Which Camp Bed is Right For You?

Camp Beds

Here we look at the varying types and styles of camp beds. A good camp bed is a worthwhile investment. Getting a good nights sleep while camping is very important. Not only does your body need sleep to rest and work optimally. You will not enjoy your camping trip if you are not getting your sleep. I hope this will help in narrowing down your search for a bed for a perfect nights sleep whilst camping.

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One thing that can really ruin your time away camping is not getting a good nights sleep.  We do not function properly if we do not get a good nights sleep. Our ability to think clearly and make quick decisions is drastically reduced. You are more irritable, not what the kids need! Sleep impacts so much of our wakened hours that a good nights sleep is essential.

Camping bed set up
My Camp Bed Set Up

Your Sleep, Your Choice

With sleep being so important it is vital that you take your time when choosing what you will sleep on while camping.

Things to consider are –

Which position do you sleep in? Are you a side sleeper? If so you will want something that cushions your hips and shoulders.

Are you a warm or cold sleeper? Here R Ratings may be worth considering. Especially when buying sleeping mats or SIMs.

Which Camp Bed

For us, we have had a double-height airbed for going to sites with electric hook up, either for long weekends or extended holidays and we also have SIM’s, (self-inflating mattresses)for when travelling lighter and only spending one night in each place. We have framed beds that can be used with or without SIMs. And, finally, we have our trusted roll mats when going really light.

So below we have listed many different types of beds and mats that people use when camping. It seems there is “no bed suits all” as everyone is different. Much like our beds at home. Soft, medium or firm, everyone is different.


 These come in single and standard height as well as single, double, queen and king size. These are great for getting you off the ground although some find that the single height mattresses hold the cold air from the ground.  This can be remedied by placing a foil blanket underneath.  Most double-height airbeds come with a built-in pump and plug so electricity is required for using these beds.

PROS: raised off ground, easy to get in and out off, comfortable nights sleep.

CONS: needs electricity to inflate/deflate, temperatures can affect how well inflated it stays, takes up a large area if not most of your sleeping area, can only be used in larger tents.

Air Bed Review

Brand: Hi Gear

hi gear double inflatable bed

Name/Style: Rise Flock Airbed (Double)

Construction:  made with durable PVC with a soft flock finish on top

Measurements: 212 x 163 x 55 cm (Inflated

Features: raised outer frame to prevent roll-off, double-height for extra comfort, max weight 200kg

Price: £60-£80

Verdict:  We like the double-height which makes getting in and out of bed easy.  Nice and warm during the night with extra comfort.  Did need to top up once but feel that this was due to large temperature variant from night and day.  All in all a good bed that gave us a great nights sleep although not as comfortable as others we’ve tried.

Check out some more Double Airbeds here.

Framed Beds

These beds are normally from steel or aluminium. Framed beds have a stretched material on the top to help raise you off the ground and give a more comfortable nights sleep.  These come in both single and double sizes and pack away into their own storage bags for ease of transporting them.

PROS: raised off the ground for more comfort, easy to get in and out of, can store other items underneath e.g. clothes and shoes.

CONS: too large to use in backpacking tents, can topple if you sit right on the edge while getting dressed.

Frame Bed Review

Brand: Freedom Trail

framed camp bed

Name/Style: Slumber Aluminium Camp Bed (single)

Construction: Aluminium frame with PVC coated polyester material

Measurements: Assembled 190 x 63 x 43cm, Packed: 92 x 19 x 9cm

Features: lightweight 5.2kg, own carry bag, max load 110kg

Price: £25 – £45

Verdict:  easy to assemble, comfortable nights sleep and it really supported my bad back.  This was really sturdy although I would maybe place a blanket under a sleeping bag to prevent draughts.  Great item.

Check out some more Framed Camping Beds here.

Self-inflating Mattress (SIM)

Self-inflating mats are foam filled mats with a fitted valve that when opened will draw in air to expand the mat or allow you to push the air out when packing away.  These come with different coverings to suit budget and comfort.   The thickness or depth normally range from 2.5cm to 12cm thick.

PROS: lightweight and easy to carry, suitable for backpacking, keeps you off the ground during the night, helps you get a more comfortable sleep, no equipment is needed to inflate.

CONS: can puncture although repair patch is normally included, still feel as if you are sleeping on the ground.

Self-inflating Mattress

Brand: Outwell

self-inflating mattress

Name/Style: Deepsleep 7.5cm (single)

Construction: foam with the top fabric being synthetic microsuede polyester, bottom fabric  100%polyester with an AFC valve

Measurements: 195 x 63 x 7.5cm inflated, 66 x 19 cm packed

Features: micro suede polyester gives a skin feel touch to sleep on, horizontal air channels reduces weight and pack size.

Price: £55 – £70

Verdict:  a comfortable mat that gave a decent nights sleep, soft to touch so doesn’t feel cold against your skin.  Would probably choose a 10cm mat for more comfort.

Check out our favourite Outwell Sim – https://campmehappy.com/a-great-sleep-with-the-outwell-dreamcatcher-10cm-sim

Foam Roll Mats

Foam roll mats are ultra-lightweight when looking for something to sleep on. They are easy to just roll up and carry and are great for when you need to be carrying all your kit.  These are great additions for backpacking.

PROS: Lightweight, budget-friendly, quick and easy setup – just roll out.

CONS: Not great for side sleepers or those with mobility issues.

Foam Roll Mat Review

Brand:  OEX

foam roll mat

Name/Style: Superlight 8 Single

Construction: polyolefin foam

Measurements: 1800mm x 500 x 8mm, Packed Size: 500 X 150mm

Features: lightweight, 4 season rating, 2.3 tog rating

Price: £15 – £24

Verdict:  This is a great piece of kit that is lightweight, durable and gives a good comfortable nights sleep.  Great for backpacking and keeps you warm throughout the night.

Check out some more Foam Roll Mats here.


Everyone sleeps differently and has different comfort requirements, budgets and space.  People who do more wild camping would not be buying double-height beds.  We loved our double-height bed for going away to campsites with our large tent, yet also have Lightweight mats for wild camping. 

The aim of any sleeping product is to insulate and put a barrier between you and the ground.  It is worth spending a few quid more sometimes for that added protection as a good nights sleep make all the difference.

Many people use more than one option or combine sleeping aids for even more comfort. As you may have seen from the picture above I use a SIM on top of my framed bed. For me, this is really comfortable.


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