There are different considerations to be made when buying air mattress for camping and here they are below. If you are looking for an air mattress for a guest bed or spare bed, read my post on How to Choose the Best Air Mattress instead.
First thing, measure the inside of your tent. Air mattresses come in twin, queen and king size. What size can you fit in your tent?
If you’re not sleeping in a tent, then just choose according to the number of people who will sleep on the air mattress, of course.
Mattress on the floor
Will you place the mattress on the floor? Check the material of the air mattress. You’ll want to see whether the material at the bottom is tough enough or scratch resistant, because you’re using it outdoors and might put it on the grass.
Mattress on frames/cot
On second thought, you’d feel safer to have the air mattress on frames or a cot. Choose one with a sturdy frame that can support whoever’s sleeping on it, not one that will end up with you on top of a pile of collapsed metal. I recommend the Coleman Trailhead SpaceSaver Air Bed.
If you are driving a truck and not setting up a tent, a truck bed is even better. Truck air mattresses are designed with the sides cut out to fit the back of a truck.
Manual pump or built-in pump
Would you like a built-in pump? Self-inflatable air mattresses are very convenient because you just have to press a switch or button to inflate the air mattress.
If the air mattress doesn’t have a built-in pump, you will either have to blow it up (lung power!) or use an electric pump powered by battery or power outlet. If you’re going to blow it up, get one with a one-way valve.
Time of inflation and deflation
You might want to check how long it takes for the air mattress to inflate and deflate. Deflation time might be important if you use the air mattress somewhere you might have to leave in a hurry.