The Best Camping Mattresses and Sleeping Pads of 2024

Sleeping out under the stars is a great way to unwind. Whether you’re frontcountry or backcountry camping, experiencing complete peace and quiet is one of the natural beauties of life.

But if you’ve ever slept out in nature and tossed and turned either sweating or freezing, felt your hip bones grinding into the floor when your mattress deflated, or found yourself rolling off your pad, you may need a high-quality sleeping pad.

It’s important to make sure your sleeping pad is in good condition before you set out for an overnight adventure and is the right kind of pad for the temperatures you will face at night. If you’re a side sleeper or a back sleeper, choosing between foam and an inflatable mattress can make all the difference.

The best camping mattress is the REI Co-op Camp Dreamer XL. This double-duty camping mattress is both transportable and incredibly comfortable with its self-inflation, cored foam, and high warmth rating.

But that’s not all: we’ve got picks for camping in your car, low budgets, backpackers, and those looking for the most comfort. Read on to see our picks for the best camping mattresses and camping pads for 2024.

Best Camping Mattresses and Sleeping Pads:

Image by REI Co-Op

The REI Co-op Camp Dreamer XL camping mattress offers an impressive blend of comfort, ease of use, and affordability. With a plush polyester top that feels soft and comfortable against the skin, this mattress provides bed-like comfort that rivals many higher-end camping mattresses.

Its inflation system features a nylon pump sack and a one-way high-flow valve, making it easy and efficient to self inflate, with a dual valve system for simple deflation. It inflates in just minutes, so not waiting around. There is a pump sack so you can inflate it to the comfort level you prefer.

Despite its luxurious comfort, the Camp Dreamer XL is competitively priced, making it an excellent value option for campers seeking a restful night’s sleep without breaking the bank.

One notable advantage of the Camp Dreamer XL is its warmth, boasting an R-value of 6.6 out of 7, which provides plenty of insulation when sleeping in the cold and when there are chilly air temperatures.

Its generous size, measuring 32 inches wide, may limit its versatility for some campers, especially those with smaller tents or limited storage space, but on the other hand, is great for tall campers. Its horizontally cored foam is engineered to be light and easy to compress while remaining warm.

Its packed size, while relatively compact, may still take up a significant amount of room in the car, and weighs 6 pounds so may not be suitable for backpacking unless you’re fine with the extra weight.

Made from recycled materials, the luxuriously comfortable camping mattress balances coziness and affordability making this the right camping mattress for campers looking for the best sleep, packability, price, and ease of use.

Image by Hest

The Hest Dually camping mattress is designed for those who prioritize comfort during outdoor adventures, especially for individuals camping in vehicles with sleeping platforms, like a van or truck.

It features two layers of foam with different densities enclosed in a fabric cocoon, providing a plush and insulating sleeping surface reminiscent of a real mattress. The top layer consists of plush memory foam for added comfort, while the dense bottom layer offers support, creating a cushioned yet firm feel for a restful night’s sleep.

This design effectively minimizes motion transfer, allowing two people to sleep without feeling each other’s movements. Additionally, the fabric cocoon design helps keep the sleeping surface clean and free from dust and debris.

The Hest Dually is relatively straightforward to set up and store. It can be easily folded in half; it has two one-person-sized slabs of foam zipped inside the fabric case.

However, its substantial weight of 32 pounds and bulky packed size make it less convenient for transportation, particularly for backcountry camping where a large mattress just wouldn’t make sense unless you were driving.

The mattress’s large size and awkward shape make it better suited for campers with dedicated sleeping areas in vans, trucks, or trailers rather than for those planning to move it frequently or use it in smaller tents.

This camping pad protects from the cold with its four inches of solid foam construction. While the exact R-value is not specified, testers reported feeling consistently warm and cozy even in chilly nighttime temperatures.

Despite its limitations in portability, the Hest Dually delivers incredible comfort and warmth, particularly for campers prioritizing a good night’s sleep. Its luxurious feel and insulation make it an excellent investment for campers spending longer trips in their vehicles with maximum comfort.

