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What Is a Camping Mattress: The Ultimate Guide

From the Puffy Editorial Team | 4 min read.
What Is a Camping Mattress: The Ultimate Guide

Sure, the great outdoors is thrilling, but let’s be real - sleeping on a rocky, uneven surface? Not so much. Enter the camping mattress, your ticket to a more comfortable and enjoyable outdoor experience.

But what exactly is a camping mattress, and how do you choose the right one for you? Read on for the full lowdown.

Table of Contents

What Is a Camping Mattress?

First things first. A camping mattress is a portable and often inflatable mattress designed for use in camping situations. It’s intended to provide a barrier between you and the hard, often chilly ground, providing some level of comfort and insulation.

Types of Camping Mattresses

  • Air Mattresses: Inflatable and provide good insulation. Most need a pump.
  • Foam Pads: Light and easy to carry but offer less comfort.
  • Self-Inflating Pads: A hybrid that offers both insulation and cushioning.

How to Clean a Camping Mattress

You’ll want to keep your camping mattress clean to ensure its longevity. Here are the steps:

  1. Surface Cleaning: Use a damp cloth for quick surface cleans.
  2. Deep Cleaning: For a deeper clean, mix a gentle soap with water and wipe down the mattress.
  3. Rinsing: Rinse thoroughly with water.
  4. Drying: Make sure the mattress is completely dry before packing it away to avoid mildew.

Pro Tip: Storage

Always store your camping mattress in a dry, cool place. Prolonged exposure to heat and moisture can damage the material.

How Thick Should My Camping Mattress Be?

Thickness can range from 1 to 6 inches. Thicker mattresses offer more comfort but are bulkier to carry.

Weight vs. Comfort

Consider the trade-off between the mattress thickness and how much weight you can carry. For backpacking, a thinner, lighter option may be more suitable.

How to Inflate a Camping Mattress

Inflating your camping mattress can be a cinch or a workout, depending on your equipment.

  1. Air Mattresses: These usually require an electric or manual pump.
  2. Self-Inflating Pads: Simply unroll and open the valve to let air in.
  3. Foam Pads: No inflation needed; they’re ready to use as is.

Battery vs. Manual Pump

  • Battery-operated pumps are convenient but add weight.
  • Manual pumps are lighter but require more elbow grease.

How to Increase Comfort in a Camping Mattress

If your camping mattress is lacking, there are ways to up the comfort game:

  • Add Extra Layers: Use foam pads or blankets underneath for added softness.
  • Inflatable Pillows: These can be placed under the knees or neck for better support.
  • Mattress Toppers: Special camping mattress toppers are available that can add an extra layer of cushioning.

DIY Comfort Hacks

  • Use a soft, moisture-wicking mattress cover.
  • Add a quilt or sleeping bag on top for extra warmth and comfort.

What Size Mattress for Two Adults Camping

For two adults, a queen-sized air mattress is often a comfortable fit. Some camping mattresses come in double-wide sizes, designed specifically for couples.

Sleeping Arrangement Tips

If you and your partner have different firmness preferences, look for mattresses with dual air chambers. This way, each person can adjust their side to their liking.

Check out Puffy mattress reviews from real customers and see how we compare with other brands.

How to Find a Leak in a Camping Mattress

The dreaded leak - nothing ruins a camping trip faster. Here’s how to find it:

  1. Inflate the Mattress: Make sure it’s as inflated as possible.
  2. Listen for Hissing: Quietly listen for a hissing sound, which can indicate air escaping.
  3. The Water Test: Submerge the mattress in water and look for bubbles.

Patching a Leak

Camping mattresses often come with a repair kit. Follow the kit’s instructions to patch up small leaks and prolong the life of your mattress.

How to Make a Mattress for Camping

Creating your own camping mattress can be an ambitious but rewarding project. Here’s how:

  1. Material: Foam pads are the easiest to work with.
  2. Cutting: Cut them to your desired shape and size.
  3. Covering: Sew a durable fabric cover to encase the foam.

Customization Ideas

  • Add handles for easy transport.
  • Sew loops that can secure the mattress to your camping gear.


A camping mattress isn’t just an optional add-on; it’s essential for a good night’s sleep in the great outdoors.

Use our store locator to find the closest furniture or mattress store near you and feel the cloudlike comfort of our Puffy Mattress in person.

From choosing the right thickness to finding the perfect size for two, understanding your camping mattress is the first step to waking up on the right side of the tent.

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  • Up to $2,000 In Savings
  • Lifetime Warranty
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