Best Camping Mats 2021: What to Look for and Our Favourite Products
Owning a well-made sleeping mat can be the difference between a good night’s sleep and a bad one. As a tent camper, your camping mat is the only thing between you and the cold, hard floor, so it's worth investing.
With so many options on the market, choosing the right mat can be a challenge. Read on for our expert guide to the best camping mats, including what to look out for, as well as some of our favourite products on the market, before your next camping trip.
3 things to look out for when choosing a camping mat
When buying a new camping mat, the first thing you need to do is work out what type of camper you are. Will you be camping in the summer or all-year-round? Will you be packing your mat in the car, or will you need to squeeze it into a backpack? Once you’ve worked that out, read our top 3 things to think about when choosing the best camping mat:
When choosing your new camping mat, the first thing you’ll need to decide is what type is best for you. Generally, the most common types are self-inflating, non-self-inflating and closed-cell foam mats.
- Self-inflating mats are made up of foam inside an air-tight shell. When the valve is open, the mat will absorb air and the foam will expand. Their open-cell foam is compressible, meaning they are more comfortable and easier to store away.
- Non-self-inflating mats cover a wide array of products. Generally, they require manual inflation, such as a foot pump or manual breathing. These mats are often split into two different types of insulation. Air-only mats have no additional insulation, meaning they’re better for summer camping. Down and synthetic insulated mats are designed to keep you warm at night and are typically thicker with added weight.
- Closed-cell foam mats are a lightweight option, but they do typically take up a bit more space. These mats offer insulation through closed air cells within the foam that consequently trap the air and protect you from the cold ground.
Aside from your sleeping bag, your sleeping mat is the only thing separating you from the cold ground. Your sleeping bag compresses insulation, meaning it’s ineffective at retaining warmth, as most of the air is pushed out. Due to conduction, the heat is eventually lost to the ground. Camping mats are essential because they provide a layer of air between your body and the earth. A well-built sleeping mat will ensure you have a warm and comfortable night’s sleep. For tips on staying warm while camping, read our winter camping tips.
If you're camping with the car, and space isn't an issue, an inflatable mat might be the most comfortable option. However, if you are backpacking and need to minimise weight, the lightweight construction of a self-inflating mat might be invaluable.
Best camping mats on the market
1. Berghaus Single Self-Inflating Mat
Ideal for quick and easy comfort, the Berghaus Single Self-Inflating Mat is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a well-made camping mat. This model boasts an innovative self-inflating valve, as well as a soft-flocked finish to prevent your sleeping bag from slipping.
View this product, prices from £110.00
2. Eurohike Camper Double Self-Inflating Mat
Offering a hassle-free set-up, the Eurohike Camper Double Self-Inflating Mat is easy to inflate and deflate. Stay comfortable for longer, with the robust polyester shell and base, which adds protection against punctures. The mat’s size is ideal for two people but can also be used for anyone solo camping. This model also comes included with a stuff sack and an emergency repair kit.
View this product, prices from £35.00
3. Mountain Equipment Aerostat Down 7.0 Mat
Suitable for seriously cold weather use, the Aerostat Down 7.0 Mat provides exceptional insulation and comfort in small pack size. This down-filled sleeping mat is constructed with innovative, durable technology, making it ideal for long-term expeditions. The custom valve is used for both inflation and deflation, and the supplied stuff sack doubles as a handy pump.
View this product, prices from £90.00
4. Multimat Camper 8 Mat
On the market at fantastic value for money, the Multimat Camper 8 Mat is a closed-cell foam roll mat providing additional warmth and cushioning. Protecting you from the hard ground, this mat is ideal for your summer camping trip. Weighing just 180g and rolling up to six inches, this model can be packed up and carried with ease.
View this product, prices from £8.99
5. Outwell Dreamboat Single 16cm Mat
If you’re looking for premium comfort, Outwell’s Dreamboat Single Mat is a top-of-the-range self-inflating camping mat. The Dreamboat features an FHF (Flat High-Flow) valve with an enhanced airflow for inflation and deflation. The vertical side fabric panels do not bend under pressure, meaning less air needs to be pumped for fast, easy inflation.
View this product, prices from £224.99
6. Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated Mat
Combining lightweight fabric and sound insulation, Sea to Summit's Ether Light Insulated Mat is a 10cm thick mat with an impressively low weight. Large air pockets are created by looped TFU baffles, connected by the Air Sprung Cell dot weld pattern, making for a night of extra comfortable sleep. This mat's extra height allows you to sink deeper into the mat without touching the cold ground.
View this product, prices from £175.00
7. Thermarest NeoAir Venture Sleeping Mat
Turning the cold hard ground into a warm, soft bed, the Thermarest NeoAir Venture Sleeping Mat is one of the best self-inflating mats on the market. Packing up small enough to fit in your pack, this mat is remarkably light. The mat’s construction uses thermal foam to isolate you from the cold ground, boasting an impressive warmth to weight ratio.
View this product, prices from £100.00
8. Vango Shangri-La II 10 Double
The most luxurious of their self-inflating mat range, Vango’s Shangri-La II 10 Double has recently been updated to reduce the pack size without compromising comfort. The newly designed carry bag is designed for easy packing and transportation. Providing a flat and level top to the bed, the vertical walls of the mattress display super-soft stretch fabric providing a perfect sleep surface.
View this product, prices from £240.00
Are you thinking about buying a camping mat and testing it out? We have over 100 Club Sites across the UK.