What is the best camping mattress?
Many things can be derived from a restful night’s sleep. It can mean the difference between waking up with a positive attitude and being eager to tackle the day or with stress, annoyance, and disengagement. And having a cranky camping companion or feeling cranky yourself from lack of sleep are the last things you want on a camping trip.
While camping, there are many variables outside of our control. Your ability to sleep can be impacted by a variety of factors, but let’s concentrate on something we can control: your camping mattress. These factors include loud neighbors, whirling winds, and heavy rain. An excellent camping mattress is crucial to a restful night’s sleep and, ultimately, to the success of your entire camping trip. You’ll experience a happy, refreshed awakening and be prepared to face the day.
Continue reading to see more specific information about the best camping mattress.
Table of Contents
Best Camping Mattress
Pure Camping Luxury: Therm-a-rest Mondoking 3D
Although the concept is not novel—a self-inflating mat with a soft foam core—the end result is luxurious camping. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the MondoKing 3D is a substantial 4.25 inches thick and that the vertical sidewalls let you fully enjoy the comfortable 77 by 25-inch platform. The strong fabrics are soft to the touch and extremely rip-resistant, and the foam is plush and supportive. Therm-a-Rest updated valves with dedicated inflate/deflate functions to speed up setup and takedown are also included in the most recent MondoKing, along with an offset foam design that reduced weight by about a pound while also making it simpler to compress and pack.
A few factors led the MondoKing to dethrone REI’s Camp Dreamer, which was previously ranked here. Despite a $51 price increase and a noticeably smaller platform (25 in. vs. the Compared to REI’s generous 32-in. width, the Therm-a-Rest is 0.25 in. thicker.), insulates slightly better (7 vs. 6.6 R-values) and provides more cushioning. Durability was, however, the real deal-breaker for us. While the MondoKing’s components and build are unmistakably premium and inspire confidence, the Camp Dreamer has been plagued by reports of premature leaks and faulty valves. We believe that the Therm-a-Rest is the most well-rounded model currently available on the market for comfort-focused campers who enjoy frequent outdoor activities and want a pad that will last.
Comfiest Camping Mattress For Two: Exped Megamat
The full-size air bed dimensions and plush comfort of a foam self-inflating pad are combined in Exped’s MegaMat Duo 10. The end result is that both campers get a great night’s sleep: Although the Therm-a-Rest MondoKing above can compete with the Duo’s 52-inch width and 3.9-inch-thick cushioning and sidewalls, the one-person MondoKing cannot. The MegaMat checks all the boxes for a pair of comfort-oriented campers with relatively simple inflation/deflation via two large valves and a sturdy construction (we’ve also found it useful as a backup bed for visitors at home).
The Exped MegaMat Duo 10’s cost is its main drawback. It ranks as one of the most expensive pads on our list at a whopping $380, just behind the opulent HEST Sleep System below. Owning a double like the Duo can be overkill when going camping alone (although having too much space isn’t always a bad thing), but it makes more sense if you consider buying two separate premium pads like the $230 MondoKing. Another, much more minor issue It is best to wait for the mat to self-inflate because the included foot pump is ineffective and only useful for topping it off. It doesn’t matter; the quality and comfort are hard to match. And Exped also makes a Max 15 variant that goes from 3.9 inches to a whopping 5.9 inches in thickness for the height of camping luxury.
Affordable And Proven Self-Inflating Design: Rei Co-Op Trailbreak
The REI Trailbreak line includes everything from trekking poles and packs to a pillow and sleeping bags, and it is aimed at the lower end of the market. With a $75 MSRP, the Trailbreak pad is the most affordable camping mat offered by the company, but quality isn’t significantly compromised. You get a 1.75-inch self-inflating build that is straightforward and relatively thin, strong fabrics along the top and bottom, and separate, color-coded inflation and deflation valves in the design. The pad is undoubtedly simple, but for back sleepers who don’t have high standards for comfort, it will work just fine.
The Trailbreak has the second-thinnest profile on our list at 1.75 inches; the Sea to Summit Camp SI, which is listed below, has a thickness of 1.5 inches. This is the biggest warning sign.). Simply put, the REI doesn’t have enough padding to be a good choice for side sleepers or people who value plush, supportive padding. For $50 more, the camp bed below is significantly wider, 0.75 inches thicker, and has a higher R-value (7.6 vs. the However, the Trailbreak is still a fantastic value for back sleepers, budget-conscious individuals, and/or occasional campers, especially if you can purchase one on sale or use your yearly REI dividend.
