How to Make Your Camping Mattress Comfortable 6 Tips

How to Make Your Camping Mattress Comfortable 6 Helpful tips

Published: Oct 17, 2020

Camping, trekking, hiking, or any outdoor activities you plan to go with your family, friends, and loved ones, there is just one goal that you aim to feel. That is to unwind. Unplugging your mind and body from the stress and anxiety that you encounter in your daily lives is an essential practice that people should remember either if you are living in an urban or a rural area. So allocate time to refresh your inner system to be more active and effective in your work or school.

How to Make Your Camping Mattress Comfortable, Our 6 tips:

  1. Choose the camping mattress that suits your needs
  2. Protect and consider it as your bed at home
  3. Adjust the ventilation and air inflation
  4. Look for a fitting pillow
  5. Prepare alternative pumps
  6. Bring repair tools and kits

If you go camping, usually, you and your companion are preparing some suitable gear to be utilized in the midst of your adventure. It will push you to conduct a little research on the possible and required things you need to pack. One of the common equipment that every camper needed is a camping mattress.

Since we talked about unwinding, sleeping and resting are factors that bring a huge impact on your activity however, most people expect that they won't be having a good sleep during camping. It includes several issues like ground surfaces, temperature, insects, tent sizes, and lastly, camping beds.

You should bear the word comfort in your mind when selecting your tents and mattresses. Always check the size, thickness, warmth, materials used, features, and various online reviews pertaining to those elements.

As we are highlighting the resting situation, let's talk about how to make your camping mattress comfortable. Before you buy, take note of the attributes which will probably act greatly to solve your needs. Ask yourself if you seek lightweight materials? Or thick fabrics? Are you going to go to places with cold weather or hot? These few questions we stated are just samples for you to formulate ideas on what to prepare.


Types of Camping Mattress

There are numerous kinds of camping mattresses we have already tested. These sleeping equipment are designed with special and unique features for specific uses. You should think of the portable mattress you are eyeing if it will fit the place you will travel to.

Some manufacturers have structured their camping beds mainly from the people's needs and demands. Let's discover those types of camping mattresses that may be relevant to your activities.


Self-inflating Mat

Self-inflating mats are commonly used by hikers and campers who are more focused on the aspects of comfort and ease of use. To clarify, this is not just the only foam-filled type of camping bed. There are several products too on the other kinds of sleeping pads however, if you are searching for a compact body of the bed, we can recommend this to you but what are these mats?

What are self-inflating mats? These types of camping mattresses are powered by air. It is similar to air mattresses but is typically built with more foam. Often designs of these mats possess valves for inflation and deflation purposes. Let's have a bit of an overview of how it works.

If you turn the inflation valve, it will suction the air inside to blow up the bed while the deflation valve functions to remove the air and flatten the mat for packing up. It is a piece of convenient equipment especially for hikers who are normally resting from areas where night catches them.

But, just a reminder that they are not thick beds like pure air mattresses although they are set-up with air, their form will remain as it is. Also, do not add more air to the inflated bed. It may result in damages. We advise you to use it and follow the instructions and specifications of the manufacturers for the long existence of your mattresses. This bed is considerably heavier compared to others. They also refuse to be folded into small items.

A few notable brands that are now raising their names on the top of camping mattresses are Therm-a-Rest, REI, Alps Mountaineering, Exped International, Sea to Summit, and Coleman.


Air Mattress

Air mattress and self-inflating mats are almost alike in the sense that they are both set-ups with air however, the framework of an air mattress is made to be inflated with more air and less foam. Unlike self-inflating mats, air mats are lighter in weight compared to them. They can be folded or rolled into the thinner fabric for backpacking benefits.

If you search to see the physical visuals of the air mattresses, they are very thick, similar to the bed you have at home. We call these portable beds because it is similar to bringing your bed in your camping.

This kind of mattress can be set-up by pumping or blowing air into the valve. If you buy this, the package generally comes with pumps and other types of air mattresses are manufactured to be easily inflated with the use only of your mouth.

We have discovered some of the products that are prominent with this equipment namely, SoundAsleep, Nemo Equipment, REI, Klymit, Kelty, and Exped International.



You may have witnessed plenty of types of beds but this might also steal your attention. Aside from the inflatable mattresses, we have discussed, there is also this sleeping bed that is designed by the manufacturers from the cot's blueprint. This has unique features that are totally far from what we have mentioned.

Cots are assembled with sleeping fabric, poles, and stands. What we like in this type of sleeping equipment is the idea that it elevates your body to prevent the wet or intense temperature from the ground surfaces. You might say that air mattresses can also do this but, we noticed that its bottom parts are vulnerable to damages caused by the ground surfaces and with cots, the stand will serve as your support.

