How comfortable is your bed when you go camping? Your immediate response might be that you don’t get to sleep in a bed when camping and have to make do with a bag on the ground. While this is the rougher, more traditional method for backpackers and those that want to get back to nature, there is an alternative.
If you have enough room in your tent and would prefer to sleep on a mattress, a portable inflatable mattress could be a better solution for a comfortable night. Better yet, you could benefit from a self-inflating air mattress. In this guide, you will find reviews of some of the best queen self-inflating air mattresses around right now. Before that, let’s consider why these self-inflating options are so popular, and what to look out for when choosing one.
Why are airbeds such a good choice for a spare bed?
There are lots of reasons why we might choose to own an airbed, these air-inflated mattresses can act as great temporary places to sleep as you can set them up and deflate them as needed. This temporary nature then means that you can adapt spare rooms, switching between study/games room and spare room with ease. This can be easier and more affordable than buying another traditional bed frame and mattress.
Also, these inflatable beds are a popular choice for camping. Those that camp regularly can find greater comfort in a large, raised bed like this than sleeping on a mat in a sleeping bag. This especially true for parents that want a little comfort on a camping trip or couples that want to make it easier to spend the night together.
What does it mean to have a self-inflating air mattress?
self inflating simply means that you can press a switch or work a dial and the built-in pump will do all the hard work. You could place the folded material and its adjoining pump in the right space, walk away to carry out another task and return to find a useable mattress. Typically, this takes around 3 minutes when using the better models. You should then be able to make adjustments as needed. This can be a welcome change to products that require manual inflation.
Are self inflating mattresses a better choice?
There are pros and cons to choosing a self inflating option. On the one hand, you have a system that is easy to use and doesn’t require the same manual labor as using a pump. Therefore, pretty much anyone should be able to set this up and get the right firmness. On the other, you have a system that requires electronic power. At home, a model with an electric cord is fine but you will need a generator when camping. Battery-powered options may be more convenient but aren’t always as effective. You have to be sure that the product will suit your intended purpose.
What to look out for when choosing the best air mattress for camping.
1) The dimensions.
Let’s start with the dimensions of the bed. First of all, you need to be sure that it is actually a queen you are ordering. Some online listings have a habit of making their products look big and then only offering doubles or twins. The dimensions listed will give an idea of length and width, and this can vary by a few inches. Here you should also see the height. This is the factor that varies the most as there are some big thick mattresses, some that are thinner and more portable, and others that come with frames.
2) The inflation time.
You are only going to get the mattress at that advertised size if you have the best possible built-in pump for self-inflation. The time taken isn’t that big a deal if you go for a good product. These systems tend to only take between 3 to 5 minutes. That extra two minutes won’t be that noticeable unless it is a complete emergency. Any longer than that and the pump may not be that strong. At the same time, you can look at the deflation time and how easy it is to switch between the two modes.
3) The method of inflation.
As was mentioned above, there are a couple of different ways that you can inflate a self inflating mattress. The first is via an electric cord. This is preferable if you have an outlet nearby as it saves time and is more reliable. Look at the length of the cord to be sure it is suitable. The alternative is a battery-operated option. This is better for camping away from power outlets. But, you do need to get enough batteries for the system. Also, look out for auto-shut-off modes to save energy and reduce the risk of over-inflation.
4) The comfort offered.
None of these practical features are worth anything if the mattress isn’t comfortable to sleep on. There are two factors to look for here. The first is the firmness of the structure when inflated. It should have just the right feel for support. The structure of the chambers will help here, and some companies add in coils. Then there is the comfort of the material on top. The best mattresses will use a soft material that feels good against the skin. This stops you from needing bed sheets.
5) The durability of the materials.
Reliable inflation and a comfortable sleeping surface are essential. However, you also have to be sure that the materials will last. The best self inflating mattresses will have thick PVC that is puncture resistant and allows for a firm feel. Still, there are risks of deflation and degradation of materials over time. Some last better than others so it helps to read customer testimonials to get the best idea of the longevity of a product.
6) The look of those materials.
You might not think that the look of an inflatable bed is that important. However, don’t forget that you will see a lot of the structure as there is no bed frame. Also, you will see the sleeping surface if you don’t use bed sheets. That is why companies do their best to offer attractive color options, especially for the material on top. You can find beds in neutral tones with bright pink or blue surfaces. Of course, if you can’t find a nice-looking option, soft furnishings will hide the worst of it.
7) The ease in storing and transporting the mattress.
Another consideration here is how easy it is to store the mattress when not in use and to transport it to the campground. Most mattresses should deflate down to a more compact size just by their nature as inflatable products. But, it helps if they come with some sort of bag for easy transportation. Be aware that some bags are easier to use than others. Oversized bags can help as there is room to be a little less precise without ripping something. You can then throw the bag in the car with your other luggage for your camping trip.
