The 8 Best Air Mattresses for Camping in 2021

Get a restorative night’s sleep in the great outdoors with these top picks

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TRIPSAVVY-best-air-mattresses-for-camping

Chloe Jeong / TripSavvy

The Rundown

Best Overall: SoundAsleep Dream Series at Amazon

"It has a height of 19 inches to keep sleepers comfortable and away from the ground."

Best Budget: Lightspeed Outdoors Self-Inflating Sleep Pad at Amazon

"Even though this pad is only 3-inches thick, it has a high insulation factor so you’ll stay warm all night."

Best Queen: EnerPlex Luxury Camping Air Mattress at Walmart

"The mattress’s coil-beam construction mimics the comfort of a conventional queen-sized bed."

Best for Kids: AeroBed Kids at Bed Bath & Beyond

"Custom-made for little ones, with a 50-by-25-inch sleep surface."

Best Lightweight: Therm-a-Rest MondoKing at Amazon

"Weighs just 3 pounds, is only 1.5-inches thick, and can be used year-round."

Best Cot: Coleman Camping Cot at Amazon

"Comes with an air bed, battery-operated pump, and two pull-out side tables with cup holders."

Best Splurge: SoundAsleep CloudNine Series at Amazon

"Although it's priced higher than others, this mattress has three comfort levels to help you sleep soundly."

Best for Car Camping: Luno Car Camping Mattress at huckberry.com

"This clever inflatable mattress can turn the back of your SUV or hatchback into a bed, helping eliminate the need for a tent."

Air mattresses are a convenient option for sleeping in the great outdoors because they're reliable, comfortable, and inflate automatically. However, shoppers should also take the weight of the air mattress into consideration when doing research. If you're hiking a few miles to your campsite, you'll want something lightweight; car campers will be able to use something a bit heavier. But with so many options out there, made with a range of materials, varying levels of thickness, and different price ranges. Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you and rounded up the top options.

Keep reading to see the best air mattresses for camping, below.

Best Overall: SoundAsleep Dream Series

SoundAsleep Dream Series

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • 1-year warranty

  • 1-click pump

  • Thick

What We Don't Like
  • Middle can sink in

One of the best air mattresses out there is SoundAsleep’s Dream Series. It inflates, quite literally at the touch of a button, in four minutes, with a reliable internal pump to ensure you don’t wake up on the ground. Plus, the manufacturer says it will stay inflated for days so you won't have to worry about the mattress losing air over the course of your trip. It's tall too, with a height of 19 inches to keep sleepers comfortable and away from the unpadded ground. Inside, 40 internal air coils keep sleepers dozing peacefully, and will comfortably sleep couples with a combined weight of 500 pounds. There's also a one-year warranty. The mattress comes in twin, twin XL, queen, and king sizes, so there's a size out there for everyone (and every size of tent).

Dimensions: 78 x 58 x 19 in. | Weight: 18.92 lbs. | Capacity: Two people | Inflation: Internal pump

Best Budget: Lightspeed Outdoors Self-Inflating Sleep Pad

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Integrated pillow

  • Comes with carry bag

What We Don't Like
  • Too large for backpacking

  • Large for a one-person

With a built-in pillow and oversized air valves for easy self-inflating after a long day of hiking and camping, Lightspeed’s Self-Inflating Sleep Pad clocks in at just 6.2 pounds—making it a great affordable alternative to a heavy air mattress. Despite it being closer to the ground than a traditional air mattress, it has a medium insulation factor, meaning you’ll stay warm and cozy even though this pad is only 3-inches thick. Plus, it’s easy to take back and forth from home to campsite too, with an oversized carry bag and two compression straps included in your purchase. This sleeping pad measures 77 x 30 inches and comes with a one-year limited warranty.

Dimensions:  77 x 30 x 3 in. | Weight: 6.2 lbs. | Capacity: One person | Inflation: Air valve

Tested by TripSavvy

The Lightspeed Warmth 3.0 is a self-inflating pad which means you simply twist the two knobs at the foot of the pad to open them and the pad starts taking on air. However, the first time you do this, the directions recommend leaving the pad’s valves open for several hours, ideally overnight for your first inflation. The first time I inflated the pad, it didn’t appear very full after a few minutes, but after leaving it open overnight it looked much better. Subsequent uses were very simple and the pad came to full inflation after a minute at most. 

