No, this post isn't sponsored. It's me drinking coffee and talking about the self inflating mat I bought and used.
This past weekend I had planned to go hiking and camp. Some of my plans changed though, so Saturday morning I was still debating. The area I had planned to hike and sleep in now was holding a big history event that day and into the night; I hadn't received the self inflating sleep pad mattress I had ordered from Amazon yet, and my husband (not a camper or a hiker) informed me it was expected to go down to 37 degrees that night.
In the end, I decided not to hike or camp in the area I had planned since I'm not a fan of camping with crowds around me, my Amazon delivery arrived that afternoon and I decided I would camp at home. (We have 5 acres of woods as our backyard.)
When I was searching for a sleep pad, I researched a couple months, read reviews, and had 3 different pads/mattresses on my 'wish list'. But I didn't actually have any money to purchase one so I waited.
I finally had about $35 to budget and although there are nice, expensive sleep pads and air mattresses, this one from Stansport was under $30 and had pretty good reviews. It was the
Stansport Self-Inflating Air Mattress, Forest Green (25- X 72- X 1.5-Inch)
First, I will paste the description here straight from Amazon (where I ordered mine).
*NOTE* There are 2 sizes available; the 1 1/2 inch and the 3 inch. The description(s) describe both so that is why it may read 3 inches instead of 1 1/2.
- Made of high-density premium Grade open cell foam bonded to the outer fabric
- Durable 150D Oxford nylon shell holds the sleeping bag firmly in place on the pad
- Brass valve with nylon cover for Protection
- 400mm polyurethane Coating
- Simply unroll and have ready in seconds
- Mat is made from high-density premium grade open cell foam that is fully bonded to the outer fabric surface, weighs 3lbs 8oz
- Durable oxford nylon shell holds your bag securely to the pad and will stand up to many years of rugged four season use
- Plastic valve with nylon cover provides an air tight seal even under the coldest conditions
- 4000mm P.U. coating
The Stansport Self-inflating Air Mattress is a practical and sophisticated, no-fuss air mattress. It is ideal for almost any situation where you will be laying on the ground, from inside your camping tent to your living room floor. Simply unroll, unscrew the air valve, and it is ready for you or your guests in seconds. Throw it under your blanket or sleeping bag for instant comfort. Thanks to the convenient design, this air mattress is easy to use anywhere and anytime. This mat is made from high-density, premium grade, open-cell foam that is bonded to the outer fabric. With dimensions of 30” x 78”, this mattress is very accommodating. Inflates to 3” thick for excellent support. Features a brass valve and nylon cover for protection. Uses 400mm polyurethane coating for added protection and durability.
Now, I'm going to chime in with my own $.02
I chose the pad because I liked that it was wide enough I felt I wouldn't be trying to lay on a skinny little strip of fabric all night... However, the 25" width means it's too wide to wear comfortably strapped to the bottom of my backpack. It sticks out far enough that it bothers me. Assuming I'm walking in wide open spaces it would be ok, but I still felt as wide as a car.
More on that in a minute.
It comes with a mesh bag. (See photo)
I'm sure there is probably a reason for the mesh bag... but I'm not completely sure I've figured out what it is. It doesn't protect it from anything. It doesn't compact it or hold it in or secure it. I guess if you want to carry it by the little strap you could but it's over 2 feet long and swings while you walk so....?
It comes with two nylon straps with strong clasps to keep it rolled up and to attach to the bottom of your pack if you wish to carry it that way. The only thing I'd use the aforementioned mesh bag for is to stick the 2 straps in when I take them off because they are not attached to the sleep pad/air mattress. They are just 2 straps that come completely off. (You could put them in the mesh bag or just leave them attached to the bottom of your pack if you've been carrying it that way.)
This little baby is the air valve that does the work for you. You unhook the straps, unroll the pad, make sure this little closure is 'open' and the pad starts to inflate.
When I first opened mine, it only inflated the first 10-12 inches though. I waited and nothing.
