Choosing a Camping Air Mattress

When people go camping, they generally fall into two different categories: those who can sleep on the ground and those who cannot. For those who cannot do, they teach. Since I find myself in the no-can-sleep-on-the-ground camp, I hope to share my knowledge of comfy air mattresses with likeminded campers. Here are some general points to look for in a camping air mattress.

Boy camping with air mattress

Lighter vs. Heavier Air Mattresses

There are several components to keep in mind when searching for the right camping air mattress. Everyone cares about comfort, but if this is your main concern, then it's worthwhile to get a heavier, more durable, and ultimately more comfortable air mattress. For people who camp close to home or with young kids probably fall into this category.

For people who typically hike to their camp spot and then go rock climbing with Chuck Norris might consider a lighter air mattress. The light weight comes from the lighter material and less amount used. While these kinds of air mattresses are still durable, they don't have the same toughness of the heavier air mattresses. An added bonus is they're typically cheaper than the heavier air beds.

Electric Pump vs. Hand or Foot Pump

It might seem like a no-brainer to go with the electric pump because it does all the work for you. You must consider how far you have to walk to your destination. Obviously most people will drive most of the way, but if you have a mile hike to your campsite it would be best not to have an electric pump.

Just as a quick note when you go shopping for pumps, websites will refer to a pump as having a DC or AC plug in. This refers to whether it plugs into the car or into the wall. AC is for a wall outlet and DC is adapted for a 12-volt car outlet.

If you're browsing our website, we offer two electric pumps: the Intex Quick High PSI Indoor/outdoor Pump AC/DC and the Intex Quick-Fill Outdoor Electric Pump DC. Both pumps offer three different nozzles to adapt to any air mattress.

We also offer hand pumps and one foot pump. Our Intex 11 inch Bellows Foot Air Pump works to inflate and deflate your air mattress, and might be preferable if you have back problems so you don't have to bend over. Both hand pumps inflate on the fore and back strokes to make inflation much quicker.

Narrowing Down the Camping Brands

The most well-known camping brand has to be Coleman, since they sell other products related to camping. While the beds they make are great and suited for camping, there are other brands that also offer camping air mattresses.

The nice thing about the Coleman air beds is their Wrap 'N' Roll storage system. This makes take down a cinch and fitting an air mattress into your backpack space efficient and simple. Their heaviest camping air mattress is the Coleman Single High Wrap 'N' Roll King Air Mattress, which weighs in at 12 pounds. Most of the other air mattresses average at 9 pounds, with the Coleman SUV QuickBed Twin Air Mattress weighing in at 6 pounds. All the air mattresses have at least a 15 gauge material on the bottom, which is the recommended thickness for camping. Many of the air mattresses also include external battery pumps, making inflation much easier and less time consuming. The Coleman camping beds range in price from about $45.00 to $65.00.

Most of the camping air mattresses offered by Aerobed are heavier and therefore more suited for camping where you don't have to hike far. The heaviest, the Aerobed Extra High Adventure Queen Air Mattress, weighs in at 16 pounds. A bed this weight might not be the best option for campers who plan to carry their supplies in a pack. The vinyl for most of the camping air mattresses is at least 18 gauge vinyl on the bottom. These camping air beds also come with external pumps that have AC and DC adapters. This makes them adaptable for home and camping use, and you can get more out of your purchase. This extra durability is reflected in price. Aerobed camping beds range from $100.00 to $130.00.

The biggest pull with the Intex brand is the low price point of the air mattresses. Some do come with a hand pump, like the Intex Classic Downy Queen Air Mattress Set. This particular air mattress also comes with pillows that you can inflate. This helps maximize space on camping for those who are traveling light. Other air mattresses do not come with a pump, but this can be beneficial for people who have already invested in a pump. Most Intex air mattresses are built with wave beam construction, which is still comfortable but the edges aren't as strong. This is not as big of a deal considering all the camping air mattresses are 9 inches tall. As mentioned before, the Intex brand is typically cheaper, running from $25.00 to $50.00.

This is a very basic idea of things you should take into consideration when purchasing a camping air mattress. You know your needs and it's best to find an air mattress that will accommodate those needs. In the meantime, have fun camping.