Scroll down to get to the full reviews of the Best Camping Beds
Going on a camping trip? You’re in for a great adventure, but for many of us the worst thing about camping is the lack of sleep. We’ve all been there. Tossing and turning on a thin mat sliding around the tent, trying to position your body to avoid that rock in the middle you swear wasn’t there earlier.
The humble camping bed has come a long way in the last decade or so and some are just as comfy as being in your own bed. Here's a run down of the best camping beds to ensure a comfortable night’s kip, leaving you refreshed and ready for action the next day.
In a rush? Here are the best camping beds according to us:
- Best for those who crave their home comforts - Helinox Cot Max
- Best for campers who appreciate room to spread out - Vango Shangri-La II 10 Grande
- Best for couple or children - Outwell Posadas Foldaway Double Bed
- Best for Backpackers wanting a good night's sleep - Robens Vapor Prima 60
- Best for comfort when space isn't a premium - Vango Comfort 10
- Best for hikers who are on the lighter side - Therm-a-Rest Ultralite Cot
- Best for those on a budget - Eurohike Flocked Single Air Bed
- Best for people with mobility issues - Active Era Camping Bed King
- Best for ergonomic design - Runacc Self-Inflating Air Bed
- Best for families and groups - Kampa Domestic Bunkie Bed
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Camping Bed
Self-inflating Air Mattresses
These are basically thin mattresses with a valve attached. When the valve is opened, it sucks air in to inflate the foam cells inside. You may need to top it up by blowing into the valve, but once it’s shut the mattress stays inflated. To pack the mattress away, open the valve to let the air out – you’ll need to kneel on it to force out all the air.
Air mattresses that self-inflate have the advantage of being lightweight and compact, making them more popular with backpackers or when space and weight are limited.
They are relatively thin so if you’re going on a camping trip of a few days or more and you’re staying in one spot, you may want something a little more substantial.
These are thicker mattresses that are inflated by either an external pump or an internal pump built into the mattress. They have the advantage of still being smaller and relatively lightweight but are comfier than the self-inflating mattresses as they tend to be thicker.
Many come with features such as non-slip fabric to keep sleeping bags in place, and the more expensive ones have extra protection against punctures.
Insulation is not always great although extra layers or a sleeping mat can easily be added if needed.
They do take up more room in the tent though so if you have a smaller tent you might struggle for space, and they are notorious for losing air during the night.
Folding Camping Bed
These are constructed of stretched canvas attached to a foldable frame and are designed to keep you raised off the ground, much more like a traditional bed.
As well as being comfortable and warmer, these camp beds have the advantage of being easier to set up and take down – you don’t need to faff around with an air pump or wrestle them to try to get all the air out. They also tend to be harder wearing and last longer than the inflatable types.
They can also help maximise space inside a tend as things can be stowed underneath.
The disadvantage of this type of camping bed is that they tend to be heavier and bulkier so they’re best suited if you're car camping.
They’re not padded so if you don’t sleep on your back or you’re on the skinny side you’ll need a sleeping pad on top.
The best camping bed for you will largely depend on what type of camping you’re planning. Are you backpacking? If so you’ll need a lighter, more compact camp bed like the Eurohike Flocked Airbed. Perhaps you're going on a family camping holiday with the kids? The Kampa Bunkie would fit the bill nicely in this case. Going as a couple? A double camp bed like the Outwell Posadas could be the best fit.
How big is your tent? Size might be a factor – it’s not much use buying a huge, luxurious camp bed only to find that it literally takes up the whole space. Similarly, if you're going backpacking, thru-hiking or wild camping, you'll probably want a more lightweight roll mat instead of a bulky camping bed.
Looking for a new family tent? Check out our buying guide.
Best Camping Beds FAQs
How do I make my camping bed more comfortable?
Adding a self-inflating mattress on top of your camping bed will increase the cushioning and therefore the comfort. Alternatively, a cheap hack is to fold a double duvet in half on top of the bed. The best camping beds shouldn't need changing at all, but if you're on a budget these are good hacks. Alternatively, get a super cushioned down sleeping bag to lie on top!
How do you sleep comfortably in a tent?
The right gear makes all the difference. For the best camping bed with sea to summit comfort you'll need to think carefully about your needs and preferences, so make sure your sleeping bag will also keep you toasty all night and your tent is up to the job too – read our article on the best tent brands for some help with that. Adding a camping cushion could help.
How do I store my camping bed?
Store your self inflating camp bed inflated with the valve open. If it's stored rolled up and deflated for long periods the insulating foam will deteriorate. If you’re short of space try storing it under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe.
If you do need to keep a self-inflating camping mattress rolled up, let it inflate from time to time.
Camping cots are designed to be stored folded up so it won’t harm them.
Is it warmer sleeping on a camping mattress or a cot?
The thicker the mattress the more it will insulate you from the ground. Although camping bed cots get round this problem by keeping you off the ground, cold air can pass through the gap underneath. A thick camping mattress is probably the warmest option, but if you use a sleeping pad or a thin mattress with a cot there won’t be much difference.
What are the best camping beds for a bad back?
We feel you. It can be tough enough sleeping under canvas at the best of times, so throwing a bad back into the mix can make it a nightmare. Contrary to what you’d expect, a blow up air bed isn’t always the best, as they tend to leak air slowly during the night. This can affect your posture and cause more problems. The best camping beds for bad backs are camping cots or a self-inflating air bed as these offer better support. Of course, your choice will depend on other factors such as space and weight but be prepared to experiment to find the best camp bed for your back.
How do I protect my camp bed from punctures?
We’re sure most regular campers have been rudely awakened by a punctured mattress – talk about a sinking feeling! You do get what you pay for - some cheaper mattresses are more likely to puncture over time, but not even the best camping beds are immune.
Make sure you clear the area of sharp objects such as sticks and stones before pitching your tent. Take off shoes and boots before entering to stop stones being carried in. Using a tarp or a groundsheet under the tent or mattress will give extra protection on rough ground – a foam mat under the mattress will also do the job. Check your pockets before lying down – an errant set of keys can do some damage. Make sure you roll up your camping mattress carefully and don’t store it somewhere too warm.