Convenient, Well-made, And Reasonably Priced: Rei Co-op Kingdom Insulated Air Bed
Spending money on a full-sized air mattress is a great option for families, couples, and individuals who simply enjoy the extra space. REI’s Kingdom Insulated Air Bed is our pick for the best outdoor-ready design in this category. In comparison to the self-inflating models above, The Kingdom lifts you 6 inches higher off the ground. to be exact), which translates to impressive comfort and cushioning. A sturdy construction, separate inflation and deflation valves for simplicity of use, and welded seams to help prevent leaks are also included. Similar to the Exped above, the Kingdom can also serve as a guest bed at home, which raises the value overall.
What drawbacks exist with air beds like the REI Kingdom? First off, the Kingdom takes up a lot of space in your car when it is packed because it is fairly big and bulky. The REI has an R-value of 2.6, so if the temperatures at night are going to be particularly chilly, you should leave it at home. Second, air beds don’t insulate you from the ground as well as a typical camping mat. Finally, finding and fixing a leak can be extremely difficult if you do manage to puncture yourself. But if cushioning and comfort are your top priorities, the Kingdom won’t let you down. See the Coleman SupportRest below for a more affordable but less functional alternative in this category.
Amazingly Portable And Light: Nemo Quasar 3D
Nemo’s Quasar 3D is a pure air mat; in contrast to the top-rated pads we mentioned above, it is not made of foam. So, even though it can’t quite match the comfort of self-inflating models like the Therm-a-Rest MondoKing or Exped MegaMat, the Quasar has a significant advantage in weight and packed size. Compared to the MondoKing, it weighs more than 2 pounds less and packs down to a much smaller size, but you have to give up 1.25 inches of thickness and a lot of insulation (the 3.3 R-value is on the low end for three-season use). However, camping gear can quickly become bulky and unmanageable, so those with limited space in their car or equipment closet will appreciate the compressibility.
To lose so much weight and bulk, though, comes with some inherent trade-offs. The Quasar is notable for having a relatively thin 30-denier shell (most camping mats on this list are 50D or higher), which will call for extra caution to prevent a puncture. The Quasar is also rather small for a camping mat; as an example, the ‘Long Wide’ model listed here is only 25 inches wide, which is comparable to the standard versions of most brands (the regular Quasar is even narrower at 20 in.). But if you also want to go backpacking, the Nemo is one of the few practical crossover options for going on quick backcountry excursions.
Overall Camping Mattress For Comfort, Durability & Ease Of Use: Exped Megamat 10 LXW
The Exped MegaMat 10 is the best option if you want a luxurious, incredibly comfortable camping mattress that is also strong and simple to use. The generous four-inch thickness means that even if you toss and turn all night long, you won’t experience pressure points or bottom out. The mini foot pump makes it simple to finish the job after the mattress self-inflates to a large extent. Packing up the MegaMat is a wrestle-free experience when it’s time to go home thanks to the one-way deflation valve and top-loading stuff sack. Although the Regular and Duo sizes are also excellent, we prefer the Long-X Wide version because it allows us to stretch out completely. The Exped Megamat is perfect for those who want to experience the best outdoor sleep of their lives and wake up feeling incredibly rejuvenated.
Affordable Camping Mattress: Rei Camp Dreamer XL
A camping mattress at an excellent price, the REI Camp Dreamer XL is remarkably thick, comfortable, and simple to use. Even though it’s still fairly light and portable, it makes sleeping outside feel opulent. One of the best mattresses for self-inflation is the Camp Dreamer Mattress. The mattress quickly fills with air on its own once the valve is opened. With a few breaths or pumps from the multipurpose pillow, finish it off, and you’re on your way to dreamland. The REI Camp Dreamer XL is one of the best mattresses on the market if you’re looking for a really comfortable and practical camping mattress at a reasonable price.
Luxurious & Most Comfortable Camping Mattress: Hest Sleep System – Wide
The most comfortable and opulent camping mattress we’ve tried is the HEST Sleep System Sleeping Pad. It has an incredibly robust inflatable base that creates a solid, stable platform. And two layers of plush foam covered in stretch nylon are added on top. The regular version was a little too narrow for our tastes, so we strongly advise switching to the more recent wide version. The storage bag and pump are both top-notch and long-lasting additions to this pad. The HEST Sleep System is pricey, but it’s well worth it because it’ll undoubtedly give you the best camping sleep of your life. If you decide to purchase this beauty, do yourself a favor and purchase a tranquil HEST Pillow while you’re at it.
