Archive for the month “January, 2012”

To Blow or not to Blow

What do you do if you have an unexpected guest show up for an overnight stay–and you have no guest room or sleeping area besides a sofa in your living room? What if you’re in a studio apartment but want to have someone stay over. Or, if your child wants to have a friend sleep over? Or, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast but don’t want to sleep on the hard, cold ground?

The answer to all these questions is simple: get yourself a blow up bed. Unlike inflatable mattresses of old, today’s are available in a wide variety of comfort levels and sizes. In the past, you had to settle for a hard rubber air mattress that needed (at least) a bicycle pump to inflate; or something similar to a pool float–flimsy vinyl (though you could inflate it with lung power). Most of today’s air beds have a built-in pump with a separate hardness control that plugs into the wall and inflates the mattress in a few minutes–a big improvement.

Air beds come in sizes ranging from a small camping mattress, designed to fit under a sleeping bag, to a roomy queen-size that sleeps two. Most of them have, at the very least, a fabric-covered upper surface to help prevent the sheet from sliding around. The better ones, like the Simmons Extraordinaire, have a pillow top for added comfort or, like the Intex Comfort Airbed, a memory foam top. They all take up little space when fully deflated and packed in their carry bags. Both of these–and various other brands/models–are raised at least a foot off the floor in a sort of double-mattress arrangement (they’re all one piece). This makes them easier for older folks to get in and out of.


Most come with a repair kit, but if you get one that doesn’t, you can buy a separate patch kit. Just make sure the material is compatible with your mattress. Most standard sheet sets should fit an air mattress; if they’re a bit wide, just tuck the sides under the mattress. If you’re on a budget, an air bed would be a good alternative to a regular bed. You can also get inexpensive inflatable chairs and love seats that come in surprisingly stylish options.




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