The Best Gear for Camping on a Budget

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family setting up tent
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LET'S GO CAMPING

Buying tents, sleeping bags, air mattresses, and other essential camping gear can cost a small fortune, but it doesn't have to. Cheapism.com consulted dozens of professional product tests and looked at hundreds of owner reviews to identify the best cheap tents for big families, couples, and individuals; sleeping bags that stay comfortable in warm and cold weather; and air mattresses for a good night's rest. Whether you're planning a weeklong wilderness getaway or hosting a slumber party for kids at home, you're sure to find the right camping gear here — at a price you can afford.

Prices and availability may vary.

campers setting up the tent
Photo credit: SolisImages/istockphoto

THE BEST TENTS

There are tents designed for every degree of "roughing it," from extreme backcountry hiking to "glamping." Our top picks under $300 come from manufacturers like Big Agnes, Coleman, Eureka, Ozark Trail, and REI. Whatever size tent you choose, whether it's for one person or 12, pay attention to ceiling height and floor space. More is better, reviewers say. We looked for tent poles of aluminum or stainless steel, as well as a full rain fly and flap seals to prevent water from seeping in. Most of the models we reviewed are three-season tents, designed to withstand light precipitation or a dusting of snow and stay comfortable down to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (although, in truth, owners say, many aren't comfortable below 40 degrees, especially if it's windy or rainy).
Eureka Copper Canyon 6
Photo credit: Courtesy of campsaver.com

EUREKA COPPER CANYON 6

Best 6-Person Car Camping Tent Under $300
Est. Price: $214 | Buy it from Camp Saver

Pros:
- Spacious, boxy cabin, with a 100-square-foot base and a 7-foot peak.
- Color-coded tent rods make setup easy for two people.
- 4 large mesh windows with zip-up flaps for ventilation and a mesh roof for stargazing.
- Thoughtful extras like a port for an extension cord, mesh pockets in the walls, and a privacy curtain.

Cons:
- Small rain fly may allow water to seep into the tent.
- Footprint to protect the tent base costs extra.
- Slightly heavy for a tent this size (just over 23 pounds).

Takeaway: You can spend $500 or more on a six-person tent for serious car camping, or you can buy this cabin-style tent and put the savings toward your next camping trip. There's ample room to set up cots or inflatable mattresses. This three-season tent comes with a gear loft, plus interior pockets to stash personal items, but it doesn't have a vestibule, so there's nowhere to shed gear or dirty clothing outside the living space. We also read several reviews from owners who say the partial rain flap doesn't do a very good job keeping water out of the tent during heavy storms.

Coleman Carlsbad Fast Pitch 6
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

COLEMAN CARLSBAD FAST PITCH 6

Best 6-Person Car Camping Tent Under $200
Est. Price: $177 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Roomy screened-in vestibule and interior (140 square feet total).
- Blackout lining blocks most ambient light, something light sleepers appreciate.
- Very easy to set up, users say.

Cons:
- Rain fly doesn't protect adequately in heavy downpours, reviewers say.
- No footprint available.
- Less headspace (5 feet, 8 inches) than other 6-person tents.

Takeaway: The Coleman brand is synonymous with family camping and a favorite of bargain-minded consumers. The manufacturer promises setup in 7 minutes, something owner reviews bear out. It also stays well ventilated, owners say, even though it has only one window. This three-season tent is a good choice for warm-weather camping, but a number of owners say they were not comfortable in colder climates. Although most people say this dome-style tent stands up to wind fairly well, some recommend buying reinforced metal tent anchors. We also read scattered complaints from owners who found small tears or other flaws in the fabric of their new tents.

Big Agnes Big House 4
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

BIG AGNES BIG HOUSE 4

Best 4-Person Car Camping Tent Under $300
Est. Price: $299.95 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Sturdy aluminum stakes and easy assembly, owners say.
- Relatively lightweight for a 4-person tent (8.25 pounds).
- More than a dozen mesh wall pockets and gear hooks for stashing personal items.

Cons:
- 5-foot peak is lower than other 4-person tents.
- Relatively expensive.
- Vestibule and tent footprint must be purchased separately.

Takeaway: The appropriately named Big House is a reviewer favorite. Although the six-person version of this tent is over our $300 price limit, the four-person model just makes the cut. Big Anges uses rip-stop polyester, which is more durable than the polyester found on cheaper three-season tents and coated with thicker polyurethane waterproofing than tents like the Eureka Copper Canyon. The result: Far fewer camper complaints about leaking or puddling during downpours. Despite its relatively low headspace, the 54 square feet of floor space, vertical walls, and two doors make it feel roomy, owners say, and truly negative reviews are rare.

Alps Mountaineering Taurus 4-Person
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

ALPS MOUNTAINEERING TAURUS 4-PERSON

Best 4-Person Car Camping Tent Under $100
Est. Price: $99 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Very weather-resistant, thanks to a thicker-than-average waterproofing layer and sturdy stakes and tent poles.
- 2 doors for easy access; 2 vestibules for extra room to stash gear.
- Good ventilation, reviewers say.

Cons:
- Rain fly doesn't keep the tent dry in downpours, reviewers note.
- Some complaints about durability, particularly the tent poles.
- Taffeta-like polyester tent floor feels thin, some owners say.

Takeaway: Many reviewers say this Alps Mountaineering tent has held up in the wind and rain remarkably well given its low price. Although cheap tents like this one don't have the features or heavy-duty materials found on more expensive models, it's worth noting that the Taurus has a 2,000 mm waterproofing layer. There's also a small window in the rain fly, a detail owners say they appreciate. On the downside, several campers complain that the aluminum tent poles broke or bent after just a few uses. Others recommend buying a second rain fly if you're planning to camp in wet climates and the optional footprint to protect the tent base.

