Best Camping Mattresses of 2024: Our Complete Field Test and Review

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We tested all the best camping mattresses of the year firsthand to see which one delivers the best night’s rest wherever your adventures take you.

This is The Wise Adventurer’s field test and review of the most comfortable camping mattresses money can buy. If you’re still bringing a basic inflatable mattress or generic sleeping pad along for your car camping trips or overland excursions, consider this your wake-up call: There are much better ways to spend a night in the wilderness. 

After spending a few months each on a half dozen camp mattresses, we found the Exped Megamat 10 to be the best camping mattress overall. We love the Megamat because it combines comfort and durability in equal measure, and also happens to come in the widest variety of available sizes to work with tents and vehicles of all kinds. 

Best Camping Mattresses - Introduction
Go big or go small: Either way the Exped Megamat 10 will leave you wondering how you ever managed to fall asleep on a traditional air mattress. We love both!

We split our time sleeping in truck beds, camping tents, forest floors, and even the floors of a few guest bedrooms on each of the mattresses in our testing, and overall found the Exped Megamat 10 was the most comfortable and reliable of the bunch. This “outdoor bed” is more plush than many of the household mattresses we’ve owned over the years, yet packs down small enough for the trunk of any car: what’s not to love?

With that being said, we also know that the Megamat won’t be everyone’s first choice, which is why we’ve included detailed notes on each model from our field testing below. Whether you’re looking for something smaller, lighter, or just less expensive, we’ve got a camping mattress or two below we’d handily recommend for pretty much every camper out there. 

We’ll also note that for anyone who’s completely new to modern camping mattresses, we’ve included a handy buyer’s guide down at the bottom to help get you up to speed. There you’ll find everything you need to know about materials, construction, and features to identify the perfect pad for your next trip. 

Alright, enough talk, let’s dive into the details of the most comfortable camping mattresses of the year!

Exped Megamat 10: Best Camping Mattress OverallIndustry leading comfort with four inches of foam meets elevated design and materials. Warm, cozy, and extra durable to boot. See Review
Nemo Roamer: Highest Overall QualityAnother thick foam option that inflates fast and packs down extra small. Exceptionally user-friendly. See Review
REI Camp Dreamer: Best On A BudgetComparable comfort to the most expensive pads on the market, but at a fraction of the price. XL sizes are great for larger tents. See Review
Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated: Best Ultralight OptionAn extra thick and extra stable sleeping pad that pulls double duty for backpacking and car camping. See Review 
Sea To Summit Comfort DeluxeCompetes with other premium 4-inch foam mattresses for a few dollars less. Compact size options work great with smaller tents. See Review
Hest Foamy Sleeping PadA non-inflatable option made from solid foam. Outstanding comfort without worrying about punctures or patches. See Review
Therm-a-rest MondoKing 3DA plus-sized pad for solo sleepers with extra thick and extra long dimensions. Outstanding comfort and above-average durability. See Review
Acothot Self-Inflating PadThe most cost-effective way to get into a thick foam camping mattress. Lacks some refinement, but delivers where it counts. See Review

Best Camping Mattresses of 2023

Exped Megamat 10: Best Camping Mattress Overall

Best Camping Mattresses - Exped Megamat 10 - 1

– Price: $240-$490 (depending on size)
– Weight: 4.6 lbs/ 2.1kg (regular wide), 5.6 lbs/ 2.5kg (long wide),12.6 lbs/5.7kg (queen), 9.8lbs/4.5kg (long/wide), 7.5lbs/3.4kg (medium)
– R-Value: 8.1
– Dimensions: 72” x 26” x 4”/ 180cm x 65cm x 10cm (regular wide), 78” x 30” x 4”/ 195cm x 75cm x 10cm (long wide), 80” x 60” x 4”/ 203cm x 152cm x 10cm (queen), 78” x 52” x 4”/ 198cm x 132cm x 10cm (long/wide), 72” x 41” x 4”/ 183cm x 104cm x 10cm (medium)
– Packed Size: 31” x 10”/ 78cm x 25cm (regular wide), 31” x 10”/ 78cm x 25cm (long wide). 31.5” x 12”/ 80cm x 31cm (queen), 28” x 12”/ 71cm x 31cm (long/wide), 22” x 11”/ 26cm x 28cm (medium)
– Pad Type: Foam & air
– What we like: Huge, insanely comfortable, durable
– What we don’t: Inflating without a pump, packing it away, expensive

Taking top honors as our pick for the best camping mattress overall is the Exped Megamat 10, a nearly flawless open cell foam pad that’ll put most home mattresses to shame. We’ve been testing both single and double sizes of the Exped Megamat 10 throughout the year, and it’s easily become our go-to pad of choice for anything short of backpacking. 

