Whether you’re going camping, trekking, hiking, or engaging in any outdoor activities with your family, friends, and loved ones, there is just one goal, and that is to unwind. Unplugging your mind and body from the stress and anxiety that you encounter in your daily lives is an essential practice that people should remember, whether they are living in an urban or rural area. So, allocate time to refresh your inner system to be more active and effective in your work or school life.
6 tips to make your camping mattress comfortable
- Choose the camping mattress that suits your needs
- Protect and consider it as your bed at home
- Adjust the ventilation and air inflation
- Look for a fitting pillow
- Prepare alternative pumps
- Bring repair tools and kits
If you go camping, usually, you and your companion(s) are preparing some suitable gear to use in the midst of your adventure. It will push you to conduct a little research on the possible and required things you need to pack. One of the most common pieces of equipment each camper needs is a camping mattress.
Since we talked about unwinding, sleeping and resting are factors that have a huge impact on your activity. However, most people expect not to sleep well while camping. Sleeping while on an adventure involves several issues, like ground surfaces, temperatures, insects, your tent’s size, and lastly, camping beds.
You should bear the word comfort in mind when selecting your tents and mattresses. Thus, always check the size, thickness, warmth, materials used, features, and various online reviews pertaining to those elements.
As we are highlighting the resting situation, let’s talk about how to make your camping mattress comfortable. Before you buy one, take note of its attributes, which will probably act greatly to solve your needs. Ask yourself if you seek lightweight materials? Or thick fabrics? Are you going to go to places with cold or hot weather? These few questions are just samples for you to formulate ideas on what to prepare.
Different types of camping mattresses
We have already tested numerous kinds of camping mattresses. These sleeping equipment are designed with special and unique features for specific uses. You should think of the portable mattress you are eyeing and wonder whether it will fit the place you will travel to.
Some manufacturers have structured their camping beds mainly from people’s needs and demands. Let’s discover the types of camping mattresses that may be relevant to your activities.
Self-inflating mats are commonly used by hikers and campers who are focused on comfort and ease of use. To clarify, this is not the only foam-filled type of camping bed. However, if you are searching for a compact bed, we can recommend this to you. But, what are self-inflating mats exactly?
These types of camping mattresses are powered by air. They are similar to air mattresses but are typically built with more foam. Often, the designs of these mats feature valves for inflation and deflation. Let’s have an overview of how these work.
If you turn the inflation valve, it will suction the air inside to blow up the bed, while the deflation valve removes the air and flattens the mat for packing it up. It is a piece of convenient equipment, especially for hikers who are normally resting in areas where night catches them.
But, as a reminder, they are not thick beds like pure air mattresses. Although they are set up with air, their form will remain as it is. Also, do not add more air to the inflated bed as this may result in damages. We advise you to use it and follow the instructions and specifications of the manufacturers to help your mattress last longer. These beds are considerably heavier than other camping beds. They also can’t be folded into small items.
A few notable brands that are now raising their names on the top of camping mattresses are Therm-a-Rest, REI, Alps Mountaineering, Exped International, Sea to Summit, and Coleman.
Air mattresses and self-inflating mats are almost alike in the sense that they are both set up with air. However, the framework of an air mattress is made to be inflated with more air and less foam. Thus, air mats are lighter than self-inflating mats. They can also be folded or rolled into the thinner fabric for backpacking benefits.
If you explore the physical visuals of air mattresses, you will see that they are very thick, similar to the bed you have at home. We call these portable beds because they will feel as if you were bringing your bed to your campsite.
This kind of mattress can be set up by pumping or blowing air into the valve. If you buy this, the package generally comes with pumps and other types of air mattresses are manufactured to be easily inflated with the only use of your mouth.
Some of the brands that are prominent for this equipment are SoundAsleep, Nemo Equipment, REI, Klymit, Kelty, and Exped International.
Although you may have noticed plenty of types of beds, this one might also steal your attention. This sleeping bed, designed by the manufacturers from the cot’s blueprint, offers unique features that are far from what we have previously mentioned.
Cots are assembled with sleeping fabric, poles, and stands. What we like about this type of sleeping equipment is that it elevates your body to repel the wetness or intense temperatures coming from the ground surfaces. You might say that air mattresses can also do this, but we noticed that their bottom parts are vulnerable to damages caused by the ground surfaces. On the other hand, with cots, the stand will serve as your support.
Even though cots are set up and made with different materials, they can be lined up to be under sleeping mattresses. Based on our observations on cots’ sleeping fabric, we have concluded that they are not thick nor equipped with foam. Thus, some manufacturers suggest bringing extra foam to complement the cot if users are looking for more comfort. This is highly recommended for hikers or trekkers because of the portable packing. All of the materials are detachable to become smaller and be placed inside your bags.