Rei Co-op Camp Dome 2-Person
Photo credit: Courtesy of rei.com

REI CO-OP CAMP DOME 2-PERSON

Best 2-Person Car Camping Tent Under $100
Est. Price: $100 | Buy it from REI

Pros:
- Weighs 5 pounds, relatively light for a 2-person camping tent.
- Sturdy aluminum tent poles.
- 2 doors for easy in and out.
- Funky patterns on the rain fly make the tent stand out at crowded venues.

Cons:
- Rain fly is difficult to attach, many owners say, and could be bigger.
- Some users say the ventilation could be better, especially in humid climates.
- Footprint costs extra.

Takeaway: REI enjoys strong loyalty from its customers, and professional reviewers consistently recommend the outdoor store's house-brand gear. But REI tents command premium prices, and only the two-person version of the highly recommended Camp Dome tent fits within our price range. Still, if you're camping by yourself or with a partner, reviewers say, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better car camping tent under $100. The biggest complaint from owners — and negative feedback is relatively rare — has to do with the rain fly, which several people say isn't big enough to keep out water during heavy downpours.

Rei Co-op Half Dome 2 Plus
Photo credit: Courtesy of rei.com

REI CO-OP HALF DOME 2 PLUS

Best 2-Person Backpacking Tent Under $300
Est. Price: $229 | Buy it from REI

Pros:
- 2 large doors for easy access; 2 vestibules for plenty of storage.
- Roomy for a 2-person backpacking tent (35.8 square feet).
- 44 inches of headspace, more than many competing models.

Cons:
- Setup can be difficult, users say.
- Relatively heavy for a backpacking tent (5 pounds, 5 ounces).
- Footprint sold separately.

Takeaway: Backpacking tents must be light enough to carry all day and small enough that they don't hog precious pack space. Although this REI tent is heavier than other backpacking tents, owners don't seem to notice it — something several make a point of noting in reviews. With 22.5 square feet of vestibule space in addition to the interior room, you're unlikely to find a larger two-person tent, reviewers say. Campers appreciate details like ample mesh pockets in the roof and walls and say this tent is easy for one person to set up in a few minutes. The chief drawback is a rain fly that many owners struggle to attach properly. Otherwise, this tent does a good job keeping out the elements.

Marmot Tungsten 2P
Photo credit: Courtesy of rei.com

MARMOT TUNGSTEN 2P

Good 2-Person Backpacking Tent Under $300
Est. Price: $199 | Buy it from REI

Pros:
- Relatively roomy for a 2-person backpacking tent, at 32 square feet.
- 2 doors for easy access; 2 vestibules provide extra space for gear.
- Withstands inclement weather as well as pricier tents, reviewers say.

Cons:
- Heavier than many other backpacking tents (5.25 pounds).
- Footprint costs extra.
- Very few truly critical consumer reviews.

Takeaway: Reviewers say this three-season Marmot tent offers excellent value for the price and performs as well as more expensive models by REI and Big Agnes. It comes with nice extras like a footprint to protect the tent's base from sharp objects on the ground and a small pocket on the roof to stash a headlamp — details you don't always find on other tents in this price range. Reviewers say this tent is a breeze to pitch, keeps the rain out, and stands up to brisk winds far better than other models. In general, owner complaints about build quality are rare. The only true drawback, most reviewers say, is that the Marmot Tungsten is a bit heavy for backpacking.

Rei Co-op Passage 2
Photo credit: Courtesy of rei.com

REI CO-OP PASSAGE 2

Best 2-Person Backpacking Tent Under $200
Est. Price: $159 | Buy it from REI

Pros:
- 31 square feet of sleeping space is fairly roomy for a tent this size.
- Low trail weight of 3.6 pounds.
- Excellent customer service, consumers say.

Cons:
- Sloping walls and 40-inch ceiling height may feel tight for tall campers.
- Aluminum tent poles and stakes could be stronger, some owners note.
- Footprint costs extra.

Takeaway: Reviewers say this two-person backpacking tent is a great pick for couples who hike and camp occasionally throughout the year, with enough room to stash gear and stretch out. The polyester fabric resists wear, and complaints about poor workmanship are rare. This tent also does a better job of keeping campers warm than cheaper models, making it a true three-season tent, campers say. Unlike some two-person tents, this one actually can accommodate a pair of adults, owners say, although tall campers may find the dome-style design confining. Professional reviewers love the more expensive four- and six-person versions of this tent, too.

Mountainsmith Morrison 2-Person
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

MOUNTAINSMITH MORRISON 2-PERSON

Good 2-Person Backpacking Tent Under $200
Est. Price: $111 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Relatively low price for a 2-person backpacking tent.
- 2 doors and 2 vestibules make it easy to access the tent and stash gear.
- 52 square feet of total space is relatively roomy for tent this size.

Cons:
- Weighs 5.75 pounds, which is rather heavy for a backpacking tent.
- Some owner complaints about poor workmanship.
- Footprint costs extra.

Takeaway: Whether you're backpacking with a partner or just want extra room for yourself, this three-season tent is a good pick for a person who hikes once or twice a year. It's relatively roomy, even for tall people, and does a good job keeping rain out and warmth in. Campers say there's plenty of room to stash personal items in the vestibule, mesh wall pockets, and ceiling loft. The biggest drawback, owners note, is the fact that it weighs more than 5 pounds when packed. A number of campers also say the included tent stakes aren't strong enough to anchor the tent without bending and recommend using aftermarket stakes instead.

Coleman Sundome 2-Person
Photo credit: Courtesy of walmart.com

COLEMAN SUNDOME 2-PERSON

Best 2-Person Backpacking Tent Under $100
Est. Price: $27 | Buy it from Walmart

Pros:
- Very low price.
- 2 large, zippered windows.
- Easy to assemble, owners say.

Cons:
- 35-square-foot interior is snug for two, especially with an air mattress.
- Not designed for cold-weather camping, reviewers complain.
- No vestibule.

Takeaway: Professional reviewers and consumers love this cheap Coleman tent, saying it's a great value for the money if you camp only a few times a year in warm weather. The Sundome has an electrical port, a handy feature if you want to charge personal devices, but fewer places to stash gear than other two-person tents; there's only one mesh pocket. No footprint is available for this tent either. A handful of reviewers complain of leaking or puddling during rainstorms, but in general most owners say the quality is satisfactory given the low price.

Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

ALPS MOUNTAINEERING LYNX 1-PERSON

Best 1-Person Backpacking Tent Under $100
Est. Price: $78 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Low price for a 1-person tent.
- Aluminum tent poles and clips are sturdy and simple to assemble, users say.
- Relatively few owner complaints for such a cheap backpacking tent.
- Rain fly and vestibule do a very good job keeping the tent dry, owners say.

Cons:
- 32-inch headspace is confining for tall campers.
- At 4 pounds, it's relatively heavy for a backpacking tent.
- Footprint costs extra.

Takeaway: Compact size and light weight are critical for solo backpackers. Although this one-person tent doesn't pack down as small as some other models, most owners say the low price and solid construction make it worth the tradeoff. It also can stand up to the wind and rain in most circumstances, several campers say, a claim that few cheap one-person backpacking tents can make. On the downside, this tent is only 32 inches tall at its peak, so there isn't much room for extras like a big pack or a dog (something more than a few reviewers note). We also found a smattering of complaints about poor workmanship, such as loose stitching or flimsy tent poles.

Ozark Trail 10-Person
Photo credit: Courtesy of walmart.com

OZARK TRAIL 10-PERSON

Bonus: Best Party Tent
Est. Price: $99 | Buy it from Walmart

Pros:
- 175 square feet of floor space is ample room for a big family, reviewers say.
- Relatively low price for a tent this size.
- 3-room design offers privacy and plenty of space for belongings.
- 6.5 feet of headroom.

Cons:
- Rain fly doesn't prevent water from seeping in, reviewers say.
- Many owners say the tent stakes are flimsy.
- No footprint available.

Takeaway: Tents that can accommodate eight or 10 people tend to be pricey, but this Walmart exclusive gets good marks from pros and consumers as an affordable option. Owners say the layout, with a main domed area and two wings, gives families some privacy, and there are plenty of places to stash belongings, as well as an electrical port for powering portable devices. Walmart identifies this is an "all-season" tent, but it's not designed for cold-weather camping. Several owners also say this Ozark Trail model — like many cheap tents — is prone to leaking and puddling when it rains. Some also recommend buying aftermarket tent stakes, rather than using the ones that the manufacturer includes. But for backyard camping or a summer weekend at the lake, this is a good budget option.

Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

KODIAK CANVAS TRUCK BED TENT

Bonus: Best Canvas Base Camp Tent
Est. Price: $339 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Waterproof canvas walls are far more rugged than nylon or polyester.
- 5 feet of headspace makes the tent feel roomy, according to reviews.
- Steel-tube tent frame is exceptionally sturdy and can stand up to inclement weather.

Cons:
- Assembly instructions are hard to understand, many owners say.
- Does not fit all truck beds.
- Bugs occasionally sneak in under the flaps.

Takeaway: Before nylon and polyester were invented, most tents were made from cotton duck canvas. Although very heavy, canvas is an excellent insulator, keeping tents cool in hot weather and drying quickly after rain. It's also durable, making it a good choice for long-term camping. On the downside, canvas tents are very expensive (some models cost more than $500). Despite the steep price, owners — many of them hunters — say they love how this Kodiak canvas tent allows them to turn a truck into a backcountry base camp. The biggest drawback: The tent's many straps and poles make it a bear to assemble — even for two people, reviewers say. We read a number of complaints from otherwise-satisfied buyers who say it took an hour or longer to set it up correctly the first few times, and several share setup tips in comments on online retailers such as Amazon. Once it's up, it's very sturdy, owners say.

Tepui Baja Series Ayer 2-Person
Photo credit: Courtesy of backcountry.com

TEPUI BAJA SERIES AYER 2-PERSON

Bonus: Best Rooftop Tent
Est. Price: $925| Buy it from Backcountry.com

Pros:
- Box-like base frame has a built-in mattress that is very comfortable, owners say.
- Exceptionally sturdy structure.
- Removable mesh canopy for shade.

Cons:
- Designed only for SUVs and crossovers with roof racks.
- Weighs 90 pounds and requires two people to assemble.
- Not designed for cold-weather camping.

Takeaway: Rooftop camping tents, which are designed to be mounted on top of an SUV or station wagon, are an expensive indulgence. But if you have the money and the desire to take car camping to the next level or are serious about off-road wilderness adventures, Tepui's Baja Series gets great reviews from owners and pros alike. The upper walls are mostly mesh, providing excellent ventilation, campers say, and the rain fly keeps water out. Unlike other models in the Tepui line, the cheapest Baja model isn't designed for cooler climates. Few reviewers have much negative to say about these rooftop tents.

Coleman Instant Tent 6
Photo credit: Courtesy of walmart.com

COLEMAN INSTANT TENT 6

Bonus: Best Pop-up Tent
Est. Price: $212 | Buy it at Walmart

Pros:
- Pre-attached tent poles make setup very easy, reviewers say.
- Roomy, cabin-style design has 90 square feet of floor space and 6 feet, 2 inches of headroom.
- Large, zippered windows on each wall.

Cons:
- Rain fly doesn't do a good job keeping the tent dry, owners complain.
- Zippers are prone to breaking, according to reviews.
- No vestibules or footprint.

