They say we spend one-third of our lives sleeping.
That’s a lot of time spent in virtually one position.
A consequence of “roughing it” outdoors is that your body eventually needs the proper rest and recuperation after it has been subjected to various stresses and strains.
Investing in a good quality mattress is vital to not just getting a good night’s sleep, but also in protecting your neck and back from the harsh reality of sleeping on the lumpy ground in a tent.
If you suffer from a bad back, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Our camping mattress buyer’s guide helps you make an informed decision on what you should be spending your 8 hours of sleep, and hard-earned money on.
Best Mattresses for Camping of All Shapes and Sizes
1. Exped Megamat 10 Insulated Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad
Comfortably fitting 2 people, the Megamat from Exped inflates in minutes to give you one of the most comfortable sleep options on the market.
Designed for year-round use, the 4 inches of pillowy padding will save your back when it’s pressed up against dirt and rocks, ensuring you are well-rested for your adventures.
Made out of a high-quality polyester TPU laminate, in addition to the manual hand pump (for custom adjustments), a repair kit is provided, and the carrying bag packs up the mattress for portability.
- Uses BlueSign Certified Insulation
- 5 Year Warranty
2. BetterHabitat Sleep Ready Memory Foam Camping Mattress
If you are tired of terrible air mattresses that provide lackluster comfort and durability, this memory foam mattress from Better Habitat is an excellent upgrade.
While a bit on the expensive side compared to other mattresses, the 3” thick foam and quick roll-and-go burrito-like compactness are just a few of the features that warrant the price tag.
Where it really shines is in the machine-washable hypoallergenic cover, which blocks allergens and dust mites for all you sufferers.
The bottom is nice and grippy, storing it is easy using the top-loaded carrying bag, and it still provides amazing support to individuals in the 230+ lb. range. Definitely one of the better foam mattress options out there.
- Burrito Roll-Up for Easy Carrying and Storage
- Hypoallergenic Cover
- 3 Inches of Thick Support
- Kids, Single and Twin Sized Options
3. EnerPlex Never-Leak Queen Camping Mattress
With a name like Never-Leak you better be certain that you are providing customers with a legit product.
Thankfully, Enerplex does! Inflating in a mere 2 minutes using the provided pump (which does require a power source), this mattress comes in twin or queen sizes and also gives you two color options.
You won’t feel the ground beneath you thanks to 9 inches of coil-beam construction designed to give you firm support for proper back alignment.
Boasting an airtight valve and multiple charger options (use your car while camping), it caters to heavier weight loads, is waterproof, and backed by a 2-year warranty.
- Heavy Duty Air Mattress
- Quick Setup Time
- Ergonomically Designed
4. Certipur-US Memory Foam Roll Up Camping Mattress
With most memory foam mattresses, you usually trade a bit of weight and compactibility for comfort. However, at 10 lbs, you can still roll up this comfy option and carry it on your back using the provided travel bag.
A layer of memory foam rests atop the high-density base foam giving side sleepers maximum support on all surfaces. If you get it dirty, simply unzip the cover and throw it in the washing machine for a quick spin.
The base of the mattress is waterproof and anti-slip so you can use it on hardwood floors or tiles with minimal movement throughout the night.
- Great Option for Backpacking or Camping
- Waterproof and Non-Slip Base
- Machine-Washable Cover
5. Therm-a-Rest MondoKing Self-Inflating Foam Camping Mattress
An excellent option to use at campsites, on boats, or those inconvenient times when your mother-in-law comes to visit, the Mondo King is the top of the line offering from Therm-a-Rest.
A cool feature of this pad is that you can add multiple pads to it to make one giant bed, and the gap between mattresses is virtually non-existent due to how they interlock.
Self-inflating and adjustable for a perfect fit, the pad uses high-quality materials and coupled with the foam core gives you lots of stability on uneven surfaces.
Anyone looking for a luxurious sleep should consider this option.
- Ability to Add-On for Larger Mattress
- Can Easily Accommodate Tall People
- Luxurious Option
6. WELLAX UltraThick FlexFoam Sleeping Pad
This self-inflating mattress rolls out nicely from a compact 10 x 7 inch dimensions to 77 x 28 inches, with 3 inches of thick padding for a good night’s rest.
Tear-resistant and waterproof, the high insulation rating makes this an attractive option if you are sleeping in colder weather, and the size makes it ideal for all body types.
Soft but still supportive to save your hips and back from digging into the ground, Wellax claims these mattresses might make you sell your current bed, and they might be right.
- Thick and Comfortable
- Rolls Up For Small Storage
7. HiHiker Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress
For the discerning camper who needs to color co-ordinate while enjoying nature, this affordable camp mattress also comes with its own pillow.
Easy to inflate and adjust for that “firmness sweet spot”, both the mattress and pillow are fully waterproof, machine washable, and the ergonomically-designed pillow also doubles as lower lumbar support when sitting upright.
Traveling with a 75-inch bed has never been easier as it rolls up into the size of a water bottle and durable, ripstop material provides you years of use.
