If you could fold up your bed for camping, would you bring it with you on a trip? This Intex twin-size air mattress can be your fold-up bed. There’s no need to sleep on a thin foam pad or on the ground. You can dream in comfort, sleeping in your own sheets.
The Intex Pillow Rest Raised Airbed measures 39 inches wide by 75 inches long, so it fits twin-size sheets. The indented sides help hold a fitted sheet in place. It stands 18 inches tall when it’s fully inflated. This means it’s like a real bed, easy to sit on and get up from even if you have limited mobility.
Although it’s called “Pillow Rest,” and it does have a raised part like a pillow, you’ll probably be more comfortable if you bring an additional pillow. The top part is flocked so it feels soft and keeps sheets from sliding around. The flocking cuts down on the sweatiness you would feel on a plain vinyl surface. It helps insulate against the cold, to a point. If you plan on cold weather camping, bring a mattress topper, or put an additional sleeping bag underneath you. After all, you’re sleeping on air.
If you’re staying in someone’s home, the Intex airbed is easy to inflate. Plug the power cord into an outlet, turn on the built-in pump, and let it inflate for about 3 minutes. There is no automatic cutoff, so you need to shut down the pump yourself. As it reaches maximum inflation, the sound of the pump changes, so that will give you an audio clue.
Intex recommends setting up the bed a few hours before you sleep on it. That helps it acclimate to the surrounding temperature. You can top it off with a few seconds of air right before bed if you want a firm mattress. Let out a little air to make it feel like a water bed.
When you’re camping, this air mattress can be filled a couple of different ways. If you have a generator, a power outlet, or a car power converter, you can still inflate the mattress with the built-in electric air pump. Otherwise, Intex has a built-in valve for manual or battery air pumps. You can use a foot pump or a bicycle pump as long as it fits the valve opening.
When it’s time to put away the Intex airbed, use the electric pump to deflate it, or open the valve to let the air out while you lay on the mattress. It folds up to fit in the provided carrying bag. The airbed itself weighs 11.5 pounds.
Intex does not offer a warranty. Check with Amazon directly about a replacement if you received a defective product. The Intex website offers some helpful instructions for cleaning it and patching it, if needed. They explain that it can be washed gently with mild soap and water, but should never be saturated or submerged. In fact, if you suspect a leak, you can use soapy water for troubleshooting.
Find a leak and patch it:
Inflate the bed. Mix up a solution of dish detergent and water, but don’t stir it too much so it doesn’t get too sudsy. Apply it to the area where you suspect there is an air leak. See if bubbles form from air leaking out of the mattress. Once you find the leak, mark it. Dry off the area and deflate the airbed.
Pull out the included small patch kit that you received in the box with the airbed. If the leak is in the flocked top, gently sand off the flocking. Clean the area with nail polish remover first so the patch will stick well. Cut down the patch to fit and round off the corners so it won’t snag.
Apply the patch with the included glue and put a heavy weight on the repaired area. Let it sit for at least 24 hours before you inflate the bed to check the patch.
See this video about how to patch an air mattress with a tire patch kit in case you don’t have the Intex patch kit handy.
Before you get too worried about this air mattress leaking, Intex says that the top is made from 20.8-gauge vinyl while the sides and bottom are made of 16-gauge. The internal beams are made of 15-gauge. Those numbers sound pretty good when you compare them to other manufacturers’ air mattress thickness ratings. Do keep in mind that “gauge” may not mean the same thing to all companies, while a measurement of “mil” thickness is fixed and standard. Unfortunately, Intex does not reveal what the mil thickness of the vinyl in this air bed is.
User reviews of this airbed seen on retail websites sometimes complain about leaks, while a few have shared their experience with the Intex air mattress forming a bubble. It seems like an internal support beam seam comes undone, and that results in a large bulge forming along the length of the airbed. This is not something that is easy to fix like an air leak.
Without a warranty, users with the bubble problem are out of luck. Fortunately, this air mattress is not expensive and has good quality for the money. At the time of writing it scored an even 4.0 stars out of 5 on Amazon with more than 4,000 user reviews.
If you’re looking for queen-size airbed instead of a single mattress, view our reviews on queen air mattresses for two at The Outdoor Land.
Choose the perfect air mattress
- What size do you need?
Is the airbed for just you, or more than one person? Twin-size is cozy for an adult, queen-size means you can sprawl out or include someone else.
