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Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad (Getting A Good Night time’s Sleep On The Go)

When crafting the optimum tenting sleep system, it’s frequent for folks to get caught when deciding between an air mattress versus a sleeping pad.

Avid campers will swear by their favourite technique however fact be instructed, each have their advantages and downsides.

What it actually comes all the way down to is your individual private wants.

The air mattress vs. sleeping pad debate may go on without end. However we’re right here that can assist you make one of the best determination to your tenting wants!

Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad

Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad

Selecting between an air mattress and a sleeping pad may be troublesome. They each include their very own professionals and cons.

However when it comes proper all the way down to it, selecting between an air mattress and a sleeping pad relies upon solely in your private tenting preferences and desires.

For example, when you’re mountaineering to your campsite, you’ll need to go along with one thing much less cumbersome than an air mattress.

However, when you’re automotive tenting, an air mattress could be the way in which to go when you’re trying to hold as many comforts of dwelling as potential.

To find out the place you stand on the sleeping pad vs. air mattress debate, first determine how a lot room you’ll have for packing, how a lot room you’ll have for sleeping, how many individuals will you be accommodating, your price range, and most significantly, your consolation preferences.

Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad – A Fast Comparability

Air Mattress

An air mattress is an inflatable mattress that you may blow up utilizing your individual breath or a pump.

When not in use, you merely let the air out and roll it up for storage.

Kinds of Air Mattresses

There are three forms of air mattresses you’ll be able to select from when tenting: raised, self-inflating, and adjustable/convertible air mattresses.

1. Raised Air Mattress

A raised air mattress is simply that- raised! These sorts of air mattresses inflate to a peak that’s taller than your normal single-high air mattress of 10 inches.

That is helpful as a result of it may be extra snug (learn: extra like your mattress again dwelling!) and it retains you increased off the bottom (which is a plus when the bottom is chilly).

2. Self-Inflating Air Mattress

A self-inflating air mattress may be your finest buddy when you hate having to blow air mattresses up by hand or at your automotive.

They work through an inner pump that merely must be turned on with a button or a knob, or through a valve that sucks in air as the interior foam expands.

So there are not any exterior components you need to fear about shedding!

These air mattresses are fast to setup however can value greater than a conventional air mattress.

3. Adjustable/Convertible Air Mattress

Should you’re prepared to place a little bit extra money into an air mattress, you will get a convertible air mattress that had adjustable settings!

These air mattresses let you management options resembling firmness with only a distant management that may both launch or add air for you.

Advantages of an Air Mattress

Benefits of an Air Mattress (1)

Air mattresses have a ton of advantages for tenting, particularly for anybody who needs to deliver the comforts of dwelling with them.

Number of Sizes

Air mattresses are available in a wide range of sizes. From twin-sized to a queen air mattress, there are many choices out there for no matter dimension you might want.

Whether or not you should take up a small area or have a complete tent to take up area for consolation, there’s already an air mattress in the marketplace to satisfy your wants.


An air mattress is the tenting sleeping resolution that’s going to be essentially the most like your mattress at dwelling.

This implies you may discover it extra snug than a sleeping pad.

Being off the bottom due to the air contained in the mattress, you gained’t be feeling all of the tough bumps and onerous floor of the bottom.

Plus, air mattresses offer you extra room to stretch out.


Air mattresses are extraordinarily moveable. When not inflated, an air mattress lies fairly flat.

This lets you roll it up finish to finish and slide it into its carrying bag so you’ll be able to throw it in with the remainder of your gear.

All in all, when rolled up, an air mattress will solely take up an space the dimensions of a shoebox or smaller.


Whereas air mattresses won’t provide the similar insulation as a sleeping pad, you continue to get the good thing about heat from not having to sleep on the chilly, onerous floor.

If tenting in chilly months with an air mattress, you’ll nonetheless need a zero diploma sleeping bag, or some thermal blankets for optimum heat.