The part of the air mattress right next to the clasp inflated right away and well but the rest of the mattress just laid there flat.
I let it sit for about 45 seconds.
I picked it up and blew into the clasp a bit just to make sure it wasn't blocked or anything. It wasn't.
I decided to let it be as I wasn't going to be using it for another 2 hours or so anyway. I left it in the tent and went on to do other things.
When I came back, it was dark, my hands were full of my other things and I was exhausted and cold. The temperature had indeed started dropping and it was about 49 degrees at this point.
I entered the tent, laid my things down, got my shoes off, immediately got my sleeping bag unrolled and on the pad. I was preoccupied... didn't give the air mattress another thought.
Laid down, got zipped in, grabbed my iphone and my ereader and my mace next to me and read for a little bit. I checked the temperature before turning off my ereader, snuggling down into the sleeping bag, pulling my stocking hat down tighter over my head and ears and went to sleep.
It was 39 degrees that night.
My sleeping bag was an older one we had had for years and the zipper doesn't work well. Within about 30 minutes it had unzipped itself and worked its way down to my ankles. The sleeping bag became more like a blanket and I was sleeping on the Stansport air mattress in just my stocking hat, sweatshirt and tank top and my fleece pajama pants and socks.
And I stayed warm.
Seriously! I couldn't believe it actually. The second my shoulder or my backside was 'off' the pad, I could tell! The freezing cold coming up from the ground was instantaneous and frigid. I would wiggle back into place and instantly the temperature rose.
I can absolutely attest to the fact this pad works incredibly well for insulating.
Now... where I screwed up.
Remember when I left the pad to inflate and came back a couple hours later exhausted, hands full and went directly to bed? I forgot all about the air valve.
I never closed it!
Sure enough, it had inflated, and it was comfy as heck when I laid down.
However, when I woke up briefly about an hour later I realized my hips were getting achy.
Back to sleep and woke up a little bit later to realize I was laying on a bit of a rock right under where my hips were. And I could feel it because my sleep pad was completely flat.
My body weight had squished all the air out because I had forgotten to close the air valve!!!!
The pad felt like I was sleeping on a piece of felt and it was my own fault.
But at 39 degrees (or it may have actually been the expected low of 37 by that point) I didn't want to freeze getting out from under my sleeping bag and waiting for it to self inflate again. So I ignored it and tried to sleep knowing that at least I was nice and warm.
And I honest-to-God dreamed TWICE that I got up and let the mattress inflate again.
It must have been bothering me terribly even in my sleep to have dreamed that! And of course I was disappointed to wake each time and realize that no, it really didn't happen and I was still sleeping on a flat mattress and a rock under my tent.
But I was warm.
NOW let's get back to the part where I mentioned I didn't like how wide it felt on my backside strapped under backpack. Since I would have my fleece sleeping bag or an actual sleeping bag rolled and strapped to my pack anyway, I wanted to see if my air mattress would fit inside my pack.
I tested in two different packs and took photos.
Here it is inside my Kelty RedWing 50
And inside (barely but it fits) my TETON Scout 3400 Backpack
FINAL THOUGHTS: It was my own stupidity to forget to close the air valve but it did actually inflate and was comfortable until my body weight pushed the air out. And the fact that it kept me warm when my sleeping bag opened up and became a blanket and I was sleeping directly on the pad in only a pair of fleece pants and a sweatshirt and it was in the 30's? IMPRESSED.
Related Products available through Amazon if you can't find them locally:
Stansport Self-Inflating Air Mattress, Forest Green (25- X 72- X 1.5-Inch)
ALPS Mountaineering Lightweight Series Self-Inflating Air Pad (Steel Blue, XL)
Stansport Self-Inflating Camp Pillow - Colors May Vary
Fox Outfitters Ultralight Series Self Inflating Camp Pad - Perfect Foam Sleeping Pads for Camping, Backpacking, Hiking, Hammocks, Tents (Regular)