Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Welcome to our big camping mattress test 2021. Here we present all the camping mattresses we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best camping mattress for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a camping mattress.




Summary

  • In the past, you had to factor in quite a bit of weight for a comfortable night's sleep, which made transporting it a laborious undertaking. Nowadays, top models of camping mattresses weigh only about as much as a TetraPak of milk.
  • The average pack size has also been massively reduced in recent years. In the past, the usually bulky pads had no room in the backpack and had to be attached to the outside of it. Today, professional camping mattresses take up so little space that they can be safely stowed in the main compartment of a backpack.
  • The outdoor market already offers a wide variety of camping mattresses, and the range is constantly expanding. Camping mats, self-inflating mattresses, inflatable mattresses with an integrated pump or with an additional pump are just a few examples of the many camping mattresses on offer.

The best Camping matress: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a camping mattress

Who is a camping mattress for?

A camping mattress is suitable for those who want a high level of comfort when sleeping in a tent. Who hasn't woken up in the tent in the morning with aching limbs? Without a good camping mattress, a night in the tent can quickly become a nightmare. The reasons for this pain are usually the hard, cold and stony ground. Your body is simply used to the cosy, warm and soft mattress from home.

Camper liegt im Zelt

With a camping mattress, you can increase the comfort of your camping trip to an extreme. (Photo: StockSnap / pixabay.com)

Thanks to the soft padding of a camping mattress, you don't sleep directly on the ground and are protected from the wet, cold and hard stony ground. With the right pad, a deep and healthy sleep is guaranteed.

What size camping mattress should I buy?

When choosing the size of your camping mattress, there are a few things you should consider. Obviously, the bigger your mattress, the more space it will take up in your backpack.

Also, make sure that your whole body can fit on the mattress, otherwise you will quickly experience joint pain.

The mattress also needs to fit inside your tent, so it should not be bigger than the tent, otherwise it could be damaged when you try to squeeze it in.

How much does a camping mattress cost?

Even with camping mattresses, you will have to dig a little deeper into your pocket for top models than for entry-level models. The prices for the various camping mattresses vary greatly and are relatively open towards the top. It also makes a difference whether you are going on a climbing tour in the Himalayas or spending a few nights at the campsite. The cost of a camping mattress is usually around 30 to 40 euros, but mattresses for professional mountaineers, for example, can easily exceed 100 euros.

What alternatives are there to camping mattresses?

Instead of a classic camping mattress for your tent, you could also buy a mattress for your car. These so-called air beds for the car can be inflated and offer additional comfort, as they are usually somewhat thicker than ordinary camping mattresses. However, not every car is suitable for the use of an airbed, some cars are simply too small. SUVs are particularly suitable for an air bed due to their size.

Decision: What types of camping mattresses are there and which is the right one for you?

What distinguishes a camping mat and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The classic camping mattresses are the so-called sleeping mats made of compact foam. Isomats are characterised by ideal insulation and are also extremely robust. The majority of camping mats weigh between 200 and 500 grams. To ensure that the sleeping bag sticks to the mat and doesn't slip around, iso-mats are designed to be extremely slip-resistant so that you don't suddenly wake up on the hard ground. The sleeping mat can also be used for a variety of purposes: as a material protector, as a seat cushion, as a base for a cosy picnic or as a yoga mat - the possibilities are wide-ranging.

Advantages
  • Healthy
  • Good insulation
  • Robust
  • Universal use
Disadvantages
  • Large pack size

For ideal comfort and the best insulation, the thickness of the sleeping pad is crucial. Depending on the manufacturer, insulating mats are available in thicknesses from 5 to 19 mm. The thicker the mat, the more comfortable and warmer it is. However, thicker insulating mats also have a larger pack size and can therefore be a disadvantage on longer hikes.

What are the characteristics of a self-inflating mat and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Self-inflating mats are not just filled with air, because they are a foam mat surrounded by an airtight shell. You should therefore never blow into the mattress with the thought of having to inflate it. Blowing could cause moisture to get into the foam layer and mould to form in your mattress.

Advantages
  • Non-slip
  • Good value
  • Robust
  • Can be used universally
Disadvantages
  • Heavier than sleeping mats
  • Less robust

To ensure that the sleeping bag has a good grip on the mattress and that the mattress does not slip, there is usually a smooth, dirt-repellent fabric on the underside and a non-slip layer on the top. Because self-inflating mattresses have good comfort and ideal insulation, they are among the most popular and inexpensive mats. Self-inflating mattresses are unfortunately somewhat less robust than iso-mattresses, but a repair kit is supplied as standard.

What characterises an inflatable mat and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

There is a whole range of inflatable mattresses. Thanks to the latest developments in the field of camping mattresses, the weight has been massively reduced compared to older models. For example, some companies now offer mats with an integrated hand pump.

