Last updated on 30 Sep, 2023

What To Put Under an Air Mattress When Camping? - 10 Best Things

– By Eric Smith

What to put under an air mattress when camping? You are in the woods and want to have a good night’s sleep. But, you are hesitating to inflate your air mattress on that bumpy or uneven ground. Don’t worry, we have working solutions for this.

By putting something under your air mattress while sleeping, you have the authority to tackle many issues, such as air mattress sliding issues or if you want to give it some protection against bumpy or uneven ground. It’s like giving your camping adventure a VIP pass to a world of coziness.

What To Put Under an Air Mattress When Camping

Whether it’s a camping pad, foam mattress topper, or even nature’s own bedding, like leaves or pine needles, we’re going to cover them all in this guide so you don’t need to look anywhere else for this issue. Let’s dive in.

Why Put Something Under Your Air Mattress?

Well, it’s all about making your outdoor bedtime as comfortable as possible. Imagine you’re in the wilderness, under the open sky, and you’re ready to call it a night on your air mattress. 

Now, the ground beneath you can be uneven, rocky, or chilly. That’s where putting something under your air mattress can change the game.

Firstly, it adds a layer of comfort. Camping is all about enjoying nature, but that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your peaceful sleep. Placing something soft underneath, like a camping pad or foam mattress topper, can make your bed feel like a cloud amidst the rugged terrain.

Secondly, it provides insulation. When the ground gets cold, it can drain your body heat and leave you shivering in the middle of the night. Having a barrier under your air mattress helps to keep you warmer and offers you a relaxing sleeping experience.

Lastly, it helps protect your air mattress. Sharp rocks or debris on the ground can puncture your mattress, leading to an uncomfortable night’s sleep. Placing something under it acts as a shield and prevents any kind of damage that extends the life of your air mattress.

10 Best Things To Put Under an Air Mattress When Camping

#1. Dri-Dek

dri dek

Dri-Dek is like a camping carpet that acts as a smart and versatile flooring solution for your tent. Dri-Dek offers a cushioned and textured surface to the air mattress that prevents it from sliding and also provides a soft and comfortable space to walk.

It is like a mini-floor that immediately converts your camping spot into a relaxing corner. These tiles are durable and easy to clean, which makes them ideal for outdoor use. It’s a practical and lightweight choice, which is why you’ll have a clean, dry, and comfortable foundation for your sleep.

So, bring along Dri-Dek, and let it create a flooring of comfort for you and your air mattress.

#2. Camping Pad or Mat

camping pad

A camping pad or mat is a cushiony friend that fits right under your air mattress without making any extra adjustments and relaxes your sleeping system.

These pads or mats add much-needed extra comfort and protection from the rough ground. They protect your expensive inflatable beds from bumps, rocks, and the chill of the night. When you have a camping pad or mat, your sleeping bag feels more like a cozy nest, and your air mattress becomes a bed of dreams.

While it is a relatively thinner option compared to foam mattress toppers that slightly limit the padding and relatively more expensive, ranging from $20 to $200 or more based on type and brand, still, the benefits outweigh the cost. 

Overall, a camping pad or mat is a valuable investment for campers seeking a cozier and restful night’s sleep amidst the great outdoors.

#3. Yoga or Exercise Mat

yoga mat

A yoga or exercise mat is handy under your air mattress while camping and provides extra cushioning and comfort against the tough, uneven and chilly ground. 

These mats are pretty lightweight and easy to carry, which is why they are an ideal option to use under the air mattress while camping.

Although it may not be as thick as other options, it offers a decent level of insulation from the cold ground. Moreover, it comes at an affordable price, generally priced between $10 to $70 depending on material and thickness. 

However, it’s important to note that it might not be as durable as some alternatives, and its padding may be relatively thin.

#4. Clothing, Towel or a Blanket

towel for camping

Using clothing or a towel under your air mattress while camping is like giving your sleeping spot a soft hug. It’s a quick and easy way to add a layer of comfort to your airbed in no time. 

Your clothing or towel’s thick fabric acts like a barrier between the cold ground and the air mattress base that eventually protects it from any threats and also offers insulation.

However, it’s good to remember that they might not provide as much padding as other options, so it might not be the best if you’re looking for a really soft bed. Also, they can get wrinkled or bunched up, which can, again, make them a bit uneven.

The best part is that using your clothes or towel won’t cost you anything extra since you already have them. It’s a simple, budget-friendly way to make your camping sleep a little cozier, especially when you have nothing to put under the air mattress.

#5. Tarps or Groundsheets


Using tarps or groundsheets under your air mattress while camping is like adding a protective layer to your bed. 

It’s like laying a strong shield between your cat-proof air mattress and the ground. These tarps or groundsheets prevent moisture from getting into your airbed and keep your sleeping space dry and comfortable all night.

Tarps and groundsheets are pretty easy to clean, protect your air mattress from sharp objects or rough surfaces, and help increase its lifespan.

However, they can sometimes be noisy or crinkly when you move around on them. In terms of cost, they’re usually quite affordable, ranging from around $10 to $30(size and material plays an important role).

It’s a useful investment for added comfort and protection during your camping adventure. Whether it’s a clear night under the stars or a sudden downpour, tarps or groundsheets act like your air mattress’s reliable guardian.