Takeaway: If all you seek is a spacious family tent for a few easy summertime camping trips, reviewers say this Coleman is a great pick. Campers confirm the manufacturer's claim that it can be pitched by one person in just a minute or two. It's very sturdy for a box-style tent, they say, with plenty of room for taller people and a large door and two big windows. Older models didn't come with a rain fly, something many owners complained about; Coleman includes one with new tents. Despite this extra feature, several reviewers say this tent is prone to leaking during rainstorms and isn't insulated enough for camping in cool weather. A few consumers also report that the tent materials begin to wear out after a few seasons of use.

couple wrapped up in sleeping bags in tent
Photo credit: ninelutsk/istockphoto

THE BEST SLEEPING BAGS

Serious campers, backpackers, and mountaineers can spend $800 or more on sleeping bags designed to weather extreme conditions. But a good cheap sleeping bag for a family camping trip or weekend hike can be purchased for a fraction of that amount at a major retailer like Walmart or REI. These are the best sleeping bags under $100 for winter, summer, and three-season camping and hiking, according to professional and consumer reviewers. They include both rectangular sleeping bags and so-called mummy bags, which are more form-fitting and have a hood at the top.
Teton Sports Trailhead
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

TETON SPORTS TRAILHEAD

Good 3-Season Sleeping Bag
Est. Price: $55 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Weighs 2.9 pounds, just light enough for backpacking.
- Zippered interior pocket is handy for stashing personal items.
- 87 inches long; accommodates users over 6 feet tall.
- Comfortable brushed polyester lining.
- Lifetime limited warranty.

Cons:
- Doesn't stay warm in sub-freezing temperatures, some reviewers complain.
- Big and tall users say this mummy bag is too snug at the shoulders and chest.
- Can be difficult to zip up all the way once you're in, owners say.

Takeaway: This three-season Teton sleeping bag is lightweight and fairly easy to pack into its stuff sack, reviewers say, making it a good choice for backpackers or car campers who want to toss it into the trunk and go. It's also available in a shorter (and cheaper) 75-inch size. Reviewers say this sleeping bag is well-constructed, with a waterproof rip-stop polyester shell and zipper pulls that are easy to handle. The most common complaint is that the manufacturer's 20-degree temperature rating is overly optimistic. Campers who are heavy or taller than 6 feet also may find this sleeping bag too confining, a common complaint about mummy bags in general. Despite these gripes, most users say this is a good sleeping bag for a weekend camping trip.

Coleman Brazos Cold Weather
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

COLEMAN BRAZOS COLD WEATHER

Best 3-Season Sleeping Bag Under $50
Est. Price: $25 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Very low price.
- Rectangular bag can be unzipped and connected to a second sleeping bag to make a double size.
- Good choice for car camping or slumber parties, owners say.

Cons:
- Doesn't stay warm in the coldest temperatures promised by its 20-degree rating, owners say.
- Warranty is only 5 years, shorter than other brands.
- Not designed for campers over 5-foot-11.

Takeaway: This three-season, rectangular Coleman sleeping bag is very roomy, but that bulk also makes it too hefty to pack easily or take on a hike — something a number of owners note in their reviews. Several consumers also complain that the polyester lining feels cheap and uncomfortable, while others say the zipper breaks easily. But for most owners, this bargain-priced sleeping bag is a terrific companion for car camping, kids' sleepovers, and nights when you need an extra blanket on the bed.

Kelty Tuck 20 Degree
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

KELTY TUCK 20 DEGREE

Best 3-Season Sleeping Bag Under $100
Est. Price: $90 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Available in two sizes to accommodate people up to 6-foot-6.
- Foot box can be unzipped if your feet get too warm.
- Comfortable, even for taller users, according to reviews.

Cons:
- Can be challenging to pack into its stuff sack, some owners say.
- Scattered complaints that the bag doesn't stay very warm at colder temperatures.
- Weighs just 3 pounds, but some reviewers complain that it feels much heavier.

Takeaway: Three-season mummy bags can cost $200 or $300, but this Kelty bag is nearly as good and much cheaper. Most owners say this sleeping bag is very comfortable, something borne out by the relative lack of complaints about it feeling cramped or too snug (something that can't be said about all mummy bags). Despite generally positive comments from professional and consumer reviewers alike, a few users report that the bag didn't keep them warm enough when the mercury dipped below freezing, even though it is rated to 20 degrees.

Coleman North Rim Extreme Weather
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

COLEMAN NORTH RIM EXTREME WEATHER

Good Winter Sleeping Bag
Est. Price: $47 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Rated to 0 degrees Fahrenheit and keeps users warm and cozy.
- Relatively low price for a four-season sleeping bag.
- Can be fully unzipped and used as a comforter.

Cons:
- Zipper is prone to breaking, many reviewers say.
- Weighs 5.8 pounds, too heavy for backpacking.
- Height limit of 6-foot-2, but some adults over 6 feet find it too snug.

Takeaway: Coleman has been making camping and outdoor gear for more than a century, so it's little surprise that its four-season North Rim sleeping bag gets largely positive reviews from consumers. Owners consistently praise this mummy bag for its warmth and comfort in a variety of weather conditions. But some of those same reviewers also complain about durability, most notably the zipper and the stitching on the polyester ripstop fabric. This Coleman sleeping bag does come with a five-year limited warranty, although other manufacturers like Teton and REI offer longer guarantees.

Teton Sports Celsius Regular
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

TETON SPORTS CELSIUS REGULAR

Best Winter Sleeping Bag Under $50
Est. Price: $46.38 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Very comfortable, flannel-like interior lining, according to reviews.
- Temperature rating of 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lifetime limited warranty.

Cons:
- Doesn't stay warm in sub-freezing temperatures, some reviewers complain.
- Some campers who are over 6 feet tall say this sleeping bag doesn't feel long enough, although it measures 80 inches.
- Weighs 5 pounds, too heavy for backpacking.

Takeaway: Most owners are satisfied with this three-season sleeping bag and say it delivers good value for the price. Owners praise details like the built-in loops at the base, so the sleeping bag can hang upright for storage, and the choice of a left- or right-hand zipper. However, we also found a number of complaints from people who say the bag tends to unzip as they toss and turn during the night. A handful of reviewers say that although this bag is comfortable to about 30 degrees, it doesn't keep them warm enough in colder weather, despite the manufacturer's 0-degree comfort rating.

Teton Sports Tracker
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

TETON SPORTS TRACKER

Best Winter Sleeping Bag Under $100
Est. Price: $65 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Extra layer of insulation keeps the foot box warm and toasty, reviewers say.
- Lifetime limited warranty.
- Easy to store compactly, owners say.
- Zippered interior pocket.