Advantages
  • Small pack size
  • Comfortable
  • Robust
  • Light weight
Disadvantages
  • Sensitivity
  • Pump is not always included

The biggest plus points of an inflatable mat are its comfort and the light weight it brings with it. For example, some models weigh only about 550 grams with a thickness of 7.5 cm. Due to the low thickness and minimal weight, the pack size could also be reduced considerably. However, those who opt for lightness in camping mattresses must also be prepared to compromise, because the biggest disadvantage of lightweight mats is their high sensitivity.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate camping mattresses

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate camping mattresses. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain product is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:

  • Size
  • Air retention
  • Robustness
  • Insulation
  • Slip resistance
  • Water repellency
  • Hand pump or built-in pump

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Size

Before buying a camping mattress, you should measure the inside of your tent. Camping mattresses come in a wide range of sizes, and it would be annoying if it turned out later that the mattress doesn't fit in the tent at all. Also bear in mind that depending on the size of the mattress, there may be less space in the tent and therefore fewer people.

Zwei Camper mit Rucksäcken

The packing size of camping mattresses has become smaller and smaller in recent years, so you can easily transport your camping mattress. (Photo: sadasdasd / pixabay.com)

Air retention

It is important for camping mattresses that they can keep the air pressure of the mattress stable over a longer period of time. It is important that all valves are well made and tight. All material layers of camping mattresses should be tight and well made so that there is no pressure loss through the valves over a long period of time.

Robustness

An important factor regarding the robustness of a camping mattress is its puncture resistance. The material should be selected in such a way that the outer layers do not give way even on uneven ground. Furthermore, camping mattresses should be abrasion-resistant on the top and bottom. Dirt on the mattress often causes small tears or even holes, which is why a good camping mattress should be dirt-repellent.

Upper material Advantages Disadvantages
rubberised cotton robust, tear-resistant, non-slip more expensive
PVC and other plastics cheap more slippery and sensitive, sometimes contain dangerous softeners
Cover made of velour comfortable and warm makes you sweat

Make sure your camping mattress is dirt-repellent, because dirt on the mattress often causes small tears or even holes.

Insulation

The insulating properties of camping mattresses should not be underestimated, because who likes to sleep on a cold surface? Especially on camping trips in winter, poor insulation can quickly lead to hypothermia or, in the worst case, even mild frostbite.

Slip resistance

Slip resistance is such an important factor because it often happens that the chosen camping site does not have a level surface. Without a non-slip mattress, it can easily happen that the mattress does not stick to the floor of the tent and thus slides further and further to the edge, which can result in the tent being damaged.

Water repellency

Having a water-repellent camping mattress is so important because if the mattress is leaky, water can easily get into the inner layers of the mattress, which can easily cause stubborn mould to form. It is also important that if water has collected on the mattress, you can simply wipe it off, because otherwise you run the risk of having to spend the night on a damp mattress, which is probably not fun for anyone.

Make sure that no water gets inside your camping mattress, otherwise stubborn mould could form.

Type of pump

The type of pump is a purchase criterion that should not be underestimated. A mattress you can't inflate is useless. So be sure to consider this factor when making your purchase decision. Here is a brief overview:

Type of pump advantages disadvantages
Bellows light and small low pumping power
Double-stroke pump pumps when pushed and pulled, can also be used for suction,usually small and handy someone has to pump
Electric pump no physical effort relies on electricity
Pedal air pump can be used comfortably with the foot relatively large

Camping mattresses with an integrated pump can be extremely practical; all you have to do is press a switch or button and the mattress inflates itself. However, such models are rather useless for outdoor use on a hike, as you usually don't have a power connection in the great outdoors. If there is no built-in pump, the air must be pumped into the mattress using your own lung power or a hand or pedal air pump. These do not need an electricity connection, but must be operated with physical strength.

Interesting facts about camping mattresses

How do self-inflating camping mattresses work?

The term "self-inflating camping mattress" suggests a technically complex process that takes place when the mattress is inflated, but the actual function is quite simple. Inside the mat is a special PU foam, which is provided with open cells. When the mattress is rolled up, the foam is extremely compressed. However, if you unroll the mattress, the foam expands. An additional negative pressure, which draws air from the outside inwards into the pores of the foam, is created by opening the valve. As if by magic, the mattress inflates by itself and becomes more and more voluminous. To prevent air from escaping when you lie down on the mattress after it has fully inflated, the valve must of course be closed again.

How do I clean my camping mattress?

Most camping mattresses are easy to clean. Because camping mattresses are often used in the great outdoors, regular cleaning is a must to significantly extend the life of your mattress. You can remove dirt from the mattress when it is full and with the valve closed using a mild household cleaner and a cloth. Afterwards, you should rinse the mattress thoroughly. To prevent the formation of stubborn mould, allow the mattress to dry before deflating it and rolling it up again.

Image source: rawpixel.com / pexels.com

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