The 10 Finest Tenting Air Mattresses for 2022

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Popular Mechanics; Courtesy Etekcity

For backcountry camping, a lightweight pack with only the most essential supplies is the way to go. But for the majority of campers—those who go car camping or pitch a tent on ground with facilities nearby—some luxuries of home are nice to have. Along with a camp stove and a portable fire pit to gather around in the evening, a camping air mattress ranks high on the list of items that make a trip to the Great Outdoors feel more like vacation than a test of survival in the wilderness.

Whether you’re looking for something basic and affordable that’s cushiony and lightweight or a pricey self-inflating option that’ll keep you warm for winter camping, read on for our top recommendations of the best camping air mattresses out there, plus advice on the most important things to consider before buying.

The Best Camping Air Mattresses

What to Consider

There’s a different set of criteria to consider when it comes to selecting a camping air mattress versus a bedroom mattress, though the list of considerations is equally comprehensive. Above all, comfort is paramount, and achieving it boils down to factors including thickness and internal construction, plus the mattress size. For camping, things like packed dimensions, weight, and capacity are often tacked on.

You may be asking yourself what the difference is between a camping air mattress and an air mattress you’d buy for overnight guests at home. The answer is that some work for both purposes, depending on how you like to camp. But typically, camping air mattresses—whether they self-inflate, or have pumps that are built-in or external—plug into your vehicle’s auxiliary power outlet rather than a wall, or get juice from a battery-operated pump. Generally speaking, camping air mattresses that double as an extra bed at home are the heaviest and most cumbersome to transport. Also, the price for camping air mattresses without insulation is typically lower than those with insulation.

Speaking of warmth, the scale used to measure how resistant a mattress is to heat loss is represented by its R-value. Without getting too far into the weeds, any camping air mattress with an R-value of 5.0 or higher means it offers some insulation. If you love winter camping, choose a mattress with an R-value of 8.0 or more.

In terms of extras and nice-to-have features, some camping air mattresses come with warranties, patch repair kits, and carrying bags or stuff sacks.

How We Selected

Our selection includes camping air mattresses from well-regarded outdoor gear brands including Coleman, Alps Mountaineering, Sierra Designs, Kelty, and others. Every camping air mattress we cover has an average customer rating of 4 out of 5 stars or more, and the majority of our picks have ratings of 4.5 stars and up. We used a wide range of criteria to assess these mattresses, including thickness, internal construction, method of inflation, and price point, among other features and attributes. We also feature options across multiple price points to suit all budgets, and offer camping air mattresses that work for a variety of camping styles.

In the market for more camping gear? Check out our stories on the best tents, the best double sleeping bags, and the best backpacking backpacks.

1

Best Overall

Vertex Air Bed (Twin)

  • Reasonable price for solid features
  • Multiple inflation options
  • Thick but lightweight
  • Made with PVC-free fabric
  • Carrying bag included

Key Specs

  • Dimensions (L x W): 80 x 56 inches
  • Thickness: 6 inches
  • Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Inflation: Plug-in; rechargeable battery-operated pump

This camping air mattress, made by well-respected outdoor gear brand Alps Mountaineering, punches well above its price tag for desirable features. For starters, it’s a solid 6 inches thick and weighs about 3 pounds, plus it offers multiple charging options—you can plug it into your car’s 12-volt outlet or use the included rechargeable battery-operated pump.

The mattress is constructed of a durable, PVC-free fabric and features an inner coil system for support, though there is no insulation. It comes with a drawstring stuff sack for storage and it’s also available in a queen-size version.

2

Budget Buy

Queen Camping Air Mattress

  • Excellent value
  • Ultra-thick 10-plus inches
  • PVC- and phthalate-free
  • Built-in pillow
  • 1-year limited warranty

Key Specs

  • Dimensions (L x W): 78 x 56 inches
  • Thickness: 10.2 inches
  • Weight: 6 pounds
  • Capacity: Not listed
  • Inflation: Battery-operated pump

Looking for a high-quality camping air mattress with a low price tag? If so, your search stops here with this camping air mattress from Sierra Designs, an outdoor gear and apparel brand that’s been around since 1965.

The mattress is an impressive 10.2 inches thick, made of from a PVC- and phthalate-free stretch-resistant fabric that’s TPU-coated for extra durability.

