best air mattress for camping

The 10 Best Air Mattresses For Camping In A Tight RV

If you’ve slept on an air bed before, you know that they cannot compare to a solid foam or latex mattress. However, there are many cases when an air bed is a much more sensible investment than a regular RV mattress.

For instance, if you’re traveling in a tiny rig with severely limited space and load, you will want to spend less than $100 for the best air mattress for camping.

Owing to their affordability and versatility, air mattresses also are an excellent choice for budget campers who only go on spontaneous short trips as well as for the first-time campers just trying to have a taste of the nomad lifestyle.  

Here, you will find the 10 best inflatable mattress for camping in terms of comfort, durability and ease of use.

You will also learn the pros and cons of RV air mattresses, so that you know what to expect (being realistic will make you happier with your purchase), as well as crucial buying criteria, tips and answers to common concerns by fellow campers. 

Quick Recommendations

If you’re in hurry, you can check out our quick list of the best air mattresses for camping. In the case you’re not familiar with air mattresses yet and need more information before making the purchase, you can skip this section and move to the in-depth reviews from RV experts for these top-rated units as long with the detailed buyer’s guide below.

  • Most Lightweight but Durable: ALPS Mountaineering Vertex Queen Air Bed
  • Best for Heavy Sleepers: Etekcity Upgraded 9 Inch Camping Air Mattress
  • Best With Built-In Pillows: Sierra Designs Queen Camping Air Bed
  • Most Affordable: Intex Classic Downy Queen Airbed
  • Best Air Mattress On Cot: Coleman Camping Cot Air Mattress
  • Best Extra Thick Air Bed: EnerPlex Double Height Inflatable Mattress for Camping
  • Best Double Height with Built-In Pump: Coleman SupportRest Elite PillowStop
  • Best Double Height with Built-In Pump #2: SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress
  • Best Double Height California King: King Koil Luxury Air Mattress For Camping
  • Most Affordable Double Height: Coleman Double-High SupportRest Airbed

Why Do We Need Air Mattresses For Camping?

Air mattresses or air beds are inflated with air using an air pump and when not in use, they can be deflated for storage.

This mechanism makes air mattresses the most convenient and economical solution for the weekend campers who sleep in the back of their SUV or truck for one or two nights, as well as budget campers, or first timers who are only trying out the camping lifestyle, and for really tight RVs, typically with bed platforms that fold out from the wall when bedtime comes. 

The best air beds for camping often come with a battery-powered air pump so you won’t have to inflate and deflate it manually. The most innovative air bed pumps on the current market even give you different options for inflation and deflation, that is using the built-in battery, or any wall charger and car charger available.

In the rare case of the most economical air mattresses that don’t come with an air pump, or if you want a better pump, you can easily get a separately sold air pump on Amazon or Walmart and other big box stores.

best air beds for camping
Photo: Jordan Siemens / Getty Images

RV Air Mattresses Pros and Cons

As for advantages, RV air mattresses are lightweight, compact and versatile. For instance, while most queen air beds only weigh 10 pounds at most and can be handled by a single person, a regular short queen RV mattress would weigh at least 50 pounds for the thinnest and least popular 6-inch options and would require at least two people to move and rotate.

In addition, as air beds can be deflated and neatly stored away when not in use, they can conveniently serve as extra beds for guests, or you can use them when you decide to sleep in a tent outside in good weather. Therefore, inflatable mattresses are ideal if you travel in a tiny minivan or haul a teardrop trailer behind your vehicle, which means you will be severely limited by both space and load.  

Another plus is you can customize the firmness of your mattress simply by under-inflating it to make it less firm. Lastly, they are by far cheaper than solid mattresses made from foam, memory foam or latex mattresses.

You might be an RV enthusiast who’s trying to have a taste of the nomad life by sleeping in the back of your vehicles on very short trips, then it’s not wise to spend more than $100 for a mattress that you’re not sure you’re going to use for some time, and so air beds would be a sensible investment.

As for the downsides, air mattresses are the least comfortable, especially for those who are prone to back, neck and joint pains from sleeping on a bed that is too soft or bouncy. These sleepers would need a firm or extra firm bed, and an air bed is never firm enough. Even when an RV air mattress is advertised as “firm” and described by reviewers as such, it only means “firm” for an air bed.

