Paddling the Rappahannock

Paddling the Rappahannock

As I’ve written before, finding the best air mattress bed is purely situational. You don’t use a hammer to sink a screw and you don’t take a twenty pound, $1,999.00USD Comfort Boulevard QUEEN SIZE “Quick Luxe” Raised Air Bed Mattress hiking with you despite how comfortable it would doubtless be to sleep on. You want the right airbed for the job and, if you’re an outdoors enthusiast, there’s a lot of room to debate the best air mattress for hiking and camping. By room, I mean variety and by debate, I mean a sometimes frustrating amount of options (and associated opinions) from which to choose.

In picking an air mattress for outdoor use, you really need to define more than just the final inflated product in its final destination. For example, hikers traveling long distances on foot absolutely HAVE to consider weight. Their airbed should afford a good night of sleep, not force them to crave sleep prematurely because they’re exhausted from carrying it. It also needs to be compact because, on extended hiking trips, every inch of pack space is a premium.

For those of you who are looking for supreme comfort in an air pad for hiking and camping, consider theBig Agnes Insulated Q-Core Sleeping Pad Silver/Gray, Wide/Long
. I’ll write an article about it soon, but for now I want to talk about one of my specific use requirements and that’s kayaking.

As a Washington DC area resident, I spend most of my time in my kayak doing day trips. But when I’m not kayaking DC, I’m doing multi-day excursions requiring back-country overnights. The upside is that I can comfortably carry around 100 pounds of gear in my kayak, so I don’t suffer many of the limitations hikers do. Or, at least, I don’t suffer them to the same degree. Depending on the length of the trip, space can still be a consideration. I just have more of it to work with thanks to bow and stern storage and that means I have the luxury of sleeping in considerably more comfort than my hiking counterparts.

For outings of 2 or more days, my air bed of choice is the excellent Nemo Equipment Cosmo Air Sleeping Pad and I’ll tell you why. It’s comfortable. No, I mean it, it’s really comfortable. There is little worse than a bad night of sleep after a long day of paddling. You’ve either been cold for most of the trip or hot for most of the trip and you’ve been relying completely on your back, shoulders, arms and core for locomotion for hours on end. The last thing you need when you’re already primed for a stiff neck, back and shoulders is a bad night tossing and turning on a whisper-thin airbed.

The Nemo Equipment Cosmo Air Sleeping Pad inflates to a 3” depth and affords me a roomy 25” X 76” platform on which to toss and turn. I have broad shoulders so the usually conservative 20” width you find with most portable air pads just leaves me miserable most nights.

The Cosmo also includes a pillow top which, though thin by any standards, somehow manages to take this airbed over the top in terms of comfort. It does increase the volume of the bed when stored, so you can opt to leave it behind if space is truly at a premium, but I’ve found it makes the bed so much more comfortable that I’ll always find a way to make room even if it means I have to take something out of my hatches and lash it to the top of my kayak.

Last, but not least, the Cosmo Air Sleeping Pad has an integrated foot pump! That’s right, you don’t have to suffer manual inflation (never fun when you’re exhausted) or partial self-inflation (which if we’re honest is never sufficient and always requires lung power to truly fill up). Nor do you have to carry a separate hand/foot pump or pray the batteries in your electric pump are good.

The Nemo Equipment Cosmo Air Sleeping Pad comes with a good stuff sack and patches, but, as a kayaker, I stuff the whole kit into one of my 30Liter dry bags along with some incidentals anyway, so that’s not as big a concern for me.

As much as I love DC Kayaking in the beautiful areas of the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay, it’s those multi-day outings in the wild that really set my head straight. Blissfully sleeping through the night on a NEMO Equipment Cosmo Air Sleeping Pad let’s me do it in style.

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I’ve been promising to give some specific feedback on truck air mattress beds and that’s what we’re finally getting to. For those of you in warmer climates I apologize for the delay. It’s just getting warm enough for open air camping in my neck of the woods (if you have a thick skin) so I’m only now feeling the motivation myself.

Having said that, I think I made the point in my last post that there’s really something special about open air camping. Sure, it has its down sides. For example, the bugs find you easier and an unexpected heavy fog or rainfall can really put a damper (sorry) on your experience. But the thrill of sleeping with nothing but a starlit sky overhead really makes camping “feel” real. I don’t know how to describe it better than that and it’s here that sleeping in the bed of a truck on a comfortable air mattress bed really makes for an exceptional experience.

