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Sleep In On The REI Relax Air Bed

Sleep In On The REI Relax Air Bed

We love backpacking and camping out where the only thing you can hear are the coyotes howling and the wind blowing... but we also love camping at a campsite where the car is right next door. Car camping allows for a bit more options from food to sleeping accommodations.

We have sleeping pads that are intended for backpacking (lightweight and packable), which we love... but sometimes we just want to feel a tad more luxury in our tent. Enter the REI Relax Air Bed. It's a basic air mattress, including a manual pump for filling. While being quite basic, it adds a few more inches between the hips and the ground, and that is often appreciated. We have the queen size, and it also comes as a single.

The bed packs down relatively small - the pump is huge, and takes up most of the space. It takes about 5 minutes of pumping to get the bed full. It's not too difficult at all. The pump attaches to the mattress by a long plastic tube (so you can pump from outside the tent), then you pump with your arms while holding it steady with your feet. The bed can be made quite firm, or on the soft side, depending on how much you pump it.

We had lapse of judgment on one camping trip, and it was a bit cold out, and forgot that this bed is not insulated. It got pretty darn cold underneath us. The second night, we added a layer between the ground and the bed, and it helped a lot. This bed may be ideal for warmer trips, but it can be made to work in cooler environments with a blanket under and between the bed and your body. If the temp is dropping below about 45 degrees, it's not the best options, and we'd be using our insulated pads instead.

The material is a vinyl air mattress, typical of what most air mattresses are made of. It is coated with a softer finish, so it's soft against your skin, and keeps it from being noisy or slippery.

What We Like:

  • The mattress stays inflated, doesn't drop you on the ground in the middle of the night.
  • The bed deflates almost completely, making it pretty small to pack.
  • The queen size is roomy, and fits perfectly in our Marmot 3P tent.
  • It seems very durable and tough, we've never worried about it being damaged.
  • It easily accommodates both of us, with room for wiggles and side sleeping.
  • It's quiet.

What Could Be Better:

  • The pump... it's large, can be noisy, and just takes up a ton of space (probably helps with quick inflation, but still, it's BIG).
  • It's not insulated, but it'd likely get a lot more expensive if it was.
  • It's an air mattress, so it can get wiggly. If one person is bigger, the other person will have a firmer bed. This is pretty standard with most air beds, though.

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