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Our testers loved the Megamat for its next-level comfort paired with extra-tough materials.

Comfort-wise we found the Megamat to be among the best in class. Its four inches of cored open-cell foam are incredibly soft and supportive, its brushed tricot face fabric is soft against the skin, and its generous size and adjustable firmness bring the best qualities of air and foam pads together. If you loathe sleeping in a tent, wake up sore in the morning, or just can’t stand the bouncy feeling of traditional inflatable mattresses, the Megamat 10 is a one-stop solution. 

While all thick foam camping mattresses we’ve tested over the years have been comfortable, the Megamat 10 edges out the competition by offering better overall material quality and construction. We noted that although the Megamat is made from the thickest materials in our testing (75D polyester bottom and side fabrics and a full 50D poly up top) it doesn’t give an inch when it comes to softness. Most camping mattresses rely on a 30D face fabric, which is comparable to a good backpacking pad, but the Exped is simply built stronger while still maintaining a soft and stretchy feel against the skin. 

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The queen-sized Megamat 10 double is one of the largest foam camping mattresses you can buy, and was our favorite way to make the most out of a large camping tent.

We were particularly impressed by Exped’s massive queen-sized double mattress, which we found to be the perfect complement to a plus-sized car camping tent. The Megamat is essentially silent and transfers little or no movement between campers, which means your restless partner won’t keep you up if they tend to roll around in the night. 

As for downsides, we’ve got two small complaints we’ll point out if you’re considering a Megamat yourself. The first is that because the pad is so large, it takes a lot of air to fill. Exped designed the Megamat as a “self-inflating” pad, but it takes a while to get into shape after unpacking, and still requires a good amount of air to top off. We’ll also note that the double-size offerings require a bit more effort to deflate and pack down. We’ve done it solo dozens of times at this point, but it definitely helps to have a second hand to keep the whole production under control. Read our full test and review of the Exped Megamat 10, and Exped Megamat Duo 10…

– Most comfortable camping mattress in the game
– Available in wide range of sizes including a queen option
– Impressively durable
– Expensive
– Included hand pump needs work
– Double size takes some work to pack away

Check double version at REI / Check double version at Amazon

Nemo Roamer: Highest Overall Quality

Best Camping Mattresses - Nemo Roamer 1

– Price: $250 -$399
– Weight: 5.5lbs/2.5kg (XL Wide), 7.5 lbs/3.4 kg (double) 
– R-Value: 6.0
– Dimensions: 78” x 30” x 4”/ 198cm x 76cm x 10cm (XL wide), 78” x 52” x 4”/ 198cm x 132cm x 10cm (double)
– Packed Size: 16” x 10” / 41cm x 25cm (XL wide), 26” x 11”/ 66cm x 28cm (double)
– Pad Type: Air & Foam
– What we like: Super comfortable, warm, easy to use
– What we don’t: Expensive, needs a top-up from time to time

When it comes to quality the folks at Nemo rarely disappoint, and their Nemo Roamer camping mattress gets the nod from our team as the highest overall quality pad in this year’s testing. We love the Roamer because it combines all the things we want to a great camping mattress (thick foam, four-season insulation, durable construction) and adds in smart design elements to make the pad a joy to live with day to day. 

Best Camping Mattresses - Nemo Roamer 2
The Roamer packs down smaller than any other foam pad in our testing. The double size seen here is about the size of most brand’s single options.

We were particularly impressed by just how small the Roamer packed down. The solo size rolls down to around the size of your typical bear canister (so yes, you could totally use it on shorter backpacking trips if desired), while the double could be compressed into about the size of other brands’ solo pads. Granted, these pads are intended for car camping and size isn’t a major concern, but the Roamer’s small size adds versatility to the overall package, making it much better suited for campers with smaller vehicles and limited storage space. 

We also appreciate just how easy it is to inflate and deflate the Roamer. Of all the “self-inflating” pads we’ve tested, the Roamer fills its sails the fastest and requires the least extra air to get to full size. Add in the fact that Nemo ships the Roamer with their class-leading “Vortex” pump sack, and you’ve got the easiest plus-sized camping mattress to own and enjoy in the game. 

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The Roamer takes the cake when it comes to ease of use, with a fast self-inflating design and the best pump sack we’ve tested to date for top-offs.

