The 10 Best Car Air Beds to Buy 2020

The 10 Best Car Air Beds to Buy 2020

If you have ever had to spend a night in your car, you know how absolutely brutal on your back it can be. No matter how comfortable your car is while you are cruising, the seats are just not meant to be used as a mattress. The good news is that there are many products that are intended to be used in your car as a bed.

Getting Into the World of Car Air Beds

Whether you own a compact car and just need a place to stick the kids when Grandma comes over, or are a hardcore overlander with a dedicated off-road SUV for camping, there’s an airbed for you. That’s pretty sweet. However, since there is so much variety, it can be hard to know how to choose the right one.

That’s where we come in. We have a list of the top 10 car air beds complete with reviews. We also have some great extra info in our full guide below. But first, let’s get you ready with the basic info you need to know before you start shopping.

Choosing the Right Bed for You

In truth, there are not that many decisions needed to narrow down which car air bed will work best for you. That’s largely because once you choose the size, your options dwindle rapidly. After all. You would look mighty silly trying to force a gigantic mattress into a tiny car. Here is what you need to know before shopping for your car air bed.

Size

Like we said, choosing the right size is the most important thing when choosing a car air bed. There are two primary considerations concerning size: the number and size of the people going to sleep on it, and the amount of space you have in your car.

We have a guide to figuring out what your car can fit a bit further down the page, but we can’t help you decide how many people you need to sleep. We also can’t help you determine how many people you are willing to cram into a tiny space. Just take a look at the general size and make sure it fits your needs.

Materials and Comfort

Some mattresses are thin and will ruin your back. Some are so thick it will feel like sleeping on a cloud. Some are made of only PVC and squeak every time you move. There’s no real one size fits all, but we can safely say that bigger beds will be more comfortable. Both in surface area, since not being able to stretch out can be annoying, and in thickness. The thicker the air bed, the more cushion there is between you and the ground.

You’ll also want to avoid seams and crevices. Air beds can be very complicated in shape, especially when meant to conform to your car. Those shapes can create arm traps that will cause you discomfort.

Types of Car Air Beds

There are a few different types of air beds that can be used in your car, ranging from giant truck mattresses to tiny backpacking rolls. We’ll hit the main categories, but know that there are actually more.

The Back Seat Bed

The back seat air bed is fantastic for people with smaller cars who just need to spend the night once or twice in their car. It is a mattress that has inflatable parts that take up the footwells, so you get the maximum width possible.

It’s not a lot of space, but it’s better than nothing. Just be aware that if you have a sportier car, like a Mustang or BRZ, they won’t fit. Really only a backpacking mattress will fit in the back of one of those, and that may even be worse than no mattress at all.

The SUV Bed

SUV beds are meant to expand over fold-flat rear seats and take up the cargo area. It’s definitely not limited to SUVs, though. Vans, minivans, station wagons, really these beds will fit in anything with fold-flat seats. Many will even fit into standard hatchbacks like the Focus and the Prius.

If you have space, they are better for two people and more comfortable in general. They can also be pulled out and used in other places.

The Truck Bed Air Mattress

Truck bed air beds go in truck beds. They have cutouts for wheel wells so that you get the full width of the bed for sleeping. They also tend to be way thicker and more comfortable than other categories.

If you don’t own a truck, though, they are just a costly standard air mattress.

The Standard Air Mattresses

No rule says you can’t just put a regular air mattress in the back of your vehicle. In fact, it’s usually the cheapest option. You just have to make sure they will fit since they aren’t meant for anything in particular.

You’ll also have to put up with the inconvenience of it. Beds made for cars fill up the entire space; you can’t fall off an SUV air bed. They also usually have bumpers to protect your head from things like handbrakes. Typical air mattresses have none of those things. There is a genuine possibility of falling off during the night and whacking your foot on a sharp seatbelt clip. Don’t ask us how we know.

With the basics out of the way, let’s get on with the list. We tried to find a great cross-section of styles and values; you are bound to find the perfect one for your lifestyle.