Plus, due to the nature of the material, an air bed will not give you the kind of body support, pressure relief and spinal alignment of regular foam mattresses and memory foam mattresses. The only way to make air beds more comfortable and less pain-inducing is to add a thick mattress topper made of memory foam.

10 Best Air Mattresses For Camping: In-Depth Review

Without further ado, let’s dive into this delicious list of the 10 best camping air mattress for the money that will actually last you countless trips on the open road.

These products are picked for offering the best balance of the most important criteria, namely comfort, durability, price and ease of use.

There is something for every camper, regardless of your top priority. If you don’t know exactly what to look for in the best air mattress for camping, jump to the next section to learn about crucial buying considerations.

1. Most Lightweight but Durable: ALPS Mountaineering Vertex Queen Air Bed

ALPS Mountaineering Vertex Air Bed

At a glance

  • Support: 500lbs (Twin 250lbs)
  • Special features: PVC-free polyester
  • Weight: 4.8 lbs
  • Thickness: 6 inches
  • Firmness level: Firm
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty

Pros:

  • Effortless inflation and deflation
  • Minimal to also no air loss
  • Unmatched warranty
  • Best for: heavy sleepers, those sensitive to the chemical smell of typical air beds, those who don’t want/need to deflate the bed every day.

Cons:

  • A little pricier than competitors

Why we love it:

There are many things to love about this mattress. Firstly, it is constructed of a durable, lightweight and completely PVC-free fabric that helps protect from rips and tears. This is the deal breaker for many campers that hate the distinctive chemical smell associated with common PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) air beds, which will take some time to go away. Second is its comfort level, thanks to the coil system used to make a solid and comfortable sleeping surface for a great night’s sleep. 

But what I like most about this ALPS Mountaineering inflatable mattress is its innovative pump. Unlike most other rechargeable pumps, the included state-of-the art pump supports pass-through charging, which allows you to operate the pump with the included wall or car chargers, so there’s no need to wait in case you forgot to charge the pump’s rechargeable battery beforehand. This handy pump quickly inflates and deflates your air bed with the flip of a switch. 

Now if you’re going to deflate your air bed every morning, this might not make a big difference. But the valve on this product is superb in its capacity to allow little to almost no air to escape over a period of up to 3 weeks, as experienced on several occasions by myself and a few reviewers. If you’re looking for the best air mattress for camping not because of limited space but because you’re a first-time camper trying out the RV life to see if it suits you, this mattress will be the perfect short-term sleeping solution for you, as you won’t need to inflate this mattress again in two to three weeks. 

Compared to the above option that only costs $70 for the same Queen size, this is a better and perhaps the best camping air mattress for extra heavy sleepers, as the solid construction and durable material are designed to support up to 500 pounds, which is not easy to find in the inflatable bed category. Many full-time campers who have owned this air bed for a few years have testified to its lifespan, and if you’re still skeptical, note that the manufacturer offers an unparalleled limited lifetime warranty, a pretty confident promise when we’re talking about air beds. Lastly, this product comes with a convenient carry bag for easy storage and transport. 

2. Best for Heavy Sleepers: Etekcity Upgraded 9 Inch Camping Air Mattress

Etekcity Upgraded Camping Air Mattress

At a glance

  • Support: Queen 650lbs, Twin 450lbs
  • Special features: waterproof Polyvinyl Chloride, wireless rechargeable pump, full inflation in 90 seconds
  • Weight: 15.48 lbs
  • Thickness: 9 inches
  • Firmness level: Firm
  • Warranty: 2 years warranty

Pros:

  • It’s hard to find quality Queen and Twin air mattresses that can support this much weight
  • On the thicker and firmer side
  • Feels more stable thanks to solid construction
  • Convenient inflation and air pump charging

Cons:

  • Made from PVC and not the most lightweight

Why we love it:

Although this California-made air bed by Etekcity is not PVC-free like the option above, it is down right one of the very best camping air mattresses for extra heavy sleepers. While the majority of queen and twin air beds on the market can comfortably support up to 400-450 pounds and around 250 pounds respectively, Etekcity’s queen air mattress can support up to 650 pounds and their twin size bed can support up to 450 pounds. 

