Eureka Rio Grande Queen Review
Cons: Not warm, not comfortable, heavy
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Eureka Rio Grande is a queen size air mattress that is quite easy to use and seems to be well-made and durable. It is not warm or particularly comfortable, however.
On the plus side, the Rio Grande is made of TPU, not PVC, so you won't be inhaling toxic fumes while you sleep. The surface of the fabric is soft "Stealth-Grip" and feels nice next to the skin, and is relatively quiet (though not as silent as the Eureka marketing materials might lead you to believe).
However, this mattress has a few challenges when it comes to comfort. If you inflate an air mattress to the point where it isn't bouncy, it feels quite hard. If you lower the level of air to make it softer, it becomes bouncy. This is magnified in a mattress that is large enough for two people. We understand the cuddle factor in having a two-person mattress, but having two people on an air mattress just increases the amount of movement felt throughout the night.
The built-in pillow is not particularly soft, and because it is part of the same air chamber as the bed, it moves up and down with any other movement on the mattress. Putting another pillow on top of it makes it awkwardly tall, and putting a normal pillow below the hump shortens the usable length overall.
In general, the Rio Grande was much more comfortable with one person than with two. The level of air can be fine-tuned to suit one person, and the bounce is more predictable. However, no tester preferred this mattress over any of the foam mattresses in our test, and many air mattresses were also found to be more comfortable.
Ease of Use
There is no denying how easy it is to inflate the Rio Grande. Using the included rechargeable pump (make sure you remember to charge it!), it blows up the mattress in under two minutes. You can also use the pump to deflate the mattress. The large two-way valve allows it to deflate quickly, but using the pump at the end does make it extra flat and easy to roll up, though we didn't find this to be necessary.
We do recommend that you inflate your mattress before dark, as the whining sound of the pump is just loud enough to annoy all your neighbors in the campground. Also worth mentioning is that the pump does not work when plugged in. If you didn't remember to charge it, you will have to wait for the charge or blow up the mattress with your mouth. Yikes.
R-value is how the insulating properties of a camping mattress are measured. Air mattresses that do not have any insulation in the mattress provide no insulation from the cold ground or the air and do not reflect your body heat back to you. Even if you have a warm sleeping bag, you may be cold on an air mattress. The Rio Grande has an R-value of 1, which means that it is appropriate for use on hot summer nights. If you sleep out in the mountains or desert, or anywhere that temperatures can dip significantly in the night, we suggest that you consider some other options.
Our testers slept on it when the night temperature dipped into the 50s (F) and felt quite chilled underneath. Considering that mountains often get much colder than this even in summer, we would prefer a more insulating mattress.
At over six pounds, the Rio Grande is not a mattress you would want to take very far from the car. It is also not very warm, meaning that you are most likely only using it in the warmest days of the year. Without a pump, it would be a massive task to blow up, meaning you need to have your charger handy for longer trips. Its use is limited to car camping in warm locations, and as such, it did not rate very highly in the versatility metric.
Considering the Rio Grande is a mattress big enough for two people, the packed size is relatively respectable. Including the pump, it weighs about six and a half pounds and measures 9 by 20 inches. This is much smaller than a foam mattress for one person, let alone two. It is not the smallest air mattress in our test, and you won't want to carry it into the backcountry, but you can fit it in the back of the Subaru without any trouble.
We tested other double-size air mattresses that pack smaller and are more comfortable, however.
The Rio Grande feels like a high-quality mattress and appears to be durable. However, while it is large enough for two to sleep on, the bounciness only makes it appropriate for two very deep sleepers that don't mind if their mattress-mate moves in their sleep. It is also not warm enough to use in any weather but the warmest. This is not the most expensive double mat we tested, but it is rather pricey if you consider its limitations.
Even though the Rio Grande is a higher quality mattress that is easy to use, our testers did not find it to be comfortable, warm, or lightweight. It is nicer than the average air mattress, but for about the same amount of money, there are many options for a mattress that is warmer, more versatile, and more comfortable.
— Laurel Hunter