Camping Mattresses- a quick review

Camping Mattresses and Pads-

Camping mattresses are big here in the Pacific Northwest where it seems almost everyone likes to get out for weekend camping trips at least a few times a year.  For the rest of the world, especially the Northern Hemisphere, summer is a coming and school is getting out- time for family camping trips.  We will look at some of the camping mattresses available today- price, comfort, Pro’s and Con’s, and where to get them.  Most of these camping mattresses are best used for Car Camping as they are not the tiny, thin and light pads best suited for the more hardcore backpacking and mountain climbing campers out there.

Like most regular mattresses on the market today, there are a lot of different options available to you as a consumer.  Some things you will see on the market while researching camping mattresses are:

  • Inflatable mattresses with either a foot pump or car plug in electric
  • Memory Foam
  • Varying size, weight, and thickness

Hopefully you get a few tips and have more information than you did before when you head out to get your new camping mattress.

Therm-a-Rest Camping Mattresses-

Therm-a-Rest camping mattresses and pads are popular, well made and reviewed and available at many (most) of the top outdoor retailers.  Some of the more popular and better reviewed include:

Therm-a-Rest Dream Time: (estimated cost $190) Arguably the most comfortable Car Camping pad, more comfortable and supportaive that ‘budget’ type pads.

  • Pro’s: Very Comfortable, Memory Foam Top, Washable Liner, Very Warm
  • Con’s: Cover gets dirty easily, less durable than some other pads
thermarest dream time camping mattresses

Therm-a-Rest Dream Time

Therm-a-Rest Luxury Map: (estimated price $75-$100) ultra squishy, and comfortable, car camping pad that comes in three sizes.

  • Pro’s: Super squishy, hips don’t hit ground, three sizes, pressure mapping technology for comfort with less weight and more compact.
  • Con’s: More expensive than the REI Camp Bed

Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest Solar: (estimated cost $40-$55) a very comfortable and inexpensive closed sell pad that is durable and reliable.  Price combined with net Pro’s and Con’s make the Ridge Rest a good buy for the buck.

  • Pro’s: Light, durable, easy to set up, comfortable and warm
  • Con’s: Very bulky, collects dirt,

REI Camping Mattress Pads-

REI is well known and built for the great outdoors, in the Pacific Northwest REI reigns supreme and is a hometown brand.  Two of the REI Camping Mattresses we found reviewed include:

REI Camp Bed 3.5: (estimated cost $129) a luxurious and comfortable foam-sleeping pad.  Cover fabric is soft and plush, quick deflation (2 air valves), and a moderate price make it a good and popular buy.

  • Pro’s: Amazingly comfortable, soft cover material, two air valves, durable
  • Con’s: Very Large and very heavy
camping mattresses REI camp bed 3.5

REI Camp Bed 3.5

REI Trekker 1.75: (estimated cost $80) an affordable option for inflatable car camping mattresses- more comfortable than most pads, but not as comfy as the inflatable mattresses.  It falls in between: too heavy for long camping trips and not as comfortable as the car camping mattresses.

  • Pro’s: Warm, Comfortable, affordable
  • Con’s: not as comfortable as the REI Camp Bed 3.5, or some of the Therm-a-Rest mattresses

Other Camping Mattresses to look at-

REI and Therm-a-Rest clearly are not the only makers of camping mattresses and pads, here are a few more to look at and consider when you are in the market.

Jack’s Plastic Welding (JPW) Paco Grande: (estimated cost $260) a huge sleeping pad that has thick, cushy foam and an indestructible shell to make it heavy, large and durable- weighing 13 pounds.

  • Pro’s: Very Comfortable, very warm, very durable, hypo-allergenic, easy to clean and has many uses.
  • Con’s: Not good for users over 6 feet tall, difficult to make firm, hard to use inflation valves, not comfortable in hot weather.
camping mattresses jacks paco grande

Jack’s Paco Grande

Coleman Signature Rugged Air Mattress: (estimated cost $40) a great solution for car camping or kids camping in the back yard.  Durable with a heavy base, easy open valves for inflation and deflation.

  • Pro’s: Easy to inflate, durable, heavy duty base, good support
  • Con’s: Not ideal for camping, carry bag, does not roll up, bulky

Intex Comfort-Rest Rising Comfort Air Bed: (estimated cost $50) dual chamber design delivers a portable air bed and a raised sleep surface- lower chamber acts as box spring, upper creates a soft, supportive mattress.  Not ideal for anything beyond stationary car camping-

  • Pro’s: Elevated sleep surface, dual chamber design, double layer I-beam construction, built in pump.
  • Con’s: Heavy w/built in pump, not ideals for mobile camping, takes up space

We hope you gained some perspective on the options out there if you are looking for a camping mattress.  Some of the things you should keep in mind while shopping include dimension and connect ability (connect to other mattresses/pads).  What is the size of the camping mattress, what is the size of your tent?  Are you tall?  Does the mattress attach to others like it if you have a camping partner- snaps, Velcro, etc.

There is a lot of great information and reviews at Outdoor Gear Lab- they can be seen here.