How to Make an Air Mattress More Comfortable Camping (7 Expert Tips)

Air mattresses are designed to make sleeping more comfortable when camping.

But, on their own (or not properly inflated), they can oftentimes feel like you’re sleeping on the cold hard ground.

If that sounds like your experience with air mattresses, we’ve got some tips from the pros that will make a world of difference when it comes to comfort.

So, let’s learn how to make an air mattress more comfortable when camping with these 7 expert tips!

Let’s jump right in!

Use a Quality Air Mattress

First things first, make sure you’re using a good-quality air mattress. An old air mattress that leaks air and is rock hard will not be comfortable to sleep on no matter what you do to it.

There are many different features to look for in an air mattress, and you don’t necessarily need the most expensive model with all the bells and whistles.

Air beds are uncomfortable because they are typically made of a hard PVC liner that, when fully inflated, can feel extremely hard, they are cold to sleep on at night, they can shift around when you move at night, and they tend to leak out air when you lay on it.

So, when looking for the most comfortable air mattress, you should address these main issues by finding one that has:

  1. A coil system or other similar technology to help improve the comfort of the mattress and keep the spine inline while sleeping.
  2. An easy inflating and deflating process to quickly adjust the comfort of the air mattress.
  3. Thick, puncture-resistant PVC material that will prevent leaks.
  4. Anti-slip bottom so the mattress doesn’t slide and shift all over the place.
EnerPlex Queen Air Mattress for Camping

EnerPlex Queen Air Mattress for Camping

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Use a Mattress Topper

Once you’ve got a high-quality air mattress, the next step to increase comfort is to use an air mattress topper for camping.

Again, you will have many options, and it really comes down to personal preference and how much extra weight you are willing to carry around with you on your camping trip.

Thick memory foam mattress toppers or sleeping pads offer the best comfort but come at the expense of portability. In other words, they can be hard to carry around when hiking or backpacking.

Memory Foam Camping Mattress

Memory Foam Camping Mattress

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Lighter thermal mattress toppers might not offer as much comfort as a thick memory foam pad, but they are easier to haul around.

Twilight Thermal Mattress Topper

Twilight Thermal Mattress Topper

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And some air mattresses, like the Aerobed, come with built-in mattress toppers for added comfort.

AeroBed Air Mattress with Built in Pump & Topper

AeroBed Air Mattress with Built in Pump & Topper

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Again, it really comes down to personal preference and camping style when choosing the right mattress topper for you.

A bonus to using a mattress topper is your airbed will be less noisy when you roll around at night!

Proper Inflation

The best air mattress combined with a comfortable mattress topper won’t do any good if your air mattress isn’t properly inflated.

Finding the sweet spot is again a personal choice but is something you should test. This is where having an easy way to inflate and deflate your air mattress really comes in handy.

Test different levels of inflation to see which feels more comfortable to you. Some like their mattress really firm, while others like to let some of the air out for a softer feel.

Tip: Plan ahead and make sure you have a way to pump up your air mattress before you leave for your camping trip. An electric pump does no good at a campsite with no electricity!

And, keep in mind, even the best air mattresses can deflate a bit overnight. You can keep your air mattress from deflating while camping by:

  • Do NOT over-inflate your air mattress.
  • Temperature fluctuations are the main reason an air bed deflates (or inflates). Try to maintain an even temperature in your tent.
  • Prevent kids and pets from jumping on the air mattress.
  • Test your inflatable air mattress and inspect it for any leaks before each camping trip.

Control the Temperature of the Air Mattress

Temperature can make or break a good night’s rest. And air mattresses are terrible at regulating temperature. They typically take on the temperature of the air around them. So, when there’s cold weather outside, your air mattress is cold, and when it’s hot, you guessed it, the air mattress becomes hot.

The best way to deal with this is to provide insulation between you and the air mattress.

There are various ways to do this, from using a foam sleeping pad or mattress topper to simply using a sleeping bag.

Check out our guide on how to keep an air mattress warm when camping for some tried and tested air mattress hacks to regulate the temperature.

Use Familiar Bedding

Arguably, the best night’s sleep comes from your own bed. So, naturally, the most comfortable way to sleep in a tent would be to mimic your home bed.

Related: Most Comfortable Way to Sleep in a Tent (15 Best Tips)

Using your favorite pillows, sheets, blankets, and/or comforter that you’re used to sleeping within your actual bed at home will help you sleep more comfortably on an air mattress while camping.

I have found this one tip alone has drastically improved the comfortability of sleeping on an air mattress, and it doesn’t require purchasing anything extra.

Raise Your Air Mattress off the Floor

One issue many people have with air mattresses is how low they are to the ground, making them hard to get in and out of.

To rectify this issue, you can either buy an air mattress that inflates to a higher height or put something under it to elevate it off the floor.

A camping cot is a great way to elevate an air mattress, and the two combined can make sleeping in a tent even more comfortable.

Related: Camping Cot vs Air Mattress: Which Is Best?

The Ivation EZ bed is another excellent option, which is basically an inflatable bed with a built-in bed frame that folds out. It comes in twin, queen, and king sizes.

Ivation EZ-Bed Air Mattress with Frame & Rolling Case

Ivation EZ-Bed Air Mattress with Frame & Rolling Case

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Putting something under your air mattress also has the added benefit of protecting it from sharp objects and rough terrain that you’re likely to encounter when camping, thus extending its life. This is something to keep in mind, especially if you spent a good amount of money on your air mattress. Check out our guide on what to put under an air mattress when camping for more ideas.

Prevent sliding

Lastly, you’ll want to ensure your air mattress doesn’t shift or slide around your camping tent when you move at night. Putting something under your air mattress, as mentioned above, can certainly help with this.

You can also buy an inflatable mattress with an anti-slip bottom to prevent this from happening, as well.

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