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Is there such a thing as the best air mattress for a camper? When air mattresses are mentioned in the same sentence as camping, they’re often thought of as a primitive camping solution. Not something you throw down on the floor of a Coachmen Freedom or an Airstream Classic.
After all, Class A, B, and C Motorhomes, travel trailers, and even small teardrops have built-in bedding options. After all, booth conversions, sofa beds, bunks, and pop-up mattresses are the norm in an RV.
The thing is, we’re not talking about the plush and comfy mattress in the Master bedroom—we’re talking thin sofa beds and dining conversion options that may do the trick for a 10-year-old but not for a 45-year-old with an achy back.
Will an Air Mattress Fit in a Camper?
For the most part, sure, an air mattress will fit in a camper. It’s not like you blow it up before dragging it through the front door. Of course, if you purchase a king-size air mattress for a teardrop, you’re asking for problems.
In most circumstances, assuming you buy the right air mattress for the floor space in your RV, it will fit just fine. Most air mattresses inflate rapidly, and they deflate as fast as a bed converts back into a dinette.
Not to mention the air mattress is probably a lot more comfortable than sleeping on the thin cushions of a dinette conversion. It’s not thin because the manufacturers wanted it to be but because it’s necessary for a fold-out to at least be halfway functional.
6 Things You Should Look For in an RV Air Mattress
The air mattresses of today aren’t like those old air mattresses in the 90s that started deflating the moment you laid down on them. They’ve come a long way, with more durability and longevity than ever before.
The quality of an air mattress mostly has to do with its construction. You’ll find that the majority of air mattresses on the market use PVC, which makes sense. PVC is often used in inflatable whitewater kayaks.
However, chlorine in PVC products is becoming a real problem for some, especially when it comes to skin irritations and other health issues. Focus on PVC construction material that’s “eco-friendly.” While they aren’t as eco-friendly as they sound, they are free of chlorine.
Micro coils are another sign of a quality air mattress and polyfoam insulation in self-inflating models.
You only need to worry about height if you’re backpacking away from the RV and need an air mattress for your nights in the wild. Height means additional weight, and unnecessary weight is a no-no when backpacking.
For normal use, height indicates added support, comfort, and additional features that justify the extra height, such as the aforementioned micro coils or additional polyfoam insulation in the lining.
There are certain things in life where “cheap” results in a good deal. An air mattress is not one of them. Cheap usually means a bad night’s sleep. That doesn’t mean you should refinance your home to afford an air mattress.
Price usually runs in tandem with size. One thing you should always remember is that a smaller air mattress for a camper is better no matter what type of camper you’re using. It will save you money and space in the long run.
Air mattresses are notorious for the slow leak—so much so that some campers and RVers would just prefer that it blow up to avoid waking up once or twice in the middle of the night to inflate it. A warranty helps with peace of mind; if you have the infamous slow leak within a month, you can get a new one.
At the very minimum, look for a 2 to 3-year limited warranty that covers manufacturer defects. You won’t be able to get away with dragging it over rocks and broken glass, but there’s no excuse for a slow leak a few days after hauling the air mattress out of the box.
Remember when we said, “smaller is better?” Smaller is always better when it comes to air mattresses. There’s no reason to give your 8-year-old daughter or son a king-size air mattress, and guests can more than handle a full, possibly a queen.
6. Built-in or Portable Pump
The portable pump might make more sense in a tent, depending on how it’s powered. A built-in pump is far and away the best answer in an RV. It’s quick, efficient, and easy. Also, you always have a power supply if you need it.
They are a little more expensive, but it’s not a huge difference, especially when you want more convenience. Some built-in pumps will maintain the air, which is wonderful if you have a slow leak. So long as you don’t jump out of your skin when the pump kicks on at 2 a.m., you’ll love it.
8 Best Air Mattresses for Your Camper in 2023
Now that you know what to look for, let’s narrow your list down just a little bit. If all you have to choose from is 8, it makes your job easier. We like doing the work for you. That’s why you’re here and not browning the aisle at Walmart wondering, “which shiny box contains the best air mattress for a camper?”
1. EZ Inflatable Double High Air Mattress
- Supports up to 600 lbs
- Two-minute inflation time
- Easily folds up for storage and transport
- Extra-cushioned flocked top
- Kind of smelly right out of the box
Speaking of built-in pumps, the first one on our list comes with one, along with a 2-year manufacturer warranty and an inflation time of two minutes. Forbes lists the EZ Inflatable series as one of the ten air mattresses that won’t go flat on you.
