The best camping beds

A good night's sleep guaranteed with the best double camp bed, mats, pads, cots, mattresses

Best camping bed

by William Austin-Lobley |
Updated on

To truly enjoy camping, you need to be warm, dry, and well-rested. The camping bed is a key part of achieving this, along with an adequate tent, sleeping bag, waterproofing, and stoves.

The best camping bed is one that offers you insulation from the ground and support for your body, allowing you to rest warmly, and fully recuperate for the next day’s activities.

Related: The best camping gadgets

The best at a glance

Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite SOL Mattress

Robens Vapour 60 Airbed

Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus

Coleman Comfort Airbed Compact Single

Coleman Comfort Airbed Double

Multimat Camper Mat

To help you find the right camping bed, we’ve rounded up some of the best, and there’s a wide selection to choose from. There are options for the intrepid explorer looking to travel light, with no-fuss mats like the Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite and Robens Vapour 60. There are options for hikers on the hunt for a more padded nap, courtesy of the ProLite Plus. There are two camping cots, providing all the luxury of off-ground sleeping, and even a couple of airbeds for the decadent outdoors enthusiast.

Some of the options are ideal for fitting into your hiking pack alongside your waterproofing gear and camping stove, or handing from the outside of a rucksack without dragging you down. Others are best suited for those who have vehicular access to their campsite, and intend on setting up a comfortable basecamp, operating as a central location for all your hikes and walks.

Related: The best camping windbreak

How we chose the best camping beds:

All of these camping beds have been hand-selected by What's The Best shopping experts. Our team has spent hours investigating and researching them, so you can choose the best one. Plus, we'd never recommend a product we don't believe in. Find out why you should trust us here.

Pro tip: For that extra splash of luxury, don’t forget about a pillow. Much like contemporary camping mats, pads and cots, there are many compressible and super-lightweight options around, adding nothing to your load but providing an extremely comfortable sleep. Read our guide to the best camping pillows.

Here are our recommendations for the best camping beds:

The best in detail


The best camping beds

Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOLite Mattress1 of 8

Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOLite Mattress

Therm-a-Rest's RidgeRest SOLite is a top performer amongst foam mats. Using heat-reflective ThermaCapture technology, it's remarkable good at retaining body heat for its thickness. At around half a kilo, it's super light - this can still be attached to the outside of a rucksack for transportation. For those looking to travel as lightly as possible, this is a near-foolproof choice for summer expeditions.Pros: Simple, a great mat for bivvying or adding some R-Value to an air matCons: More bulky than inflatable hiking matsWeight: 400g (Regular)Size: 183 x 51 x 1.6cm (Regular)Size packed: 51 x 14 x 13cm (Regular)R-Value: 2

Robens Vapour 60 Airbed2 of 8

Robens Vapour 60 Airbed

Technically, the Robens Vapour 60 is an airbed. However, it behaves more like a unique roll mat that's ideal for lightweight trekkers and hikers. It's self-inflating, but the user can add some breath in to set the mat's firmness – this can easily be adjusted at any point thanks to the slow release valve. The multi-chamber design keeps the PrimaVapour flexible, moulding to the terrain whilst simultaneously keeping the sleeper in a stable and supported position throughout the night. The result is a very comfortable sleep. As the R-Rating, indicates, this is best used in the warm late-spring and summer. The lightweight design and small deflated size means it takes up very little space in a pack.Pros: Lightweight, small when deflated, easy setup, comfortableCons: Somewhat limited usage due to R-valueWeight: 425gSize: 190 x 55 x 6cmSize packed (circular): 27 x 8cmR-Value: 1.6

Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus3 of 8

Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus

A trusted friend for our treks, the Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus is an excellent three-seasons mat that ensures the user can sleep in comfort night after night. The mat uses both air and diagonal cut foam to provide a nice and thick foundation for rest. It's self-inflating and the foam is made of an expanding core – after a few moments with an open-valve, it's good to go. A few breaths can be added to adjust the firmness. Deflating and rolling up the ProLite Plus is a simple task, though strong hands will be needed to minimise its packed size. While the foam does add a little bulk to the stuff sack, the extra warmth and comfort it brings is worth the extra weight.Pros: Comfortable, well-insulated, easy to useCons: A strong grip is needed when rolling up for the stuff packWeight: 650g (Regular)Size: 183 x 51 x 3.8cm (Regular)Size packed (circular): 28 x 17cm (Regular)R-Value: 3.2

Coleman Comfort Airbed Compact Single4 of 8

Coleman Comfort Airbed Compact Single

For those looking to add a little luxury into their weekend camp, the Comfort Compact from Coleman offers an affordable solution. Inflatable via the Double-Lock valve, this air mattress has 24 internal coil beams to offer additional support and comfort while in use, and the PVC material is good at resisting punctures. It's thin, too, measuring in at just 65cm wide – this is preferable, especially when camping, as standard air mattresses are cumbersome and waste considerable space. While air mattresses are fine for basecamps, the fuss and time they take to inflate make them unsuitable for trekkers and backpackers.Pros: Affordable, reliable, and narrow for an air mattressCons: Heavy, bulky, and time consuming to set up without an electric pumpWeight: 1.35kgSize: 189 x 65 x 17 cm (Inflated)

