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Hands-on Gear Review
Intex Classic Downy Review
Cons: Not the warmest or most comfortable, takes a while to inflate
Bottom line: Lowest scoring in our tests but a cheap option for the occasional camping trip or house guest.
The Intex Classic Downy Queen Set is one of several air mattresses included in this camping mattress review. While it was our lowest rated mattress for both comfort and warmth, it stands out both for its ease of use and its value. It's thick vinyl construction also lends a certain credibility to claims of its durability and washability. While we wouldn't recommend this mattress to your grandmother or for those who want to spend many consecutive nights on their camping mattress, it's a great option for last-minute guests and infrequent users. Even if you're not sure if the one night of camping you've planned for your entire summer deserves more than your yoga mat to sleep on, with a price like this, the Intex is definitely worth considering. For that reason, we have named it our Best Buy on a Lean Budget.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
While we didn't expect much from this insanely simple air mattress, we put it through all the same tests as the more expensive and more comfortable mattresses in this review. It performed about as well as one can expect in terms of warmth, comfort and packed size. Where it really stood out was in how easy it is to use, clean and store, as well as it's crazy low price. While we doubt the results of our tests will shock anyone who has ever spent a night on an air mattress, we recognize that there are other factors that go into making a purchase like this one, and felt it was important to give those factors a thorough review.
The vertical tubes of air that comprise the Intex classic are pretty standard across most air mattresses. The soft flocked top adds a layer of velvet-like feel and helps keep sheets and humans alike from simply sliding off this vinyl mattress. While this mattress is 8.75 inches thick, it's essentially like sleeping on a big pool floatie pool optional (though not recommended), as the Intex is waterproof. The Intex is better than sleeping directly on the ground, for certain, but it's definitely not a luxury item. We give it a 4 out of 10.
Ease of Use
First time inflation on this bad boy is a bit time-consuming, as the vinyl needs to be stretched out to its full size. Thus begins the long process of pumping and waiting and pumping and waiting and pumping After that first inflation, subsequent inflations are much more straightforward. Some of the Intex sets, like the one we tested, actually come with a small air pump in the box, which is handy not all do, so be certain what you're purchasing! The 2-in-1 valve fits most standard air pumps though, so you could (and would likely want to) use a larger or even electric pump, as the Intex takes quite some time to fully inflate. Deflation is a cinch as well between the complete lack of foam inside the Intex (just air!) and the large 2-in-1 valve that simply unscrews to let air out, you can have this mattress flattened in a few short minutes. Everything is easy with this mattress easy to inflate, easy to deflate, easy to fold down for storage and transportation, and easy to clean with soap and water. The Intex performs best in the Ease of Use category. We give it a 7 out of 10 for ease of use.
The R-value of a camping mattress tells you how much insulating value it has against the cold ground the higher the value, the colder ground you can put it on and expect to remain warm. As the Intex Classic has no R-value whatsoever it's at the bottom of the pack of camping mattresses we tested and you can't expect it to keep you warm. This is a solid fair-weather camping pad option. You could increase the R-value with insulation by adding sheets or a foam pad on top to extend its usability farther into the fall or earlier in the spring, but the Intex itself has no built in insulation. The bottom line is, if the air inside the Intex is cold, laying on top of the Intex will make YOU cold, so be mindful of the temperature where you use it. We give it a 2 out of 10 for warmth.
The Intex tested in this review was a Queen size at 60 inches wide and 80 inches long, this mattress can comfortably sleep two adults, providing they don't sleep like starfish. Conveniently, this mattress fits standard sized sheets and is waterproof, making clean-up an easy job. However, weighing in at just under 10lbs, this isn't a mattress you'll want to lug around, nor does it come with a convenient case with which to do so. However, it does work as a packable car camping mattress or emergency spot for those last-minute house guests. We give it a 5 out of 10 for versatility.
The Intex Classic wasn't the largest packed-up camping mattress we tested, but getting it back in its box with the pillows and pump required some finagling. Combined with it's inconveniently heavy weight of 9.75lbs, we rated this mattress at a 6 out of 10 for packed size.
While the Intex Classic can't really compare to the comfort of the other camping mattresses in this review, it's a great and easy solution for anyone needing a quick sleeping solution or on a tight budget. It's not the mattress we would recommend having your visiting parents sleep on, but it can be a great solution for a buddy coming into town, a last minute camping family reunion, or a kid's sleepover.
The value of the Intex is undeniable you can find it on Amazon for less than $25, and many online and physical retailers (like Walmart, for example) sell a just-the-mattress version for under $15! With prices so low, it's hard to find a better value than the Intex, but if you're looking for comfort, you might consider another camping mattress from our camping mattress review.
The Intex Classic Downy Queen Set might be our lowest-ranked camping mattress in this review, but it's incredibly easy to use and almost absurdly easy to afford. While we wouldn't recommend this mattress to anyone looking to do a serious amount of sleeping in the outdoors, its quick-fix and indoor applications make the Intex an appealing closet staple, and it's price makes it an obvious choice for our Best Buy on a Lean Budget award.
— Maggie Brandenburg
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