Self inflating matresses - Brendon Soo

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 19:58
ThreadID: 24004 Views:5710 Replies:20 FollowUps:11
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My son and I just camped over last week's long weekend at Abercrombie National Park. We were on rapidly deflating air mattresses. I am not overly impressed to say the least now resigned to the fact that these blow up mattresses are unreliable.

Does anyone have any recommendations or experience with any specific self inflating mattresses that may be worth considering?

Thank you in advance,

Brendon Soo
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Reply By: Member - Jimbo (VIC) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:13

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:13
I seriously don't think these things "self inflate".

Self inflating suggests sucking in air against atmospheric pressure. Not unlike our lungs do.

These supposed "self inflating" mattresses are simply a high density foam mattress inside a sealed bag that remains compressed after you squeeze all of the air out of it. The sealed bag does not it let it regain its form due to lack of air.

When you undo the valves it just lets the foam absorb air as it would naturally.

We all know we can tightly roll a foam mattress and tie it up; but it immediately expands at any point where it is not tied. In the "self inflating" jobs they are in effect tied alll over by the cover.

Think of them as a foam mattress that can be kept compressed. They are indeed a good space saving device, nothing more.


AnswerID: 116417

Follow Up By: Member - Pesty (SA) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:51

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:51
Fantastic , slept on them for years, after we all had the air bed let down, we didnt even bother with the plugs but had many good nights sleep, we had the coleman ones, 4" thick, yes more bulky but a good sleep which is essential.
We used to put double sleeping bag over it and it works well
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Follow Up By: D-Jack - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:23

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:23

You've just described perfectly a Self Inflating Matress.

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Follow Up By: Member - Jimbo (VIC) - Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 07:55

Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 07:55
I don't doubt for a second they are good.

Just the term "self inflating" is a misnomer.
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Reply By: Exploder - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:15

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:15
Have you considered getting 2 swags.Expensive I know, but will last, and makes packing up the sleeping gear quick and easy And no need to set up a tent unless the tret of heavy rain.
AnswerID: 116418

Reply By: Elsewhere9 - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:37

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:37

Many years ago I bought self inflating mattreses (thermorest) and haven't looked back. The most comfortable nights sleep I ever had camping. Never felt the ground or any rocks etc under me, even though the mattress wasn't very thick. I thoroughly recommend them.

AnswerID: 116421

Follow Up By: ev700 - Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 00:29

Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 00:29
Hi Greg
True. Great insulating properties too. These are the best investment anyone can make early in their camping/hiking career. There are other copycats, but quality is always cheaper in the long run.

It's a good idea to give quality camping gear as gifts to children for birthdays Xmas etc. A Roman sleeping bag, silk sheet YHA and a Thermorest are an investment in peace of mind for children and students overnighting, going on school camps and so on. The stuff lasts 20+ years with average care and you are guaranteed that the kid is cozy even if the weather turns foul.

For older people I reckon the thermorest on a Coleman stretcher is the way to go. I am now in that category.

FollowupID: 371972

Reply By: porlsprado - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:45

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:45
well i went round australia in '89 and slept almost every night on a "self infating mattress" and it lasted at least 7 months on every conceivable surface, tyre shredding rocks in the Pilbara to volcanic stuff in the NT and on the nullabor whatever (was on a motorbickle). But i never relied totally on the "self inflating" aspect as three or four mouthfulls of air made a huge difference. I bought it cause as the time it was advertised as the best insulation against ground coldness. Eventually consigned it to the sometimes shelf cause it was quite thin and i like to sleep on my side. If yours leaks then its either holes in the mattress or a dud valve. They have their place in camping but should not leak. Forget the brand, but if you like sleeping on your side i'd suggest your normal K-Mart blow up, cheap reliable and easy to fix.
AnswerID: 116422

Reply By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:49

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:49
Hi Brendon

we don't own a self inflating mattress, but have slept on a "drifter" that belongs to Crazie and Kir, it was really comfy, and I can recommend them.

