What You Need To Know Before Buying A Camping Air Mattress


intexairmattressWhen I was a young kid, I used to camp out in our back yard with the neighborhood kids and we never used any kind of air mattress to sleep on.  Those days are long gone.  I like to sleep in comfort.  I have 40 plus years of camping under my belt and it seems the older that I get, the more comforts that I like.  I like a little air under my body for both comfort and warmth.  I have slept on virtually everything that is sold commercially as a camping product.  My preference is  an air mattress or sleeping pad that has air trapped inside for cushioning and warmth.  Additionally, I want an air mattress that will stay inflated all night and that does not link.  I have slept on enough paper thin camp mats and punctured air mattresses to know that good night's sleep will make a camping trip even better.

The Secret To Finding A Comfortable Air Mattress For Camping

Read air mattress camping product reviews and trust them.  Why go through all the agony of using an inferior product when some one else will do all the work for you?  Amazon, REI, and all the other large retailer leave their websites wide open for consumer reviews.  They keep all the crappy and raving reviews.  Trust them.  If there are 90 stellar reviews and one poor review, I would listen to the poor review but put most of the weight on the great product reviews.

Are you aware that sleeping comfortable is really a secondary benefit of an air mattress?  The main benefit of an air mattress or a sleeping pad is to keep you warm and away from the heat sucking ground.  I am serious.  More people wake up  while camping because they are cold than because they are uncomfortable.  Staying warm on cold nights is a necessity.  An air mattress traps your body heat and reflects it back.

3 Types Of Camping Air Mattresses And Pads To Keep You Sleeping Soundly All Night

There are 3 basic types of camping air mattresses and sleeping pads.  Inflatable air mattresses, self  inflating sleeping pads, and non-inflatable sleeping pads.

Self Inflating Sleeping Pads That Will Keep You Sleeping All Night Without Tossing And Turning

I first started using a self inflating Thermarest back in 1985 when I traveled across the United States, Canada, and Mexico on a bicycle for 6 months.  Would you believe that I still have it?  I bought the shorter version because it was ultra light.  These sleeping pads work like sponges.  When you open the valve, air rushes in and fills up the "sponge" membrane.  The sponge is covered with a durable air tight material that resists punctures better than any air mattress.  I you get a leak, you repair it in minutes with a product called "Shoe Goo".  I currently own at a closet full of Thermarests and REI Campbeds that fit this category.

My favorite self inflating camp pad is the REI Campbed both for quality and price.  You can often find the REI Campbed 3.5 on sale at REI for under $100 and it is guaranteed for life.  Can you really beat that?  It has 3.5 inches of cushioning.  It has  an average weight of approximately 70 ounces.  Read the REI Campbed 3.5 reviews and see for your self why this camp air mattress is one of the best selling models available for family camping.

rei camp bed 3.5


How To Choose Inflatable Air Mattresses That Hold Up To Their Promises

A few years back I picked up an Intex queen size air mattress  on sale.  It came with a rechargeable air pump that was only good for 1-2 pumps.  It also has a built in foot pump which I really liked until I pumped too hard with my foot and blew a small hole in the chamber.   It was easily repaired and we were back to sleeping comfortably the next night.   I would stick with their standard queen size or double air mattress without the foot pump if you get a little too aggressive like myself.   I have used numerous Intex products and have always slept very comfortable.

Here is what I really like about Intex queen size mattresses:

  • Our queen size Intex always held air throughout the night without fail.
  • The air mattress folded up small enough to stow away in our roof top cargo carrier.
  • It was large enough for my wife and I too sleep comfortably.
  • I find it more comfortable than my Select Comfort Sleep Number bed at home.
  • I have used it for a total of 9 weeks of camping without ever getting a puncture on the bottom.

Downsides To Intex Queen Size Air Mattress

  • The pump that comes with this air mattress is slow.  It takes about 24 hours to recharge it.  I use an old charger that plugs into the cigarette adapter because it's about 10 times faster to get air into the mattress.
  • The air chamber surrounding the foot chamber is structurally weak and easily punctured.  I advise against using it.  Additionally, the foot pump adds a lot more bulk and weight to this air mattress.

The bottom line is that Intex makes a great air mattress that can withstand some abuse and still hold air.  If you  don't like the individual foam pads and self inflating types of air mattresses, then this air mattress is for you.

Aero Eco-Lite Queen Size Air Mattress Review

This is a great air mattress for those people that desire a light air mattress.  The queen weighs approximately 6 pounds and stores very flat.  It pumps up in less than2 minutes.  Forget the crappy pump that comes with the mattress as it's a rechargeable unit that barely works for 1 filling.  Fortunately, I always carry a spare pump that can be plugged into the cigarette lighter adapter.

As long as you are laying on the mattress, you will not hit the ground.  However, my wife complained that she could feel the ground when she was sitting up.   My wife is a hard customer to please.  I think that when she finally gets to Heaven, she will ask God for a mattress made from with the downy feathers from angels wings.

My wife's hitting the ground is a minor inconvenience when I considered how comfortable we were while sleeping on it.  Additionally, this thing is so  small when deflated.  It stores easily just about anywhere in the car.

This is by far my favorite inflatable air mattress.  I try to switch off every summer so I can share my experiences with other campers.