Has the camping world gone inflatable mad?
In this post we are going to look at what inflatable camping gear and accessories are available on the market and whether we think they are worth the investment.
Like all camping gear it comes down to personal choice and as always, we recommend you do your own research before committing on larger purchases. Hopefully, this post may provide some inspiration for some of your future purchases.
As campers, well at least the type of campers who like to take whatever they can to make camping comfortable and as luxurious as possible on their trips seem to be investing more and more into inflatable camping gear.
Even hikers and wild campers have been switching to lighter weight inflatable camping gear over the years.
The fact is inflatable gear is more compact when packed for transportation thus allowing us to take more home comforts or items for adventure with us on our holidays and travels.
We will look at everything from beds to lights and kayaks to games.
Some items can be quite weighty so try to take this into consideration if you go on your own or are the only adult in the group, especially when it comes to inflatable tents, which are not discussed in this post.
Beds and Mattresses
These were one of the first inflatable items that people started taking camping and they have come a long way since then, especially the SIMs and inflatable sleeping mats.
For me and many others if you get a good nights sleep it makes your camping trip so much better. I would always recommend that you invest well in this area. It is worth spending a little extra to get the best nights sleep possible. For me, I often get a better nights sleep when camping this is because I have managed to just about perfect my sleeping set up and being out in the fresh air longer during the day and having fresher air to breathe during the night.
Even if you use framed camping beds like posadas an inflatable mat on top can often be better than a SIM.
We have used these in the past and they are great. They provide height for anyone who struggles to get up and down from a low bed. They are comfortable to sleep on and when fully inflated and firm it feels like sleeping on your own bed.
We like the following ones from Intex and most Intex ones come with their own carry bag to keep it safe while in storage.
Ideal for two adults or even if your kids don’t mind sharing. These are also available in single sizes. These come with built-in pumps for easy inflation and topping up should you need to. The pump also allows all the air to be pumped out effortlessly when it comes to packing away again. You can buy them here.
If you have toddlers that like to move about a lot during the night these inflatable cot beds are ideal. With raised sides, they will keep your child where they need to be while sleeping and saves them rolling off onto the cold floor of the tent. This comes with a separate pump (so little hands can’t deflate it) and the inner mattress also comes out for ease of cleaning. You can buy cot beds from here.
What about camping in your car with this great inflatable car bed. If you like to get away for a night on your own these inflatable mattresses fit over you back seats with inflated bolsters that fit into the back footwell of your car to extend the sleeping area.
These aren’t for use in small cars or sports cars but if you have a family car, SUV, Truck or MPV there are mattresses like these to fit your car.
Most come with pillows for added comfort so if you are just looking to grab some kit and go on a Friday after work these can be great. Click here to see the full range for all vehicle types.
Lightweight Sleeping Mats
If you are more of a wild camper or like to go more lightweight with your camping gear these small lightweight camping mats are ideal. They give good comfort while being really compact and lightweight. Ideal if camping while backpacking.
We like these paired with an insulated mat while wild camping and on top of our framed beds as a mattress when away with a larger setup. There are many varieties of lightweight mats and depending on how you camp, seasons, temperatures and carry weight these are worth researching before purchase and here have a great range to choose from.
What about Inflatable Pillows?
There are loads of inflatable pillows on the market now from cheap pound ones to ones a little more luxurious.
We love the Quechua Pillow, read our review here.
Another good pillow is the Treckology pillow that is great on its own or team it up with the lightweight sleeping mat above. These come in a range of colours so you can match with sleeping bags and decore colour if you wish. See the colour range here.
Sofas and Seating
Becoming increasingly popular with those who like a home from home feel inflatable sofas are really trending on the campsites and there are now some great ranges to choose from. How about some of the following.
Intex Inflatable Corner Sofa
A touch of home comfort and some space-saving living with this corner sofa from Intex. This will comfortably fit a family in the evening while relaxing this stylish sofa looks great in the living area. The flocked material gives this sofa a soft warm feel and a bit of added comfort.
Campeze Inflatable Sofa, Chairs and Footstool
If the corner sofa is too large you could always buy either single chairs or 2 seater sofas instead. We love this set from Campeze and all items can be purchased separately to suit your needs. They are stylish and strong with a fabric cover to give that touch of home. If you would like to explore this inflatable set further you can visit this page.
Maybe you just want something compact but comfortable for relaxing on at the end of a day and for couples who may only take a smaller tent we find these ones are great. Enough space for two to cosy up and have a cuppa or just relax and talk about the day’s adventures.
These 2 seaters from Vango are just the job, comfortable and compact.
For us, this sofa is ideal as it is small and compact. We only have a small 5 person tent as it is often only the two of us and this fits just nicely in our living area. Read more here about the Vango Sofa.
Inflatable Camping Accessories
What about transporting all those great inflatable camping essentials? For some these inflatable roof racks are an ideal way to allow us to transport that little bit more without the expense of having static roof bars installed on our cars.