This is certainly impressive, and it’s all thanks to the brand’s innovative construction with inner wave beam support structure. This also means that this air mattress will feel more stable and less air bed-like, which is what I love most about this product. As someone who’s prone to waking up with back and neck pain, I prefer a solid, stable and firm mattress. And even when you’re not on the heavier side, it will last you extra long on the road. You might be paying slightly more than the cheaper options on this list, but you get quite a lot more in return. Actually, let me say that again: for less than $100, this is perhaps the best inflatable mattress for camping in terms of construction and body support.

I also like that this air mattress is 9 inches thick, that is on the thicker side of inflatable mattresses. In addition, the rechargeable air pump can be controlled wirelessly, which is pretty cool and convenient. Another impressive feature is that even the queen size can reach full inflation within 90 seconds. If you absolutely need to inflate and deflate your air bed every day, you will love this innovative air pump.

3. Best With Built-In Pillows: Sierra Designs Queen Camping Air Bed

Sierra Designs Queen & Single Camping Air Bed Mattress for Camping

At a glance

  • Sizes available: Queen, Single
  • Support: 400lbs
  • Special features: built-in pillows, stretch-, crack- and puncture-resistant PVC-free material
  • Weight: 6.1lbs 
  • Thickness: 10.2 inches
  • Firmness level: Firm
  • Warranty: 1 year limited warranty

Pros:

  • Extra durable
  • On the thicker side
  • Best for: those who travel with pets, budget campers who prioritize a lightweight option, those who don’t like PVC’s smell

Cons:

  • Not as durable as more expensive options (but fantastic for the price)

Why we love it:

What stands out about this best queen air mattress for camping is the built-in integrated pillow for added comfort and its heavy duty material. Right out of the box, you can tell immediately that this is not the same as those cheap air beds you’d see at bigbox stores that would last less than 10 uses. The material feels thick and durable, with solid sewn and glued seams. At this price range, this might be one of the most affordable air mattress for camping that can comfortably support two big-build adults or a total of up to 400 pounds and still hold up well. 

The TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) coated stretch-resistant material maintains firmness as well as resisting abrasion and puncture for a longer lifespan. If you are not used to the bounciness of air mattresses, then you’d want the firmest option available. In fact, many campers decided to deflate this Sierra air mattress a little so that it feels softer. This durable material is also engineered to be crack resistant, even when you’re camping in more extreme temperatures down to 10°F  and up to 105°F. In addition, this RV inflatable mattress is PVC and Phthalate Free. 

Such a well-made construction makes this air mattress one of the best air beds for camping for heavy sleepers, as well as a pet-friendly solution, since those overactive furry friends can destroy a frail air mattress in no time. 

Other handy features and accessories in the kit include free flowing 2-part Boston valve, a battery operated pump (although 4-D batteries not included), and an oversized storage bag for conveniently and neatly putting the mattress away. 

4. Most Affordable: Intex Classic Downy Queen Airbed

Intex Classic Downy Airbed

At a glance

  • Support: 600lbs
  • Special features: waterproof cotton surface (hand wash only)
  • Weight: 8.4lbs 
  • Thickness: 9 inches
  • Firmness level: Extra firm
  • Warranty: 1 year limited warranty

Pros:

  • Unexpectedly firm and comfortable for the price
  • Best for: budget campers, those looking for temporary sleeping solution, those who are sensitive to PVC smell

Cons:

  • Not as durable as more expensive options

Why we love it:

This is a best seller in the under-$50 category on Amazon, with a decent 4.1 stars overall rating from over 6,000 buyers, who include budget campers, college students and families who often have friends over. I’ve owned one a long way back, when it was only $15 before inflation and all, and have had a bunch of three year olds jumping on it on several occasions. From my experience, I must say this is one of the best air mattress for camping that cost under $50 in terms of comfort and durability, and you can see on the reviews section on Amazon that many others who have used many air beds before would agree with me. 