I generally keep a sleeping pad and sleeping bag in my truck in case of emergency, and this pad is a great fit for that role, since it doesn’t take up a lot of space but provides plenty of warmth and comfort for the size. Because this pad is too heavy for backpacking, it has a somewhat narrow application for car camping, overnight raft trips, or other scenarios where you don’t have to carry it on your back, but also don’t want the bulk of a full air mattress. The other reason to take a look at the Lightspeed is the lower cost compared to most other options. — Justin Park, Expert Reviewer

Lightspeed Warmth 3.0 Self-Inflating Sleep Pad

Justin Park / TripSavvy

Best Queen: EnerPlex Luxury Camping Air Mattress

EnerPlex Luxury Camping Air Mattress

Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Twin or queen sizes

  • Wireless pump

  • Thick

What We Don't Like
  • Unpleasant plastic smell when new

  • Not good for backpacking

This queen-sized mattress lives up to its “Never-Leak” promise, with a tightly sealed external pump that inflates the bed in just 60 seconds and welded seams to keep the air in. It’s a little lower than some on our list, with just 9 inches of height, but that helps cut down on weight if that’s a concern for your camping trip. The mattress’s coil-beam construction mimics the comfort of a conventional bed with supportive construction. We like that the external pump comes with multiple universal nozzles, so you can use it to inflate inner tubes and water toys you’ve brought on your trip and you can plug it into your car charger, too.

Dimensions: 76 x 39 x 9 In. (twin), 80 x 60 x 9 in. (queen) | Weight: 10.25 lbs. (twin), 15.87 lbs. (queen) | Capacity: One or two people | Inflation: Wireless pump

Best for Kids: AeroBed Kids

AeroBed Kids

Courtesy of Home Depot

What We Like
  • Comes with fleece mattress cover

  • Thick

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Only holds 150 lbs.

Air mattresses can take up a lot of space in a tent, so if you’re looking for something for the kids, save a little interior space and look into a mattress sized just for them. This one from AeroBed is custom made for little ones, with a 60-by-36-inch sleep surface. You don’t have to worry about them rolling off, either, thanks to a 4-inch-high cushion on the perimeter. It comes with a washable fitted mattress pad with a cute star and moon motif, too, leaving you with one less item on your pre-trip shopping list. Plus, the included AC pump makes sure the bed is inflated and ready to go in less than one minute. While it’s probably not a great idea for kids to jump up and down on this air mattress, it’ll hold up for many trips to come, thanks to heavy-duty PVC construction and electronically welded seams to keep every last bit of air in. 

Dimensions: 60 x 36 x 8 in. | Capacity: One child | Inflation: Pump

Best Lightweight: Therm-a-Rest MondoKing

Best lightweight air mattress
What We Like
  • Thick

  • Well insulated

  • Spacious

What We Don't Like
  • Large packed size

Inexpensive, packable, lightweight, and durable, Therm-a-Rest camping air mattress is one of the best to take with you on an outdoor overnight trip—especially if you’re looking to pack light for the road. It’s only 4.5-inches thick, which helps keep the weight down to 3 pounds while keeping you off the cold ground, and inflates in about two minutes. It’s built to be used year-round and has a seal designed to keep the air in even the most biting winter weather. It’ll be there for you for many camping trips to come, too, thanks to the material, it’s built to last year in and year out.

Dimensions: 78.74 x 25.2 x 4.33 in. | Weight: 14.82 oz. | Capacity: One person | Inflation: TwinLock valve

Best Cot: Coleman Camping Cot

What We Like
  • Off the ground

  • Holds over 300 lbs.

  • Twin or queen option

What We Don't Like
  • Loud material

  • Not good for backpacking

Some people prefer to have a little distance between them and the ground, and that’s where Coleman’s camping cot comes in. But never fear, a canvas army cot this is not: the affordable outdoor brand, which has long been trusted for its reliable, high-quality products, makes a great cot that comes with both an air bed, battery-operated pump (meaning you don’t have to rely on electricity to pump it up), and—best of all—two pull-out side tables with cup holders (so you won't knock over your water bottle in the middle of the night). It’s truly a one-stop purchase for everything you need to make camping a little less rugged and a little more comfortable. If the queen size is a little too large for your tent—or if you just need space for one—it's available in a twin size, too.

