If you’ve ever spent a night away from home, chances are you fall into one of two distinct camps: people who’ve uttered the words “I’ll just be glad to be back in my own bed”, and people who haven’t — yet (it comes to us all).
But getting a decent night’s sleep on your next “fun” camping weekend needn’t be a nightmare if you’ve got a camping air bed that ticks all the boxes. Don't forget to get a torch, either!
The bed you’re looking for depends heavily on usage: is it for squeezing into a tent, and thus into a car boot or backpack?
Or is it for keeping in the cupboard in readiness for kids’ sleepovers or the in-laws coming to stay?
How to buy the best camping bed for you
Look for compactness and lightness in the former, for easy carry, and battery-powered pumps or self-inflating in the latter, for quick and easy set-up. Comfort is obviously key whatever it’s for, but we suppose that all depends how much you like your children’s friends or your partner’s parents.
It goes without saying that we take our sleep very seriously, and rightly so. To avoid grumpy mornings and bad backs when you’re on the road, a good blow up mattress is key, so keep reading for our list of the best.
Our guide to the best camping beds to buy today
Yes, it’s very, very expensive for a blow-up bed, but for picky sleepers it’s second to none. The Dreamboat’s deep-profile topper with ergonomic shaping is ludicrously comfortable and supportive. Plus, it’s slip-resistant for a solid night’s sleep on questionable terrain, it’s durable (made from TPU), and it’s portable. Great all round for camping trips and other wild weekends.
Coming in at under £30, the Vango Flocked Air Bed goes easy on your wallet as well as on your back. It’s sturdy, thanks to a coil-beam construction; gives just the right amount of support; and its slight rise makes it easier to get out of. Vango also offer a version with a built-in headboard, perfect for those who like to read (or, let’s be real, check in on their fantasy team) before bed. A good budget air bed, with a clever option for book lovers.
This multi-tasking mattress with inbuilt pump sees to its own inflation, and in under two minutes, no less. Its fold-away stand and convenient storage case means you can convert your front room into a spare room at the drop of a hat, and once packed down, it fits easily into the wardrobe for year-round storage. A great alternative to faffing with foot pumps. Just don’t tell anyone how easy it is, in case they want to come and see for themselves.
This sturdy double air bed doesn’t sag and stops twin sleepers rolling together, vital for staying on speaking terms with your tent-mates. Its deceptively small size when uninflated (it fits easily into the included Wrap N Roll carry bag) means it’s super-portable, and it turns into a comfortable double mattress with the application of a little elbow grease. If you like the look of the Dreamboat air bed, but can’t in all good conscience shell out £260, this is the one for you.
The Aerobed Comfort might just be the closest thing to a real bed on our list, so if you’re unused to sleeping away, this is the one. Its super size means you can fidget to your heart’s content, and its solid-feeling sleeping surface with equal air distribution means that no matter what position you sleep in, you’ll feel secure. The mini headboard is an added bonus.
Acting as an air bed and sleeping bag in one, and coming with its own handy pump and carry case, the ReadyBed Deluxe is our all-inclusive choice, and the best air bed for families on our list. It comes in two child-sized options as well as a sizeable double, and its integral cotton covers are machine-washable, so it’s the perfect solution for sleepovers where sticky fingers are inevitable.