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. 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 an excellent 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.
Intex Classic Downy Review
Cons: Not the warmest or most comfortable, takes a while to inflate
Compare to Similar Products
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 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 other factors go into purchasing this mattress, 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 (and 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.
Testers felt like they were bouncing around on the air, and this was made worse when two people were sharing the mattress, where every turn, roll, and move was exaggerated.
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 mattress 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 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 Intex (just air!) and the sizeable 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 well in the Ease of Use metric.
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 mattresses we tested, and you can't expect it to keep you warm. This is a solid warm-weather only 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.
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 sleep like starfish. 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 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.
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.
At 9.75 pounds, it is also inconveniently heavy and therefore scored below average for this metric.
The value of the Intex is undeniable — it is easily one of the cheapest mattresses around! With prices so low, it's hard to find a better deal than the Intex, but if you're looking for comfort or warmth, you will want to 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 its price makes it an obvious choice for our Best Buy on a Lean Budget award.
— Laurel Hunter & Maggie Brandenburg