Best mattress type for 'pop-up' bed?

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 00:14
ThreadID: 68377 Views:4479 Replies:7 FollowUps:8
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Hi, I'm new to the forum, but have been reading through associated posts to get an answer to my question - but still not sure I have found it - hence this new post.

Only new to tenting, we bought a Coleman queensize airbed with built-in pump to sleep on. First few nights it was cold as stone until we were told that sleeping on the ground required insulation between the tent and the mattress to stop the cold. Some neoprene mats improved things a lot, but the airbed was still uncomfortable to sleep on.

Then we bought an OzTrail queensize pop-up bed with bedhead (great unit) which gets you up off the floor, and comes with it's own air mattress. Instead of using that airbed we used our Coleman; nice and warm, but again, not very comfortable. My wife reckons it was better having it directly on the ground (that could be because where the mattress lies on the bed base, iis series of round buttons, with webbing in between and covered by a nylon sheet - but definitely not a solid continuous base though!)

Our main comfort problem with this set up was, as soon as I got into the airbed (I'm 105kg and 183cm tall and she's much smaller than me) my wife felt like she was sleeping on a mound, while I was okay, except my pillow was angled up because the air was being pushed up the bed by my bodyweight. So she was uncomfortable in the back area, and I had a cricked neck.

So, to fix this, I believe there are a few options I would be keen to get opinions on, assuming I keep the pop up bed which I really like:

a) Ditch the airbed and use an inflatable mat (4WD mat) on the pop-up bed. I tried a Coleman 100mm one instore (directly on the shop floor) and bottomed out on it. I am worried whether (didn't try though) it would not work well on the top of the pop up bed - not being totally flat (any opinions on this?). Worried my back and bottom might be sitting on the round buttons as pressure points?

b) Ditch the airbed and get either a slab of 100 or 150mm foam from a foam shop (but guessing would be really bulky in my VW Golf - which is already stacked high with other camping gear). Not sure with 100mm foam if you would feel the bottom bits of the bed, and would require the extra thickness?

c) Maybe try a foam overlay on top of my air bed to soften it up and somehow make it more comfortable to sleep on.

d) Ditch the pop-up bed (which I really don't want to do) and get an inflatable mattress on the ground.

d) Stay in a hotel bed!!!!

Be grateful for advice that will fix the issue before the wife gets sick of sleepsless nights in the tent.
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Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 06:30

Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 06:30

You don't say where you go camping.

Closed cell foam is the key to insulation. I have laid on closed cell foam directly on snow in a quality sleeping bag and slept very warm.

Foam mattress may be bulky but should be okay directly on the ground. There are many grades of foam and you probably need a very firm foam to support you. This is available at places like Clark Rubber but it will be very hard to roll up and will take up lots of space.

A quality camping shop will have self inflating sleeping mats which have insulation within them and roll up tightly. while these self inflate, you can always give them an extra puff or two to give extra support. These are individual gadgets so you and your wife could have your own mattress to the firmness each require.


AnswerID: 362384

Follow Up By: SPDF - Friday, May 01, 2009 at 05:57

Friday, May 01, 2009 at 05:57
So far, nowhere too adventurous. To date we have only ventured into caravan parks, powered sites and having the pop up bed is not exactly 'roughing it'!
FollowupID: 630246

Reply By: Member - Porl - Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 07:06

Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 07:06
Only third hand have heard these are the only thing comparable to a home bed. Of course for this amount of money you'd want to try it out first. Filled with down and foam chips it provides the insulation you are seeking.

Exped Downmat 9cm DLX

I think they may even go to 10cm. Just google it (in Australia).
AnswerID: 362387

Follow Up By: SPDF - Friday, May 01, 2009 at 07:15

Friday, May 01, 2009 at 07:15
Ouch, expensive ($319) for just a single! Needing a queensize, I'm scared!
FollowupID: 630251

Reply By: Member - Dave G (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 07:56

Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 07:56
1st Hand info, just bought an new van with an Innerspring mattress which we found too hard, so I looked through the great info on this site, I checked out Clark rubber to look at the memory foam mattress toppers I looked at the solid ones and the eggshell ones (cell) checked their prices then went to Pillow Talk and they had similar BUT slightly cheaper. After looking at them we bought the Cell one cost about $150:00. Last week we went was great I am now going to put one on my bed at home I was that impressed. I'm not saying they are any better than others but the memory foam although cost more I reckon you get what you pay for. Me I give it 10 out of 10 for what it says it delivers.
AnswerID: 362393