Worth of  Your Cash

Air mattresses are straightforward in your pockets! A easy primary twin-sized air mattress could possibly be as low-cost as $20.

In fact, you’ll be able to at all times go for an air mattress with added bells and whistles resembling self-inflation or adjustable firmness.

However even with added options, air mattresses are usually slightly inexpensive.

Supplies You With a Bigger Sleeping Space

As an alternative of being caught within the small area of a single sleeping space such as you would with a sleeping bag, air mattresses sometimes offer you far more room to unfold out, roll round a bit, and many others. providing you with a way more snug evening’s sleep.

In fact, you’ll nonetheless need to deliver your sleeping bag (particularly an excellent rectangular one), however in the summertime it’s totally potential to get away with out one when you it’s heat sufficient at evening.

This can be helpful when tenting with a number of folks, because it’s simpler to deliver double air mattresses that may pack down smaller than some sleeping pads.

Straightforward to Keep

So long as you are taking care to retailer your air mattress correctly, they’re extraordinarily straightforward to take care of.

Merely wash it off now and again, and also you’re good to go.

And if it will definitely will get a gap in it, that’s a straightforward upkeep process, as effectively!

Merely throwing an easy-to-use patch over the opening will make your air mattress nearly as good as new very quickly.

Drawbacks of Air Mattresses

Drawbacks Of Air Mattresses Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad

Whereas air mattresses are fantastic at making you are feeling such as you’re proper at dwelling, they can be a significant ache if you get all the way down to the logistics of utilizing one whereas tenting.

Poorly Insulated

Air mattresses are primarily made up of plastic, which isn’t insulating within the least.

So when sleeping on an inflated air mattress, your physique is heating the air inside however the mattress just isn’t doing something that can assist you retain the warmth.

All your physique warmth goes to the air contained in the mattress, leaving you chilly.

Staying heat on an air mattress, particularly in colder months, would require added gear resembling a sleeping bag, or thermal blankets to assist insulate you.

Not Helpful for Winter Tenting

As we simply talked about, air mattresses are poorly insulated and may go away you shivering, particularly if it’s already chilly outdoors.

Tenting with an air mattress within the winter may be chilly and irritating when you’re not correctly ready as you’ll want extra gear to remain heat and comfortable in your sleep.

Unexpectedly Punctures or Leaks

One of many largest downfalls of air mattresses are their means to get punctured and begin leaking.

Even when you take all of the care on the earth, guaranteeing your campsite is freed from twigs and different particles that might poke a gap in your air mattress, it’s inevitable that it’s going to start to leak someday.

Whether or not from common put on and tear or a puncture gap, sleeping on a leaky air mattress isn’t any enjoyable, particularly if you get up to search out your self flat on the bottom or sandwiched into your mattress like a taco.

Fixing a gap or leak in an air mattress could be so simple as slapping a patch overtop of the affected space. However it could nonetheless be a trouble.

Battery-Operated Pump is Required

Many air mattresses as of late use a pump to inflate. Sure, there are nonetheless some that solely require your individual breath to inflate it, however who has the time or power for that?

The draw back to a pump-operated air mattress is that you simply normally want batteries or another supply of electrical energy to get it up and operating, particularly in case you have a flowery air mattress that means that you can alter the air and firmness with the contact of a button.

Discovering an power supply to pump and keep this kind of air mattress could be troublesome when tenting.

Too Large for a Backpack

Whereas air mattresses are super-portable, they aren’t essentially small when deflated and rolled up. Actually, they’re too massive for a single backpack.

This is usually a main ache level for anybody who’s mountaineering to their tenting vacation spot and require packing as small as potential.

Nobody needs to sacrifice necessary gear and provides like meals simply to avoid wasting area for his or her air mattress.

How one can Select the Finest Air Mattress For Tenting

When choosing out an air mattress for tenting, you should know the way you can be utilizing it earlier than you begin shopping.

