What To Put Under Air Mattress When Camping?

While we go on a camping trip, we try our best to stay comfortable as much as possible. For that, many campers take air mattresses with them on their journey. 

If you intend to take air mattresses camping, you have made a good decision as they provide the most comfort. They are very lightweight, compact, and the least heavy.

Air mattresses might seem more suitable for winter, but you will be surprised how they can keep you cool in warm weather. However, you can also use them in the cool weather to stay warm with certain tactics. 

Materials that you can put under an air mattress

If you use an air mattress while camping, it will require a lot of care. You can put a lot of things under it so that it can be safe and also increase your comfort. You may put materials like Dri-Dek, foam, or even blankets or tarps under your air mattress when camping. These materials might aid in airflow or just protect your air mattress from dirt and damage.

What to put under an air mattress when camping

The materials that you can put under an air mattress are given below:


The most common material you can put under the mattress is foam. Foam is known to provide the best insulation for air mattresses. However, the disadvantage of foam is it is not good for ensuring ventilation. Nevertheless, foam works great for preventing any direct damage or the risk of puncture to the air mattress when you put it under the mattress. Also, it saves the mattress from dirt. So, the bottom of your mattress stays clean!


If your goal is to set up the best insulation in your mattress then you should get Dri-Dek. It is designed to give extra comfort as well as keep people safe in slippery places. This material is actually like plastic tiles so they are easily portable and can be used as you like. All you need to do is to purchase the desired amount of Dri-Rek and place it under your mattress. You can also place them on the tent floor. Thus, your mattress will stay lifted above the ground. In addition, the holes in the Dri-Dek will allow the air beneath the mattress to circulate better.

Tarps or Blankets

Usually, many air mattresses have vinyl or plastic underneath to prevent movement and sliding. But this can be slippery on the tent floor. So, using a tarp or a blanket underneath can be a good idea. They are good options to prevent the air mattress from getting dirty. However, they are not very good with insulation and ventilation which is a great disadvantage.

Why do you need a mattress for camping?

An air mattress for camping is not a must or essential but it will surely increase the chances of your uninterrupted sleep. Before you travel into the wild, you should think about your bedding options and pick the one that would give you the advantage of getting a night of decent sleep. Otherwise, you will wake up tired the next day.

Many campers find it hard at night to sleep on the ground or to sleep in a sleeping bag. For them, the air mattress is the best option to provide them with comfort so they can have a peaceful sleep.

Depending on your needs, you may also use camping cots, sleeping bags, or even a hammock as an alternative to an air mattress. But only the air mattress can provide you with the closest feel of your bed at home. That is why a lot of people prefer air mattresses on their camping trips for sleeping. 

Some campers consider air mattresses a luxury, but most of campers would love to sleep on an air mattress because of a lot of reasons. An air mattress not only brings out the coziness of the bed but also provides a barrier between you and the rough ground so that the ground can not suck your body heat easily. So, you can stay warm at night while camping. 

The terrains of camping grounds or your selected camping site might be very rough and full of stones and pebbles that would disturb you all night long. Air mattresses work as a barrier between the ground and your bed so that you do not feel disturbed while sleeping

What Is the Purpose of Putting Something Under Your Air Mattress?

Air mattresses are a terrific way to make your camping trip more comfortable. There is only one minor flaw: they are poorly insulated and can leave you freezing in the middle of the night. Not keeping anything under the air mattress makes it dirty.

Why do you need a mattress for camping

When you use an air mattress to sleep at night camping, the air mattress is directly exposed to the ground. By this, there can be dust and debris getting stuck in the mattress and if any chance it gets hit by a pebble then it will be punctured or damaged. This will just make the camping night worst for you. 

There are camping-specific air mattresses that are specialized for camping purposes but the effectiveness of their insulation rate is said to be low to medium. The best is to add foaming under the mattress. In this way, it will increase comfort, and also it will prevent the mattress from moving on the tent flooring. 