Coleman Comfort Airbed Double5 of 8

Coleman Comfort Airbed Double

The Coleman Comfort double air mattress is about as close to decadence as a camper can get. While camping beds are typically about coming to a compromise between weight, size, and comfort, the best double camp bed goes all-in on comfort. Inside the mattress, there are 30 support coils spread across a dual-chamber design, which allows each user to refine their level of comfort and prevent night-time disturbance if the other user gets up. We'd recommend this as an option for anyone with a larger tent – ideally, at least a four-person tent with only two campers. That way, there's still plenty of space for utilities and equipment. Also, due to its size, an electric pump is probably wise.Pros: Comfortable, and dual-chamber design is ideal for a more restful sleepCons: Need a large space to justify the size, electric pump highly recommendedWeight: 3.6kgSize: 188 x 137 x 22 cm (Inflated)

Outwell Posadas Foldaway6 of 8

Outwell Posadas Foldaway

Outwell's Foldaway Single is very much a classic camping cot. The steel and aluminium frame unfolds to reveal the bed, with the polyester fabric already locked tight in place. It performs its basic function well, and the open space underneath is useful for backpack and equipment storage. The weight of this bed means that it is only suitable for those who can access their campsite via car. Also, unless the Outwell is going to be used in a friend's front room, the purchase of some castor cups is an absolute must – the bed's narrow feet will damage ground mats and sink into soft ground.Pros: Affordable and low-fussCons: Heavy and narrow, sharply angled feet make castor cups a must-have to prevent damageWeight: 7.9kgSize: 192 x 66 x 45 cmSize packed: 15 x 12 x 96 cm

Therm-a-Rest Ultralite Cot7 of 8

Therm-a-Rest Ultralite Cot

The Therm-a-Rest Ultralite Cot offers up all the benefits of a comfortable, off-ground sleeping without the weight, height and bulk of other options. The ripstop fabric of the cot is made using ThermaCapture to prevent body warmth from being lost to the air underneath. The standard setup of the cot uses 12 feet, and a mix of single bow and twisted supports – it's worth noting that for those travelling light, the cot will also work with only half of the feet and bows. Assembling the cot isn't a complicated process, but it can be fiddly, so you'll want to get a little practice in before heading off to camp (Term-a-Rest have a really handy YouTube tutorial that's worth watching). While we wouldn't recommend carrying this with you on the trails, for maximising comfort in a two-person tent at basecamp, the Ultralite Cot is an excellent choice.Pros: Lightweight access to off-ground sleeping, comfortableCons: Can be tricky to assembleWeight: 1.2kg (full bows) or 850g (lightweight bows)Size: 183 x 61 x 11cm (Regular)Size packed (circular): 43 x 13cm (Regular)

Multimat Camper Mat8 of 8

Multimat Camper Mat

The classic foam roll mat, or 'Old Faithful' as we like to call ours, is about as simple as a camp bed can get. It's a light foam mat that can be rolled up tightly and easily attached to the outside of a rucksack. While youngsters might be able to get a good night sleep on one of these, we don't recommend adults using such a mat on its own as it is inadequate. This one is best used in combination with a mat like the ProLite Plus or Robens Vapour 60 – sliding it under one of these mats offers an extra layer of comfort, improving waterproofing and insulation, and sneakily (and cheaply) giving a little R-Value boost.Pros: Basic, affordable and light, length can be trimmedCons: Uncomfortable solo, wide-load to add to packWeight: 180gSize: 180 x 51 x 0.8 cmSize packed (circular): 51 x 15cm

R-Value explained

What is R-value?

R-Value is a measurement used to benchmark an item’s ability to insulate the user from ground temperatures. It’s a scale typically adopted by high-quality and reputable manufactures of sleeping pads and sleeping bags.

As Outdoor Gear Exchange has noted, the R-Value is not adopted by all manufacturers. Some manufactures and brands will not reference an R-Value, instead choosing to reference a temperature range directly. Neither the temperature range or R-Value is independently verified. However, you should be comfortable using the scale and guide as a reference when purchasing from reputable companies.

The R-Value scale

The R-value scale runs from 0 to 6. The higher the number, the better the item’s insulation. It’s an inexact science, and when it comes to lining all of the numbers up with specific temperatures, it all gets a little muddled and confusing. However, this chart from Therm-a-Rest's blog serves as a decent quick reference guide:

R Value Scale

Using this scale to compare some of our recommended models above, we can see the following. The Robens Vapour 60 Airbed has an R-Value of 1.6, so this mat is ideal for summer use. The Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus has an R-Value of 3.6, meaning that it’s a fully-fledged three-season mat, capable of insulting through from the beginning of spring to the end of autumn.

There are models on the market that are capable of withstanding some extremely cold situations. The Sea-to-Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Mat has an R-Value of 5, for example, and Therm-a-Rest’s Neoair Xtherm is rate 7.2, exceeding the scale itself, and is therefore able to withstand -40 temperatures – both great products, but offer more than the standard UK hiker is going to need.

How can I make a camp bed more comfortable?

If you’re expecting your camp bed to be as luxurious as your bed at home, then you’re probably going to be disappointed. Camp beds have been designed with practical features in mind, like elevating you from the ground. That said, there are still ways you can make your outdoor experience more comfortable.

The best way to ensure you’re comfortable on your camp bed is by buying the right size for you. Double-check the measurements of the camp bed before you hit that shop button. Another way to improve this is by teaming it with a sleeping mat or air mattress.

How to pack bedding for camping

We could walk you through step-by-step on how to pack your bedding for camping, or you could watch this YouTube tutorial from Snowys Outdoors on how to fold your sleeping bag. You can follow the same principles for any extra blankets or bedding you have brought with you.

Searching for more camping essentials? We've got you covered:

The best camping chairs

The best camping cookware

The best camping cutlery for every need

William Lobley is a Content Writer and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in technology and outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.

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