Camping is a wonderful pastime and an excellent way to enjoy Australia's wild terrain and picturesque landscapes. It can be pretty uncomfortable with the wrong gear, but a few simple additions will help you camp in comfort.
I still get overwhelmed when I see the options available, and I've spent most of my life camping. To help you choose the right mattress for your needs, I've put together the following list of my 10 favourites.
How I Made My Selections
I've been camping for years, and a reliable camp mattress has been part of my kit since day one. I've drawn on this experience to put together the following list of the best mattresses on the market today. Here, you will find great all-around options, versatile beds for those on a tight budget, and niche mattresses for specific situations.
The Zempire Monstamat Single Self-Inflating Mattress is by far and away my favourite camping mattress. It boasts excellent comfort, a smooth stretch fabric cover, and 10cm of cushioning when it's fully inflated. On top of this, it's extremely easy to inflate, and it features a double way valve to make deflation just as simple.
It boasts open cell foam for comfort, and there's no need for a pump or any other inflation tools. In my experience, you will only need to wait a few minutes for the Monstamat to inflate, which makes it a great option for setting up camp quickly.
Another great feature is the heavy-duty 75D base, which is designed to provide maximum durability. And it seems to work - I've never managed to pop one of these. But if you do run into an issue and manage to make a hole in your bed, you can use the included repair kit to quickly and effectively patch it. There's also a carry bag and compression straps for simple storage.
To top everything off, the Zempire Monstamat comes with a 2-year manufacturer's guarantee. There are a number of other sizes available, and I'd highly recommend giving it a try.
If you're looking for an affordable yet durable inflatable camping mattress, you can't go past the Coleman All Terrain range.
I've only used the Coleman All Terrain mattress a couple of times, but the thing that's stood out to me every time is how convenient it is. It weighs in at just 2kg and rolls up nice and small for storage. All models are designed to fit standard bed sheets - a huge plus in my eyes - and they boast Double Lock valves for ease of inflation. Larger models are also available for anyone who needs a queen camping mattress.
The main downside is that you do have to manually inflate this mattress. There's no included or built-in pump, but you could purchase your own for quick inflation. Deflation is super easy, and I'd highly recommend checking out the Coleman All Terrain range if you want a cheap camping mattress that you can use occasionally.
In my experience, it can be a little difficult to find a good inflatable mattress that's comfortable for two people. However, the Oztrail 3D Self Inflating Fatmat 1500 is an excellent option, and I've loved it every time I've used it.
For starters, it boasts an open-cell memory foam interior, enabling fast and effective self-inflation. It's also a super comfortable option that's 15 cm thick. It has a durable insulating base that makes it comfortable in cold temperatures, and the two-way valves make both inflation and deflation easier than ever.
On the downside, the OZtrail Fatmat is very bulky and rather heavy, which means that it's not a viable option for hiking or backpacking. You will receive a repair kit and a carry bag with your purchase, and I'd seriously recommend it if you're looking for the best camping experience with your partner.
Weight and size become crucial considerations when you're backpacking, and the Sea to Summit ultralight insulated sleeping mat addresses both of these concerns brilliantly. The regular size spreads to 183cm by 55cm when inflated and packs down to just 10cm by 23cm. It weighs a tiny 480 grams when deflated, making it perfect for carrying in your backpack.
Full disclosure - I actually haven't used this lightweight backpacking pad personally. However, I have three close friends who swear by it, and their word is good enough for me. All reports suggest that it's a super comfortable option, despite being only 5cm thick when fully inflated.
On top of this, this Sea to Summit camping air mattress boasts excellent insulating properties. It has an R-value of 3.3, which makes it suitable for all but the worst winter conditions. It comes with a small air pump and repair kit, and there are 4 different sizes available. This certainly isn't the cheapest backpacking mattress, but it's worth paying for if you can afford it.
One of my all-time favourite options is the BlackWolf Hexatherm 2D Mega Deluxe mattress. It's more expensive than others on our list, but it's super durable and comes with an extensive lifetime manufacturer's warranty.
On top of this, it's one of the most comfortable options I've used. It's perfect for rough or bumpy terrain, and you can manually add extra air following self-inflation to ensure it's the perfect firmness.
Another feature that I love is the oversized inflation and deflation valves. These enable rapid inflation and deflation times, making it easier than ever to get your mattress set up. The non-slip base will help you stay still during the night, and the tough material is puncture-resistant.
Overall, I recommend testing the BlackWolf Hexatherm 2D Mega Deluxe self-inflating mattress if you're happy to pay more for a comfortable, durable option.
OZtrail's 50mm memory foam camping mat is a great option for those who want a cheap yet comfortable camping mattress. Some people do find it a little soft, but I really enjoyed sleeping on it when I had the chance.
On top of this, it boasts an easy-clean open-cell foam design. This helps ensure maximum comfort and durability, and most dirt can be removed with a damp cloth. And if you do run into any problems, there's a 1-year manufacturer's warranty.
The main downside is that the lack of insulation means that it's not great on cold ground. If you do plan to use it in winter, we'd suggest using a groundsheet or a camp bed to separate yourself from the ground a little. But overall, it's cheap, it's quite comfortable, and it's definitely an option worth considering.
The Oztrail Hiker Bonded Mat is a cheap option that offers impressive comfort, especially for kids and smaller adults. It's also super compact and weighs just 0.8kg when deflated, making it easy to carry around if you need to.
Despite being only 2.5 centimetres thick, this is one of my favourite low-cost plush memory foam mattresses. It boasts an open-cell foam designed for rapid inflation, along with a tough air valve to reduce the risk of leakage.