Washable Sheets And Blanket, Spacious: REI Kingdom Insulated Sleep System 40
We suggest the REI Co-op Kingdom Insulated Sleep System 40 to couples who want to feel at home in their bed. It stands out because it includes all the bedding necessary to make a cozy and comfortable bed, including covers and sheets. Two people can move around without feeling constrained thanks to the sheets, and the bedding stays tucked in to prevent drafts. The Sleeping System is ideal for summer camping because it is rated to 40 degrees. You might want to cover yourself with a blanket or sleeping bag on chilly nights to provide additional warmth. An excellent all-in-one solution that makes camping with your significant other comfortable and carefree is the Kingdom Sleep System.
Compact & Luxury Camping Mattress: Nemo Roamer XL-wide
TheNEMO Roameris amazingly lightweight and compact for a camping mattress with such generous dimensions. When packed, it is roughly half the size of other pads and weighs a few ounces less. Additionally, the Roamer is made even better by a lot of tiny details like flat zero-profile valves, a comfortable fabric sleep surface, and toggles for connecting two or more mattresses. The Roamer is among the best options if you want all the comfort of an XL thick mattress while also conserving space.
Comfortable Inflatable Camping Mattress: Therm-a-rest Mondoking 3d Xxlarge
Therm-a-Rest is well-known for its backpacking sleeping pads, and their MondoKing 3D is every bit as cozy, dependable, and user-friendly as we would anticipate. The majority of the mattresses on this list are well insulated, but the MondoKing is the coziest of all the mattresses we tested, with an R-value of 11.4. For anyone who enjoys stretching out, it has generous dimensions and more than four inches of cushion. We also appreciate the sturdy, high-flow valves, which are crucial for mattresses with such a significant volume. The MondoKing will make you feel like royalty if you’re looking for a really roomy and comfortable mattress to elevate your camping sleeping experience.
Camping Mattress Not Flatpable: Teton Sports Universal Camp Pad
The TETON Sports Camp Pad is straightforward, reasonably priced, strong, and simple to use. One of the easiest mattresses on our list to use due to its full foam construction. It’s sturdy, cozy, and offers excellent insulation and warmth. We also appreciate that it has a machine-washable, soft-yet-durable canvas cover. In addition to fitting perfectly with TETON Camp Cots of the same size, TETON Sports Camp Pads are made to function as standalone ground pads. The pad-cot combination is recommended, especially for longer trips, if you like to stand up off the ground and have a camping tent that allows you to do so.
Cheapest Air Mattress: Soundasleep Camping Series Queen Air Mattress
Families or couples on a tight budget will do well with the SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress. Although simple, it is roomy and cozy. The SoundAsleep stands out thanks to the excellent electric pump it includes, which is powered by robust rechargeable batteries. This means that you won’t need to buy batteries and that you can easily and quickly pump up your mattress wherever you are. We heartily endorse the SoundAsleep Air Mattress if you’re looking for a simple, inexpensive mattress that can accommodate two people in comfort.
Bang For The Buck: Rei Co-op Camp Dreamer Xl
For the price alone, this camping mattress is deserving of your consideration. Fortunately for anyone who enjoys a good night’s sleep, it also provides a high level of comfort and warmth. The REI Co-op Dreamer XL is a massive, plush sleeping surface that measures 11 by 70 inches and creates a four-inch barrier between you and the ground that is very insulating. With a large foam pump (which can also be used as a pillow in an emergency) and a one-way valve that can be turned around to deflate, inflation is a cinch. An easy-to-pack and carry tote completes the package.
This big guy’s size is primarily a drawback. Only the extra-large size is offered, and there are many single-person tents available that won’t fit it, not to mention two-person tents that won’t be able to accommodate two people. Even when fully loaded, it is genuinely enormous. The rotating valve, which did not fail on us but seems a little flimsy, also raises some concerns for us. This pad is unquestionably the most comfortable and offers comparable features to mats that cost much more, despite being slightly less insulating.