Cons:
- Manufacturer-rated to 5 degrees, but many campers say it's comfortable only to about 20 degrees.
- Like other mummy bags, this model feels confining to some tall or heavy people.
- Zippers are prone to malfunctioning, reviewers say.

Takeaway: Most owners say the Teton Sports Tracker is comfortable and very easy to roll up and pack in its water-resistant stuff sack. At 4.1 pounds, it's too heavy for backpacking but ideal for car camping. Reviewers praise features like the three-piece hood, which keeps the head elevated off the cold ground, and the zippered interior pocket for stashing personal items. Many owners say they like the long interior and exterior zipper pulls. They're less than thrilled that the sleeping bag zips up on the left side rather than the right. The biggest drawback, according to owners, is that the sleeping bag doesn't live up to Teton's comfort rating, a complaint common to cheap cold-weather sleeping bags.

Rei Co-op Helio Sack 55
Photo credit: Courtesy of rei.com

REI CO-OP HELIO SACK 55

Best Summer Sleeping Bag
Est. Price: $60 | Buy it from REI

Pros:
- Weighs just over a pound.
- Available in two lengths (72 and 78 inches), plus an extra-wide model.
- Lifetime warranty.

Cons:
- May feel confining to some big and tall campers.
- Limited temperature range; not designed for cold weather.

Takeaway: Weighing just 1.1 pounds, this REI mummy bag is a good choice for people who tend to camp and hike only in warm weather. It fully unzips for use as a blanket, and there's a second zipper on the side that can be used as an air vent or armhole, an unusual detail that reviewers like. The bag packs and compresses just as easily, owners say. Keep in mind, this bag is rated only to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so it's not a good choice for cooler climates or seasons. Unlike most REI sleeping bags, this model has relatively few customer reviews online. But the previous version of the same sleeping bag (which differed only in color) got stellar user reviews and recommendations from professionals, so expect the updated Helio Sack 55 to be an excellent option for summertime camping.

Outdoor Vitals Atlas 15 Degree Down
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

OUTDOOR VITALS ATLAS 15 DEGREE DOWN

Bonus: Best Cheap Down Sleeping Bag
Est. Price: $120 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Keeps users warm in cold weather, according to reviews.
- Relatively low price for a down-filled mummy bag.
- Lifetime warranty.

Cons:
- Several owners say the bag is difficult to compress and pack.
- Scattered user complaints about torn seams and jammed zippers.
- Like other mummy bags, this model might feel too snug to some big and tall campers.

Takeaway: Unlike the other manufacturers in this guide, family-owned Online Vitals sells its sleeping bags and ultralight camping gear only online. This down sleeping bag is half the price of some other top-rated bags, and most campers say it lives up to the manufacturer's 15-degree comfort rating. It weighs 3.9 pounds, which is a little heavy for backpacking but light enough to be toted on a short hike. This bag is designed to be unzipped and attached to a second bag, but several owners say that can be a frustrating endeavor. We also saw a few users warning that the straps on the compression sack break easily. Those two issues aside, reviews of this sleeping bag are favorable.

Rei Co-op Magma 10
Photo credit: Courtesy of rei.com

REI CO-OP MAGMA 10

Bonus: Best Down Sleeping Bag
Est. Price: $350 | Buy it from REI

Pros:
- Weighs just under 2 pounds, light enough for backpacking.
- Rip-stop nylon lining is comfortable and durable, reviewers say.
- Available in 72- and 78-inch lengths.

Cons:
- Some campers say the included stuff sack doesn't compress the sleeping bag enough.
- Scattered owner complaints about being cold in this sleeping bag.
- People with large frames may find the mummy shape too snug.

Takeaway: Professional reviewers and serious campers rave about this down sleeping bag from REI and say it's warm and comfortable even in extreme conditions. At $350, this bag is definitely above the Cheapism.com price limit, but it's a bargain compared with other high-end sleeping bags. It weighs just shy of 2 pounds, which is relatively lightweight for a down-filled mummy bag, making it a good choice for backpackers. As with other REI sleeping bags, there are relatively few negative reviews for this model.

Marmot Women's Trestles 15
Photo credit: Courtesy of rei.com

MARMOT WOMEN'S TRESTLES 15

Bonus: Best Women's Sleeping Bag
Est. Price: $109 | Buy it from REI

Pros:
- Available in two lengths (66 and 70 inches).
- Keeps campers warm at night, even in sub-freezing temperatures, according to reviews.
- Lifetime limited warranty.

Cons:
- Weighs 4.8 pounds, too heavy for backpacking.
- Down filling is relatively bulky.
- Doesn't fit tall women.

Takeaway: The three-season Trestles 15 from Marmot is comfort-rated to 16 degrees Fahrenheit, and unlike some other sleeping bags, it lives up to the manufacturer's claim, owners say. That's because this mummy bag is filled with down, which does a better job of insulating than synthetic fillers. One drawback to down is that it doesn't dry quickly or provide much warmth when wet. Most owners say they appreciate the extra insulation in the head and foot box, as well as the interior pocket for stashing personal items. As with other sleeping bags, we did see some complaints about malfunctioning zippers, but in general this women's sleeping bag offers good value despite being just outside the Cheapism price range.

Wenzel Backyard 30-Degree
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

WENZEL BACKYARD 30-DEGREE

Bonus: Best Kids' Sleeping Bag
Est. Price: $22 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Very low price.
- Keeps kids warm in cold weather, parents say.
- 10-year limited warranty.

Cons:
- Stitching rips easily, many owners complain.
- Zippers are prone to breaking and jamming, reviewers note.
- Some owners say this sleeping bag is bulky and hard to fit into the stuff sack.