8) Any additional features that could be of use.
Storage bags aren’t the only item of interest to add to a features list for a top self inflating queen-sized mattress. There are rare models that have a more traditional bed-frame attached. One such product is in this guide and, as you will see, there are pros and cons to this approach. Other little details like cord storage can also help. Always compare specifications carefully to see what is on offer and, more importantly, what might be missing.
9) The cost.
Finally, we have to talk about the cost of these mattresses. The prices vary from some of the cheap and basic options to those that may be a little overpriced. There are some great affordable options around the $70-$120 mark that have the inflation speed, comfort, and standard features necessary. You can pay more for something with special extras and proven longevity. Be careful opting for anything cheaper as there may be features missing and it may be prone to damage.
Below are eight of the best queen self inflating mattresses for camping. You will find a lot of similarities in the features as well as subtle differences. These can make a big difference on effectiveness and comfort. At the end, hopefully you will have a better idea of which self inflating mattress is best for you.
This first option is one that ticks a lot of important boxes regarding the criteria above. The inflation rate is one of the fastest that you will find. The promise here is that the reliable electric air pump gets the mattress up to full inflation in just 3 minutes. By the time you leave the tent to get your bedding out of the car, it should be ready. Then, the deflation is said to take just 3 minutes and 30 seconds. The precision in differentiating between the two shows some honesty here. Once inflated, it is a good size, not too big or too small. There are some beds that raise you way above the ground and others that are a bit thin. The full dimensions here are 81 x 62 x 10 inches. 10 inches is more than enough and you get an extra inch or two in length compared to some other options.
As for the comfort provided, there is a nice flocked material on top that should feel nice against the skin. However, there is a recommendation to use bedsheets when in daily use. This shouldn’t be an issue when camping. Also, that material is waterproof in case of any dampness or spills. The rest of the bed is an extra-thick, non-toxic PVC for added reliability. It also comes with a carry bag to make it easier to store and transport.
There aren’t too many issues here as there are high marks across the board. But, there is a warning from the company to refill the air mattress as many as five times when stretching the mattress to its maximum elasticity. Again, this shows some welcome transparency about the product.
This next option is the strangest one in this guide because it is the only one to include a frame. Furthermore, this isn’t a separate, additional frame to place under the mattress. Instead, it is built-in. The idea is that the frame automatically extends into place as the mattress inflates. The benefit here is that this removes the ugly structure and gives some height with a sturdy support. From there, there is the bonus rolling duffel storage case. This should help with storage and transportation as needed.
When inflated and unfolded, the mattress is 79” by 61” and 24” off the floor. The weight capacity is 450lb, which is lower than some other options in this guide. Still, there should be enough comfort for occasional use with the combination of the firm mattress with its 48 coils and the plush cover.
Unfortunately, there are some issues to be aware of with this sort of product. The first is that there are some poor ratings on durability in user reviews. There is the sense that this is a weaker choice that might not hold its firmness for as long as other options. Then there is the fact that the larger folded dimension and height with the frame make this less suitable for camping. This is an interesting option, but it all depends on the intended purpose.
Before we move on to other brands, it is important to note that there is an alternative version of that Ivation Ez-bed for a little extra money. This one stands out because it has an additional feature with “deflate defender tech”. What this means is that the pump should become aware of any decline in the firmness of the mattress and adjust accordingly. Ideally, it will do so during the night without you noticing. The bonus of the secondary silent pump should help there.
This model also makes use of heavy-duty dual-layer laminated PVC, with the company highlighting this as an extra perk in comparison tables. This may explain why there were complaints about durability with the other model if that doesn’t have the same type of PVC. There is also an extra years warranty in case of issues. Otherwise, it is the same bed with the same dimensions, built-in frame, and inflation rate. The addition of the extra pump doesn’t seem to affect the stability or smooth unfolding mechanism on that frame. The soft material on the top should also be the same.
While there may be fewer issues regarding the longevity of the bed, you are still faced with the same problem of the size and folded dimensions. Is this a great technological invention for your high-end camping experience or too much for nights outdoors?
This option from iDoo was the #1 new release in air mattresses at the time of writing this guide. The range of features and the benefits on offer suggest that it will remain a top seller and recommended option for a long time. So much about this product is what we need when camping. The inflation rate is ideal, with the mattress reaching its full size in no more than 4 minutes, and deflating to its compact shape at around the same rate. This is another mattress with a quiet pump so as not to disturb other people, especially if you decide to set it up late at night. When fully inflated, it is 80″ x 60″ x 18″.