You will also benefit from this model's decent insulating properties, which are crucial if you plan to sleep directly on the ground in cooler weather. A repair kit, storage straps, and a carry bag are included with every purchase. Overall, I'd recommend the OZtrail Hiker mat if you're looking for a low-cost yet comfortable option for yourself or your kids.
If you like sleeping in comfort, you just can't go past the Zempire Twin Bomber 3D Self-Inflating Camping Mat. It's spacious for 1 person and comfortable for 2, and it comes with a soft sleeping surface for maximum comfort.
On top of this, the self-inflating design makes it super easy to set up. You can use a pump to add extra air manually if you want to, and the 360-degree valve makes deflation quick and straightforward. It is a little bulky compared to some of the alternatives, but the Zempire Twin Bomber is one of the most comfortable camping mattress choices I've seen.
If you're thinking that this is too expensive, you're probably right. The Exped MegaMat Max Duo 15 certainly isn't for anyone on a tight budget, but it's an excellent choice for luxury campers. The 15cm-thick mattress has an R-value of 10.6, which gives it the best insulating properties I've seen. In fact, Exped claims that it can be used to sleep directly on snow in temperatures of up to -50 degrees Celsius.
Another attractive feature is the carbon-neutral manufacturing process. This makes it a particularly attractive option for eco-conscious campers. You will also get a mini-pump for extra manual inflation, a repair kit, and a carry bag for storage.
The development of self-inflating mattresses has seen air mattresses become less popular, but there are still plenty of great options out there. I particularly like the Coleman Supportrest Elite Pillowtop Queen Air Bed. It combines comfort with functionality, and it offers plenty of room for one or two people.
The built-in 240V pump makes inflation super easy, but it also adds to the mattress's weight and packed size. It can also be used to deflate your mattress, enabling you to remove all air for easy pack up.
One thing that stands out to me about this mattress is its anti-microbial coating. This is designed to reduce mould and bacteria growth, keeping your sleeping surface cleaner for longer. If you're looking for a comfortable, easy-to-use air mattress, the Coleman Supportrest is a leader worth considering.
How To Choose The Best Mattress For Camping
There are quite a few things to think about when selecting the right mattress for camping, including how often you're going to use it, where you're going, and what sort of camping you're doing.
Here, I've listed some of the most important things to think about.
Before you even begin your search, I'd recommend putting a number on the amount you're willing to spend on a new mattress. The price tag on different options can vary from tens to hundreds of dollars, and it's easy to get caught spending more than you want to if you're not careful - trust me! In saying that, there are some very nice models out there if you do have some money to spend, so keep this in mind.
The Type Of Mattress You Want
There are three main types of camping mattresses on the market, and I'd suggest deciding what type you want before beginning your search.
Air Mattresses - Air mattresses are usually a low-cost, lightweight option. They come with a valve for manual inflation, and you can usually use a pump. They offer good insulation and can be placed on relatively uneven ground, although you will have to be careful you don't get a puncture.
Self-Inflating Mattresses - Self-inflating mattresses are similar to air mattresses, but they don't require manual inflation. In my opinion, they are the most comfortable type of camping mat on average, and most models provide excellent insulation from the ground on cold nights.
Foam Sleeping Mattresses - If you're looking for an affordable option, a cheap foam mattress could be your best bet. They aren't usually the most comfortable unless you go for a thicker model, and these become quite bulky. Nonetheless, a foam sleeping mat is usually a solid choice for the average weekend camper.
Weight & Size
The amount of space you have will also limit your choice of camping mattress. For example, if you're a backpacker, you'll want a light model with a small packed size. If you're camping out of a car, you can be a bit freer with your choice. In this case, something like a thick double camping mattress could be a more comfortable option. Similarly, you want to ensure you get something that's large enough. If you're a particularly tall person, you will likely find that the average camp mat is too small for you.
Ease Of Inflation & Deflation
Self-inflating mattresses are generally quite easy to inflate and deflate, although it can be hard to get them packed away into a compact bundle. Inflatable mattresses require more effort to blow up, but something like an electric pump can make things much easier.
When you're looking at camping beds, I'd recommend testing as many as possible. It's worth spending some time to make sure your sleeping gear is comfortable. Generally, thicker, more expensive mattresses will deliver more comfort, but there are plenty of options and you'll probably find the most luxurious for you is completely different to what I like.
Last, but not least, it's a good idea to check the R-value of each mattress you're considering. This indicates how insulating a mattress is, and higher R-values signal better information. In summer, this isn't too important. But in winter, a high R-value is important if you want a comfortable night's sleep.
The best kind of mattress depends on your needs. There are various sizes on the market for different sized tents and people, and there are larger options for couples. For most people, something that's relatively lightweight, compact, and easy to set up will be best. I'd suggest looking for a memory foam or self-inflating option.
Yes, memory foam mattresses are good for camping. However, the thinner models can be quite uncomfortable, and thicker ones tend to get pretty bulky. Because of this, they're really only suited to camping with a vehicle.
Self-inflating mattresses are usually easier to use and more comfortable than standard air mattresses. However, they do tend to come with a higher price tag, which will turn some people off. In my experience, air mattresses are a decent enough option for anyone who just wants to use them for the occasional night here and there.
Yes, most of the best camping mattresses on the market are self-inflating models. They make camping a breeze because you don't have to worry about blowing them up (although you will have to finish some off with a pump), and they are super comfortable. If you're looking for a versatile, all-around option, I'd definitely suggest going for a self-inflating model.
The best self-inflating mattress for camping is the Zempire Monstamat single self-inflating mattress. It retails for just $199.99, rolls up into a compact ball, and is lightweight yet comfortable. I've used it a few times over my travels, and I'm happy to be able to say that I don't remember ever having a bad night's sleep on one.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.