Car camping is on the rise in popularity, offering casual campers the chance to get closer to nature without compromising too much in terms of ease and comfort. However, for some, such as those suffering from a bad back, or those who are way past their prime or light sleepers, sleeping inside the car or on the hard ground can still be difficult. This is where the convenience of an outdoor air mattress comes in, offering you the luxury of a comfortable sleep while outdoors. With there being so many options on the market, it can be difficult to choose the one that is right for you. Fortunately, we did the research for you and created this guide to help you choose the best air mattress for car camping.
Best Overall: SoundAsleep Camping
Designed specifically for outdoor use, the SoundAsleep Camping air mattress is the best all-round purchase option for car campers. The air mattress comes in two sizes – twin and queen. The smaller twin size bed is compact enough to fit over the back seating of a large SUV. Both are 9 inches in height, ideal for camping as they don’t take up too much vertical space. Built with high-grade PVC, this bed is water-resistant, sturdy, and can withstand the abuse from outdoor elements reasonably well. The bed comes with a powerful pump with a rechargeable battery. With the pump, the mattress fully inflates in less than 3 minutes. Portability is always an important factor when ranking outdoor gears. This bed weighs just 9 lbs (the Queen Size weighs 13.7 lbs) and comes with convenient storage for easy carry, making it a highly portable mattress option for the outdoors.
What we did dislike about it was how surprisingly loud its little pump was. On a quiet night in the wildness, the sudden shrieking of the pump as you inflate the mattress can be quiet jarring. The pump also doesn’t feature any charging indicator, so you left unsure of whether you fully charged it or not.
- Designed for the outdoors
- Electric pump with a rechargeable battery
- Fast inflation
- No charging indicator on the pump
- Noisy pump
Best lightweight: Lightspeed Outdoors Deluxe
For those who like to pack light on their trips, the Lightspeed Outdoors Deluxe is one of the best air mattresses for car camping out there. It is very lightweight – less than 5 lbs in total. For some perspective, this is just 40% heavier than a Macbook Air, and lighter than an adult house cat. The outdoors mattress features a patented stabilizer system which allows which aids in distributing the weight evenly to keep the surface flat throughout use. It comes with a nifty carry bag for easy carry.
As for drawbacks, the biggest one probably has to do with inflating the mattress. The battery-powered pump it comes with feels way underpowered, and it can take a fair amount of time before the bed is fully inflated. Also, since there is no covering over the top of the mattress to reduce weight, heat insulation is poor. This bed will not be the best choice for camping in cold weather. This lack of a soft covering also makes the bedding material squeak when you move over it.
- Durable, abrasion-resistant PVC free material
- Patented stabilizer system
- Batteries sold separately
- Hard to inflate
- Not suitable for cold weather
Most Durable: Stansport Self-Inflating Air Mattress
If you want a long-lasting, dependable air mattress that you can take anywhere with you and is also very economical in taking up space, look no further than Stansport Self-Inflating Air Mattress. Stansport has built a strong reputation for providing quality camping gear. Their new air mattress is no different. Another major appeal of this excellent air mattress is that is it self-inflating. There is no air pump required; simply open the cap, and the mattress will inflate by itself quickly. Its robust design can also withstand pressure very well, supporting a weight up to 300 lbs without losing its integrity.
This air mattress probably isn’t designed for the casual camper in mind as its thin bedding is not the comfiest to sleep on. Still, it is a way more comfortable option than trying to sleep in the cramped backseat of your car.
- Super durable
- Space-saving design
- Fast inflation
- Not the most comfortable
Best on a Budget: Intex Dura-Beam Standard
Offered at an incredibly affordable price, the Intex Dura-Beam Standard is our recommended option for those wanting to be a little light on their wallet. Despite the low price, there is little compromise on quality. The bed is durable enough to support a weight of up to 600 lbs and withstand the conditions of the outdoor environments. It is also very lightweight, inflates quickly, and quite comfortable to sleep on.
What we did not like about the overall product, however, was that the mattress does not come with any air pump. You will either have to buy one or use that of another mattress to inflate. Additionally, as commented by many purchasers, this air bed doesn’t hold in the air all that well. After every few days or so, you will have to re-pump the mattress to ensure it retains its firmness. Also, the uncovered bedding is squeaky, and this can be particularly inconvenient for light sleepers. With that said, however, given the low price of this air mattress, it still manages to provide you with great bang for the buck.
- Value for money
- Air pump not included
Best luxury: King Koil Queen Air Mattress
For those not wanting to compromise on luxury, the King Koil Queen Air Mattress is a perfect choice. It is composed of high-grade puncture-resistant material that is also water and weatherproof. The bedding is designed with maximum comfort in mind. The mattress comes with a built-in pillow and boasts enhanced air coils for maintaining the bed’s firmness and comfort. It comes featuring a heavy-duty built-in pump for fast inflation – the whole process takes just 2 minutes. The bed is sturdy enough to withstand 350 lbs of weight (For the queen size version, it is 600 lbs).
Of course, its high luxury comes as a compromise to its portability. It is a fairly bulky air mattress – the smallest twin size version itself weighs a hefty 16 lbs. When fully inflated, it has a height of around 20 inches, which makes it a fairly voluminous mattress for the outdoors. Additionally, compared to other choices on our list, this bed is very pricey.
- Highly comfortable
- Fast inflation
- Exceptional material quality
- Takes up a lot of space
There are a lot of factors one should take into account when choosing the best air mattress for car camping. The most important is the dimensions of the outdoors bed. For car camping, you would want one that can fit nicely in your car, and doesn’t take up too much space when not in use. Comfort is another factor worth considering when purchasing a bed. You would want one that helps you sleep more soundly rather than keep you sleep deprived at night. If you value convenience, its inflation rate and the type of pump it comes with should also be taken into consideration. The SoundAsleep Camping ranks high in all these criteria, but each of the other great air mattresses would be a great purchase depending on your specific needs.