You need a good night’s sleep, but you don’t want to carry a lot of heavy gear when you’re outdoors. In deciding between cots versus air mattresses for camping, an air mattress wins because it takes up a lot less space when it’s deflated. It’s easier to store. It’s more comfortable; more like a real bed. The air beds in this review are all queen air mattresses that hold two people. They are the perfect comfortable camping mattresses for adults.If you’re having a hard time choosing between foam pads versus air mattresses, remember that an air bed won’t let you feel the ground underneath you. An inflatable mattress is better for your bad back than a thin pad on the ground. (Did you know that people who suffer from bed or pressure sores often find relief by sleeping on an air mattress?)
If you’re having a hard time choosing between foam pads versus air mattresses, remember that an air bed won’t let you feel the ground underneath you. An inflatable mattress is better for your bad back than a thin pad on the ground. (Did you know that people who suffer from bed or pressure sores often find relief by sleeping on an air mattress?)
Air beds also double as a guest bed at home, too. We selected the best queen-size air mattresses for camping and reviewed them here for you. If you’re looking for a comfortable camping mattress that’s durable, easy to transport, and simple to maintain, here are the best queen-size air mattress reviews. All of the following self-inflating mattresses are available for sale on Amazon.
Characteristics of a Great Air Bed
Here are the criteria for choosing the best air mattresses.
- Ease of use
- Warranty and/or Customer Support
We have a preference for flocked tops because they don’t make us feel as sweaty in the summer or as cold in the winter like plain old plastic does. We also prefer taller mattresses that are easier to get up from in the morning. People with limited mobility will appreciate the ease of laying down on a double-high air mattress instead of a foam mattress on the ground.
If it’s supposed to be queen-size, then it should be queen-size, not full-size. We want our sheets to fit our camping air mattress.
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night laying on the floor because the air in your mattress leaked out? We checked out hundreds of top user reviews to select the air beds with the fewest complaints about leaking.
Ease of use
We like beds that are simple and quick to inflate and deflate. Built-in air pumps are a definite bonus. With a built-in pump, the air mattress is self-inflating. We included one air mattress that is manually inflatable.
Warranty and/or Customer Support
We wanted the best camping air mattresses for the money. Whether you have a tight budget or unlimited funds, we wanted you to have a quality air bed. Some of these manufacturers offer 1 or 2-year warranties, and one company offers no warranty at all. That one at least has decent customer support and lots of information on their website.
These are the criteria we used to hunt down the best camping air mattresses for the money. Look below to see which ones we chose and why we liked them.
Our Top Pick
Most Comfortable Queen-size Mattress with the Best Features
SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress with ComfortCoil Technology & Internal High Capacity Pump
We loved this air mattress for many reasons even though it’s a little expensive. We felt the quality was worth the extra cost.
The SoundAsleep Dream Series is so comfortable you won’t know you left home. It inflates or deflates in just 4 minutes. The best part is that you don’t have to remember to bring an air pump because the pump is inside the mattress. It’s simple to operate. Just turn the dial one direction to inflate, turn it back the other way to deflate. The pump sounds a bit quieter than other similar air pumps on other air mattresses.
The extra-thick flocked top reduces the sweatiness you usually feel when you lay on ordinary plastic camping mattresses. It helps a little with insulation in cold weather camping, too. If you plan to use an air mattress for cold weather camping bring along a foam pad to place on top.
The bottom of the mattress is designed to grip the floor without sliding around. It’s 19 inches tall so it’s double-high. You’ll never feel the floor even when you’re just sitting on it. This is a great feature for people with limited mobility.
It’s just a smidgen under queen-size, measuring 78” by 58.” (We bent our size rules a little on this mattress. Real queen-size is 80” by 60.” We like that SoundAsleep was honest about the measurements.) You can use regular queen size bed sheets on it if you desire. The flocking keeps the sheets from sliding around, so even if they’re a little big, they work.
The mattress is roomy enough for two people to sleep together, and it holds up to 500 pounds. Even with two people on it, it feels firm and not saggy in the middle. SoundAsleep says this is due to their 40-coil, dual-chamber design. Dual chambers mean that the bottom of the mattress is like a box spring for better support. The coils are more comfortable than an I-beam or tube structure. Your weight is distributed better across the air mattress. This is the best camping mattress for a bad back.
The 15-gauge PVC is puncture-resistant. It will stretch a little on first use, which gives the appearance that it lost a little air during the night. After one or two uses it should stabilize.
Should there be a problem, SoundAsleep has excellent customer service. You can see this reflected in user reviews and in the questions that the company answers for customers on retail websites. SoundAsleep offers a 1-year guarantee on this product. We were impressed by the thousands of positive reviews on retail websites. At the time of writing, this air bed had 4.6 out of 5 stars and over 8500 reviews on Amazon.com.
