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ALPS Mountaineering Rechargeable Air Bed Review

The second-lowest scorer in our review, not a product we would recommend.
ALPS Mountaineering Rechargeable Air Bed
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Price:  $120 List | $79.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Rechargeable air pump is fast and convenient, affordable
Cons:  PVC construction, no insulation, “bouncy castle” comfort
Manufacturer:   ALPS Mountaineering
By Laurel Hunter & Andy Wellman  ⋅  Nov 6, 2019
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55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 15
  • Comfort - 40% 5
  • Ease of Use - 20% 9
  • Warmth - 20% 4
  • Versatility - 10% 2
  • Packed Size - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The ALPS Mountaineering Rechargeable Air Bed is one of three air beds tested for this review and is, unfortunately, the second-lowest scoring car camping mattress that we reviewed when combining all of the metrics. While it features eight inches of inflated mattress underneath you, without foam cushioning on the inside, it simply isn't as comfortable as its competitors. This mattress is made of flexible PVC, an exceedingly durable material that, unfortunately, has been linked to increased health risks in humans and been labeled as one of the most environmentally harmful materials to both produce and dispose of. While we did think that the rechargeable air pump worked very well, this is not a product we would recommend to a friend.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award  
Price $79.99 at Amazon$170 List$179.25 at Backcountry
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Pros Rechargeable air pump is fast and convenient, affordableBed-like comfort, easy inflation, great valueVery comfortable, R-value of 9.5 is super warm, good valuePacks to half the size of similar mattresses, easy to use, warm, comfortableWarm, comfortable, fits in a smaller tent
Cons PVC construction, no insulation, “bouncy castle” comfortToo big for some single person tentsLarge packed sizeSlight bounciness, heavyHeavy
Bottom Line The second-lowest scorer in our review, not a product we would recommend.All our favorite features we love from a camping mat at a great price.This is the one we would lend to a friend.Four inches of foam camping mattress comfort that packs into a relatively small package.Our favorite option if you need a narrower comfy pad.
Rating Categories Rechargeable Air Bed REI Co-op Camp Dreamer XL Exped MegaMat 10 NEMO Roamer Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D
Comfort (40%)
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
Ease Of Use (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Warmth (20%)
10
0
4
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
10
Versatility (10%)
10
0
2
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
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7
10
0
7
Packed Size (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
6
Specs Rechargeable Air Bed REI Co-op Camp... Exped MegaMat 10 NEMO Roamer Therm-a-Rest...
Test Model Queen XL Green LXWide XL Wide Blue Depths Long
Dimensions 80" x 60" x 8.5" 78" x 32" x 4" 77.6" x 30.3" x 4" 80 x 30 x 4 in 77" x 25" x 4"
Length 80 in 78 in 77.6 in 80 in 77 in
Width 60 in 32 in 30.3 in 30 in 25 in
Thickness 8.5 in 4 in 4 in 4 in 4 in
Weight 9.75 lbs 6.38 lbs 6.37 lbs 5.25 lbs 5.5 lbs
R Value 1 5.5 9.5 Unavailable 11.4
Type Air Mattress Self-Inflating Self-Inflating Self inflating Self-Inflating
Packed Size (inches) 8 in x 14 in x 17 in 11 in x 30 in 9.8 in x 31.1 in 10.5 x 15 in 7 in x 26 in
Storage Stuff Sack Stuff Sack Stuff Sack Stuff sack Stuff Sack
Bed Material Velvety Plush - PVC Stretch Polyester 50D Polyester with TPU Polyether film laminate 50D stretch 75D reverse diamond polyester
Valves 1 Valve 1 valve 2 valves Zero profile 2 Valves
Accessories Rechargeable Pump Air Pump/Pillow Mini Pump, Stuff Sack, Repair Kit and Manual Stuff sack Stuff sack
Breaths to Inflate N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

The grey flexible PVC construction of this airbed requires the addition of phthalates, or "plasticizers," to make it flexible. This bed off-gasses; when lying on it, you can clearly smell plastic. PVC is a compound that is known to virtually never break down — great for the durability of this bed, but very bad for the landfill should you ever throw it away. This non-recyclable material will be there forever. Compared to the other two air mattresses we tested, both made of TPU, a highly durable and far less harmful compound, both environmentally as well as personally, we don't think the materials used in this bed should endear you to purchasing it.

Ignoring its material construction and focusing simply on performance, it suffers from the same drawbacks as the other air mattresses — namely lack of insulation, and compromised comfort in comparison to the other car camping mattresses we have tested, both self-inflaters as well as adaptable mattresses. While it does pack down relatively small and is quite easy to use, these qualities simply don't override its detracting attributes.

Performance Comparison


Resting on the Rechargeable Air Bed. We found that the included pump was not able to fill this bed totally full of air so as to be as firm as the other air beds tested. This meant that we naturally sunk in a bit while laying on this bed  a quality some people prefer anyway.
Resting on the Rechargeable Air Bed. We found that the included pump was not able to fill this bed totally full of air so as to be as firm as the other air beds tested. This meant that we naturally sunk in a bit while laying on this bed, a quality some people prefer anyway.

