Air Mattress VS Sleeping Pad

Camping Air Mattress Vs Sleeping Pad

The only way you can enjoy your camping experience is when you get a good sleep at night. But choosing the perfect camping sleeping option may sometimes be the most challenging task. The two major options you get to choose from when deciding on what to sleep on are a camping air mattress and a sleeping pad. But how to determine which option is best for you?

Here in this article, we will discuss some of the most important aspects of camping air mattresses and sleeping pads along with an in-depth comparison between the both. So that you can make your own decision on which sleeping base is best suited for you. 

What Are Air Mattresses?

In easy words, air mattresses are mattresses that need to be inflated with air. You usually need a pump to blow up the mattresses. The size of the mattress varies from twin to full, queen, and king size. These mattresses are best used for car camping or near-home camping. 

What Are Sleeping Pads?

A sleeping pad is more useful and preferred when camping in a rough place or a mountain. While the air mattress is big and bulky, sleeping pads are thinner, versatile, and lightweight. There are mainly three different types of sleeping pads, air pads, closed-cell foam pads, and self-inflating pads. You can get a more detailed explanation of all three types of sleeping pads below.

Air Mattress vs Sleeping Pad : Which Is Best For You?

Camping is not easy. However, it could be even more difficult if you can’t find the best sleeping solution for yourself. Hence understanding the pros and cons of both sleeping pads and air mattress is necessary to make an informed decision. 

a camping air mattress might be the perfect option for you if you wouldn’t venture far away.  These mattresses are made from lightweight materials and have straps that you can use to carry them around. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something to sleep on when camping in the mountains, a sleeping pad is probably a better option for your adventure. Sleeping pads are made from thicker materials and are designed to stay put on the ground.

There are mainly 3 different types of sleeping pads available

  • Self-inflating foam

As the name suggests, a self-inflating sleeping pad automatically inflates by absorbing the air once the valve is removed. So you don’t need to use any air pump when using this type of sleeping pad. This type of sleeping pad is most popular among ultralight backpackers and hikers that don’t want to carry much weight with them.

  • Closed-cell foam

The closed cell foam is the most affordable and durable sleeping pad option that comes in a wide range of styles, comfort levels and sizes. However, you can’t carry it inside your backpack, and need to be separately tied to the exterior of the pack.

  • Manual inflatable pads

These sleeping pads have the maximum features of all other types. The pads need to be inflated manually and tend to be bulkier in size and weight. You need to use an air pump or use your mouth to inflate them. The common problem that most people face with these pads is comfort relative to insulation.

Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pads: Which Is More Comfortable?

In terms of comfort, an air mattress has more surface area to sleep on. Besides, as you are filling in the air, you can decide how much stiffness you want for your mattress.  Pump more or less air into the mattress according to your needs. When accompanied by blankets and pillows, an air mattress can give you the feel of your bed.

Sleeping pads on the other hand have smaller space to lie on as compared to an air mattress.  If you are tall, your legs might even hang outside the pads. Besides, they are pretty thin. So you can’t expect a comfy feel. 

The sleeping pads are however a more comfortable sleeping option than lying on the bare floor. However, in comparison to air mattresses, the sleeping pads don’t match the comfort level. But at the same time sleeping pads come with many other advantages when camping in rough zones.

Sleeping Pads vs Air Mattresses: What Keeps You More Warm?

As air mattresses are filled with air, they can get cold according to the surrounding temperature. And as the mattress is made of thin material so you can feel the cold air inside when you are sleeping on it. The only way to keep yourself warm is by the use of sleeping bags and thick clothing.

However, a foam sleeping pad can be much more useful in terms of keeping your body warm. When you are sleeping over a sleeping base on the floor, a lot of your body heat is lost through the floor. But when you are sleeping on a sleeping pad, it prevents the loss of body heat by providing a lot of insulation.  In terms of maintaining body warmth, foam sleeping pads can be the best solution.

Camping Air Mattress vs Sleeping Pads : Which Occupy Less Space?

Air mattresses are the best option when it comes to comfort,  but these occupy much compared to sleeping pads. Even when they are deflated, it’s much heavier and takes up a lot of space. Besides, you also need to carry a pump with an air mattress to inflate it. Thus adding up to the total space. An air mattress is not a suitable choice when you are on a backpacking trip. But it could be a reasonable choice for car or near-home camping.

Sleeping pads on the other hand are more lightweight and portable.  Although you might not expect the same level of comfort as you get in an air mattress, the sleeping pads are best for camping in mountains. They are specially made to be used for backpacking. The sleeping pads are lightweight that take up very little space.

The Bottom Line

Both air mattress and sleeping pads have their own merits and demerits. While air mattresses are comfier, sleeping pads are lightweight and easy to carry. So it’s for the camping needs that you can decide on which sleeping solution best suits you.

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