Even if you opt out of the open air experience and opt for a truck tent, a form fitting truck air mattress really shines. It takes all that space you’d ordinarily waste in the bed of your truck and turns it into luxurious sleeping quarters. But why not simply pickup (another pun) a regular old air bed and slide it in back?

While certainly a budget option, you might have noticed that an ordinary air mattress bed is rectangular. Now go take a look in the bed of your pickup truck. Notice something? It’s all the wasted space caused by your wheel wells. Stick a rectangular mattress in there and you have areas that aren’t covered at the top left and right and the bottom left and right portions.

A truck bed air mattress is specifically designed to mold into the bed of your truck. This leaves no wasted space and that means you don’t have to worry about rolling over and resting arms, legs or feet on cold metal during the night. Any good truck air mattress will shape to conform to the inside of your truck. But some do it better than other.

The Airbedz Original Truck Bed Air Mattress

We really have to give props to Airbedz for their Truck Bed Air Mattress design. Of course you get the comfort and security you’d expect from an industry leader, but these guys didn’t give up there. We’ll get to the more creative elements we’re most excited about in a bit but let’s cover the spec’s first.

Airbedz built in the usual durability and comfort you’d expect from any of their air mattresses. It’s one of those concerns you can put to rest because they’ve been doing this long enough to have the process down. Airbedz mattresses inflate fast and hold up extremely well.

Of course you’d expect convenience in an air mattress bed as well and Airbedz doesn’t disappoint. How about no longer having to fumble for a separate pump? That’s right, Airbedz Original Truck Bed Air Mattresses have the pump built right in for fast deployment. That means your bed is ready and you’re sawing logs in record time.

Of course you also need substantial variety in any air bed for trucks. Different makes and models have different bed dimensions so there really isn’t a one-size-fits all solution. The good news is that Airbedz manufactures truck bed air mattresses for the following vehicles:

  • Chevrolet - Silverado, S10, Colorado
  • GMC - Sierra, Sonoma, Canyon
  • Ford - F150 Full Size Long Bed, F150/250/350 Full Size Short Bed, F250/350/450 Full Size Long Bed and Ranger Short Bed
  • Toyota - T100, Tundra, Tacoma, Mid Size Short Bed
  • Dodge - Ram, Dakota
  • Nissan - Titan
  • Mitsubishi - Raider
  • Isuzu - Hombre, i280 / i290
  • Mazda - B Series

Based on size, you can pick up your Airbedz truck air mattress through Amazon at the following links:

AirBedz Original Truck Bed Air Mattress for Full Sized Short Bed Trucks

AirBedz Original Truck Bed Air Mattress for Full Sized Long Bed Trucks

AirBedz Original Truck Bed Air Mattress for Mid-Sized Short Bed Trucks

Finally, you want a comfortable truck air mattress. What good would this thing be if it weren’t also comfortable to sleep on? The Airbedz Original Truck Bed Air Mattress includes an integrated air coil system and 12 full inches of luxurious depth separating you from the cold metal of your truck.

Now let’s get to some of those creative considerations I was talking about. I love it when a company takes the time and initiative to pay attention to the details. That’s a point I made when I reviewed kids air mattress beds and raved about how The Shrunks went out of their way to get the details right. Same praise goes to Airbedz. Where most manufacturers simply build an air mattress to fit around the wheel wells of a truck, Airbedz has included flaps that actually cover the wheel wells. It’s a small detail but it counts for a lot to me. No more late night chills because your rump has been resting against the cold bare metal of a wheel well. But the attention to detail doesn’t end there.

Ordinarily you’d have to make a choice when considering an air mattress for a truck. Either you buy one that fits well in the bed of the truck or a regular rectangular air mattress that leaves a lot of wasted, uncovered space. If you opt for the former, you’re left with an odd shaped bed that you can’t really use anywhere else. You COULD use it elsewhere but then you have those awkward notches cut out of it. Well Airbedz has you covered!

What they’ve done to make this bed useful both in and out of your truck is to create inflatable inserts you can simply fit into the notches where the wheel wells would be. And, simple as that, you now have an air mattress that is as useful in your guest room or tent as it is in the bed of your truck!

It’s little thoughts like that which make the Airbedz Original Truck Bed Air Mattress my number one pick for truck camping. There are others out there who manufacture truck bed air mattress offerings that are just as comfortable to sleep on, sure. But, at the end of the day, why settle for just enough when you can have all that and a bag of chips, right?

Happy camping!

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