Follow Up By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 08:23

Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 08:23
dave, reading your post I get the impression that there is memory cell foam and memory cell eggcrare foam. Unless a new kind has come out, I think the egg crate stuff and the memory foam stuff are quite different. We have a memory foam topped matress at home and it is the most comfortable bed I've ever experienced. We have an eggcrate overlay on top of our thinnish standard foam matress in the camper. The egg crate improved this hugely. Much more comfotrable than a blow up, but still not the same as the memory foam matress at home.
FollowupID: 630111

Reply By: Member - Dave G (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 08:39

Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 08:39
Have a look at Pillow Talk definitely sold as a memory foam we thought the same Clark rubber also had what they call a memory foam . they are maybe a different name but the density, weight and feel are the same. I know there is a yellow cheaper version but they do not have the density of the one we bought, check out various web sites for them, my wife tells me that its not really a egg crate design but something different, all I know is it works well.
AnswerID: 362400

Follow Up By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 10:22

Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 10:22
Dave, if it is real memory foam, it will hold an impression . That is why it is called "memory" Push your hand into the surface, pull it out and the impression should remain there and slowly release. The stuff sort of moulds around you as you lie on it. Regular foam pops straight up when you depress it. There may be egg crate memory cell foam, but I have never seen it.
FollowupID: 630121

Follow Up By: SPDF - Friday, May 01, 2009 at 07:17

Friday, May 01, 2009 at 07:17
We bought a couple of Memory foam pillows and they are the most comfortable ones we have ever slept on. So, reckon a memory foam mattress would be excellent. Will make some enquiries as to who haves them.

Only concern is bulk
FollowupID: 630252

Follow Up By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Friday, May 01, 2009 at 07:45

Friday, May 01, 2009 at 07:45
The memory foam matress we have (at home, couldn't find a camper version) is a sandwich of different types of foam with the memory foam being the top layer. What makes mfoam different is that it just moulds to your shape, then supports along that mould, so while it supports your shape, it isn't pushing up too much. Now I have tried to describe how it is different, I find it very difficult to do. You just have to try it to feel why it is different.
FollowupID: 630257

Reply By: Member - Troll 81 (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 09:03

Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 09:03
We got a Coleman as well but without the build in pump and we have no problems. Sound like you need more air in the bed. I am the same weight as you just a but taller and the wife around 70kg's and we sleep like baby's
AnswerID: 362401

Follow Up By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 17:33

Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 17:33
So how did you find out how much your wife weighs?? Sensitive subject in our house but I reckon she's a "bit" over the 70 Kg mark & it usually causes a bit of a stir if I ask her what her weight is. LOL & cheers
FollowupID: 630170

Follow Up By: SPDF - Friday, May 01, 2009 at 07:19

Friday, May 01, 2009 at 07:19
I think part of the problem is she likes a bed that is not too firm, so if we inflated it to make it firmer, we would need some type of mattress topper over it, and that may be a very good option for us. The problem with the Coleman and many others is the dimpling effect of the baffles, rather than giving a smoothish surface to sleep on.
FollowupID: 630253

Reply By: SPDF - Friday, May 01, 2009 at 07:21

Friday, May 01, 2009 at 07:21
But, still wondering with the options suggested, how they would fare on the pop up bed surface (ie one that is not totally flat, like the ground or a timber floor?
AnswerID: 362538

Reply By: SPDF - Friday, May 01, 2009 at 18:54

Friday, May 01, 2009 at 18:54
Okay, I took my Oztrail popup bed into the local foam shop, removed the blowup airbed, to reveal just the base of the bed. Grabbed a 4" foam mattress and then laid on it, on the bed. Problem: I bottomed out on the round buttons of the posts, and sunk into the unsupported bits inbetween these posts. So, methinks these types of beds are only suitable for air beds, in that airbeds will on the underside, conform to the uneven surface of the bed base, but on top will be relatively flat.

Therefore, if I use a foam mattress (self inflating or otherwise) on this type of bed, I will always have problems with the way the base is (ie. uneven), unless I were to put a flat solid cover on top of it eg. piece of ply or similar (which would be impractical to take in the car with me).

So, I asked them about the only remaining possibility, and that is to inflate the airbed hard, so it moves around less, but then put a foam overlay mattress on top of it. That way (in theory at least), the bed should work okay, but be a lot more comfortable than at present. The only problem with this theory is the overlays come packaged and the shop say if the package is opened to try it on the mattress, I've bought it!!!! At $99 for a double size (which seems to fit, despite the bed being a queens size), I really need to be sure this will work before I go ahead.

Any comments on this as a solution?
AnswerID: 362663

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