Hunting is an exciting sport, but to have any real success a hunter must be focused. A good night’s sleep is vital to maintaining that focus, but isn’t necessarily easy to come by on longer trips that require sleeping away from home.
Additionally, as people grow older their bodies lose the ability to take punishment. A teenager can sleep on the ground and be alert the next day, but a middle aged man will be full of aches and pains and lose focus. Missed signs mean coming home empty handed.
Thankfully, sleeping bags are not the only option. Air mattresses have improved enough to be durable and portable enough for camping and hunting, providing the comfort of a bed while away from home and providing hunters of any age the rest required to bag their target.
Now the problem is deciding which air mattress is the right one for you.
There are four major factors to consider when choosing an air mattress:
Different hunters have different needs, so the most important factor changes depending on who you ask.
Intex Classic Downy Air Bed
There’s one obvious choice if you don’t have a lot of cash and just want the cheapest air bed you can get. We all go to Walmart when we need something quick and cheap and don’t care if it lasts. Their cheapest bed is $16 (plus the cost of the pump). The comfort level might be lower, but for younger hunters crashing in their buddy’s cabin, it’s a low cost way to go.
Price: $16 plus the cost of a pump.
Advantages: dirt cheap.
Disadvantages: not durable or comfortable.
The next step up is the classic camping brand Coleman. They make durable beds that can stand up to the outdoors for under $25. The single layer of airspace also makes this bed easy to transport after using a plug in a campsite bathroom or some other location. No pump is included, so the $25 isn’t the entire cost, but it’s still one of the best options for cheap durability.
Price: $25 plus the cost of a pump.
Advantages: Cheap, durable, and easy to transport, since it was built for the outdoors by a trusted brand.
Disadvantages: Comfort is somewhat sacrificed by this thin mattress, so it may not be ideal for older hunters.
Sound Asleep Dream Series
For those that are willing to spend more for comfort and even more durability, the SoundAsleep Dream Series air mattress provides nearly the same comfort as home while improving on the durability of a Coleman. It has a built in pump and extra room for air to add height, but the material used to make it is layered to make this bed puncture resistant. That’s an important feature when camping, where stray twigs and rocks can easily cause damage. That doesn’t make this bed perfect. Amazon sells this bed for $95, which is a lot to pay if the air mattress won’t see regular use. It’s also a bulky bed once inflated and won’t be easy to bring back to the campsite unless you have an adapter for your vehicle or a campsite with electricity.
If you are camping on your hunting trip and have access to electricity, this bed is likely the best option. You can read our review here.
Price: $95 on Amazon
Advantages: Very comfortable and durable, designed for outdoor use.
Disadvantages: High priced and difficult to transport after inflating if there is no electricity available in the campsite.
Intex Twin Supreme
A hunter in a cabin can sacrifice durability and purchase the next bed, the INTEX Twin Supreme. Family testimonials pointed me toward this bed from the beginning, and the customer reviews online rave about the comfort and ease of use of this bed. It’s a double layer mattress that provides a sleeping surface high off the floor and includes a built in pump which quickly inflates or deflates the mattress.
Prices for this bed range as high as $120, but Amazon sells it at the bargain price of $60. If the reviews hold true, this bed is the best value for those that value a comfortable night’s sleep. However, it is not designed for the outdoors and may puncture easily in addition to being bulky to transport if a primitive campsite is used.
Still, in a cabin, this is by far the best bed to use, landing in the sweet spot of comfort at a reasonable price.
Price: $60 on Amazon.
Advantages: Very comfortable, easy to use if electricity is readily available.
Disadvantages: Not built for the outdoors, may not hold up in a campsite.
There are many other options, but these four stand out to me personally due to their characteristics and reviews. Feel free to dig a little deeper with your own comparison- Amazon lists similar products on each page, so if one of these seems like your kind of bed, simply click around to see what’s similar.
For those that just want to be told what the “best” all around bed is, my recommendation is the SoundAsleep Dream Series because of the blend of comfort and durability. You really do get what you pay for. Just remember, this being the best quality bed doesn’t mean it’s best for you.
Not everyone should spend $95 on an air mattress, and not everyone needs the comfort and durability bad enough to spend the extra money. Consider your sleeping situation carefully, and buy the air mattress that’s best for your hunting trips.
Now go get rested and bag the big one!