AnswerID: 116425

Follow Up By: Member - Crazie (VIC) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:57

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:57
Stoping breaking into my house and sleeping in my beds and eating my poridge....
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Follow Up By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:00

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:00
I had a spa too, and played play station...
FollowupID: 371934

Follow Up By: Footloose - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:59

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:59
Goldielocks was a thief and a vandal ! Be careful of imitations :)))
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Reply By: Boo - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:49

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:49
Evening Brendon Soo,

Know exactly how you feel in regards to the old style air mattresses, I've got two young kids and over the years have also had the annoyance of mattresses going down. Really not much fun. We are also looking at getting a couple of single self inflating jobies to use later this year, We've looked at several different brands and from what we're able to tell the comfort of the mattress is dependant on the quality and density of the foam insert not the thickness of it. Some of the thin ones (around 3cm thick) are a lot better than the thicker 5cm jobs. The main problem I found with the thicker ones is they are a lot more bulky for packing. Only problem is the thin compact ones get a lot pricier as well. The single ones also come in a lot of different sizes too from a narrow single to a quite wide one as well as a range of lengths so you may need to consider the size of your kids and will they last several years.
Just a bit of food for thought, hope it helps, and happy camping.

Just one last point.. the better quality ones with the denser foam stop the cold from penetrating through where the cheaper ones dont as well.

AnswerID: 116426

Reply By: Member - Pezza (QLD) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:57

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:57
G'day Brendan,

Check post 20805 for more on the info you require mate.

AnswerID: 116427

Reply By: Member - Luxoluk - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:58

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:58
Bought a couple of Metzler self inflating mattresses from Southern Cross. Despite being quite thin they only need a puff or two to keep my frame well and truely off the ground and they are extremely comfortable. Had those other types with bungs....not to be compared with a quality product. I have found it to be more comfortable than the foam mattress in my swag. That'sy 2 bob's worth!! Cheers
AnswerID: 116428

Reply By: geocacher (djcache) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:28

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:28
Hi Brendan Soo,

Just spent 5 weeks in the swag on a Thermarest Expedition. Fantastic. Can't speak highly enough of it.

I'd unroll the swag & let it inflate (or uncompress Jimbo...) then before bed put 4 puffs into it and screw the cap on.

If the expedition doesn't look thick enough then go the Camp & Comfort series.

Thermarest website

They aren't cheap but they are worth every cent. Mine was $140 I think but if you work it out and I've slept on it at least 50 nights in the last 12 months it's bugger all really a night.

The swag rolls up heaps smaller too.

Wait for Rays to have a big sale if you want them a bit cheaper.

AnswerID: 116439

Reply By: Crackles - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:44

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:44
Have slept on 7 different self inflating mats & have now settled on the Coleman as the best. Thick enough for a good nights sleep but compact when rolled up. Has the twin brass valves to avoid leaks & let the air out quickly for fast roll up. (Very important) Also has a ribbed pattern to stop you sliding off the mat. You could pay more for a name by buying a Thermorest or less for something without all the features but value for money, Coleman.
Cheers Craig.........
AnswerID: 116449

Reply By: Skinnydog - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:59

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:59
If I could get a Thermarest in a double size I wouldn't hesitate a second as the one in my swag is the best thing I've slept on, but when camping with the wife I'm more than happy with the Coleman though a little bulky.
Go the self decompressing mattresses.
AnswerID: 116452

Follow Up By: Elsewhere9 - Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 18:54

Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 18:54
Hi Skinnydog,

I had two thermorests with a strap that held them together to form a double bed. Friends bought a double mattress and found rolling it up was a nightmare. Much easier to roll up two singles.

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Follow Up By: viz - Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 20:33

Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 20:33
Big fan of the self inflating mattress (misnomer or no) - started out ears ago ears ago with a thin backpackers Thermorest around Europe. Graduated to thicker thermorests for bushcamping back home and then made a huge mistake and bought a double.

Mistake - I am 6'4" in the old money and near 100 kg and my wife is 5' and a whole lot lighter (not telling her weight - its DEATH if I do). So I sink into the mattress (comfy) and she is perched like a pimple of a pumpkin and has a hard ride. Plus *folding* the feather pluckin' thing!!!!

