How To Choose The Best Camping Air Mattress

Learning how to choose the best camping mattress is very important, especially if you plan on hiking a long distance. When you are an active hiker, like a through-hiker on the Appalachian Trail, it is the little things that matter the most. A good tune on your MP3 player, a hot delicious meal, and a good night sleep can make all the difference between enjoying your time on the trail, and having your hike turn into a miserable experience.

By learning the basics of what makes a good air mattress for camping, and by doing a little shopping around you can get a great camping mattress without spending a whole lot of money.

  1. Determine how you will use the air mattress. Are you going to be hiking to your campsite or are you planning on driving to it? Of course, weight is a big factor when choosing an air mattress for camping. For hikers, choose a mattress that is thin, light and self-inflating. For car-campers, concentrate on the size and comfort of your air mattress.
  2. Choose manual inflation. Unless the mattress will have a permanent home, maybe in a cabin or RV, make sure to purchase an air mattress that manually or automatically inflated. No sense putting yourself in a position of forgetting a pump on your next camping trip.
  3. What size do you need? Make sure the mattress will fit inside your tent or where ever you plan on using it. Think about the width of your mattress. Make sure that you are comfortable on your mattress. It is best to stay away from double-width mattresses, unless you need them.
  4. What weather conditions will you need the mattress for? A raised mattress will insulate you from the cold ground, and keep you warmer, but it is also heavier. If you plan on doing mostly spring or summer camping, you can get away with a thin air mattress.
  5. Is the mattress durable? Make sure that the mattress is well-constructed. Double stitching is  good thing to look for, as well as tougher material that can survive a night on a jagged rock or two without ripping.
  6. Price does matter.  Shop around for a good price, but don't skimp on your mattress just to save a few bucks. Usually you can find good prices after the summer season is over, or online.
  7. Test drive your air mattress. If you can, try out the mattress before buying it. If your friend has the mattress you are thinking about buying, ask to borrow for a night to try it out. If you are purchasing the mattress in a store, ask the clerk if you can try it out there.
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