The Dream Series Queen weighs just a bit over 19 pounds. That makes it the lightest one in this review. It comes with a carrying bag. The power cord stores onboard inside a small cup built into the side of the mattress.
Runner-up for Best Overall Mattress
Serta Raised Air Mattress with Never Flat Pump
This Serta air mattress was neck-and-neck with the SoundAsleep for our top pick. One of the reasons it almost won is that it is truly a queen-size mattress. It measures 80 by 60 inches.
Like the SoundAsleep, it has a flocked top so you don’t feel sweaty and your sheets don’t slide around. The bottom side is non-slip so it’s made to stay put, too.
Serta says the mattress is made from puncture-resistant material. It has only 35 coils, but the presence of coils still means it has good back support. It’s also just 18 inches tall, an inch shorter than the SoundAsleep, but that’s still average chair seat height.
If you check out user reviews, you’ll see that the Serta air mattress has a few more complaints about air leaking than the SoundAsleep air bed has. The overall star rating is a little lower on the Serta, too. At the time of writing, it has 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon with over 1100 user reviews. We were a little sad about that because Serta is generally a very trusted name in mattresses.
We like that the Serta has the built-in neverFLAT secondary pump. It’s an air bed, so it will probably leak some air during the night. The secondary pump keeps it stable, and it only runs for a few seconds at a time. This pump is much quieter that the main inflation pump. Some users have compared the sound to a few seconds of a refrigerator humming.
The built-in primary pump lets you select with a dial if you want a soft or firm feel. It inflates and deflates the mattress in about 4 minutes. The pump turns off automatically when it’s done.
This Serta mattress looks very similar to the Insta-Bed described below. The difference between them seems to be that the Serta is made from thicker plastic with stronger seam welds. It has fewer complaints about leaks compared to the Insta-bed.
The Serta Raised Air Mattress comes with a storage bag. Just like the SoundAsleep, there is a cup on the side for power cord storage. Serta offers a 2-year warranty, the longest out of all the beds in this review.
Best Budget Mattress for Camping
Intex Raised Downy Airbed with Built-in Electric Pump, Queen, Bed Height 22″
We liked three features of the Intex Raised Downy Airbed right away. One, this is a true camping air mattress. It can be filled with a foot pump or other means if there is no electricity available. You can leave the generator at home, or enjoy a primitive campsite far from an outlet, and still use your air bed. Two, the Intex airbed is 22 inches tall, and that’s really nice for people who have difficulties with mobility. Three, it supports up to 600 pounds so couples don’t need to worry about sleeping on it together. This is the highest weight rating out of the queen air beds we reviewed. It’s the best air mattress for heavy people.
Like the other air mattresses in this review, it has a flocked top. Should you ever need to patch a leak in the flocked top with the included patch kit, they recommend gently sanding the flock off so that the patch glue will stick.
Intex says that the top plastic is 20.8 gauge in thickness. In case you’re wondering, 20.8 gauge is about 0.0185 inches thick. For comparison, some inflatable kayaks made for pleasure boating on lakes are made out of 22-gauge PVC. Intex also reports that the vinyl beams are 15-gauge while the sides and bottom are 16-gauge. Overall, it seems like the Intex is made from thicker PVC than the other queen-size air mattresses we reviewed.
The air mattress has two separate chambers with the bottom one serving as a box spring for firmer support. There have been a number of customer complaints that one or more beams in the top chamber come unglued, and that makes the bed uncomfortable or impossible to use. Plus, the design is I-beam like a pool float, so it’s not quite as comfortable as an air bed with coils.
The bed measures 60 by 80 inches, so regular queen sheets should fit. The built-in pump does not have the Never Flat feature that the Serta and Insta-Bed mattresses have, and it’s a little slower to fill the bed with air. It takes up to 5 minutes to inflate and deflate and you must turn it off yourself.
When it deflates, it folds down to about 7.5 by 18 by 14.5 inches. It weighs 22.5 pounds and comes with a carrying bag. Intex offers no warranty on this product, but they do have helpful tips and a detailed FAQ on their website: www.intexcorp.com. Basically, it’s the least expensive air bed, so replacing it isn’t too big of a deal. It probably costs less to buy a new one than to ship the old one back for warranty service.
Best Budget Mattress for Indoor Use
Insta-Bed Raised Air Mattress with Never Flat Pump
The Insta-Bed Raised Air Mattress looks a lot like the Serta air mattress but it isn’t quite as expensive. We wanted to like it more but were concerned about the flimsier construction. Still, a number of people seem to have enjoyed it without problems.
It has a main air pump for inflation and deflation, and a Never Flat secondary pump. The secondary pump kicks on to stabilize the air pressure depending on how you want the mattress to feel. There are three options: Plush, Medium, or Firm. While the primary pump is loud and works continuously for about 4 minutes, the Never Flat pump is quiet and runs for just a few seconds at a time.