Users can also enjoy what iDoo calls a “Skin-friendly” soft top layer and then a heavy-duty multi-layer body with puncture-resistant PVC. There are 40 air coils to improve the support and maintain the firmness of the surface. From there, there are three extra features that can also make a big difference to users. The first is the oversized carry bag. As mentioned above, this can make storage a lot quicker and easier. You also get the non-skid bottom, which is great if using this indoors on hard floors, and a cord storage.
There isn’t much to say against this product. If you wanted to be picky, there are other models with more coils for extra support. Also, 18 inches might be too tall for a lot of campers. But, it is easy to get over that small issue for the other advantages offered.
Next, we need to look at something on the cheaper end of the scale. There are pros and cons to going as cheap as this. It may actually be better to wait for another model to go on sale if you have a small budget. However, if you are prepared to compromise for this low cost, you might be fine. The main compromise here is the use of the battery-powered pump. A good battery-powered option, perhaps a rechargeable one, could be effective without the need for a power outlet. However, there are comments that this one takes a little while to become fully inflated. In some cases, users had to resort to a manual pump to finish it off. There are also some negative comments about the thinner material – which is what you should expect at this price.
However, there is also a lot to like about this option. Once inflated, it is still a supportive and comfortable choice that could work in a lot of situations. You have the firm material for the structure, which includes some large valves for a more efficient process, as well as the soft material on top. The dimensions are also pretty good at 78″ by 60″ by 9″. It would have been easy for the company to cut costs by making this a bit smaller. The height isn’t as much as other options, but 9” is great for camping. The length is only moderately shorter than the bigger options too.
This is another option that seems to do everything that we need from a reliable self inflating mattress. This is part of their standard series, which suggests a product for everyday use with helpful features and no thrills. This seems to be the case judging by the specification. There are no special extra features other than a standard duffel bag for storage.
The rest of the specification is familiar but in a good way. We have seen a lot of this in some of the best self inflating mattresses in this guide. The inflation rate is stated as 3 and a half minutes approximately. It is always nice when they say approximately rather than insisting it is never any more than 3 minutes. There is also a similar dual-chamber structure as the option above, but this time the material seems to be stronger and thicker. There is also the softer sleeping surface and dimensions of 60 x 20 x 80 inches with a 600-pound capacity. This makes it one of the largest here.
The biggest potential issue here is that some users a slow leak. The air gradually drops after full inflation and this becomes noticeable after a while. This pump doesn’t have that smart deflation detection, so you will have to reinflate the next day. This all suggests that this mattress is better for short-term use, such as camping, than for use in a guest bedroom.
There are a couple of things that stand out when looking at this next option from Alpha Camp. The first is that while other companies are more cautious with their estimated times, this one has a promise of a fully inflated bed in under three minutes. Again, that little extra speed doesn’t mean much in the real-life scenario of setting up your tent, but it still sounds impressive. The other is the fact that you can adjust the inflation levels for optimal firmness. This is great if you don’t like the standard firm feel of a fully inflated mattress. You can play with the dial and see what feels right.
Otherwise, a lot of the features and benefits are the same as in other top models. You get the same “Skin-friendly” material with that soft flocked top. This sits on an extra-thick, puncture-resistant PVC. There are some great comments about durability and tension that suggest this will last a while. As for the size, it is 78 x 60 x 18 inches with that high weight allowance of 600 pounds.
There aren’t too many obvious problems here to hold buyers back. However, there doesn’t appear to be any form of a carry bag for storage. This could have been an easy addition to finish the package off nicely.
This final option from HouseDay is one that really wants to emphasize the benefits it has over other options from competitors. The promise here is that this is “30% more puncture-resistant, 30% more abrasion resistant, and features 30% more tensile strength”. This is a big promise and it is difficult to tell how accurate it is without testing a lot of mattresses under the same conditions. There are certainly enough positive comments to suggest that this might be durable enough for long-term use.
No matter the true strength of the materials, there are plenty of other benefits here. The mattress is said to inflate in the average time of 3 minutes, there is the same sort of soft flocked material on top for comfort, and the structure seems to be pretty good. The fully inflated bed measures 80″ x 60″ x 18″ and there is an automatic shut-off system to save power when fully inflated or deflated.
There aren’t many bad comments about the features used here. However, there are mixed comments about sleep quality and firmness. This is an important point to end on here because this can happen with so many of these mattresses. Comfort and satisfaction are all subjective and while one person sleeps like a baby on one type of mattress, another will toss and turn. Don’t worry too much about this and focus more on how to adapt the mattress to suit your needs.
Choosing the best air mattress for camping for your needs.
As you can see, there are some great products that share some similar features and perks. It is easy to find a comfortable bed at the right size with a soft cover, strong build, and fast inflation time. From there, you can compare options based on the extra features, the look of the mattress, and if it fits in with your budget. The right product is out there and it could make a big difference to how you sleep on your next camping trip.