Just because you’re going camping, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort while sleeping. Air mattresses, camping pillows, and other sleep gear can make your camping experience even better and today, we have the best mattresses and sleep gear for camping.
It can be hard to find mattresses, pillows, and accessories that are comfortable, convenient, and within your budget. Luckily, I’ve tested tons of different sleeping gear for camping, and I can honestly say that these six are a cut above the rest. Whether you’re backpacking or glamping, you’ll find something that will work for you.
For even more in-depth information, scroll down to our buyer’s guide section. There, we answer all of your burning questions about how to find the best mattresses and sleep gear for camping.
Our Top Picks
The best mattresses for camping are:
The best pillows for camping are:
The best accessories for camping are:
The following 3 air mattresses, 2 pillows, and 2 sleeping accessories will make your next camping trip even better. Pay attention to how compact, comfortable, and budget-friendly each item is so you get the best option for your specific camping needs.
Enerplex Air Mattress
Enerplex Air Mattress
The Enerplex Air Mattress was designed for both indoor and outdoor use. It’s made from durable, waterproof, puncture resistant PVC plastic. On top of this plastic, it has a soft cover for comfort.
The firmness is customizable based on how much you inflate or deflate the mattress. Plus, inflation and deflation go fast! It inflates in less than 2 minutes, but you need an outlet to plug it in, so it might not be best for all camping scenarios.
What Makes The Enerplex Air Mattress Stand Out?
- The puncture proof PVS plastic which makes this mattress water resistant and durable.
- You can inflate the mattress less to make it softer, inflate it more for a firmer feel.
- It’s easy to move around on and has good edge support, making it ideal to share with a partner, friend, or family member.
The Enerplex Air Mattress is a great mattress for outdoor and indoor proof. This mattress is durable because of the puncture resistant PVC plastic. It also has a soft cover on top for extra comfort.
Intex Air Mattress
Intex Air Mattress
Intex is a company which offers models specifically for camping as well as more luxury models. Intex Air Mattresses have fiber-tech technology to make it less likely to pop if punctured when used outside.
The firmness is also customizable due to how easy it easy to inflate and deflate. It has a horizontal toggle switch which makes it quick and easy to inflate and deflate this mattress. The Intex takes 4 minutes and 30 seconds to inflate and about 5 minutes for it to deflate.
What Makes The Intex Stand Out?
- The Fiber-Tech construction provides the air mattress with extra durability and should prevent leakage and popping for a good amount of time.
- It has a special edge support system which is perfect for sleeping with partners, friends, or family.
- The Intex Air Mattress is a comfortable and quality product that is sold for a very affordable price.
Read the full Intex air mattress review
The Intex Dura Beam is a thicker more substantial air mattress that should be a good fit for house guests.
Coleman Air Mattress
Coleman Air Mattress
Coleman has been around since the 1900s and is known for designing all things camping, including this air mattress made for indoor and outdoor use. Its thick PVC helps prevent it from being punctured when in a tent or outside. Plus, it’s super durable! You can use it for many camping trips to come.
It provides excellent support and comfort to side sleepers and back sleepers. Since its firmness can’t be customized, it might not be the best choice for stomach sleepers.
What Makes The Coleman Stand Out?
- The Coleman air mattress was designed for camping and outdoor use.
- This Coleman air mattress is both durable and affordable, making it a good, long-lasting value.
- It provides excellent support and comfort to side sleepers and back sleepers.
Read the full Coleman air mattress review
The Coleman Double High Support Rest is an excellent option for those who need an air mattress for indoor and outdoor use.
Nemo Fillo Pillow
Nemo Fillo Pillow
The Nemo Fillo pillow was designed to be compact, making it the perfect camping pillow. It features an ergonomic valve that lets you inflate the pillow in seconds. When not inflated, it can pack down to the size of a potato.
It’s also designed for usability and comfort. The pillow shape naturally cradles your head for optimal support. If you want extra fluff and a place to store clothes, the Nemo Fillo pillow has a stuff sack where you can put in clothing and–true to its name–stuff.
What Makes The Nemo Fillo Stand Out?
- The Nemo Fillo has an ergonomic valve that lets you inflate the pillow in seconds.
- It’s designed to naturally cradle your head for optimal support
- It packs down to the size of a potato and is great for travel.
The Nemo Fillo pillow is a compact pillow that's perfect for travel and camping. You inflate the pillow in seconds thanks to its ergonomic valve. It packs down to the size of a potato.
