A good night’s sleep means a lot of things. It can be the difference between waking up happy and ready to get stuck into the day, or feeling stressed, grumpy, and disengaging. And the last thing you want on a camping trip is a grumpy camping buddy or to be grumpy yourself due to lack of sleep.
There are lots of things we can’t control when camping. Noisy neighbors, whistling winds, and hard rainfall are all things that can affect your sleep but let’s focus on what we can control your camping mattress. A good camping mattress makes a huge difference to a good night’s sleep and, in the end, to your entire camping trip. You’ll wake up fresh, happy, and ready to take on the day.
In this article, we review some of the best camping mattresses out there so you can find the right one for your camping needs quickly and easily.
Best For Car Camping
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Best For Backpacking
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Best Ultralight Mattress
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Best Air Mattress
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The Willpo Certipur-US Memory Foam Camping Mattress is essentially a bedroll. It’s made from high-density foam for support, coupled with memory foam for comfort. It looks dreamy to sleep on and it is too.
The memory foam gives you a soft, wrapping feeling and molds to the shape of your body to give you a great night’s sleep while the high-density foam ensures you don’t feel anything from beneath like spikey rocks and the like.
The base is coated with a waterproof layer and grip points. This keeps you dry when camping on wet ground, protects the mattress, and stops it from moving around with you at night.
The mattress rolls up neatly and into the provided stuff sack with ease. It is a bit too bulky for taking backpacking but is perfect for throwing into the trunk of the car.
Overall, a comfortable and durable camping mattress that’s worth every penny.
The Sleepingo Camping Mattress is the first in the review that’s ideal for backpacking and packs down to an incredibly small size, the size of a water bottle. It weighs just 14.5 oz and packs down to 8 x 3.5 inches, making it perfect for slipping in your rucksack.
It’s made from a 20D ripstop nylon shell that gives it great resistance to wear and tear and makes it waterproof. You’ll be able to treat it rough and it’ll still come back asking for more. If it does break for any reason, it comes with a Lifetime Guarantee.
To use it, unroll and just inflate using the valves, then lie comfortably across the air pockets that distribute your weight evenly. To pack up, deflate and roll up into the tiny stuff sack. It is pretty thin at 2-inches, so you may feel some of the uneven ground but this is also what makes it so portable.
Overall, this is a super portable, durable, and comfy camping mattress at an amazing price.
If you’re looking for a camping mattress that is ideal for backpacking but you don’t want to compromise on comfort, then the Nemo Tensor Ultralight Camping Mattress is one worth seriously considering. It has taken the good old Therm-a-rest design and made it even better.
It’s pretty hard to pack comfort into 1lb of sleeping pad, but the Nemo Tensor has managed it. Even at such a low weight, it is still a good size and inflates to be 3-inches off the ground, so you’re sure not to feel any uneven ground under you. It also packs down to 8.0 x 3.0″ and is one of the best backpacking mattresses in the review.
It’s made from a 20D ripstop polyester outer shell for durability and is coated with premium fabrics to give it a soft top for comfy sleeping. It has a high R-value, so it’s rated for use down to 35-40F and there is an insulated model that can be used to 10-20F for any winter campers out there.
It comes in a range of sizes too, from short, mummy to long and wide, to fit any body type and most tent sizes.
Overall, it’s an excellent backpacking sleeping pad but, as with all ultralight products, it’s a bit expensive.
The AirExpect Camping Mattress is the first truly inflatable mattress in the review that requires a pump to get it up to the right pressure.
It’s made from super durable puncture-resistant PVC and is fully waterproof. When deflated it packs down pretty small and at 5lbs it’s not made for backpacking but is perfect for putting in the car.
Inflation takes just 2 minutes (the same for deflation) when using the portable, rechargeable pump. The pump can be recharged in a wall socket or with the included in-car charger so that you can use the mattress on any car camping adventure.
It’s made with a 40 internal air coils system, that provides excellent support and a soft top to provide extra comfort while you sleep. And combined with the airtight valve system, you’re sure not to wake up to deflating mattress.
Overall, as far as air mattresses go, this is an excellent bet at a great price too.
The WELLAX UltraThick FlexFoam camping mattress is a favorite of a lot of outdoor enthusiasts and this is thanks to its thickness and comfort.
At 3″ thick, full of foam and air, this self-inflating mattress is guaranteed to ensure you don’t feel anything on the ground and are well insulated from the cold, giving you a comfortable night’s sleep.
The outer shell is made from 20D ripstop nylon making the mattress durable, waterproof, and almost silent. It’ll stand up to any wear and tear without a blemish. It also reflects heat to ensure you stay warm and is part of the reason why this mattress is rated for 4 season use.
The mattress is self-inflating and deflates quickly thanks to the dual valve system. Once deflated, it rolls into its stuff sack ready to go to the next camping spot.
There are some issues with the self-inflating and it seems to get worse as the mattress gets older. Also, it’s a little big for backpacking and is tricky to get back into the stuff sack.
Overall it’s a very comfy mattress and good value. Just be prepared to battle a bit when putting it away, and you might have to top it up manually.
If you’re on a budget and looking for a comfortable mattress to camp with, the Coleman Self-Inflating Camping Mattress is a good bet.
It’s made with a layer of extra padding at the base to ensure no cold or uneven ground gets through and then self-inflates for easy setup and extra comfort, it even has a built-in pillow.
Deflation is just as simple, just undo the valves, roll the mattress up and pull the compression straps tight to push out all the air. Once rolled up, it’s pretty portable but is still a bit heavy at 5lbs for backpacking trips.
