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Huge air mattress

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  • Huge air mattress

    Wondering if using a full sized air mattress (think queen sized) Probably 8-10" thick or more is an option for winter camping? Would that be super cold? As far as R value, I don't see why that would be any different than sleeping on a cot. What do you think? Any experience?? I camp on private land, and can drive right to my campsite, so the bulk/weight is not an issue.

  • #2
    As I am sure you are already thinking, Johnnie D, the big air mattress is not insulated, and it has nothing inside to stop convection.

    The size of a huge air mattress means that your sleeping bag would not cover enough of it to allow your body heat to keep the air inside the mattress warm.

    So, as you already figured, I would guess that a big air mattress will be as cold as a cot with no insulation. That said, perhaps you could add some non-compressible insulation on top of your big mattress? Most campers add non-compressible insulation on top of the cot, or compressible insulation hung underneath, a la hammock under-quilt.

    Another thought that comes to mind is that a large closed-cell sleeping matt (like a mondo king) changes volume in a hot tent quite a bit as the temperature in the tent fluctuates. If you let your stove go overnight, and you live in a colder climate, you might have to pump it up pretty firm in the warm tent so as to have it still reasonably full when the tent cools down overnight. (going to be -37C static here tonight!)

    All of that aside, if it worked, you'd have a pretty large and comfy lounge spot in your hot tent!


    • #3
      It may and I'll use the term "may" not work as well as you're thinking. Most air mattresses do not have any insulation. Insulation just slows down convection within the mattress. Without it, warm air and cold air will constantly cycle back and forth, keeping you cold. Unless it's in a vacuum (like a thermos) convection will take place.

      It will work but not as effective as an insulated mattress that is half or 1/3 as thick.


      • #4
        Maybe a full sized memory foam mattress. Lots of R-value with those.....