Raised airbeds, or double-high air mattresses make it easy to get in and out of bed because they are usually as tall as a chair seat. This size is great if you want to use sheets.
- Where are you going to use your air mattress?
If you plan to rough it in the great outdoors, you’ll want a fabric-reinforced inflatable pad or rugged air mattress. You’ll want to be able to fill it with a manual air pump.
If you’re camping at a place where you have electricity, you can enjoy an airbed with a built-in electric pump. It might be best if you used an extension cord to fill up the air mattress while it’s inside the tent. It’s rather difficult to squeeze an already-inflated air mattress through a tent door.
If you want to use an air mattress as a guest bed, an electric pump will have it ready to use, or ready to put away in just a few minutes.
- Will it fit?
A raised air mattress may not be the best choice if your tent has a low ceiling. Make sure you have clearance to sit up in bed.
Don’t let your airbed rub against walls at home. That’s a sure way to end up with leaks. Leave yourself about 2 to 4 inches around three sides. Leave about 2 feet of room on the side where you plan to enter and exit the airbed.
- Is it easy to bring along?
Air mattress manufacturers often include a carrying bag for storage and transport. Twin-size beds usually weigh around 12 pounds or less, while larger beds may weigh between 20 and 30 pounds.
Leaking versus settling
After you’ve slept on your new airbed for a night, you may notice that it’s not as full of air as it was the day before. That doesn’t mean there is an air leak. Just top off the air and see if the same problem repeats.
The vinyl itself stretches a little bit during the first couple of uses. This is normal. The ambient temperature may also affect how much it stretches.
The air mattress may have acclimated to the air temperature where you are sleeping, and that can cause a change in air pressure. If you fill it up on a warm afternoon at the campground and then sleep through a chilly night, you will feel a difference in firmness the next morning.
Cold-weather camping on an air mattress
If you’ve slept on air mattress on a cold night out of doors, you know that an airbed provides no real insulation. Sure, you’re not laying on the cold ground, but laying on cold air doesn’t feel any warmer.
Get a memory foam mattress topper to make it more comfortable. At the least, put a couple of warm blankets underneath you or use a sleeping bag rated for low temperatures. Those silvery plastic survival “blankets” work pretty well, but they are noisy to sleep on if you move a lot.
Air mattress inflation without electricity
Make sure the method you select fits the valve on the airbed. The manual inflation valve on the Pillow Rest Raised Airbed is located in the center of the dial.
You can use a bicycle tire hand pump or bellows foot pump to save your lungs from a workout, but the rest of you will get pretty tired. You might want to invest in a battery-powered air pump. Another option is using a 12V inflator from your car cigarette lighter. Intex offers an assortment of pumps that fit their air mattresses, but you don’t have to use only their brand.
Some campers bring their own gas-powered generator. The Intex air pump built into the twin-size mattress needs 1A of current and uses 108 Watts.
Fold and store the airbed
Intex recommends placing the air mattress with the flocked side up, then folding it in halves, then thirds, and finally storing it in the protective carrying bag.
Surface care–You can clean it with a soft cloth or soft-bristle brush and use mild soap and water. Don’t soak or saturate it. Make sure it dries completely before folding it up and storing it.
Pump care–Intex says you can rub a little petroleum jelly around the O-ring under the top filter cover. This keeps it from cracking. Their owner’s manual explains this procedure.
Air Mattress Materials
Most air mattresses are made from PVC, or polyvinyl chloride. It’s a plastic made soft and elastic by the addition of phthalates. Phthalates are potentially poisonous chemicals that can cause problems with the endocrine, or hormone, system. In high doses, they could cause cancer, birth defects, and learning disabilities. That’s why you’ll see toddler and kid-size air mattresses advertised as phthalate-free.
Theses same chemicals are also found in shower curtains, electronics, air fresheners, and even cosmetics. Your air mattress isn’t the only source.
Let your new mattress air out before you use it. Inflate it and let it sit for a few days to diminish that new plastic smell. That lets it outgas some of the chemical content, and you’ll also see if you have any leaks.
When you plan to throw out an old air mattress, take it to a recycling center that accepts PVC.
Intex used to make pool floats back in the 1970s. They made beach balls before that. They have since branched out into making aboveground pools and spas, and of course, airbeds. They are formally known as Intex Recreation Corp to differentiate them from the mobile phone manufacturer. Their headquarters are in the USA.