Top 10 Best Car Air Beds 2020

1. Best Overall Pick: Wey & Fly Air Mattress

Wey & Fly Air Mattress

Why we like it: The Wey & Fly Air Mattress is comfortable, easy to inflate, and fits neatly in the back of a van or SUV.

Editor’s Rating:

Fit

It’s wide enough for two people at 53in wide and long enough for the average adult at just over 6ft in length. That’s really good for a car bed. Most backseat beds are much shorter, so if you need to stretch out, an SUV mattress is what you need.

You will need a bigger vehicle though, that’s what they are designed for. It doesn’t have to be an SUV, it can be a van or crossover, but there aren’t many cars that have more than 5ft of cargo length.

Finish

The Wey & Fly Mattress is really well built. It’s got a decent plastic shell that can withstand being pierced by sharp rocks, and it’s easy to clean on top of being durable. Beige was a weird color choice, though; it shows stains fairly easily, which can be unsightly.

Comfort is the biggest benefit of this mattress. It’s chambered so that you can use it in different configurations, but it lacks the seams that other versatile SUV beds have. The only thing you might really want are extra cushions to take up footwell cavities. They are simple enough to purchase as an extra. You can grab them here.

Our Thoughts

There’s really no substitute for the length that a larger mattress like the Wey & Fly offers when it comes to sleeping in a car. Even the nicest backseat beds won’t allow the average adult to stretch out, so if you need to sleep more than once or twice in a car, you have to have that length.

Yeah, you do need a larger vehicle to use it, but chances are if you are camping or going on long road trips, you already have a crossover or SUV. If you are concerned about the fitment, there are more versatile large mattresses like the Saygogo bed we talk about later. The Wey & Fly inflates faster, is easier to work with, and more comfortable. That’s why it’s taken our top spot.

Pros

  • Segmented for versatility
  • Easy to take out of the car and use for camping, in-laws, or whatever
  • The seamless mattress is very comfortable

Cons

  • Even though the air pump is fast, it can take a while to inflate because of the chambers
  • White color stains easily

2. Best Budget Pick: FBSport Inflatable Mattress

FBSport Inflatable Mattress

Why we like it: The FBSport car bed is cheap, rugged, and comfortable. What more could you want?

Editor’s Rating:

Fit

The FBSport mattress is your everyday standard backseat mattress. It has chambers that fill up the footwell space and offer the most area you can get in the back of a car. It’ll fit in the back of anything but the cars with the smallest back seats, and it’s perfect for children and pets.

It does suffer from one problem: it’s short. That’s the limitation of every backseat mattress. A car can only be so wide, after all. That means a grown adult can’t stretch out fully. If you need that, consider getting something that can fit over fold-flat seats like the Saygogo mattress instead.

Finish

At its core, the FBSport inflatable bed is a cheap air mattress. Just like the other cheap air mattress on our list, the durability isn’t as good as others. If you are really looking for a bulletproof backseat airbed, take a look at the Caloer option instead.

Aside from the short size, though, it’s comfortable enough. The soft fabric top can be slept on without sheets if you want, and there’s enough cushioning to keep you off the bumps and curves of your car’s seats. We do wish it had more of a headboard. If you aren’t careful, it’s easy to hit your head on a door handle. That makes for a rude way of waking up.

Our Thoughts

Sometimes simple is exactly what you need, and that’s what the FBSport inflatable mattress embodies. It’s perfect for the occasional night in a car. It’s not comfortable enough for extended stays or anything, but it beats trying to find a way to sprawl out across the backseats without a mattress. The simplicity also has another benefit; this unit is cheap.

The durability could be better, and sometimes the air valve will stick open, but it’s still a great value for the price. If you are still on the fence about buying a backseat bed, you can buy this without feeling bad.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • A good amount of comfort for what it is
  • Fits on most back seats

Cons

  • Could use a headboard
  • Air valve can be temperamental

3. Best Premium Pick: Pittman Outdoors AirBedz Pro3

Pittman Outdoors AirBedz Pro3

Why we like it: You’ll never want to sleep on another air mattress after spending a night on the Pittman Outdoors Pro3.