That’s always good to know since air mattresses are notorious for slow leaks. The EZ inflatable is extremely durable, waterproof, and puncture-resistant. Better yet, it folds up nicely for travel and storage despite the added material that goes into its durable design.
2. SoundAsleep Dream Series
- Sure-Grip bottom keeps it from sliding
- Quiet pump
- Uses 15-gauge PVC
- Water and puncture resistance
- Comes in only one color
The Sure-Grip bottoms are one of the most appealing aspects of the SoundAsleep Dream Series air mattress. Now that carpet is passe in RVs, the gripping material on the bottom of this air mattress for campers is a great fit. Of course, most don’t think about that problem until they toss an air mattress on the floor, and now it slides like hitting snow-crusted slopes on an inner tube.
The warranty is a little on the weak side at 1 year, but the customer reviews out there are overwhelmingly positive. It’s a very comfortable air mattress with 40 micro coils, elevated edge beams, and a built-in air pump.
The pump is a simple turn knob with three options—Deflate, Off, and Inflate.
3. EnerPlex Double Height Air Mattress
- Three mattress height options
- Extra valve for customized firmness
- Coil Beam system
- Thick PVC material
- Only a single-color design
The EnerPlex Double Height Air Mattress adds an extra feature to the built-in pump—an extra control valve to release just enough air to comfortably sleep on it. You can deflate and inflate with other air mattresses, but the little control knob lets you make small adjustments to find the right comfort level.
Depending on your preference, the EnerPlex comes in 13”, 16”, and 18” heights and inflates in less than two minutes, regardless of the height and size. It’s also a great value for the price—one of those rare exceptions of excellence for a price point that won’t break the bank.
4. Intex Dura-Beam Standard Pillow Rest
- Fitted sheet indentations
- Built-in pillow
- Waterproof flocked top
- Sturdy vinyl beams
- Not the prettiest air mattress in the world
No one sleeps on an air mattress because it’s pretty. The Intex Dura-Beam is a well-priced air mattress that comes in twin, full, and queen sizes and includes a built-in electric pump.
The built-in pillow is more like a raised section across the headboard section of the bed. If you’re big into pillows, it’s a nice addition to start a good pillow stack. The weight capacity is a hefty 600 lbs, and the frock top offers plenty of comfort.
It also has neat little indentations on the corners that hold your fitted sheets in place. Air mattresses aren’t known for compatibility with fitted sheets, so it’s a nice little feature that often goes unmentioned.
5. Englander Double High Air Mattress
- Thermo-Regulating microfiber top
- Reinforced coil beams
- Soft flocked top
- Higher tensile strength
- No full-size option
If you tend to treat your air mattresses like punching bags, the Englander Double High Air Mattress needs to be on your list. It’s designed like an air mattress for a bomb shelter rather than the shiny floors of a Grand Design travel trailer.
Like many of the air mattresses on the list, it includes a built-in air pump and a complete microfiber exterior, which is partly responsible for its high tear and puncture resistance. The reinforced coil beams add to the durability and keep your spine straight throughout the night.
6. LostHorizon Airsoft Inflating Sleeping Pad
- Solid foam sleeping mattress
- Excellent in cold weather
- Two-way valve design
Now we’re getting into the unique air mattresses. The LostHorizon Self-Inflating Mattress certainly qualifies as an air mattress but only partly. It’s almost entirely constructed of foam, with air added for additional support and comfort. It also keeps you from catapulting your partner from bed when you sit down.
The airing-up process is neat, controlled by a simple flip of a valve, and no motorized air pump. Flip the valve again, and it deflates. It does come with an air sack air pump for expedited inflation, but you don’t need it.
You’ll love this thing in the winter. It’s one of the warmest air mattresses on the market, but it won’t boil you out of bed in the summer, either.
7. Etekcity Upgraded Camping Air Mattress
- Rechargeable pump (no plug or outlet required)
- Insulated, second layer in the flocked top
- Water and puncture resistant
- Fully inflates in 90 seconds
- No Full or King option
The aesthetics of the Etekcity Upgraded Camping Air Mattress are attractive, but there’s more to this air mattress than just eye candy in soft brown and stark white. It comes with a 2-year warranty and includes a built-in, rechargeable battery pump for when you don’t have access to power or head out from the RV for a night in the wild.