Then, you’ll be able to decide which of those options will fit your wants finest.


size (1) Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad

Since air mattresses can be found in all kinds of sizes, you gained’t have any bother discovering one to satisfy your wants.

You simply have to determine what dimension to go along with!

Have a small tent you don’t need to fill? Go along with a twin-sized. Want loads of leg room for a stressed sleeper? Attempt a double. Sleeping with a accomplice? There’s at all times a queen.


The kind of air mattress that you really want is dependent upon what sort of consolation you’re on the lookout for.

If consolation isn’t a precedence, a easy air mattress that makes use of a hand pump may swimsuit you effectively.

Nonetheless, if you wish to make sure you get one of the best evening’s sleep potential whereas tenting, you would select from increase, self-inflating, and adjustable air mattresses.

Don’t have the time to mess with inflation? Go along with self-inflating. Need to be as far off the bottom as potential? Go along with raised.

Need to have the ability to management all of those parts relying on what you’re feeling within the second? Go along with adjustable.

Inflation and Deflation

infaltion and deflation Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad

Realizing how a lot effort you are ready to place into the inflation and deflation of the air mattress will even decide which one you can purchase.

Should you don’t have the time or power to inflate an air mattress by hand, select an air mattress that both self-inflates or inflates through an electrical pump.

On the flip aspect, when you gained’t have electrical energy, you’ll want a guide or self-inflating air mattress.

Deflation is fairly easy regardless of the air matter, however some require a bit extra effort and time than others.

For example, when you select a self-inflating air mattress that makes use of the froth technique, you will have to bodily roll the air out of the mattress, or else the air will frequently be sucked in and will probably be caught inflated.



Air mattresses include all kinds of pumps. What you may have out there to inflate it coupled with your individual preferences will let you know what sort of pump you want.

No supply of electrical energy? You’ll want a guide or battery-powered pump.

You’ll want to examine batteries earlier than you permit if that is the choice you go along with! Not trying for lots of set-up work? You’ll most likely need an electrical pump or self-inflating air mattress.

Sleeping pad

sleeping pad

Sleeping pads are an important a part of any tenting sleep system and are notably helpful for backpackers who need to pack small and lightweight.

Nonetheless, they’re additionally nice for layering with different gadgets to create one of the best evening’s sleep potential.

Kinds of Sleeping Pads

Types Of Sleeping Pads

There are three forms of sleeping pads you’ll be able to select from when tenting: closed-cell foam, self-inflating, and air pads.

1. Closed-Cell Foam Tenting Mats

Closed-Cell Foam Camping Mats

Closed-cell foam tenting mats are made out of dense foam that’s comprised of many small air cells.

All you should do is roll it out and get to sleeping! There isn’t any setup or inflation vital for closed-cell foam tenting mats.

These tenting mats are light-weight, straightforward to pack, and may offer you further heat and insulation.

Nonetheless, they aren’t at all times essentially the most snug sleeping association as the froth is slightly agency.

2. Self-Inflating Pads

Very like self-inflating air mattresses, self-inflating sleeping pads merely blow up on their very own.

Utilizing a mixture of air and closed-cell foam padding, self-inflating pads have foam inside that begins to develop as quickly as you open the valve to let the air enter.

The inflation course of may take between 5 and ten minutes however is comparatively simple and simple.

Some self-inflating pads are even sufficiently small to pack when mountaineering, however not all.

The good half about self-inflating pads, is that they’re type a hybrid and may present superior consolation and insulation over an air mattress.

3. Air Pads

Very like an air mattress, air pads are merely the dimensions of a tenting mat however crammed with air.

In contrast to self-inflating pads, you will have to inflate an air pad by yourself. Some use hand pumps whereas others include an electrical pump put in.

These tenting pads additionally don’t come normal with insulation to assist hold you heat. Some fashions do.