Editor’s Rating:

Fit

At almost 8ft long and over 5ft wide, the Pittman Outdoors Pro3 is the largest mattress on our list. That’s the same surface area of a king mattress. This means you’ll have no issues fitting a couple of people comfortably for a night of sleep (or other nighttime activity, we don’t judge here). It’s also the thickest mattress on our list, which means even if you load it full of people, they will all be comfortable.

The downside is that you need a ton of space to use it. It has cutouts for the wheel wells on a truck, and it’s wide enough that only larger trucks have enough width to make a good fit. You might be able to get it into a larger van, but the reality is that if you have anything smaller than an F-150 long bed, you’d be better off with a different mattress.

Finish

The mattress is a foot thick and has a soft fabric top. It’s easy to say that there isn’t a more comfortable bed on our list. The only thing you might want to do is bring an extra couple of blankets to fill the wheel well area completely. Just like the less expensive version we talk about on our list here, the wheel well cutouts can be just a little too large for many trucks.

The premium version here is a lot more durable than the less expensive counterpart, though. The pump is built-in and can run as soon as the air starts to leak out, keeping it inflated throughout the night, and the material is thick enough to withstand a lot of abuse. Without going completely airless and getting something like the Xprite mattress, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more reliable bed.

Our Thoughts

The Pittman Outdoors AirBedz Pro3 is a premium product, and it has a premium price tag. It carries an even higher price since you need a big truck just to utilize it, and those are never cheap.

It’s totally worth the price if you have a big truck and plan on spending multiple nights away from civilization. The leak-proof, fast inflating bed might even be more comfortable than your home foam and spring unit.

Pros

  • The integrated pump is fast
  • The large amount of area, perfect for two (or more) people
  • The thickest, most comfortable mattress on this list

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Only fits in the bed of a full-size truck

4. Most Versatile: Saygogo SUV Air Mattress

Saygogo SUV Air Mattress

Why we like it: Saygogo's Air Mattress can be either a backseat mattress or an SUV/Van full-size mattress.

Editor’s Rating:

Fit

Saygogo chose to make this mattress all about fitment. It’s got footwell cushions so you can lay across the entire back of your vehicle uninterrupted. It can also fold up and be inflated in sections, converting it from an SUV style mattress to a backseat style bed.

There are not many vehicles that this bed wouldn’t fit into between the different chambers and the extra footwell cushions. SUVs, vans, and crossovers can easily fit the bed when it’s expanded and sleep multiple people. Small cars can use it as a backseat bed for a single sleeper, pets, or kids.

Finish

The very thing that makes it great also makes it less comfortable than some of the competitors. Each of those chambers is outlined by a deep seam that can cause a lot of discomfort if you get an arm trapped in them.

The thickness is good enough to be comfortable multiple nights, though. As long as you don’t fall into the crack, it’s as good as the Wey & Fly bed we recommend. It’s also fine in terms of durability, and is easy to clean. It’s not as strong as some, but it will outlast most cheap air mattresses.

Our Thoughts

If you aren’t sure about how big a mattress will fit into your car, then grab this Saygogo. It’s bound to fit in some configuration, and it’s wide enough to be used as just a backup guest bed on your floor, even if it doesn’t fit.

We do have a bit of an unusual criticism of the product, though. The ads, instructions, and online support are all terrible. Even the product page includes gems like “Get the warty. with email, a replacement or refund is allowed.” That’s not very confidence-inspiring, if something goes wrong, you are probably on your own. Not the worst thing to say about a product, since it does work, but it’s worth mentioning.

Pros

  • Versatile
  • The included pump can be powered in a variety of ways
  • Wide enough for larger SUVs

Cons

  • The seam can be uncomfortable when slept on
  • Documentation, like instructions and online-help, is terrible and full of poor English

5. Best Bed for SUVs: SuitedNomad Double Sleeping Pad

SuitedNomad Double Sleeping Pad

Why we like it: SuitedNomad’s inflatable mattress is incredibly compact when deflated, so it's easy to keep in your vehicle.

