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Best camp bed 2023: Sleep better with our pick of the comfiest camping beds and sleeping mats

A good camp bed or sleeping mat will transform the comfort of your time sleeping under canvas. Here’s the best options available

Want to know the secret to a good night’s sleep on a campsite? It’s a combination of a great sleeping bag, comfortable camp bed, and just maybe, a wee dram of something to take the edge off.

There’s a vast, and often baffling collection of sleeping mats and camp beds available at every size, weight and budget, but read on to find the best and most comfortable designs, whether you’re looking to head out on a solo wild camping adventure, need somewhere to recover at a music festival or have two weeks booked on a campsite with the family.

The cost of camping equipment can soon mount up, so we’ve made sure to include options that are great value for money, and will last for many happy summers. There’s nothing worse than waking up on cold, bumpy ground after your cheap air bed has sprung a leak.

Best camp beds: At a glance

How to choose the best camping bed or sleeping mat

With so many options it’s important to narrow down your search based on the type of camping you’re doing, how long you would typically go away for (two days or two weeks?) and how far you’re likely to have to carry your camping equipment.

READ NEXT: Best air bed

If you’re travelling light – hiking, bikepacking, or maybe even just going to a festival on the train – a camping mat will be a good choice. These range from extra thick to ultralight and in both single and double widths. They fold up small and are generally easy to carry.

For a longer stay, where maybe you can park next to your tent, a larger metal framed camp bed or high-quality inflatable mattress will be ideal as they keep you warmer by lifting you off the ground, while also protecting your hips on bumpy pitches. These metal and material camp beds can fold down quite small but traditionally take a little more room in the car than a camping mat.

What features do I need?

Camping beds – Traditional camp beds are made using fabric stretched over a metal frame to create a cot style bed. With the exception of a few ultralight models, these designs have changed very little, and offer a warm, suspended night’s rest.

Check the length as some can come up short if you’re over 180cm, and also be mindful of the overall pack size and weight.

Premium designs have innovative folding mechanisms, like a modern camping chair, so you just remove from the bag, extend, clip the mechanism together and lay your sleeping bag on top. Cheaper options require a little more assembly, but we’ve not found one that takes more than five minutes to build.

Air beds – A big, cheap double air bed might seem like a great idea, but be warned: you really do get what you pay for. At the very least, make sure the top surface has a nice soft flock finish to prevent you from slipping around in your sleeping bag, and that the air valves have one-way flow. This means the air won’t escape as you’re inflating, and getting the air out again is much easier when it’s time to pack away.

If you need a double, look for designs with internal supports and bracing (the equivalent to mattress springs) to prevent too much roll. Waking your partner every time you move is never recommended. Many single designs can be clipped together to make a double, which eliminates unwanted movement.

Sleeping mats – Avoid the very cheap (and thin) roll-up foam camping mats as they offer very little in the way of support. You can find ultralight mountaineering mats that weigh next to nothing and have foil backs for insulation, but for most non-specialist camping needs an air mat (also known as air pad) or Self Inflating Mat (SIM) will be ideal.

Air mats and pads are the most compact option when packed, and ideal if you’re carrying all your kit. You can customise the firmness of the mattress by releasing or adding air from the valve. The lighter they get, the more expensive they will be, but of all the mats available they’re the most prone to punctures. Luckily most quality brands also supply a repair kit.

A SIM combines memory foam and air cushioning and can be found in every size, from super-thin backpacking designs right through to generous 12cm thick double mattresses that, while bulky to transport, feel staggeringly close to sleeping in your bed at home.

Once you take them from the bag, unroll and open the valves, they will slowly fill with air. The best designs just require a few breaths or pumps to top them up to your preferred level of firmness.

SIMs are generally bulkier than a sleeping mat, but generally offer greater comfort and make less noise thanks to all the foam.

The size and shape to choose depends on your needs, but it’s worth looking at the amount of insulation, known as the ‘R’ rating, if you plan on camping when it’s cold. Sleeping pad ‘R’ ratings range from less than 2 (minimally insulated) for summer to 5.5 or more (very well insulated) for colder environments.

READ NEXT: Best sleeping bag

The best camping beds and sleeping mats you can buy in 2023

1. Coleman Comfort Bed Double: Best camping bed for couples on a budget

Price when reviewed: £50 | Check price at AmazonA great value air bed from Coleman, designed to make life more comfortable for couples. The separated double-chamber design means you won’t automatically get wobbled awake if your partner rolls over or gets up. What’s more, it also means that if one of you likes a firm mattress and the other prefers something a little softer, you can adjust each chamber accordingly.