Even though cots are set-up and made with different materials still, they can be lined up to be under sleeping mattresses. From our observations on the sleeping fabric of the cots, they are not thick or equipped with foam. There are manufacturers who suggest bringing extra foams to compliment the cot if users are looking for more comfort. This is highly recommended to hikers or trekkers because of the portable packing. All of the materials are detachable for a smaller size that can be placed inside your bags.

Top brands that are famous in this section are Coleman, KingCamp, Teton Sports, Therm-A-Rest, and Byer of Maine.


Foam Pad/ Closed-foam mat

This type of sleeping mattress is also called a closed-foam mattress. They have distinctive features compared to the air mattresses and self-inflating mats. If those two aforementioned beds are air-driven, this one is just built with foam only. It does not require inflation actions or pumps. All you need to do is roll and unroll it in order for you to fully set it up.

We find foam pads to be thin if you associate it with inflatable mattresses. Meaning, it is quite uncomfortable since the ground surfaces will really affect your back with respect to the temperature and texture.  So if you are seeking comfort in this type of bed, it may not satisfy you.

Aside from the said attributes, there are still commendable advantages of foam pads. They are not the style of sleeping bed that involves a high level of effort to set-up. We recommend this to those people who can adjust to the situations and can sleep to any surfaces with minimum actions to apply to set up.

Take note of these following brands if you are interested in this sleeping pad: Big Agnes, Therm-A-Rest, Nemo, Alps Mountaineering, Klymit, Sea to Summit, and REI.


Intended Use of Camping Mattress

Apart from the types of camping mattresses, we talked about another component you should give thought to where you are going to use it? If you ask, yes, there are categories on the intended use of camping mattresses.

Are you taking your vehicle with you? Or hiking? Maybe winter camping? It will play a huge role to be aware of this area. We have deliberated these categories based on our evaluations of different camping mattresses and opinions from testers.


Car camping

In this category, most people are traveling to camp somewhere with their cars. We noticed that families and friends are the regular people who love to do this as they can bring their kids and belongings without being anxious about weight and amount.

In this manner, you can carry heavy camping equipment and gear for the comfort of your companion when resting while waiting for your barbecues in front of the campfire.

Since you don't have any restrictions with your baggage carry on size, we recommend you to bring thick mattresses like an air mattress or self-inflating mats. But be reminded that not all of the inflatable beds have thick foam instilled so you need to check the features and specifications of the camping mattress you are planning to buy. This type of camping is substantially engrossed in the scheme of enjoyment and relaxation.


Winter camping

From the name itself, “winter” which is a division of season that projects total cold weather, you will have to look for mattresses with high R-value or insulation. R-value is the measurement of the camping mats' ability to repel the heat. The higher the value, the better insulation from the cold weather.  

We recommend you to use well-insulated camping beds. There are some air mattresses and self-inflation mats that offer great protection from the cold temperature you'll be experiencing.

There are camping beds that bear insulation with the use of artificial materials and also, there is this down-filled air mattress. It is warmer than the standard insulated mattresses with the same weight.

In the end, checking some of the ideal insulated mattresses will vastly influence how to gear up yourself for the camping experiences so research is recommended.



You will be traveling with your own feet too far and high places in this type of camping. It may involve either hiking, biking, kayaking, or canoeing, the weight of your camping mattress is the key attribute that you must recognize and think of.

You may not want to carry heavy backpacks with extra gears held by your hand while having adventures in rivers, mountains, or rough roads for an extended duration of time. That is a serious struggle even if you are just imagining it right now.

We recommend you choose from the types of camping beds we have reviewed on the abovementioned. Whichever of the air mattress, self-inflating mattress, cot, or foam pad as long as it is lightweight and portable. Size and weight matters for your convenience and advantage. In this way, you will not be solving problems on how to compress your equipment inside your bag and deal with a heavyweight.


Minimalist backpacking

This is similar to simple backpacking. There are hikers or trekkers who are meticulous about the things they bring. The customary mindset of a person especially a newbie to hiking activities is the thought if they can fit their essentials in their bags which leads them to bring massive backpacks. This is in contrast to minimalist people.

They always have these questionable remarks if they'd be needing this or that thing. Just making everything modest and uncomplicated. It's a recommended attitude in this domain though it will lessen your burden and enjoy everything throughout your adventure.

With such, we suggest you look for a lightweight self-inflating or air mattresses. Be careful in picking such inflatable beds because some may deceive you with lighter looks you search in online shops but actually the opposite in reality.


Tips on Making a Comfortable Camping Air Mattress

Even though you are able to choose and buy the perfect mattress for your camping needs, it is still important that you take good care of it. There will be instances that it will deteriorate if you utilize it constantly. And if that happens, the mattress will not be comfortable compared to the first time you used it. Making your camping mattress comfortable requires many ways. We will discuss it on the following topics.


  1. Choose the camping mattress that suits your needs

Before you go on with your outdoor activities, of course, you have to choose the right camping mattress that will entirely fit the place, type of camping, and the temperature of the place. Although if you selected your mattress in that manner, there are still things you should consider before deciding to buy it.

