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A good quality night’s sleep as one of the most important aspect of camping can make or break your trip. It is not always possible to make your nights at the camp luxurious and comfortable, but buying a comfortable bed to definitely make your sleep better, whether it’s an air mattress bed or a comfy foam on the ground, should be high on your camping priority list. In this guide, we list down different camping beds that are available in the market to guide you how to choose the best one for your need.
Camping beds keep you well above the ground and safe from all the dusts, tiny shrubs, insects, and other ground hazards. If you are camping in the middle of the mountains, then camping bed/cot would be the best option. Elderly people or those who have trouble getting up from the ground frequently would benefit more buying a camping bed. During daytime, the same can be used for leisurely lying down, relaxing, reading a book, and for other purposes. Camping beds are perfect temperature regulators, so this helps you sleep comfortably in either hot and cold climate. Some campers also love to sleep on camping beds in the outdoors even without a tent.
There are many different types of camping in which a camping bed simply would not be suitable for all. Camping beds are perfect for those who love truck camping, canoe camping, bike camping, car camping and long-term camping. Compared to regular sleeping pads car camping mattresses represent the luxurious upper end of the spectrum. If you are camping for a research or study in the wild, then a camping bed would be your perfect sleeping partner. Another crucial benefit of using a camping bed is that, it allows the camper to store all their outdoor gears and accessories underneath.
Camping beds should be purchased carefully after considering weight, size, comfort level, portability, durability, and other factors. It is not possible to find a bed that excels in all these factors, but you can find a product that suits your desired purpose. Luxurious and comfortable beds are always heavier and not portable, which makes them unsuitable for multiple day camping. On the other hand, lightweight, portable and oversized camping beds are expensive and not suitable for all.
Camping beds should have a strong, reliable and highly durable support structure. Frame of the bed should be rigid and provide enough support without compromising on comfort level. Aluminum is used in more than 90% of camping bed frame construction, which makes them lightweight and durable. Steel frame-based camping beds are perfect for withstanding heavy weights. Every camping bed comes with a weight rating, which will give you information on the support structure quality.
Camping beds come in three different leg designs, namely vertical, x style and c shaped legs that are connected with a horizontal bar. C shaped beds are not suitable for outdoors, so stick with the first two types of beds. If you are going to setup the bed inside the tent, then make sure that it has rubber caps on all its legs because they could tear or puncture your tent floor, which is not ideal. Coasters are also available, which can be bought separately.
Size of the camping bed is another important factor you need to consider when shopping for one. You can also go for a customized bed if you have the necessary finances. Standard dimensions of an outdoor camping bed would be 25in W X 75in L. This size is pretty standard and would be suitable for most adults. A shorter camping bed is available for youngsters, and similarly, taller people can find longer beds as well. If you are looking for an oversized camping bed, extra wide beds that go up to 40 inches can be purchased.
Overall weight of the camping gears, accessories and other products that you carry along with you on a trip will play a huge role. Aluminum based camping gears will weigh only a maximum of 20 pounds. Steel and other military grade material-based beds will only increase the overall weight, which is not ideal. Beds that come with an additional padding layer will cost more when compared to others. Ultra-lightweight cots which only weigh around 2 pounds or more are best for outdoors, but the cost of these would be higher. If you are a hiker, than you’d move around a lot, so a lightweight product would be the best.
Polyester or nylon is the fabric used in most of the modern camping beds. This kind of fabric provides enough rigidity overall. It is very easy to clean this type of fabric, which is a huge advantage for campers. Some beds come in cotton canvas fabric, which is not good, because these materials retain a lot of dust and are also heavier than others. If you are going to camp during summer, a mesh fabric should be perfect.
Camping beds should also have good portability, a factor that is important for storage, transportation and even durability. Portability can be determined based on the overall weight and packet size of the bed. Some models fold into compact dimensions, whereas others disassemble completely. Portable beds are best suited for hikers as these beds fold down to compact dimensions. One of the major drawbacks of a highly portable bed is that, they sit low to the ground, making them fragile and not highly durable. Make sure to find a bed that is portable at least to a certain extent.
The camping bed you choose should be easy to assemble and disassemble. Some beds come with instruction manuals while others just unfold and snap in position. Few modern day intricately designed cots require assembly, which might take some time. If you are going to camp in one location for 3 to 5 days or more, then an innovative cot design will be more than enough. Modern beds come with instruction manuals, which have to be followed in order to setup successfully, and such beds might not be the best option if you are camping short term.
Spring system or fabric tension is the mechanism with which camping beds provide comfort. Certain camping bed are offered in the market with adjustable tension systems, meaning you could alter the comfort and support level depending on your requirement. Camping beds with additional padding can also be purchased for added comfort. Beds that provide extra comfort and luxury generally tend to weigh more than other normal ones. If you are worried about this added weight, then you could go for a camping pad, which is also known to provide additional comfort.