However the extra primary air pads will merely be crammed with air.

Advantages of Sleeping Pads

Benefits of Sleeping Pads

Sleeping pads is usually a tremendous helpful piece of apparatus so as to add to your arsenal of tenting gear, particularly in case your major concern is portability.

Light-weight and Packable

Lightweight and Packable sleeping pad

Sleeping pads are tremendous light-weight and simple to pack, particularly in comparison with air mattresses.

There isn’t as a lot bulk concerned of their development, so they’re normally the primary selection for anybody who’s backpacking, hammock tenting, or simply wants to avoid wasting area when packing.

AssociatedFinest Sleeping Pad For Hammock Tenting: Prime 5 Reviewed

Supplies Nice Insulation

The place air mattresses can get chilly because of the lack of insulation, sleeping pads are made out of supplies resembling foam that present significantly better insulation.

Sleeping pads are good for tenting in colder months on account of their insulation. They’ll hold you good and heat even when it’s chilly outdoors.

Extra Transportable Than Air Mattresses

More Portable Than Air Mattresses

Air mattresses take up a lot room, even when deflated and rolled up, that they aren’t superb for backpacking. They’d take up most of your packing area!

However sleeping pads are a unique story. They take up a lot much less area than an air mattress when they’re rolled up and packed away.

They’re additionally a lot lighter. So, you gained’t be sacrificing area or comfortability when you go along with a sleeping pad!

Associated: Tenting Storage Concepts

Ease of Use

Sleeping pads couldn’t be any simpler to inflate, use, after which deflate. Most simply have to be rolled out to make use of!

Closed-cell foam sleeping pads are already good to go when you roll them out. And self-inflating sleeping pads do all of the give you the results you want.

Air pads might take a little bit extra work than both of the previous choices, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a fast setup!

Lasts Longer

lasts longer

Sleeping pads are very sturdy and have a tendency to last more than an air mattress.

Air mattresses get plenty of put on and tear between all of the inflating and deflating. Plus, there’s the entire pesky puncture threat you at all times have to fret about.

With most sleeping pads, you don’t even have to fret about an unintended puncture! Which means you can be utilizing it for a really very long time.

Drawbacks of Sleeping Pads

drawbacks of sleeping pads (1)

Sleeping pads may be nice for saving area and time when organising camp, however in addition they have their fair proportion of drawbacks, together with not being essentially the most snug evening’s sleep.

Much less Cushioning

Sleeping pads have considerably much less cushioning than an air mattress. They’re made out of denser materials and are a lot thinner than an inflated air mattress, making you nearer to the bottom.

Whereas this will profit your tenting packing, it can be a disadvantage when you’re on the lookout for consolation.

Not A lot Consolation

Due to having much less cushioning, sleeping pads will not be as snug as an air mattress.

Air mattresses are the closest factor you get to the comforts of your mattress again dwelling when you find yourself tenting.

Since they’re thinner and extra dense, sleeping pads don’t present the identical form of consolation.

They’re much extra agency than an air mattress and go away you nearer to the bottom which is simply as prone to make for an uncomfortable evening’s sleep.


It’s normal for sleeping pads to be slightly slim.

Which means that it accommodates just one sleeper at a time and also you would want to have one sleeping pad for each camper versus becoming a number of sleepers on an air mattress.

How one can Select the Finest Sleeping Pad

When choosing out a sleeping pad, you will have to have a good suggestion of how you can be utilizing it and what your major considerations are when tenting.


Sleeping pads typically are slightly light-weight, however they’ll run from tremendous light-weight to considerably dense relying on which sort you get.

Self-inflating sleeping pads are the heaviest form of sleeping pads whereas closed-cell foam sleeping pads are the lightest.

If the burden of your sleeping pad is one thing that you should take heed to, it will assist slim down the kind of sleeping pad it is best to get.

How Thick Ought to a Sleeping Pad Be?

