Why do you need an Air Bed?
Gone are the days of flimsy inflatable mattresses that just don’t provide the full night’s rest you need after having to painstakingly inflate them! Air beds are now more portable, comfortable, and user-friendly than ever.
You need an air mattress for all the times you can’t have an actual bed, but don’t want to forgo comfort. The right blow up bed is perfect for a camping staycation or for when the in-laws come to stay, and won’t break the bank.
Take a look below to find all the answers to the air bed questions you didn’t know you had!
How do Air Beds work?
Aside from the obvious, what actually goes into an air bed? Almost all inflatable beds are made from vinyl, also known as PVC. All decent air beds have chambers inside that when inflated, help with reinforcement and ensuring the air bed retains its shape.
Due to the nature of vinyl PVC, it will take some time for the material to stretch out completely, and the material will continue to stretch during the first few uses, leading to the sensation of a deflating mattress. If you experience this, top up the mattress as needed while the material settles.
Here’s where it gets more technical, as air does have changing properties. When the air inside an air bed is warmer it expands, and when it’s colder it contracts. This leads to the sensation of a deflated air bed when temperatures drop, as the same amount of air occupies less space.
The opposite can be true as well, and as the air expands when its warmer, your air bed can be at risk of bursting! Good air beds will allow some air to leak from the seams during normal use to try to prevent this, which can also lead to you waking up to a slightly softer surface.
In most cases of air bed deflation not due to a leak, the best solution is to blow up the airbed hours before you need it, let it rest, and then top it up slightly before you sleep on it. While they are finicky products, their ease of use, comfort level provided, and general inexpensiveness make them the best option for camping or hosting overnight guests.
Choosing the right Air Bed
While an air mattress’ firmness is pretty customisable as you can choose how much to inflate it, that’s not the only factor that matters!
Regardless of the height you choose, inflate your air bed with your comfort level in mind. For a softer, more hammock-reminiscent sleeping experience, do not fill to its entirety, and if you prefer a firmer bed, be sure to fully inflate it. Just remember that your air bed is likely to deflate slightly during the night in its first few uses!
The next important factors are size and shape. Always be sure to check the weight limits for your chosen air mattress, as some just will not cope if being used by two people at once. You’ll also want a double or king-sized mattress if you’re sharing! If you don’t have pillows to spare (or space to bring them), opt for an air bed with a built-in pillow. These allow you stable neck and head support for a comfortable rest, leaving you refreshed for all your adventures in the morning!
Finally, you’ll need to choose the material of your new inflatable mattress. Most are now made of vinyl PVC, as it is stretchy and strong enough to keep air in and hold you up! Make sure it’s puncture resistant and that the surface is flocked so it’s comfortable enough for you to use without extra sheets. For the perfect versatile and hard-wearing air bed, try the Comfort Air Bed with Built-In Electric Pump here.
How your air bed needs to be inflated is a very important factor in your decision-making process. With a few methods available, you need to consider a variety of options.
An airbed that does not come with a built-in pump will require you to pump it up yourself. This can be done with a manual pump, or an electric one which is far quicker and easier. If a pump is not included in your air bed purchase, you can easily buy one for between £5 and £25.
Inflatable beds that come with a built-in pump will usually require you to plug them into electricity. This method is best as it takes no effort, and your bed can entirely inflate in minutes. The downside is that if you’re camping and don’t have access to electricity, things can get a little trickier. For these occasions you should get an air bed that comes with a pump with a USB port, so that you can power it with a power bank.
Another built-in pump method is a foot pedal pump, which is convenient as you don’t need to bring any other external pumps with you on your trip. Enjoy the extra space for those all-important camping snacks!
Ideally choose one that has multiple options of inflation, so the quicker and easier electric methods can be used where possible, but if you’re in a pinch, you can still make use of your air bed. Shop the Active Era Camping Air Bed with multiple inflation methods here.
While not a necessity, these extras will improve your air bed experience (and it’s always nice when your purchase comes with some extra bits and bobs).
Try look for an air mattress that comes with a travel bag. While deflated air mattresses are not too hard to manoeuvre, that 2-6 kg weight is pretty bulky and a carry bag makes it far easier to chuck it in the car and go!
In case your air bed springs a leak, you’ll need a repair patch kit. These cost between £6 and £20 and can be found widely online and in sporting goods stores, but having them included in your original purchase just makes life that little bit easier. You’ll also be sure they’re of good quality and will work with your mattress. Some repair kits include patches that stick straight over the hole, and some will require an adhesive, which isn’t always included in your purchase.
Tips and tricks to getting the most out of your Air Bed
As simple as the concept of filling a PVC structure with air is, there are some tips and tricks you can try to ensure you get the most out of your inflatable mattress.
Where possible, try placing your air bed on a softer surface before you sleep on it. This will prevent damage being done to the material, as well as keep you warmer. This layer of insulation raises your blow up mattress from the cold ground, which can seep a chill into the plastic of your air bed, which keeps you cold.
If you fear your air mattress has a puncture and you’re having trouble locating it, try the soap method. All you need to do is dilute about a tablespoon of dish soap in a bucket of water and wipe the mattress down with the mixture. The air coming out from the leak will form a little patch of bubbles on the surface. All you need to do is mark the spot, deflate the mattress entirely, wait for it to dry and repair it with a patch. Voilà!
‘Breaking in’ your air bed
Much like a pair of new shoes, air beds are at their most comfortable once they’ve been ‘broken in’. As the PVC stretches the most during the first few uses of an air bed, it’s good to trick the air bed into thinking this has happened before you ever even sleep on it. Here’s how to go about breaking your air bed in:
- The day before you intend to use the air bed, blow it up entirely and let it sit for two hours.
- Let out about a third of the air in the bed. You can do this by pinching the valve open and pressing on the mattress, or by turning the electric pump to ‘deflate’ for about 40 seconds. Let it sit for an hour.
- Blow the bed back up to its full capacity and let it sit overnight.
- In the morning, completely deflate the air bed and leave it flat for an hour.
- Blow the air bed back up to its full capacity and leave it for the entire day. We recommend lying on it periodically to help it stretch.
- In the evening, partially deflate the bed again by removing a third of the air. Let it sit for an hour.
- Completely reinflate the bed and enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep!
While your air bed may still lose a bit of air during the night due to temperature changes, stretching it out before you use it will definitely help it remain inflated during use.
Choosing an Air Bed with Active Era
All Active Era air beds come in both single and king sizes with free UK next working day delivery and friendly and attentive customer care.
Our camping air bed is everything you need to rest comfortably on your next camping adventure. It comes with a handy travel pack for quick and easy storage and transport, repair patches, and an electric pump that is USB rechargeable and a built-in foot-pump. The tough material handles outdoors well, and the flocked surface means you don’t have to worry about sheets – just one less thing to pack. Shop the Active Era Camping Air Bed with USB Rechargeable Pump here.
For the perfect versatile air bed, our premium range is everything you need. The extra-thick, hardwearing material makes it puncture resistant, while the built-in pillow and flocked surface allow for an extremely comfortable sleep; minimal accessories required! Although it has an electric pump, it does have a manual valve as well, for flexibility wherever you are. Shop the Comfort Air Bed with Built-In Electric Pump here.
The ultimate bed-like comfort – our luxury air bed range. Tall enough to mimic an actual bed experience, with built-in neck and head support and created with 5 I-Beams, your guests will have never been so comfortable. The electric built-in pump makes inflation and deflation a breeze, and it includes a carry bag and repair patches. Shop the Active Era Comfort Plus Air Bed with Built-In Electric Pump here.