Takeaway: Reviewers say this kid-size sleeping bag is perfect for backyard sleepovers and scout camping trips. It weighs just 2.2 pounds, which is light enough for a short backpacking excursion. This basic three-season bag doesn't have extras like an interior pocket for a cellphone, but it comes with a stuff sack. Most parents say their children were comfortable on weekend camping trips, but several complain that the insulation tends to get lumpy after washing. We also read a number of gripes about broken zippers and seams that tear easily. Still, most consumers seem willing to accept this bag's limitations given its low price.

young couple in their new apartment
Photo credit: izusek/istockphoto

THE BEST AIR MATTRESSES AND SLEEPING PADS

A sleeping pad underneath a sleeping bag can help keep you comfortable and insulate you from the cold ground. An air mattress can make spending the night in a tent even more comfortable, and also come in handy when friends or family come to visit. The best air mattresses contain plenty of internal support, and are easy to set up, take down, and transport. Most come with a battery-powered or electric pump and are elevated at least 18 inches off the ground. Cheapism.com has identified the best queen-size airbeds under $100, plus a few less conventional options: an airbed for kids, a cot-style sleeper with a metal frame, a 4-in-1 mattress that allows multiple sleeping arrangements, an airbed with a supplemental pump to keep it inflated, and a model that flouts the price limit but boasts unusually high praise from reviewers.
Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

THERM-A-REST Z LITE SOL

Best Foam Sleeping Pad
Est. Price: $45 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Weighs just 14 ounces.
- Lifetime limited warranty.
- Very durable polyethylene material.

Cons:
- 72 inches long; may not be sufficient for tall campers.
- Not as comfortable as an air mattress.
- Foam can compress over time, some reviewers say.

Takeaway: A good sleeping pad must be light enough for backpacking yet substantial enough to provide true comfort, and this Therm-a-Rest delivers, reviewers say. The pad can also be used as a windbreak or folded in half for sitting, something several owners like, and the reflective surface does a fairly good job of keeping sleeping campers warm in cold temperatures. This sleeping pad is available in two lengths, 51 inches and 72 inches, but some taller consumers say they wish the "large" model were longer than 6 feet. Foam sleeping pads like this also don't fold as compactly for storage as inflatable models, a concern for a handful of reviewers, who have found the folded-up pad hard to stash in a pack.

Klymit Static V
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

KLYMIT STATIC V

Best Inflatable Sleeping Pad
Est. Price: $47 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Weighs 1.5 pounds, sufficiently light for backpacking.
- Patch kit included for emergency repairs.
- Lifetime warranty.

Cons:
- Must be inflated manually.
- Prone to leaks and punctures, some reviewers say.
- Scattered complaints about comfort.

Takeaway: If space is at a premium in your pack, an inflatable sleeping pad is a better choice than a foam one because it can be deflated, rolled up, and packed tightly. The Klymit sleeping pad is very comfortable, most campers say, and the large plastic nipple cap is very easy to open and close. Like many inflatable sleeping pads, the Klymit can develop small air leaks over time, and a couple of reviewers say they had to wake up and reinflate the pad in the middle of the night. In general, however, most owners say they are very happy with the product, and decidedly negative reviews are few and far between.

Intex Prestige Downy Airbed
Photo credit: Courtesy of walmart.com

INTEX PRESTIGE DOWNY AIRBED

Good Cheap Air Mattress for Camping
Est. Price: $23 | Buy it from Walmart

Pros:
- Comfortable when fully inflated, reviewers say, with a soft, waterproof, flocked top.
- Handheld, battery-powered pump included.
- Easy to set up and take down.
- Durable, according to experts; should withstand rough ground.
- Supports up to 600 pounds.
- Storage box and carrying handle.

Cons:
- Complaints about middle-of-the-night sagging and air leaks, even with minimal use.
- No storage bag; reviewers express concern that folding for storage may promote tiny punctures.
- Non-rechargeable pump requires C-cell batteries, an ongoing cost.
- Owners complain that there's no warranty.

Takeaway: A majority of reviewers consider the Intex Prestige Downy Airbed a good value given its bargain price and relative comfort. While many bring this 8.75-inch queen-size air mattress on camping trips, users say it serves multiple purposes, from an extra bed for kids' sleepovers to welcome relief during overnight stays in hospital sick rooms. Some users have set it up atop a cot frame, with good results. One testing site says the airbed inflates in 15 minutes — which is quite a long fill time, comparatively — and there's some grumbling among owners that the supplied pump may require replacement.

SoundAsleep Camping Series
Photo credit: Courtesy of soundasleepproducts.com

SOUNDASLEEP CAMPING SERIES

Good Camping Air Mattress with Rechargeable Pump
Est. Price: $90 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Very comfortable outdoor airbed, reviewers agree.
- Solid build with interior coils; proprietary, heavy-duty PVC casing minimizes the risk of punctures from rough ground.
- Waterproof, flocked top; no-slip bottom.
- Inflates to 9 inches in about 3 minutes.
- External pump with (included) rechargeable battery; charges from an outlet or car charger.
- Carrying bag.

Cons:
- Some reports concerning leaks and overnight deflation.
- On the pricier side.

Takeaway: Compared with much of the competition, the SoundAsleep Camping Series garners resounding praise for comfort, usability, and a battery that holds its charge for a good while. Campers tell of restful nights almost akin to sleeping on a real bed; some report setting up the mattress indoors in lieu of accommodating guests on lumpy couches. This model takes a smattering of the usual dings for air mattresses — namely, a loss of air — but, overall, users say it delivers above average quality, coziness, and convenience. The company cautions against relying on this camping bed for long-term daily use indoors.

Etekcity Camping Air Mattress
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

ETEKCITY CAMPING AIR MATTRESS

Best Camping Air Mattress With Rechargeable Pump
Est. Price: $80 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Interior column structure keeps the surface firm and flat and provides excellent support and comfort, reviewers say.
- Powerful electric pump inflates the mattress to 9 inches in 1 minute, faster than a battery-powered pump, and recharges from an outlet or car charger.
- Welded seams (unusual in this price range) guard against leaks and bulging.
- Flocked top and anti-skid bottom; extra-thick for durability outdoors.
- Supports up to 650 pounds.
- 3 extra nozzles for the pump (can be used with other inflatables).
- Carrying bags for the mattress and pump.