Get one of those 10cm chinese copies, but get singles. Make up a tightly fitted winter sheet to suit to hold the two mattresses together; combined with a mattress protector thingy underneath will stop sweating.

When I somehow lose this horrible (and not cheap!) double that I have, I am getting two singles and my wife can sleep then in comfort...

Anyone want a double??? If you are both the same weight and can cope with the folding its going cheap!

FollowupID: 372113

Follow Up By: geocacher (djcache) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 00:24

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 00:24
Get some widish elastic from spotlight and make up a couple of figure eights.

Slide a thermarest into each side of the figure eight and it holds the two together.

FollowupID: 372158

Reply By: Troopy Travellers (NSW) - Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 08:52

Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 08:52
We thought long and hard about the "self inflating mattresses" and got the thermarest, couldn't be happier, (we already had a blow up one and found it cold to sleep on) it had been suggested to us by another camper to get two thermasrest and using wide elastic figure 8 them together top and bottom for "togetherness". Much easier to roll up two than one big one. We vary at times using X stretchers and left the mattresses behind last trip and we sure noticed the cold coming up even on the stretchers. They are well worth the cost, we don't have the very thickest but still find them comfortable and from other comments they last many years. Lots of the camping stores are having sales and we got ours substantially reduced. A comfortable warm good nights sleep is priceless.

AnswerID: 116492

Reply By: Jodi - Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 09:07

Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 09:07
Hi Brendan,

We too have now been sleeping on a self inflating air mattress for over a year (it gets used every couple of weeks). I think it is fantastic and sleep right through the night - last weekend I even slept right through another vehicle entering our site at 4am lights on tent and all. Ours does not expand anywhere that it is not tied as we secure the caps at the end which prevent air from being sucked back in. With use, it is now rolling up tighter and tighter as well. I would recommend it to anybody with the space for it.
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Reply By: Dean (SA) - Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 13:19

Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 13:19
We have the coleman equivalent to the thermarest. I reckon Ive never slept better on a camping mattress, but my wife reckons its a bit hard and the air mattress, that is when it had air in it, was better.
AnswerID: 116528

Reply By: Alan S (WA) - Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 14:56

Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 14:56

With the self inflating mattresses it also helps to lave them unrolled when not using them. That way the foam is not conditioned to being compressed. They will inflate quicker although the do roll up a litlle bigger unless you put a lot of effort into rolling them.

I find it easy just to unroll and put them under our bed at home until needed next time.

AnswerID: 116547

Reply By: Member - Andrew L (VIC) - Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 16:15

Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 16:15
Hi Brendan,
I bought a queen size self inflating mattress fr $99.00 from anaconda
AnswerID: 116563

Follow Up By: Brendon Soo - Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 18:48

Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 18:48
Thanks Andrew, PERFECT! - !will now need to see if they can ship to Sydney!


Brendon Soo
FollowupID: 372092

Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 20:07

Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 20:07
They better be good just got one (38mm Coleman), for my Birthday along with a new sleeping bag.


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AnswerID: 116596

Reply By: Member - Pezza (QLD) - Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 21:01

Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 21:01
Hey Brendon, check under "camping gear" in the TRADER section of this site, there are 2 singles there.

AnswerID: 116611

Reply By: Montemoo - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 16:38

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 16:38
I too got the irrits with blow up matresses deflating in the middle of the night. Not particularly nice in below zero temperatures with your back on the ground with a very thin piece of material to protect you.

We bought a self inflating matress about a year ago and apart from being a bugger to roll back up and fit into it's carry bag we bloody love it. We have just upgraded to a campertrailer and even use the self inflating matress under the matress in the camper for extra comfort. We let it inflate for about 5 minutes and then blow into it about 3 or 4 times for some extra inflation. Doesn't bother us at all.
AnswerID: 116742

Reply By: Member - AVA 191 (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 20:23

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 20:23
yep - we got sick of noisy compressors and/or foot pumps and ditched the blow-ups for self inflaters - "down under" brand. Work well for us, wouldnt go back they take up extra room for sure, so we just throw them on the roof basket, no probs.
AnswerID: 116782

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