Getting a good night’s sleep is a vital part of any camping holiday. Immersing yourself in nature has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, but a comforting snooze under the stars isn’t necessarily guaranteed, especially if you haven’t got the right sleeping gear.
Buying a camp bed or airbed can be quite confusing, especially if you’re new to camping and aren’t sure what you want.
This guide will help you to find out more about each type of bedding, which is best for your holiday and any other valuable considerations.
What types of camping beds are there?
From the go-anywhere roll mat to the more luxurious airbed, there is a wide range of camping beds on the market for every budget and activity.
Whether you’re going off on an adventurous expedition or just need something to put-up guests, these are the camping beds you can choose from.
Ever reliable, roll mats are a camping staple and can be found at festivals or hugging a hillside. Made out of foam, they provide ample comfort and insulation from the ground. Commonly combined with a sleeping bag, they can easily attach to your pack, making them a quick and easy way of ensuring you have a little extra padding and insulation under you at night.
They perhaps don’t offer the same level of comfort as a self-inflating sleeping mat, but they’re cheaper and can be simply unrolled at a moment’s notice.
Like the roll mat, self-inflating camping mats are now universally popular and are becoming a staple in campers’ kit list. Lightweight and comfortable, these camp beds are made from an airtight outer fabric with a foam filling. By simply opening the mat’s valve, the air is drawn in, creating a mattress.
Warm and compact, these highly insulated mats come in various thicknesses, ranging from 5 to 15cm, and are becoming the must-have piece of sleeping equipment.
Foldaway Camp Beds
Great for camping or an emergency bed at home, camp beds are popular for the extra elevation they provide, especially if you have mobility issues. They also offer storage underneath, which is ideal if space is at a premium in your camping tent. Some of these camp beds fold away on their own while others require dismantling, but they are a handy all-rounder if you have the space to accommodate one.
Available in double and single sizes, camp beds can be made even more luxurious with the addition of a self-inflating mat on top – which we see lots of campers starting to do.
Like foldaway camp beds, an air mattress is just as popular when used as a bed at home as it is for camping. In terms of size and depth, airbeds are the most similar to your mattress at home. They are easy to inflate and deflate with a pump and offered in a variety of thicknesses.
How should I choose a camping bed for my trip?
An important thing to remember when buying a camp bed is ‘what am I going to use it for?’ How often you’ll use you a camp bed is also worth consideration.
If you are going on a family camping holiday and driving there, you can afford to look at larger options. Scouts and Duke of Edinburgh trips will call for light and compact camping beds, like roll mats and self-inflating mats.
We’ve broken down each type of camp bed and their suitability to your requirements.
The Lightweight Original
If you’re a festival-goer, on a tight budget or going on a hiking trip, roll mats are a good choice. You can attach them to a pack easily and they provide some insulation, especially if they are foil-backed, although there are more luxurious sleeping options available if comfort is important to you.
Though self-inflating camping mats are just as light and compact, a roll mat won’t be at risk of a puncture due to its durable foam construction.
A popular choice across the board, you can purchase a single or double self-inflating mattress to be used by you or shared with a partner. An all-in-one solution, these are easy to pack and transport while maximising your tent space, compared to airbeds and foldaway beds.
They provide more comfort and warmth than a roll mat and don’t need a pump for inflation unlike an airbed but can be limited in-depth, risking a puncture, and may cost the most.
The Home or Away Bed
Folding camp beds are better suited if you are driving to a campsite and space is not at a premium. If you don’t want to be on the ground or have mobility issues.
Comfort and heat are not a strength of folding camp beds, due to their thinner construction, however, by adding a self-inflating mat on top – you’re in for an incredible nights sleep.
The Structure of Support
Single or double air beds offer great value for money and are available in various thicknesses. They also pack down much smaller than a self-inflating mat or a camp bed but offer great comfort when the correct sleeping bag is used.
Insulation is something to bear in mind when buying an airbed, due to the amount of air between yourself and the ground. You’ll also need a pump for inflation, which can also take time and space although some do have built-in pumps.
What are the best camp beds?
Here is a selection of some of the best camp beds available at Winfield’s Outdoors…
One of the most comfortable roll mats, the Highlander Comfort Camper Mat will help you retain heat and keep you insulated thanks to its contoured construction.
A great piece of value-for-money kit, the Summit Insulated Mat has an aluminium foil backing for extra insulation from the cold ground, preventing a loss of heat.
Eyecatching and comfy, the Kampa Kip Comfort 7.5 may be one of the thinner self-inflating mats, but its ‘egg crate’ insulating foam keeps you warm while still being comfortable.
Vango’s Shangri-La 10 offers luxury in the SIM market. This double allows you and a partner to have a warm and comfortable night’s sleep with excellent insulation and durability.
Foldaway Camping Beds
A stable double camp bed, the Kampa Together bed doesn’t require constructing thanks to its fast XPRESS set-up. Plenty of space for two adults, this bed also comes with a carry bag.
The Oatwell Posadas is one of the most popular camp beds thanks to its strong powder-coated steel frame and quick folding set-up. Lightweight, this bed also features a carry bag for storage.
One of the most popular single airbeds, the Coleman features an internal coil structure for strength and support, with an advanced double-lock valve system for leak-free nights.
One of the thickest airbeds available, the Coleman Maxi offers enhanced support if you have mobility issues, while an airtight, double-lock valve system guarantees a leak-free night’s sleep.
You can read more of our buying guides here, including:
Last modified: July 30, 2019