12 best camping mats in 2022
Whether you’re going on a weekend hike, camping with your family, or climbing Everest, you need the right camping mattress. If you don’t do it right, you could end up cold and uncomfortable, which is never fun. There are many different types of camping mattresses (check out the buying guide for more information), so you need to make sure you have the right type of mattress. In this article, we’ve found the best camping mattresses and explained how to find the right one.
The Best Camping Mattress
MondoKing Therm-a-Rest Camping Mattress
Therm-a-Rest is fairly well known in the camping community. They invented the very first self-inflating camping mattress in 1972 and have been innovating ever since. That legacy continues with the MondoKing 3D, their biggest and best camping mattress to date. We think it’s the best camping air mattress on this list, considering everything.
It’s on the pricier side of the camping mattresses, but you get what you pay for. It’s 4 inches off the ground, which not only makes it very comfortable, but also keeps you off the cold, hard ground. As far as comfort goes, it has an R-value of 11.4 (see the buying guide and FAQ section for more information), which is one of the highest values on the list. It’s a normal-sized air mattress for one person, but with a width of 30 inches, you could probably fit two of you in it. If that’s not enough, it has vertical walls, which means you can easily put two together to make an awesome double mattress.
It has two valves, which allow the mattress to inflate quickly when you open it. Plus, it comes with a storage bag with a carrying handle for easy transport. This probably isn’t the best camping mattress for someone trying to travel light, but if you’re looking for quality and comfort, you’ve found it. Be sure to check out our guide to the best large camping tents.
- 30″ wide x 80″ long x 4″ thick
- 75D polyester fabric
- Weighs 6.75 pounds
- 7″ x 31″ rolled up
- R-Value 11.4
- 6 pounds
Klymit Static V Luxe Camping Mattress
This next self-inflating mattress is for those who need to put everything in one package. Whether you’re hiking, climbing, or just backpacking, you need something light and very small. The Klymit Static V Luxe weighs only 26.5 ounces and measures 5.5 by 10 inches. That means it’s smaller and weighs less than a quart of water in your pack.
But the question is, is it still comfortable? Fortunately, the answer is yes. Sure, it’ll never be as good as a large air mattress, but the V-shaped design hugs your body and offers good support while you sleep. The only problem is that it has an R-value of 1.3, which is really only suitable for camping in the summer.
- 30″ wide x 76″ long x 3″ thick
- 75D polyester fabric
- Weighs 1.66 pounds
- 5.5″ x 10″ rolled up
- R-value 1.3
- 1.8 lbs
Nemo Cosmo Insulated Camping Mattress
The Nemo Cosmo Insulated Mattress is a serious contender for the best single air mattress on the market. A quick read of the Amazon reviews will show you how much people love this product compared to other similar products. It’s not self-inflating, but it’s almost as easy to use thanks to the foot pump built into the bottom of the mattress. It inflates quickly, and you don’t need to carry an extra pump in your bag. As well as the fact that it’s only 8 x 11 inches, this means you can take it on a hike, but we recommend you opt for something slightly smaller.
Because of its size, it’s really designed for camping holidays or sleeping in your car, rather than for serious hiking and trekking. But a larger size means extra comfort. In fact, some reviewers say it’s the most comfortable camping mattress they’ve ever tried.
- Built-in foot pump
- 30″ wide x 80″ long x 4″ thick
- 75D polyester fabric
- Weighs 2.7 pounds
- 8″ x 11″ rolled up
- Fits 15 degrees
ALPS Mountaineering Outback Tapis gonflable
The name of this product should tell you what it is all about. The Alps Mountaineering Outback air mattress is a serious piece of kit. It is suitable for more extreme conditions than the average mat, with an R-value of 11. The only small problem is that, even when stored properly, it is a rather bulky mat. If you manage to fit it back into the storage bag, it will measure about 12 by 32 inches. This means that you will need a large enough bag to carry it up the mountain.
It is self-inflating, but you may have to finish it using your own lung power. Plus, it’s made of durable 30D elastic and even comes with a repair kit. If you have the space for this air mattress, it will keep you comfortably warm in tough conditions.
- Weighs 7.5 pounds
- 12″ x 32″ rolled up
- R 11 value
- ALPS Mountaineering
- 7.4 lbs
Lightspeed Outdoors XL Super Plush Self-Inflating Camp Pad
This one isn’t the best camping air mattress on the list, but it’s a great option in the middle of the road. It’s relatively cheap compared to serious mountaineering mattresses, but it still offers an impressive level of comfort and warmth for your camping trip. It has an R-value of 9.4, which keeps you nice and warm at night, and the non-slip stretch material really hugs your body as you sleep. Thanks to the oversized dual air valves, the Lightspeed Outdoors XL Super Plush self-inflating camping pad inflates and deflates quickly. Plus, thanks to the soft PVC-free material, there’s no annoying crinkling noise as you move around at night.