Editor’s Rating:

Fit

The SuitedNomad is big enough for two people who are comfortable with each other, and it fits most SUVs and Crossovers. In fact, at 4ft wide and over 6ft 5in long, it’s actually a bit bigger than other SUV mattresses.

You can even shoehorn it into smaller spaces. It’s flexible enough and thin enough to conform to nearly any space. The thin flexibility leads to its other big strength when it comes to fitment. You can roll it up to be super compact; it’s easy to justify taking on an adventure since you won’t be sacrificing cargo capacity.

Finish

Like the backpacking mattress we recommend, the SuitedNomad is very thin. That means that other SUV mattresses will be more comfortable. Ones like the Saygogo SUV mattress still fold up fairly compactly, are more comfortable, and just as versatile.

Almost nothing is more durable than the SuitedNomad, though. It’s got a soft cover that is stain resistant and thick enough to keep the rocks from puncturing holes in it. Also, like other thin mattresses, it’s very easy to inflate, even without a pump.

Our Thoughts

Compact mattresses work great for adventuring. They are better than sleeping on a hard surface, even if they aren’t the most comfortable things out there, and they are compact enough that they don’t take up any precious cargo room.

There are just two complaints we have about the SuitedNomad offering. First, it doesn’t come with a good pump. Getting a small, battery-powered pump will serve you a lot better than the bag pump that it comes with.

Second, in their effort to make it more versatile, the SuitedNomad mattress creators decided to chamber it. That makes it easy to fold in half and create a better condition for a single sleeper. Unfortunately, that means there’s a seam running the length of the bed.

Pros

  • Can either be inflated for one person or two people
  • Lightweight and extremely portable
  • Fits securely in the back of most SUVs and Vans

Cons

  • There are a lot of more comfortable mattresses
  • “Bag” pump has a high learning curve

6. Best Truck Mattress: Pittman Outdoors AirBedz Lite

Pittman Outdoors AirBedz Lite

Why we like it: It may not be as thick as its more expensive counterpart, but the Pittman Outdoors Lite is still one of the most comfortable air mattresses you can get.

Editor’s Rating:

Fit

This behemoth of a mattress is only outclassed in size by its more expensive brother, the other Pittman mattress on our list. At 72in by 55in, it’s more than enough surface area for two people and a dog, and at 12in thick, it’s like sleeping on a cloud. A dense, fabric-covered cloud.

This is all fantastic, but only if you have a truck. Like the other Pittman Outdoors bed, the Lite version has cutouts for wheel wells and comes in sizes for short and long beds. You’ll have to double-check your truck bed dimensions, but if you have space, it will make a perfect bed out of your truck bed.

Finish

There are no seams to fall into, and the soft top is comfortable enough to sleep on without a blanket covering. You’ll still probably want one, though, just to keep it clean.

The only thing that might ruin your night is the wheel well cutouts. Unlike the thicker Pittman Outdoors bed, the mattress part that covers the wheel wells is fairly thin. If you roll into it during the night, you might sink down into the cavity. It’s nothing a few strategic blankets can’t fix, but it is something you’ll have to keep in mind.

Our Thoughts

If you have a truck and love camping, these kinds of air beds are the best thing you can get. Couple them with a truck bed tent or camper shell, and you’ve got RV level sleeping comfort for a tiny fraction of the price.

That means the only choice you have to make is whether you get the premium truck mattress we mention or this less expensive one. If you really need the ultimate in comfort, get the thicker Pro3 bed. You won’t be disappointed with the less expensive option, though. It’s still very comfortable, durable, and perfect for camping. Just bring an extra blanket.

Pros

  • Really comfortable
  • Big enough to fit two people very comfortably
  • Inexpensive compared to its rivals

Cons

  • Wheel well cutouts are too large
  • You need a truck with a wide bed

7. Best Compact Single Mattress: KingCamp Lightweight Sleeping Pad

KingCamp Lightweight Sleeping Pad

Why we like it: A backpacking roll makes a perfect car mattress to keep in your car for emergencies or a quick overnight trip.

