How to Insulate an Air Mattress?

How to Insulate an Air Mattress? (And How Not to)

(Last Updated On: July 6, 2023)

The main idea behind insulating an air mattress is to keep the body away from the cold air inside. In order to do this, you can add layers of insulating materials to the top of the air mattress. You may find that your air mattress comes with some built-in insulation, but it may not be sufficient. Thus, you’ll need to add a layer or two of insulating material to keep the mattress warm.

Understanding the R-value

To determine the insulation, you can refer to the R-value. It measures how well a material resists heat transfer.

A higher R-value indicates better insulation while a lower R-value means a bad thermal conductor.

While some mattresses offer an approximate R-value, an absolute R-value is the most accurate way to determine the level of insulation in an air mattress.

So, it is important for you to know the R-value of an air mattress before you buy it. That way you will know how good insulation it already has.

Additionally, it is going to be helpful for you to know the R-value of whatever you intend to use to put on the air mattress to insulate. It will tell you how effective it will be.

How to Insulate an Air Mattress?

There are many options to insulate an air mattress, depending on the desired end use.

Some people use cozy layers, while others use heating blankets.

Choosing an option that best fits your needs is crucial. The warmer the air mattress, the more comfortable you’ll be during chilly nights.

Using Blankets

Placing blankets on top of an air mattress is a popular way of insulating it. It is also the most accessible way as many people have blankets in their homes. 

Using blankets to insulate an inflated air mattress can also be effective when you sleep outdoors. Using a layering system is a great way to keep the air mattress warm.

Wool blankets

In colder weather, wool blankets are ideal. Wool blankets will keep you warm without costing a lot. Sheep’s wool blanket has an R-value ranging from 3.5 to 3.8 per inch which is considered to be good at retaining heat. 

You can also choose fleece or down blankets. They are not as warm as the wool but they still do a pretty great job. 

In addition to layering the blankets on the air mattress, you can use a couple of them over you as well when you lie down to sleep. This will further help keep you warm.

Thermal blankets

Using a thermal blanket on top of your air mattress is also an effective way to prevent heat loss from your air mattress.

Using blankets to insulate an air mattress is an easy and convenient way to keep your mattress warm, so do consider using them to add comfort and minimize frost.

Using High-Density Foam

High-density foam is often used to make insulating foam for air mattresses. This material has a high R-value, which means that it will help to keep you warm.

Generally, foam with a higher density is better insulated than lower-density foam, thus keeping you warmer. 

The polyester exterior is durable, but it’s also bulky. 

The bulky nature of a high-density foam may make it difficult to be taken with you if you are going on an outdoor trip. 

However, if you do manage it, a high-density foam can act as an excellent insulator between the cold surface of the air mattress and your body. 

You can even get a memory foam topper and use it for car camping.

Using a Mattress Topper

When you want to insulate your air mattress, one of the most effective ways is to use a mattress topper. But the topper will not fit on your air mattress perfectly unless you get the right size.

Unlike a blanket, you will not be able to fold it. So make sure you get a mattress topper that fits the size of your air mattress. 

The topper will provide good insulation and also better comfort. The mattress toppers are basically made with the purpose of providing better comfort. The insulation is just a by-product effect using a mattress topper.

Different types of toppers are available, with each providing different benefits.

Memory foam, for example, adapts to your body and offers exceptional motion isolation. Latex, on the other hand, is cool and offers additional cushioning at pressure points.

How Not to Insulate an Air Mattress?

How Not to Insulate an Air Mattress?

You should know how not to insulate an air mattress. Most people make this mistake and fail at making themselves warm on the air mattress. 

They try to put layers between the ground and the air mattress and think it will work. However, it does not.

You must be aware that putting insulating materials underneath the air mattress will only insulate the layers below. 

Air mattresses are full of air and the air would get cold if the surrounding environment is cold.

When you put layers under the mattress, it only acts as an insulator between the ground and the lower side of the mattress but will have little to no effect on the air inside the mattress.

You need to place the layers of insulating material such as a blanket on top of the air mattress rather than underneath it. Because essentially you want to create insulation between the surface of the mattress and your body. 

Hence, putting the insulation materials on top of the air mattress will be more effective. 


In conclusion, it is important to highlight that while air mattresses are specifically designed to be portable, they are not engineered to keep you warm. And because of the very nature of air, the air inside the mattress will bring itself to the temperature of the air outside the mattress.

That is why you need to come up with other ways of keeping yourself warm which we have discussed in this article. These are almost certain to work if you do them properly.