Image by Sea to Summit

This self-inflating mattress is Sea to Summit’s Camp collection entry-level camping mat with options ranging from tapered mummy designs to roomier rectangular models.

The rectangular wide version has a durable construction with thick fabrics and a decent warmth R-value of 4.2 out of 7. Self-inflating camping mattresses and mats are great when you’re in a rush. The simple one-way valve facilitates quick and easy inflation and deflation.

It weighs 2 pounds 7 ounces, with a packed size of 8 x 13.5 inches, so it’s relatively lightweight and packable. Backpacking pads are often a bit lighter, but it could work.

Self-inflating mattresses are great for campers who want to use as little effort as possible before sleeping. An inflatable pad means you can “set it and forget it,” and it will fill with air on its own.

A notable downside of the Camp Self-Inflating Sleeping Mat is its thinness, measuring just 1.5 inches thick. This thickness may not provide sufficient cushioning for side sleepers or those who need supportive padding.

Sea to Summit offers an upgraded Camp Plus SI model, 3 inches thick, for a slightly higher cost, catering to users who prioritize comfort. Nonetheless, for back sleepers and those less particular about padding, the standard model offers a budget-friendly solution without compromising on quality and is the best budget camping mattress for new campers.

Image by Therm-a-Rest

Most camping mattresses aren’t able to offer both comfort and packability. The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Topo Luxe is an exception as a lightweight backpacking pad.

This is the best air mattress with an R-value of 3 out of 7, a weight of just over one pound, and an inflation height of four inches, this mattress is a favorite amongst many backpackers and travelers.

Designed for both car camping and backpacking adventures, this air mattress provides exceptional comfort without sacrificing convenience. Its lightweight and compact design makes it an ideal choice for those seeking the best overall camping mattress that is a great addition to your backpacking gear.

This mattress is not self-inflating and does not come with an electric pump but is still simple to use. Featuring dual one-way valves and an included inflation sack, the NeoAir Topo Luxe has an effortless setup, allowing campers to inflate and deflate the air pads on the mattress with ease.

Whether you’re setting up camp in a cold truck bed or pitching a tent in the wilderness, this mattress provides the right level of support and insulation for a comfortable night’s sleep.

Its innovative design incorporates features like two stacked layers of triangular baffles to create a stable surface while minimizing heat loss so you can stay warm and comfortable throughout the night.

With its compact packed size and lightweight construction, this mattress offers unmatched convenience for backpackers seeking the best sleeping experience possible.

Image by Hest

Hest’s relatively newcomer to the sleeping system market has spent no time assembling the best quality pads. The Foamy Sleeping Pad has become our favorite this year, combining a thick and soft foam memory layer with thoughtful features for camping.

This package includes a large pocket with enough storage space for storing your keys and your phone, waterproof material on its base surface, and a deployable “welcome mat” for dirty shoes.

The rapid setup and exceptional insulation for a cozy night’s sleep during outdoor adventures, make this sleeping pad hard to beat. This mattress features dual-density foam layers encased in durable fabric, providing relief from ground pressure points and effectively insulating against cold surfaces.

Despite its bulkiness and tricky rolling process, its swift setup makes it a preferred choice for late-night camp arrivals, though storage space may be a concern for some car campers who have limited space.

It has a removable, washable over, which is great for keeping your camping mattress clean. If you bring a friend, the mattress has clips so you can join two mattresses together.

With an impressive R-value of 8.8, the HEST Foamy provides outstanding warmth suitable for cold-weather camping.

The HEST Foamy offers unparalleled coziness with its layer-cake design, but its non-adjustable firmness and large size may pose challenges. Nevertheless, its impressive warmth, comfort, and rapid setup make it a compelling choice for campers who want to be as comfortable as possible.

Image by Exped

The Exped DeepSleep 7.5 camping mattress is a great budget-conscious inflatable mattress option offering extreme warmth and comfort. This camping mattress is 3 inches thick and provides ample surface area for a comfortable sleep.

It has foam insulation and with an impressive R-value of 8.5, the Exped DeepSleep 7.5 excels in providing insulation, making it suitable for cold-weather camping.