The only place we found the Roamer really came up short of other pads in our testing was that it felt a little bouncier than some alternatives. It’s still incredibly comfortable, mind you, but it tends to transfer a little more motion than an Exped Megamat or REI Camp Dreamer, especially when inflated near maximum firmness. We also noted that the Roamer often required a little extra “top-off” air before bed each night, which is common in cold weather, but wasn’t a factor for some of our other mattresses. Read our full test and review of the Nemo Roamer Double…

– Big foam comfort that packs down small
– Fastest self-inflating pad of the bunch
– Easy to use, easy to pack
– Bit bouncier than some, especially in a double size
– May require top-ups between sleeps
– Expensive

Check double version at REI / Check double version at Amazon

REI Camp Dreamer: Best On A Budget

Best Camping Mattresses - REI Camp Dreamer 1

– Price: $179 – $279
– Weight: 6.4 lbs /2.9kg  (XL), 9.3bs 4.2kg (double)
– R-Value: 6.6
– Dimensions: 78” x 32” x 4” / 198cm x 81cm x 10cm (XL), 78” x 55” x 4” / 198cm x 140cm x 10cm (double)
– Packed size: 30” x 11” /76cm x 28cm (XL), 27” x 13” 69cm x 33cm (double)
– Mattress Type: Air & foam
– What we like: Comfortable, affordable, spacious
– What we don’t: Too large for some tents, durability

We’re no stranger to REI’s in-house Co-op brand of outdoor gear, and their Camp Dreamer mattress is everything we’ve come to expect from the brand: Reliable quality and practical design at a price anyone can afford. If you’re looking for the best budget camping mattress, the Camp Dreamer’s sub-$200 asking price is tough to beat. 

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Big foam comfort on a small budget: That’s what REI’s Camp Dreamer brings to the table.

We’re fans of the Camp Dreamer because while the mattress is clearly budget-friendly, it’s by no means cheaply made. The Camp Dreamer benefits from the same four-inch thick open-cell foam construction as its competitors, which means it’s just as comfortable and well-insulated as the most expensive options on our list. It also comes with an outstanding pump sack, and benefits from the same style of lay-flat valves many of its premium-priced competitors employ. 

We also appreciate that REI offers the Camp Dreamer in extra generous sizes, and their 32”-wide solo mat is among the most spacious options we’ve tested to date. We spent several cold nights base camping in the Sedona desert on the Camp Dreamer, and sleeping comfortably in near-freezing temperatures was never an issue.  Typically we have to pay a premium if we want a longer or wider size from one of REI Co-op’s competing brands, so it’s nice to see REI went the extra mile in the name of value here. 

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REI also offers a tailor-made sheet/comforter system for the Camp Dreamer Double, which locks into place on the mat and is machine washable for convenience.

As far as drawbacks go, our main concern with the Camp Dreamer is that it doesn’t feel quite as tough as its more expensive siblings, particularly on the sueded top and side fabrics. We’ll also note that the Camp Dreamer’s extra-large sizing may detract from its versatility, as both its 78” length and 32” width may be too large for some tents (or even some vehicles). Overall we found the Camp Dreamer more than earned its place among the best in the business, however, so if you’ve got the space to use it, consider saving yourself a few dollars and giving this mattress a try. 

– Outstanding comfort for less money
– Generous sizing feels extra luxurious
– User-friendly and fast inflating
– Lower R-Value than some foam alternatives
– Limited size options may be an issue
– Less durable than more expensive options

Check double version at REI

Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated: Best Ultralight Camping Mattress

Best Camping Mattresses - Sea to Summit Ether Light XT 1

– Price: $189 – $229
– Weight: 1lbs/0.45kg (short mummy), 1.1lbs/ 0.5kg (regular mummy), 1.4lbs/ 06kg (large mummy)
– R-Value: 3.2
– Dimensions: 66” x 21.5” x 4”/ 168cm x 55cm x 10cm (short mummy), 72” x 21.5”x4”/ 183cm x 55cm x 10cm (regular mummy), 78” x 25” x 4”/ 198cm x 64cm x 10cm (large mummy)
– Packed Size: 9.5” x 4.5” / 24cm x 11cm (short mummy), 9.5”x4.5”/ 24cm x 11cm (regular mummy), 11” x 4.75”/ 28cm x 12cm (large mummy)
– Pad Type: Insulated air
– What we like: Super comfortable, durable, versatile
– What we don’t: Expensive, not the lightest, not the warmest

While air mattresses simply can’t compete with foam mattresses when it comes to comfort, not everyone wants or needs a separate bed solely for car camping. If you’re looking for a single mattress that pulls double duty in the campground and backcountry, the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated wears both hats commendably well. 

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The Ether Light XT’s 4 inches of super stable quilted cells was ideal for backpacking trips this year in the desert and forest alike.

The Ether Light XT is an ultralight backpacking pad at its core, but we also found it to be the most comfortable sleeping pad of the lot during our recent backpacking pad field test. While it may lack the plush support of foam, the Ether Light XT is just as thick as a Megamat with 4 inches of air between you and the ground, and was also the most stable mat of our testing thanks to Sea to Summit’s unique air-sprung cell construction. 