So far, we have discussed about camping beds in general and the various factors involved in making the purchasing decision. Let us now discuss about all the different types of camping beds and their pros and cons.
Self-inflating mats are beds that come with a thin air mattress along with foam padding. Once the valve is opened, the air gets sucked in automatically, inflating the bed to a great extent. You need to blow air finally to bring it to your most appropriate sleeping condition. These beds are very popular mainly because of their lightweight design. Wide range of self-inflating mats are available online and in stores. Pricing is also very flexible, so it should not be a problem selecting the best pick.
- Perfect for all kinds of campers and backpackers.
- Simple setup and packaging.
- Wide range of pricing options.
- Insulating foam layer.
- Enhanced tent space.
- Low cost models tend to have poor insulation.
- This model is not for side sleepers since there is not enough padding on the sides.
Double Height Air Mattress
As the name suggests, this mattress clearly lies above the ground, providing enough comfort and protection from the ground hazards. If you are used to sleeping in utmost comfort, then this would be the best air mattress option for you. They offer enough comfort for outdoors more than any other type of mattress. On the downer, you must definitely carry a 12v air pump with you for inflating it, and remember, it takes a considerable amount of time to inflate. You cannot inflate this bed using a foot pump.
- Comfortable sleeping posture.
- Added height makes it easy for getting up.
- Multiple size options.
- Possibility of adding extra padding.
- Powerful air pump is needed to inflate the mattress in minutes.
- Manual or low powered pump will take ages to fill this up.
- Most of the double height mattresses come with electric mains pump, which is not suitable for outdoor camping.
- Additional padding is required for insulation.
- Not durable.
- Inconsistent in performance.
- It takes up a lot of your tent space.
All-in-one beds are nothing but ready beds which include an inflating air mattress and are designed mainly for camping purpose. They also come with a sleeping bag for added comfort. You can carry such beds from one place to another quite easily. Sleeping bag option is very popular amongst kids, but the option of single bed and double bed configurations are best suited for adults. Air beds with sleeping bags are available at an affordable price too.
- One solution for all sleeping needs.
- Easy to transport.
- Single and double bed configuration.
- Kid-specific designs.
- It is not as comfortable and as warm as a sleeping mat or bag.
- You could feel restricted while sleeping.
Airbeds and air mattresses are some of the standard camping bed options available for hikers, backpackers and campers. This is one of the most popular options available for campers at the moment. It is very small, easy to carry along and also easily available in several retail outlets, so buying it should not be a problem at all. Additionally, you should also purchase a pump in order to inflate the air mattress. Regular top-up is mandatory, which is one of the main drawbacks of air mattresses.
- Different size options are also available.
- Very easy to pack and transport.
- Additional insulation can be included.
- Air pump is necessary for inflating.
- Regular refilling required.
- They are larger than other camping beds, so they take up lot of your tent space.
- Low cost models are prone to puncture.
- Not enough insulation, so it is not suited for cold climate.
- Durability is very poor.
Carp Fishing Beds
Most of you might not associate a fishing bed to be the choice for camping; but, as a matter of fact, these beds do provide extra comfort when compared to other camping bed types we have discussed so far. Carp fishing beds provide dual benefit, wherein you can use one as a chair and also as a bed. They offer superior comfort and come with adjustable legs, making them flexible. Some models come with a padded sprung base, which allows you to adjust the firmness. Luxurious fishing beds come with memory foam too, providing added comfort. Long and wide beds are also available. The only drawback is its size because that makes it difficult to carry along and also hampers the room available inside the tent.
- Easy installation.
- Perfect for uneven surfaces.
- Convertible as a chair and bed.
- Additional padding for comfort.
- Long and wide options available.
- Bulky and difficult to carry.
- Heavier than normal.
- Not available in different colors and designs.
Folding camping beds are extensively used in the military and are known to offer excellent comfort and portability. This is best for those who always sleep on their back. Folding camps might be heavier, but that is due to the fact that they come with additional storage bags, making them the perfect choice for truck/car campers. They are durable and there is no need for regular inflation and adjustments. Once you set it up, you’d be able to sleep through even for 3 to 5 days of camping.
- No air pump required.
- Easy and instant setup.
- The height makes you sleep well clear off the ground.
- Added storage space.
- Single and double bed options.
- Narrow proportion makes it unsuitable for big sized individuals.
- Not suitable for side sleepers.
- Heavier than other beds.
- Difficult to transport.
We have discussed comprehensively about camping beds in general and also about all the different types of beds in detail. Hope this helps in choosing the model that will best suit your camping style.