This air bed by Intex claims to support up to 600lbs, and while the most weight mine had to support at a time was 350lbs, I feel confident that it can support at least up to 500lbs. It just feels very stable and firm, and doesn’t feel cheap and flimsy like many others sold at the same price. It must be in part thanks to the solid wave beam construction that allows for stability despite the product’s light weight.

What I like about this budget-friendly air bed is that it’s made from waterproof cotton, so it doesn’t have that typical PVC smell that many find so unbearable. The air pump is not included, but that’s to be expected at this price. 

Now, for this price, don’t be silly as to expect that this affordable air mattress will last you longer than 6 months, or 4 months to be more conservative. Most negative reviews on Amazon are by those who use it everyday and expect it to be a somewhat permanent sleeping arrangement. It’s not meant to be, but a temporary solution for the first time campers or the budget campers who often go on short trips.

For a temporary sleeping solution, it functions well. The only negative for me, as noted by several other reviewers, is that over time, this air bed might start to lose air overnight, so you might wake up with a much softer bed than what you slept on the night before. Many buyers don’t seem to have this problem of gradual air loss though, and only throw their Intex air bed out once it suffers a tip or puncture. 

5. Best Air Mattress On Cot: Coleman Camping Cot, Air Mattress

Coleman Camping Cot Air Mattress

At a glance

  • Support: Queen 600lbs, Twin 300lbs
  • Special features: Sewn-in cover keeps airbed in place, dual-sealed double lock valve is leak-proof
  • Weight: Queen 22.5lbs, Twin 13.9lbs 
  • Thickness: 2 inches
  • Firmness: Firm

Pros:

  • Can support 2 extra heavy adult sleepers
  • Double lock valve allow for minimal air loss even under heavy weight
  • Strong folding steel frame that does not creak 
  • Best for: camping in cold weather, where sleeping higher up from the ground is better

Cons:

  • A few buyers complain about the steel frame creaking (only the minority)
  • Thin, so heavy sleepers that need joint support might not find it comfortable

Why we love it:

Many people, including myself, prefer to sleep as high up from the ground as possible to keep away from the chilly air as well as bugs, dust and possible harmful gasses. For this group, sleeping on an air mattress supported by a metal frame is a major camping upgrade from sleeping on an air bed placed right on the cold ground. If this is the case, check out this camping cot and air mattress combo from Coleman, which is probably the best air mattress for camping in this category. 

First off, yes this thing is expensive, especially when the air bed itself is only 2 inches thick, compared to other options on this list. But keep in mind that the more expensive a product is, the higher expectations buyers will have, and thus the harder it is for the product to get really good reviews. Meanwhile, buyers generally go easy on cheap products. So for this Coleman air bed cot combo to get an overall Amazon rating of 4.4 stars from more than 15,000 buyers, it has to be excellent. 

There are many things to love about this combo. Firstly, it conveniently comes with two fold-out side tables with mesh drink holders. Secondly, the steel frame is super sturdy and does not creak. My girlfriend and I are both of average weight, but if you check out the Amazon reviews, even couples who together weigh 400 pounds to 600 pounds notice none to minimal creaking or rattling on the queen size. There are some complaints on this, but it’s only the minority. 

Other notable features include the dual-sealed double lock valve that allows for none to minimal air loss, the durable sewn-in cover that keeps the air bed in place, and the 4D battery operated air pump that fully inflates the mattress in no time. 

All in all, this solid product will elevate your camping experience in many ways, as expected from Coleman. The only downside is that while most campers would love it, some with special needs might not find it very comfortable. The air mattress is certainly thin, and while it is indeed firm and air loss is not a source of concern, heavy sleepers who need more joint support and pressure relief might find this mattress not thick and supportive enough of their frame. 

Now we’ll move on to extra thick and double height air mattresses. These are the perfect solutions in case you don’t want to get an air bed and cot combo, which is heavier than a standalone mattress, but still want to sleep as high up on the ground as possible. Furthermore, while the mattress on a cot combo is most often on the thin side, you will get extra firmness as well as better body and spinal alignment with an extra thick mattress. Whether you’re prone to waking up with back, neck and joint pains, sleeping on an extra height or better yet, a double height air mattress will generally feel more comfortable and stable. 

6. Best Extra Thick Air Bed: EnerPlex Double Height Inflatable Mattress for Camping

EnerPlex Double Height Inflatable Mattress for Camping

At a glance

  • Support: Queen 600lbs
  • Special features: non-slip, leak-free premium comfort top flocking, sturdy coil beam construction, quick inflation
  • Firmness: Firm
  • Weight: King 23lbs, Queen 19.4lbs, Full 15.9lbs, Twin 14.5lbs
  • Material: PVC

Pros:

  • Double height, keeps you higher up from the ground
  • Extra thick for extra support
  • Fast inflation
  • Best for: campers who travel in cold weather, when sleeping lower on the ground is colder; heavy campers who like extra body support

Cons:

  • Not suitable for space with limited headroom

Why we love it:

Having amassed a stellar 4.5 stars overall rating from almost 45,000 happy buyers on Amazon, this Enerplex inflatable bed deserves its reputation as the  best camping air bed that is available in many sizes from Twin and Full to Queen and King. It is also one of the rarer products that offers different thickness, namely 13 inches, 16 inches and 18 inches, that is about two times as thick as its competitors. 

While Enerplex does not provide the weight limit for all sizes and thickness, we know that the 16-inch Queen size can support up to 600 pounds, which has been testified by countless camping couples who are on the heavy side. Therefore, large framed sleepers and those who like extra body support from a thick and firm mattress would definitely find this air bed stable and comfortable. Kids love playing on this air bed (although you should not let them do so too often if you want to enjoy your air bed for longer). This Enerplex best seller is also the best camping air mattress in chilly weather, as it lifts you up high from the ground, away from the chilly ground. 

One thing that buyers universally agree on is the mattress’ stable and solid construction, thanks to the sturdy coil beam construction. Other appreciated features include the non-slip premium comfort top flocking, heavy duty puncture-resistant material, the leak-free valve that allows for minimal air loss, and quick inflation. The 18-inch twin size mattress can reach full inflation in 2 minutes, and the thickest king mattress takes a bit longer, but never more than 5 minutes. The only disadvantage of this wonderful air mattress is that due to its height, it’s not suitable for spaces with limited headroom, which would make the already tight sleeping space more inhibited.

7. Best Double Height with Built-In Pump: Coleman SupportRest Elite PillowStop Double-High Queen Airbed

Coleman SupportRest Elite PillowStop Double-High Airbed

At a glance

  • Support: 600lbs
  • Special features: pillow stops, built-in 120 volt air pump, durable ComfortStrong coil system
  • Weight: 18lbs 
  • Thickness: 18 inches
  • Firmness: Firm
  • Warranty: limited 1 year warranty

Pros:

  • Double height, keeps you higher up from the ground
  • Extra thick and strong coil system for extra support and comfort
  • Best for: sleepers who are prone to body pain, heavy campers who like extra body support, campers who travel in cold weather

Cons:

  • Not suitable for space with limited headroom

Why we love it:

Here’s another option for a Queen size double height air mattress from renowned maker Coleman. This air bed is also 18 inches thick and can support up to 600 pounds like the Queen size from Enerplex, but is slightly more affordable at $140. And boy, for $140, you’re getting a lot from this awesome product. 

What I like most about this double height air mattress is its comfortably firm and stable feel, even when you’re tumbling about. In terms of stability and body support, this must be the best air mattress for camping out there at this price point. This is thanks to Coleman’s advanced ComfortStrong coil construction that contours to your body to bolster support and reduce bulging for a more level sleeping surface. 

For this reason, this air mattress will be your best bet if you’re on the heavier side and especially if you’re prone to getting sore back, neck and hips after sleeping on a soft and bulging mattress for the whole night. For us fragile creatures, spending a bit more to get a good night’s sleep is totally worth it!

Another feature that gets buyers raving about is the leak-free double lock valve that simply does not allow air to leak and leave you practically sleeping on the ground in the morning. The valve’s first sealing point stops air from escaping when you remove the pump, and the second locks in the air as you sleep, thus keeping the mattress at the perfect level of firmness. Each air bed is factory-tested to be leak-free before leaving Coleman’s site. 