We also found the Ether Light XT made for a great car camping pad thanks to its generous sizing, which uses a “mummy-esque” silhouette without being overly tapered or narrow. We love that despite weighing just a single pound and packing down to pack-friendly dimensions, the Ether Light XT boasts an R-Value of 3.2, which is well suited to typical camping conditions from spring through fall. Our testers also noted that because Sea to Summit builds the Ether Light XT from tougher-than-average fabrics for a backpacking pad (30D/40D ripstop nylon), it was particularly well suited to regular use bouncing between our packs and our vehicles. 

Best Camping Mattresses - Sea to Summit Ether Light XT 3
The Ether Light XT may not be the most compact backpacking pad out there, but we found its elevated comfort and durability well worth a little extra bulk.

The main drawback you’ll get with the Ether Light XT is that although it’s incredibly comfortable for a backpacking pad, it’s nowhere near as luxurious as a dedicated car camping mattress. We’ll also note that the Ether Light XT isn’t the most heavily insulated pad for either backpacking or car camping out there, but as a general-purpose all-rounder with a premium pedigree, it’s still the best air mattress overall as a single-pad solution for most outdoor endeavors. Read our full test and review of the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated…

– Thick, stable, and comfortable
– Light and compact enough for backpacking
– Built from extra-durable materials
– Lower R-value than some competitors
– Not as comfortable as a thick foam pad
– Expensive

Sea to Summit Comfort Deluxe: Honorable Mention

Best Camping Mattresses - Sea to Summit Comfort Deluxe 1

– Price: $219 – $339
– Weight: 4.4 lbs/ 2.0kg (regular wide), 5.8lbs/2.6kg (long wide), 9.8lbs/4.4kg (double)
– R-Value: 6.5
– Dimensions: 72” x 25” x 4”/183cm x 64cm x 10cm (regular wide), 79” x 29” x 4”/ 201cm x 74cm x 10cm (long wide), 79” x 51” x 4” 201cm x 130cm x 10cm (double)
– Packed size: 26.5” x 7”/ 67cm x 18cm (regular wide), 31” x 7”/ 79cm x 18cm (long wide), 27” x 10”/ 69cm x 25cm (double)
– Mattress Type: Air & Foam
– What we like: Outstanding comfort, quality materials, solid value
– What we don’t: 30D top fabric, no pump sack included

The Sea to Summit Comfort Deluxe was our first introduction to the world of foam camping mattresses, and it remains one of our favorites of all time. We’ve been living with the Comfort Deluxe for the better part of two years now, and it never let us down when we needed a good night’s sleep. Our most recent trip with the Comfort Deluxe was a group camping outing in the mountains of North Carolina, where it transformed chilly fall nights into luxurious toasty evenings.

Best Camping Mattresses - Sea to Summit Comfort Deluxe 2
The Comfort Deluxe’s top fabric is stretchy and velvet-smooth to the touch, making this one of the more comfortable camping mattresses we’ve slept on over the years.

The Comfort Deluxe shares many of the same features as our top-ranking pads including a soft and flexible top fabric, a rugged 75D bottom fabric, and four full inches of plush cored foam for comfort and insulation in equal measure. What makes the Comfort Deluxe special, however, is it hits a sweet spot between cost and quality, retailing for less than the Nemo or Exped while also being made from tougher materials than the REI Co-op Camp Dreamer. 

Aside from the Comfort Deluxe’s attractive price, our testers also love that it’s better suited for smaller tents thanks to its slightly narrower 72” x 25” “regular wide” option. We also noted that it packs down a good bit smaller than anything but the Nemo Roamer, making it one of the more versatile and well-rounded offerings on our list. 

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The Comfort Deluxe comes in a more compact size than most camp beds, but our 6’1” tester found even the smallest “regular wide” offering was plenty large enough for comfort.

While we don’t have much to complain about with the Comfort Deluxe, we will point out that both the top and sides of the mattress are made from the same 30D stretch material. We’d love to see the tough 75D polyester extend to the sides, but to be fair we’ve also had two years of problem-free use out of this pad as well. We’ll also note that Sea to Summit doesn’t actually include a pump sack with the Comfort Deluxe, so you’ll either have to top it off with lung power or use a pump sack from another Sea to Summit pad like the Ether Light XT above. 