Editor’s Rating:

Fit

It’s only 25in by 74in, which means it will fit in any vehicle with fold-flat seats. They do sell a double-sized version if you need to sleep two people, but the significant benefit to this mattress is the ultra-compact size. If you need to sleep two people, the Wey & Fly mattress costs less and is still reasonably compact when packed away.

Finish

Anyone that has ever been backpacking knows exactly how uncomfortable a backpacking mattress is. It’s better than dirt, but a lot is sacrificed in favor of the compact, lightweight construction. The only advantage of the thin design is that it only takes a few seconds to inflate.

It is long enough for most adults, so it may be more comfortable than backseat beds. It’s also super durable; it’s meant for backpacking after all. If you aren’t totally into ultimate comfort, there is really a lot to love about the KingCamp offering.

Our Thoughts

There are two mattresses on our list that are not car specific: the cheap, good enough Intex Dura-Beam, and this one, the KingCamp Lightweight. They couldn’t be more different, though. The Intex is thick, comfortable, and heavy. It’s also fairly likely to spring a leak since it’s made of thin PVC.

The KingCamp, on the other hand, is thin, made of durable fabric, and can easily be carried around in a backpack. That makes it perfect for people who do the occasional car camping or those who just want to keep an emergency bed around.

Pros

  • Very compact
  • Lightweight and easy to store
  • Easy to inflate

Cons

  • A bit expensive
  • Not the most comfortable thing out there

8. Best for Smaller Cars: Caloer Thickened Inflatable Car Air Mattress

Caloer Thickened Inflatable Car Air Mattress

Why we like it: If you have a smaller car or hatchback, the Caloer mattress is the best inflatable car mattress you can get.

Editor’s Rating:

Fit

Like any backseat bed, the Caloer offering comes with two big inflatable pillows that take up the wheel well space and give you a full 34in of width to stretch out on. That’s about the size of a twin mattress, which isn’t enough room for two people but sure as heck beats sleeping on the narrow seats.

It’s also chambered, and the footwell supports detach and can be inflated to different levels. What that means is it’s actually more likely to fit your car than the less expensive FBSport backseat mattress. Still won’t fit into a subcompact or sports car, but everything bigger than a Yaris will have no issue.

The only thing you’ll really wish is that your car was another foot longer. At just over 4ft wide, you will need to employ the fetal position if you are average height.

Finish

It’s in the finish and comfort that the Caloer shines. It’s got extra inflatable cushions to protect you from the bumps and corners of your car. A big side cushion prevents you from rolling onto your center console, and the extra tall headboard will prevent your head from making contact with the door handle.

The Caloer is thicker than other backseat airbeds, and it’s covered in a no-slip fabric, which makes it a lot quieter than, say, the fairly noisy FBsport mattress. All in all, it’s about as nice a bed as can be made in the back seat of a car.

Our Thoughts

What kills the mood when we talk about any backseat bed is the part when we talk about the length. A full-sized adult will never be comfortably crammed into the back area of the cabin. If you have to do it, though, the Caloer mattress is the best way.

It’d better be, though, since you could buy 3 of the FBSport mattresses for the price.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Has extra cushions for a headboard and sideboard
  • The seamless mattress is more comfortable than many competitors

Cons

  • Expensive for a backseat air bed
  • Still too short to be a great alternative to a real bed

9. Best Basic Air Bed: Intex Dura-Beam Standard

Intex Dura-Beam Standard

Why we like it: There’s no reason a standard air mattress can’t be used inside a car, and the Intex Standard is a very budget-friendly one.

Editor’s Rating:

Fit

It’s a full-size mattress and is not explicitly built for vehicles. The good news is that since it’s not specific to any vehicles, it will fit anywhere with a 53in by 75in space. Camper vans, RVs, big SUVs, flat truck beds, you name it.

