If my wife mentions going camping, the first thing that pops into my head is that August night in Bude, Cornwall when it was 5 degrees, my back was in 10 pieces and I was literally holding onto the tent to stop it flying away! But don't let that put you off. Camping can be a great experience and sleeping outdoors doesn't need to be a nightmare. There are many, many different types of camp bed out there for all types of sleeper. From full-on self inflating air beds, through to classic pop-up camp beds. We'll give you the pros and cons and then round off with a budget, mid-range and luxury options.
Self inflating mattress
A quick way to get maximum comfort is to go for an air mattress, although many people get put off by the 15 minutes of pumping or blowing that come with it. Now days you can get some great quality self inflating mattresses, that are ready in a couple of minutes. To stop any cold from the ground or even the air in the mattress affecting you, these mattresses are usually lined with high resilience foam, which also doubles for some extra padding. Being an air mattress, it will shape to your body while offering great support, meaning you are almost guaranteed a good nights sleep under the stars.
When not used, they can deflate and fit into a small bag, weighing next to nothing, making them ideal for quick get aways or long camping trips.
- No pump required
- Fully inflated in 2-3 minutes
- Small, light and compact when deflated
- Helps keep the cold away
Not ideal for larger frames
Cold air trapped in mattress
If your one of those people who has to be dragged kicking and screaming into a tent, this may help convince you to try camping. Or alternatively if you really take the empowerment of 'Clamping' to the next level, then a double-height air mattress is for you. Do make sure if you do look for one to take camping that you have an electric pump, usually sold separately.
Available in single or double sizes, they are ideal for ensuring a good nights sleep.
- Fully inflated in 60 seconds
- Light and compact when deflated
- Quickly deflatable
- Requires a pump
- Cold air trapped in mattress
- Can deflate over time
Folding Camp Beds
The happy medium between sleeping on the floor and on a air mattress is met by the good old folding camp bed. A required taste for some, others will not sleep on anything else when camping. Folding camp beds are practical and do one job very well. No messing around with pumps and waking up on the floor in the middle of the night (unless you didn't put it up right).
Strong and sturdy frames mean you won't be going anywhere in the night, unless that 2am pit stop is required. All folding camp beds come with handy bags to make your life easier.
- No need for a pump
- Quick and easy to put up
- Strong and sturdy
- folds away into bag
- Not as comfortable as an air bed
- Limited sleeping positions
- Assembly may be tough for some
Hopefully with our helpful guide, it has spurred you on to go and buy a good camping bed so you can enjoy a spot of camping this summer. If it hasn't been enough to inspire you, then perhaps our hammock review would be preferable?