Comfort


We found this air bed to be roughly the same in terms of comfort as some of the other air mattresses, which was unfortunately at the bottom of our test pile. When inflated, it is a full eight inches thick, more than any other mattress, but again, it's full of only air, without supportive foam inside. The mattress is constructed exactly the same as an inflatable pool raft, but with a softer face fabric on top. While we certainly think it is far more comfortable than sleeping straight on the ground, we feel that the rest of the products we have tested have set the bar for comfort quite a bit higher than a pool raft.

The surface of the Rechargeable Air Bed is soft velvety material  which we liked. However  we didn't like the depth of the indents in the surface  as we found they created ridges and valleys that we would naturally settle into while sleeping.
The surface of the Rechargeable Air Bed is soft velvety material, which we liked. However, we didn't like the depth of the indents in the surface, as we found they created ridges and valleys that we would naturally settle into while sleeping.

Ease of Use


This mattress is, without a doubt, one of the easiest to use in this entire review, and this is its strongest feature. It comes with a rechargeable air pump that has cord adapters for either a car lighter or a wall plug. The pump inflates the bed in a speedy 1:30 minutes and can hold charge enough for 4:00 minutes, meaning there is plenty of time to blow it up a couple of times before needing to plug the pump in again for a recharge. The large twist valve couples directly with the pump, so you can easily go hands-free while inflating, a unique feature to this mattress.

The valve on this bed proved to be very easy to use. Simply twist it to the desired position and it either locks closed or opens. Place the pump against the valve and twist and it locks in place as well.
The valve on this bed proved to be very easy to use. Simply twist it to the desired position and it either locks closed or opens. Place the pump against the valve and twist and it locks in place as well.

To inflate, make sure the pump is charged, and twist it onto the valve, coupling it according to the lines and labels clearly marked on the valve. Then turn the pump on. Soon the bed will be full and firm.

The plug in cord for the pump is extremely short. It is not designed to run off direct power  but rather runs off the rechargeable battery. In our experience the pump has good power for about 4:00 of use time  before running out of juice.
The plug in cord for the pump is extremely short. It is not designed to run off direct power, but rather runs off the rechargeable battery. In our experience the pump has good power for about 4:00 of use time, before running out of juice.

To deflate, you can either use the pump, reversed, to suck the air out of the bed, or you can simply open the large valve and squeeze all of the air out. Fold into quarters and roll up tightly with the valve open to expunge the remaining air.

The Rechargeable Air Bed is easy to roll up once the air has been sucked out of it. The material on the underside of this mattress is very durable PVC  not unlike an inflatable raft.
The Rechargeable Air Bed is easy to roll up once the air has been sucked out of it. The material on the underside of this mattress is very durable PVC, not unlike an inflatable raft.

Warmth


Like both of the other air beds in this review, the Rechargeable Air Bed has an R-value of 1.0. This ranks it right down there with the lowest in our test. Anecdotally, the rubbery vinyl feels to us like it holds the cold, or heat, more than the thinner material of the other airbeds. As such, we can really only recommend this mattress in the heat of summer.

Versatility


Versatility, as it applies to car-camping mattresses, means how many different situations can the item be successfully used in. Due to their weight and lack of insulation, we found the air mattresses to be much less versatile than the other mattresses in the review. However, we still felt like they made good spare beds for the house when guests slept over. However, due to its material construction, its off-gassing bad smell, and health risking chemical compounds, we wouldn't recommend using it in any closed air space — whether a house or inside a vehicle. A well-ventilated tent in the summer might be okay, but this is a really limited range of use.

Packed Size


The Rechargeable Air Bed packs down fairly small, giving it an average rating in this metric.

The nine camping mattresses arranged in order from smallest on the left to biggest when looking at their packed size. Left to right: Lightspeed 2-person  Thermarest NeoAir Dream  Alps Mountaineering Rechargeable Air Bed  REI Relax Airbed  Big Agnes Sleeping Giant  Exped Megamat 10  Thermarest Luxury MAP  REI Camp Bed 3.5  and on the bottom the Exped Megamat Duo.
The nine camping mattresses arranged in order from smallest on the left to biggest when looking at their packed size. Left to right: Lightspeed 2-person, Thermarest NeoAir Dream, Alps Mountaineering Rechargeable Air Bed, REI Relax Airbed, Big Agnes Sleeping Giant, Exped Megamat 10, Thermarest Luxury MAP, REI Camp Bed 3.5, and on the bottom the Exped Megamat Duo.

Value


This mattress is about average in its cost, and somewhat high for an air mattress. Since we think it is not as high a performer as the other air beds in this review, let alone all the other foam mattresses, this does not present a good value.

The contents of the Rechargeable Air Bed. Stow sack  bed  air pump  and charge cords for either a car or wall. This was one of the most compact setups in the review when packed.
The contents of the Rechargeable Air Bed. Stow sack, bed, air pump, and charge cords for either a car or wall. This was one of the most compact setups in the review when packed.

Conclusion


The ALPS Mountaineering Rechargeable Air Bed is very easy to use and incorporates a cool rechargeable air pump that we liked. However, it did perform well in our tests, and we have concerns about the smell and environmental costs of producing a product like this with plasticized PVC. Despite being affordable, we would not recommend this product to our friends or the loyal readers of OutdoorGearLab.


Laurel Hunter & Andy Wellman