Cons:
- Scattered reports of air leaks and deflation.

Takeaway: This portable air mattress from Etekcity claims fewer reviews than other airbeds on our list, but user reviews are more enthusiastically positive. Many sing the praises of both the mattress, which is so conducive to sleep that it's easy to forget you're on the ground, and the pump, which is so effective and easy to use (even for items besides the mattress) that you can hit the sack in mere minutes. Instructions say some stretching and a sense that air has leaked out is normal with the first setup, an advisory that seems to inoculate the mattress against complaints about leaks at the outset. And while a small number of reviewers do indeed complain about air loss, a vast majority are perfectly content with the quality and overall performance.

Lightspeed Outdoors PVC-Free Air Bed
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

LIGHTSPEED OUTDOORS PVC-FREE AIR BED

Best Outdoor/Travel Air Mattress Under $100
Est. Price: $80 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Extremely comfortable, reviewers say, with the feel of a regular mattress.
- Stabilization system minimizes motion transfer and bouncing and allows users to choose their preferred firmness.
- 2-part valve: inflation/deflation and firmness adjustment/topping off.
- Made of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), which is lighter, more durable, and less likely to stretch than standard PVC shells.
- At less than 6 pounds, it's lighter than many other mattresses.
- Storage bag and battery-operated pump included.

Cons:
- Scattered reports of overnight air loss and leaking at the seams, especially after long periods in storage.
- A few muted complaints about the pump and valve: Connecting is a bit tricky at first; the pump requires four D batteries and some say it's a bit weak.
- A little thinner than our other picks, at 7.1 inches, and a few inches narrower than the typical queen-size mattress.

Takeaway: A vast majority of reviewers are pretty bullish on this PVC-free air mattress from small, California-based company Lightspeed Outdoors. Owners reserve particular praise for the TPU shell, which lacks the chemical smell often associated with PVC casings and better retains the desired degree of firmness. It also provides what might pass for the luxury feel of a real mattress while camping in a tent or RV, according to reviews. Thanks to the dual Boston valve, users can easily adjust the amount of air to their preference (with no worry about air escaping). Reviewers say this mattress accommodates two adults with ease — though seniors may have difficulty getting up from this airbed, due to the lower rise.

Intex Dura-Beam Comfort-Plush Elevated Airbed
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

INTEX DURA-BEAM COMFORT-PLUSH ELEVATED AIRBED

Good Cheap 22" Air Mattress With Built-in Pump
Est. Price: $53 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Generally comfortable and easy to set up, reviewers say.
- Testers at BestReviews rank it among their top 5 air mattress picks.
- Horizontal air chambers across the top; high-strength polyester fiber beams for added firmness and stability.
- Integrated pump; inflates to 22 inches in less than 5 minutes.
- Waterproof plush top.
- Holds up to 600 pounds.

Cons:
- Complaints about short lifespan: deflation, leaks, split seams.
- Requires refilling before each use, reviewers say.
- Feels wobbly, with the center higher than sides, some users report.
- Short 90-day warranty.

Takeaway: Both expert and user reviews of the Intex Comfort Plush air mattress say it's well suited for occasional use, like when guests stay over or the kids just want to have fun. Many laud the comfort of this high-rise air mattress so long as it stays inflated evenly, which users admit can be tricky to ensure, although the built-in pump adds convenience. With feedback from nearly 9,000 reviewers on Amazon — more than half of whom award it a 5-star rating — it's safe to call this 22-inch Intex air mattress a consumer favorite, despite complaints from some owners regarding limited longevity. For the appealingly low price, many buyers say they've happily picked up more than one, either for use in different rooms or to replace one that gave out. There's an 18-inch version available for $49 (buy it on Amazon), but the $4 difference between these two mattresses buys 4 extra inches of height and added comfort.

Coleman SupportRest Double High Airbed
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

COLEMAN SUPPORTREST DOUBLE HIGH AIRBED

Best Air Mattress Under $100 Overall
Est. Price: $70 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Designed for indoor or outdoor use.
- Lauded by users and experts for comfort and stability.
- With a dual-seal valve to guard against leaks, this mattress holds air very well, most reviewers say.
- Inflates to a cozy 18 inches.
- Plush top for extra cushioning; reinforced construction for support.
- Accommodates up to 600 pounds.
- Wrap-and-roll system for storage.

Cons:
- Scattered complaints about slow leaks and overnight deflation.
- No pump (Coleman airbed pumps recommended).

Takeaway: The Coleman SupportRest Double High does double duty as a home air mattress or an outdoor airbed for camping. It also happens to be unusually comfortable and stable, according to users and experts. In testing by Wirecutter, an otherwise identical version with a built-in pump bested all but one other, much more expensive mattress. Granted, there's lots of discussion in reviews about the mattress stretching and needing a boost before bedtime, but product details explain this as normal due to factors such as air naturally expanding and contracting with temperature changes, weight on the surface, and the physical qualities of the PVC shell. Even with some reports of leaks and near total loss of air, the overall performance, versatility, and price make this Coleman air mattress worthy of consideration.

SoundAsleep Dream Series
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

SOUNDASLEEP DREAM SERIES

Bonus: Best Air Mattress for Home Under $150
Est. Price: $120 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Extremely comfortable, according to hordes of users, with no loss of air overnight.
- Highly regarded by expert reviewers.
- Built-in pump inflates the mattress to 19 inches in 4 minutes.
- Dual chamber with proprietary air coil construction keeps the surface flat, provides stability, and maintains the mattress' shape.
- Thick, waterproof flocked top and grippy bottom; puncture resistant shell.
- Carrying bag.
- Customer service is praised for very attentive support.

Cons:
- Reports of air leaks in a small percentage of reviews.
- Dimensions are a bit smaller than a true queen size.

