This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.
You’ll be surprised at the difference it can make - raising yourself above the cold ground is vital and helps maintain body warmth and comfort.
In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the best air beds on the market - inflatable setups to use either for adding that extra bit of luxury to your camping, or for more everyday home or spare bedroom use.
Which air bed is right for me?
Air beds tend to fit broadly into two categories - those that are lightweight, portable and can roll up small - perfect for backpacking for instance, and those that are larger, need a portable pump to inflate and act more like a conventional bed, yet still fit into tents.
These are more like that you’d imagine ‘air beds’ to look like, and many provide a raft of technological improvement over older models to ensure they stay inflated, rigid and comfortable for the duration of their use.
What’s the difference between an air bed and a air mat?
Many air beds come in single or double sizes- and almost all of them can be inflated by the included pumps or foot pumps.
Camping mats don’t tend to need to be inflated via an external source, and you often can blow them up yourself in a matter of minutes as they have quite clever values that ensure there’s no deflation.
They tend to be a bit more expensive, but they’re aimed at the trekking and backpack camping market are are well suited to this role.
Here are our suggestions for some air beds and mats that’ll ensure you sleep soundly.
Vango Blissful Double
This is a great double option. Top of Vango’s range but certainly on the more affordable side for a more premium double air bed, this option features a 3-layer construction which gives it added stability and softness, and minimises the dreaded nighttime deflation.
It has a built-in pump, allowing full inflation in about 3 minutes, and the clever valve features an auto ‘top-up’ feature that replenishes air throughout the night to ensure it stays rigid - but that’s an easy claim to make seeing as you’re likely to be asleep!
Thermarest NeoAir XLite Backpacking Sleep Mat
One of our favourite ultralight camping mats. One of the smallest pack sizes of any of the air beds we tested, so a great option for those on camping adventures where speed and efficiency are key.
They’re proud of their warmth-to-weight ratio, and for good reason - the mat offers great protection from the cold ground below and does so with minimum fuss.
We’d recommend this option if you want to take your camping adventures into the colder seasons.
Robens Primacore 90
An option for weekend camping trips and outdoor stays, this Robens option is filled with a PrimaLoft filling to ensure you’re kept warm while you sleep.
Best used for short breaks or casual camping trips, although it wouldn’t necessarily suit extreme adventures this is a perfect option for those summer canvas stays.
Sea to Summit Ultralight Mat
This option gets us more into the realms of serious camping adventures, but it impresses with its packability, its lack of weight and how its structured layer of Air Sprung Cells provide one of the comfiest air bed experiences of any of the mats we’ve tested.
It stays impressively well inflated, is a breeze to inflate and deflate and also contains a self-repair kit in case the worst happens and you pick up a puncture.
Campingaz Smart Quick Bed
We liked the added pillow that inflates with the bed on this Campingaz option - they also include rather nifty little pockets under the pillows for some extra storage room, which we thought was a nice touch.
The mattress has quite deep recesses when fully inflated, allowing for a springier feel as if you were lying on a more conventional mattress. We thought it was good value for money, too.
Alpkit Cloud Camping Mat
We chose this option to include because it’s a full-specced and well thought out camping/trekking mat, with lightweight credentials, for a very affordable price.
Diamond-shaped chambers act as little pockets of air, giving the mat not only comfort but extra rigidity and strength when fully inflated.
They also allow for it to stay more even when lying on slightly unsettled or lumpy ground.
Coleman Double Raised Air Bed
A favourite amongst devoted campers looking for a little bit of luxury in their setup.
Coleman do this kind of thing well, and we were really impressed by how ‘bed-like’ the double raised air bed feels - largely because of its height and depth but also because of its durability, the sturdy no-nonsense material it’s made with and the ease and confidence with which is provides a cosy nights sleep.
Snugpak Travelite Sleeping Mat
Self-inflating (so you just have to open the valve), easy to carry and a light enough product to warrant its place on a backpacking adventure, the Snugpak option impresses with its strength, rigid design and non-slip material that ensures the mat itself doesn’t disappear from under you while you’re sleeping.
A good option for frequent use or travelling longer distances.