What's the Best Bed for Camping? 5 Reviews of Folding Beds and Air Mattresses
Folding Camp Beds, Air Mattresses, What's the Best Choice?
I love minimalist camping! I enjoy taking as little as possible on my hikes and trips. However, I often pay for it with back pain!
Let's face it: sleeping on the cold, hard ground isn't exactly comfy. Luckily for us, there are a few practical, portable and awesome solutions at our fingertips.
Finding the best camping bed can be a bit of a 'needle in a haystack' thing. There is a plethora of options, but not all of them are very good.
You want a good quality camp bed that is foldable, lightweight, easy to pack and set up, and (most importantly), relatively comfortable and healthy to sleep on. No pressure!
Hopefully I can narrow things down for you! The top camping beds out there aren't necessarily expensive or fancy, but they'll serve you well. This article is intended to help you make some smart choices when it comes to outdoor sleeping. I'll be looking at a handful of my favourite folding camp beds, air mattresses and a few other options you might not have considered.
Keep on reading, and check out my suggestions!
So What's the Best Style'of Bed for Camping?
If you're hoping to camp without sleeping on the bare earth, you have limited options. There actually isn't any one clear winner in each style, but I'll outline the choices.
Foam Camping Pad: A thin piece of foam, which can be rolled up to fit in a pack. These are fairly comfy, especially in the 'memory foam' style. Are they the most comfortable camp bed? Depending on the type of foam, they're definitely a contender.
The main problem with foam is the bulk. Even when rolled up, they're harder to pack, and tend to weigh a fair amount. Still, they're in the running as one of the top beds for camping.
Air Mattress: The air mattress is a popular choice amongst tent campers. The advantage is clear: you can fold it up into a very small space, and then inflate for a moderately comfortable sleep.
I find the back support on cheaper quality air mattresses to be questionable, but the fancier versions tend to hold up pretty well for a few days of sleep.
Folding Camp Beds: One of the best options is the folding camp bed. This is a platform that can be folded up, much like a camp chair. It's essentially a frame that supports a thin but strong fabric, which you sleep on when it's taut.
I think folding camp beds are one of the best options for outdoor sleeping, since they're elevated, cool and comfortable. They can be bulky to pack, though.
Texsport Folding Camp Cot: Among the Best Beds for Camping
I am a big fan of foldable camping cots, because they take out the most uncomfortable aspect of sleeping outdoors: the ground!
Being elevated also ensures you're cooler than you otherwise might be, and you even have some under bed storage to work with, a great thing in a cramped tent.
There are lots of good, folding camp beds out there, but this one by Texsport is one of the best around. The frame is made from durable aluminum, which provides excellent strength (can support up to 250 pounds), while still being relatively light in weight.
The 600 denier polyester fabric is very strong, and it has enough give to make it comfortable to sleep on even without a pad. It's certainly a better option than the bare ground!
If you add a lightweight camping sleep pad to the mix, you'll be floating on fluffy clouds of bliss. It's a really wonderful way to rest.
The whole thing folds up (like a camp chair) into an included carrying bag, and the kit weighs 13 pounds in total. It's one of the best camping beds around, reviews by customers are very positive, and it is well priced. What more could someone ask for?
Teton: A 'Memory Foam' Pad for a Camp Cot
If you want a bit more cushioning than a folding camping bed or cot like the one pictured above will offer, you can always use a pad such as this one. Made by Teton Sports, it is a memory foam camping pad, and it constitutes one of the best, portable camping beds on the market today.
It is a great product, because it can easily be used on its own (on the ground), or as a supplement to a folding cot.
It's a 2 inch thick pad, which is comfortable yet not overkill. It has a lot of handy features. For example, it has elastic loops on all the ends, which allow you to affix it to a cot to keep it from shifting around while you sleep.
It can be rolled up into a bundle, and the cover has included plastic latches to keep it together. No bungie cords needed here!