A Mat That Is Exceptionally Comfortable: Exped Megamat 10
The Exped MegaMat 10 offers comfort comparable to—and occasionally superior to—our beds at home. Really, a roll-out inflatable foam mat can’t offer much more. Even without a sheet, the top has a soft, comfortable feel and doesn’t get sweaty or sticky. Mattress firmness can be easily changed thanks to the one-flutter valve. The ideal PSI for their ultimate night under the stars could be set by even the most fickle testers. This pad comes with a roomy carrying bag with shoulder straps that easily inflates using a small foam foot pump.
Just keep in mind that while the MegaMat 10’s width adds comfort, it also takes up a lot of room in a smaller tent, which means you might have to share space with your neighbor. Consider the MegaMat 10 Duo if you frequently camp with a significant other because it provides comparable comfort for two people. Even though the cost of this mat is on the high side, it is of high quality. This one is worth it if you car camp more than a few times a year or even if you want a great spare mattress for overnight visitors. Your body will appreciate it.
Best For Two People: Exped Megamat Duo 10
Looking for the best mattress with space for two for car camping? The Exped MegaMat Duo 10 is a double-wide mattress that is incredibly plush and comfortable. This mattress is 52 inches wide and has the same top-notch attributes and design as the single MegaMat. This is not quite as wide as two singles pushed together (30 inches each), but it fits perfectly in the back of a pickup truck or minivan and in most bigger two-person tents. It’s still reasonably comfortable to sleep on even when deflated, which is good puncture insurance.
But there is no denying that it is awkwardly big. It’s bigger than the next smallest mat and can be a pain to pack. However, it’s not a big deal if you were going to bring two mats anyway. It costs more than purchasing two single MegaMats separately, but it is still cheaper than doing so. The Duo is an excellent choice for families with small children, or even for a single individual who likes a whole lot of space.
Outstanding, Self-inflating Comfort: Nemo Roamer
Despite the fact that many of these mattress manufacturers advertise that their mats are self-inflating, many require at least 30 minutes for the foam to expand and some additional pumping to reach their full inflation. But the NEMO Roamer self-inflates in just a few minutes and comes with a sizable inflation sack to finish inflation. It packs up into a small, squat package that is about half the size of many other mattresses while being significantly lighter thanks to its three-valve system, which also makes deflation a breeze. While still heavy for most backpacking trips, we did pack it in with us on a three-mile hike and set up camp in the wilderness, having one of the most comfortable night’s sleep ever while backpacking.
It has slightly less motion-dampening than some of the other deluxe mats, according to some testers, causing a little bit of bounciness when they moved in their sleep. Though everyone agreed that it is still very comfortable, it makes sense because there is less foam. This pad has an R-value of 6, making it adequate insulation for extremely cold nights. We weren’t able to test it in the coldest conditions, but when it was only 20 degrees Fahrenheit, we did sleep on it, and the Roamer was a big part of what kept us warm.
A Camping Sleeping Pad Is What?
A camping sleeping pad can make or break an outdoor sleepout. Camp mattresses are an essential but frequently underappreciated piece of gear that not only keep you comfortable but also warm and aid in restful sleep.
In order to keep you warm, sleeping bags use lofted insulation. But if your weight compresses the sleeping bag, the insulation can’t do its job. When sleeping bags and pads are used together, the result is a “sleep system” that keeps you warm all night long.
What Is The Function Of A Camping Mattress?
To function, camping mattresses must be in a still area. It won’t escape into the ground as that air warms up.
While a sleeping pad adds comfort, I can’t emphasize enough that a sleeping pad is for warmth. Even on a warm summer night, sleeping without one is a recipe for discomfort and cold. Sleeping pads prevent conduction heat loss, which occurs when your body heat escapes into the ground’s cold surface. Your best chance to lessen the impact is by using sleeping pads, especially since the ground turns into an endless heat sink.
General camping sleeping pads and mattresses are the main topic of this article. These are excellent for camping trips in vehicles (or in rafts and boats), where warmth and comfort are more important considerations than weight and size.
The same fundamental formula is used in all camping mats:
- find an efficient insulator (foam, fabrics, or still air)
- cover it in a durable cover
- figure out how to make it smaller for travel and bigger for use
Although the majority of sleeping pads have a roughly similar design, various materials and insulation types (such as, foam, air, or both) can make a huge difference in your experience and will be a major focus of our review.