Thermarest Compressible Pillow
Thermarest Compressible Pillow
The Thermarest Compressible Pillow balances comfort and a compact design. When sleeping, the pillow can expand into a 4 inch thick pillow but it can also compact down thanks to its drawstring and cord lock for travel.
While not as compact as the Nemo Fillo pillow, it’s super compressible and weighs less than 9 ounces. It is also fluffier than the Nemo so it’s better for those who value comfort and have extra space in their camping gear.
What Makes This Pillow Stand Out?
- It’s comfortable, yet compressible.
- Drawstrings and cord lock keep the pillow compressed when not in use.
- You can shake and fluff the pillow for maximum comfort.
Read our full review of the Thermarest Compressible Pillow.
The Thermarest Compressible Pillow balances comfort and a compact design. The pillow expands into a 4 inch thick pillow but it can also compact down and weighs less than 9 ounces.
Alaska Bear Sleep Mask
Alaska Bear Sleep Mask
The Alaska Bear Sleep Mask was made for traveling and for blocking out light. Its compact, adjustable size makes it easy to pack for a camping trip and to adjust for many different sizes of people.
Since it’s made of a Mulberry silk, it feels particularly nice against the skin.
Secondly, this sleep mask is a good match for any sleep position. Whether you sleep on your back, stomach, or side, this mask will stay snug on your face.
What Makes The Alaska Bear Stand Out?
- The Alaska Bear is black and blocks out almost all light.
- The sleep mask can be used in any sleeping position.
- The Alaska Bear can be easily washed at home using cool water and mild soap.
Check out our picks for the best sleep masks.
The Alaska Bear has a classic look and is made with Mulberry silk, so it feels nice on the skin and blocks the majority of light.
Mack’s Slim Fit Ear Plugs
Mack’s Slim Fit Ear Plugs
Mack’s Slim Fit Ear Plugs work with most ears and does a good job cancelling any noise. These ear plugs are affordable for any camping and are compact, making them fit in any sized camping bag. These ear plugs should be disposed of when you’re done using them.
What These Ear Plugs Stand Out?
- Made with urethane foam
- Can’t be cleaned and should be disposed of when they become soiled
- A good option for small or sensitive ear canals
Check out our top picks for the best ear plugs.
Mack's Slim Fit foam earplugs are a wonderful value based on volume and price. The Slim-Fit style seamlessly works in most average- or petite-size ear canals, staying put and reducing disruptive noise.
How to Sleep Better When Camping
Getting a good night’s sleep while camping can enhance your trip. It’s important to put thought into your sleeping gear to sleep better when camping. Some things which can help you sleep better are:
- Bringing a compact camping pillow
- Sleeping on an air mattress
- Having the right sleep accessories, such as ear plugs, a sleep mask, and a sleeping bag
What Do You Sleep on When Camping?
No two camping experiences are alike. Some camping adventures are intense backpacking trips through mountain ranges while others are at a family campsite with amenities to enjoy the great outdoors. What type of camping trip you’re on determines what you should sleep on.
For more rugged camping trips, you could sleep on a tarp or a mattress pad, so long as you have a sleeping bag to go on top of it. It’s not advisable to sleep on the bare ground. If you have more space, you could bring a bulkier mattress mat or, for optimal comfort, an air mattress. Camping air mattresses will take up a lot of space, but they are one of the most comfortable options.
How to Choose a Mattress for Camping
When looking at mattresses to take with you on camping trips, there are a couple of key points to keep in mind. First off, the gear you buy should be convenient and compact so it’s easy to take anywhere. It should also be comfortable. Since camping equipment can get expensive, you want to make sure your sleep gear fits within your budget as well.
When searching for your mattress for camping, several factors come into play. We’ve outlined the most important ones below.
If your bed feels too soft or too firm, you may end up sleeping in an unnatural position. Here at Mattress Clarity, we measure firmness using a scale from one to ten. The industry standard, also known as medium firm, ranks at 6.5/10.
The great thing about air mattresses is that you can usually adjust their firmness level. If your mattress is too firm, you can let out air to make it softer. If your mattress is not firm enough, you can add air to make it firmer. Some air mattresses, such as the Enterplex Air Mattress and Intex Air Mattress, make it easier to adjust firmness than others.
Puncture Proof Plastic
Not all air mattresses were made for outdoor use. Some are better suited for guest rooms or to take when visiting a friend’s house. If you take an indoor air mattress outside, it could be punctured by a stick. To make sure your air mattress is nature-proof, look for puncture proof plastic (also called puncture proof PVC).
