What to Put Under Air Mattress When Camping in the Wild

When planning your next outdoor adventure, you might wonder what to put under your air mattress when camping for optimal comfort.

Remember that time you felt every tiny pebble through your mattress? Ugh, not fun.

Or how about that chilly draft seeping up from the ground?

Turns out, a cozy night outdoors isn’t just about the air in your mattress.

Stick around, and let's chat about making your next campout the comfiest one yet.

The Importance of a Good Camping Bed Setup

Sleeping comfortably in the wilderness goes beyond just getting a good night's rest. It can affect your entire camping experience. Wake up refreshed, and you're ready to hike, fish, or simply enjoy the beauty around you. Wake up with a stiff back, and every step can be a chore.

Additionally, setting up your air mattress correctly can help protect its durability. A single sharp stone or stick under your mattress can cause a puncture, leaving you sleeping on the cold, hard ground.

The Challenges of Using an Air Mattress Outdoors

Using an air mattress for camping isn't quite as simple as setting it up in your guest room at home. The outdoor elements bring a unique set of challenges.

Rough ground, with its array of twigs, pebbles, and thorns, can be a potential hazard to your mattress. Temperature fluctuations can affect the air inside the mattress, making it deflate faster. And then there's the issue of the cold ground, which can suck the heat right out of you if you're not properly insulated.

What to Put Under an Air Mattress When Camping

To tackle these challenges, you'll want to put some form of barrier or insulation between your air mattress and the ground. Let's look at some options.

Young camper setting up his air mattress for camping

Ground Cloth or Tarp

A ground cloth or tarp can be a lifesaver when camping with an air mattress. These durable materials create a protective layer between your mattress and potential hazards on the ground. They're lightweight, easy to pack, and can also keep your mattress dry in wet conditions. Lay your ground cloth out flat under your tent to prevent punctures and increase the longevity of your air mattress.

Foam Sleeping Pads

Foam sleeping pads are another fantastic option. Not only do they offer a barrier against sharp objects, but they also provide additional insulation. They're made of closed-cell foam, which traps air and prevents the cold ground from sucking the heat out of your mattress. Simply lay one out under your air mattress and you've got yourself a cozy, insulated bed.

Camping Cots

If you're looking for a more elevated solution, camping cots can be a great option. These keep your air mattress off the ground altogether, protecting it from hazards and the cold. Just make sure your cot is the right size for your air mattress and sturdy enough to support the combined weight of the mattress and sleepers.

Tent Footprints

Tent footprints are specifically designed to protect the bottom of your tent from wear and tear, but they can also add an extra layer of protection for your air mattress. They're designed to fit under your tent, providing a barrier between the ground and any inflatables inside your tent.

Air Mattress Insulators

Air mattress insulators are specialized products designed to wrap around your air mattress and provide a layer of insulation. They can be particularly helpful in cold weather conditions, preventing heat loss from the underside of your mattress.

In short, when camping, it's advisable to put a protective underlay such as a ground cloth or tarp, foam sleeping pad, camping cot, tent footprint, or an air mattress insulator under your air mattress to provide protection from the rough ground and cold temperatures.

Learn more: Way to Stay Warm on an Air Mattress

Tips to Protect Your Air Mattress When Camping

Beyond what you put under your air mattress, a few other considerations can make a big difference in ensuring a comfortable and trouble-free camping trip.

One of the first things to remember is to clean and maintain your air mattress regularly. After each trip, give it a gentle wipe down to remove any dirt or grime, and let it air dry before packing it away. This can prevent mildew build-up and help keep the material strong.

Secondly, be mindful of your inflation and deflation practices. An over-inflated mattress is more prone to damage and punctures. Likewise, when deflating, open the valve and allow the air to exit naturally. Forcing the air out can stress the seams.

Finally, consider how you're storing and transporting your air mattress. Keep it in a protective bag when not in use, and avoid packing it with sharp objects that could cause accidental punctures.

Expert Recommendations on Best Products

There's no shortage of camping gear out there, but here are a few top picks for under-mattress protection:

  1. For ground cloths, the Amazon Basics Camping Tarp offers a durable and water-resistant tarp that's easy to pack and set up.
  2. In terms of foam sleeping pads, the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol is a popular choice, known for its lightweight design and excellent insulation properties.
  3. For camping cots, the Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Camp Cot is a robust choice that can handle heavy-duty use.
  4. The Big Agnes Tent Footprint provides reliable ground protection designed to fit perfectly under your tent.
  5. And when it comes to air mattress insulators, the Exped SynMat XP 7 is highly praised for its insulation capabilities and comfort.

Remember, the best option for you will depend on your individual camping needs and environment.

To know more: What a Tarp Is Used for in Camping

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to setting up an air mattress for camping, a few common mistakes can quickly turn your peaceful outdoor getaway into a bit of a nightmare.

One major pitfall is neglecting to check the ground for sharp objects before setting up. Even the smallest twig can cause a puncture, so always clear your campsite before laying down your mattress.

Another common mistake is choosing the wrong underlay. It's not just about protecting your mattress from the ground, but also about insulating it from the cold. A thin tarp might not provide enough insulation in colder conditions, while a thick foam pad could be overkill in warmer weather.

Read more: The Dangers of Sleeping on an Air Mattress


How can I make my air mattress more comfortable for camping?

Improving air mattress comfort during camping can be achieved by using a foam topper for extra cushioning, placing a blanket underneath for insulation, and ensuring the mattress is properly inflated to your preferred firmness.

How do you insulate an air bed for camping?

Insulating an air bed for camping involves placing a barrier like a foam sleeping pad, tent footprint, or specialized air mattress insulator between the air bed and the ground to keep cold air away and retain body heat.

What do you put under a camping pad?

Under a camping pad, you can put a ground cloth or tarp to protect it from the rough ground and moisture. This also adds an extra layer of insulation between the camper and the ground.

Can I put a mattress pad on an air mattress?

Yes, a mattress pad can be placed on an air mattress. It provides additional comfort and warmth, improving your sleep quality while camping.

How do I keep my air mattress from deflating while camping?

To prevent your air mattress from deflating while camping, ensure it is properly inflated, avoid overloading it, and inspect it regularly for any punctures or leaks that need to be patched.

Can you use sheets on an air mattress?

Absolutely, using sheets on an air mattress is recommended for additional comfort and hygiene. Sheets help create a familiar bed-like feel and protect the mattress from dirt and stains.

Final Words

Camping with an air mattress can be a game-changer for your outdoor adventures, providing comfort and a good night's sleep under the stars. But it does require some thought and preparation.

From choosing the right underlay like ground cloths or foam pads, to proper cleaning and maintenance, it all plays a part in ensuring a successful camping experience. So don't be afraid to take the time to set up your air mattress properly. Trust me, your back will thank you in the morning.

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Hey there, fellow explorers! This is Ovi Tanchangya, passionate blogger and avid outdoorsman. I want to share my thoughts about my past outdoor experiences, and of course, I will continue to do so. The past is very practical and can't be forgotten. I don't know which is unique about camping, but I can't forget the campfire smoke and the smell of the camp foods. When I am in mechanical society, I try to recall my memories by watching various camp videos and listening to the sound of the forest raining. And this is me.

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