Self Inflating Mattress

Submitted: Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 09:05
ThreadID: 15282 Views:28494 Replies:18 FollowUps:12
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This has been mentioned in here before but I can't find it now.

We have a pump up mattress and a high denisty foam mat but are considering the self inflating mattress'. I have looked at a few on line but would like opinions on brands from the forum. I remember someone got one found it not thick enough and replaced it.

We tested one at Great Outdoors which was 63 thick and cost $319.00 but I have now seen an Oztrail on line which is 100 thick and costed at $169.00. This is for a double and the length and width are similar for both.

I would appreciate your recommendations and comments

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Reply By: Banjo - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 09:15

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 09:15
Thermarest (USA) were the leaders - might still be - I've have them for 15 years and they are great - will see me out I guess. Some others do the same thing.
An 'expert' told me that 1.5 inches (USA speak) is all you will ever need for general conditions - the 2 inch thick jobs are for sleeping on snow ! He ventured that when you go over 1.5 inches, you don't gain comfort - only price ! Hard to believe, but they are quite comfortable to sleep on - even 'stocky' aged users say the same !
AnswerID: 71207

Reply By: Big Kidz (Andrew & Jen) - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 09:16

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 09:16
Hi Carolyn

We brough a cheap brand and they leaked on our first trip. Jen seemed to be able to always give me the one that leaked faster. Put them in the shower with me and lathered them up at Alice Springs as I was sick of waking up through the night with a sore hip and having to blow it up. Bubbles came out of about 30 minute holes - they were porous!!

I took them back and being a good Scot I couldn't come at paying $300 for Thermarests so bought 100mm thick Earthmats that are good enough for me. They don't leak and my hip doesn't grind into the ground. The kids all jumped on one when they had friends over and the end popped which reminds me that I have to fix it..... too much time on the net lately - have heaps of jobs on my list!!

You spend 8 hours on it a day so it is worth being comfortable.

AnswerID: 71208

Follow Up By: Member - Bernie. (Vic) - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 09:33

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 09:33
There's the problem Andrew, you are supposed to sleep at night !!!
FollowupID: 331415

Follow Up By: fozzy - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 13:22

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 13:22
we use a drifter double-plastic/vinyl on both sides
simply chose this one over the velour ones so could wipe down if dirty or if got wet
went for double not queen as double fits across back seat of car(lc100) wheras queen size would be on angle.
very comfy and warm at night
can get moisture trapped underneath between floor of tent and bottom of mattress
have used for approx 3 yrs and no probs
is not quite as comfy as when new maybe 80% on new
FollowupID: 331464

Reply By: Member - Bernie. (Vic) - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 09:30

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 09:30
Hi Carolyn The old storey you get what you pay for I think.
Self inflaters are better for insulation ( no insulation value in air).
I used a 25mm Thermerest for 10 years scouting so it had a lot of use, but I was younger then, it was very compact.
Now We use 63mm Colemans & find them a lot harder to get inflated ( now keep them inflated at home) to stop the memory thing like batteries, also now put 1 wide piece 25mm soft foam over the top it is much more comfortable.
From what I have read the 100mm doubles need 2 people to roll them up & are quite bulky.
AnswerID: 71212

Follow Up By: Crackles - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 20:45

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 20:45
I've used 7 different self inflating mats over the years & like Bernie have settled on the Coleman. It's a little thicker than the Supa Thermorest, just as comfortable, has a better non slip surface, is cheaper, but best of all has 2 large quality brass valves to allow quick roll up in the morning. (Most important as I have 5 to do)
Yes definately store them inflated for maximum life & a couple of puffs before closing the vavles if you are too short for your weight.
Cheers Craig............
FollowupID: 331518

Reply By: GO_OFFROAD - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 09:32

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 09:32
Thermorest are very good, I have a double thermorest, and a single, and have had a couple of cheaper ones. Wouldnt go anything but the thermorest now.

The thickness isnt really important, because you add air to them, through the valve, to make them comfortable for you, never ceases to amaze me the amount of people who dont know that, and spend ages waiting for them to inflate, or sleep on them uncomfortably, because they didnt think to add air to them.

We also have a fitted sheet, a bit like a big pillow case, to put on the matress, for when we sleep on them, especially summer, where you dont want to be IN a sleeping bag.
AnswerID: 71213

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 17:35

Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 17:35
Oh yeah, forgot to mention that I'm 110kg and 6'3" so the queen size was my only option.
And to reiterate on Trucksters point of $$$. Got our double for $30 from kmart and the queen was less that $50 from Army Disposals.
FollowupID: 331594

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 09:33

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 09:33
We were GIVEN a Drifter Queen size by a mate I did some work for.
BRILLIANT .. inflates itself in about same time as my pump does a double airbed.


It doesnt fit in the car! Its physically too long. With the cargo barrier in the car, it dont fit. We had to buy a roofrack to fit it on. But now that the rack has gone, we use the good old 1970's trippy colored airbed.