Most air mattresses will feel bouncy as opposed to soft and slow-moving. However, when it comes to the feel of the mattress, you might also be concerned with if it has a soft cover on top of the plastic mattress. A softer cover might make the air mattress more comfortable to sleep on.
Especially when camping, it’s important to know what you need to set up and take down your air mattress. Some air mattresses need a separate pump to inflate while others have a built-in pump. Others need to be plugged into an outlet to inflate, which could be an issue depending on where you are camping.
It’s also important to consider how long it takes to inflate and deflate the mattress. Air mattresses can take anywhere from 2 minutes to over 20 minutes to inflate or deflate. Make sure the air mattress you buy fits in with the time you have to set it up and take it down while camping.
Of course, you’ll want to consider your wallet when shopping for an air mattress. Air mattresses range from budget-friendly to pricey. Oftentimes, it’s not necessary to splurge on the most luxurious air mattress, but you will want one which was designed for outdoor use.
Air mattresses will not be as durable as regular mattresses. Some features can ensure they last longer, such as if they have puncture proof features in their construction.
How to Choose the Best Pillows for Camping
I’ve used a balled up shirt as a pillow when camping and can say that it’s not a good idea unless you want your neck to ache. Instead, consider buying a small compact camping or travel pillow. Here’s what to consider when looking for a pillow for camping.
When camping, you want to make sure you have a compact pillow which will fit anywhere. Some features which will make your pillow more compact include drawstrings and valves.
Some camping pillows are designed to be light and fluffy while others offer a more firm feel. Pay attention to whether the pillow is deigned to provide support for your head or if it feels light and malleable.
Construction can play a big role in how a pillow feels and how compact it can be. Some camping pillows are constructed completely from memory foam while others have a stuff sack where you can place clothing to make the pillow fluffier when sleeping.
Other Sleep Accessories for Camping
If you’re on the hunt for even more sleep accessories for your next camping trip, we have you covered! Having a sleep mask or good pair of ear plugs can ensure you’re not woken up by light or sound in the middle of the night.
A sleep mask can help block light, ensuring you get enough sleep for the next adventure on your camping trip. If you’re extremely concerned about blocking light, look for black or darker colored sleep masks.
It’s also important that your sleep mask is compact and easy to carry with you. Some sleep masks have tiny pillows inside, which can make them more difficult to camp with. Look for small, compact sleep masks made entirely out of fabric.
If you don’t want to wake up from noise in the middle of the night, investing in a pair of ear plugs could be a good idea. When looking for a pair of ear plugs, determine if you want reusable ones or disposable ones that you can throw away once you’re done.
It’s also important to look at how the ear plugs are designed. Generally, ear plugs with a smaller, sleeker design will fit in a variety of ear types and block out noise well.
Let’s answer come of the most frequently asked questions for sleep gear for camping.
What is the best thing to sleep on when camping?
This depends on personal preference and what sort of camping adventure you are going on. If you have extra packing space, an air mattress will be one of the most comfortable things to sleep on when camping.
How can I make my tent more comfortable?
You can make your tent more comfortable by buying sleep gear designed for camping. Air mattresses, camping pillows, and other sleeping accessories can improve your experience sleeping in a tent. Placing your tent on a flat surface instead of a rocky or uneven one can also make your tent more comfortable.
What is the best air mattress for camping?
This depends on personal preference. When looking for an air mattress, consider how compact it is, what it will need to inflate and deflate, if it’s puncture proof, and if it was designed for outdoor use. Some great air mattresses for camping are the Enerplex Air Mattress, the Intex Air Mattress, and the Coleman Air Mattress.
Do air mattresses make you cold camping?
While air mattresses do sleep colder than other camping beds, proper insulation can help you sleep warm. If you’re camping during a colder time of the year, consider investing in a sleeping bag made for cold weather or other insulated sleep gear.
Do I need a camping pillow?
While you don’t need a camping pillow, it will make your camping experience much more comfortable. A camping pillow can stop head and neck aches, help you sleep better, and ensure you’re well rested.
How to inflate an air mattress when camping?
The easiest option is to bring along an electric pump. A manual pump could also be an option as well. Some air mattresses, however, need to plug into an outlet to inflate.
Angela is a staff writer at Mattress Clarity. She analyzes sleep products and appears in review videos. She is passionate about how a good night’s sleep contributes to better physical and mental health. Angela earned her B.A. in Professional Writing and Rhetoric at Elon University. When not writing about sleep health, she can usually be found running, whether to the bookstore or to train for her next half marathon.