It even has a carrying handle to make packing and unpacking a breeze. The whole pad weighs a mere 4 pounds, so it's quite totable.
The Teton foam pad is one of the top camping bed choices. The reviews are outstanding, and it can serve double duty as an emergency guest bed in your home!
ALPS Air Mattress: Rechargeable Camping Bed with User Friendly Features
This product, by ALPS, is one of the best camping air beds you'll find, hands down. I'm actually fairly leery of air mattresses in general, especially for camping, but this one is a contender for sure.
So what do they mean by 'rechargeable'? The mattress includes a rechargeable air pump, to get it pumped up in short order. By including this, ALPS has conquered the biggest downside to air mattresses for camping purposes. You'll just have to make sure that the battery is charged up before you leave the house.
It also features a soft, velour style top, which is comfortable, and it keeps your slick sleeping back from sliding around on top of it during the night.
It has a fancier interior than most cheap camping air mattresses do, with a 'coil' system to keep the air inside from shifting around too much, and to provide some back support. I have yet to find an air mattress that can adequately replicate the real deal, but this one isn't bad.
Like most air mattresses, this one can be deflated and folded up in a carrying case for easy transportation.
It is an affordable product, and it's a top choice as camping air beds go.
Eagles Nest Hammock: An Alternative to Sleeping on the Ground
One of the best beds for camping isn't a bed at all: meet the Eagles Nest hammock!
You might dismiss this idea as impractical, but bear with me. A hammock like this one is comfortable, fun, and extremely portable, not to mention reasonably priced.
The upsides are obvious: first off, a camping hammock is very comfortable, and it's a fantastic way to lounge in style while reading or enjoying a cold drink. This one in particular includes a built-in pillow for your head, and it can carry up to 400 pounds in total!
It has included carabiners to secure it to a couple of trees of your choice, and it packs up into a very small size when you use the included compression sack, smaller than a volleyball. It only weighs about 1.5 pounds too!
You may wonder about the practicality of a hammock as a good camping bed option, and you may be right. You can only sleep one person per hammock, and it's harder to rig up inside a tent.
That being said, it's an ideal choice for a minimalist camper, or a backpacker without a lot of room in the pack to spare.
In any case, it's top of the list as portable camping beds go, even if it is just used during the daytime!
*Don't forget to pick up a couple of tree straps to make hanging the hammock easier!
Klymit: Light, Portable Camping Bed / Air Mattress
One of the biggest problems with air mattresses on camping trips is the extra bulk. They're hard to squeeze into a tent, and they're squishy and annoying. Klymit has produced a super smart air mattress for camping trips, and I think you'll like it.
The first thing you'll probably notice about the Static V is the shape. It's very thin, and it doesn't have the standard 'coils' that many other items on the market have.
The Static V makes use of a system that Klymit likes to call 'body mapping', meaning that the air moves to where you need it most while lying down. That way, you can have a comfortable sleep on a thinner mattress.
It has some really nice features! There are inflated 'side rails', which prevent you from shifting off the bed while you sleep. It doesn't use a lot of air, so you only have to use about 15 breathes to fully inflate it.
Despite the lack of air, it is about 2.5 inches in height when inflated, so it's actually more supportive than many sleep pads.
When it is deflated, it will fit into a small carry pack, and it weighs barely more than a pound.
For all these reasons, and the reasonable price tag, the Klymit Static V is among the best camping air beds on sale today, and the customer reviews and satisfaction is excellent. I'd definitely recommend taking a look!
So Which of These Camping Bed Options do YOU Think is Best?
Personally, I struggle with back pain. For that reason, I can't sleep on anything that provides inadequate support. I usually opt for a folding camp bed or cot, preferably a double because I'm married!
I have managed pretty well on air mattresses like the ones listed above, and I enjoy a nap in a hammock (but my back precludes it for a full night's sleep).
My ideal choice would probably be the Texsport camp cot with the Teton foam topper on it.
What would you prefer?
Thanks for reading?