What To Look For In A Sleeping Pad
Here are some of the ways we measured the key criteria we mentioned above. Consider the following if you choose to look into other pads:
An “R-value” is used to assess sleeping pads.” Since even your home’s walls have an R-value, the R-value is a commonly used measurement of insulating material. The warmer the pad, the higher the R-value. “Resistance is denoted by the letter R.” Thermal resistance specifically refers to how long it takes heat to transfer from a warm to a cold space through a material. A higher R-value indicates that the heat escapes through the material more slowly, keeping you warmer for longer because pads don’t produce heat; they simply hold it.
A light pad is essential if you want to start backpacking, but only if you intend to carry it around a lot. For sleeping pads created specifically for this use, see our list of the Best Backpacking Sleeping Pads.
Someone once had a sleeping pad that made the tent sound like it was tearing every time they moved around while we were in a tent together. As you move about at night, you want materials that are quiet.
Older pads had a bad reputation for having low friction with synthetic sleeping bags, which caused people to slip off the pad onto surfaces other than flat ground. Although the grip on newer pads has improved, some are still superior to others. For instance, knitted polyester tends to stretch as you roll, increasing friction as the fabric pulls against the movement. Nylon surface fabric has less friction than knitted polyester.
How Much Can I Arrange A Camping Mattress?
From $40 to $50 (or even less for a basic piece of foam) to a $500 pad that is essentially a small mattress, pads come in all price ranges. While still thinking about getting such high-quality sleep that you might mistake it for “glamping,” we try to find you the best value for your money.”
The kind of interior insulation and its thickness affect how warm you’ll stay, but a pad’s sleeping surface is also important. Some pads, such as foam-made ones, may contain insulating material. A tough outer layer is necessary for some, such as blow-up pads, so that punctures won’t damage the pad.
Foam Or Air
There are a few broad categories of pads that can be combined to meet various needs. You’ll need to determine whether you want a:
- FOAM PAD: essentially just a roll of insulating material, the same all the way through — heavier but incredibly durable and reliable.
- A BLOW-UP PAD OR AIR MATTRESS a bag that you inflate with interior structures or materials to keep the air still and hold heat (dead air space alone offers an R-value of 0.8! However, these pads increase it!)
- Foam and air hybrid mattresses many of the highest-end camping mattresses have some foam and some air mattress features. This enables you to get the air mattress’s portability while still enjoying foam’s comfort and insulation.
- SELF-INFLATABLE AIR MATTRESS: similar to the blow-up pad, it uses pressure differentials to fill themselves up (though most need a bit more air blown in to get comfortable).
The best materials should be long-lasting, recyclable, or, if desired, properly disposed of. All pads use some sort of porous foam to hold air, though the materials used vary greatly. Despite all of our technological advances, still air remains one of the best (and least expensive) insulators. Some inflatables use thinner polyester threads to create closed cells that hold still air.
Although pads are typically rectangular, the width, depth, and length vary greatly to accommodate various body types. Others change their depth or width from top to bottom, either to increase comfort (i.e., shoulders that are wider than feet) or to conserve space (i.e., shoulders that are wider than feet like some bags)., a little raised area to serve as a “pillow”).
Is there a single, set way to inflate it (i.e., blowing in air), or does it have a foot pump? Can it be recharged or run on batteries for the pump? Can you exhale a little to make yourself more comfortable while you’re on it? Is it more or less comfortable (hard or soft) when fully inflated? Even though a non-inflatable pad might have fewer features to do this, a good pad allows you to change the firmness to suit your needs.
In what way are the seams sealed? Finding and using the valve is how simple? Can you soften it while you sleep by releasing a small amount of air through a valve? Has your pad been fitted with a one-way valve to prevent air from entering?
Both comfort and effectiveness depend on size. Although some ultralight backpackers aim to just support their core, you should generally fit your entire body on your pad, with some room to roll if you are a more active sleeper. There are a lot of options made to fit your body among the brands we looked at. No matter which pad we advise, the best camping mattress for you is the one that best suits your needs.
Packability And Packed Size
When you either have a lot of gear competing for space (such as on a family camping trip) or have little space (such as when backpacking), packed size matters. The packed size of a sleeping pad may not matter as much in some situations as it may in others.
The best camping mattress was the post’s main focus. Did you now have a thorough understanding of the best camping mattress after reading the entire article?
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