|What’s got 4 legs and goes boing?|
Do you sleep on your side?
I know, that’s a personal question and we’ve only just met, but I’m going somewhere with this.
I’ve had a number of self-inflating mattresses over the years, and they’ve all served a decent purpose but I’ve never had what I’d call a good-night’s sleep on one because I do lie on my side and a thin self-inflator usually makes my arm go to sleep and shoulder sore.
So, for a recent trip where we had 4 nights in a tent, I decided to try something different and get a couple of these cheap and cheerful campbeds to try.
They’re a different animal from a self-inflating mattress (or airbed) and it’s probably easiest if I explain the differences as part of this review.
1) Cold air circulates underneath you on a campbed. Great in summer; chilly in winter!
2) You don’t need a pump for a campbed. But the trade-off is weight. This beast weighs 2.7KG, which is like a large bottle of coke. It’s no lightweight trekking solution.
3) You don’t sink into an airbed, so better lumbar support. The tradeoff is less cushioning. Personally I prefer the campbed, but it’s a subjective thing.
4) Don’t even think about getting amorous on a campbed. Someone will lose a kneecap.
5) You can’t pop a campbed, or lose the valve-cap.
To assemble the campbed, you slot together 4 steel poles and slide them down each side of the coated polyester (that means washable) bed. Then, and this is where it gets tricky, you line up 4 holes in each pole, insert the VERY tough, springy steel legs into one side and bend, heave and man-handle the other end into the other side. This is something you’ll find really difficult the first time, but get the hang of pretty quickly.
That said, I can’t see a child being able to this on their own – too much oomph is needed.
So, whilst the design for these campbeds hasn’t changed for decades and the whole thing looks a bit dated, it’s one of those products that still works pretty well. I’ve just had 2 nights sleeping on one and am ache-free.
One nice point is that you get room under the bed for storage of clothes and gear, which in a small tent can be handy!
Caveat: I’m 175cm tall, the bed is 185 (6ft), so tall people could find their toes hanging off the end.
SUMMARY: A bit of a subjective one this, but I prefer sleeping on a campbed to a self-inflating mattress. In winter you’ll need to sleep ON a blanket, mattress or sleeping bag to insulate against the rising cold. In summer though, it’s cooler than an airbed. The weight is a factor which counts heavily against this being a trekking product, and forget a romantic weekend away (get a double airbed for that). But… as a sleep solution, it’s pretty impressive.
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