It has an R-value of 2.1, which means you can use it on cool nights. And even though it measures 75 by 23 inches, it packs down to the size of a water bottle when not in use. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to inflate by mouth due to its size—shoppers say it takes them anywhere from nine to 15 breaths. “I can say with complete honesty that I've never had one that is as lightweight as this,” said one person. “Not only does it roll or fold up into nothing, but it also accommodates my 6'4" frame.”

To buy: amazon.com, $40

Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress
Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress

Most Affordable: Intex Dura-Beam Standard Single-High Airbed Series

With prices starting at just $17, this no-frills model from Intex is one of the most affordable air mattresses for camping on the market. The 10-inch air mattress is available in twin, full, and queen sizes, and you can also choose between a built-in foot pump or a battery-operated pump—whichever is more convenient for you. Some reviewers mentioned it took a while to inflate by foot, but one person chimed in to say that it’s a lot easier to fill when the valve is properly covered. The battery-powered version is about $7 more and requires six C-cell batteries, which aren’t included. “Not only did the mattress last the entire night without having to re-inflate, but we did not have to re-inflate the entire three-night trip,” said one shopper. “[It] was extremely comfortable and a great find for under $20.”

To buy: amazon.com, from $17

Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress
Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress

Best for Car Camping: Wey&Fly SUV Air Mattress

Car camping is an easy way to enjoy nature without being fully outdoors, which is especially helpful in cold temperatures. This air mattress from Wey&Fly is specially designed to fit in the back of SUVs, but it can also be used in traditional camping tents. It comes with a pump that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter socket, so it’s easy to inflate while on the go. Plus, the air mattress inflates in four separate sections, which means you can choose to partially blow it up if you’re alone. “This has been perfect for our adventures,” wrote a customer. “We just slept on it for over a week on a camping road trip, inflating and deflating each day as we traveled to different campsites. It's very comfortable and easy to inflate and deflate.”

To buy: amazon.com, $70

Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress
Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress

Best for Winter: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Max Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress

With a 6.9 R-value, Therm-a-Rest’s air mattress provides enough insulation for camping in the winter. The brand’s patented design alternates between thermal foam and air, which keeps you warm in extremely cold weather. It’s lightweight and compact: It weighs 17 ounces and folds into the size of a one-liter water bottle. The version of the mattress with a winglock valve comes with a genius pump sack that makes inflation quick and easy, but you can also safely blow it up manually. One shopper called it a “must-have” for winter campers, adding that it’s “worth every penny.” Another wrote, “I have camped on snow seven times this winter and these are the warmest pads I have ever used.”

To buy: amazon.com, from $220

Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress
Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress

Best for Kids: Hiccapop Inflatable Toddler Travel Bed

If you’re bringing your kids along on your next camping trip, you can make sure they’re safe and comfortable at night with this mini inflatable air mattress. It’s designed for toddlers, so it has safety bumpers on all four sides. The inner part of the bed (the mattress itself) is removable, so you can easily use standard crib sheets. It comes with a travel bag for easy storage, and there’s also a small electric pump that quickly inflates the mattress in under 30 seconds. “This is an awesome product,” said a customer. “I have two toddlers and a baby and we use these beds for going to grandma’s house, the beach, and we have even used them camping. The beauty is that the boys LOVE them and will literally sleep anywhere as long as we have them.”

To buy: amazon.com, $66 (originally $90)

Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress
Inflatable Travel Bed Air Mattress

Love a great deal? Sign up for our T+L Recommends newsletter and we'll send you our favorite travel products each week.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting