Gone are the days where camping meant lying on rough ground with nothing to protect your back but a groundsheet and a thin sleeping bag.
Nowadays no self-respecting camper would set foot out of their house without a decent camping air bed to accompany them. But if you are buying one how do you know which type is best for your needs?
For those who are hiking, a lightweight, self-inflatable air mat is probably better suited as you are going to be carrying it around and you don’t want it to be too heavy.
If you are travelling in a car then weight is not that important, but consider how big it is as you will still need to pack it into the boot. Does it deflate into a reasonable size?
As for comfort, the best air beds allow a certain amount of adjustment once they are inflated, see if yours does. And look for a mixture of air and foam as this combination is the most comfortable.
Here are our recommendations for the ten best air beds:
Cheap and cheerful but does the job. You have to inflate this air bed yourself, either by blowing it up or with the pump that you can buy separately, made using durable PVC and the flocked finish prevents slipping.
This is a great price for a double air bed and one that is both tough and soft to the touch. You can use this both inside and outside and it is made with a sturdy PVC with a coil structure inside to provide firmness and stability. Inflate easily with a pump that you can buy separately.
Some people cannot sleep properly on an air bed because there is no headboard, luckily Vango has several different designs, including this version that has them. The headboard also inflates and the whole air bed is puncture-resistant. There is a valve that allows you to inflate or deflate easily with a pump (not included). Comes with a carrying bag and has a soft, flocked exterior.
This is the perfect set of air beds as you can use them as a double or two singles by zipping then together or apart, or stack them on top of each other to make a higher single mattress. Inflation takes just two minutes with a pump (not included). Good value for such as versatile product.
A very lightweight air mat here that is suitable for back-packers or hikers who have to carry their gear for a long way. It rolls down to a nice small size but you do have to blow it up yourself so make sure you have some puff at the end of your hike. The exterior has a brushed effort to stop you rolling about but it is quite narrow.
Some people are put off camping in the first place because they have difficulty getting up and out of a camp bed. This is typical because camping or air beds are low to the ground. For those who prefer a higher air bed, this one is ideal, as it feels just as high as your bed at home thanks to the double height. It features a double PVC finish and a flocked exterior for added comfort and includes a built-in pump.
If you are a couple that have differing tastes in mattress softness then all of your dreams have been answered. This dual zone air bed features two different sides that can be inflated as soft or as hard you prefer. It also has built in pillows, although you might find you want to bring some more if you require a hard pillow at home. Takes less than a minute to inflate and even less to deflate.
This air bed comes in three sizes: single, double and the one we are featuring – a raised double. For a big air bed it weighs surprisingly little and shoves down into a small carry bag. When inflated it is around half a metre high, although it does take about 6 minutes to get there. The finish is a velvety brushed type which is soft to the touch.
This self-inflating mattress contains alternating foam and air channels which makes the weight and size much lighter than your typical air beds. It features a 2” loft which provides support against rough ground and the compressed foam ensures comfort.
For those who prefer glamping to camping, this is as close as you are going to get to a normal bed. It has the same kind of stability and firmness as a bed you would get at home, which is thanks to the four-layer construction. One touch of a button inflates, adjusts and deflates and this bed comes in a single, double (shown) and a king-size version. Has a handy carry case for easy travelling and storage.