Camping With An Air Mattress – Comfort And Strength

Camping with an Air Mattress Comfort and Strength talks about the need to do careful planning and no matter if we are going camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, or another outdoor overnight or weekend trip.

The environment that we are going into whether wilderness or campground, will largely determine what we need in the case of bedding 

An air mattress can provide excellent comfort whether it is used under the stars or undercover, where and when will be the guide that gives us an idea of what will be required.

This is a short article of tricks and tips for camping with an air mattress but many things will determine what is best for you.

Determine The Forcast Weather

If you are looking to take an air mattress camping or some other outdoor adventure, determining what the likely weather conditions are forecast to be is very important.

On a hot summer’s night if you’re inside the family tent all you will probably need is a sheet over the mattress and a sheet or light blanket over the top of you, even this light cover will prove too much sometimes.

The other extreme is obviously in a very cold winter climate, sheets would not be sufficient, therefore having the correct bedding could mean the difference between a cozy and comfortable warm night or a very uncomfortable freezing cold experience.

The latter may turn you off any future outdoor adventures forever, so, knowing and understanding the general weather conditions surrounding your destination is the first step.

Climate, Summer or Winter

Camping in the summer months is easy and can be very satisfying on any simple good quality air mattress, just a light sleeping bag and you will be more than comfortable on most Summer Nights.

Just remember to put down a groundsheet of some description to protect the mattress from sticks and other sharp objects. 

If you’re sleeping inside your tent be sure to put a groundsheet underneath the floor of the tent prior to setting up this will help protect the floor of the tent as well as the mattress from being punctured.

Also, camping in summer months the bedding can be much lighter therefore easy to carry and transport and you won’t be weighed down by bulky heavy sleeping bags doonas, etc.

 Camping in the winter months is a totally different scenario, particularly in some parts of the country where extreme negative temperatures may be a regular and normal occurrence.

Our bedding and shelter requirements will change dramatically to accommodate us in comfort and safety depending on the environment in which we are in.

Winter, Staying Warm

Wrapping the air mattress in blankets and doonas then laying on top inside more bedding or sleeping bags may help but it certainly increases the amount of bedding you will need to carry.

Placing a rubber yoga style groundsheet under the mattress is another way to help with heat retention, this trick certainly works, but again, it is more gear to carry. 

The best way is to know the destination you are venturing into, the probable weather conditions you will likely encounter and planning the trip accordingly to ensure you are prepared for what is in front of you.

This, of course, is not always guaranteed to work out, but its a little too late well into the evening and the temperature plummets and you start to freeze your butt off. 

Also, dress according to the environment, long woolen clothing, socks, and a beanie are great, work well and will go a long way to help keep the cold at bay.

Space blankets are another alternative to lots of blankets, a good quality space blanket is extremely lightweight and packs down to a tiny package.

These work well and are very effective equipment that should be a part of your gear in the colder environments.

icy river bank

Cold Weather, Well Get Off the Ground

Sleeping off the ground is probably the most efficient way of keeping your bed warm, however, I realize this is not always practical if your hiking in a cold or extreme environment.

But in general three-season family camping using a good quality Camp Cot will assist greatly in removing a lot of chill temperature from your bed. One of my favorites is the Coleman Airbed Cot with Side Table

These awesome products come in many and varied shapes and sizes and also vary in bulk and weight so nearly always you will need a vehicle to transport these cots to your final destination.

Sometimes used inside a shelter or Tent which affords added protection from the cold, another favorite is the Byer Of Maine Easy Camp Cot, this is an excellent sleeping surface.

Design and Construction

A simple air mattress design and construction is a polyvinyl bag full of air which is not normally a very warming product and as such a lot of your body heat can be transferred away from you and dissipated throughout the bag or bed.

What you need is the warm air created by your body to be trapped close to your body to be able to stay warm easier.

Some Air Mattresses have material covering that will help, but some of the best ways to remain comfortable are to use a self-inflating cell mattress, form cell or a Thermarest style air bed, with insulation underneath.

These are the easiest beds to warm up and keep warm where your body heat can be trapped close in, so the less bedding will be required. One of the absolute best is the Thermarest MondoKing be sure to check this one.