#6. Carpet or Rug Remnants

Now, let’s discuss another alternative that you can put under your air mattress when camping. I’m sure you have carpet or a rug at your home. So, if you haven’t left for camping yet, you can carry one of them to place it under the inflatable bed.

Placing carpet or rug remnants beneath your air mattress while camping can provide incredible comfort and insulation.

Like other options, this one also gives your air mattress a softer surface and protects it from debris and cold ground, resulting in a comfortable sleeping system.

However, it’s worth noting that carpet or rug remnants may not be as portable or compact as other camping-specific options. Also cleaning them can also be a challenging part. Still, you don’t have to pay extra money if you already have them.

#7. Puzzle Foam Mats

puzzle foam mats

Have you ever heard of puzzle foam mats? Puzzle foam mats are like big, soft puzzle pieces for the floor. You connect these puzzle pieces together on the floor to get a cushioned surface. This cushioned further can be used for playing, exercising or even for resting.

Just think about them as big, comfy puzzles that support your air mattress and make it more like a real bed. Puzzle foam mats are easy to assemble.

When it comes to insulation, let me tell you that they provide excellent insulation against the cold ground, offering you a more comfortable sleep.

Again, their portability can be an issue as they can take much space when packed. But, if you have sufficient space to carry them, it’s a great alternative to consider. In terms of pricing, puzzle foam mats vary in cost, ranging from around $20 to $40 for a set of interlocking pieces.

#8. Sleeping Bag or Blanket Roll

A sleeping bag or blanket roll under your air mattress while camping can give your sleeping spot an extra dose of coziness. They also add a layer of cushioning and create a softer surface for your air mattress to rest on.

And the best part is that they don’t take much space after getting folded. You can simply keep them in your backpack or wear them as a backpack. Using them underneath the air mattress won’t cost you anything if you already own one. They’re a budget-friendly way to improve your camping slumber without any additional expense.

#9. Camping Cot

camping cot

A camping cot is a foldable, raised platform that provides a sturdy foundation for your air mattress. A camping cot heightens your mattress off the ground by some inches and keeps you away from cold and damp surfaces.

These cots are usually foldable and lightweight, which is why they are an excellent option to carry.

The cot provides good support for your back and makes you sleep more relaxed.

To use it, unfold the cot, set it up, and then place your air mattress on top(your air mattress should match the dimensions of the cot). It’s like assembling a simple, portable bed frame.

Even though it’s a bit bulkier compared to other options and sometimes a bit pricier. It may range anywhere between $30 to $200, but a camping cot is still a reliable choice.

#10. Pine Needles or Leaves

pine tree

This may sound like a weird option, but if you don’t have access to anything mentioned above, you can try this once. If you have access to a pine tree at your campsite, just take its needles or leaves and spread them evenly under your air mattress.

However, you can try other tree leaves as well if there’s no pine tree around. Such forest gifts act as a natural protector of your airbed, which overall contributes to your good night’s sleep.

They also help create a barrier and prevent the cold or dampness from the ground from reaching your mattress, which keeps you warm. Overall, using pine needles or leaves is a smart way to improve your sleep and protect the inflatable bed at the same time.

How to Properly Place and Use the Material?

Now you know the best things to place under your air mattress while camping. But it’s important to use that material properly to avoid potential damage from the ground and utilize the material completely.

Let’s start with the air mattress. First, look for a flat surface where rocks or sticks won’t bother your air mattress and your sleep. Also, cross-check whether the area is clear. After that, place the item you have picked to place under the air mattress.

Next, unfold and inflate your air mattress on it.

If you’re using other materials like foam mattress toppers or puzzle foam mats, they go under the air mattress too. Arrange them evenly for a smooth surface.

In the case of natural materials like pine needles or leaves, spread them evenly on the ground before placing the air mattress. Please make sure they’re dry to keep your sleeping area comfortable. Lastly, adjust the material so that it stays snugly in place.

5 Tips for Comfortable Camping

  1. Organize your tent wisely. Position your bedding at the center for insulation from the bottom of the tent. Set your belongings neatly to make sure you have sufficient space left.
  2. Choose your campsite carefully(it’s a must). Find balanced and even ground away from rocks or roots.
  3. Dress in layers so you can add or remove them as the temperature changes. Keep extra warm clothes handy, like gloves and buffs. You can also read this guide to learn more about how to stay warm on an air mattress.
  4. Don’t forget to wipe off any moisture before entering your sleeping area. A dry, clean space is crucial for comfortability.
  5. Eat a warm meal before going to bed. A full stomach and the warmth from the food help you sleep better.

Wrapping Up

Placing the right materials under your air mattress, like foam pads, blankets, or puzzle foam mats, can greatly improve your camping comfort. 

These materials act as a soft barrier and keep you warm and insulated from the cold. However, if insulation is not the issue, then it’ll protect your air mattress from the rocky ground.

Additionally, natural options like pine needles or leaves provide a touch of nature and make your camping experience more enjoyable.

Whether you want convenience, nature’s gifts, or additional cushioning, what you put under your air mattress really matters. So, next time you go out camping or for any other outing purpose, you’ll not need to google “what to put under an air mattress when camping.”

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.