Other highlights include a built-in pillow, a two-part Boston valve, and a battery-operated pump, plus the air mattress folds down to store in a slim, compact case. The mattress weighs a reasonable 6 pounds, but keep in mind there’s no insulation.

3

Best Upgrade

Kush Queen Air Bed with Pump

  • Well-priced
  • Thick but lightweight
  • Repair kit and small built-in pillow included
  • Soft and plush quilted flocked top

Key Specs

  • Dimensions (L x W): 79 x 56 inches
  • Thickness: 6 inches
  • Weight: 4.9 pounds
  • Capacity: Not listed
  • Inflation: Battery-operated pump

Here’s another plush and lightweight camping air mattress. It’s from Kelty, a brand that’s been turning out high-quality camping gear since 1952.

Their “Kush” cushy air bed is 6 inches thick and weighs under 5 pounds, with a soft, flocked top and integrated pillow. It’s made of PVC-free, TPU-laminated fabric designed to withstand punctures, and comes with a battery-operated pump and a repair kit, plus a drawstring stuff sack for storage. Keep in mind that the air mattress has no weatherproofing treatment or insulation, though.

4

Great for Families

Queen Camping Air Mattress

  • High max weight capacity
  • Multilayer flocked top; nontoxic materials
  • Above-average thickness
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • Waterproof
  • On the heavy side
  • Not insulated

Key Specs

  • Dimensions (L x W): 80 x 60 inches
  • Thickness: 9 inches
  • Weight: 15.5 pounds
  • Capacity: 650 pounds
  • Inflation: Rechargeable battery-operated pump

Need a mattress to accommodate you plus kids and the dog? This may be the winning option for you. Etekcity’s 9-inch-thick camping air mattress has a 650-pound maximum weight capacity and is a fantastic value for the price.

The firm mattress is waterproof and nontoxic, with passing grades in Prop 65 testing on lead, cadmium, and phthalates. It featuring a multilayer flocked top and standard queen-size dimensions (others we cover fall a few inches short).

Other highlights include an inner valve for inflation and an outer valve to top off, a cordless rechargeable battery-operated pump, and a 2-year limited warranty. It also comes with a storage bag with handles.

5

Best for Car Camping

Luno 2.0 Air Mattress

  • Two sides inflate separately to customize firmness
  • Solid weight capacity
  • Repair patch and 12-volt air pump included
  • 1-year limited warranty

Key Specs

  • Dimensions (L x W): Not listed
  • Thickness: 4 inches
  • Weight: 15 pounds
  • Capacity: 300 pounds per side
  • Inflation: Plug-in

You’d be hard-pressed to imagine a better car camping sleeping sitch than what this air mattress delivers. It’s specifically made for sleeping in the car and fits inside more than 1,800 vehicles on the road. (A rep from Luno told us that the mattress dimensions are considered proprietary, but used a Subaru Outback as an example of a compatible car.)

The Luno 2.0 features a clever design—it’s actually two air mattresses connected on top with a layer of 300-denier oxford fabric, so firmness can be adjusted separately on each side. The setup also has two inflatable base extenders to place in footwells for extra mattress support. Each side of the mattress has a 300-pound weight capacity (600 pounds total).

The set includes an electric pump that plugs into the car’s 12-volt outlet, a repair patch kit, and a 1-year limited warranty with purchase.

6

Best Self-Inflating

MegaMat Duo 10 Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad

  • Very warm; for four-season camping
  • Made with nontoxic materials
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Repair kit with fabric patches
  • High weight capacity

Key Specs

  • Dimensions (L x W): 72 x 41 inches
  • Thickness: 3.9 inches
  • Weight: 7.5 pounds
  • Capacity: 330 pounds per side
  • Inflation: Self-inflating

This self-inflating option may technically be more sleeping pad than air mattress, but its superior construction—which includes open-cell foam insulation that gives it an ultra-warm R-value of 8.1—make it well worth consideration.

Exped’s MegaMat Duo 10 is nearly 4 inches thick, made of nontoxic polyester with a TPU laminate, and its air valves have soft edges and don’t stick out. Each side has a 330-pound weight capacity, and it’s rated for four-season camping.

There’s a repair kit included with fabric patches, along with a small battery-operated pump for topping off inflation, plus it packs down tight into a stuff sack to carry over your shoulder. It also comes with a generous 5-year limited warranty.