- 30″ wide x 77″ long x 4″ thick
- Flexform fabric surface
- 7.75″ x 32″ rolled
- R-value 9.4
- Lightspeed Outdoors
Coussin autogonflant Exped MegaMat Duo 10]
If you are looking for comfort above all else, this queen size air mattress is definitely the one for you. The Exped MegaMat Duo 10 insulated air mattress is the best air mattress for camping when you don’t really want to feel like you are camping. We chose it as our Premium Choice product because it is the most luxurious mattress on this list. In fact, it’s probably better than your mattress at home.
It’s almost 10 cm thick and made of a beautiful, high-quality material that feels great against your skin. The R-value is 9.5, which will keep you warm even when the floor is cold. As we said, this mat is really for the luxury camper, it is way too big for a hike.
- 52″ wide x 77.5″ long x 4″ thick
- Oeko-Tex 100 certified materials
- 22″ x 12″ rolled up
- R-value 9.5
Coleman self-inflating camping mat
We had to choose this camping air mattress as our best product. It’s significantly cheaper than most of the products on this list, but it’s still comfortable enough for you to spend your holiday camping or sleeping in the back of your car. The Coleman self-inflating camping mattress with pillow is self-inflating and has an extra layer of padding to separate you from the ground. Probably because of the price, there is no information on the R-value, but you can assume that it is not suitable for really cold conditions.
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- 76″ wide x 25″ long x 2.5″ thick
- 5.4 lbs
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress
Now back to something a little more robust. Like the first Therm-a-Rest pad we reviewed, this one is really well made. The difference with the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Ultralight Backpacking air mattress is that it is small enough to allow for mountaineering, hiking, camping and backpacking. That’s because it’s super light (it weighs only one pound) and it’s very small (9×4 inches). You can shove it right into your backpack and you’ll barely notice it’s there. It’s no slouch in terms of comfort and warmth either. It has an R-value of 3.4, which should keep you warm in most conditions, and it’s 2.5 inches thick with a plush, non-slip fabric. If you’re looking for something light and small that can still do the job, this is a prime candidate.
Inflates in 2 minutes
20″ wide x 72″ long x 2.5″ thick
9″ x 4″ rolled up
Sea To Summit Comfort Deluxe Insulation Mat
We almost chose this mat as our top product. Instead, we chose the Exped MegaMat because it is the size of a queen and feels like sleeping on a real mattress. But if you’re looking for an air mattress for camping, this is one of the most comfortable. The comfort is provided by Air Sprung Cells™ and it has an R-value of 5. Everything about this mattress is just a step above other camping mattresses on the market. It is super comfortable, the materials are amazing and it will keep you warm all night long.
- Inflates with a valve
- 25″ wide x 73″ long x 3″ thick
- Weighs 2.2 pounds
- 10″ x 5.5″ rolled up
- From the sea to the top
SoundAsleep Camping Series air mattress with ecological PVC
This is the only real air mattress on this list. It’s the kind of thing you can take on a camping trip or use when you have unexpected overnight guests, but it’s not suitable for mountaineering or anything more hardcore. The SoundAsleep Camping Series PVC eco-friendly air mattress is not self-inflating, but fortunately it comes with an eco-friendly rechargeable air pump, so no labour is required. It is made from thick materials and is designed to be abrasion resistant. In addition, it comes with a handy carrying case for easy car storage.
- Eco-friendly pump included
- 60″ wide x 78″ long x 9″ thick
- Weighs 13.9 pounds
- I-Beam air coils
- SoundAsleep Products
- 13.9 lbs
Agnes AXL Air Sleeping Pad
The great Agnes says in the description that it is “the most comfortable and lightest three-season mattress you can put in your bag”. And while we can’t confirm or deny that, we can say that we think it’s one of the best. The Big Agnes AXL Insulated Night Pad is super light (0.66 pounds), so you won’t notice it in your backpack, and if you store it properly, it measures only 3 x 6.5 inches. Unfortunately, Big Agnes doesn’t publish an R-value, but they do say it’s suitable up to 32 degrees.
- 20″ wide x 72″ long x 3.75″ thick
- Weighs 0.66 pounds
- 3″ x 6.5″ rolled up
- Big Agnes
- Big Agnes
Freeland self-inflating camping mat
The Freeland Sleeping Pad is the second budget option. At less than $40, it’s one of the more affordable camping mats. It’s thinner than many of the more expensive options (1.5 inches), but the 190T polyester should keep you comfortable, especially if you have a decent sleeping bag. It’s also very tear-resistant, which is important when you’re moving it from one car or tent to another. With camping mats, you get what you pay for. This mat won’t be the most comfortable or warm, but it will do the trick on a camping trip in good weather.
Features to look for in camping mats
Size – The first thing to consider when buying a camping mattress is the size. If you’re camping alone, you don’t need the extra weight of carrying a mattress big enough for two people. But you don’t want to have to share a single mattress with that special person in your life. In general, the larger the mattress, the heavier it is and the longer it takes to inflate.