It has a 3-inch thick polyurethane foam for ultimate support, comfort, and warmth, and vertical sidewalls create a flat sleeping surface. The values for inflation and deflation are soft, nonprotruding, and easy to use.

This mattress is a self-inflating pad that requires about 30 minutes to self-inflate adequately. However, manual inflation might be necessary to fill with all the air possible. Deflation is straightforward with the one-way valve, but additional accessories like a hand/foot pump are recommended for easier inflation.

While the mattress packs down relatively small for an inflatable foam pad, its larger packed size compared to other options may pose storage challenges, particularly for those with limited space.

It’s a bit bulky for backpacking but it offers versatility for car camping. The DeepSleep offers excellent value for its warmth, comfort, and affordability, making it a compelling choice for campers who want an inflatable mattress that is warm and comfortable.

Image by Therm-a-rest

Those looking for a luxury inflatable, look no further. This self-inflating mat has a soft foam core and is notably about 5.75 inches tall.

The vertical sidewalls make a cushy 77×25 platform for optimal sleep. It is soft and strong, made to be tearproof, and includes adjustable foam that trims approximately a third of the volume.

The Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D camping mattress stands out as one of the best mattresses on the market, offering unparalleled luxury and comfort for car camping adventures. Its four-inch plush foam topper provides superior support and insulation, great for chilly conditions.

It has TwinLock valves and an included pump sack, so inflation is a hassle-free breeze. Despite its larger packed size, the MondoKing’s warmth and comfort make it a top choice for luxury camping trips, providing relief from the cold ground and preserving your heat so you’re cozy at night.

Whether used in a tent, truck bed, or camping cot, it offers luxurious comfort and support. The mattress’s StrataCore Foam construction is durable and made to last, making it a reliable companion for years of future camping.

Despite its higher price point, its performance and reliability make it a worthwhile investment for those looking to elevate their camping life with the best gear available.

With its high R-value and excellent insulation, it provides a luxurious sleeping space even in colder climates.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Camping Sleeping Pad

Camping Mattress Types

When choosing the best camping mattress to add to your camping and gear closet, it’s essential to consider different types such as self-inflating pads, foam mattresses, and air mattresses. The right sleeping bag can make a difference, but it won’t keep you snug without a comfortable pad.

Self-inflating mattresses are convenient and great for conserving space in your car or your backpack. A mattress made of foam is usually the most comfortable but may be bulky and large. Inflatable mattresses are often the smallest and lightest but may be less comfortable.

Stored Size

For car camping or backpacking, the stored size of your sleeping pad matters. Opt for options with a compact packed size, making them easy to transport and store in your vehicle or backpack.

Ease of Use

Selecting a camping mattress with easy-to-use features can enhance your overall camping experience. Look for pads with user-friendly mechanisms for self-inflation and deflation, saving you time and effort when setting up your sleeping area.

Whether you prefer self-inflating pads or mattresses that require manual inflation, selecting the right valve type can streamline your camping setup process. If you can, avoid mattresses that need pumps or don’t come with a pump or repair kit in the box.

Weight and Packed Size

Consider the weight and packed size of your sleeping pad, especially if you’re backpacking or hiking to your campsite. Opt for lightweight and compact options that won’t weigh you down on the trail but still offer sufficient comfort for getting rest.

Sidewall Design

The sidewall design of your camping mattress can impact its overall performance. Choose between vertical sidewalls for maximum sleeping surface area or tapered sidewalls for a lighter and more space-efficient design, depending on your preferences and camping style.

Other Stuff

Other factors to keep in mind include insulation properties, body heat retention, and compatibility with your current camping trip sleep systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most comfortable thing to sleep on when camping?

The most comfortable thing to sleep on when camping is a thick inflatable sleeping pad or foam pad. These provide insulation from the ground, cushioning for your body, and help distribute weight evenly for a more restful sleep.

Traditional sleeping pads are usually made of closed-cell foam and offer durability and insulation, inflatable options may offer greater comfort and packability, making them a popular choice for campers seeking the best night’s sleep on your trip.

What is the most comfortable camping mat?

