Night night, sleep tight - Camping sleep mats review


For a long time I have searched for the perfect comfy night's sleep when camping. As I'm in my 50s the simple thin foam mat favoured by my teen is just not enough for my older bones. So while a yoga mat may do for the young, for the more discerning sleeper something comfier is required. I have tried camp beds like these


but found them to actually feel quite hard and uncomfortable. Then I moved on to the old staple, the supermarket inflatable. For years that's what I have used. I soon learned that sharing a double with someone is a nightmare - the heavier person will bounce the lighter around at every movement! So if you use them, use singles. The plus points are that they are deep and comfy. The negatives are that they are bulky, need a pump to inflate, and once you get a slow leak, each night is a slow descent to the ground.

 
 After my trusty inflatable finally gave up, I searched around for other options. Lately at festivals I've been travelling light (I know!) and carrying all of my stuff, so a bed that was tiny, light, and didn't need a pump seem like a really good idea. But I also wanted comfy - could I have both?

I bought three beds (yes yes I know) to try out. Two that needed inflating but claimed to inflate on only 15 breaths, and a self inflating mat with a memory foam core.

So let us begin. I took all the beds camping for a long weekend.


First up, the glorious lime green inflatable with pillow attached. It is tiny and it is light. It inflated with only 15 breaths (plus another 15 for the pillow) after which you may feel light headed and need a lie down, which is handy as you now have a soft bed to lie on.

Night one. The bed is surprisingly comfy for one so thin (5cm deep). I am a very wriggly sleeper and the bed is pretty rustly so if noise might be an issue there is that to think about but on the whole I found it a nice sleep - even as I wriggled and sometimes slept on my side. It stayed pumped up all night.


Night two. Terrible error. I allowed myself to be swayed by instructions that said after the self inflating mattress had inflated (15 minutes) I should add a few more breaths to firm it up before sealing it. Due to the narrowness of the bed (53cm) and the slippery outer this meant when I wriggled I fell off the mattress! During the wee small hours I actually moved back onto the lime green mattress for some better sleep!

Night three. I let some air out of the purple memory foam self inflater. I still sometimes slipped off the mattress and woke up though. It was comfy, but I am a wriggler and it is just so slippery, and so narrow! I am going to see if wrapping a blanket around it might help.

The orange mattress is the same as the green one but minus the pillow. Still comfy, still quick and easy to inflate, just no pillow, so it's really up to preference which of those you like.

All three packed back into the bags they came with with very little fuss.


So for me the green with the pillow wins. But a more steady sleeper may prefer the purple memory foam. Fizz my border terrier thought they were all comfy but, though I have no photo evidence, given the choice, she chose the memory foam.

I bought mine from Ebay but they are available on Amazon and probably other places too. The Amazon links are affiliate links, I get some pennies if you buy via the links - it won't cost you any extra.

Lime Green Inflatable
  • Small, light, easy to pack. Great for festivals
  • 5cm deep honeycomb, 55cm wide
  • Fast and easy to inflate
  • Comfy, inbuilt pillow
  • Easy to deflate and repack
  • As above but no pillow.
  • 6cm deep honeycomb
  • Nice and long, comfy.
  • Small and light
  • Self inflates in 15 minutes
  • 10cm deep, 53cm wide
  • Very soft and comfy. Can be made firmer with extra air.
  • Large to pack and carry - not great for festivals.
  • Can be slippy and is narrow so wriggly sleepers might fall off!
If you want total comfort, no falling out of bed and space and weight are not issues for you, I would probably still buy something like this: Sturdy Retro Air Mattress
I've had one of these before and they are great - but heavy!

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Night night, sleep tight - Camping sleep mats review

For a long time I have searched for the perfect comfy night's sleep when camping. As I'm in my 50s the simple thin foam mat favo...