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My husband and I have only been camping once with the kids,
last summer. They loved it, and can't wait to go again soon.
We liked it, as well, until it was time for bed. We tossed
and turned all night on a Coleman air mattress, and I think
I maybe got 2 hours of sleep, at the most.
I'd like to ask veteran campers what sort of mattress or pad
they use to get a good night's sleep. I am thinking that an
air mattress is not the right choice for us... it was
uncomfortable and when one of us shifted, the whole thing
would move. Also, it ended up leaking a lot of air
throughout the night - by the time morning hit, it was
probably 1/2 deflated.
Anyway, any recommendations would be great. We do need
something that is 'queen' size (or 2 smaller mattresses/pads
that can be attached/combined), as we have a large 2 person
sleeping bag. We're willing to pay more for something that
is really comfortable, and size/weight is not an issue, as
we're strictly car campers.
An acquaintance once mentioned that they used a folding
futon foam bed, and that it worked wonderfully. Has anyone
ever used something like this?
Again, all suggestions and recs are welcome! Thanks so much.
LL Bean's 'camp futon' is a self-inflating mattress that is
cushy but not bouncy like a regular air mattress. REI also
makes a similar one; pay attention though, there are many
varieties and you want the biggest and fattest one, not the
backpacking version! As I've aged I've added a 'memory
foam' topper from Costco to add another couple inches of
softness; I'm a side sleeper so I do tend to hit bottom with
my shoulder on the self-inflating pad without the topper.
We've camped for many weeks at a time with this arrangement
and I sleep well. Well-rested camper
When my brother was in boy scouts 20 years ago he had a foam
pad that he would put under his sleeping bag. It was just a
piece of foam about 2.5 feet wide, 6 feet long, and maybe 2
inches thick. I loved borrowing it for sleepovers so I would
be more comfortable sleeping on the floor. My parents bought
it at the local craft store (Jo Ann Fabric sends 40% off
coupons if you are on their mailing list). Recently I custom
ordered a piece of foam the same size as my son's crib
mattress from Foam Factory online. Since it is the same size
as his crib mattress, his crib sheets fit on it and it makes
a great travel bed since it rolls up fairly small. You may
find two smaller pieces (half the width of a queen) will be
more useful than one queen sized piece. toddler mom
I'm not much of a camper, and tend to have trouble sleeping
in beds that aren't my own. Therefore, I was especially
pleased with the REI mattress I borrowed. Don't recall exact
model, but it was their own name deluxe one. Slept great!
A foam mattress is probably what you need. (That's what
you'd find in an RV, and some sofabed/futons.) But you'll
need to strike the right balance between thickness and
portability. (You don't need to be able to fit it on a
backpack, but you do need to be able to fit it into your
car, and haul it in and out of a tent, so it has to fold or
roll up.) If you are slender people, even a foam 'mattress
topper' (Target, JC Penney) or Thermarest type pad (a combo
of foam and air -- though I've seen those only in small,
single-person sizes) might be sufficient; if you are heavier
or just want to go cushier, go to a foam store and look at
the tri-fold mattress/couch things. They're normally
marketed as play/nap/guest beds for children, but can be
found in larger and thicker sizes too. Most foam stores do
custom work, so you can choose the quality and firmness you
The alternative is a much better quality inflatable, like an
Aerobed. My mom has one of those extra-height models that
she uses as a guest bed in her home, and it's really quite
comfy, very different from a typical Coleman camping air
mattress! However, it does still have the issue of one
person's movements affecting the other occupant of the bed.
Eddie Bauer makes an WONDERFUL pad that has memory foam in
the cushion and a flannel cover. Cushy and cozy. It's
definitely pricey for a camping pad--but now I look forward
to camping no matter how hard or cold the ground! And IMHO
this is way better than a bouncy air mattress. Kelley
I am an experienced camper with a double sleeping bag and a
back pain sufferer so I have tried them all. Good news is
you are on the right track. I sleep on an air mattress every
night but the key is to only fill it about 1/2 full so it
molds to your body. For camping you probably need two single
(twin size) mattresses next to each other as just a large
one and you'll roll to the center most likely and be
miserable. One key is the mattress must be at least 9'
thick. I just bought one at Target made by Coleman for
around $32. Coleman makes good stuff and it shouldn't leak.
Aqua Seal (REI or Steele's Dive Shop) repairs leaks easy.
Aerobed is a lousy company, over-priced, with poor customer
service so avoid them. Eddie Bauer and Serta are good. You
could also try a 3''-4'' memory foam topper on the air
mattress you have but that is big and bulky. I would try two
twin size from Target and set the air soft to your
preference. I think yours had too much air and was too firm
and too soft by morning. Trail mats aren't a good idea.
We need a big tent, one that you can stand up in, say 8x10 or
so, and we'd rather buy a good used one than a cheap new one.
Any suggestions where we might find one??? Thanks!!
Wanna go camping
Try the Wilderness Exchange on San Pablo.
Want to buy mine? It's about 10x10 and you can definitely stand up in it. We're
downsizing. Contact me if you're interested. (As for other places, I've looked in
Craig's List and found expensive, fancy tents. I'm getting our next one at
In Berkeley, try Wilderness Exchange on San Pablo across from
REI, also the Army Navy Surplus store, further south on San
Pablo on the same side as REI, carries a variey of used camping
gear, not just used military gear.
Definitely check out the Wilderness Exchange (on San Pablo near
University) -- they've got all sorts of used (and new)
camping/sports gear. the people there are very knowledgeable and
friendly and I've always gotten great deals there.
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