Tuesday, August 16, 2022
HomeCampingAir Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad (Getting A Good Evening's Sleep On The...

Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad (Getting A Good Evening’s Sleep On The Go)

When crafting the optimum tenting sleep system, it’s frequent for individuals to get caught when deciding between an air mattress versus a sleeping pad.

Avid campers will swear by their favourite technique however fact be instructed, each have their advantages and disadvantages.

What it actually comes right down to is your personal private wants.

The air mattress vs. sleeping pad debate may go on eternally. However we’re right here that will help you make the perfect determination to your tenting wants!

Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad

Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad

Selecting between an air mattress and a sleeping pad might be tough. They each include their very own execs and cons.

However when it comes proper right down to it, selecting between an air mattress and a sleeping pad relies upon solely in your private tenting preferences and wishes.

As an illustration, if you happen to’re climbing to your campsite, you’ll need to go along with one thing much less cumbersome than an air mattress.

However, if you happen to’re automotive tenting, an air mattress is perhaps the way in which to go if you happen to’re seeking to preserve as many comforts of dwelling as potential.

To find out the place you stand on the sleeping pad vs. air mattress debate, first determine how a lot room you’ll have for packing, how a lot room you’ll have for sleeping, how many individuals will you be accommodating, your price range, and most significantly, your consolation preferences.

Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad – A Fast Comparability

Air Mattress

An air mattress is an inflatable mattress you could blow up utilizing your personal breath or a pump.

When not in use, you merely let the air out and roll it up for storage.

Kinds of Air Mattresses

There are three forms of air mattresses you’ll be able to select from when tenting: raised, self-inflating, and adjustable/convertible air mattresses.

1. Raised Air Mattress

A raised air mattress is simply that- raised! These sorts of air mattresses inflate to a peak that’s taller than your customary single-high air mattress of 10 inches.

That is helpful as a result of it may be extra comfy (learn: extra like your mattress again dwelling!) and it retains you larger off the bottom (which is a plus when the bottom is chilly).

2. Self-Inflating Air Mattress

A self-inflating air mattress might be your greatest buddy if you happen to hate having to blow air mattresses up by hand or at your automotive.

They work by way of an inner pump that merely must be turned on with a button or a knob, or by way of a valve that sucks in air as the interior foam expands.

So there are not any exterior components it’s a must to fear about dropping!

These air mattresses are fast to setup however can price greater than a conventional air mattress.

3. Adjustable/Convertible Air Mattress

For those who’re keen to place a little bit more cash into an air mattress, you will get a convertible air mattress that had adjustable settings!

These air mattresses can help you management options reminiscent of firmness with only a distant management that can both launch or add air for you.

Advantages of an Air Mattress

Benefits of an Air Mattress (1)

Air mattresses have a ton of advantages for tenting, particularly for anybody who desires to convey the comforts of dwelling with them.

Number of Sizes

Air mattresses are available in quite a lot of sizes. From twin-sized to a queen air mattress, there are many choices out there for no matter measurement you might want.

Whether or not it’s worthwhile to take up a small area or have a whole tent to take up area for consolation, there’s already an air mattress available on the market to fulfill your wants.


An air mattress is the tenting sleeping answer that’s going to be essentially the most like your mattress at dwelling.

This implies you may discover it extra comfy than a sleeping pad.

Being off the bottom because of the air contained in the mattress, you received’t be feeling all of the tough bumps and arduous floor of the bottom.

Plus, air mattresses provide you with extra room to stretch out.


Air mattresses are extraordinarily moveable. When not inflated, an air mattress lies fairly flat.

This lets you roll it up finish to finish and slide it into its carrying bag so you’ll be able to throw it in with the remainder of your gear.

All in all, when rolled up, an air mattress will solely take up an space the dimensions of a shoebox or smaller.


Whereas air mattresses may not provide the similar insulation as a sleeping pad, you continue to get the good thing about heat from not having to sleep on the chilly, arduous floor.