In addition, you’ll absolutely fall in love with the integrated 120 volt air pump that will allow you to easily inflate the air bed at home or on the go, no time wasted. Another handy and thoughtful feature is the pillow stop that keeps your pillows in place. There’s seriously nothing you can complain about this comfortable and solid air mattress, except for its extra height, which means it’s not suitable for sleeping spaces with limited headroom.

8. Best Double Height with Built-In Pump #2: SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress

SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress with ComfortCoil Technology

At a glance

  • Thickness: 18 inches for all sizes
  • Support: King, Queen and Full 500lbs, Twin XL 350lbs, Twin 300lbs
  • Special features: non-slip bottom, dual chamber construction, patented one-click built-in pump
  • Material: PVC
  • Weight: King 23.2lbs down to Twin 13lbs
  • Warranty: 1 year warranty

Pros:

  • Double height
  • Extra thick and strong coil system for extra support and comfort
  • Best for: sleepers who are prone to body pain, heavy campers who like extra body support, campers who travel in cold weather

Cons:

  • Not suitable for space with limited headroom

Why we love it:

If you love the idea of the above double height Coleman air bed but need something other than a Queen size, then the Dream Series by SoundAsleep has all the sizes for every need and space. This has long been a best selling air mattress on Amazon, having won a 4.4 stars overall rating from over 50,000 happy buyers, so if you have more than $100 to spend, it might be one of the safest bets. 

This SoundAsleep air mattress only loses to the previous Coleman model in terms of weight support by a thin margin: the King, Queen and Twin size all support up to 500 pounds while the Coleman Queen can support up to 600 pounds. Other than that, the SoundAsleep Dream Series truly lives up to its name. It will give you a good night’s sleep and a fuss-free experience using it. 

The Dream Series also uses the advanced ComfortCoil Technology to ensure firmness, even sleeping surface, body support and stability. The SureGrip bottom prevents the mattress from sliding, further making the mattress feel more stable, while the flock top also ensures comfort. If you’re like me who absolutely hates soft and bulging air mattresses, you will be surprised as to how firm and comfortable this air mattress is. 

As for durability, such a solid construction surely contributes, and the multilayer, puncture-resistant PVC makes this mattress extra durable and long-lasting. Many campers commented on how their SoundAsleep air mattresses have been put through abuse by uneven ground, extreme temperatures, pets and children but still last them many camping seasons. The Dream Series by SoundAsleep is down right the best air mattress for camping that is extra thick and offers different sizes for different needs.

9. Best Double Height California King: King Koil Luxury Air Mattress For Camping

King Koil Luxury Air Mattress Queen with Built-in Pump for Camping

At a glance

  • Support: California King 650lbs, Queen 600lbs, Twin 350lbs
  • Features: coil beam construction, suede top, built-in air pump that inflates 2 times as fast as average air beds
  • Firmness: Firm
  • Weight: California King 29.3lbs, Queen 17lbs to 18lbs, Twin 13.8lbs to 16lbs
  • Warranty: 1 year limited warranty

Pros:

  • Extra thick and stable
  • Extra spinal support
  • Best for: heavy campers who need extra spinal support, couple travelers with a small child

Cons:

  • Not suitable for space with limited headroom

Why we love it:

In terms of sizing for camping air mattresses, the twin and queen are much more common than the large size King and especially the California King, since air mattresses primarily serve very tight spaces and/or as temporary sleeping solutions. If you’re a couple who’s traveling with a small child and want an inflatable bed that can accommodate all three, you’ll need a California King, and this King Koil Luxury Air Mattress will be the best air mattress for camping you will ever get. The California King size costs $190, which is pricey for an air bed, but over 33,000 happy customers on Amazon will assure you that it’s worth it.

While the Queen and Twin are also available in 16 inches and 13 inches, the California King size is only available in 20 inches, given that if you’re buying an extra large bed, be it because you’re trying to sleep more than two adults or because you have a big build, the bed should be able to support more weight. This King Koil air mattress boasts stable coil beam construction, allowing the California King size to support up to 650 pounds, while the Queen and Twin can support up to 600 pounds and 350 pounds, respectively. 

All in all, true to its name, this air mattress does feel “luxury” in use. When you lay on top of it, it feels much more stable than an average inflatable bed, even with a heavy weight shifting on top. Next is the suede surface that keeps your bedding in place and the leak-free valve that will leave the mattress perfectly firm after a few days. But what I and many others are most impressed about this premium air mattress is its built-in air pump that inflates twice as fast as most models on the market. This is where the manufacturer really delivers its claims. The 20 inch California King can reach full inflation in 2 minutes 30 seconds, while the 20 inch Queen can get nice and firm in less than 2 minutes, and it only takes 90 seconds for the 20 inch Twin. To customize firmness to your liking, you only need to turn the inflation and deflation valves for a few seconds. It’s such a no-nonsense plug, click and play design. 

10. Most Affordable Double Height: Coleman Double-High SupportRest Airbed

Coleman Double-High SupportRest Air Bed for Indoor or Outdoor Use

At a glance

  • Thickness: 18 inches
  • Support: Queen 650lbs, Twin 300lbs
  • Special features: non-slip bottom, dual chamber construction, patented one-click built-in pump
  • Material: PVC
  • Weight: Queen 14.8lbs, Twin 12.1lbs
  • Warranty: 1 year warranty

Why you’ll love it:

  • Double height but super affordable
  • Queen can support up to 650lbs, which is very rare
  • Best for: heavy sleepers, budget campers who still want good spinal support, body contouring and being able to sleep high up from the ground, cold weather camping

Why we love it:

If you are a budget camper who wants the thickest inflatable bed possible for less than $100, this double height 18 inch Coleman SupportRest will be the best air mattress for camping you’ll find anywhere, online or offline. It’s available in Queen and Twin. 

Considering what you get for the price, it’s almost too good to be true. If it were made by an known or much lesser known brand, I’d certainly think that it’s a scam. But it’s Coleman, and Coleman often delivers what they promise, at least if we’re talking about the best camping air mattress.

The Queen size only costs $77 but is claimed to support 650lbs, while the Twin costs $65 and can support 300lbs. The Twin’s weight limit is just on par with competitors, but the Queen is definitely impressive. I haven’t put that much weight on the Queen size, but upon laying and shifting on it, this air bed feels very stable and comfortably firm. The coil construction contours pretty well to my body, and although I’m a side sleeper, I never woke up with numb arms and hips like I do with lower quality air beds. There are many couples who together weigh over 500 pounds who have testified to the SupportRest Queen’s body support and solid construction. 

This mattress also performs admirably when it comes to the leak-free valve’s ability to maintain firmness all night long. The only thing missing, which is to be expected given the price, is a built-in pump. Amazon buyers don’t seem to mind this though, and many seasoned campers claim that this might even be a plus, as they have had ample experience with built-in pump failures. For less than $80, this Coleman SupportRest is down right the best inflatable mattress for camping in the double height category.

How To Pick The Best Air Mattress For Your Needs

Given the nature and the affordability of air beds, choosing the best camping air bed is quite straightforward, or at least much simpler than selecting a regular mattress that costs hundreds of dollars.

That said, know your camping needs to better make sure you will be happy with your chosen mattress:

Thickness

Air mattresses for camping can vary widely in thickness, from a mere 2 inches all the way to 18 inches, but most commonly range from 6 inches to 9 inches.

Thickness is largely a matter of preference, but thicker mattresses in general offer more body support for the large and heavy sleepers.

Furthermore, thicker air mattresses will lift you up higher from the ground, thus many campers might find that making a difference in how easy it is to get up from the bed, and a higher mattress will be better for camping in cool climates, when the closer to the ground, the colder it is.

In addition, sleeping higher from the ground will keep you away from flying dust, bugs and potential harmful gasses, which are more condensed down low. 

Material

The most common material for air mattresses for camping is PVC. It is durable and waterproof, but PVC has that distinctive chemical odor that will not go away any time soon that many campers find unbearable.

If you’re sensitive to such a smell, opt for the best air mattress for camping made from PVC-free cotton or other material.

If you’re set on a certain product and the only downside for you is its PVC material, you can air the mattress out to try getting rid of the smell, and add an RV mattress topper. You won’t be sleeping directly on top of the surface, plus a topper provides for extra comfort. 