A full-size mattress is bigger than every SUV-specific bed on our list, even the highly-rated Wey & Fly offering. That does mean it won’t fit into smaller SUVs, crossovers, or wagons. They do sell a twin sized version if you don’t have space for the full-sized one.

Finish

Let’s be real here: it’s a cheap air mattress. You can probably picture exactly how it feels already. It’s got a weird, pseudo fuzzy top and makes weird noises when you roll around on it. The thickness and width make it really comfortable, though, so it’s hard to hate.

Just definitely don’t expect it to last forever or anything. It’s a cheap air mattress, it will last you through the night, and if you are lucky, it will stay hole-free for a year or so.

Our Thoughts

There’s no reason not to just get a comfortable, cheap air mattress if you have space. The battery-powered pump works anywhere, and the extra size means that you can comfortably sleep two people.

It simply has all the drawbacks of a cheap air mattress too. It’s not a good thing to rely on in an emergency, and it doesn’t have wheel well cutouts or any other features. The battery pump is worth the price alone. If all else fails, you can keep the pump and use it to fill up any of the other mattresses we recommend, like the nearly indestructible SuitedNomad Double.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • The battery-powered pump is great for travel
  • Versatile

Cons

  • No features that make it better for cars
  • Quality could be better

10. Best Foam Car Bed: Xprite Black NitePad Premium

Xprite Black NitePad Premium

Why we like it: The Xprite mattress is a giant foam mattress that pieces together to fill the back of your SUV. It is super comfortable.

Editor’s Rating:

Fit

The Xprite is perfect for most larger crossovers, wagons, and SUVs. At a little under 42in wide and coming in at 70in long, it’ll fit very comfortably in the back of any minivan or SUV, and will fit snugly in the back of CUVs like the Outback and Rav4. They also make a version specifically for the bigger Wranglers, so grab that one if you own a Jeep.

It’s a little tight for two people, but 70in is the height of most doors. If you fit through your front door, the length won’t be an issue, which is nice.

Finish

The Xprite is a bit different than everything else on our list because it’s not an airbed. That does have some drawbacks. Creases run rampant throughout the unit; you can definitely lose an arm between cushion segments that might lead to uncomfortable sleep.

Generally, though, it’s going to be more comfortable than an air mattress of the same thickness. The foam is covered in an easy to clean leather-like material, and the best part is that there is zero chance of springing a leak. Even if you forget to take your boot knife off after a long day of cutting trails, there will still be enough mattresses in the morning to protect your back.

Our Thoughts

There are two reasons to avoid the Xprite NitePad, and they really highlight the advantages of an airbed. First is the price. Even the incredibly luxurious Pittman Outdoors Pro3 air mattress is cheaper. What makes that an extra tough pill to swallow is the Pittman’s comfort far outpaces the Xprite’s; the Xprite just isn’t thick enough to compete.

That brings us to problem number two. The Pittman Outdoors bed is much bigger while inflated, but much, much smaller deflated than the Xprite. Even though the Xprite folds up, it’s easier just to throw all your cargo on top of it and pretend it’s the floor.

The simple fact that it can’t spring a leak might make it the right choice for any overlander, though. Off-road trails are never gentle, so the peace of mind that your mattress will support you at night can definitely be worth paying extra.

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • There’s no chance of an air leak
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Really expensive
  • Takes up a lot of space, even stored

Advice, Accessories, and Alternatives

Now that you’re ready to get a good night’s worth of rest in your car, there are a few things that can really improve the experience.

Making Sure It Fits

Don’t worry, you don’t need to measure every inch of your car. You just need to know a few things so you can make sure that the air bed you buy will fit in your car. First, and most importantly, you need to know what kind of vehicle you will stick the bed into. Generally, a bed made for an SUV will fit in most larger vehicles like crossovers, CUVs, and minivans without much trouble.

The other thing you will need to know is the general width, length, and height of the space you will be putting the bed in. Length is the most important measurement, especially for truck bed mattresses. Simply fold your seats down or measure across the back seat so you know the maximum size you can get.

