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Old 09-20-2015, 01:10 AM   #1
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The great air mattress experiment!

After much experimentation, we have finally decide which airbed mattress will replace the crappy uncomfortable mattresses in our 2015 23ikss.

THE GREAT AIR MATTRESS EXPERIMENT! THE RESULTS ARE IN!!
I've slept a few days out in the HTT testing out some air mattresses, some memory foam and different combinations of the two. Let me just say that all of the combinations or straight air mattresses were a 100% improvement over the original mattresses that came with our 2015 23ikss.
Here's the breakdown:
I tested the queen mattresses, which were all 60X80 on the back bunk of our HTT. This bunk platform is exactly 60X80, so I wanted to see how they fit in there.
1. First night was the SoundAsleep 9" Camping Series Air Mattress - Queen Size with Included Rechargable Air Pump.
Amazon.com: SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress - Queen Size with Included Rechargable Air Pump
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Pros: This mattress inflates with a separate pump, which is either a plug in or chargable. It inflates fairly quickly and kept the air all night, and actually was still fully inflated the next night when I went to test it again. I got a nice nights sleep on it, no hip pain, didn't bottom out at all. Definitely better than the HTT mattresses by a LONG shot. Has a nice sueded top so your sheets or bedding doesn't slide around on it. It has tubular channels for the air. It fit in the bed space with NO space at all around it, which leads me to...
Cons: Because there is no space at all between the mattress and the canvas, if you do need to add air it is impossible to get the little motor in there without performing contortionist moves. And..the cord is not really long enough to reach the outlet and the valve, so it would probably be a great idea to charge this motor so you don't have to us ac power to inflate your mattress. Also, the valve has a raised 1" cap, with a little nipple in the middle of it. When I checked the outside of the canvas bunk, it was definitely making a clear indentation on the bottom vinyl of the bunk end. This valve is the only way to inflate or deflate the bed, and as said before, almost impossible because of the lack of space to do so. You can just unscrew it to deflate, and if you need to really deflate it flat you just add the pump again and suck out all of the air. This makes it easier to roll up and pack. It was a little "squeaky" as I moved around. The puppy didn't like that. I put a fitted sheet on the BOTTOM of the mattress on night two and it didn't squeak anymore.
Variation: Added the 3" memory foam on this mattress for night two. Didn't make that much of a difference, so I probably wouldn't use it. It was a bit cumbersome because the mattress is kind of "round" on the sides and the foam kind of hung over.
Bunk Note: After inspecting the outside of the bunk the second day, I deflated the mattress because it seemed that the outside of the lower vinyl and canvas was "bulging". It made me nervous. I paid $89.00 on Amazon for this one.
2. Second night was the AeroBed® Luxury Collection Extra Comfort 12-Inch Inflatable Bed.
AeroBed® Luxury Collection Extra Comfort 12-Inch Inflatable Bed - BedBathandBeyond.com
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Pros: Very easy to inflate (about 2 minutes) with the built in pump that is flush with the end of the bed. The cord reaches the outlet fine, and it has a corded switch to inflate it, so you don't have to mess with a separate motor or reaching for a knob or button at the end of the mattress. Definitely convenient. The top is also a soft sueded fabric so your bedding doesn't slide. It comes with a soft fleece mattress cover also. It has coiled "springs" for nice air distribution. No bouncing around, even the dog liked this one. It was really packed into the bunk space. No protrusions to worry about, but on day two, it certainly was pushing the bunk vinyl out on the end of the bunk.The sides were fine. It didn't squeak like the sound asleep mattress and was really comfortable, but was absolutely too big for the back bunk, even though the dimensions state 60X80. Read my notes about the *bulging at the end of my air mattress reviews.
Cons: This baby is high. 12" high. It makes for an interesting entry into the bunk end. The darn wood ledge doesn't help either. I'm not sure it was that much more comfortable than the 9" Sound asleep mattress, maybe a bit more stable.
overall review: It is a great, comfortable mattress. I didn't dare put the memory foam on it because of the height. I would recommend this one if you have low bunk ends. Ours are quite high to begin with, so trying to imagine crawling over someone to exit is quite comical. You could get hurt falling from that height! Awesome comfort though. the "woosh" valve makes deflating this a dream. Takes about 60 seconds. I paid 149.00 at Bed Bath and Beyond with coupons.