The normal thickness for sleeping pads, particularly for self-inflating and air pads, is about 2.5 inches.

Though, there are a ton of variations in the marketplace that provide thinner or thicker pads.

Some air pads come as thick as 3 inches in case you are on the lookout for a little bit extra cushion and a few self-inflating sleeping pads come as skinny as 1.5 inches to accommodate packing and mountaineering wants.

To not point out, closed-cell foam sleeping pads are usually 1 inch thick or much less.

Packed Dimension

The common dimension of a packed, light-weight sleeping pad is about 9 x 4 inches rolled up, which is in regards to the dimension of a big water bottle.

These are normally closed-cell foam sleeping pads or skinny air pads.

Should you’re going for a light-weight sleeping pad for backpacking, you would even discover one which packs all the way down to the dimensions of a small, one-pound (16-ounce) package deal.

Nonetheless, the froth sleeping pads can be a little bit denser.

Variations in sleeping pads would change their packed dimension, as effectively.

A bigger sleeping pad with extra cushion might weigh nearer to 25 ounces and measure about 11 x 5 inches. These are normally self-inflating or air pads.

The most important dimension of sleeping pads rolls as much as about 25-30 inches large and weighs 3-5 kilos.

These are normally air pads and excellent for automotive campers or anybody on the lookout for extra consolation.

Insulation and R-Worth

The R-Worth of a sleeping pad is a measure of its insulation and heat.

If you need the technical definition, it’s a “measure of thermal resistance, or the flexibility of warmth to switch from scorching to chilly, by way of supplies.” R-Values are even used to fee dwelling insulation.

When taking a look at sleeping pad R-Values, they’ll vary wherever from 1 to 10 with 1 being just about no insulation and 10 being essentially the most insulation potential.

Something with an R-Worth between 1 and 4 can have much less insulation and gained’t be as heat.

Should you’re tenting throughout winter, you’ll need one thing with an R-Worth of 5 or extra.

Learn: Sleeping Pad R-Worth defined

Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad – Head to Head

Air Mattress vs. Sleeping Pad – Which is Higher?

Backpacking & Via-hiking


What’s the distinction between an air mattress and a sleeping pad?

An air mattress requires inflation to make use of whereas sleeping pads don’t essentially have to be inflated as some don’t require air.

Air mattresses are additionally taller and have extra cushioning than sleeping pads that are only some inches thick.

What’s one of the best ways to pack a sleeping pad?

There are a number of strategies are packing sleeping pads. First, begin by releasing any air inside.

Then, fold it up in both halves or thirds. Then, roll it up like a cylinder, urgent out any remaining air as you go.

Which retains you hotter, an air mattress or a sleeping pad?

Sleeping pads hold you hotter than air mattresses as they’re normally extremely insulated.

You find yourself warming the air in air mattresses along with your physique warmth and shedding the heat for your self within the course of when you don’t have any added insulation.

What ought to I do if my sleeping pad is simply too tender?

To appropriate a tender sleeping pad, add extra air when you can. This may assist agency it up so your pad doesn’t really feel too squishy and tender.

Which one is one of the best worth for cash?

Air mattresses present extra worth to your cash than sleeping pads.

For the value you pay, they offer you all of the consolation of sleeping at dwelling and accommodate a number of sleepers whereas sleeping pads solely accommodate one sleeper and will not be as snug.

The Verdict

Regardless of which you go along with, both a sleeping pad or air mattress shall be an important a part of your tenting gear arsenal.

They each have their professionals and cons and can in the end make sure that you’ll get an excellent evening’s sleep whereas tenting.

Additionally, don’t overlook that you may at all times mix a number of sleeping strategies! Should you discover that you may’t discover a joyful medium between the 2, you might think about making an attempt each on the similar time.

There are all types of how to arrange your tenting sleeping system and with regards to a sleeping pad vs air mattress, you’ll be able to’t go incorrect both approach!



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