It also got ripped, and had to have recovered which was $110, not cheap, but then, it cost me $0.00 to buy, so cant complain. But lookin at it about a month ago, it has another leak in it, so patch or recovering again. They dont take much to rip, IM not the most careful person on the planet, and expect things to be strong, even when they aint!

Airmateress take up less space, and since I have 2 compressors, and soon to have an engine driven one with an air tank, its no issue to blow them up.

Good quality DOUBLE size Self inflating go for $200, Queen size Air beds go $50 and we found neither is more comfortable than the other. Mate that gave it to us now has airbeds too.

Try and borrow one first. We did that with camp stretchers, and would never have one after tryin them.
AnswerID: 71214

Follow Up By: Big Trev - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 16:10

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 16:10
We have had a Drifter for about 7 or 8 years, never puctured it, never had a problem with in. I would recommend one to anyone - and I have.
FollowupID: 331487

Follow Up By: Chris (W.A.) - Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 04:23

Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 04:23
You should try the double size truckster

I've got a double size one and I ockey strap it to the cargo barrier above the rear passengers' heads' as long as it's suitably rolled to extreme "no air" proportions, or even on rear of barrier.

...that's if it's kids to, not tall persons.


FollowupID: 331538

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 17:34

Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 17:34
I think Truckster's talking sense. My brother and his fiance' come away with us somtimes so space is always an issue. They bring their bloody self infalting jobbies, take up all my damn room. I've got two air beds, a double for the kids and a queen for us and they just plop up on the roof rack in the rack sack, the lead on the coleman pump reaches from the plug in the back of the car into the tent. Chuck'em in the tent, pump them up - all down, comfy as. (just gotta be careful at night, fell over once getting up to take a bleep and the missus almost lunched over the moon! LOL
FollowupID: 331593

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 21:52

Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 21:52
Hi Chris.
Yes thought about that, but at the price V the space they take up, its not worth it... If my airbed dies, then $20 gets me a new one. The airbeds only take up 1inch by foot square, where the self inflating as Jeff says takes up 90% of rear cabin, there would be no room for the tent or fridge. Thats a LWB GQ too!
FollowupID: 331632

Reply By: Rob! - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 09:45

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 09:45
Go the thermarest.
Had them for years and find them far more comfortable the the cheaper brands.

If you need to add extra air in them, then just one or two breaths max. It puts moisture into them which isn't good. If you store them unfolded with the valve open when not in use they should fully inflate anyway.

AnswerID: 71216

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 10:00

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 10:00
yea good point, your supposed to store then unfolded.. Weird but the manufacturer told me that when I got mine recovered at Bayswater.
FollowupID: 331421

Reply By: Ian(Qld) - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 10:49

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 10:49
We have a troop carrier and experimented with diferent bed options but finalised on a double air bed with a thin foam mattress on top. What annoyed us was pumping the mattress up each night when on the road. We have a compressor installed in the engine bay. We solved the problem by installing a cargo net inside the troopy roof storing the mattress there already inflated. There are usually only 2 of us travelling in the front seats but even with a third person in the back seat its not in the way and supa quick when we arrive anywhere.
Our experience. Hope it assists.
AnswerID: 71232

Reply By: Tripp'n Around - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 10:49

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 10:49
Hi Troopy Travellers

We had and still have the old box blow up matress which worked well for us over the many years of camping. We had always put a woollen blanket down first for warmth.
When we started to sleep in the new 4BY we were restricted for height with it so we decided to get something more compact.
After looking at many self inflatables we chose the Great Outdoors Diamond Series Double Width Cross Cored.
In other words a double size self inflating matress but it is the same size as our Queen size bed at home.
We get a good nights sleep on it in the tent and an even better one when we sleep in the 4BY on the boards.
We still use the woollen blanket under it whether it is in the tent or in the back of the 4BY.
We were told to leave the vents open so it could breath during the day while we traveled.
We fold in half when we travel with it in the back of the 4BY without a problem and then we let it fill back up until bedtime when we close off the vents.
Hope this helps you.

AnswerID: 71233

Reply By: Member - W.Wallace - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 12:39

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 12:39
I have a Thermarest Camprest LE, in one word - excellent!

Mind you they're not cheap, but mine is warm & doesn't require me to
blow anymore air into it after self inflating, sometimes I even let a bit out.
I replaced my swag mattress with it.

All the best.
AnswerID: 71251

Reply By: Surf - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 12:41

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 12:41
We just bought the same as Tripp'n, only in two singles and have just returned from 2 weeks away in tents. Best night sleeps I've ever had while camping. As a matter of fact, I was looking forward to bed each night, where as previously sleeping was not my favourite past time in the bush.

Previously we had tried several self inflaters as well as air matresses, they either provided no support or were cold, but the Diamond series, cross cored from Great Outdoors provided plenty of support (for our bad backs) and have an insulating rating as well to prevent the cold coming up from underneath.

With our other matresses, kneeling on them resulted in your knee touching the ground through the matress, and sore hips each morning, with the new mats that never happens. We slept through a minus 4 night in Alice Springs recently, and never felt a thing (a good sleeping bag also helps).

