air mattress reviews

Gear Review: REI Flash Insulated Air Mattress

REI Flash Insulated Air Mattress
REI Flash Insulated Air Mattress

NOTE: Click here for my review of the updated, 2017 version of the REI Flash Insulated Air Mattress.

Air Mattress
REI Flash Insulated Air Mattress
$119, 1 lb. 1 oz. (regular, with stuff sack)
Sizes: regular (20.5x72x2.5 inches) and long (25x77x2.5 inches)
rei.com

Comfortable, packable, light, and user friendly, at a good price—that was my verdict after I used this air mat on a five-day backpacking trip in Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness and a six-day hike in Sequoia National Park. It has a quality that’s important in an air mattress—durability: Thanks to the 30-denier ripstop polyester fabric and welded construction, I slept under the stars on pebbly gravel at Columbine Lake in Sequoia, and used it nightly in my chair kit sitting around campsites, without the Flash springing a leak.

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Gear Review: Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SL Air Mat

Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SL
Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SL

Insulated Air Mattress
Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SL
$140, 1 lb. 2 oz. (20x66x3.5 ins., rectangular, with stuff sack)
Sizes: four rectangular, two mummy
bigagnes.com

In the competition to make backcountry air mattresses lighter, more compact, and more comfortable, the Insulated Q-Core SL has raised the bar. I slept on the shortest (and least expensive) of the six sizes of this three-season air mattress for seven nights in southern Utah in early spring, including backpacking trips in Coyote Gulch and Capitol Reef National Park, and found it heavenly for comfort.

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Gear Review: Big Agnes Hinman Air Mattress

Big Agnes Hinman
Big Agnes Hinman

Insulated Air Mattress
Big Agnes Hinman
$70, 2 lbs. 4 oz. (20x72x1.5)
Sizes: five sizes from 20x48x1.5 ins. ($60) to 25x78x2.5 ins. ($90) and a double air mat, 50x78x.25 ($200).
bigagnes.com

Camp in winter or on snow almost anytime of year, and what’s between you and the frozen ground will loom just as important in keeping you warm as your bag. Three cold, clear January nights sleeping under the stars (sans tent) outside a yurt (my family was inside) in Idaho’s Boise Mountains left me impressed with this insulated air mat designed for winter camping, with a rating of -5° F.

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Gear Review: Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite and Z Lite Sol

Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite

Air Mattress and Foam Pad
Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite
$130, 9 oz., 47x20x2.5 ins. (small)
$160, 12 oz., 72x20x2.5 ins. (regular)
$180, 1 lb., 77x25x2.5 ins. (long)
moosejaw.com

Therm-A-Rest Z Lite Sol
$45, 13 oz., 72x20x0.75 ins. (regular)
$35, 10.5 oz., 51x20x0.75 ins. (small)
moosejaw.com

Therm-A-Rest Z Lite Sol

My preoccupation with keeping my backpack light usually steers me to the lightest gear—but I draw the line at sleeping uncomfortably, which made me slightly apprehensive about the featherweight NeoAir XLite—one of the shortest air mats I’ve ever used. I had no need to be. On a four-night backpacking trip in Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness, I slept great on the smallest size.

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Gear Review: Therm-A-Rest NeoAir All Season mattress

Therm-A-Rest NeoAir All Season air mattress

Insulated Winter Air Mattress
Therm-A-Rest NeoAir All Season mattress
$150, 1 lb. 3 oz. (reg)
Sizes: M 20x66x2.5 inches, regular 20x72x2.5 inches, L 20x77x2.5 inches
moosejaw.com

I spent three January nights sleeping under the stars in the Boise Mountains on this air mattress (in a 0° bag) and stayed perfectly warm in temps down to the low teens, thanks in part to the NeoAir’s high R-value, or ability to insulate against the frozen ground.

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