Best Self-Inflating Sleeping Mats for Festivals

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A sea of tents at a festival - best self-inflating sleeping mats

Self-inflating sleeping mats are one of the greatest innovations in the camping industry. Gone are the days of carrying bulky camp beds, flocked airbeds and foot pumps.

These mats are compact, lightweight and extremely comfortable, making them perfect for festivals! This article explores the best self-inflating mattresses for festivals.

While self-inflating sleeping mats are one of the greatest innovations in the camping industry, choosing the best ones can prove to be a struggle because they come at a wide range of prices and most of the reviews are not written by fellow festivalgoers.

That is exactly why I have written this guide to help festival-goers make educated choices on which sleeping mat to get before your next festival adventure.

What are self-inflating mats?

Also known as self-inflating mattresses (SIM), self-inflating sleeping mats are just that – they inflate by themselves without the need of a pump to inflate them.

Inside the mat, there are compartments made of compressible foam which means the mat can be packed up really small. However, when this foam expands, the compartments fill with air and the closed valve keeps it under pressure.

This gives you a comfortable night’s sleep as the air trapped inside provides some cushioning for you to lie on.

When you open the value, usually by twisting it, air rushes into the mattress and it inflates rapidly. Then, you open the valve again to deflate it when you’re ready to pack it up!

Why are self-inflating Mattresses great for festivals?

The benefits of owning a self-inflating mat instead of a sleeping bag mostly comes down to its size, weight and ease of use.

Before I discovered these wonderful mats, I was using traditional air beds and a battery-powered pump.

It was heavy, awkward and noisy to pump up. The self-inflating versions are a breeze in comparison to those PVC flocked airbeds.

Also, they’re excellent for providing insulation and keeping you warm.

The ground gets very cold at night when you’re camping at a festival and you lose a lot of heat if you’re sleeping on a basic roll mat.

Best All-Round Self-Inflating Sleeping Mat

The Vango Trek is a lightweight and compact sleeping mat, great value when looking for a good nights sleep

VANGO Trek Compact Self-Inflating Mat
Image from Go Outdoors

Vango Trek Compact Self-Inflating Mat

  • 3 cm thick
  • Weights just 850g
  • Anti-slip grip
  • Carry bag for fast packing
  • Dimensions: 160 x 51 x 3cm
  • Packed dimensions: 25 x 13cm
  • Repair kit included – super handy!

Our Thoughts

This is the best choice if you’re off to your first festival or you’re not a regular camper. The fact that it’s so light, packs up so small and comes with its own repair kit makes it ideal.

It’s inexpensive but it will last for many years if you take care of it.

The Vango Trek Self-inflating sleeping mat is not suitable for taller folk – it’s only 160cm long which is only 5’2! You can add a pillow to make it feel a bit longer though. This is great if you have a small tent as well.

Best Budget Self-Inflating Sleeping Mat

OEX are the go to for affordable well made camping gear, this camping mat is lightweight and thermal.

OEX Traverse Self-Inflating Mat
Image from Go Outdoors

OEX Traverse Self-Inflating Mat

  • 2.5 cm thick
  • Soft touch brushed polyester
  • Dimensions: 183 x 51 x 2.5cm
  • Packed Dimensions: 29cm x 14cm
  • Comes with a drawstring carry bag
  • Weighs 900 g
  • Manageable size when packed

Our Thoughts

This is the best choice if you’re going to multiple festivals this season and you want something with a bit of added durability. The OEX mat is slightly larger and heavier than the previous VANGO mat, but it does give you some extra room and comfort.

It still only weighs 900g, it’s ultra-thin but extremely durable.

Other Options to consider

The following selection of self-inflating sleeping mats are thicker, take up more space and are heavier to carry. But if you don’t mind that, check out some of these options instead ?

Outwell Dreamcatcher Single Sleeping Mat 10cm
Image from Go Outdoors

A thick one: Outwell Dreamcatcher Single Sleeping Mat 10cm

Featuring wave-shaped foam for back support
Anti slip base
10cm thick
Weight 2.3kg
Dimensions: 195 cm x 63cm x 10cm 
Packed Dimensions: 66 x17 cm
Double valves for quick and easy inflation

Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Self-Inflating Sleeping Mat
Image from Go Outdoors

all the extras: Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Self-Inflating Sleeping Mat

7.5cm thick
Soft stretchy fabric woven over top for a more comfortable feel
Silicon embossed on the base of the mat prevents slipping
Dimensions: 183 cm x 51 cm x 7.5 cm
Packed Dimensions: 17.5 cm x 26 cm
Delta Core technology reduces weight but retains the comfort
Weight 0.97kg
Comes with a easy to pack carry case

Sleeping mat - double
Image from Go Outdoors

Thick with room to move: outwell Dreamcatcher Double Self Inflating Sleeping Mat

Featuring wave-shaped foam for back support
Anti slip base
7.5 cm thick
Dimensions: 195 cm x 63cm x 10cm
Packed Dimensions: 66 x17 cm
Double valves for quick and easy inflation
Weight 2.3kg

Self-Inflating Sleeping Mat FAQs

Self-Inflating Mats vs. Flocked Airbeds

Flocked Airbeds

Double flocked air bed


More space between you and the ground
Very comfortable when they’re fully inflated


Easily damaged if not cared for
Heavy, bulky and difficult to pack
Takes a long time to fully inflate
Constantly needs reinflation

Self-Inflating Mats

self-inflating sleeping mat


They’re so easy to carry because they’re lightweight and small
Inflates in a few seconds with little effort involved
Provides comfort, insulation and warmth


Budget options may need reinflation each night
Some people find them too thin

Yoga-style Sleeping Mats

Even worse than an air bed is a basic yoga mat. It’s rare for an experienced camper to choose a yoga mat over an airbed or SIM.

The people you’ll see carrying yoga mats to use as a mattress are either very young and don’t care, or they’ve never camped before so they don’t realise how uncomfortable it will be.

TurnerMAX Outdoor Camping Mat Light Foam Mattress Sleeping Tent Festival
This is a bit better than a basic yoga mat as it has some extra thickness and insulating layer – it’s still nothing compared to a Self-inflating mattress though!

See also: The Ultimate Festival Packing List

Conclusion: Best Self-Inflating Mattresses for Festivals

Roll out, pack up, and relax – no more lugging around your heavy sleeping pad! These picks are perfect for festivals, as they are lightweight and can be packed away in a small bag. No more waking up on cold, wet ground in the morning.

Lightweight, comfortable and compact, self-inflating mats are the perfect festival partner. Ideal for festivals, expeditions or camping trips away, these mats are available in inflatable models and mummy style. They also pack down small so they don’t take up too much space in your luggage!

We hope you enjoyed this article on the best self-inflating sleeping mats for festivals. If you found it helpful why not share it with a festival loving friend to share the knowledge? ?

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