Bedding for Camping

Enjoying a comfortable night’s sleep in the great outdoors is essential.

So now that you have sorted your sleeping bag, what about what to sleep on?

A self-inflating mattresses/blow up air mattress, swag or cot (also known as camp stretchers) are highly recommended if you are tent camping.

What one you use will depend on your space and ability to transport or carry.


Self-inflating Mattresses

Take little room and are quick to install. There are different sizes, heights and weights available so consider who and what it will be used for. Image: Anaconda

Air Mattresses

Different to self-inflating mats, and take up less room, these require air to be manually pumped into the outlet. Normally they have a pillow built in. The cold can seep through with them so you will need to have something underneath the mattress like a tarp or plastic sheet. Image: K-Mart


A canvas bedroll that will protect you from wind, rain, dirt, sand and bugs. It can be used by itself outdoors or inside a tent as a roll out bed. Swags are usually made from canvas and come in all shapes, sizes and designs. They’re most commonly found with a foam mattress inside to sleep on and you can keep your sleeping bag or other bedding such as sheets and blankets inside, even when rolled up meaning there is no set up required. Swags are possibly the largest form of bedding to pack away and transport and are also quite heavy. Image: Oztent

Camp Stretcher

A fold out frame with a canvas, or similar material stretched out over the frame pulling nice and tight to support your body off the ground. You may find stretchers quite firm to sleep on and are often partnered with a foam mattress or self-inflating mattress to offer a little more comfort. In cooler months they can also be cold. Generally they are quick and easy to assemble and provides extra storage space underneath. Image: Anaconda

Camping Sleeping Accessories

These items can make you outdoor camping experience that little more comfortable.


Bring one from home or use a small foam or inflatable camp pillow. If you are hiking and want to reduce items to carry folded up clothing, such as a down jacket or fleece sweater is practical.

Eyemask and Earplugs

Eye masks are especially helpful when camping to maintain darkness when the sun rises or the camp ground that ambient light. Earplugs block out, or at least dampen, noises ranging from your tent mate’s snoring to rustling sounds in the bushes and those early morning bird calls.