Camping & Airbeds Buying Guide

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. 

Read on 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.

Roll Mats

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.

Read more: Guide To Buying The Right Sleeping Bag

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.

Discover more: Shop our sleeping bags collection

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.

Self-Inflating Mats

Like the roll mat, self-inflating camping mats are now universally popular and are becoming a staple in campers' kit list.

Read more: How to Wash & Care for a Sleeping Bag

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.

Foldaway beds 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.

Discover more: Shop our airbed collection

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. 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. 

The All-Rounder

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…

Roll Mats

Highlander Deluxe Single Rollmat

Highlander Deluxe Rollmat

Lightweight and durable, this is one of the most comfortable roll mats. The Highlander Deluxe will help retain heat and keep you insulated thanks to its contoured construction and thick EVA foam.

Easy Camp Basic EVA Mat

Easy Camp Basic EVA Camping Mat

Offering insulation, basic comfort, durability and reliability, this is a great piece of value-for-money kit. Extremely lightweight, the mat rolls to a small pack size for easy portability and storage.

Self-Inflating Mats

Vango Shangri-La 15 Grande Self-Inflating Mat

Vango Shangri La 15 Grande Sleeping Mat

The ultimate in camping mattress technology, this SIM boasts a 15cm thickness when inflated, providing incredible camping comfort. This SIM will self-inflate in around 30 seconds thanks to a cyclone valve.

Zempire Camplite 5cm Double Self-Inflating Mat

Zempire Camplite 5cm Double Self-Inflating Mat

This double SIM is comfortable and easy to use, providing optimised insulation from the ground and a great night's sleep. The memory foam provides comfort and the mattress is quick to inflate.

Foldaway Camping Beds

Outwell Posadas Foldaway Double Camp Bed

Outwell Posadas Foldaway Double Bed

The ideal double camp bed, the Oatwell Posadas bed doesn’t require constructing thanks to its open and fold design. Plenty of space for two adults, this bed also comes with a carry bag and padded cushions.

Outwell Pardelas M Camp Bed

Outwell Pardelas Campbed

Oatwell's Pardelas is one of the most comfortable folding camp beds thanks to its padded frame covers. With a quick folding set-up and lightweight, this bed also features a hook and loop strap to keep it closed.


Aerobed Deluxe Single Airbed

Aerobed Deluxe Single Airbed

Easy to inflate in under a minute thanks to the built-in mains operated pump, this is a super-stable airbed. A four-layer construction with a special back support zone and soft flocked surface enhance the comfort level.

Vango Double Flocked Airbed

Vango double flocked airbed

The soft flocked surface of this Vango airbed will provide a welcome and comfortable place to rest. The coil beam construction creates a strong and supportive structure, providing a great night's sleep.

Take a look at our full range of camp beds and sleeping collection including:

Airbeds | Sleeping Mats | Sleeping Bags | Sleeping Accessories

Read more from the Winfields Blog to set you up for 2020...

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Don’t forget to take a look at our camping blog for more posts like these and buying guides

The Best UK Campsites To Stay At in 2020 | The 10 Best Family Camping Tents 2020 | What will Camping in 2020 Look Like?

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