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What is an Air Mattress?

By J. Beam
Updated May 17, 2024
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An air mattress is exactly what its name implies – a mattress filled with air. What’s especially convenient about an air mattress is that one can provide a quick, comfortable place to sleep without an allocated space for a bed. Air mattresses come in very handy for camping, overnight guests and as travel beds. An air mattress can be used as a replacement for a traditional mattress on a bed, but normal use is reserved mostly for a temporary solution to sleeping rather than long term.

An air mattress works in a similar manner to other inflatable objects. It has a valve for air to go in and later escape for deflation and storage. Though almost any size mattress is available, twin and full are the most popular retail sizes. An air mattress is designed to work with its coordinating size bed sheets as well. The quality, price, and functionality of different air mattresses vary.

You can purchase an air mattress for camping for less than some sleeping bags cost, however their quality is meant for comfortable sleep on a short-term basis. Some are designed for attaching a sleeping bag and some have cushioning built in. An air mattress is a great piece of camping gear, but remember to bring a battery powered inflator because inflating an air mattress by mouth alone takes far too much energy and time.

Similarly, an air mattress works well for creating temporary sleeping quarters for houseguests. If you are considering purchasing an air mattress for this purpose, look for ones that come with a storage bag or container for storing when not in use. Though many are single chambered, compare ones with more than one air chamber for additional comfort.

Though an air mattress is also great for kids’ sleepovers, remind kids to use caution with an air mattress. Excessive roughhousing or jumping on an air mattress can easily cause it to pop under the pressure, rendering it useless. You can expect minimal wear and tear over time, but small holes can generally be repaired with patch kits. Most air mattresses come with patch repair kits for convenience.

Though an air mattress doesn’t make an ideal alternative to a permanent traditional mattress, it will provide an exceptional alternative for temporary sleeping. If you find yourself wishing you had a place for guests or a bed to travel with, an air mattress is a great solution. Invest in a decent battery or electric powered inflator that also has a deflating option, which will provide a much-appreciated convenience for setting up and taking down your air mattress.

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Discussion Comments
By literally45 — On Apr 10, 2014

I use an air mattress with a battery charged inflating motor during camping. The point is to lie off of the ground so that the cold doesn't affect as much.

By ddljohn — On Apr 10, 2014

@donasmrs-- We have a raised, twin sized air mattress for guests and it works great. We have not had any issues with it and since it's raised, it really looks like a real bed. Our guests have never complained. My sister and her husband used it last time and they liked it so much that they're also getting one for their guests to use.

In regards to durability, that really depends on the mattress. There is a wide range of air mattresses at different prices. Of course, some are better quality than others. You should read reviews of an air mattress before purchasing it to make sure that it works well and suitable for your needs.

By donasmrs — On Apr 09, 2014

Does anyone here use a raised air mattress? I need to buy an air mattress for when guests stay over and I might also take it along when I visit relatives. I personally dislike air mattresses close to the ground so I'm considering getting a raised mattress.

But do raised air mattresses work well? How is this type of mattress inflated and is it durable?

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