Turn the primary pump dial to the left to deflate the air mattress, and then to the right to inflate. It shuts off by itself. Insta-Bed recommends setting up the bed at least one hour before using it to allow it to settle so you can adjust the firmness. The temperature of the PVC where it was stored may be different from where you want to sleep, and that can make a difference in firmness until it acclimates.
The flocked surface of the bed contains 35 coils instead of the I-beam tubes seen on some less-expensive air beds like the Intex air mattress. You may prefer a coiled surface over tubes because the coils cradle your body better. The air mattress measures 80 by 60 by 18 inches when fully inflated. It supports up to 500 pounds so it holds two people.
For convenience, there is a small cup built into the side of the air mattress by the pump where you can store the power cord. The bottom has a grippy texture so it won’t slide easily over smooth floors or carpet. This air mattress also comes with a carrying bag. Insta-Bed offers a 1-year warranty.
The Nitty-gritty Details about Camping Air Mattresses
How to decide between the different brands?
If you only need an air mattress for light use, you could save money getting a less expensive option like the Intex air bed. If you plan to use it more often, having a warranty like the Serta or good customer support like the SoundAsleep could be handy if there is a problem down the road.
How can I inflate one at a campsite?
You’ve seen that all the air mattresses except the Intex require electricity to inflate. Fortunately, the built-in primary pumps on the Serta, Insta-bed, and the SoundAsleep require only 1A to 1.1A of current and use 130 to 150W of power for around 4 minutes. One solution is to camp where you have access to an electrical outlet. Even if you had to carry the bed, all these air mattresses weigh 25 pounds or less. The only problem would be how to get a full-inflated queen-size air mattress in through a tent door. It wouldn’t be a problem for most camping cabins.
Another option would be to travel with a small generator, or a DC to AC inverter that works off a car battery. Be sure that your vehicle is running while you run the air pump off the inverter so you don’t drain your battery. If you’re concerned about being somewhere without electricity, consider getting the Intex air mattress since you can pump it up manually.
Will it fit in my tent, shelter, or vehicle?
Since these are all queen air beds ranging from 18 to 22 inches high, this is a good question. To keep your air mattress in top shape, it’s best to keep it from being under too much pressure and from rubbing against walls and surfaces. Plan on leaving at least 4 inches around three sides, and two feet of room on the side you’ll use to enter and leave the bed. That means you’ll need a floor space about 7 feet by 7 feet. Take into account ceiling height, too, so you don’t hit your head when you sit up in bed.
How can I patch a leak?
First, you need to find the leak. Inflate the bed fully. Make a soap and water mixture but try not to make it sudsy or bubbly. Mix it gently. Apply it to the seam where you suspect there is a leak and see if air makes the soapy water bubble. Once you find the leak, mark it. Dry the spot, deflate the bed, and use a patch kit to fix the hole. All of the inflatable air beds in this review come with small patch kits. The manufacturers recommend rounding off the edges of the patch with scissors before applying it. Use the included glue and press down firmly on the patch. Weight it with a heavy object and let it cure for 24 hours before you inflate the air mattress again. Hardware and sporting good stores often sell vinyl patch kits in case you need more in the future.
Aren’t air mattresses cold to sleep on in the winter?
Yes, they can be if you don’t insulate yourself. After all, you’re sleeping on air! Flocked tops are nice, but they aren’t really good enough insulation for air mattress camping in cold weather. If you’re at a winter campout, bring a memory foam mattress topper, or at least lay down an extra sleeping bag or two under your body on top of the air bed.
How can I get rid of that nasty new plastic smell?
At least a week before you go camping, open up your air mattress and let it air out. Try to leave it in a place where there is plenty of air movement. If you can inflate it and leave inflated for a few days, do it. Don’t try to make it smell better with colognes or Febreeze because you could damage the PVC, making it more porous, and then it will leak air.
How can I clean my air mattress?
You can’t wash it or submerge it in water. It’s not a pool toy. But you can use a damp cloth to wipe it off. Let it dry completely before you store it.
Which is the best air mattress for daily use?
Unfortunately, none of these air bed manufacturers say that these air mattresses are made for long-term daily use. User reviews indicate that some people have had success up to two months of sleeping on them. These are really camping air beds, or guest air beds.
Isn’t PVC dangerous for humans and the environment?
Well, yes, and no…The European Union has stricter controls on PVC (polyvinyl chloride) than the USA does—they won’t allow certain products used for infants and young children to contain phthalates. Those are the plasticizer chemicals that make PVC soft for vinyl in air beds. You may have seen some air mattresses for toddlers marketed as “phthalate-free.” Some studies seem to show that plasticizers cause health problems for people who have weak immune systems.
PVC is a product made from petroleum which means the very process of making it is hard on the environment. If it goes into a landfill, it takes around 140 years to degrade. But on the good side, PVC can be recycled up to seven times. So when you’re done with your old air mattress, please do your best to recycle it.