– Premium quality for less cash
– Top shelf comfort
– Packs down smaller than most
– Not quite as durable as the Exped Megamat 10
– Not quite as affordable as the REI Camp Dreamer
– No pump sack included

Hest Foamy Sleeping Pad

Best Camping Mattresses - Hest Foamy 1

– Price: $299 – $349
– Weight: 11lbs/5kg (regular), 13lbs/ 5.9kg (regular wide)
– R-Value: 8.8
– Dimensions: 78” x 25” x 4”/ 198cm x 64cm x 10cm (regular), 78” x 30” x 4”/ 198cm x 76cm x 10cm (regular wide)
– Packed size: 25” x 12”/ 64cm x 30cm (regular), 30” x 12”/ 76cm x 30cm (regular wide)
– Mattress Type: Foam
– What we like: No inflation required, warm, comfortable
– What we don’t: Expensive, bulky

We’re fans of the Hest Foamy because it takes a unique approach to car camping comfort: Rather than relying on a combination of air and foam, Hest goes all-in on simplicity and simply gives us a massive block of solid open cell foam. 

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The Foamy is a unique take on the camping mattress, and arguably the most durable option out there.

This design has a few key benefits. First, because there’s no air in the pad whatsoever, the Foamy isn’t susceptible to punctures or tears, making it particularly well suited for camping with pets or throwing directly in the back of a truck bed. Second, we love the overall ease of use of this pad, as it only needs to be unrolled to deploy, and then rolled back up when it’s time to go: no pump sack or electric pump needed. 

We’ll also note that while there’s no adjustability in the Foamy’s air-free design, we felt Hest did an excellent job of balancing comfort and support. We chalk this up to the Foamy’s dual-layer foam design, which uses a softer layer up top for added plushness and a firmer layer below for support. 

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While all the best camping mattresses skew toward big and bulky, Hest’s solid foam construction easily takes the title for largest packed size.

The main drawback we found with the Hest Foamy is that because it’s made from a solid piece of foam, it’s outrageously large when packed away/rolled up. Larger vehicles should have no problem swallowing its mass, but smaller cars and SUVs may run into some storage issues depending on your typical loadout. The Foamy is also one of the most expensive single-person pads you can buy, although from a durability standpoint you’re more or less guaranteed to get your money’s worth from this camp bed. 

– Comfortable and easy to use
– Exceptionally well insulated
– No air = No puncture risk
– Very bulky when packed
– Heavier than inflatable alternatives

Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D Camping Sleeping Pad

Best Camping Mattresses - Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D 1

– Price: $240 – $275
– Weight: 4.3lbs/ 2kg (large), 5.5lbs/2.5kg (XXLarge)
– R-Value: 7
– Dimensions: 77” x 25” x 4.25” /196cm x 64cm x 11cm (large), 80” x 30” x 4.25”/ 203cm x 76cm x 11cm (XXLarge)
– Packed size: 26” x 10”/ 66cm x 26cm (large), 31” x 10”/ 79cm x 26cm (XXlarge)
– Mattress Type: Air & foam
– What we like: Big, comfortable, durable
– What we don’t: No shorter sizes available, no double option

We’ve long been fans of Therm-a-Rest’s versatile backpacking sleeping pads, so it should come as no surprise that their take on a big foam camping mattress, the MondoKing 3D, made our list this year. The MondoKing takes the cake as both the thickest and longest pad of our testing, with an extra quarter inch of foam over the competition and a full 80 inches of available length for the tallest among us. 

Best Camping Mattresses - Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D 2

Caption: The MondoKing 3D is the epitome of a plus sized solo pad, claiming both the thickest and longest dimensions of our list. 

We’d say the MondoKing 3D goes toe-to-toe with the most comfortable pads in our testing, delivering the kind of comfort you’d expect from a thick slab of open-cell foam covered in soft knit polyester. We’ll also give the Mondoking props for its above-average adjustability for firmness, which we chalk up the extra air volume inside the pad. More volume inside the pad means less air is required to keep your body off the ground, so letting a little out using the one-touch bleeder valve dials up the Mondoking’s plushness considerably. 

The MondoKing 3D is also the only pad we’ve found that shares the Exped Megamat’s specs for durability, with the same 50D weight fabric up top and 75D polyester below. Truth be told the two mats are nearly identical in terms of quality, comfort, and price, as well as packed size, weight, and warmth. 

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The MondoKing’s elevated comfort and durability make a strong argument for a major investment.

In fact the only thing really keeping the MondoKing from the very top of our list is its limited size options. While this is hands-down one of the best camping mattresses money can buy (as well as the most comfortable), even the smaller of the two sizes is simply too long to fit in some tents (not to mention truck beds) and there’s also no double size available. With that being said, if you’ve got the space to fit a MondoKing 3D or two inside your rig of choice, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better night’s sleep at any price. 