So, it is better to add padding and insulation under your air mattress in order to keep the airflow and also in order to protect the air mattress.

Do you need to put something on top of an air mattress?

Sleeping directly on the air mattress is not very comfortable. That is why many campers prefer to put something on the air mattress for making it more comfortable. 

If you do not insulate the air mattress from your body heat, the air mattress will absorb it. Your blankets or sleeping bags will be able to trap heat if there is insulation between you and the air mattress. You can put a blanket or a layer of a bed sheet on your air mattress. you wearing an extra layer of clothing might also help with the insulation in the cold weather.

however, if you are backpacking then, it might become a bit hard for you to carry an extra layer of clothing for your mattress as you will be already carrying much weight. in that case, you can just wear an extra layer of clothing. 

How to insulate an air mattress?

Putting specific materials under an air mattress improves air circulation and insulation. You might want to arrange an insulation system under the air mattress for staying cool, but it would do you no good as the air mattress is full of air. So, regardless of whether you insulate it on the bottom, or from the upper part, it will definitely turn into the ambient temperature.

In this case, the best idea is to wrap up the whole mattress in insulation material. Also, you can use a blanket, quilt etc. on top of it. This is significantly more effective than placing insulation below your air mattress in terms of keeping you warm.

Air mattress has a tendency to move around if they are not placed strongly with something beneath to hold onto them tight. That is why you can add padding under the air mattress. Also, you can add foam under the air mattress for extra comfort. 

What are the advantages of an air mattress?

Many campers do not use air mattresses while camping as they think camping is a rough and tough adventure, where there is no place for comfort. And the campers who prefer air mattresses in their camping, want to make their trip as comfortable as possible. Aside from comfort air mattresses have many advantages that you need to know as a camper. Such as- 

What are the advantages of an air mattress

Provides larger sleeping space

Unlike a sleeping pad or a sleeping bag or a hammock, you do not need to feel congested when you are sleeping on an air mattress. You can just throw yourself on the air mattress and sleep in a wider space that will provide you with more comfortable sleep and improve your sleeping quality as it is the closest replacement for your bed. 


Unless you are a backpacker, an air mattress is very easy to carry to the camp if you are planning to car camping or camp in an RV. It weighs about 9-12kg if it is with a built-in pump and it weighs less when you buy it without the pump. You can also consider carrying a self-inflating air mattress if you are backpacking. 

Easy to use

Air mattresses are very easy to use even when you are camping. All you need to do is to unroll it for use and then roll it back again when you are not using it. In between, you might just need to pump it if it is not a self-inflating air mattress.

Keeps you cool

If you want to stay cool in the warm temperature while camping, you can sleep on an air mattress. as it has more space it will feel cooler. you can also use a sheet on top of it to stay cool. On the contrary, in the cold weather, you can cover yourself with a few layers of clothes or an extra blanket so you do not feel too warm. 

Saves you from heat loss

On a cold night in the camp, you might experience heat loss if you sleep directly on the ground in a sleeping bag. an airbed, an air mattress or an inflatable mattress can save you from that. so, all kinds of air mattresses are perfect for cold weather camping.

How are mattresses for camping different than home-use mattresses?

Usually, the camping mattresses are air-filled rubberized material or vinyl. Home mattresses are made from materials that are not only heavy and awkward to handle but are also not outdoors friendly. Too easy for critters to make it home.

Is an air mattress good for camping?

As I get older, I find an air mattress pretty much essential to camping. Sleeping on bare ground is a no-go for me these days.

Final Words

Advanced campers are more eager to find comfort in their trip so they would take air mattresses with them. Because the more comfortably you sleep the more refreshed you will wake up the next day. 

So, if you want to bring more effectiveness and comfort to your camping trip, make sure not to forget your air mattress and its essential materials for insulation. and you do not have to worry about the expensive options either because an air mattress is very reasonable in price. 


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