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air beds, mattresses and stretchers for camping


  • sleeping is perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of camping for many people and what you sleep on is only part of the issue
  • there are various options depending upon whether you are hiking or can carry the extra weight and bulk in your vehicle
    • stretchers and air beds are really only suitable for those with tall, larger tents such as touring tents, although some like to use a stretcher with their swag
    • self-inflating air beds are great for camping near your vehicle even in smaller 2 person tents
    • if you are hiking, a thermally insulated ultra-light air mat is probably your best bet


Lounge stretchers

  • these are stretcher beds which also can elevate head end and lower foot end to turn it into a lounge for added versatility
  • Coleman Converta Suspension Cot
  • Wanderer Premium Ultra Comfort Folding Stretcher King Single
    • 78 wide x 30cm high (adjustable feet height); 12.7kg; polyester over foam; packs to L82 x W21.5 x H88
    • each of the 6 feet are ~10cm wide to spread the load on a tent floor but I would still put a floor protector under them.
    • very comfortable but does not come with carry bag and is a bit bulky and heavy but otherwise highly recommended
    • head elevation plastic locking device needs to be well tightened - not for weak or arthritic hands!

Air beds

  • these are usually made of heavy duty PVC and are generally comfortable
  • PVC stretches from internal air pressure, body weight and temperature changes
  • most will need pumping up at least every 2 days
  • some have an internal dual pump system features a noisy primary pump which controls inflation, while a secondary pump works “silently” to maintain your support throughout the night - depending upon version, they will obviously require a 240V power supply or have an in-built rechargeable battery (eg. Bestway Alwayzaire Dual Pump QS Airbed)
  • come in either mat height (~12cm), standard height (~22cm high) and double height (~48cm high)
  • cons:
    • relatively heavy and bulky so not for hiking but not as heavy as stretchers
    • require inflating hence need a pump - most of these are very noisy
    • many have 240V internal pumps - you may not have access to 240V in your tent unless you have a powered camp site
    • most stretch and require further inflation
    • can be damaged requiring repair kit to get it inflatable again
    • air can make you colder
  • double height without 240V pump

Self-inflating air mattresses

  • these are larger and heavier than hiking air mattresses that you need to inflate but are also generally thicker and more durable
  • risk damage or loss of cap and not inflating
  • there are thicker versions which use foam as well - see in next section for these

Car camping foam mattresses

Hiking air mattresses

  • these are the most compact and light of all mattresses
  • many have thermal insulating materials but many of these are very noisy each time you move
  • risk damage and not inflating

Hiking foam mats

  • these are generally carried on the outside of backpacks as they are somewhat bulky
  • have the advantage that they won't fail on your trip but not really comfortable
  • one could use a yoga mat but they are a bit too thin for comfort
australia/beds.txt · Last modified: 2022/03/28 20:20 by gary1

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