Not sleeping well when camping? Invest in the best camping mattress

Camping is a lot of fun, when you are comfortable. Guaranteed the best way to put you off heading away is to have a shoddy nights sleep, or wake up feeling like you need to head straight to the chiropractor!

With the technology and gear out today there is no reason to have a bad nights sleep when you are away. If you aren’t sleeping well, you need to look for the best camping mattress that’s in your budget, and the good news is there are plenty of options today.

I’ve always enjoyed camping, but up until a few years ago never managed to get a great nights sleep. I remember 2 weeks where we camped at a Caravan Park in Coral Bay, and every single morning I got up I had to stretch and crack my back.

I literally ended up visiting a chiropractor when I got back to Perth. What’s to blame? A poor quality camping mattress!

Camping and sleeping
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a good nights sleep when camping

Cheap camping mattresses

You’ve heard the saying; a poor man buys twice, and it rings true almost every single time. I started off with a single inflatable mattress that included an inflatable pillow. It was better than sleeping on the ground, but was still far from ideal.

After 8 hours asleep, you were guaranteed to wake up with a sore back! Given the mattress was a hand me down from the folks I wasn’t going to complain.

Instead, I went to Anaconda, and bought myself a swag with a 70mm Dune self inflating mattress inside. It was a step up, but I still woke with a sore hip.

I used this for a while, until I realised the mattress was making my camping experience less enjoyable than it should have been; if you miss your bed at home because you are uncomfortable, you haven’t got the best camping bed.

Operation mattress upgrade

One afternoon, whilst walking through a Perth Camping Store, I saw a mattress in the distance that looked brilliant. A quick look revealed it was made by Black Wolf, which made it even more promising; they sell top quality gear.

As you do, I had a quick lie down, and was sold straight away! The only problem? The price – at $350 I was considering putting up with the bad nights sleep! I did some research online, and everyone raved about them, and they were rated as one of the best self inflating mattress options around.

Fortunately, Snowys sell the same product (Blackwolf Mega Deluxe Mattress) for $250, and I finally decided to grab one. A few days later and it arrived at my door (Snowys are fantastic to deal with), and we took it camping not long after. If you want to get one from Snowy’s, here’s the link – Blackwolf Mega Deluxe at Snowys. Please note this is the newer, better model too!

Blackwolf Mega Deluxe Mattress
The new Blackwolf Mattress

At $250 you’d want it to be a good mattress, and let me tell you, its money well spent. I’ve used it heaps since getting it, and even purchased another one for my wife. In 2015, we spent 33 nights camping in the Kimberley using these mattresses, and not once did we wake up with a sore back.

Gibb River Road Camping
Camped at Mt Elizabeth station in the Kimberley, on the Gibb River Road

Expensive, yep, but if you are camping regularly they are the best money you can spend. They come with a heap of great features, and a lifetime warranty.


I’ve done a fair bit of reading since buying these mattresses, and self inflating mattresses are by far and away the best option for comfort. 100mm is the thickness you want, unless you are really light weight; if your hip takes much weight on the ground through the mattress, you won’t have a good nights sleep.

There are a number of good brands around, but stick with those that are reputable and have great reviews. I’m not sure if the Blackwolf Mega Deluxe is the most comfortable camping mattress, but its certainly good enough for me!

Camping doesn’t have to be uncomfortable

The number of complaint from people who don’t like camping is that its not comfortable. Truth be told though, if you have the right gear, and you use it well, camping should be comfortable.

Sure, you might not have the luxuries of a king bed and unlimited hot water on demand (although today you can have these too!), but it doesn’t mean you can’t be comfortable, and at least get a great nights sleep.

Wellington Dam camping
Sleep as well as you do at home!

If you haven’t gotten yourself a quality mattress for camping, do it; you won’t regret it!

What do you sleep on? How do you find it?

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  1. Hey Brad,

    Honestly, I’ve never used one. I have friends who swear by them, in combination with a swag or whatever. We were happy on the ground on a good self inflating mattress.

    Sorry that I can’t offer any real world experience!

    All the best

  2. Brad Kerr says:

    I’m on the hunt for the best self inflating mattress I can find, I’m considering buying stretchers too do you think it would make it more or less comfortable?

  3. Hey Andy,

    You won’t look back; they are so much nicer in terms of keeping you comfortable and warm.

    All the best

  4. Great advice there. I’ve been wanting to buy a self inflating mattress for ages. We have the Coleman All Terrain which is pretty good – but I’m definitely keen on upgrading to a good quality self inflating one.

  5. Hey Joe,

    I guess it all depends on what you are comfortable with, and your body shape/weight. I can’t recall my hips touching the floor on the blackwolf ones, but it might have just slightly

    Good to hear you have a solution that works well for you

    All the best

  6. I find the best for me is a full eggshell mattress with a 700mm HD foam one cut to go under the top half. This allows comfort at the top half of your body, and a small divet at the waist/hips, keeping your spine straight. The trouble with SI mattresses is that your hips still touch the ground allowing the air displacement to lift your legs and shoulders, causing your spine to curve. The initial first 15 min is glorious on a SI matteress, but all night, I just cant get comfortable.

  7. Hey Lawrence,

    There are certainly some good camping mattresses on the market today. Hopefully your new purchase will give you a good nights sleep and take up a bit less room. I know how frustrating the packing can be with bulky mattresses!

    All the best

  8. Lawrance Lee says:

    I was in the market for a camping mat, to replace the Therm-a-rest BaseCamp XL that looks very much like the Blackwolf, The Thermarest is very comfortable except that when packed up in a tight roll, it was still rather bulky, and with three of these to store away in the back of the 4×4, along with 3 sleeping bags and 3 pillows (we are a family of 3) there was precious little space left. So I’ve now waiting for the arrival of a mail order on three Thermarest Prolite Plus Large mattresses. I think they call them “pads” because they are thin, but still a self inflating mattress. The advantage of these are that they pack away much smaller, as they are really designed for hiking rather than 4×4 touring. The jury is still out on these as the family has yet to use them for the next upcoming trip, but I have been very happy with the Thermarest Basecamp, and am hoping that it’s not a step down in comfort as it does appear to be thinner when fully expanded. Looking forward to using them, as I trust the Thermarest brand, when it comes to self inflating mattresses.