Insulation and R-value – When you buy a camping mattress, you will see a lot of mention of the R-value. The R-value measures how well the air mattress insulates against the cold ground. The higher the R-value, the warmer it will keep you. An R-value of 0 to 2 is suitable for warm weather, and you should look for a higher R-value if you are camping in a cold area.
Construction – You’ll also notice, when you buy an air mattress, the different technologies and materials used in the construction. Some have ThermaCapture technology, others have SoundAsleep ComfortCoil technology. But these are just words. It’s hard to know, as a consumer, what they really mean. So focus on the materials instead. High quality mattresses are often made of 30D and 40D nylon, 190T polyester and other durable materials. Look for a durable, tear-resistant material. If you don’t recognise the material, type it into Google and see what you can find out about it.
Inflating – Inflating your mattress is the last thing you want to do after a long day of hiking, or pitching your tent in the hot sun. Some of the cheaper air mattresses can be difficult to inflate. If you have a little more money to spend, you can buy an air mattress with automatic inflation. Otherwise, invest in a good air pump to make your life easier.
Comfort – This is really the only reason you buy a cot mattress, so it needs to be comfortable. The more money you are willing to spend, the more comfortable a mattress you can buy. However, you can find some decent options on a budget, like the Coleman Self-Inflating Camping Pad or the Freeland Camping Sleeping Pad.
Ease of use – This is particularly important if you use your campsite in extreme conditions. It should be easy to inflate, easy to deflate and easy to store afterwards.
Weight – If you are using your campsite on holiday, the weight is not so important. You can just throw it in the back of the car and drive it to your pitch. But if you are hiking or climbing with your mattress, weight is crucial. We’ve listed the weight of each mattress in the ‘Key Features’ section so you can find the one that suits you best.
Packing size – As with weight, the importance of this depends on how you use it. We’ve included this information where possible, so you can see if it fits in your backpack.
Durability – Unless you plan to use your camping mat once, you want it to be durable. This means it should be made of sturdy materials that won’t tear easily. Check the type of material and read reviews to see how durable a product is.
Versatility – You may be buying a multi-purpose mattress. If so, it should be suitable for hiking, camping and mountaineering. A multi-purpose camping mattress should be light, strong and easy to inflate.
Types of camping mats
Self-Inflating Mattresses – Combining air and foam insulation, self-inflating mattresses are some of the cheapest and best insulated on the market. Simply open the valve and the mattress fills with air, giving you a comfortable bed for the night. They are not as easy to roll up and are more expensive than foam mattresses, but offer a good compromise between the other two types of mattress.
Air mattresses – Air mattresses are the most comfortable option available. They are thicker than the other two and often require you to inflate them with a pump or even by mouth. You can find options that inflate themselves, but you should expect to pay a high price for them. They are great for family camping, but not for hiking or climbing when you need something light.
Foam pads – These are the thinnest, lightest and often cheapest options. They are not very comfortable, but you can attach them to the outside of your backpack and hike to your destination.
Air Pads VS Foam Pads
Both options are suitable for most recreational camping holidays. However, if you are using them in extreme conditions, you need to think more carefully about your decision. For climbing Everest (and other high peaks), climbers will use both together – they will have an air pad on a foam pad. Foam cushions are more reliable and lighter, but they won’t give you as much comfort or warmth. Air cushions are heavier and can be torn, but they are easy to repair with a repair kit and will help you sleep better.
What is the intended use of your camping mattress?
This is an important question to ask before you start buying a camping mattress. If you’re going on a family camping holiday, you’ll probably want a comfortable air mattress; but if you’re climbing Everest, you need something much lighter and well insulated.
How do self-inflating mattresses work?
Essentially, it’s a layer of foam sandwiched between airtight sections with a valve. When you unroll the mat, this valve opens and the foam expands and draws air into the mat.
How long does a self-inflating mattress take to inflate?
Every mattress is different, but in general they tend to inflate very quickly. If your mattress has taken longer than two minutes and doesn’t seem to be inflating, check the user manual and see how fast it is supposed to inflate.
Why is warmth important when choosing my camping mattress?
If you are camping in a warm climate in the summer, it probably won’t matter. But everywhere else in the world it is important to stay warm at night. Your camping mat is the only layer of insulation between you and the ground, so make sure the R-value is high enough to keep you warm.
How should I store my camping mat?
First, make sure it is completely dry (so it doesn’t get mouldy). Then fold it according to the user manual and store it in a dry place.
What is the best way to clean my sleeping mat?
Wipe it with a cloth using warm water and a drop of mild soap. You can sprinkle baking powder on it to reduce odours.
What should I do if I think my mattress is leaking air?
Some air mattresses lose a small amount of air during the night, but the surface should still support. If you think it’s leaking, fill it up as much as you can and listen for the leak. Then repair it with a puncture repair kit.
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