3. AeroBed® 9" Airbed.
AeroBed® 9" Airbed - JCPenney
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Again, this mattress has an integrated flush motor built right in with an easy knob that controls inflation, deflation and adjusting. It also has the "woosh" valve to deflate this in an instant. The plug is long enough to reach the outlet easily. No handy remote in case you have to re-inflate it, although it is easy to do without it. It holds the air quite well, just as it's 12" sister above. It also has coiled quilting to distribute air evenly. Two nights of sleeping and it lost no air. It too fit the bunk space quite well. No room at all around it. No sqeaking, and it was very comfortable. I don't think there is much of a difference in comfort between the 12" and the 9". Maybe if you had a substantial weight on it it would be beneficial to have the extra height. But then again. Our combined weight is 350 lbs. It inflated in about 70 seconds and deflated in about 30 seconds using the woosh valve.
Cons: Not any that I can think of. Maybe if it were really cold (it was about 50 last night) the air in the mattress would be cold making it uncomfortable for the sleeper. A heated mattress pad and some reflectix under the mattress should take care of that though.
Overall opinion: I will probably be keeping this one. We like the comfort level, and it does give us the option of putting our topper on if if we feel we need it, but we were quite comfortable on this one. We paid $112.00 from JC Penny with one of their great sales for this one. It is hard to find a 9" with a built in valve and the whoosh valve. - I looked for a long time. This one is a keeper.
4. Now this is a bit unconventional, but was by far the BEST for comfort. We took our son's Queen tempurpedic out to the camper. (Yes, it was a beast to move) 10" of bliss. We opened the window of the bunk end. We slept like new born babies on this. We all sleep on tempurpedics at home but our King wasn't happening in the HTT smile emoticon
Cons: There is NO WAY you could fold up the bunk with this in there, and it's too damn heavy and cumbersome to take out of the bunk for travel. Oh well...it was a dream.
Consensus: The 9" Aerobed is the winner. Very versatile, very managable, inflates fast, deflates fast, is quiet and comfortable. We can use our topper if we want to without our noses touching the top of the bunk.
Now... after testing for comfort in the back bunk..we took all three of these air mattresses (we were NOT moving that tempurpedic again) and put them into the front bunk space. All three of the fit much better, but the 9" SoundAsleep still made that impression from the valve in the vinyl on the side of the tent. The front to back fit was MUCH better, not bulging at all for any of the mattresses. I think the bathroom closet and the wardrobe of the back bunk in this camper make the actual space shorter than 60". Or maybe the lack of any obstructions in the front bunk lets the mattresses sit a bit closer to the front edge of the cabinetry. Actually, there was only a few inches of ledge left! No bulging at all from the outside.
~ I would definitely cover all of these with a mattress cover on the BOTTOM to prevent the vinyl from making noise, and to keep the vinyl protected from the cable fixtures (bolts, etc.)
~I plan on putting either reflectix or foam flooring squares under the mattress just to keep the damp out and to prevent the air inside the mattress from getting cold. (we camp into November here in the Northeast)
~ I have purchased a warming mattress pad, because my husband loves to be cozy, and well...why not? We did love the heated mattresses in our HTT. It is made by Aerobed and cost us about $34.00.
~ There is no need to fold up any of these mattresses unless you really want to. I deflated them, kind of rolled them to the front of the bunk with all the bedding on them and folded up the bunk door. The bunk poles now lay flat when the bunk is folded up. I put my poles on the dinette when we travel before, and I'll do that now for sure just to protect the vinyl of the mattress.
~ I would actually put a full size air mattress in the back bunk, no matter which one I chose. it would fit much better back there.
~ $146.00 for a normal nights sleep is worth every penny. I can't wait to burn the Forest River mattresses! (only kidding) I'll keep them for the next unsuspecting victims when we sell. wink emoticon Overall, finding yourselves a nice air mattress will make you camping experience much more enjoyable..and you'll save money on Ibuprofen! Hope this helps!!
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Old 09-22-2015, 10:16 AM   #2
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Thank you for such a comprehensive review of air mattresses. Someone had suggested I get one since I woke up with backaches every morning on our last camping trip . I have the foam topper and it worked for a few trips.

