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Expert Shopper Camping & Outdoors

The best air mattresses to take on your next camping trip

Top-rated air mattresses for camping


Though some people are fine with sleeping on the ground while camping, others who have back problems — or simply want to be more comfortable — should opt for an air mattress. Lightweight sleeping pads are great for backpacking, elevated camping cots improve circulation of warm or cold air (keeping you either comfortably warm or cool, depending on the weather) and traditional air mattresses can also be used for hosting overnight guests. We put some popular air mattresses to the test and gathered a variety of options to suit different camping styles.

What is the BestReviews Testing Lab?

Each month, the BestReview Testing Lab evaluates new products in real-world conditions to determine how well they really perform. The Lab analyzes these items just the way any consumer would, so they pay attention to factors like how easy they are to set up and use, how well they perform and any other features that set them apart from the competition.

What you should know before buying an air mattress for camping

Like traditional mattresses, many air mattresses and camping cots come in different sizes including single, twin, queen and king. Sleeping pads filled with air are usually designed for single-person use. Air mattresses, camping cots and sleeping pads often come with a carrying bag to make transport easier. Some have built-in pillows for added comfort and come with an air pump, either built-in or as an accessory.

Sleeping pads typically range in thickness from 2 to 3.5 inches and weigh less than 5 pounds, making them especially suitable for backpacking. Air mattresses are considered more comfortable and can be up to 18 inches thick, but they’re also heavier and can weigh over 20 pounds. Camping cots, which contain a mattress and bed frame, are even heavier, weighing upwards of 40 pounds. 

There are some other features to keep in mind when considering a sleeping pad, air mattress or camping cot. Some options have a velvet-like top that makes it easier to fit sheets over the surface and minimizes noise as sleepers move around at night. If you’re going on a fall or winter camping trip, a sleeping surface with thermal insulation can help keep you warm. Note that good quality options are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), nylon or polyester fabric that resists tears and punctures.    

Best camping air mattresses

Coleman Quickbed Airbed

This Coleman twin mattress is 8.5 inches thick with a plush, velvet-like sleep surface for extra comfort. It weighs 9.2 pounds and a battery-powered pump is available for purchase separately. The Coleman mattress also comes in full and queen sizes.

Sold by Amazon and Walmart

ALPS Mountaineering Vertex Air Bed 

This queen air mattress is a high-end option for those who prefer an extra-plush sleeping surface. The 4.75-pound polyester mattress is 6 inches thick and comes with a rechargeable pump. It’s also available as a twin bed.

Sold by Amazon and Walmart

Sleepingo Ultralight Compact Camping Air Mattress

The ultralight Sleepingo air mattress is excellent for backpacking. This highly portable 2-inch mattress weighs only 14 ounces and packs down to the size of a water bottle. It’s made of strong, tear-resistant nylon and inflates manually using about 9 breaths.

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Gear Doctors Ultralight Apollo Air Mattress

This single-person air mattress weighs just over 1 pound and is also well suited for backpacking. The firm 3.2-inch mattress features water-resistant nylon and thermal insulation for cold nights spent outdoors. This mattress inflates using an included pump sack, which can also be used as a dry bag, camp shower or water storage.

Sold by Amazon

Sierra Designs Queen Camping Air Bed

This queen mattress is less firm than other options and ideal for those who prefer a softer bed. The air bed is 10.2 inches thick and made of puncture-resistant thermoplastic with a built-in pillow. Weighing just over 6 pounds, this mattress is also available in queen size and includes a battery-powered pump.

Sold by Amazon

OlarHike Inflatable Queen Air Mattress

Our tester praised the “firm support” offered by this 18.34-pound queen mattress, as well as the “thick and durable” waterproof PVC material. The 18-inch mattress was “fast and effortless” to inflate and deflate with the built-in pump, and showed no noticeable deflation after 8 hours of use. It’s also available as a twin. 

Sold by Amazon and Walmart

Intex Dura-Beam Deluxe Comfort-Plush Air Mattress

The Testing Lab found this 18-inch vinyl mattress “comfortable and supportive,” and “easy to set up” with the built-in pump. We found it roomy for a twin mattress and liked the velvety material on top. This mattress weighs 11.67 pounds with queen and full sizes available, as well.

Sold by Amazon

Intex Dura-Beam Plus Deluxe Pillow Rest Air Mattress

We liked this 16.5-inch twin mattress’s velvet top and built-in pillow design. Our tester described it as super comfortable” and “very supportive.” The built-in air pump on this vinyl mattress provides rapid inflating and deflating. This model weighs 11.88 pounds and is also available as a queen.

Sold by Amazon 

EnerPlex Kids Inflatable Travel Bed

Keep your little one cozy with this child-sized travel bed. The tough and waterproof PVC mattress has raised sides so that your child won’t roll out of bed. The 13-inch mattress weighs just over 12.5 pounds and is topped with soft flocking for extra comfort. An electric pump is included with purchase.

Sold by Amazon and Walmart

Coleman Camping Cot Air Mattress and Pump

If you prefer sleeping elevated off the ground, this Coleman cot is a stellar choice. It features a 7-inch queen mattress, a sturdy steel frame with a built-in side table and a battery-powered pump. The mattress and folding frame weigh about 40 pounds, so it’s not ideal for backwoods camping. A queen-size set is also available.

Sold by Amazon and Walmart

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Amy Evans writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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