Takeaway: With unusually glowing reviews for this product category (including positive feedback from more than 12,400 reviewers on Amazon) and an appearance at the top of many expert roundups, this SoundAsleep air mattress seems like a dream option. The price is above our $100 cap, but shoppers who have the luxury of expanding their budget will get their money's worth. Users laud the comfort and quality. Some say they sleep longer on this air mattress than a regular mattress, because the aches and pains they sometimes feel don't surface. The casing proves resilient, even against cat claws, one review notes. It supports 500 pounds and rarely needs a top-off after the first night or two, as the PVC naturally loosens up. This airbed is designed for indoor use only and the company cautions against relying on it as a long-term substitute for a traditional bed.

Serta Raised Air Mattress
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

SERTA RAISED AIR MATTRESS

Bonus: Airbed With NeverFlat Pump
Est. Price: $122 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Feels oh-so close to a real mattress, reviews say; comfortable enough for daily use.
- Underlying layer with circular coils to provide support and create an even surface.
- Built-in pump inflates the airbed to 18 inches in less than 4 minutes and shuts off automatically.
- Patented secondary pump works silently during sleep to keep the mattress fully inflated, with a dial to customize for comfort (plush, medium, firm).
- Puncture- and water-resistant flocked top; grippy, no-slip bottom.
- Carrying bag.
- 2-year warranty exceeds the norm.

Cons:
- Complaints about air leaks and a few split seams.
- Lower weight limit of 350 pounds.

Takeaway: Sitting just beyond our $100 price range, the Serta Raised Air Mattress with NeverFlat pump may be worth the stretch. For the most part, reviewers say this model lives up to its marketing claims, refilling itself with air during sleep sessions to maintain the preferred comfort level and keep users far above the floor. Many report using the air mattress for weeks or months at a time. It does, however, garner the usual array of negative comments concerning leaks, particularly near the comfort-control panel and pumps. And very light sleepers may find the constant pump action somewhat disconcerting. This model sells for slightly less under the Insta-Bed moniker, but buyers who forego the big brand name also get a reduced warranty — one year vs. two.

Coleman Airbed Cot
Photo credit: Courtesy of walmart.com

COLEMAN AIRBED COT

Bonus: Air Mattress With Cot
Est. Price: $115 | Buy it from Walmart

Pros:
- Comfortable, sturdy, and stable; ensures a good night's sleep under the stars, in a tent, or in a home, users say.
- 8.5-inch mattress with coil support sits on a steel frame for a total height of 22 inches.
- Integrated cover attached to the frame keeps the mattress in place.
- 2 side tables with drink holders attached to the frame.
- Battery-powered pump included.
- Packs up into a rolling storage case.
- Holds up to 600 pounds.

Cons:
- Some reports of air leaks and deflation; a few reviewers consider the seams flimsy.
- With the mattress and cot folded together, the product is rather large and heavy to transport.
- Pump requires four D batteries.

Takeaway: As one reviewer writes, this Coleman cot air mattress turns camping into glamping. No more sleeping close to the ground (or floor, as the case may be). Users say this setup is more comfortable than a traditional air mattress, whether indoors or out. The frame and mattress weigh a combined 42 pounds, a bit much for some users to put up and take down single-handedly but very easy with two. A smattering of complaints pop up about air loss, but what seems like a leak may actually be stretching of the PVC shell. This is normal for the first outing or two, and most reviews say the mattress holds air tight after the first few uses. If the mattress ever gives out entirely, just substitute another air mattress of the same size atop the frame. Some users reserve the battery pump for outdoor use and revert to a faster electric pump indoors.

Coleman Easystay 4-N-1
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

COLEMAN EASYSTAY 4-N-1

Bonus: Double Stack Air Mattress
Est. Price: $45 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Can be used as two separate twin beds, a king-size bed, or a double-high air mattress.
- Coil construction for support and comfort; each mattress segment inflates to 8 inches.
- Patented wrap/roll storage system built in.
- Individual mattresses support up to 300 pounds.

Cons:
- Some complaints about leaking, bulging, and poor quality.
- No pump (Coleman airbed pumps recommended).

Takeaway: The versatility and bargain price make this Coleman 4-in-1 air mattress an easy buy for many consumers. Owners say the option to separate or stack the two mattresses comes in handy when trying to fit the bedding inside a tent. When laid side-by-side, the individual mattresses can be adjusted to each user's taste, and motion doesn't disturb both sleepers, making for a more restful co-sleeping arrangement. On the downside, there are some who say this product doesn't quite live up to the Coleman name and question the quality of the brand's current offerings. We saw several reports of one of the mattresses springing a leak or developing an air bubble while the other held firm.

Aerobed Air Mattress for Kids
Photo credit: Courtesy of coleman.com

AEROBED AIR MATTRESS FOR KIDS

Bonus: Best Air Mattress for Children
Est. Price: $57 | Buy it from Coleman

Pros:
- 50-by-25-inch mattress with wide, raised edges to keep kids from rolling off.
- Electric auto-start pump inflates the mattress to 4 inches in 60 seconds.
- Six vertical air chambers for support; deflation valve also adjusts firmness.
- Holds up to 300 pounds.
- Washable, decorative fleece pad/sheet included.
- Very lightweight, at just under 1 pound; carrying bag included.

Cons:
- Scattered complaints about air leaks, especially at seams, and deflation within a few hours.
- Reviews occasionally mention annoying motion-related squeaking.

Takeaway: Kids are happy to sleep on this child-size air mattress, reviewers report, and some even "fight" for the opportunity. With a larger sleeping surface than portable cribs and a compact storage design meant for easy transport, the AeroBed Air Mattress for Kids wins over many adults, too. Families pack it along on vacation, grandparents keep one (or more) stored in the closet, and grown-ups don't fret about little ones rolling off onto the floor, thanks to the raised bumpers. Although AeroBed (part of the Coleman family) markets the mattress for children ages 4 and up, many reviews talk about putting toddlers to sleep within its cushy confines.

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