The shell is made from polyester which is a durable and water-resistant fabric, so despite the low price, it’s still going to last.
Overall a comfortable, budget camping mattress that’s perfect for putting in the trunk of your car for your next adventure.
Therm-a-rest has not slept when it comes to improving camping mattress comfort, especially in the ultralight backpacking area. This particular sleeping pad, the Therm-a-rest NeoAir X-Lite is ideal for those backpacking and watching their overall pack weight.
Therm-a-rest has developed a smart Triangular Core Matrix that gives the pad both thickness and comfort while still maintaining lightweight and packability. On top of that, the R-value of 4.2 is warm enough for most backpackers, unless you are winter camping.
In many ways, this Therm-a-rest model is the rival of the Nemo Tensor above and was one I considered when looking for a backpacking sleeping pad. The only downside is that this one makes a lot of noise when you move on it, compared to the Nemo.
The Lightspeed Outdoors FlexForm is a comfortable option for any car campers out there who want to do away with having to inflate an air mattress.
This camping mattress is made with 3 inches of Flexform foam and self-inflates when you set it up. You can then use the valves to adjust the firmness to suit you. It’s very comfortable to sleep on and even comes with a built-in pillow and there is almost zero chance of bottoming out.
The outer shell is made from a special non-slip material that is soft, stretchy, and hugs your body. This means your mattress won’t move around in the night and you won’t fall off either.
Unfortunately, it is a little heavy and bulky for backpacking but it’s an ideal size and weight to put in the trunk of your car, especially if you need five of them for the whole family.
Overall, it’s a great choice for car camping with a solid price to boot.
The Nemo Roamer is a classic in the car camping game. It is thick enough to keep you warm and comfy on those long nights camping. It is very well made, as are all Nemo products in my experience. It is therefore very durable and should never fail you when you need it most.
Like the Therm-a-rest design we all know and love, these pads are reasonably easy to inflate. First, you open the valve and let the air come in on its own. The expanding foam cells help encourage it. Then you blow it up further to the hardness of your liking!
Of course, being a durable, thick, and comfy sleeping camping mattress means it also comes with a heavy downside. That is 3lbs 10oz. Sure, you could take it hiking on short hikes, but in general, you would only want to use this for car camping.
The Etekcity Camping Air Mattress is another great air mattress for car camping. It’s made from thick, non-toxic PVC and when inflated gives a great night’s sleep.
It’s inflated using the portable rechargeable pump that’s included. You can charge it in a wall socket or in your car, plus you can self-inflate the mattress should the worst happen and you forget to charge the pump.
It takes just 90 seconds to inflate with the pump and then you can use the manual valve to adjust the firmness to suit you. Once inflated it is 9 inches off the ground, so you’re sure to never feel the bottom underneath you.
The mattress is a bit too heavy and bulk for backpacking, even if you did choose to leave the pump behind and self-inflate. But, it is perfect for car camping.
Overall, a great air camping mattress at a great price.
Tip: Check out our huge list of camping captions and quotes for Instagram
Here are some things to consider when looking for a camping mattress.
There are a few types of camping mattresses available and each is better for certain situations. Have a read below to see which is best for you.
An air mattress is exactly what it sounds like, a mattress you inflate with air to sleep on. They are usually made from PVC with a soft top coating to sleep on and come with a portable rechargeable pump for inflation. They are comfy and quick to inflate but they are a bit bulky and heavy. This makes them great for car camping but not ideal for backpacking.
Self-inflating camping mattresses are usually made with a foam filling that sucks air in through the valves when you unroll them. This gives you a combo of foam and air, plus the ability to top up the mattress to find the right firmness for you. Depending on the design, they can be ultralight for backpacking or a bit larger depending on how much foam is used. They’re comfortable and great for backpacking.
There is only one foam mattress included in the review and this is a super thick, roll-up, memory foam mattress with a waterproof base. Foam mattresses that are thick are super comfortable, and great for use when car camping, plus you have no risk of leaks or the need to inflate/deflate. You shouldn’t confuse them with camping mats, that are thin rolled-up mats, that aren’t very comfortable at all.
If you’re car camping, an inflatable air mattress or thick foam mattress is a great way to go. They’re very comfortable and easy to use but you do have the risk of getting a leak with the air mattress.
If you’re backpacking, then a self-inflating foam mattress is the best choice. They are light, pack down small, and are super comfy too.
Camping mattresses can be made of a range of materials and the key thing to focus on is the outer shell. It can be made from PVC and ripstop nylon to polyester. These are all durable water-resistant materials that handle wear and tear. The reason the outer shell is so important is that it’s what you’ll sleep on and it’s the first place to create any issue like a leak.
Camping mattresses come in all shapes and sizes. Be sure to pick one that matches your size and the size of your tent. The last thing you want is to buy a mattress that is too big to fit in your tent or too small for you.
If you plan on hiking to your camping spots, be sure to pick a camping mattress that packs down small and is light. If you’re car camping, you have the option to go big and choose comfort over size and weight.
Here are our top choices from the review.
The best camping mattress for car camping is the Willpo Certipur-US Memory Foam Camping Mattress. Durable, packable, and comfy as hell, you’ll love sleeping on memory foam in the outdoors. This roll-up mattress brings the luxury of home into your tent plus you don’t have to worry about leaks, inflating, or deflating.
The best mattress for backpacking is the Sleepingo Camping Mattress. This mattress is ultralight, super-packable comfortable, and comes in at an amazing price.
The best air mattress is the AirExpect Camping Mattress. It’s comfy, durable, almost leak-proof, and inflates with ease. If an air mattress is what you want, this is your best bet.