HandiRack Roof Bars
These ones from HandiRack fit most cars and can be used when transporting some of your lighter gear back and forth to the campsites. You can see a full range of inflatable roof racks here.
There are some pretty cool inflatable camping accessories on the market now, have you seen some of these? We think you’ll love some of these and hope they give some inspiration to pimping up your tent.
Inflatable Solar Lights
These ones by Luci are fab. You can purchase them in white or colour lights and the inflatable shade throws more light. The fact they are solar rechargeable is also an advantage for those who don’t go with electrics and no need to worry about forgetting batteries.
Chair Wedge Relaxers
These inflatable chair wedges are great whether chilling out about the campsite, down the beach, in the forest or even in your own backyard. These come in a variety of colours and can be purchased here.
Simply inflate the wedge for somewhere comfortable to sit and relax, your weight on the attached mat keeps the wedge in place and your clothes clean and dirt free.
The Inflatable Projector Screen
And although this can be a contentious and touchy subject amongst campers, I thought I would include it anyway. Even if you don’t use it for camping but a big family get together, I think they are great.
Sorry but if you are away together as a big family and are not going to disturb anyone else, maybe if wild camping or somewhere remote I think this would be a night for the kids to remember. They come bigger than this too! Check out all the available sizes here.
Inflatable Fun and Adventure
Going camping is also about fun and adventure so we thought we’d show you a few space-saving fun games and some inflatable adventure items to make your camping trips that little more special.
One item we love to take if camping near water is our kayak. With inflatable kayaks being relatively cheap these days they are a great way to get out and explore the lochs and waterways near where you are camping. Please remember to be safe and wear lifejackets and buoyancy aids when out.
The Sevylor Riviera Kayak
This 2-person Kayak (the one we have) is great, it inflates easily and is rigid and strong in the water. With removable seats it allows you to find your optimal comfort position for paddling and this also allows it to be easily converted for use by a single person. The carry handles allow for easy manoeuvring out the water and once packed is stored in a backpack for ease of transport. Find out a little more by clicking here.
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak
Another great kayak which we had the chance of trying out was the Intex Challenger K1 single kayak. Go on your own or together but in individual kayaks. These are great with their handy storage area at the front if you want to take a few essentials with you for the day.
Again, this comes in a carry pack for ease of transport and storage. These are available here along with a few more to choose from.
If kayaking is maybe not your thing on the water why not try a paddle board. Test out your balance before going off to explore. Once you get the hang of this it can be a lot of fun and allow you to spend a day on the water or paddling out and exploring nearby islands. Many paddleboards now have clip in seats so you don’t even have to spend all your time standing.
Aquaplanet 10ft Allround Paddleboard Starter Set
The Aquaplanet 10ft Allround Starter Set is a great way to start exploring this popular sport. Just add a lifejacket and you are good to go. See more about paddleboards here.
Family games are also a great way of spending time together while away camping and the fact they pack down means you don’t have to be choosy about what you take.
This inflatable limbo looks great fun for people of all ages.
Or maybe this inflatable throwing ring game would help keep the kids occupied while you rustle up a meal or snack for them.
Even inflatable kites to add a bit of colour and fun into your day.
You can find many different types of inflatable games here that will keep both kids and adults entertained on site and that will greatly reduce the risk of damage to anyones tents.
Let’s Get Inflating
Now we have shown you some of the great inflatable camping items on offer at the moment what about inflating them?
Well as you will have noticed some come with built-in pumps while others come complete with pumps when you purchase them. But what about the rest?
Well, some only need some good old puff while others may need substantially more air than you can give.
Here are 3 of our top picks when it comes to pumps.
For those who camp taking the car, we recommend the Coleman 12V QuickPump.
Simply plug into your cars electrics and start inflating. With it’s easy to hold handle, extension hose and various nozzles, this is a great all-round pump.
This is also ideal for those who would like to invest in inflatable water sport items that you can use on weekends when not away camping too.
If without electrics a Dual Action Hand Pump is a good investment. These can even be used on inflatable tents. Our pick with this type of pump is one from Campingaz. These are great all rounder pumps and come with various sized nozzles so are compatible with most inflatable items.
If you don’t fancy doing the inflating by hand when without electrics a battery powered pump may be what you need. These come in both a rechargeable battery and disposable battery options. But you will need to ensure it has enough battery life to inflate and deflate what you need it to. Especially if you are going off the beaten track so to speak.
You could have peace of mind and invest in a multi-powered one such as this one from Dr Meter. As you can see from the picture below it takes batteries and can use both A/C and 12v adapters.
We hope that by reading this post you may have some new ideas for your next trip or are able to share this with others. You can of course share on social media via the links.
If you already use some inflatable camping gear why not leave a comment and let us know what you have and your thoughts on it or even any of the items shared above.
Thanks for reading.