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Camp bed, air bed, mattress topper or self inflating mattress? Which is the best for camping?

I posed the question ‘Camp bed, air bed, mattress topper or Self inflating mattress? Which is the best for camping?’ on my facebook page the other day and the comments went crazy. You can read the full thread here.

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People definitely have an opinion on this sort of thing, mainly down to many a cold night, not sleeping in a field, when they get it wrong.

So I decided to put this post together with a summary of their comments and some of the recommendations so you can get a feel for what people recommend.

I should point out that there is no obvious winner – apart from layers!

Self Inflating Mattress

So these are definitely what’s required according to lots of my readers, comments like

Self inflating mattress is the way forward. We used to get through so many airbeds which would be comfortable but would get a puncture after one or two uses. We tried a camp bed and it was awful. But our self inflating mattress is brilliant. We’ve had it for over two years now and it hasn’t failed us. Very comfortable. 

Kate

It’s a 10cm thick one… (Vango Double Comfort 10 if memory serves?) Negatives: relatively expensive, even packed away it’s one of the biggest bits of kit in the car, and packing it away is hilariously difficult. For even more money they now sell them ~15cm thick with some sort of pocket springs…

Kate’s husband!

Definitely self inflating mattresses, we got an Exped megamat 10 and we have a Vango double sleeping bag with a cotton twill lining

SIM with a duvet and fitted sheet in top to make it super soft.

Olivia

Self inflating mattress (ours is 5cm) with foil backed picnic blanket underneath to stop the cold coming through. 

Jenny
Camp bed, air bed, mattress topper or self inflating mattress? Which is the best for camping?

Blow Up Mattress/Air Bed

If you’re using an inflatable mattress, I would highly recommend putting a picnic blanket under the bed (the ones with the foil on the under side), it makes such a difference as the cold ground makes the air in the bed freezing, hence you feeling colder.

Lyndsay

Memory foam topper for a normal bed . Take it with me everytime . 😊 on top of air bed of course not on own 

Lix from Sporty After Forty

Definitely use roll mats or foam exercise/Pilates mats underneath your bed, it makes a huge difference. The insulation stops the air bed deflating as the night gets cold and also stops you feeling the chill of the ground through the mattress.

Sarah from The Penniless Parent

Camp Beds

When we camped years ago we tried everything. In the end we found really sturdy camping beds (single ones) worked better than air beds. Fleece blankets on the bed, then your sleeping bag (we had pretty decent Vango ones that were more of a duvet material and really comfy and warm), then another fleece blanket on top. I always took my own pillow as camping pillows are rubbish. Husband also used to sleep in a fleece hat but that was a step too far for me. Also hot water bottles popped in your bed before you get in, and wrap your pjs round it so they are toasty when you put them on

Tracey from The Williams World

After numerous failed inflatable air beds that I find just deflate constantly we swapped to camp beds instead and they were so much better!

Katie

Futon Mattress

We brought a futon mattress for our awning and it’s so comfortable
We always take our duvets and use those bags that the air sucks out so don’t take up as much room

Becky

Other Ideas!

After many years of camping still say get dressed to go to bed and socks are a must you can always take layers off if you get too hot. 

Margaret

A bit weird but the most comfortable night in a tent was with those foam jigsaw pieces that kids play with. You put them down as a carpet in the sleeping area. Helps to insulate the floor

Abigail

a couple of years ago we got these double sized, square sleeping bag each (cotton I think, not that shiny stuff) and they’ve made the world of difference!

Layla

I think you’ve got enough “how to keep warm “ top tips but one of mine is ear plugs. Ever since I started wearing them while camping my sleep is sooo much better.

Jessica

if you can, sleep with you feet pointing into the tent rather than towards the edge

Abigail

If it’s cold then we have sleep bag liners to add extra warmth and sleep with the hood over your head. They come in fleece, cotton or silk. I also have to wear bed socks! Fleece blankets over your sleeping bag helps too

Olivia
Holmsley Campsite in the New Forest with Camping in the Forest

I also got some really helpful comments like:

 My advice is to go glamping with a proper bed or book a cottage/apartment instead lol – ignore me, i’m not a camper, i like my bed too much

Kate

Stay in a hotel nearby! 

Kirsty

Really sorry to say this but I used to love camping, I now find it less comfortable. I think it’s about getting older!!

Rachel

Since adding a caravan to our camping trips we’ve stayed very warm over night

Matt

Get a folding camper 😂 or a caravan always warm then x

Fan heater on all night

Kevin

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