Accessories

To get the most out of your experience, there are some items you should take with you. Most you will already have, but some simple things can be purchased for cheap and really help out.

  • A pillow. Even though most air beds, including the less expensive mattresses like the Fly & Wey we mention, have inflatable pillows. They are usually pretty bad, so grab your own instead.
  • A repair kit. The Saygogo, and many other mattresses, come with one, so you might be fine. If not, grab one here. They are cheap, and they are wholly necessary if you are doing multi-day expeditions.
  • It’s a bit obvious, but you probably want to be warm when you sleep.
  • You should have water in your car no matter what, but especially if you are planning on spending the night. You lose a lot of water when you sleep, and it’s a good idea to replenish it before continuing on your journey.

Tips

There are a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of sleeping inside a vehicle. The first thing, though, is perhaps the biggest piece of advice we can give you.

Make Sure to Sleep Where It’s Legal

In most cities, you aren’t allowed to pull off to the sidewalk and sleep the night. If you don’t want to be woken up by your friendly neighborhood police officer, then take a look at local laws before you jump into bed. You can get a bit more information about the legalities of sleeping in your car right here.

There are a lot of spaces that you know will be safe, though. Campsites and dispersed campgrounds are the obvious ones, but most rest stops, Walmart parking lots, and anywhere labeled BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land are good places to park for the night and catch some shuteye.

Additional Tips and Tricks

Once you are sure that you don’t have to face the red and blue flashing sunrise, there are some great things to do to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.

  • Park so your head will be uphill if you can’t park where it’s level. It makes a big difference for long term comfort.
  • Be aware that the first time you use an air bed, it will seem like it leaks a lot of air. That’s not the case; it’s just stretching and forming. Re-fill it and try it again before assuming that it’s leaking.
  • Consider grabbing a battery or foot pump for backup. It beats trying to fill the bed with your lungs if the main pump goes out.
  • A sheet layer underneath an air mattress can eliminate a lot of squeaks and noises.
  • Extreme cold will deflate your bed as you sleep on it. If you are snowbound, consider a foam mattress like the Xprite bed we recommend.
  • Crack the front windows for a little bit of venting. That will keep the air from getting too stale and uncomfortable.
  • Tell people where you are. If something should happen and someone needs to find you and your car, it’s better that they don’t have to search for too long.

Alternatives

a couple of people looking out their car on top of bedding

If you read all about air beds and are still not convinced they are for you, then no worries. There are some great alternatives.

Rooftop Tents

We talk about them at length here, but rooftop tents are probably the best alternative to an RV that you can get. They usually come with their own mattresses and mount to almost any vehicle. That way, you can keep your cargo bay for cargo and still maximize your comfort. Truck owners can also find some great tents that fit in the bed of a pickup truck.

Built-in Beds

Whether we are talking overlanders, van-lifers, or the RV crowd, the people who absolutely must rely on a comfortable bed inside a vehicle all have custom-built mattress frames and pads. They cost a lot, but if you plan an expedition across the states in a van, we guarantee it’s cheaper than paying doctors to repair your spine.

Pile of Blankets

The last alternative we’re going to talk about is also the most accessible, but probably the worst for your back. Pillows and blankets can be laid out to make a perfectly acceptable sleeping pad. You will have to contend with the footwells in the backseat area of most cars, and you will have to contend with lumps and pillars in the back of most SUVs. It’s better than just sleeping on the carpeted cargo area, but when an air mattress like the FBSport is the cost of a few lunches, there’s no reason to suffer like that.

Sleep Tight

Whether you are camping or just hiding from your in-laws, a car bed can be the difference between a world of sore muscles and pleasant dreams. Grab one for yourself. Even if you don’t see yourself ever sleeping in your car, they make great extra sleeping spaces for pets and children when you are on the road. They also make a good contingency plan for when everything goes to hell, and you need to survive the Mad Max apocalypse. Just, let’s not hope that happens, no matter how cool the cars seem.