– Plus sized options for solo campers
– Thickest pad on our list
– Outstanding overall material quality
– Too long for many applications
– No double size available
– Expensive

Acothot Self Inflating Sleeping Pad

Best Camping Mattresses - Acothot Self Inflating Sleeping Pad 1

– Price: $107 – $152
– Weight: 8lbs/ 3.6kg (single), 13.2 lbs/ 6.0kg (double)
– R-Value: 9.5
– Dimensions: 80” x 30” x 4”/ 203cm x 76cm x 10cm (single), 80” x 52” x 4”/ 203cm x 132cm x 10cm (double)
– Packed size: 33” x 9”/ 84cm x 23cm (single), 28” x 12”/ 71cm x 30cm (double)
– Mattress Type: Foam & air
– What we like: Dirt cheap, very comfortable, fast inflating
– What we don’t: Unknown durability, tough to pack down

Last but not least, we come to the Acothot Self Inflating Sleeping Pad, an “Amazon Special” in every sense of the word, but one that’s worth mentioning just the same. We decided to take a chance on the Acothot as part of a low-cost camper van built this fall, and so far we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the results. 

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Our current low-cost camper van setup, the Acothot happens to be a perfect fit between the wheel wells, and does a flawless job of soaking up the bumps from the rear seat mounts underneath.

We’re including this pad as it’s bar-none the least expensive way we’ve found to get into a massive 4-inch foam camping mattress without any immediate quality concerns. We’ve logged three weekends on it to date with great results, and our testers have reported zero problems and all-around outstanding comfort. 

As is often the case with obscure Amazon brands, the true construction and material quality remain unproven, and while the pad seems just as well insulated on a cold night as any of our premium picks, we can’t help but be a little suspicious at the Acothot’s claimed 9.5 R-value. We’ll also note that while the unique “spinning” valve system has worked without issue so far, it seems more prone to damage than the simpler lay-flat valves found on the competition. 

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While long-term durability remains an unknown, so far the Acothot seems to be a perfect budget-focused solution to year-round comfortable car camping.

In short, while there are some caveats to the Acothot’s apparent value, so far we’re loving this self inflating camping mattress as an upgrade to a traditional air bed setup. It’s tougher than most to pack down and bulkier than most when packed as well, but considering the solo pad retails for just over $100 and the double around $150, so far we’re convinced this is a chance worth taking if you’re looking for the most cost-effective option possible. 

– Very affordable
– Warm and comfortable
– Easy to inflate
– Long-term durability unknown
– Takes some work to deflate and pack

Buyer’s Guide: Finding The Ideal Camping Mattress

While there are dozens of choices out there for camping mattresses, it’s important to know how to separate the good from the bad. Many of these models look similar and share seemingly similar specs as well, but in our experience, some deals are unfortunately just too good to be true. 

To that end, we have a few specific things we look out for when researching and sourcing camp mattresses ourselves, as well as several important metrics we evaluate when testing a camp bed firsthand. The best camp mattresses all share a few important features, so here’s what to look out for when choosing one for yourself. 


If you’re considering buying a camping mattress rather than a backpacking sleeping pad or a generic inflatable mattress, chances are comfort is your top priority. In our testing we’ve found all good camp mattresses share two main factors: Thickness and foam. 

In terms of thickness, you may have noticed all our favorite choices in the list above share the same 4-inch thick sleeping surface. We’ve found this to be the ideal thickness for camp beds, as it’s enough to keep even the heaviest side sleeper from ever feeling the ground below, yet not so thick as to make the bed unnecessarily bulky. 

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The small “waves” you see on the surface of our Exped Megamat 10 come from the partially hollow portions of the mattress, which improve packability and adjustable firmness.

When it comes to foam, all the top-performing camping pads on the market today use open-cell foam, which is the same material you’ll find on high-end memory foam mattresses. The benefit of open-cell foam over traditional closed-cell foam is that open-cell foam allows air to flow through the mattress, which helps to regulate the sleeper’s temperature, and also allows the mattress to be packed down much smaller for transportation.  

You’ll also notice that most of our favorite mattresses use partially hollowed foam, which further aids in air flow, packability, and the ability to “fine-tune” the firmness of the bed by adding or removing small amounts of air. Solid foam options like the Hest Foamy or air-only options like the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT are exceptions to the rule, but in our experience neither alternative is quite as cozy as cored open-cell foam. 

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Because modern foam camping mattresses are all so comfortable, we’ve found the best way to distinguish between them is to test them back to back on a single trip.

When it comes to actually testing comfort, our method is the same as yours: We take each mattress out for several nights during different times of the year and sleep on it. Our testers note any undue firmness, bounciness, temperature issues, or deflation, and then come back and compare notes at the end of the test season. 

Weight and Packed Size

Camping mattresses are intended for car camping duty only, so neither weight nor packed size typically play a major role in our evaluations. With that being said, you do have to transport and store these beds somehow between uses, so we do pay attention to particularly bulky models. 

Best Camping Mattresses - Weight and Packed Size 1
The Nemo Roamer Double packs down much smaller than any other camp mattress for two we’ve tested, and the solo version actually packs down to about the size of a small bear canister.