It also has an additional “top-off” valve for a more customized feel. The non-skid bottom is always a welcome feature, and the “wave-beam” tech offers a comfortable feel by keeping your spine aligned. No crick in your neck or back after a night on the Etekcity.
8. Sibosen Inflatable SUV/Van Mattress
- Awesome design for SUV/Van Camping
- Includes an electric pump
- Ribbed air cushion with PVC construction
- Anti-collision head design
- The pump cord isn’t very long
Sometimes the RV just doesn’t have the extra space and whoever draws the short straw has to hit the rack in the van. With the Sibosen Inflatable SUV/Van Mattress, that’s perfectly fine. It has plenty of comforts and a Car DC port charger cable for the included electric pump.
The wave design provides excellent spine support, and the overall cushioning and comfort are fantastic. Though the headboard of the mattress is designed as an “anti-collision” cushion, it’s also perfect for stacking up pillows. You’re more than welcome to drag it outside and sleep by the fire.
7 FAQs About the Best Air Mattresses for Your Camper
1. Is an RV mattress different than a regular air mattress?
You’ll notice that the defining terms for size are the same as standard air mattresses, like Queen, Full, and Twin. However, with an RV air mattress, those sizes may be slightly off from an air mattress you would buy for your home. That’s why air mattresses for RVs are usually found in their own category.
2. Where would you put an air mattress in a camper?
Well, it depends on the air mattress and the camper. A little twin air mattress can fit just about anywhere. For the most part, the largest area is the kitchen and lounge area, especially for king and queen air mattresses. Just don’t cram it in the bathroom.
3. Is an air mattress more comfortable than a camper bed?
When it comes to the master or secondary beds, probably not. An air mattress is a lot better than typical dinette conversions and other pull-out options, mostly because of how thin they tend to be. It’s difficult for a manufacturer to create a fold-out option with an extra-thick mattress.
4. How long should an air mattress last?
If you take good care of it, a quality air mattress should last years. At the very least, it should last as long as the manufacturer’s warranty. Often, those warranties are pretty small, making the selection process a careful and thorough process.
5. What kind of air mattress pump should you buy?
Most of the air mattresses on the above list come with built-in pumps. If yours doesn’t, you should consider an electric pump. Manual pumps are a real pain; they take forever to fully inflate the mattress, especially if you have a king or a California king.
6. How do you find holes in an air mattress?
Start by visually inspecting it after it’s fully inflated. Run your hand slowly over the surface, feeling for escaping air. You can also lay on top of it and listen for the air leak. Use a very light strip of tissue and sit on the air mattress as you move the tissue slowly across the surface.
7. How do you patch air mattress holes?
The manufacturer may offer a patch kit, or you will need to purchase a third-party variation. Clean the surface thoroughly with soap and water. Allow it to fully dry. Be sure the mattress is completely deflated.
- Gently sand the area around the hole with 120-grit sandpaper
- Clean the spot with isopropyl alcohol
- Allow it to dry again
- Take the patch material and cut a circle to the size
- Add the adhesive to the patch and the area around the hole
- Secure the patch to the hole
- Press a flat, heavy weight on the patched hole and allow it to cure for 24 hours
Final Thoughts on the Best Air Mattress for Your Camper
The air mattresses on our list are excellent options, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only available options. A good air mattress adds a new element to your RV experience—namely, the ability to have more guests.
They’re also a fantastic option if you’re wearing the bed out in your teardrop or just want something more comfortable than some of the pull-out options in your RV. At the very least, it’s a great option while shopping for a new master bedroom mattress.
When you’re camping, the entire idea is comfort and relaxation. Part of that is how well you and everyone else sleep. No one wants to be around a teenager that had a bad night’s sleep. A good air mattress offers more versatility and comfort. Just be sure to choose a quality brand.
About The Author:
Thomas Godwin is a full-time freelance writer with a BFA in Creative Writing, a U.S. Marine, and an avid outdoorsman.
When he’s not writing, he’s raising chickens and Appleyard ducks. Thomas also constructs teardrop campers (attempting to anyway) and kayaks the Blackwater River with his wife, two daughters, and his Dobermans.