The best air beds for camping these days are made to last longer and withstand more abuse on the open road, but there’s no way to know for sure by reading the market claims. Spend some time to browse the reviews and look for reviewers who have used a particular product daily for some time to have an idea of its construction and material.

In addition, the manufacturer’s warranty also speaks something about an air mattress’ lifespan.

best air mattress for camping
Photo: Luno

Air Pump

Unless you’re buying an air mattress that costs under $50, it will most often come with an air pump included. There are separately sold air pumps, and they can vary from hand pump that operates manually, to those with rechargeable batteries, and those that can be recharged using a power outlet or a car outlet. It’s important to know what type of electricity, if any, you will have access to on your trip, depending on how you travel. 

There are air pumps that offer many or all of the above options. Not having to manually inflate your air bed would be better, and having more than one option is always the best. In any case, if you’re going on long off grid trips, for instance, you should opt for a manual pump at the very least.

If you can use power from a car outlet, make sure the plugs are compatible with your specific vehicle. Before you leave for your trip, it’s also important to stock up on extra batteries if applicable, and test all of your inflation equipment, including adapters, plugs, and pumps to make sure everything works.

Air Mattress Only vs Cot Combo

Many campers prefer to sleep as high up from the ground as possible to stay away from dust, bugs, cold air and harmful gasses. There are two options for this group, either a double height air mattress or an air bed and cot combo, which consists of an air bed placed on top of a metal frame cot or supportive platform. 

There are pros and cons to both. A standalone air mattress is certainly much more lightweight and compact, thus easier to maneuver around and set up.

Meanwhile, depending on where you typically set up camp, you might not want to or be able to rest your air mattress on the ground, due to bumpy ground that has sharp pebbles that might scratch or rip the material, for instance.

In such cases, an air bed and cot combo might be more manageable on uneven ground, although it still needs some work finding the best spot for set up. 

As for thickness, most air mattress and cot combo on the market typically has a thin air bed that is less than 8 inches thick, while the best air mattress for camping these days often is at least 8 inches thick. This might be a deal breaker for extra heavy sleepers who need extra body support. 

Air Mattress For Camping: FAQs

1. My air bed is leaking. How do I find the source?

To locate a leak, the soapy water test is always effective. But doing so to an air bed is quite messy, so you’d want to inspect the valve first before doing anything. Check if the valve is fully sealed and hasn’t been damaged in any way. Additionally, you can put your hand around the valve to feel if air is escaping.

If you can rule out a leaking valve, it’s time for the soapy water test. Run a soapy sponge over the surface of the mattress and carefully look for signs of growing bubbles. If this is not an option, fully inflate the mattress, lay on it and listen for that hissing sound of air escaping through a hole, although this might be hard.

2. Can you patch holes in an air mattress?

The best air mattress for camping on the market might come with a repair kit for patching up puncture holes.

Otherwise, you can easily buy one separately online or at big box stores. You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but always make sure to deflate the mattress, then clean the area around the leak and let it dry completely before applying the patch.

Afterwards, make sure to use something flat and heavy to weigh down the patch before inflating your mattress again. Once the mattress is fully inflated, lay on the mattress to check if the patch has sealed off the hole completely. 

3. How long do air mattresses last?

Air mattresses for camping are different from regular solid mattresses, which are made to be slept on daily for decades. Air beds for camping primarily serve as temporary sleeping arrangements for when you want to sleep out in a tent in good weather or as extra beds for guests, or budget campers looking for a cheap short- to medium-term solution, or weekend travelers who go on short trips. Therefore, don’t expect air beds to last as long as traditional mattresses. 

Most air beds on the market come with a limited one year warranty, and only the very best air mattresses for camping would offer limited two year warranty or in the rare case, limited lifetime warranty.

The lifespan of an average air mattress also depends on how much weight it has to support, whether you let your kids or pets play on it and whether you place the mattress on bumpy grounds with sharp pebbles, thus expose the mattress to higher risk of rupture and puncture, and if the mattress is exposed to extreme or widely varying temperatures, which would shorten the lifespan of the material.

But to be conservative, you should expect to replace your air mattress after a year or so if you use it daily, or up to 6 months for most affordable offerings that cost $50 and less.

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