A great example of this is the Nemo Roamer we tested this year. While most thick foam camp beds are considerably bulky even when fully deflated and tightly rolled, Nemo employs a unique coring process to their foam insulation that packs down extra small, so the mattress is easy to transport even in the smallest commuter cars. 

Best Camping Mattresses - Weight and Packed Size 2
While the Exped Megamat 10 is clearly much larger than any air pad we tested this year, it’s still plenty compact enough to fit in any car.

While it’s rare we’ll knock a camp bed for its packed size, there are exceptions to the rule. The Hest Foamy, for example, doesn’t really compress at all, so even though it’s incredibly easy to pack and unpack, not everyone will have room for a set in their vehicle. 


As is the case with any backpacking pad, the insulation of a camping mattress is expressed as an “R-value.” R-values are a standardized measurement of a mattress’ heat retention, and the higher the number, the better your mattress will insulate you from the ground below. 

Best Camping Mattresses - Insulation 1
If your winter camping conditions look anything like ours, you’ll likely want a camping mattress with an R-value of 6 or higher.

This is another major advantage of foam camping beds. Thick foam, both open-cell and closed-cell, holds heat exceptionally well, and the best camping mattresses (particularly those in the 4-inch thick category) almost always sport an R-value of 6 or higher. 

For reference, pretty much any sleeping pad or mattress with an R-value over 4 is considered a “four-season” pad, meaning you can use it in the middle of winter in all but the most extreme conditions. Camping mattresses with 6+ R-values are even better, making them ideal for camping in conditions well below freezing. It’s also important to note that unlike sleeping bags, camp mattresses with high R-values are just as comfortable in the middle of summer as they are in a snowstorm, so don’t worry about buying a bed that’s “too warm” to use in the warmer months. 

Best Camping Mattresses - Insulation 2
A highly insulated memory foam mattress like the Exped Megamat 10 we tested here work great in the winter, but they’re also just as comfortable during tank top season.

When it comes to testing insulation, we aim to get each pad out in the coldest conditions we can find, whether that’s in the high elevations of the Appalachian mountains or on mid-winter camping trips with several inches of snow on the ground. Generally speaking, all camping mats with 6+ R-values work well anywhere, but it’s important to confirm pads are actually as warm as advertised, especially with lesser-known brands. 

Ease of Use

Ease of use describes what it’s like to live with a camping mattress from day to day, and we consider several factors when evaluating this metric. Our goal here is to capture the “full experience” of ownership, both around camp and back at home. 

Best Camping Mattresses - Ease of Use 1
Larger foam pads, especially those in the largest double sizes, can take a little more work to deflate and roll up.

The mattresses that tend to do the best in this metric are those that are easy to inflate, easy to pack up, and easy to transport. If we have to struggle to get the air out of a pad or to get it back into its carry bag, you’ll hear about it. 

We also give props to mattresses that can be adjusted for firmness, especially if they employ a simple one-touch bleed valve like the REI Camp Dreamer or Sea to Summit Comfort Deluxe. Not everyone wants to sleep on a fully inflated pad, and the ability to carefully dial in the perfect amount of “squish” is worth having for many campers. 

Best Camping Mattresses - Ease of Use 2
Bleeder valves like this one on our Sea to Summit Comfort Deluxe allow you to fine-tune the firmness of the mattress with the touch of a button.

Last but not least, this is another area where packed size comes into play. Inflatable open-cell foam mattresses pack down smaller and are easier to transport, but non-inflatable options like the Hest Foamy only need to be unbuckled and rolled out before bed. It’s a tradeoff as one is easier to transport while the other is easier to deploy, so different users can have different opinions on the topic. 


Deluxe camp mattresses tend to be a major investment, as even the more cost-conscious models typically retail for around $200. If you’re looking to drop that kind of money, chances are you want your investment to last, so durability shouldn’t be overlooked. 

Best Camping Mattresses - Durability 1
One of the advantages of solid foam pads like the Hest Foamy seen here is that there’s zero risk of puncture, so you can throw it right on the ground without worrying about sand, rocks, or thorns.

We evaluate durability in two ways: By the numbers, and by first-hand experience. Both have their merits, so let’s touch on each here briefly. 

As far as spec sheets go, we pay careful attention to the thickness of the materials that go into any camping mattress we test. Mattresses with thicker, higher denier fabrics tend to last longer than those with thinner materials, particularly when the more puncture-prone bottom and sides of a mattress are made with heavy-duty materials. 

Best Camping Mattresses - Durability 2
The Nemo Roamer combines a soft stretch fabric upper with a tough 75D polyester bottom for the best of both worlds.