The most comfortable camping mat often depends on personal preference and specific needs, but inflatable sleeping pads with thicker designs and added features tend to offer superior comfort.

The comfiest thing to sleep on when you’re camping will be a mat with built-in insulation, such as those with down or foam or baffles that provide warmth and cushioning simultaneously. Look for models with adjustable air chambers or foam layers that allow you to customize firmness to suit your comfort level.

Additionally, consider factors like weight, packability, and durability when selecting a camping mat to ensure it meets your camping needs while providing optimal comfort so you sleep well.

Is a foam mattress better than an air mattress camping?

Foam mattresses, such as closed-cell foam pads, offer durability, insulation, and simplicity since they don’t require inflation. They are ideal for rugged terrain and situations where punctures are a concern.

On the other hand, an air mattress provides customizable comfort with adjustable firmness and often offers thicker cushioning, making it more comfortable for some campers, especially when paired with a warm blanket or duvet.

However, they may require inflation, which can be inconvenient in remote areas without access to power. Ultimately, the best choice depends on factors like comfort preferences, camping environment, and ease of use.

What is the best sleeping option for camping?

Popular sleeping options for camping include inflatable sleeping pads, air mattresses, foam sleeping pads, hammocks, and camping cots.

Inflatable sleeping pads offer adjustable firmness and insulation, air mattresses provide thick cushioning and support, foam sleeping pads offer durability and insulation, hammocks provide a lightweight and portable sleeping option, and camping cots offer an elevated sleeping platform for added comfort and support.

Folding camp beds and camp stretchers can be a great solution for those who want to sleep off the ground away from biting insects and cold earth. You can add a deluxe sleeping mat or air mattress.

How do you get a good night’s sleep in a tent?

To get decent sleep in a tent, make sure you have a comfortable sleeping surface, such as an inflatable sleeping pad or foam mattress, to provide insulation and cushioning from the ground. Down sleeping bags offer the best warmth-to-weight ratio, but in damp conditions, synthetic ones are better.

Next, choose an appropriate bag rated for the expected temperature to keep you warm throughout the night.

A three-season tent is usually more than adequate. Dome tents are ideal if you’re camping on exposed precipices or hard ground. Setting up your tent on a flat and level surface away from rocks or roots can prevent discomfort in the night.

Maintain good ventilation by partially unzipping tent windows or using mesh panels to reduce condensation and keep the air inside fresh. Pack extras that will make you more comfortable like a pillow, ear plugs, eye mask, and a hot water bottle.

What are the disadvantages of an air mattress?

While offering comfort and adjustability, they may come with several disadvantages. One primary concern with air beds is their susceptibility to punctures, which can deflate the mattress and leave you without proper support during the night.

Additionally, air mattresses can be bulky and challenging to inflate without access to a power source, especially in remote camping locations. They may also lose air over time, requiring frequent reinflation, and some users find that they can be noisy with movements during the night.

Lastly, the lack of insulation in many air mattresses can make them less suitable for cold-weather camping, as they may not provide adequate warmth compared to foam or insulated sleeping pads.

What’s better than an air mattress for camping?

Another good alternative to mattress foam is memory foam. They are great for a person who likes to sleep comfortably without having the hassle and weight to carry on oversized mattresses.

The Best Camping Mattresses and Sleeping Pads

Choosing the best camping mattress might seem tricky with so many options out there, but with our guide, you can make sure you get the right mattress for you.

Making sure you research the right kind of insulation for your mattress will be your first step, then thinking about the size and how easy it will be to fit in your car and backpack. Price is always a consideration, to look for something within your budget that has the level of comfort and warmth that you will need.

You also want to make sure that it’s easy to set up and take down, so if you’re in a hurry, you aren’t stuck waiting or pumping for hours.

Our top pick for the best all-around camping mattress is the REI Co-op Camp Dreamer XL. This camping mattress is an all-rounder. It has the best of every feature: it is affordable, super comfortable, packs down well, is self-inflating, and warm.

But no matter whether you’re frontcamping, backcountry camping, or trekking, you can’t go wrong with one of our picks for the best camping mattresses. It’s time to have a good night’s rest, even in the woods.
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