The 8 Best Sleeping Pads and Mattresses for Camping

After a day of pitching the tent in the woods, hiking or fishing, here are the best camping mattresses for a good night's sleep under the stars.

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How To Make The Most Comfortable Camping Bed

Camping in the wilderness can be an amazing adventure but in reality, sleeping on the hard terra firma can be a less than comfortable experience. Create a cozy camp bed by following these sleeping tips for campers from the experts at REI.

Ways to increase the odds you’ll sleep like a baby outdoors:

  • If weight is not an issue (car camping), a thick camp mattress/pad provides the most comfort. For backpacking, the lightest weight, closed-cell foam pads are best.
  • Choose a sleeping bag with a temperature rating fit for the terrain and climate you’ll be camping in (mountains, beach, RV, cabin, etc.).
  • Bring an eye mask for times of the year when the sun comes up early.
  • Earplugs drown out a tentmate’s snoring or animals rustling in the bushes.
  • Don’t forget to pack a pillow.

Avoid sleepless nights even when roughing it by choosing the right camp mattress or sleeping pad. Here’s our rundown of the best camp mattresses to put a cushy layer of foam or air between you and the cold, hard ground.

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Best Camping Mattress for Cold Weather

So you can stay toasty on frigid nights, the NeoAir XTherm sleeping pad places a warm barrier between you and the terrain. Trusted by mountaineers and winter backpackers, the NeoAir, with patented Triangular Core Matrix, delivers an outstanding warmth-per-ounce ratio with an R-value (insulation rating) of 6.9 to maintain proper body temperature, even in extreme conditions. It comes in multiple sizes and is super lightweight (about 1-1/2 lbs.). Plus, it squeezes into a bag the size of a water bottle. Pump sack, stuff sack and repair kit included.

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Best Memory Foam Camping Mattress

Memory foam has revolutionized the sleep industry, so it stands to reason that a comfy camp mattress would be made of it as well. The Better Habitat CertiPUR-US SleepReady memory foam floor and camping mattress is a three-inch solid memory foam pad that conforms to the body and provides temperature control and pain-relieving support as you snooze. This Better Habitat mattress will never deflate during the night and comes with a fitted, waterproof terrycloth sheet and non-slip, water-resistant bottom for extra moisture protection.

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Best Camping Mattress for Backpacking

Comfort is important when backpacking, but so is weight and pack size. The high-tech Nemo Switchback foam sleeping pad covers all the bases. Weighing a mere two pounds, the pad has a metalized thermal film layer to trap more warmth around campers’ bodies, even at high altitudes. And despite being less than an inch thick, the Axiotomic dual-density foam optimizes compression and resists abrasion, providing outstanding comfort when it’s time to hit the sack out on the open trail.

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Best Two-Person Camping Mattress

The queen-size, 4.4-star rated REI Co-op Kingdom Insulated Sleep System 40 provides couples with one of the softest places to land after a full day exploring the great outdoors. The sleep system comes complete with a six-inch-thick air mattress, quilted cover, an insulated comforter and a set of sheets that fit snugly around the bottom of the mattress to prevent drafts. Because the mattress is on the heavier side (approximately 16 pounds) it’s best suited for van and RV camping. Along with the pad, it comes with a convenient hand pump and a duffle-style storage bag.

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Best Budget Camping Mattresses

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better camp mattress for the price ($39) than the Coleman Self-inflating camping pad with pillow. The durable, water-resistant polyester shell offers individual campers extra cushioning thanks to its soft, tufted design. It has a built-in pillow so there’s no more supporting your head and neck with a rock-like backpack and the clever compression straps make it effortless to squeeze out the air as you roll it up.

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Best Splurge Camping Mattress

Snuggled atop the deluxe Hest Sleep System Sleeping Pad ($399), you might think you’ve been booked into the Ritz. The top-of-the-line pad with two-layered, open-cell foam construction, hugs the body to relieve pressure while keeping the spine in proper alignment. If you’re prone to aches and pains or suffer from nagging lumbar issues, this glamorous camping mattress may prove to be worth the extra Benjamins you’ll spend.

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Best Camping Air Mattress

Forty-percent lighter than many other air mattresses on the market, the ALPS Mountaineering Velocity Air Bed has an internal coil system to distribute weight more evenly, creating a firm surface to comfortably cradle the body. The twin mattress supports up to 250 pounds and the queen, up to 500 pounds, yet weighs less than four and six pounds, respectively. You can recharge the AC/DC electric pump using a wall or car charger, and it inflates and deflates the bed with a flip of a switch. Comes with 110V AC, 12V DC and universal valve adapters and a lifetime warranty.

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Best Camping Mattress with Cot

Going glamping in a yurt or want to sleep up off the floor of your tent? The Coleman camping cot and air mattress combo is a great choice. Supported by a strong steel frame, the mattress’ AirTight system and Double Lock valve have been factory tested to be leak-free. Not only that, the bed incorporates slide-out side tables with cupholders and, because it sits off the ground, there’s room underneath to store your camping gear, giving you more room to spread out and relax. Want more? These are the best camping cots for all types of campers.

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Toni DeBella
Toni DeBella is a culture and lifestyle writer, reviews expert and DIYer covering everything from pests to pool cabanas to painting. For over a decade, Toni was the owner of a successful faux finishing, mural and children’s furniture business before moving to a career in writing. Her work has appeared in The Telegraph, Fodor’s, Italy Magazine, DK Eyewitness travel guides and others. She lives in a medieval hill town in Italy where her bicycle “Raoul” serves as her primary mode of transportation.