Last updated on 30 July, 2023

9 Alternatives To Air Mattress For Indoor & Outdoor Use(2023 Picks)

– By Eric Smith

In our research, we have found 9 best alternatives to air mattress that you can use anywhere, whether on camping, hiking, home or even in your car, to get good sleep all the way.

An air mattress accommodates whenever you feel a lack of sleeping space on your home or trips. With an air mattress, you can set up your bed wherever you want, even in less than 5 minutes. These are portable, comfortable and don’t need any type of assembly.

alternatives to air mattress

But, what if your airbed got punctured or destroyed at the last moment when you are about to use it, or you don’t find any good quality air mattress in your budget? That’s where the air mattress alternative comes into action.

List of Air Mattress Alternatives:

For Indoors:

  • Folding Mattress
  • Futon Mattress
  • Rollaway Beds
  • Mattress Pad
  • Murphy Beds

For Outdoors:

  • Cots
  • Sleeping Bag & Pad
  • Hammocks
  • Car Airbed

Best Alternatives To Air Mattress For Indoor Use

Folding Mattress:

air mattress alternative

A folding mattress has a shape as some small rectangular boxes joined together in order to form a narrow bed.

They usually don’t have much height like air mattresses; it usually ranges between 4-6 inches off the ground, which is not enough to get in and out of it quickly.


Most folding mattress contains memory foam which provides the proper support to your back, neck and legs and keeps them aligned.

The only problem is it doesn’t allow air to be passed efficiently through it, which makes it warm and gives you a sweaty sleep all night, especially in summer.

Some new memory foam mattresses have a strong odour which I’m sure you’ll not like.

Ease of use

Generally, they come with bi-fold( two folds) and tri-fold(three folds) designs, making them easier to store, even in a compact space.

If we talk about its weight, then an average folding mattress weighs around 10-15 pounds, allowing them to be carried effortlessly and making them a great sleeping source for car trips, sleepovers, camping, and overnight guests.

Plus, some of them are machine washable too, which adds additional convenience.


Their price point is somewhat similar to an air mattress. You can buy a premium quality folding mattress in under 180-200 dollars, and a regular budget folding mattress is available for 30-40 dollars.

Futon Mattress:

alternatives to an air mattress

Futon mattresses are the best bed to replace an air mattress. The materials used in the manufacturing of futon mattresses are cotton and polyester with a foam filling or a combination of foam and some coils.

They can also be used as a sofa if you have a sofa frame and can be turned back to bed whenever needed.

Futon mattresses are designed in such a way so that they contain some sections for flexibility, allowing them to get folded without any break.


These mattresses are slightly different from bed-only mattresses but offer almost the same comfortability as them and even more than an air mattress. You can sleep on it for a whole day without feeling any discomfort.

Ease of use

Futon Mattress loves to catch and collect dirt, sweat, spills and dust in them and these are really hard to get rid of, that’s why people don’t use them out of their home, especially for camping or on other outing places where dust blows.

However, if you have a tent, you can use it on any campsite too, but try not to use them on open ground.

Most futon mattresses are not washable as they soak water which is not good for the foam. So, you need to clean them with a vacuum cleaner, with a wet cloth, or just shake hard to take all the dust out from them.


A futon mattress is cheaper than our regular wooden bed, but there’s not much difference in both’s prices.

A simple budget-friendly futon mattress that you can use daily or occasionally as your guest bed can cost you around 80-100 dollars, but these are no that comfortable and doesn’t last for too long.

On the other hand, the one that comes with the foam filling and the good warranty is the mattress you should look for.

Rollaway Beds:

Rollaway beds, also known as folding beds, are sometimes a fantastic alternative to an air mattress or even a regular bed. 

The bed consists of a metal frame with wheels and a thick mattress whose height can be anywhere between 5-10 inches. 

Because of their quick setup, which takes only 30-40 seconds in assembly, and great comfortability, rollaway beds, are a great solution for those overnight visitors.


Rollaway beds are as comfortable as any bed in our bedroom and, undoubtedly, much more comfortable than any air mattress on the market.

The only problem with this bed is that it is quite heavy to travel with. That’s why it’s not a great option for an outing unless you have suitable space to carry it in your car.

However, for home use, it can easily replace any air mattress when it comes to comfortability and convenience.

Ease of use

Rollaway beds are convenient and safe to use. Because of the wheels, it becomes easy to carry it from your living room to the guest room in no time.

These beds have a lock on each side to hold the mattress perfectly after the fold. To use the bed, all you have to do is just open the lock from each side and take the mattress out for easy setup.

Now, unfold the frame and put the mattress back on. Don’t forget to lock the wheels to keep the bed from moving while one sleeps. At last cover, it with a bedsheet to make it look more attractive and that’s all.

It does not require any installation as it comes in a pre-assembled state. Rollaway beds meet the urgent need for additional beds when needed, and you should give them a try.


You can buy a good quality rollaway bed for around $200-$300. Their price may depend on their type and the material used in manufacturing. The more luxurious a rollaway bed is, the more expensive it is.

Mattress Pad:

Basically, Pads are the covers used to protect the mattress from various threats around our home, such as pets who always look to destroy the beddings with their pointed claws.


They are made of fabric and soft material inside, such as foam which gives it a cushioned surface and makes it suitable for sleeping.

It can’t give you that type of comfortability that an air mattress or regular latex or foam mattress gives, but it is much better to sleep on a pad than on the floor when you don’t have any other option left.

Ease of use

Mattress pads are lightweight, machine washable, portable and the most important, don’t require any air like inflatable beds, which makes them really convenient to use.

But remember, you need to use them very carefully and try not to eat or drink something while lying because sometimes, it is pretty tricky to take the stains off them.


It is one of the cheapest sleeping sources available on the market in 2023. Mattress pads price starts from 10-15 dollars and can go up to 50-60 dollars. But, if you want to buy a decent quality pad for occasional use, then 20 dollar pad can fulfil all your needs.

Murphy Beds:

best air mattress alternative

Murphy beds are ideal when you don’t have enough space in the room but on the wall. They are often called wall beds, which can be considered an air mattress alternative but only for home use, such as a guest bed.

Due to their bulky size and design, it’s literally impossible even to displace them by an inch if it is attached to a wall. 

These beds can be folded up when not in use and used as shelves to keep decorative items. But, when opening the bed, you have to clean the shelves, which can be a mess.


No doubt murphy beds are comfortable. They can give you and your loved ones a snug sleep every day and night.

However, when it comes to durability, that could be a concern. A research says that murphy beds used daily don’t last too long compared to our regular platform beds.

An average platform bed can easily last about 20-30 years, and I have seen many people use their platform bed for even more than that.

On the other hand, you can expect a murphy bed to last about 12-15 years if you don’t use it regularly.

Ease of use

Just folding and unfolding the bed are not the only things one should keep in mind while going for a murphy bed. Sometimes it seems that using them is more complicated.

To open the bed for use, you must first clean the space where the bed is to be set up and what can be more annoying than setting up a bed when you return home from work tired?

In addition, bedding accessories such as covers and pillows should be used with proper care as they can become disorganized and lose shape easily if left behind on the bed.

Best Alternatives To Air Mattress For Outdoor Use


camping cot

Cots are one of the simplest alternatives to air mattresses. It is just a combination of some rods and polyester, PVC or nylon clothing or sheet.

Like air mattresses, they don’t require any type of inflation or deflation, making them really convenient to use.

An average cot weighs around 7-9 pounds which makes its transportation a lot easier compared to any other bed.

Generally, they have a short height which is around 10 inches off the ground or even less. You may have seen these types of bed in movies used by armies or those who like to go on adventures like camping or climbing.


They contain all the features to give you a snug sleep throughout the night, but because of its narrow size, only one person can sleep on it at a time which I think is a considerable disadvantage of a cot. So, if someone is already sleeping, you need to wait until he gets up from it.

Ease of use

These are foldable, lightweight and easy to carry. Some cots even allow you to disassemble all its parts and then arrange them later when needed.

But sometimes, especially for beginners, it can be quite challenging to place all parts in the correct position without a user manual. So, it becomes essential to carry the user manual along with the cot.


Their price starts from 30-40 dollars and can go anywhere between 200-300 dollars or even more depending on the load-carrying capacity and the type, whether it is for a single person or 2 people (have separate cots) or more than that.

Sleeping Bag & Pad:

sleeping pad

Sleeping bags and sleeping pads are slightly different from each other but used to perform the same task.

Pads are just thin mattresses with an average height of about 2.5 inches that don’t cover your body. On the other hand, a sleeping bag does. 

There are two types of sleeping pads widely used around the globe. One is the self-inflating pad, which somewhat comes under the category of air mattresses, and the other is the foam pad, which is just a cheap and slightly uncomfortable version of a foam mattress.

Sleeping Bag acts like a wrapper that wraps your whole body, except your face, so that you don’t need any kind of blanket. It’s the best sleeping solution for winters. 

Mostly, a single person uses these on cold areas, but if you want to use it for two or three people, you can do so by simple unzipping the chain.


Both bags and pads prices range from 20 dollars to 300 dollars, but you don’t have to buy an expensive bag or pad as an air mattress alternative. A 30-40 dollar pad or bag can fulfil all your need.



One of the best alternatives to air mattress for outdoor adventures is a hammock. Earlier, they were only made of nets and ropes, but now, fabric, polyester, and nylon have entirely changed their look as well as strength.

A rope is attached to either side that needs to be tied to a source such as a tree to keep it off the ground. It is used to swing, rest, and sleep at places like national parks or while camping in the woods.

Nowadays, hammock stands are also available in the market for those who want an outdoor sleeping experience in the garden or yard of their house.


When it comes to comfortability, let me tell you hammocks are much more comfortable than any bed, whether it is an airbed or our regular bed.

Most people feel pain in the back after sleep getting on hard mattresses for too long; if you are one of those, a hammock is the best choice for you. It makes you fall asleep quicker plus gives you the comfortable and deeper sleep you deserve.

Ease of use

Hammocks are easy to wash, don’t acquire much space when stored, portable and lightweight, weighing around 2-4 pounds, Which is just nothing for a bed that gives you that type of comfortability. You can even hold a hammock in your single hand after packing it well.


The hammock starting price is around 20 dollar and goes up to 100 dollars depending on the material used, brand and the number of people it made for. 1-2 person can sleep on it at a time; however, it is good to sleep alone to get the best sleeping experience.

Car AirBed:

You might be unfamiliar with a car airbed, if you don’t own a car yet. As the names sounds, these are specially designed beds for cars, SUVs, Trucks, and RVs to take a nap during the ride. But, you can use it anywhere you want, whether for your guests or for your children on the trip.

However, if you want to use it at the campsite to lay it on the rough or ground, we would suggest you use a frame for that as the tiny sharp stones around can make a hole and destroy your bed, which may make you sleep on the ground painfully if not fixed.

Normally, they have a low height, around 4-6 inches from the floor, as the space between a car and its roof is not enough to hold a regular air mattress that has 14-15 inches of height. 

It will be really uncomfortable to sleep on the back seat staring at the roof right in front of your face.


Air mattresses or car beds are not recommended for regular use. They can cause back pain if used daily to sleep longer. 

And, if you want something to bed used infrequently, you can go with them. Car beds can give to a snug sleep for 10-12 hours.

Ease of use

Like air mattresses, car beds are also very easy to use and store. They inflate or deflate much faster than any other airbed, all thanks to their low height. But along with this advantage, they have a disadvantage too. They don’t have built-in air pumps to make the inflation process simple.

So you’ll need to use an electric or hand pump whenever you need it, which is not a big deal. All the necessary items are always included with them, so you don’t need to spend extra money.


Usually, car air mattresses are not that expensive. You can buy a good car air mattress for around 40-50 dollars, which is much cheaper than a regular blow-up bed and use it for years, only if cared properly.

Wrapping Up - Alternatives To Air Mattress

So, these are the 9 best alternatives that can replace your airbed in any situation, whether it is an emergency or you just want to enjoy sleeping on other bed. It is good to keep an air mattress alternative always.

Some are best for indoors purposes, a few are suitable for outdoors, and the rest are good for both. You can buy any of them according to your need, preferences, and budget.

About Eric Smith

eric smith - content writer

With 4+ years of experience dealing with air mattresses, Eric has gotten really good at making useful and interesting stuff for you to read. He loves helping people find the right air mattresses and fix any air mattress-related issues.