By Dan Kidder
Getting a good night’s sleep in the bed of your truck can be a challenge. Traditional air mattresses either don’t quite fit, are too narrow, too long, or curl up on the edges where they meet the wheel wells.
The AirBedz Inflatable Truck Bed Mattress is designed to fit in the bed of most standard pickups, and includes cutouts for the wheel wells, so it fits perfectly. The AirBedz contains elements to make it a proper fit for a variety of truck beds. An inflatable chamber on the top, allows the AirBedz to conform to the different sizes of trucks. An additional horizontal coil provides rigidity and conforms the mattress for a perfect side-to-side fit.
The AirBedz Original is constructed from a tough polyester material that will withstand abrasions and resist tears and punctures.
The AirBedz are available in sizes for long and short full-sized beds and medium-sized pickup trucks. Each adjusts to maximize fit across various models of trucks.
Built into the mattress is an inflation pump, powered by a nickel cadmium battery (newer models will come with higher quality nickel metal hydride).
Our testing of the AirBedz showed them to be constructed to the highest specifications. The seams are tight and double welded for extra strength. The polyester material is rugged and tough and will even stand up to being dragged in and out of beds lined with Rhino Liner without abrading or tearing.
The internal pump is powerful enough to fully inflate or deflate the entire mattress in 2 to 3 minutes. Having the ability to deflate the mattress is a great feature, as it makes putting the mattress away faster, and also creates a vacuum so the mattress folds and rolls tight, taking up minimal space. The pump has sufficient force to fill the mattress until it is rigid. Combined with the Polyester material, it has minimal stretch and most likely won’t need to be reinflated after a few hours as many regular air mattresses do to account for expansion of the material.
One word of caution with the battery; the Ni-Cad battery can be damaged from over-charging, so do not charge it for more than 2 hours with the AC 120 volt jack and 12 hours with the 12-volt DC cigar lighter plug. The newer NiMH batteries should not have this issue.
The AirBedz Original is a 12-inch thick mattress when inflated, and folds down to a 18”x16”x8” package that fits into its included roomy carrying bag. It’s complete weight is 20 pounds, so it is small enough and portable enough to keep in your truck for those unexpected overnights.
Not only does the mattress fit just right in most truck beds, AirBedz sells optional wheel well inserts so the mattress can be used outside of the truck bed. These heavy-duty inflatable inserts connect to the mattress with hook and loop fasteners and fill in the wheel well cutouts, making it a fully rectangular mattress that can be used on the ground, indoors, or anywhere you may want a regular air mattress. In my experience, they also make a decent headboard when you are in the back of the pickup to keep you from bonking your noggin on the side of the truck bed while you sleep. This is probably not a purpose for which they were intended, but they work well for it anyway.
In addition to their polyester shelled mattress, AirBedz has also created a PVC version of the AirBedz design that is less rugged, but much lighter and more compact when in its storage bag. It does not have the pump built into it like the Original, but does come with a 12-volt DC detachable pump. The AirBedz Lite is a universal fit mattress that will work in truck beds between 6 and 8 feet. It will not work in smaller beds.
The AirBedz Lite weighs a mere 13 pounds, so it is easy to transport and set up. It also has optional wheel well inserts so it can be used with or without your truck.
If you have a shell over your truck bed, then it makes a perfect tent. If not, then the AirBedz is a perfect companion for sleeping under the stars or just run a tarp from the cab to the tailgate for a make-shift tent.
On a recent trip in the Nevada desert, I spent a blissful night’s sleep beneath the open sky and the stars in complete comfort. While I was in my sleeping bag, the AirBedz can also be used with traditional sheets, blankets, and other bedding to give you the comfort of a hotel room and the experience of sleeping in the great outdoors. The heavy-duty material gave me confidence when my dog jumped up and I wasn’t worried that his claws would puncture it.
Based upon the ease and speed of set-up, light weight, rugged materials, and the comfort it provides, I would recommend the AirBedz Original Inflatable Mattress as an addition to your camping kit. In one night, you will come to agree that a restful night’s sleep is worth every penny.