Reviews You Can Rely On

How We Tested Camping Pads & Mattresses

Thursday October 27, 2022
camping mattress - dogs (and people) who camp will appreciate getting a good night's...
Dogs (and people) who camp will appreciate getting a good night's sleep!
Credit: Laurel Hunter

How We Test

An in-depth test of car camping mattresses means that we are going to be spending a lot of nights outside! We took them camping — sleeping on these mats in tents, in the back of pickup trucks and vans, and on the bare ground. Those products that were designed for two people, we were sure to sleep on with two people. On multi-night trips, we changed mattresses each night to compare them in similar conditions and to get the best possible comparison between different mattresses. We brought enough to share with friends to get their feedback, too.

We also lent the mattresses to friends heading out on their own camping trips (and a couple of short backpacking trips!) and even took a couple of them on journeys that required flights across the country. Lastly, many of these mattresses were used indoors when friends and family came to visit. The cumulative knowledge gained from all these nights out gave us a good idea of the relative strengths and weaknesses of each mattress.

Testing Metrics

To fine-tune the comparison rating scores you find in this review, we invited friends to a campsite near our home, where we tested all of the models against each other at one time. We compared the sizes of the mattresses, both inflated and rolled up for storage, carefully measured how long it took to inflate and deflate each one and spent plenty of time moving from mattress to mattress to assess warmth and comfort. We took notes from everyone who had spent a night on one or more of these mattresses, comparing preferences and detailed observations. Our goal was to test the most popular and top-rated camping mattresses, and we are confident that you will be happy with what we have recommended.

camping mattress
Credit: Brandon Lampley

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