The top brands that are famous for this type of equipment are Coleman, KingCamp, Teton Sports, Therm-A-Rest, and Byer of Maine.
Foam pad/Closed-foam mat
This type of sleeping mattress is also called a closed-foam mattress. They have distinctive features compared to air mattresses and self-inflating mats. If those two aforementioned beds are air-driven, this one is built with foam only. Therefore, it does not require inflation actions nor pumps. All you need to do to fully set it up is roll and unroll it.
We find foam pads to be thin compared to inflatable mattresses. Meaning that they are quite uncomfortable since the ground surfaces will really affect your back because of the temperature and texture. So, if you are primarily seeking comfort, this type of bed may not satisfy you.
Aside from the said attributes, there are still commendable advantages to foam pads. First, they are quite easy to set up. We recommend this to people who can adjust to the situations and can sleep on any surfaces as installing them requires minimum actions.
Take note of the following brands if you are interested in sleeping pads: Big Agnes, Therm-A-Rest, Nemo, Alps Mountaineering, Klymit, Sea to Summit, and REI.
Intended use of camping mattresses
Apart from the different types of camping mattresses, we talked about another component you should give thought to — where you are going to use your camping mattress? Yes, this is an important question considering there are different categories based on the intended use of your camping mattress.
Are you taking your vehicle with you? Are you hiking? Maybe winter camping? It will play a huge role when choosing your equipment. To help you, we have deliberated over these categories, based on our evaluations of different camping mattresses and opinions from testers.
In this category, most people are traveling to camp somewhere with their cars. We noticed that families and friends are the people who usually love to do this, as they can bring their kids and belongings without being anxious about weight and the amount of stuff they can bring.
In this manner, you can carry heavy camping equipment and gear for the comfort of your companion when resting while waiting for your barbecues in front of the campfire.
Since you don’t have any restrictions with your baggage carry-on size, we recommend you to bring thick mattresses, like an air mattress or self-inflating mats. But, remember that not all inflatable beds have thick foam instilled, so you need to check the features and specifications of the camping mattress you are planning to buy. This type of camping is substantially engrossed in the scheme of enjoyment and relaxation.
As the name suggests, “winter” calls for mattresses with high R-value or insulation due to the cold weather. R-value is the measurement of the camping mats’ ability to preserve the heat. The higher the value, the better insulation from the cold weather.
We recommend you use well-insulated camping beds. There are some air mattresses and self-inflation mats that offer great protection from the cold temperatures you’ll be experiencing.
There also are camping beds that bear insulation with the use of artificial materials, as well as down-filled air mattresses. The latter is warmer than a standard insulated mattress with the same weight.
In the end, checking some of the ideal insulated mattresses will vastly influence how to gear yourself up for the camping experiences, so doing research is recommended.
You will be walking to far and high places while partaking in this type of camping. It may involve either hiking, biking, kayaking, or canoeing. Thus, the weight of your camping mattress is a key attribute that you must recognize and think of.
You may not want to carry heavy backpacks with extra gear held in your hand while engaging in adventures in rivers, mountains, or rough roads for an extended time. That is a serious struggle.
We recommend you choose from the types of camping beds we have reviewed above. Whichever of the air mattress, self-inflating mattress, cot, or foam pad you choose doesn’t matter, as long as it is lightweight and portable. Size and weight matter for your convenience and advantages while backpacking. In this way, you will not have to figure out how to compress your equipment inside your bag and deal with a heavyweight.
This is similar to regular backpacking. Although, some hikers or trekkers are meticulous about the things they bring in this kind of adventure. The customary mindset of a person, especially a newbie to hiking activities, is to fit all their essentials in their bags, which leads them to bring massive backpacks. This is in contrast to minimalist people’s mindsets.
They always question whether they’ll be needing this or that thing. They are just trying to make everything modest and uncomplicated. It’s a recommended attitude in this domain, as it will lessen your burden and let you enjoy everything throughout your adventure.
With such, we suggest you look for a lightweight, self-inflating or air mattress. Be careful while picking such inflatable beds because some may deceive you as they may look light online, but are actually heavy in reality.
Tips on making a comfortable camping air mattress
Even though you are able to choose and buy the perfect mattress for your camping needs, it is still important that you take good care of it. Sometimes, it will deteriorate if you utilize it constantly. And if that happens, the mattress will not be comfortable compared to the first time you used it.
Making your camping mattress comfortable requires many techniques. We will discuss them below.
- Choose the camping mattress that best suits your needs
Before you go on with your outdoor activities, of course, you have to choose the camping mattress that will entirely fit the place, type of camping, and temperature of the place. Although, if you selected your mattress in that manner, there are still things you should consider before making your purchase.
The quality of the sleeping bed is one of the things that you should check. Indeed, some mattresses are created for specific uses that may catch your attention, but if you check some reviews, you will sometimes notice that they don’t last as long as you thought.