They are also a lot easier to inflate and deflate with the brass outlets at each corner and roll up into a package about 6-8 inches thick when deflated. They cost a bit ($169 each?), but we will be getting two more for the kids soon. Well worth looking at.
AnswerID: 71252

Follow Up By: Tripp'n Around - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 15:55

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 15:55
Hi Surf

We looked at buying 2 singles but decided on the double seeing it covered the area in the back of the 4BY better.
We got the double on special for about $299 at Tent World in Brissy 2 and half years ago and have not regretted buying it either.
It got down to -3 dergrees in Roma QLD nearly 2 months ago when we were there on our trip to the Cape.

I can actually fold it on my own but we leave it open on the floor in the spare bedroom until we need it.

FollowupID: 331485

Reply By: Member - Ivan (ACT) - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 13:04

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 13:04
We bought two king singles for the last trip based on the two small ones being easier to pack than one wide one, also can roll it up alone, and lastly, still useable if you go somewhere without the other half..

Based on advice from the shop, bought a Caribee and an Oz Trail. Oz Trail because it was softer and more comfortable (for wife), Caribee because it would cope with the additional weight (me) without dumping me on the ground..

Caribee was $159, Oz Trail was $149

After two weeks..

Caribee was like sleeping on the ground as far as 'softness' goes - Oz Trail was lovely.

Caribee was damned hard to roll up (even with both of us) because it was so stiff.

Oz Trail was quite easy to roll up by yourself (even though we did it together)

Seam on Caribee has started to split - Oz Trail is in great condition

Hope this helps ;-)

2008 D4D Prado

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AnswerID: 71254

Follow Up By: Member - Stillthinkinaboutit - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 18:54

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 18:54
I bought 2 of the OZ-Trail ( King Singles ) and the wife and I just tried them out for a months worth of winter camping and found them very comfortable and quite easy to roll up. Certainly a lot warmer and more comfortable than our old velour covered air matress . Only down side is they are rather bulky, certainly not as bad as a double size though. I had considered a double, but as Truckster mentioned they take up a hell of a lot of space ( Length wise ).
We were lucky and picked them up from boots outdoor centre for
$99.00 each ( Reduced from $149.00 ) during one of their winter sales.

Regards, Mark
FollowupID: 331507

Reply By: Member - Jack - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 16:26

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 16:26
My wife and I both have Roman "Moon Mats". Self inflating, thick, roll up quite well, probably about 10cm thick when inflated. So far no probs, after 3 years of regular touring/camping.
The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. (Lewis Carroll-Alice In Wonderland)

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AnswerID: 71291

Reply By: Member - Andrew (Bris) - Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 20:14

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2004 at 20:14
We've had an oz-trail double about a year. Used regularly and never a problem.

We didn't realize you could sleep so comfortably when camping.

As mentioned only drawback is the size.
AnswerID: 71314

Reply By: Troopy Travellers (NSW) - Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 06:49

Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 06:49
A BIG THANKS for all your input. I am having trouble finding Thermarest in the Sydney area. Great Outdoors seems to be the only place with the larger stuff camping gear. There were some for sale on ebay but they didnt show the sizing. I think testing in the shop is a good idea, ;). Carolyn
AnswerID: 71361

Follow Up By: Tripp'n Around - Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 12:37

Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 12:37
Hi Troopy's

Most definately try them on the shop floor no matter how silly you might feel at the time.
Also, when we were shopping for ours the saleslady threw different size plastic pieces with quite large ones too under the matress.
We thought we would feel them, we didn't them at all, not even on our hips.
Happy shopping.


FollowupID: 331571

Reply By: splatter - Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 10:47

Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 10:47
My wife and I spent 3 months camping with the OzTrail's self inflating mattress. Yeah they were bulky but no punctures and a great nights sleep.

I think they were about $120 each for the singles about 12 months ago.
AnswerID: 71378

Reply By: Member Colin - NSW Bungendore - Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 15:23

Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 15:23
I have a double bed size self inflating mattress from The Great Outdoors - had it for a few years now - can't remember the cost but it was less than $200.

It is the best sleeping arrangement I have used, we use standard fitted bed sheets and a bed doona - as others have said, using 2 singles may have been a better option Re rolling up and storage. It takes up a bit of space in a Subaru but I wouldn't go back to anything else.

I borrowed a single Thermorest (SWMBO didn't go) for my last big trip to the CSR/Calvert Ra in June - they are good as well.
AnswerID: 71401

Reply By: D-Jack - Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 19:00

Thursday, Aug 05, 2004 at 19:00
We use 2 single Jackaroo brand single matresses from K-Mart. Don't know how thick but much thicker and more comfy than Thermarest 25mm. 5 year replacement warranty, haven't needed it though in 3 years and a fair bit of use. $40 each I think when having 20% off sale

AnswerID: 71422

Reply By: Big Kidz (Andrew & Jen) - Saturday, Aug 07, 2004 at 13:40

Saturday, Aug 07, 2004 at 13:40
Carolyn - you will be glad to know that this post has changed my life - well actually it made me go outside and fix my Earth mat that had the leak so all should be hunky dorey now.


AnswerID: 71659

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