As for the field testing itself, we spend time sleeping on a variety of surfaces for every mattress we test. These typically include inside camping tents, inside vehicles, the beds of trucks, and right on the ground. If we don’t get any punctures and don’t see any obvious signs of wear after several uses, we generally consider a camp bed to be a safe bet. 


While value can be a tough metric to nail down, it’s undeniably one of the most important things we evaluate. Some pads cost much more than others, but as we all know, more money doesn’t always mean a better product. 

Best Camping Mattresses - Value 1
Smaller camping mattresses like this Sea to Summit Comfort Deluxe we tested work in a larger variety of tents and vehicles, which adds value for many owners.

This is one of the single biggest reasons we test each camping mattress using the same standards. If a $100 option is just as comfortable and durable as something that costs two or three times more, it’s pretty obvious where the value lies. 

In a broader sense, we consider value to be a ratio of two things: Cost and performance. This is why some of the less expensive options we like can lack a degree of durability while still being smart buys. If you only plan to camp a few times a year, why pay double for a camp bed you’ll never use to its full potential? 

Best Camping Mattresses - Value 2
We feel the extra-tough bottom and sides of the Megamat 10 are worth paying for as they increase the useful life of the product.

The same can be said for extremely expensive products that only deliver marginally “higher” performance than the competition. This is one reason the ultra-thick and ultra-plush Exped Megamat 15 simply isn’t on our list: There’s really no need to improve upon the Megamat 10, so why spend the extra cash?

Why You Should Trust Us

Our Testing and Review Process

Our method for choosing and acquiring camping mattresses mirrors much the same as anyone elses: We embark on countless hours of research, both digitally and physically, to pinpoint top contenders for evaluation. Our aim is to not only spotlight the finest camping mattresses available but also to highlight those offering something distinctive.

Once we’ve shortlisted an array of mattresses that exemplify the most prevalent usage scenarios, we independently purchase each item using our funds. This step is crucial to our testing methodology, as it ensures our impartiality in every review, enabling us to deliver frank and forthright assessments of each tested product.

We then progress to hands-on evaluations, assigning various mattresses to our internal testers. For this year’s camp mattress field testing, we pulled together a group of five avid campers, and turned them loose with the most comfortable camping mattresses we could find. We spent time with each mattress over a period of roughly 9 months, taking detailed notes on each outing as we went along.

Best Camping Mattresses - Testing and Review Process
Who said that thorough and detailed testing could not be paired with enjoyment?

This season’s tests started with a weekend camping trip to an offroad race in the middle of a Tennessee summer, and ended with a bitterly cold fly fishing trip in the mountains outside of North Carolina. Along the way we tested each mattress in the backs of our trucks and vans, on the floors of guest rooms and hotel rooms, and we even managed to log a few nights in a teepee huddled around a wood-burning tent stove.

As the testing phase concludes, we collate all our field observations for a thorough examination. We identify recurring patterns of strengths and weaknesses, after which our editorial team synthesizes this information into the most comprehensive, first-hand reviews possible.

What Do We With Our Gear After Testing?

As much as we’d love to, we can’t keep all the mattresses, tents, and backpacks we test at The Wise Adventurer. We’re a small team with only so much space and budget. So, after we’ve finished our testing, we find a new home for each item by selling them at a substantial discount to local outdoor enthusiasts.

This method not only helps us recoup a bit of our investment from the detailed tests (we often pay full price for these items), but it also supports our ongoing review efforts each season. More importantly, it’s a joy for us to pass on quality gear to people who will continue to use it for years, further supporting the communities we set our to serve in the first place. 

Final Thoughts On The Best Camping Mattresses…

Taking all the above factors into consideration, we found the Exped Megamat 10 to be the best camping mattress overall. We love the Megamat 10 because it delivers industry-leading comfort combined with extra-durable materials, and does it all in the same ballpark as the competition when it comes to cost. 

Best Camping Mattresses - Final Thoughts
We’ll be taking this one: The Exped Megamat 10 is our favorite camping mattress of the year.

With that being said, we’d also consider the Nemo Roamer to be a close second that some campers may prefer. The Roamer’s quick-inflating design and compact size make it the most user-friendly option of the bunch, as does its outstanding pump-sack, which completely removes the need for lung power or an auxiliary pump. 

If you’re looking for great comfort but want to control costs, the REI Camp Dreamer is tough to beat. While the Camp Dreamer isn’t made from quite as tough a stuff as more expensive options, it goes toe-to-toe with the best in the business comfort-wise and is plenty stout for folks who only camp a few times a year. If you’d prefer some extra durability for peace of mind but still want to save a little money, we have zero major complaints with the Sea to Summit Comfort Deluxe, which costs less than our top picks but still delivers the rugged bottom fabric we prefer. 

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