How To Choose The Best Camping Bedroll? (7 Ways)

Who doesn’t want to live life like a cowboy? If you wish to participate in your lifelong fantasy of spending a night out in the desert with your horse, then a bedroll is a must. We will help you decide what bedding options to bring with you in this best camping bedroll article.

What are Camping Bedrolls?

First, we need to define a bedroll. Every cowboy knows that it is an ancestor of the sleeping bag. It was mostly used in the American Old West by cowboys who rolled their whole bed into a bag.


Therefore, a bedroll is a rolled-up bed with some personal belongings inside. It was made of leather or other waterproof materials to keep a cowboy’s sleeping gear from becoming wet in the rain.

Sturdy and reliable, a bedroll allows you to trek and camp without bivvy bags, tarps, and tents. Usually made out of wax canvas for durability. it could be carried as a bag on your shoulder or attached to your horse. It was used all around the United States, Canada, and even Australia, as well as during the American Civil War.

Today, we generally use two items instead of the whole bedroll. We put a sleeping bag and pad together in our tent and then use them instead of a bedroll. In this article, we will cover modern bedroll options, such as sleeping pads. 

Remember that you can still make a bedroll by combining your sleeping bag and sleeping pad, rolling them up, and storing them in a waterproof bag or backpack. Now, let’s choose which one is the best camping bedroll. 

5 Types of Camping Bedrolls

What options can you choose from for the best bedroll for camping?

Traditional bedrolls

Traditional options are scarce and can be made at home if you want to be authentic. However, it is tough to make a bedroll that will keep you warm all night. Some modern options are on the expensive side. An original bedroll consisted of a waterproof outer shell, bedding similar to a sleeping bag, and storage for personal belongings. One can still find this in the form of a sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and tent combination.

A camper fixing his camp gear while at camp

Foam pads

If you’re looking for a traditional option, you can make the outer shell of the bedroll and then place a foam pad inside it. Foam pads will (in most cases) not keep you warm all night, but their comfort is unparalleled. Still, foam pads can be used in warm environments like the desert; they won’t puncture but offer no additional features and can be bulky.

Woman rolling memory foam sleeping pad

Inflatable air pads

A high-quality option is the inflatable air pad. They come in different styles and can be very lightweight, perfect for backpacking and trekking. Most have insulation and increased warmth, so sleeping on them, even in colder climates, will not be a problem. Still, they are more expensive and can puncture. On the other hand, if you are looking for a lighter option, this is a perfect choice.

Self-inflating pads

Another reliable option is the self-inflating pad. While it might not provide the most cushioning, it is sturdy and combines open-cell foam and air. The insulation in these sleeping pads is unparalleled, and they are known for their comfort. They pack compactly but are heavier and can puncture, though they are easy to repair.

KAMUI sleeping pad in tent Women

Closed-Cell Foam Camping Mats

Closed-cell foam pads or camping mats are also an option. They’re incredibly sturdy but also quite bulky. They are pretty durable and virtually indestructible, but they offer minimal cushioning. These basic camping pads are made of foam, inexpensive, durable, and often lightweight. However, they provide less comfort and are bulky. They improve insulation but don’t offer that much of it.


7 Criteria for Choosing the Best Camping Bedroll

What should one consider when choosing the best camping bedroll? Cowboy camping is the closest activity to backpacking; therefore, you will need a sleeping pad and bag to keep you comfortable. 

Bulkiness is also an essential thing to consider when it comes to choosing your bedroll, as you don’t want to take up too much space. The weight must be as light as possible to offer you a luxurious night’s sleep. Therefore, the criteria you need to keep in mind when choosing your bedroll are:

  • Type: The first thing you must consider when choosing your bedroll is the type of sleeping bag and pad it is made of. Be aware of the temperature ratings and types of both. There are three-season and winter sleeping bags and pads, each with a temperature rating that will let you know the conditions in which you will feel comfortable while sleeping.
comparing KAMUI Air vs self inflating sleeping pads
  • Sturdiness: Your sleeping pad’s sturdiness, durability, and construction play a key role in its longevity. They come in three types of construction: closed-cell foam, which is durable foam; self-inflating, made from open-cell foam that draws in air; and air-filled pads, which are very simple and use only air and must be manually inflated. Another option for people who want to use bedrolls is classic foam mattresses, which are easy to use but also quite bulky.
  • Insulation: Another thing you need to consider is the insulation type. This is specifically important for your sleeping bag because there are two types of insulation: synthetic and down. Synthetic is affordable, insulates while damp, and dries faster. Down is extra light, perfect for cold weather but not for damp climates. Most people love down because it compresses extra small and is durable, unlike synthetic insulation.
  • Cushioning: Your preference doesn’t matter; your mattress should provide enough cushioning and comfort for you to sleep on it all night. Your pad should be able to support your body’s entire width and length.
  • Inflation: Imagine going to a campsite, really out of breath, finally pitching that tent, and then realizing that you don’t have a pump ready for inflating your sleeping pad or mattress. It’s a huge deal and could minimize the comfort of your night’s rest. That is why inflation is a key factor when choosing your bedroll. Your sleeping pad should be easily inflated and have a pump or pump sack. Pump sacks and pumps inflate your sleeping pad with only a few breaths, offering you minimal effort and your pad minimum condensation.
  • Packed size: Imagine you’re on horseback or have a backpack with you, and your bedroll is constantly getting stuck in the bushes. If this is the case, you risk slashing the waterproof layer that is there to protect it. This is exactly why your sleeping setup’s packed size or bulkiness is so important.
    You will want to be able to pack your bedroll as small as possible. The best for packed size are air mattresses and air pads, which are the most compact out there. Self-inflating pads are a tad bigger, but the biggest, bulkiest, and heaviest pads are mattresses of any kind, like foam mattresses.
  • Weight: The most important aspect of a bedroll is the weight. Because your bedroll consists of your sleeping bag, pad, or general sleep setup, it should be lightweight. This goes especially if you plan on trekking or backpacking with it on your back. Sturdier and heavier options will weigh you down, make you slower, and burn more calories than expected.
    Choosing your bedroll doesn’t matter if you or your horse will be carrying it; it should not be too heavy. If you don’t have to count grams, you can choose a mattress or a self-inflating version of a pad, but if you want to keep it as lightweight as possible and if you’re carrying your bedroll on your back, you should consider something lightweight like an air-filled or foam-filled mat.

Best Camping Bedroll Option: KAMUI Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad

This is a versatile self-inflating sleeping pad that’s convenient and perfect for camping, backpacking, and anything in between. It’s ideal for families because it is thick and easy to carry. While it is pretty bulky, it is a perfect option because it’s adjustable and durable, making it a sleeping pad for all four seasons.


  • Comfortable
  • 4-season insulation


  • Bulky


Whether you’re looking for a traditional or non-traditional bedroll option doesn’t matter. We have explored the best camping bedroll ideas, and we hope that these will help you on your next cowboy adventure! Remember, the goal is to be comfortable and have a good night’s rest, not to be as authentic as possible. 

KAMUI Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad

  • Connectable with multiple sleeping pads
  • 4-season sleeping pad
  • Provides great back support
  • Comes with a storage bag
KAMUI Self-inflating Sleeping Pad Green with Blue variation