The quality of the sleeping bed is one of the things that you should check. There are some mattresses that are created for specific uses that may catch your attention but if you check some reviews, they don't last longer than you thought.

We suggest you look for camping mattresses with excellent quality because you can be assured that you can use it longer unlike the cheaper ones, there is a huge possibility that you will be buying another mat if it will be damaged early.

It is better to own a durable material than buy again. It will be a hassle and more expensive. When you seek the quality of the camping mats, read a number of reviews as it will give you an idea if it is really durable based on the experience of other people.


  1. Protect and consider it as your bed at home

As we said, you should take care of your camping mattresses for your comfort and also, for the benefit of your sleeping equipment. If you are just going to use it irresponsibly, it will lower the quality and performance. You need to handle it similar to your bed at home. In this way, you will feel more comfortable than with just the standard setup of a sleeping mattress.

Usually, campers tend to spread their mats then crash on it with thinking if the ground surface affects their backs. How can you prevent this? You can add some mattress underpads or foam pad for thicker support from the ground and if you can, bring some blankets, comforters, and sheet covers. That will satisfy you more when you sleep. It will help to alleviate the cold temperature from the ground.

We really recommend you elevate your camping mattresses whatever the weather it may be if you prioritize comfort. It will not only give you solace but also protect your mattress from damages. Be reminded to inspect the ground before you lay down your tent and mattress.

Rocks and twigs can poke your mats and result in impairments. Better remove those before setting up everything. On the other hand, you can also place a cover under the mattress. You can use tarpaulins or any solid cover.


  1. Adjust the ventilation and air inflation

Adjusting the ventilation of your mattress is another thing you need to watch out for especially if you are going to places with either cold or hot temperature. If it's cold, there are mattresses that have good insulation. However, we can't deny the fact that the temperature won't be totally apprehended with just the sleeping mat alone.

This is why we suggest you regulate it by putting a thick cover on top of your mattress before you lay down. Air mattresses are filled with air and less foam which makes your body cold so be attentive to this factor.

If there is a cold situation, hot weather is also there. Now, what to do in such a temperature? First, you should ensure the temperature of the place you are going and find some mattresses with lower R-value because it has lesser insulation. However, this doesn't mean that you'll get automatically cooler when you use it.

There are times that the heat is unbearable. We suggest you elevate your mattress so that it will not absorb the temperature from the ground. You can find any alternative in order for you to raise it as long as it will strongly hold your mattress when you lie down.

As we tackled already the modifications depending on the temperature, let's also discuss the air levels. Most of the campers inflate their camping mattress fully which makes it harder when you lay down. So for comfort, tune properly the air inside your mattress to make it fair. Less air means a softer texture and surface.


  1. Look for a fitting pillow

Apart from the adjustments to be applied on your mattress, pillows also display a big contribution to the comfort aspects. Even if there are camping mats with built-in pillows, it is not enough for you to provide coziness. We suggest searching for pillows that will fit your needs.

It may be lightweight, small, or cheap, what is important is how you balance those gears for better or even the best relaxation. So choose the right pillow for an unforgettable camping recreation experience.


  1. Prepare alternative pumps

If you buy air mattresses, commonly, it comes with an air pump. Some are automatic or battery-operated pumps and some are manual pumps. But, what if your pump will stop working? There are still alternatives for that and the first one is you blow it off with your mouth however, that will cause your lungs out of breath so it is not a recommended idea if your mattress needs a lot of air.

We suggest you bring pumps that operate manually. These pumps are not really susceptible to non-operational cases. It is because we find battery-operated pumps easy but prone to the probability to run out of batteries. Another recommendation is the use of blowers but it will work only with electricity.

Look for items in your belongings in order to funnel the air to your bed. Aside from those, bicycle pumps are an alternative choice especially if you are biking. You can use it to pump your mattress.


  1. Bring repair tools and kits

While you are packing your things for camping, always remember to bring gears to repair your mattress. You may not encounter this but it is better to be prepared because you can't find repair kits in the middle of the woods.

Bicycle repair kits and super glues are a good substitute to patch-up your damaged air mattress. So be ready if you are planning to camp somewhere and carry some of those materials. Like first aid kits, it's vital for every camper to know how to repair the gears that they bring. This can make a huge difference when accidents happen.



Complete and proper equipment for your camping can bring a large gap compared to lack of preparations. What we notice as we go on with our discussions are the factors a person should consider if they are planning to camp in far places.

The type of mattress and camping is essential to observe when buying your sleeping beds. Be careful and watchful in terms of the quality, insulations, size, weight, and the thickness of the mattress as it affects your camping experience big time.

Best camping practice does not only emphasize the thought of bonding but be also reminded to prioritize your relaxation. So if you're looking to improve your experience in the camping mattress, we suggest that you try out our tips and tricks and see for yourself the difference that it can make.


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