Years ago, camping was almost synonymous to rugged, rough, and hard experience. It meant moving out of your comfort zone to commune with nature. With hiking and camping becoming a popular weekend hobby, different camping gear, air beds, and equipment have been developed and are now readily available online and in stores. Nowadays, even first time campers can enjoy the outdoors because of the various options available. One such option designed to make your sleeping in camp better is the camping mattress.
Choosing the right bed to lay your head and rest during a camping trip can mean being 8 refreshed and ready for a new day of activities. A lot of campers agree that the bed can “make or break” your camping adventure. There are different types of beddings available now, including sleeping bags, hammocks, cots, sleeping mats, and folding camp beds. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages and choosing the best camping gear will ultimately fall on you and your needs. Here are the advantages of an air bed over other sleeping equipment.
1. An air bed is easy to use
Novice campers and even children know how to use an air bed and how to inflate and deflate it as needed. It is very easy to pack away and clean, as most air beds are made of smooth vinyl material. Unlike the folding camp beds that need metal support and the hammocks that require tight ropes, you do not need to assemble anything or read a manual to set up an air bed. You just have to unroll the bed in your intended space inside or outside the tent, inflate it with a pump or press the self-inflate button, and wait for it to fill up.
2. Storage space is not a problem
Storing the air bed is also very easy. You can just roll the bed from end to end, stuff it inside its carry-on bag, and you are good to go. Storing it at home is also very easy. Just wash it occasionally and let it air dry before storing it once again inside a bag or a box. It is very compact, so it does not need a lot of space.
3. It weighs less
Air beds with manual pumps are more likely to be lighter at approximately two to three kilograms because of their external pump, making it great for hiking. Camping mattresses with a built-in pump weighs from 9 to 12 kg which is your best bet if you will be camping near your RV or car. Some folding camp beds would weigh more. Remember that heavier mattresses also have added comfort like the self-inflating capability, adjustable firmness, and a built-in pillow. If you are backpacking and you want to have more space for your necessities, you can forego a self-inflating bed and get an air bed with a manual pump. Don’t forget to bring the pump or else, you will be blowing air by mouth to your air bed.
4. It provides you a bigger sleeping space
Sleeping bags, cots, and hammocks are made specifically for single sleepers so if you are camping with your family or your friends, you will have to bring your sleeping bags individually. You will also have to set up the hammocks and cots separately. This means more space is needed in your bag and more time is spent preparing your bed. On the other hand, you can buy air beds that have different sizes, depending on your needs and the size of your tent. You can choose from single, twin, double, or queen sizes.
5. You can choose the ideal capacity
The bed’s capacity depends on the materials used, so you should check the user’s manual before buying. The quality of the seams, valves, and material will also determine the capacity of the air bed. The air bed’s general weight guidelines are the following:
|Bed Size||Capacity||Weight in pounds|
|Twin size||1||Maximum of 300 pounds|
|Full size||2||Maximum of 450 pounds|
|Queen Size||2||Maximum of 600 pounds|
6. It is as comfortable as your traditional bed
Sleeping peacefully like you are in your own bed is something that air beds can boast of. Unlike lying in sleeping bags and pads, you are far from the ground and you will not feel the hard surface under you when you sleep in an air bed. You will also be able to stretch your legs and sleep in whatever position you like. Even with a single bed, you have plenty of space to move around. Compared to sleeping in a hammock, you are not restricted from moving around and you don’t have to lie on your back. An air bed is also preferable when you need to go to the restroom at night. If you are enveloped in a cocoon like your sleeping bag, it will take longer for you to unzip the bag and get out.
7. It is made of durable materials
The materials used in most air beds nowadays are sturdy vinyl. Air beds can withstand up to 600 pounds of weight. You can easily roll and unroll vinyl materials without causing damage to the bed. Unlike foam that can be deformed if used continuously, air beds retain their shape no matter how long you use them. If cared for properly, air beds can be used at home as an extra bed or as a camping bed for a very long time. You should not choose cheap plastic materials as they will deform and are rather noisy to use.
8. It is more affordable
Air beds are generally affordable. Prices range from $39 for a twin sized bed to $79 for a queen sized one. You may also get the Bestway Luxury Queen Air Bed with a built-in electric pump for only $69 at OutbaxCamping. In comparison, sleeping bags cost from $40 to S63, whilst a double sleeping bag is worth $79.90.
