I'll start with two examples of what I don't want.

Two years ago, we bought a double Kathmandu airbed in some camping shop in New Zealand. It wasn't cheap, and it was really good for a month of camping. But then ... this year, while camping, we were unpleasantly surprised with a big bulge in the middle of the bed (inside seams broke?). The bulge then expanded through pretty much whole bed.

We have another Intex airbed at home for a spare bed, which is slowly leaking air.

None of these issues are apparent when you're buying, and reviews seem to be good for pretty much any airbed. Recommendations that I find online are very generic (e.g. heavy and comfortable when close to home, light when travelling).

Is there a sane way to pick good airbed?

  • 2
    Reviews really are the only way to get an idea of which ones typically rate well and which have poor quality.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 16:25
  • Simply go for an established brand with good reviews. Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 12:59

1 Answer 1


I have been satisfied with self-inflatable foam pads. These are more for trek and single person, but I know there exists 2 places mattresses using the same technology (though, not personally tested).

The advantage with foam inside, is that it is more difficult to get structural damage compared to compartimented air pockets's mattress. Unfortunately there still can be cuts on sharp rocks, but if you are careful or use an underneath soil isolator there is no problem.

Being self-inflatable reduce the energy spended to inflate it. After the self-inflatable phase (from compressed rolled state), you still need to inflate it, but for my single pad, no tool was ever necessary, mouth was largely sufficient. I guess it may be a little different for a larger bed.

Also the thickness is reduced a lot so it weights nothing. My pad for single person is 4cm thick and less than 2kg and is able to sustain my 120 kg, while a 10 cm air only bed cannot or deinflate during the night !

I have it for 3 years and did not noticed air major leaking so far, at least it is far less noticeable than with classic air beds.

The foam also absords sound, so the pad is not too noisy when you move during your sleep, while classic air bed tend to ressemble a big drum and resonates.

  • I have actually tried something similar, but it was very cheap, and just too thin probably. I guess the question now shifts to how to pick a good foam pad? I've seen highly recommended single ones for £100, but am unwilling to risk so much (*2) to try it.
    – domen
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 21:18

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