To help with general comfort, the air bed also has a sturdy coil construction that minimises the amount of dip and roll as you move in the night, mimicking the springs found in your mattress at home.

At 188cm long the Coleman Comfort Bed will accommodate most heights, and with a load rating of 295kg you’ll be fine should the kids decide to join in the middle of the night, too.

It’s made from a super-tough PVC (the top is flocked to stop you slipping and sliding) and it has dual-sealed valves that make inflation and deflation fast and simple. It’s relatively light for carrying from the car, but we recommend inflating using your car’s power outlet and a pump (or a battery powered pump) rather than relying on your lung or foot power.

Key specs – Size: 188 x 137 x 22cm; Weight: 3.5kg; Max load: 295kg

2. Quechua Ultim Comfort 70cm: Best camping bed

Price when reviewed: £85 | Check price at DecathlonSelf-inflating mattress (SIM) technology has come on a great deal in recent years, with the combination of easily compressible foam and air pockets offering superb levels of comfort that put bulky airbeds to shame.

The Quechua Ultim Comfort 70 is a generous size for one adult (110kg, 200cm tall) and while 7cm doesn’t sound that thick, unless you’re at the very top of the weight range, you won’t feel the floor, even when lying on your side. The top has a plush finish that feels nice on the skin.

Supplied in a carry bag that’s around the size of a pillow, this camping mat has two valves to make inflating and (importantly) deflating super simple. If you wait for an hour, air will naturally be drawn inside and it will just need a few big breaths to top it up to the firmness you like – or, if time is tight, it doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes to inflate manually. It can also be clipped to a second mattress to make a double, which is a well thought out bonus.

And unlike traditional inflatable mattresses, when it comes to packing away, the one-way valve means you’re not fighting to get every last breath out in order to wrestle it back into the bag.

Key specs – Size: 200 x 70 x 8cm; Weight: 2.9kg; Packed dimensions: 72 x 50 x 11cm; Max load: 110kg

Check price at Decathlon

4. Thermarest NeoAir UberLite: Best lightweight camp bed

Price when reviewed: £200 | Check price at Amazon
At 250g the NeoAir UberLite is the lightest full-length inflatable sleeping pad available. It is unfathomably light, and packs away to about the size of a can of pop, but once inflated it boasts 6.5cm of pressure point-free comfort.

It comes with a bag to help with inflation, but thanks to the one-way WingLock valve we easily got the job done in about 20 breaths. If you don’t have the puff, the bag will do the job fast enough, but it takes a bit of practice.

Made from 15 denier nylon this camping mat feels incredibly thin – and it does have a crinkly finish that some might find annoying – but the polyurethane construction is impressively tough. That said, it won’t survive a thorn or spike, so check your pitch carefully before lying on it because nobody wants to be repairing a puncture at 3am, even if there is a kit supplied. It is rated as three-seasons and has an insulation ‘R’ rating of 2.3, but in truth, like most of us, it is ideally suited to the warmer months.

There’s no denying this is an expensive purchase, and one that may be unnecessary for the casual weekend camper or festival goer, but if you love to get out and explore and want to carry as little weight as possible, while enjoying some comfort, it’s difficult to beat.

Key specs – Size: 51 x 183 x 7.6cm; Weight: 250g; Max load: N/A

5. Robens Outpost Tall Granite Grey: Best off-ground camp bed

Price when reviewed: £144 | Check price at Alpine Trek
This classic camp bed is designed to sit at roughly standard bed height. That makes it much easier to get into and out of while also keeping you well clear of any unevenness in the floor – not to mention free from damp and crawly bugs. It’s not for use in two-man backpacking tents, but if you’re heading out for a week and have a large full-height family tent, you’ll simply love this bed.

The other big advantage to the extra height, aside from the lack of bending, is the fact you can stash an enormous amount of gear underneath it, freeing up valuable floor space in the tent.

The aluminium frame and super tough 420D polyester mesh fabric should last for decades, and while it will never be described as compact or lightweight, it is supremely comfortable and much easier to put up than an inflatable. You can even adjust the frame tension to suit your body weight.