9. It has adjustable firmness
Wouldn’t you like to rest your tired body on a soft surface? Air beds have adjustable firmness, allowing you to customise it. If you want a firm bed, you can add more air and if you want it softer, you can let some air out. Remember that if you make the bed too firm, it will result in uneven weight distribution on your body, so some parts might feel sore in the morning. A great air bed should support your spine no matter what firmness you choose and you should not be sinking in the middle.
10. It is easy to maintain
Maintaining an air bed is pretty easy. You just need to wash it once and a while and store it properly. Whilst camping, you can leave it inflated if you will stay in camp for a few days and just deflate it when you are ready to go. Just bring repair patches with you just in case there is a stray twig you did not notice. Check the ground first before inflating your air bed to avoid punctures. Once you notice that it is slowly deflating on its own, look for a hole and patch it up immediately. Before buying an air mattress, consider the following questions.
1. How do I inflate the bed?
Some airbeds still come with a manual pump, some with an electric pump, and some are self-inflating. Self-inflating mattresses are heavier than manual pumps because of its built-in pump, although this built-in pump removes the strain and work needed to inflate the bed. You just need to lay the mattress flat, press the button, wait for it to fill, and adjust the firmness as desired. Air beds with external pumps are cheaper and lighter and they usually come with foot or hand pumps. An electric camping mattress, on the other hand, needs battery or a power source.
2. How often do I need to inflate it?
Low-quality air beds tend to leak easily in the seams or in tiny holes. You just need to add more air and plug leaks if needed. You should buy a mattress that will retain the air inside even after a few uses. The best air beds come with a screw valve design to prevent the valve from popping out and deflating. When camping, you can inflate and deflate your mattress as needed.
3. How will I repair it?
If you notice that your air bed is losing firmness or if you can hear a hissing sound when you are inflating it, you should repair it immediately before the hole becomes bigger. Most air beds come with repair patches. If you don’t have some, you may buy them in stores. Duct tape can be used temporarily. Sometimes, the holes are really small so it is hard to locate the source of the leak. You can submerge your air bed in water, like a tub or a swimming pool, and look for air bubbles.
4. How do I deflate it?
The best camping mattress should be able to deflate on its own. Although inflatables are easy to deflate by just opening the valve, some take a long time and some even need assistance in totally removing the air out. If you air bed does not have a deflate setting, you may unscrew the valve of your airbed and then walk on its surface to help it remove the air faster. For easy storage, slowly roll the end of the air bed towards the valve then put it straight away to its bag.
5. What is the best way to care for it?
The best way to take care for any inflatable is to ensure that there will be no sharp objects poking on and under it. Remove twigs, stones, and any sharp materials inside your tent. If an air bed gets punctured, it will deflate and will no longer be comfortable. Look for durable materials like sturdy vinyl. After deflating your bed, just roll it and store it immediately. Make sure that leaves, twigs, or any damp objects are not stuck on your bed as this might ruin it. Keep it clean by washing it with water and mild soap if you think it became dirty during camping. After washing, make sure that it air dries first before you store in its bag. Keep the bag away from extreme heat or cold.
6. Who will use it?
First determine who will use the camping mattress and how many will be using it. Plan the sleeping set-up early on so you can decide if you need a bigger bed or a smaller one and if you need individual beds. Consider the sleeping habits of the person who will use the air bed. Those who like a spacious bed will benefit from an air bed. It is also better to use an air bed if you are bringing kids with you. Take into consideration the weight of the air bed and who will be carrying it if you will do a lot of trekking. Think of the size of your tent, too.
7. How long will you use it?
Some camping trips are not just over the weekend and it may entail spending weeks in the wilderness. It is a common misconception that sleeping in air beds regularly causes back aches and back problems in the long run. Like any bed, if your sleeping posture is not good, you will surely get a sore back. If the firmness of your air bed is correct, then you will not have any problem no matter how long you will sleep in a camping mattress. If you wish to use it for a long time, you should know how to take care of it. Look for a durable mattress that can withstand frequent inflation and deflation.
Air beds are definitely taking over the camping market because of their versatility and comfort. They can be used by solo campers, couples, and families because they offer the comfort of sleeping in your own bed. If you are still unsure about the camping mattress you will bring, check out the products available at OutbaxCamping. You can also talk to an expert through email or through phone at 1 300 688 229. You can shop for your camping gear online with confidence, knowing that all the products come with a 12-month warranty and a 60-day return policy. Shop now!