We suggest you look for a camping mattress with excellent quality because you can be assured that you can use it longer, unlike cheaper ones. There is a huge possibility that you will be buying another mat if it gets damaged early.
It is better to own a durable material than buying a new one when the first one becomes unusable. Indeed, doing the latter will be a hassle and more expensive. When you seek quality in camping mats, read several reviews beforehand, as it will give you an idea of whether a specific model is really durable based on other people’s experiences.
- Protect and consider it as your bed at home
As we said, you should take care of your camping mattresses for your comfort, and also for the benefit of your sleeping equipment. If you are just going to use it irresponsibly, it will lower its quality and performance. You need to handle it like you handle your bed at home. In this way, you will feel more comfortable than with a standard sleeping mattress.
Usually, campers tend to spread their mats then crash on them, without thinking whether the ground surface affects their backs. How can you prevent this? You can add some mattress underpads or foam pads for thicker support from the ground. And if you can, bring some blankets, comforters, and sheet covers. That will satisfy you more when you sleep. It will help alleviate the cold temperatures coming from the ground.
If you prioritize comfort, we really recommend you elevate your camping mattresses, whatever the weather may be. It will not only give you solace but also protect your mattress from damages. Be reminded to inspect the ground before you lay down your tent and mattress.
Rocks and twigs can poke your mats and result in impairments. Thus, you better remove those before setting everything up. On the other hand, you can also place a cover under the mattress. You can use tarpaulins or any solid cover.
- Adjust the ventilation and air inflation
Adjusting the ventilation of your mattress is another thing you need to watch out for, especially if you are going to places with either cold or hot temperatures. If it’s cold, some mattresses have good insulation. However, we can’t deny the fact that the temperature won’t be totally apprehended with the sleeping mat alone.
This is why we suggest you regulate it by putting a thick cover on top of your mattress before you lay down on it. Air mattresses are filled with air and contain less foam, which makes your body cold, so be attentive to this factor.
If it can get cold, it can also get hot. Now, what to do in hot temperatures? First, you should ensure the temperature of the place you are going to, and find some mattresses with lower R-value because it has less insulation. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll get automatically cooler when you use it.
At times, the heat is unbearable. Thus, we suggest you elevate your mattress so that it will not absorb the temperature from the ground. You can find an alternative to raise it as long as it will strongly hold your mattress when you lie down.
As we already tackled the modifications depending on the temperature, let’s discuss the air levels. Most campers fully inflate their camping mattresses, which makes it harder when you lay down. So for comfort, properly tune the air inside your mattress to make it fair. Less air means a softer texture and surface. (Learn how to fix a leaky air mattress.)
- Look for a fitting pillow
Apart from the adjustments to be applied to your mattress, pillows also greatly contribute to your comfort. Even if some camping mats come with built-in pillows, it is not enough to provide you with coziness. Therefore, we suggest searching for pillows that will fit your needs.
It may be lightweight, small, or cheap, what is important is how you balance those gears for better or even the best relaxation. So, choose the right pillow for an unforgettable camping recreation experience.
- Prepare alternative pumps
If you buy an air mattress, most times, it comes with an air pump. Some are automatic or battery-operated pumps, and some are manual pumps. But, what if your pump stops working? There are still alternatives for that, and the first one is to blow into it with your mouth. However, that will leave you out of breath, so it is not recommended if your mattress needs a lot of air.
Thus, we suggest you bring pumps that operate manually. These pumps are not susceptible to non-operational cases. On the other hand, we find battery-operated pumps easy, but prone to running out of battery. Another recommendation is the use of blowers, but those will only work with electricity.
Look for items in your belongings in order to funnel the air to your bed. Aside from those, bicycle pumps are an alternative, especially if you are biking during your trip. You can use those to pump your mattress.
- Bring repair tools and kits
While you are packing your things for camping, always remember to bring gears to repair your mattress. You may not have to use it, but it is better to be prepared because you can’t find repair kits in the middle of the woods.
Bicycle repair kits and super glues are a good substitute to patch-up your damaged air mattress. So, be ready if you are planning to camp somewhere and carry some of those materials. Like first aid kits, it’s vital for every camper to know how to repair the gears that they bring. This can make a huge difference when accidents happen.
Complete and proper equipment for your camping can be a game-changer compared to a lack of preparation. What we noticed as we go on with our discussions are the factors a person should consider if they are planning to camp in far places.
The type of mattress and camping are essential to observe when buying your sleeping beds. Be careful and watchful in terms of the quality, insulation, size, weight, and thickness of the mattress, as these affect your camping experience, big time.
Best camping practices do not only emphasize the thought of bonding, but also be reminded to prioritize your relaxation. If you’re looking to improve your experience with camping mattresses, we suggest that you try out our tips and tricks and see for yourself the difference that it can make.