March 16, 2023 5 min read


Camping Pad vs. Camping Mattress

Where you'll sleep is one of the most important things to think about while planning a camping trip. When it comes to getting a good night's sleep in the outdoors, picking the correct bedding can make a world of difference. Camping mattresses and camping pads are two common types of camping bedding. But what makes the two different from one another? Let us break it down for you.

What is a camping pad or SLeeping pad?

A camping pad, also known as a sleeping pad, is a type of bedding designed to provide comfort and insulation while sleeping outdoors. Camping pads come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, and can be inflated by air or filled with foam to provide a cushioned sleeping surface. Camping pads are typically lightweight and easy to pack down but tend to be lacking in comfort. The most common type of camping pad requires inflating by either a pump or by self inflation (expanding foam) like an Exped camping pad. 

What is a camping mattress or air mattress?

Camping mattresses are thicker and by far more comfortable than camping pads, often resembling a traditional home mattress. They are typically larger than camping pads, making them larger to transport. Camping mattresses are often made from memory foam, like all HEST camping mattresses, or a combination of foam with air that is either self-inflating or requires a pump to inflate. Since camping mattresses are larger in size, they are commonly used for car or truck camping, as well as a great option in the back of camper vans or RVs.


Between a camping pad and camping mattress, which one is better?

When deciding between which type of sleeping pad to bring with you camping, there are several things to consider. One being: What type of camping are you going on? 

If you are planning a backpacking camping trip or a hike-to-camp trip, you most likely will need a lightweight and more compact-able camping pad. The weight you plan to carry to camp is very important, so every ounce will be accounted for. Something light is the primary key to the decision of what type of camping bed to bring.

If you are planning on camping near or around your car, truck, inside a van or RV, consider upgrading your sleep set up to have a more comfortable camping mattress. You will most likely have the space to pack it with you and there will be no need to carry it far to your campsite. In this scenario, the benefits of a more comfortable sleep outweigh the cons of bringing bigger gear with you. That is why some would call it glamping or more commonly, “car-camping”.

What are the best and most comfortable camping mattresses?

There is no single "best" camping mattress as the ideal choice can vary depending on factors such as personal preference, sleeping style, and the specific needs of the camping trip. However, there are several highly-rated camping mattresses that are often recommended by outdoor enthusiasts and experts. At HEST we work to develop the most comfortable and outdoor technical camping mattresses. If you are considering looking for a new and more comfortable camping mattress, consider a HEST mattress. Learn more about the difference between a memory foam camping mattress vs. an air camping mattress.

Here are the primary benefits of each one of HEST camping mattresses

HEST Sleep System

Our largest single camping mattress, the HEST Sleep System, provides the most comfort and support. With an R-Value of 11.8, this mattress provides the most insulation for any camping mattress in the market. Learn more about what R-value is here. The mattress has both a memory foam top as well as a drop-stitch base to provide the most comfort sleeping in the elements. The drop-stitch base is an inflatable layer with thousands of strain-locked polyester threads allowing it to reach high internal pressure to create a solid and durable sleeping platform. It’s the equivalent to adding the support of a stand up paddleboard below your memory foam mattress raising you three more inches off of the ground. The HEST Sleep System comes in two sizes, the Sleep System; 25 inches wide by 78 inches long and the Sleep System Wide; 30 inches wide by 78 inches long.



Our most portable camping mattress that rolls up with ease. Our Foamy is everything the Sleep System is but without the added drop-stitch base. By alleviating the extra support of the drop-stitch base, the Foamy is much lighter, easier to roll up and smaller to transport. You still get the support and insulation from the 4 inches of double layer memory foam which has a R-value of 8.8. Consider this camping mattress if you want more room in your vehicle while traveling and a faster set up compared to the Sleep System. The HEST Foamy comes in two sizes, the Foamy; 25 inches wide by 78 inches long and the Foamy Wide; 30 inches wide by 78 inches long.

HEST DUALLY (Double Mattress)

Our double mattress for two individuals to sleep on the same camping mattress. Similar memory foam features to the HEST Foamy but double the width. The HEST Dually can easily be transported by folding in half, clipping together, and using the handle to carry like a suitcase. This camping mattress is primarily used in the back of a campervan, camper, RV, or the back of a truck bed. It’s not a typical camping mattress to travel with in a small car or for tent camping due to size. The HEST Dually comes in two sizes, the Dually Long; 50” wide by 78” long and the Dually Wide; 60” wide by 72” long.



Our mattress for individuals sleeping in a roof top tent. The Dually RTT uses the same temperature resilient memory foam, premium fabrics, and, bi-fold concept, as our original Dually. This camping mattress is designed for use in typical soft shell roof top tents. Our largest camping mattress available; 54” wide by 94” long.


Do not forget about your 4 legged furry friends. They (just like you) will always prefer a better solution for sleeping outside. The HEST Dog bed has all of the features as the HEST Foamy but just in a smaller size for your dog! See all the benefits of why a memory foam dog bed is better than a traditional dog bed here.