Choose Your Style: Self Inflating and Blow-up

There are many opinions on these two main styles of air mattress and both have a place and will serve you well in any situation as long as you have the right one.

First and foremost it is not always a good idea to grab the cheapest thing you can find, especially if you don’t want to end on the ground wrapped in a piece of cold plastic bag.

Self-inflating air mats are typically the choice of hikers because of their lightweight construction and are usually made from a robust material which gives them long-term durability.

Some also have insulation inside that helps keep you warm, they have various R ratings which give you an idea of the temperature that they can withstand and still be a comfortable sleeping surface, the higher the R rating the better insulated they are.

Weight and Bulk

Some self-inflating mattresses have a lightweight construction, this means they are easy to carry and many weight in at just a couple of pounds, very simple to use they are typically rolled when packed.

To use,  simply unroll it and the design allows them to self inflate with their rushing into one or two valves that will be open at this stage, at times, it may need two or three breaths of air to complete the inflation and then simply close the valves to keep the air in.

Blow up air mattresses are generally for car camping and for taking into areas where a vehicle is used to transport your equipment otherwise they would simply be too bulky too heavy and certainly not typically used by a hiker.

These mattresses always perform better when they are used off the ground, inside the vehicle, or on a camp cot, this will also help to reduce the effects of the cold.

How Are We Going To Get To Our Destination

We’ll assume we have a vehicle to take us to our campsite or other destination, this will generally mean we can carry a bigger, heavier, and better Air Mattress.

Many different designs and manufacturers mean many different sizes and styles all with varied packed weights.

a tent on the side of a mountain

Going in Style and Luxury

Some larger air mattresses can give you such a comfortable sleep you will think you are in bed at home. however, the only practical use is inside an RV, caravan, or other vehicles, and in a place where you can gain access to electric power.

These are great if you have the room but you will be required to have access to the grid in a van park or somewhere you can plugin. Alternatively, you will need a generator to provide you with the power to inflate them.

But having one of these top of line mattresses will provide you an excellent night sleeping in the outdoors and one to take a look at is the King Koil queen air mattress this is nice you will think you are in bed at home.

Durability and Quality of Build

Durability is built into a mattress and it is not something you can add to if the materials used are of inferior quality, and some are definitely not going to last long.

Light plastic air beds are for an overnight stay or floating in the pool until they spring a leak and are not what we are looking at here. We want something more substantial and this usually comes down to the manufacturer.

There are many good strong well-known companies that manufacture very useful and durable air beds and some will last many years if treated well and used correctly.

Coleman, Sound Asleep, and ALPS Mountaineering, Kingcamp And Lightspeed are just some of many good names who make good beds, so make sure you know what you need and do the research to find the best.

Maintenance and Storage

The cleaning of an air mattress is best and easiest done while the mattress is still inflated, firstly remove the bedding and blankets and remove and heavy dirt, dust or marks by giving the mattress a good sweep with a broom, or vacuum.

Next, add a 1/4 cup of vinegar to 1/2 gallon of warm water and using a clean cloth damp the cloth into the water and lightly rub the whole surface of the mattress removing and new marks or stains.

This is usually sufficient to clean the mattress remember over time it will get marks and stains that won’t be a real problem to the integrity of the mattress anyway, besides it will add to the story of its journey with you.

Leave the mattress inflated after the cleaning and let it completely dry. After use deflate it according to the manufacturer’s instructions and store it away in a dry place until next time.

My Favourites

Check out some of the best air mattresses on the market today, I have highlighted a few that I have done some in-depth research to help you with your purchasing decision so be sure to go back up and check out the research I have done.

You can find more information to help you with the solution to camping with an Air Mattress. Click on the highlighted text to go to the product Review for that Bed.

My Final Word

I love camping anytime, anywhere, but I also love my comfort so getting the best gear you can afford after doing reasonable research should give you quality camping gear that will make your outdoor adventures exciting and memorable experiences, I hope you enjoy.

Remember! Leave it cleaner than you found it, only footprints not rubbish.


a tent setup in a mountain range







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