If tenting in chilly months with an air mattress, you’ll nonetheless need a zero diploma sleeping bag, or some thermal blankets for optimum heat.

Worth of  Your Cash

Air mattresses are straightforward in your pockets! A easy fundamental twin-sized air mattress may very well be as low cost as $20.

After all, you’ll be able to all the time go for an air mattress with added bells and whistles reminiscent of self-inflation or adjustable firmness.

However even with added options, air mattresses are typically fairly inexpensive.

Gives You With a Bigger Sleeping Space

As an alternative of being caught within the small area of a single sleeping space such as you would with a sleeping bag, air mattresses usually provide you with rather more room to unfold out, roll round a bit, and so forth. providing you with a way more comfy night time’s sleep.

After all, you’ll nonetheless need to convey your sleeping bag (particularly a great rectangular one), however in the summertime it’s totally potential to get away with out one if you happen to it’s heat sufficient at night time.

This can be helpful when tenting with a number of individuals, because it’s simpler to convey double air mattresses that may pack down smaller than some sleeping pads.

Straightforward to Preserve

So long as you’re taking care to retailer your air mattress correctly, they’re extraordinarily straightforward to take care of.

Merely wash it off now and again, and also you’re good to go.

And if it will definitely will get a gap in it, that’s a simple upkeep process, as effectively!

Merely throwing an easy-to-use patch over the opening will make your air mattress pretty much as good as new very quickly.

Drawbacks of Air Mattresses

Drawbacks Of Air Mattresses Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad

Whereas air mattresses are great at making you are feeling such as you’re proper at dwelling, they can be a serious ache whenever you get right down to the logistics of utilizing one whereas tenting.

Poorly Insulated

Air mattresses are primarily made up of plastic, which isn’t insulating within the least.

So when sleeping on an inflated air mattress, your physique is heating the air inside however the mattress is just not doing something that will help you retain the warmth.

All your physique warmth goes to the air contained in the mattress, leaving you chilly.

Staying heat on an air mattress, particularly in colder months, would require added gear reminiscent of a sleeping bag, or thermal blankets to assist insulate you.

Not Helpful for Winter Tenting

As we simply talked about, air mattresses are poorly insulated and may depart you shivering, particularly if it’s already chilly outdoors.

Tenting with an air mattress within the winter might be chilly and irritating if you happen to’re not correctly ready as you’ll want extra gear to remain heat and comfortable in your sleep.

Unexpectedly Punctures or Leaks

One of many largest downfalls of air mattresses are their capacity to get punctured and begin leaking.

Even if you happen to take all of the care on the planet, guaranteeing your campsite is freed from twigs and different particles that might poke a gap in your air mattress, it’s inevitable that it’ll start to leak at some point.

Whether or not from normal put on and tear or a puncture gap, sleeping on a leaky air mattress isn’t any enjoyable, particularly whenever you get up to seek out your self flat on the bottom or sandwiched into your mattress like a taco.

Fixing a gap or leak in an air mattress is perhaps so simple as slapping a patch overtop of the affected space. However it might nonetheless be a trouble.

Battery-Operated Pump is Required

Many air mattresses nowadays use a pump to inflate. Sure, there are nonetheless some that solely require your personal breath to inflate it, however who has the time or vitality for that?

The draw back to a pump-operated air mattress is that you just often want batteries or another supply of electrical energy to get it up and operating, particularly you probably have a flowery air mattress that permits you to regulate the air and firmness with the contact of a button.

Discovering an vitality supply to pump and keep one of these air mattress is perhaps tough when tenting.

Too Large for a Backpack

Whereas air mattresses are super-portable, they aren’t essentially small when deflated and rolled up. In actual fact, they’re too large for a single backpack.

This generally is a main ache level for anybody who’s climbing to their tenting vacation spot and require packing as small as potential.

Nobody desires to sacrifice essential gear and provides like meals simply to avoid wasting area for his or her air mattress.

How one can Select the Finest Air Mattress For Tenting

When choosing out an air mattress for tenting, it’s worthwhile to understand how you can be utilizing it earlier than you begin shopping.

Then, you’ll be able to decide which of those options will fit your wants greatest.


size (1) Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad

Since air mattresses can be found in all kinds of sizes, you received’t have any bother discovering one to fulfill your wants.

You simply have to determine what measurement to go along with!

Have a small tent you don’t need to fill? Go along with a twin-sized. Want loads of leg room for a stressed sleeper? Attempt a double. Sleeping with a associate? There’s all the time a queen.


The kind of air mattress that you really want is dependent upon what sort of consolation you’re searching for.

If consolation isn’t a precedence, a easy air mattress that makes use of a hand pump may swimsuit you effectively.

Nevertheless, if you wish to make sure you get the perfect night time’s sleep potential whereas tenting, you possibly can select from increase, self-inflating, and adjustable air mattresses.

Don’t have the time to mess with inflation? Go along with self-inflating. Wish to be as far off the bottom as potential? Go along with raised.

Need to have the ability to management all of those components relying on what you’re feeling within the second? Go along with adjustable.

Inflation and Deflation

infaltion and deflation Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad

Realizing how a lot effort you are ready to place into the inflation and deflation of the air mattress can even decide which one you should purchase.

For those who don’t have the time or vitality to inflate an air mattress by hand, select an air mattress that both self-inflates or inflates by way of an electrical pump.

On the flip facet, if you happen to received’t have electrical energy, you’ll want a guide or self-inflating air mattress.

Deflation is fairly easy irrespective of the air matter, however some require a bit extra effort and time than others.

As an illustration, if you happen to select a self-inflating air mattress that makes use of the froth technique, you will have to bodily roll the air out of the mattress, or else the air will regularly be sucked in and will probably be caught inflated.



Air mattresses include all kinds of pumps. What you might have out there to inflate it coupled with your personal preferences will inform you what sort of pump you want.

No supply of electrical energy? You’ll want a guide or battery-powered pump.

Make sure you verify batteries earlier than you allow if that is the choice you go along with! Not trying for lots of set-up work? You’ll in all probability need an electrical pump or self-inflating air mattress.

Sleeping pad

sleeping pad

Sleeping pads are a necessary a part of any tenting sleep system and are significantly helpful for backpackers who need to pack small and light-weight.

Nevertheless, they’re additionally nice for layering with different objects to create the perfect night time’s sleep potential.

Kinds of Sleeping Pads

Types Of Sleeping Pads

There are three forms of sleeping pads you’ll be able to select from when tenting: closed-cell foam, self-inflating, and air pads.

1. Closed-Cell Foam Tenting Mats

Closed-Cell Foam Camping Mats

Closed-cell foam tenting mats are made out of dense foam that’s comprised of many small air cells.

All it’s worthwhile to do is roll it out and get to sleeping! There isn’t any setup or inflation essential for closed-cell foam tenting mats.

These tenting mats are light-weight, straightforward to pack, and may offer you further heat and insulation.

Nevertheless, they aren’t all the time essentially the most comfy sleeping association as the froth is fairly agency.

2. Self-Inflating Pads

Very like self-inflating air mattresses, self-inflating sleeping pads merely blow up on their very own.

Utilizing a mixture of air and closed-cell foam padding, self-inflating pads have foam inside that begins to increase as quickly as you open the valve to let the air enter.

The inflation course of may take between 5 and ten minutes however is comparatively easy and simple.

Some self-inflating pads are even sufficiently small to pack when climbing, however not all.

The nice half about self-inflating pads, is that they’re type a hybrid and may present superior consolation and insulation over an air mattress.

3. Air Pads

Very like an air mattress, air pads are merely the dimensions of a tenting mat however crammed with air.

In contrast to self-inflating pads, you will have to inflate an air pad by yourself. Some use hand pumps whereas others include an electrical pump put in.

These tenting pads additionally don’t come customary with insulation to assist preserve you heat. Some fashions do.

However the extra fundamental air pads will merely be crammed with air.

Advantages of Sleeping Pads

Benefits of Sleeping Pads

Sleeping pads generally is a tremendous helpful piece of kit so as to add to your arsenal of tenting gear, particularly in case your primary concern is portability.

Light-weight and Packable

Lightweight and Packable sleeping pad

Sleeping pads are tremendous light-weight and simple to pack, particularly in comparison with air mattresses.

There isn’t as a lot bulk concerned of their building, so they’re often the primary selection for anybody who’s backpacking, hammock tenting, or simply wants to avoid wasting area when packing.

AssociatedFinest Sleeping Pad For Hammock Tenting: Prime 5 Reviewed

Gives Nice Insulation

The place air mattresses can get chilly as a result of lack of insulation, sleeping pads are made out of supplies reminiscent of foam that present a lot better insulation.

Sleeping pads are excellent for tenting in colder months attributable to their insulation. They’ll preserve you good and heat even when it’s chilly outdoors.

Extra Moveable Than Air Mattresses

More Portable Than Air Mattresses

Air mattresses take up a lot room, even when deflated and rolled up, that they aren’t ideally suited for backpacking. They might take up most of your packing area!

However sleeping pads are a special story. They take up a lot much less area than an air mattress when they’re rolled up and packed away.

They’re additionally a lot lighter. So, you received’t be sacrificing area or comfortability if you happen to go along with a sleeping pad!

Associated: Tenting Storage Concepts

Ease of Use

Sleeping pads couldn’t be any simpler to inflate, use, after which deflate. Most simply have to be rolled out to make use of!

Closed-cell foam sleeping pads are already good to go when you roll them out. And self-inflating sleeping pads do all of the be just right for you.

Air pads could take a little bit extra work than both of the previous choices, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a fast setup!

Lasts Longer

lasts longer

Sleeping pads are very sturdy and have a tendency to last more than an air mattress.

Air mattresses get a whole lot of put on and tear between all of the inflating and deflating. Plus, there’s the entire pesky puncture danger you all the time have to fret about.

With most sleeping pads, you don’t even have to fret about an unintentional puncture! Meaning you can be utilizing it for a really very long time.

Drawbacks of Sleeping Pads

drawbacks of sleeping pads (1)

Sleeping pads might be nice for saving area and time when establishing camp, however in addition they have their justifiable share of drawbacks, together with not being essentially the most comfy night time’s sleep.

Much less Cushioning

Sleeping pads have considerably much less cushioning than an air mattress. They’re made out of denser materials and are a lot thinner than an inflated air mattress, making you nearer to the bottom.

Whereas this may profit your tenting packing, it can be a downside if you happen to’re searching for consolation.

Not A lot Consolation

Because of having much less cushioning, sleeping pads aren’t as comfy as an air mattress.

Air mattresses are the closest factor you get to the comforts of your mattress again dwelling when you find yourself tenting.

Since they’re thinner and extra dense, sleeping pads don’t present the identical form of consolation.

They’re much extra agency than an air mattress and depart you nearer to the bottom which is simply as prone to make for an uncomfortable night time’s sleep.


It’s customary for sleeping pads to be fairly slender.

Which means that it accommodates just one sleeper at a time and also you would want to have one sleeping pad for each camper versus becoming a number of sleepers on an air mattress.

How one can Select the Finest Sleeping Pad

When choosing out a sleeping pad, you will have to have a good suggestion of how you can be utilizing it and what your primary issues are when tenting.


Sleeping pads normally are fairly light-weight, however they’ll run from tremendous light-weight to considerably dense relying on which sort you get.

Self-inflating sleeping pads are the heaviest form of sleeping pads whereas closed-cell foam sleeping pads are the lightest.

If the load of your sleeping pad is one thing that it’s worthwhile to take heed to, this can assist slender down the kind of sleeping pad it’s best to get.

How Thick Ought to a Sleeping Pad Be?

The customary thickness for sleeping pads, particularly for self-inflating and air pads, is about 2.5 inches.

Though, there are a ton of variations available on the market that provide thinner or thicker pads.

Some air pads come as thick as 3 inches in case you are searching for a little bit extra cushion and a few self-inflating sleeping pads come as skinny as 1.5 inches to accommodate packing and climbing wants.

To not point out, closed-cell foam sleeping pads are typically 1 inch thick or much less.

Packed Measurement

The common measurement of a packed, light-weight sleeping pad is about 9 x 4 inches rolled up, which is in regards to the measurement of a giant water bottle.

These are often closed-cell foam sleeping pads or skinny air pads.

For those who’re going for a light-weight sleeping pad for backpacking, you possibly can even discover one which packs right down to the dimensions of a small, one-pound (16-ounce) bundle.

Nevertheless, the froth sleeping pads can be a little bit denser.

Variations in sleeping pads would change their packed measurement, as effectively.

A bigger sleeping pad with extra cushion could weigh nearer to 25 ounces and measure about 11 x 5 inches. These are often self-inflating or air pads.

The biggest measurement of sleeping pads rolls as much as about 25-30 inches huge and weighs 3-5 kilos.

These are often air pads and excellent for automotive campers or anybody searching for extra consolation.

Insulation and R-Worth

The R-Worth of a sleeping pad is a measure of its insulation and heat.

If you would like the technical definition, it’s a “measure of thermal resistance, or the flexibility of warmth to switch from sizzling to chilly, by supplies.” R-Values are even used to price dwelling insulation.

When sleeping pad R-Values, they may vary anyplace from 1 to 10 with 1 being just about no insulation and 10 being essentially the most insulation potential.

Something with an R-Worth between 1 and 4 can have much less insulation and received’t be as heat.

For those who’re tenting throughout winter, you’ll need one thing with an R-Worth of 5 or extra.

Learn: Sleeping Pad R-Worth defined

Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad – Head to Head

Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad – Which is Higher?

Backpacking & Via-hiking


What’s the distinction between an air mattress and a sleeping pad?

An air mattress requires inflation to make use of whereas sleeping pads don’t essentially have to be inflated as some don’t require air.

Air mattresses are additionally taller and have extra cushioning than sleeping pads that are only some inches thick.

What’s one of the simplest ways to pack a sleeping pad?

There are a number of strategies are packing sleeping pads. First, begin by releasing any air inside.

Then, fold it up in both halves or thirds. Then, roll it up like a cylinder, urgent out any remaining air as you go.

Which retains you hotter, an air mattress or a sleeping pad?

Sleeping pads preserve you hotter than air mattresses as they’re often extremely insulated.

You find yourself warming the air in air mattresses along with your physique warmth and dropping the heat for your self within the course of if you happen to don’t have any added insulation.

What ought to I do if my sleeping pad is simply too smooth?

To right a smooth sleeping pad, add extra air if you happen to can. This may assist agency it up so your pad doesn’t really feel too squishy and smooth.

Which one is the perfect worth for cash?

Air mattresses present extra worth to your cash than sleeping pads.

For the value you pay, they provide you all of the consolation of sleeping at dwelling and accommodate a number of sleepers whereas sleeping pads solely accommodate one sleeper and aren’t as comfy.

The Verdict

Regardless of which you go along with, both a sleeping pad or air mattress might be a necessary a part of your tenting gear arsenal.

They each have their execs and cons and can finally make sure that you’ll get a great night time’s sleep whereas tenting.

Additionally, don’t neglect you could all the time mix a number of sleeping strategies! For those who discover you could’t discover a joyful medium between the 2, you might take into account making an attempt each on the similar time.

There are every kind of the way to arrange your tenting sleeping system and in the case of a sleeping pad vs air mattress, you’ll be able to’t go unsuitable both approach!



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments