Last updated on 5 June, 2022

7 Best Alternatives To Air Mattress For Camping & Guests In 2022

– By Eric Smith

air mattress alternative

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.

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.

In our research, we have found 7 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.

Best Alternatives To Air Mattress List

#1. Cots:

cotCots 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.

#2. Folding Mattress:

folding mattressAnother alternative to air mattress that many people are unaware of is a folding mattress.

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.

#3. Futon 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.

futon mattress

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.

#4. Sleeping Bag & 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.

sleeping pad

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.

sleeping bag

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.

#5. Hammocks:

hammockOne of the best alternatives to an 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.

#6. 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 2022. 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.

#7. Car AirBed:

If you don’t own a car, then maybe you are unfamiliar with a car airbed. 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.

car air mattress

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.

In The End:

So, these are the 7 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.