I am also glad to know you can use a mattress warmer because those air beds can be cold even when used in a house.

I'll start shopping. Now I need to find a stove, only 1 or 2 burner to use outside. Using the inside stove makes the inside pretty warm on hot summer days.

Thanks again,
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Old 09-22-2015, 10:48 AM   #3
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We have used an air mattress in our Chaparral Lite 5er for 2 years. We love it and it helps my back since I have had both hips replaced and have arthritis in my lower back. We just buy the $19.95 mattress at Wally world. We also carry a new spare with us but in 2 years we have not used the spare air mattress.
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Old 09-22-2015, 01:02 PM   #4
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Thanks for the experiment. I have been trying to find something to replace the stock mattress in our 2013 21ss. Typically I have hard time sleeping, toss and turn and of course back issues every morning.. We have a Tempurpedic at Home and would love to have that in the bunk ends.. but way to heavy. I am not a fan of the Air Mattresses but from your reviews.. will give it another try!
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Old 09-22-2015, 05:30 PM   #5
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I really like the stock mattresses and I have dog claws to worry about but this is an amazing review and I am going to bookmark it in case I ever decide to upgrade. Great work here!
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:58 PM   #6
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Thanks for the test results.


Have you done anything to level out the big difference in height between the outer bed and the inner portion or are you just using the air mattress to level it out?


Did you consider a custom made mattress at a local manufacturer? I am considering having a mattress made from our stock mattress, re-incorporating the heated mattress pad, into a denser memory-foam mattress with built-in leveling pads to compensate for the door to camper height differential. I have a local custom-made mattress factory nearby. Did you price or consider anything like this?


Please keep us informed as to the longevity of the air mattress. Also if you have opportunity to camp in colder weather (20's and 30's) let us know if you have any difficulty with the flexibility and inflation and overall comfort during cold weather.
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Old 09-29-2015, 11:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Velosprout View Post
Thanks for the test results.


Have you done anything to level out the big difference in height between the outer bed and the inner portion or are you just using the air mattress to level it out?


Did you consider a custom made mattress at a local manufacturer? I am considering having a mattress made from our stock mattress, re-incorporating the heated mattress pad, into a denser memory-foam mattress with built-in leveling pads to compensate for the door to camper height differential. I have a local custom-made mattress factory nearby. Did you price or consider anything like this?


Please keep us informed as to the longevity of the air mattress. Also if you have opportunity to camp in colder weather (20's and 30's) let us know if you have any difficulty with the flexibility and inflation and overall comfort during cold weather.

We did consider a custom mattress, but the cost was near 500.00, not easy to store, and much heavier. I am a master seamstress, so purchasing high quality foam cut to dimensions of our original mattress was definitely a possibility, but also would have cost us about 360.00. Not too much to pay for a great night's sleep, but I decided to give the air mattress a fair chance. We had to "turtle" one night on our pull out sofa air bed and had a great night's sleep, so we thought it would be great to experiment with this option on the bunk ends. We have slept on the 9" air mattress that actually is 66" wide once inflated and it is working out well. We have no intention of camping in 20 degree weather, so that won't come into play. re-working our original mattress is still a future mod I am willing to make.

Just for giggles I measured my actual stock Roo mattresses. They are both 57" X 72". Sooooo, using a queen air mattress in my front bunk gives me and extra 9" of sleep space, because the entire bunk space, including the wood "shelf" in front of the bed is 66" . And I get an extra 8" of length because the bunk platform is exactly 80", like the air bed. We feel no "bump" where the bed meets the main body of the HTT either. Just another observation for all of us looking for a more comfortable night of sleep. Now I even get more space too!!
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