Camping is all about embracing the great outdoors, but that doesn’t mean that you have to give up all of your favorite home comforts. Things like camping beds can make a huge difference to how well you sleep and how much you enjoy your trip in the wilderness.
It is almost never a good idea to sleep on the ground when you are camping. Even if your tent has a strong mat, and it feels warm during the day, you will be surprised how cold, uncomfortable and damp sleeping on the ground can be. At the very least, you should purchase a roll-out sleeping mat to sleep on. These mats will make the ground more comfortable and provide a layer of insulation so that you don’t feel the cold in the middle of the night.
Sleeping mats are OK if you are camping on flat ground in the summer, but for colder weather you may want to invest in proper camping beds. There are two main kinds of camping beds – air beds and folding beds.
Choosing an Air Bed
Air beds are inflatable beds that are made of a thick, strong material. The thicker the material the bed is made of, the more comfortable and stable it will feel when you are sleeping on it. However, thicker air beds are difficult to inflate. Inflating an airbed by yourself can be a time consuming task, but if you choose one with a good valve you should find that it is a job that needs done only once, and it will reward you with many good night’s sleep.
You can buy air beds that are self inflating, or that can be inflated relatively easily by mouth. These are the best choices for people who are hiking long distances or who prioritize portability over all else. However, if you are taking a caravanning holiday or don’t mind having to carry some extra equipment in your car then you may prefer to take an airbed that is inflated by a pump. These airbeds tend to be bigger, stronger and much more comfortable. However, if you forget to take the pump with you then you will be in for a frustrating camping trip!
Choosing a Foldout Bed
Folding beds are good for people who are camping during the colder months. The extra elevation that they offer will help you to feel more comfortable and provide some insulation from the cold and damp ground. However, foldout beds are not particularly comfortable. You may want to use a roll-out mat in addition to the foldout bed for maximum comfort.
Foldout beds usually have a canvas area stretched over a metal frame. While the metal is designed to be relatively lightweight it is still heavier than an inflatable bed, and it is harder to pack. You should avoid carrying a foldout bed with you unless you know that it will be necessary, because the extra weight will become frustrating quite quickly.