  • Ultra-warm for extreme cold-weather camping
  • Good thickness
  • Two-layer foam insulation and waterproof bottom
  • Side pockets to stash small items
  • Available only as a single
  • Manual pump
  • Heavy

Key Specs

  • Dimensions (L x W): 78 x 25 inches
  • Thickness: 7 inches
  • Weight: 26 pounds
  • Capacity: 350 pounds
  • Inflation: Manual pump

Hest’s Sleep System is the mattress to buy if you love winter camping. It has an R-value of 11.8, the highest of all the options we cover, with two-layer foam construction and a waterproof inflatable base.

The removable machine-washable mattress cover is made of a stretchy nylon twill, with PU-coated nylon on the bottom. The mattress may look on the thin side in photos, but it’s a full 7 inches thick, plus there are pockets on each side to stash small items like your smartphone and headlamp.

Weight capacity isn’t listed because the mattress’s construction exceeds human weight, according to a company rep, but it’s recommended for people 350 pounds or less to maintain the integrity of the foam insulation.

The mattress comes with a patch kit included and rolls up into an attractive duffel bag with a shoulder strap, but it inflates manually with an included hand pump, which may be a dealbreaker for some. It’s also only available as a single, and it’s fairly heavy at about 26 pounds.

8

Most Like a Regular Mattress

SupportRest Elite Camping Air Mattress

  • Height makes getting out of bed easier
  • Built-in 120-volt pump and inner coil system
  • Raised edge to keep pillows in place
  • High weight capacity
  • 1-year limited warranty

Key Specs

  • Dimensions (L x W): 78 x 60 inches
  • Thickness: 18 inches
  • Weight: 18 pounds
  • Capacity: 600 pounds
  • Inflation: Plug-in

This camping air mattress from Coleman, a well-regarded brand that’s been around for more than 120 years, is ideal for those who prefer the height and feel of a regular mattress.

It’s 18 inches thick, with a 600-pound weight capacity, featuring an inner coil system, a built-in 120-volt pump, and raised edge at the top to prevent pillows from sliding off. The surface of the mattress is antimicrobial-treated, and there’s also a double-lock air valve and a carrying case. Coleman also includes a 1-year limited warranty with purchase.

9

Best Single Mattress

MondoKing Camping Mattress

  • Very warm; rated for four-season camping
  • Dual valves for inflation/deflation
  • Lightweight
  • Comes in two sizes
  • Not self-inflating as advertised
  • Requires blowing up; mixed reviews on stuff sack helping

Key Specs

  • Dimensions (L x W): 77 x 25 inches
  • Thickness: 4.5 inches
  • Weight: 4.5 pounds
  • Capacity: Not listed
  • Inflation: Manual (blow-up)

There’s a lot to like about this camping mattress from Therm-a-Rest, but before we get into its top features, we need to highlight that it is not self-inflating as advertised. It manually inflates, courtesy of the air in your lungs, and while the mattress’s stuff sack is said to assist the process, reviews on its effectiveness are mixed.

On the plus side, the 4.5-inch-thick mattress has a high R-value of 8.0, and the majority of its 500-plus reviewers note that it’s comfortable and warm, and give it an average rating of 4.6 stars.

It has dual valves—one that’s intake-only, and another that’s larger for quick deflation—plus it’s water-resistant and lightweight, at just 4.5 pounds.

10

Best With Frame

Camping Air Mattress Cot

  • Extra height aids in getting out of bed
  • High weight capacity
  • Packs into zippered rolling duffle
  • Battery operated pump included
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • Heavy and cumbersome
  • Mattress is on the thin side

Key Specs

  • Dimensions (L x W): 78 x 59 inches
  • Thickness: 2 inches
  • Weight: 42 pounds
  • Capacity: 600 pounds
  • Inflation: Battery-operated pump

Here’s another highly rated option from Coleman for a comfortable night’s sleep at camp. This one has a steel frame to support the air mattress, which—bonus!—features two fold-out side tables with mesh drink holders.

The 2-inch-thick mattress has a 600-pound weight capacity and a sewn-in cover, plus it comes with a 1-year warranty, and the entire bed and frame are housed inside a zipped duffle-style bag with wheels and a comfort-grip handle. Maneuvering it around may require some muscle, however, as it weighs 42 pounds.


Rachel Klein
Rachel Klein has been a professional editor and writer for more than a decade, with a background in digital media, publishing, and journalism.

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