Reviews You Can Rely On

Intex Classic Downy Review

Lowest scoring in our tests but a cheap option for the occasional camping trip or house guest
Intex Classic Downy
Photo: Amazon
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $60 List | $36.97 at Amazon
Pros:  Inexpensive, durable bottom
Cons:  Not the warmest or most comfortable, takes a while to inflate
Manufacturer:   Intex
By Laurel Hunter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 27, 2021
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43
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 40% 4
  • Ease of Use - 20% 7
  • Warmth - 20% 1
  • Versatility - 10% 5
  • Packed Size - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Intex Classic Downy 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. Its thick vinyl construction also lends a certain credibility to claims of its durability and washability. While we wouldn't recommend this mattress to those who want to spend many consecutive nights on their camping mattress, it's an affordable option for last-minute guests and infrequent users. Even if you've planned only one night of camping for your entire summer, with a price like this, the Intex is worth considering. For that reason, we have named it a great option if you have a lean budget.

Our Analysis and 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 stood out was in how easy it is to use, clean, and store, as well as its 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 other factors go into purchasing this mattress and felt it was important to give those factors a thorough review.

Performance Comparison


Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Comfort


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 (and not recommended) — as the Intex is waterproof. The Intex is better than sleeping directly on the ground, for certain, but it's not a luxury item. If you are one of those lucky people that can sleep anywhere and on anything, this is an acceptable mattress. Anyone else may pay the price in a lack of sleep.

Testers felt like they were bouncing around like a rubber ball on the air, and this was made worse when two people were sharing the mattress. Every turn, roll, and move in the night was exaggerated with a second person. If inflation was lowered to reduce bounciness, testers felt swallowed into the baffles and unsupported. Also of note, this mattress is made of PVC, which is durable and flexible but also a known carcinogen. It has a very pronounced odor when it comes out of the box. We recommend airing it out before the first use to eliminate as many fumes as possible and not using it for too many nights a year.


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, however, subsequent inflations are much more straightforward, especially if you don't pack it too tightly.

The 2-in-1 valve makes inflation and deflation easy, but you will...
The 2-in-1 valve makes inflation and deflation easy, but you will need a pump.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Some of the Intex mattress sets come with a small air pump in the box, which is handy — not all do, so be certain of 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 and the sizeable two-way valve that simply unscrews to let the 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, and easy to clean with soap and water. We do wish it included a storage bag to keep it clean when not in use. The Intex performs well in the Ease of Use metric.


Warmth


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 and insulated from the cold ground. As the Intex Classic has no R-value whatsoever, it's at the bottom of the pack of camping mats we tested, and you shouldn't expect it to keep you warm. It might even make you colder if the air is cooler than the ground. This is only for warm-weather camping or indoor use. Keep in mind that many outdoor destinations have a lot of fluctuation in temperature from day to night. For example, it is not unusual for the desert to change as much as 40 degrees from mid-day to midnight. Napping on an air mattress on an 80-degree day will be much nicer than sleeping on it when the temp drops to 40 degrees at night.


You could increase the R-value with insulation by adding a blanket 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, even if you have a warm sleeping bag.

Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Versatility


The Intex tested in this review was a Queen size — at 60 inches wide and 80 inches long, this mattress can easily fit two adults, providing they don't sprawl out while they sleep. Testers who used this mattress with two people, however, noted that because it lacks all the dampening effects that foam provides, it is quite bouncy.


Conveniently, this mattress fits standard-sized sheets, and it is waterproof, making clean-up an easy job. However, weighing in at just under 10 pounds, 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 works as a packable car camping mattress or emergency bed for those last-minute house guests.

Packed Size


The Intex Classic wasn't the largest packed-up camping mattress we tested, but getting it back in its box required some finagling. If you aren't the sort of person to keep the box, you can fold or roll it into a shape that fits your storage area.


At 9.75 pounds, it is also inconveniently heavy and therefore scored below average for this metric. If you do take it camping, you will want to use it in close proximity to the car rather than lugging it to a faraway campsite.

Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


The value of the Intex is undeniable — it is easily one of the cheapest mattresses around! With such a low price, it's hard to find a better deal. However, if you're looking for comfort or warmth, you will want to consider another camping mattress from our fleet.

The dog tester approved the Intex for naps in the sun.
The dog tester approved the Intex for naps in the sun.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Conclusion


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 its price makes it an obvious choice for those on a tight budget.

Laurel Hunter

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