Key specs – Size: 65 x 192 x 35cm; Weight: 2.7kg; Max load: 295kg

Check price at Alpine Trek

6. Nemo Switchback: Best foam camping pad

Price when reviewed: £55 | Check price at Alpine Trek
Not to be confused with the paper-thin roll up foam camping mats of yesteryear, the Switchback is a high performance, ultra-light, insulated and surprisingly comfortable mat that folds neatly and costs significantly less than the inflatable equivalent.

It’s also more reliable than an inflatable camp bed and will never go floppy at the wrong time. In fact, the Switchback is ideal if you’ve ended up on a rough floor for the night, and the tall foam lugs really help soak up the lumps and bumps without the risk of puncture. We’re not recommending it if you demand Disney Princess levels of mattress comfort, but if you’re likely to be exhausted from climbing or hiking and generally sleep like the dead it is ideal.

As a folding foam design, it does take up more space than an inflatable, but we had no issues strapping it to our backpack, and once secured we hardly noticed it.

Key specs – Size: 188 x 137 x 2.2cm; Weight: 411g; Max load: N/A

7. Dreamboat Double 12cm: Best sleeping mat for comfort

Price when reviewed: £330 | Check price at OutwellWith none of the wobble of a standard air bed, and all the comfort and support of memory foam, the Dreamboat Double 12cm self inflating mattress is the comfiest design we’ve ever had the pleasure of camping with.

It’s a big investment, but at 12cm thick it is more than deep enough to be used at home as a spare bed for unexpected guests without them hating you in the morning. It also rolls up remarkably small for a double sized extra thick camping mat and, with both in- and out-valves, inflating and deflating is quick and won’t leave you breathless.

What’s more, the Dreamboat will also keep you warm in all seasons. In the summer, sleep on the side with the smooth sculpted columns and the air will flow keeping you cool, but when the temperature drops, flip it over to the flat side for added insulation.

Finally, and unlike virtually any air bed, the mattress stays remarkably firm right to the edges, so even if your partner is hogging the middle you won’t instantly hit the floor.

Key specs – Size: 200 x 140 x 12cm; Weight: 5.5kg; Packed dimensions: 65 x 28cm; Max load: N/A

8. Quechua Camp Bed Air 70cm: Best camp bed for comfort

Price when reviewed: £80 | Check price at DecathlonDecathlon has done it again, with this innovative inflatable camp bed base that gives superb support and home-like comfort for extended camping trips. It uses the same inflatable beam technology found on its tents (you’ll need a pump to inflate as it requires 6psi pressure), so it is brilliantly stable, but forgiving, while the pre-fitted slats support your camping mat just like a traditional divan.

The downside here is it doesn’t come with a mattress, which increases the overall cost, but it does fit the super value £35 Quechua Self-Inflating Camping Mattress Comfort 65cm perfectly, and works with most standard sized mats. When used together, you have a fantastic camping bed you can happily sleep on for a week or more, but when you’re away for one night, or at a festival, you can just take the mattress, which weighs only 1.7kg.

It’s bigger than most, and you need to factor in the pump and mattress, too, but the generous 25cm height off the ground is a bonus, and the space in the middle is ideal for storing clothes and camping kit when not needed.

Key specs – Size: 200 x 70 x 25cm; Weight: 3.8kg; Packed dimensions: 70 x 14 x 14cm; Max load: 125kg

Check price at Decathlon

9. Jack Wolfskin Trail Mat Air: Best camping mat for backpacking

Price when reviewed: £120 | Check price at Outdoor Adventure NI
Ideal for backpacking adventures in warmer weather, or if you’re heading to a festival on the train, the Jack Wolfskin Trail Mat Air weighs just 490g and packs down so small you might lose it in the bottom of your rucksack.

Packed down, the Trail Mat Air is about the same size as a water bottle, which given the relatively low price for ultra-light gear, is really impressive. It has an R-value (insulation) of 1.8, which means it’s ideal for summer, but might leave you chilly in late spring or early autumn.

We love the fact the air chambers are interconnected so the air inside can flow freely between the zones, flexing as you move or roll over. For such a light camping mat it’s surprisingly comfortable as a result, and its 6.5cm thickness is generous, too.

The top layer is soft and textured and feels really durable, minimising the chance of punctures, and eliminating inflatable Lilo-style squeaks and rustling.

Key specs – Size: 182 x 54cm; Weight: 490g; Packed dimensions: 22x10cm; Max load: N/A

Check price at Outdoor Adventure NI

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