- Excellent Budget Mattress
- Lightweight 2 in 1 Combo
- Lifetime Warranty
8. ALPS Mountaineering Comfort Series
This is a nice mat that self-inflates (and deflates) quickly while offering comfortability and quality in your tent.
Easy to roll up due to the vertical-foam core construction, ALPS manufactures this 4-inch thick mat in both large and extra-large so you will always have enough space.
With a focus on quality materials, the fabric used is 30D, which makes it stretchy and soft, while the base being 150D plastic gives the mat a lot of grip and stability wherever you lay it down.
As nothing is foolproof, ALPS provides a repair kit in case of leaks, and the 2-foot carrying bag makes it so you can take it anywhere you want to rest your weary head.
- High-Quality Construction
- Excellent Comfort Factor
- Quickly Self-Inflates and Deflates
9. Sleepingo Camping Mattress
This camping mattress is a great option if you are in need of something lightweight for your backpacking adventures.
Designed for single-person use with dimensions of 75 x 25 x 2 inches, you can bring this pad anywhere with its water bottle-sized compactibility.
Made from heavy-duty nylon that is capable of withstanding rips and liquids, it is surprisingly rugged for such a small item.
Sleepingo offers a hassle-free lifetime replacement should you encounter any problems with their product, and at this price point, it’s an easy decision to make on this mattress.
- Excellent Price Point
- Packs a Punch
- Lifetime Warranty
10. Olee Sleep Tri-Folding Memory Foam Mattress
This 3-panel folding mattress from Olee Sleep uses a 3-tier system of high-density foam, gel foam, and stain-resistant polyester jacquard fabric, making it one attractive memory foam option for the outdoors.
It ships rolled up but once you unpack it, the bed self-inflates and you instantly have extra space for a quality night’s sleep.
While it is a bit on the bulkier side, the Millard carrying case, which is sold separately, is a perfect fit for relocating this bed in a compact manner.
With great support to prevent bottoming out on all types of surfaces, it is also easily configurable if you need a second topper for queen beds.
- Dense Memory Foam Option
- Extremely Comfortable
- Great Support
Some Features to Look Out For (Buyers Guide)
Camping Mattress Material
Polyester and nylon are the most common materials you will find in camping mattresses. Nylon gives the mattress a lot of durability, whereas polyester is waterproof and easy to clean, which is a great option for campers with children, or campers whose drunken husbands act like children.
Mattress Size & Weight
Camping mattresses come in a range of sizes and weight – it all depends on your style of camping. Some mattresses fit perfectly in the bed of a truck, others are great for single sleepers, while larger mattresses fit great in multi-person tents. The only time you need to pay attention to mattress weight is if you are carrying it around with you for extended periods of time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How To Clean a Camping Mattress?
To get the most life out of your camping mattress you should clean it after every use.
A damp cloth or sponge with warm water and mild soap should do the trick in removing most of the debris that has built up on it.
Adding a light dusting of baking soda after its dry will keep any unwanted smells at bay.
How To Store a Camping Mattress?
Air mattresses are pretty convenient to store as they deflate and roll up easily.
For larger foam mattresses, they can be stored upright or laying flat in a cool, dry place to eliminate the threat of moisture (which can wreak havoc and create mold and mildew issues).
In addition, some foam mattresses offer roll-up portability, making them extremely popular.
How To Patch A Camping Mattress?
Thanks to patch kits, it’s no longer a deathblow when a camping mattress has a hole in it.
They are relatively cheap and usually provide you with glue and a few patches to extend your mattress life.
Adhesive patches work well too, and if you are really in a pickle there’s always duct tape!
Camping Mattress or Stretcher Cot?
If you are looking for an alternative to a camping mattress, you might want to look at a stretcher cot.
They are basically a fold-up, compact bed that can open and close in one swift motion.
While they are a bit heavy at 20-30 lbs., they don’t take up too much space when in the stowed position, and allow for a lot of time saved when you put them up against an air mattress.
Camping Mattress or Pad?
Some people like to use just one or the other, while others use a mattress and pad together.
You will only get more comfort out of laying a pad on top of a mattress, although the quality is at the point where you really only need to bring one of them.
The major downside to using both is that you have to bring more stuff with you.
For car camping or site camping, it wouldn’t be a huge issue, but if you are backpack camping the weight you have to carry everywhere adds up quickly.
Backpacking Mattresses vs. On-Site Camping Mattresses
Backpacking camping involves a bit more physicality than on-site camping.
On-site camping offers a campsite that you usually drive to and park at, giving you the convenience of unloading your belongings within a small area. This option lets you bring a larger and/or heavier mattress with you.
When you backpack to a campsite you have to carry everything you need in one shot, making more compact and lightweight mattresses the more attractive choice.
Hopefully, by now, you have a greater understanding of what constitutes a quality bed for the outdoors. Taking into account where you might be using a mattress, who will be sleeping on it, how luxurious you want it to be, and how often it will be used are good questions to consider. There is nothing more frustrating than losing a night’s sleep because of the bed you are in, but any of these options we’ve provided will make it a little bit easier to find that perfect sleep under the stars.
Resources and Sources
How to sleep comfortably outdoors