Air Mattress Beds for Campers
Air Mattress Beds for Campers
by Richard Galochkin
If you're a fan of camping (of course you are) then you know that it's an unpredictable pastime. Warm sun, gentle breezes, bird song and sleeping under the stars breathing fresh air is the intent but not always the result. Equipment failure, cold ground, bugs and tempestuous weather are what we sometimes get. The only sure way to avoid the bad that sometimes comes in lieu of the good would be to stay home. But then, who would keep the tics, spiders, snakes and poison ivy company?
Fortunately for the lonely creepy-crawlies, there are some people who revel in the adversity of a wilderness experience. They're happiest when things are at their worst. That's what puts them in the moment and, absent being eaten by a bear, gives them the best stories to bring home. The greatest stories result from the scars they have from having barely escaped a wild animal mauling. Fun stuff. To them, the food should be terrible, the weather should be crazy, the bears should be predatory and the experience should be epic. Give these guys a dull knife and a wet match and they're content with any camping experience.
The flip side of those guys who revel in giardia, trench foot, blood-sucking bugs, golf-ball-sized hail, marauding beasts and avalanche-prone camp sites are the haul-it-all crowd. If it fits in the recreational vehicle, it's camping equipment, if it doesn't, attach a trailer to the RV or tie it to the roof and it's still camping equipment. A bad camping trip for one of these types is poor satellite reception at the campsite. Or maybe the hot water isn't hot enough. The philosophy here is that if they really want to be immersed in the wilderness experience they can just watch Survivor Man on their in-camper flat-screen TV.
Now I appreciate both perspectives and have enjoyed time in both camps (if you'll pardon the pun). Now, however, I'm right there with the majority of campers and fall comfortably in the middle. I want to get away from beeping electronics and gadgets and annoying bosses but I'd rather not share my sleeping bag with snakes and have no interest in eating grubs and drinking my own urine to survive until rescuers find me. Most of us are content to leave the caviar at home, but want a decent meal at camp. We don't need an extension cord for a portable space heater but a warm sleeping bag is a necessity. We're not going to build our own shelter or sleep in a luxury RV, but a good dry tent is a must.
For those of us who fall comfortably in the middle between maniacally masochistic and pathetically pampered, the necessities are generally pretty simple. If we can carry it in on our back, it's fair game. The length of the hike, our strength, the size of our backpacks all contribute shifting our limits up and down but, regardless our limits, most of us have a couple must-have items we'll always want along. For me (beyond the expected items like a tent and sleeping bag) those items amount to great food and great sleep.
The good food part is actually easy to accomplish. I cheat. I always try to go camping with my buddy who happens to be a chef who missed his calling in life. This guy could turn week-old road-kill into something palatable if he set his mind to it. The second part, great sleep, requires me to actually haul something; an air mattress bed.
Now, I'm not talking about having a Select Comfort Sleep Number bed air lifted to our planned camp site or anything. Mind you, I own one and if it were in the budget, I might try to find a way to get it there. But money isn't that plentiful, unfortunately. What I am talking about is a self-inflating camping air mattress. If it were up to me, the guy or gal who invented these things would be up for a Nobel Prize.
In the old days (yes, I'm old enough to say that) the alternative to sleeping on bare ground was a foam sleeping pad. Neither comfortable nor ideal, foam pads were good primarily at keeping the cold at bay and minimizing (or at least spreading out) discomfort caused by that one twig, rock or root you failed to clear away before bedding down. My camping buddies and I nicknamed the pads better-than-nothing beds because that's precisely what they amounted to. When air mattresses for camping came along, they were little better than pads for comfort but were also bulkier, heavier and prone to puncturing and leaking. They also took forever to inflate.
Of course, technology marches on and air mattress beds made specifically for camping became much better. Materials became far more durable and self-inflation construction made these things a breeze to setup. The final step towards perfection came in the form of compaction. Modern camping air mattresses squeeze down as small as or smaller than their foam cousins. All in all, you'd be nuts not to include one of these in your camping kit.
Variety and luxury are the name of the game with modern air mattresses, making them a wonderful option for even the most discerning of campers (you RVers know who you are). Whether you're camping out of the back of a pickup truck, an SUV or need a guest bed for your maid, there's a cozy air mattress bed out there for you. Custom styles are made to fit a variety of trucks and SUVs, allow you to stay off the cold ground on 4, 6 or even 8 inches of comfortable air.
For those who still insist that you haven't really been camping until you've slept on the bare ground in winter in blizzard conditions while wrestling a lion, to each their own, Rambo. Come to think of it, you're exactly the guy I want sleeping next to me in the wilderness. When a bear attacks, one of us (me) will be well rested and quick enough on their feet to escape. The other guy, well, think of all the cool scars you'll have to brag about after the trip.
About the Author:
Richard is a contributing author to several camping and outdoors blogs including www.airmattressbedsguide.com. Come find the right camping air mattress bed or every day air mattress for your needs.
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