Dimensions: 74 x 23.5 x 47.2 in (twin) 78 x 22 x 59 in. (queen) | Weight: 13.88 lbs. (twin), 41.9 lbs. (queen) | Capacity: One or two people | Inflation: Double lock valve

Best Splurge: SoundAsleep CloudNine Series

What We Like
  • Thick

  • Holds over 300 lbs.

  • Twin or queen option

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Takes up a lot of space

If you’re serious about sleep and the last thing you want to worry about is abruptly waking up to the air mattress deflating underneath you, SoundAsleep’s CloudNine series will let you rest easy. Although this air mattress is priced higher than some other options on our list, it's auto-off pump makes it simple to inflate and it has three comfort levels. The support on this mattress is great, too, with I-Beam internal air coils to keep your sleeping surface level and a non-stick bottom so you’re not sliding around the tent floor if you’re on a slope. And if you use it at home, the Dual Smart Pump technology integrated into the mattress runs continuously, so your guests can stay comfortable all night.

Dimensions: 74 x 39 x 18.5 in. (twin), 78 x 19 x 58 in. (queen) | Weight: 16.7 lbs. (twin), 25 lbs. (queen) | Capacity: One or two people | Inflation: Dual pump

Best for Car Camping: Luno Car Camping Mattress

Car camping mattress
What We Like
  • Doesn't take up much space

  • Durable

  • Variety of sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't work will all car models

This clever inflatable mattress can turn the back of your SUV or hatchback into a bed, helping eliminate the need for a tent. It's made with durable 300-denier Oxford fabric, meaning it can withstand dog claws, pine needles, wood chips, and more. It's small enough that you can leave it in your car all the time and it's possible to inflate just one side for solo camping. They have multiple options for a variety of car sizes.

Dimensions: Multiple options | Weight: 15 lbs.| Capacity: One or two people | Inflation: Electric air pump

Final Verdict

SoundAsleep’s Dream series (view at Amazon) inflates in about as much time as it takes you to step outside the tent and brush your teeth—and it’s built to ensure you don’t wake up atop a deflated pile of mattress. With a height of 19 inches, it’s the next best thing to bringing your bed from home with you, and a variety of sizes make finding one to fit your tent super easy. 

What to Look for When Buying an Air Mattress for Camping

Price

How often you get out into the woods—or have someone crashing on your living room floor—can (and should!) affect the price you pay to splash out on an air mattress. If you’re going camping most weekends in the summer, it might be a good idea to invest in an air mattress that really ensures a good night’s sleep. If, however, you only go a couple of times a year, it’s worth looking into a less expensive air mattress that will keep you off the ground but allow your budget to remain intact, too. 

Thickness

How thick your mattress is translates directly to how much distance you have from you and the ground beneath you. If you’re heading out in the winter or in a cold climate, or you’re the kind of person who can feel every divot in the ground below them, a thinner mattress might encourage the cold to sink into your bones a little deeper. Some air mattresses are up to almost a foot and a half off the ground—if you’re easily chilled or can feel even a pea under thinner mattresses, you might want to invest in one that’s quite thick. 

Materials

Most air mattresses are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or textile-reinforced urethane plastic or rubber. But there’s often more to the mattress beyond shiny plastics: those that have velvet tops tend to be a little easier to sleep on because your sleeping bag (or sheets) won’t slide around on it. 

FAQs

What size air mattress should you get?

The best way to guarantee your mattress will fit in the tent is to measure twice, buy once. Be sure to measure your tent’s interior dimensions so you don’t get one that will be too long for the tent—or, in the case of single tents, too wide.  

How do you clean an air mattress?

Most air mattresses are meant to be rugged and easy to clean, since most are designed for outdoor purposes. Most of the time, the vinyl or plastic-feeling portions of the mattress can simply be wiped clean, while you might want to check the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning velvet tops off. That being said, if there’s a s’mores spill and there are some crumbs or sticky bits, those should be easy enough to vacuum or wipe clean when you’re back home. 

What kind of pump should you look for?

If you have electricity handy, by all means go for an electrical pump that will make your job way easier. But if you’re heading out into the woods, you might need to look for one with a manual pump and put a little old-fashioned sweat into inflating your bed for the night.

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