What you sleep on can make or break a camping trip. Its all very well having the best tent to keep you dry and snug, but you also need to have a good night’s sleep.
There are many different options for what you can sleep on. Which one you go for will largely depend on budget, space, how often you go camping and your personal preferences when it comes to comfort. The most popular options for camping include camp beds, camping mats and air beds. In this article we are going to consider and review the best air beds for camping.
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For really young children and babies you might be interested in our best travel cot article.
Air beds can also be known as an inflatable mattress, and they come in many different styles, sizes and prices. Before you buy one, whether spending a little or a lot, consider the following points;
Work out who is going to be sleeping on what. If there are two adults sleeping on a mattress is a double big enough or should you go for a king or queen size air bed? If you have children sharing a camping compartment will two single mattresses fit inside or would it be more practical to get them to share a double? Think about what sheets and covers you will be sleeping under.
Although the higher/taller mattresses are often more expensive, and are larger to store when they are deflated, if you are going to be camping for any length of time you should seriously consider one. They are really comfortable, and with sheets and a duvet, you can feel super cosy under canvas. They are also perfect for house guests when you don’t have a spare bed. They seriously feel like you are sleeping on a normal bed.
Many air beds come with built in electric pumps, and they are fantastic, but of course you must make sure you have access to electricity to use them! Some will have attachments that can be inflated via a car cigarette lighter. Many of the lower air beds don’t have built in electric pumps and will require a separate foot pump, either electric or manual. It isn’t recommended that you try and blow them up with your own mouth and lungs, you’ll soon begin to feel dizzy with the amount of air that is required!
Raised airbeds, or as they are sometimes known, double height airbeds, are a popular choice when it comes to comfort. We have used double height air beds for a long time, replacing them as and when required. They will eventually need replacing due to wear and tear as air begins to escape through the seams, although a well made one should last for quite a few years, depending on how well you treat it. Although the initial cost is higher with a mattress of this kind, the investment is well worth it for waking up feeling well rested and ready to take on an action packed day. Ours are also used time and time again when guests come to stay, as well as when we go visiting other people. We definitely get our moneys worth!
Pros And Cons Of A Double Height Raised Air Bed
Pros: Very comfortable, almost like sleeping in a real bed. Easier to get out of than a standard low mattress. Most have built in electric pumps that enable the mattress to inflate very quickly. Suitable for use as both a camping bed and a spare bed when people come to stay. Most are made from strong and durable material making them longer lasting.
Cons: Usually a higher investment than other standard mattresses. Require a larger storage area when deflated.
This is my preferred choice when it comes to a double height air mattress. Active Era also make a single version of this mattress which is equally as good if you are looking for an inflatable bed for 1 person.
There are many great value standard height air beds available to buy. Quality will vary and if you intend to use this style of mattress to sleep on for more than 1 or 2 nights it’s worth spending a little more to get one that will be both comfortable and last a longer time.
Some standard mattresses come with electric pumps, although this is a bonus, it shouldn’t be a deal breaker if it doesn’t include one as they are easy and cheap enough to buy seperately.
Pros And Cons Of A Standard Height Airbed
Pros: Ideal for short stays. Cheaper to buy than raised airbeds. Fit in many spaces. Easy to deflate and store when not in use.
Cons: Not as comfortable as a double height airbed. Don’t usually have built in pumps for quick inflation.
Comfort Quest are a good choice if you are going for a standard height blow up bed. They come with an electric pump for inflating the mattress as well as a handy storage bag.
Ready beds are a good all in one solution, mainly aimed at children and toddlers. They tend to have a built in sleeping bag with the inflatable mattress and many have a character theme on them.
Pros: Great all in one solution with no need for an extra sleeping bag or bedding. Appeal to young children. Smaller to store and take up less space when inflated.
Cons: Children will outgrow them. Not always as comfortable as full size air beds. As many are themed with favourite characters, children can quickly go off them as their tastes change. Can be expensive for what you get.
This is our absolute favourite airbed for toddlers to use when camping. It ticks so many boxes when it comes to safety and comfort. Plus young children love having a camping bed all of their own. It also makes a great travel bed to take anywhere with you, not just on a camping trip. It folds up so small, making it easy to transport.
Although it is true that some airbeds are longer lasting than others, there are certain things you can do to prolong their life.