Mattress Topper for Camping: Is It a Good Idea?

Urban living can sometimes be so overwhelming that it makes us want to pack our camping bags and do nothing but engage with nature and wildlife. Be that as it may, choosing a good campsite, elevating your camp kitchen, or having the right sleep equipment can make your camping more comfortable. But as the contents of your camping bag become more diverse, you’ll eventually question how to best keep yourself warm and cozy throughout the night. 

In particular, what we ended up asking ourselves was, “Can I use a mattress topper for camping?” It’s definitely not a bad question, so let’s elaborate.

Can You Use a Mattress Topper for Camping?

In short, yes, you can use a mattress topper for camping in order to have a better night of sleep in the wilderness. Although, do note that it won’t be the same as sleeping on a mattress, as the main purpose of a mattress topper is to add a cushy layer or improve the feel of a mattress itself.

Benefits of Using Mattress Topper for Camping

However, there are still many advantages to having a mattress topper when out in the woods..

Serves as Insulation for Cold Ground

Even on warm days, the ground surface is usually cooler than your body or even the surrounding air due to rising heat, humidity, or the type of surface you’d be laying on. 

After a steaming hot day in the wilderness, this may come as a welcome sensation, but it will eventually become uncomfortable. This is why you need an insulating layer between the ground and your body in order to have a proper night's sleep, and mattress toppers can quite affordably provide the assistance.

Reduces Back Pain

There have been numerous conflicting claims about sleeping on firm surfaces and back pain throughout the years. While some say it worsens their back pain, others claim it has the exact opposite effect. 

But you can’t go against scientific studies, right? According to a study published in The Lancet, firmer surfaces are not as effective for reducing back pain as medium-firm ones are. 

Saves You Money

Saving money is yet another benefit of using a mattress topper instead of dragging an enormous mattress along with you in nature. While this mostly depends on the type of mattress you are considering buying, mattress toppers are generally cheaper than most mattresses.

Improves Your Mattress Feel

If you already possess a mattress for camping, but it’s quite old, you can significantly improve its feel by adding another cushy layer on top. We recommend using a memory foam mattress topper as it contours to the body for ultimate comfort. 

Drawbacks of Using Mattress Topper Instead of Camping Mattress

As we said, a mattress topper won’t replace your mattress, but it isn’t always feasible to bring a mattress to a camping trip. Still, there are some drawbacks to using a mattress topper.

Lack of Comfort

The first and foremost drawback of using an improper mattress topper when camping is lack of comfort. However, this depends on the thickness and density of the mattress topper you decide to buy, as the thicker and denser the material, the more comfort it will provide. 

Otherwise, you might feel either the firm floor or ground underneath, which can cause night disturbances while sleeping. To provide more padding underneath you during the night, you can use other components such as blankets or sleeping bags.

Challenging to Clean

Depending on where you intend to sleep, a mattress topper is susceptible to dirt, and if not shielded with a protective cover, the dirt can enter the deeper layers, making it challenging to clean. If, however, there is a removable cover, the process becomes easier as you can clean your mattress topper in a few simple steps.

In Summary

Mattress toppers are an excellent way to enhance your sleeping experience in nature if you want a more affordable and easier-to-implement solution to mattresses. The advantages of using these cushy layers can certainly outweigh the drawbacks. 

Even though these can’t compete with the comfort a mattress can provide, you can certainly add other components such as sleeping bags to make it feel as good as a real bed.


Can I use a memory foam topper for camping?

Foam mattress toppers are ideal for camping because they can mould to your body to provide a good night’s sleep. Make sure to purchase memory foam toppers as thick as 10 cm to have enough foam to create a comfortable sleeping platform.

What is better for tent camping: a mattress pad or a topper?

Definitely a mattress topper because these are thicker than sleeping pads which means they can provide more insulation as well as better comfort.

Can I use a mattress topper within a sleeping bag?

Yes. However, to make the perfect camping bed, make sure to put your topper on an unsoiled surface by insulating the ground inside your tent and only then lay your sleeping bag on top.

Do I need a topper to put on top of my air mattress when camping?

Air mattresses can get quite cold, so a mattress topper is certainly a great addition to make you feel all snugly.