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Air Mattress Frame

Air mattress frames and mattresses give a tent the feel of a bedroom chamber. Campers or couples can sleep in a tent as they do at home.

A twin air-mattress frame is usually a cot, which has a fabric sling that has been made into a sleeve enclosure to accept an air mattress and hold it in place on the cot.

The twin air mattress is sold with the cot frame.

Larger air-mattress frames have a sleeve enclosure that can accept a standard, queen air mattress that is 8" deep.

Air mattress frame styles

Camping mattress frames are available in three styles: bi-fold, military, and accordion.

Bi-fold and military-style air-bed-and-cot combos have sleeve enclosures that can accept twin air mattresses. These range in length from 72" to 80" and width from 25" to 30".

An accordion-style air-mattress frame is the only style that can serve as a foundation for a full or queen air mattress. This air mattress stand is designed with an extra row of legs to support the center of a wider mattress.

The frames set up in a snap by extending the leg posts in both directions.

The accordion frames collapse to fit in a case that resembles a medium-size travel suitcase, which comes with a pull-out handle and rollers for transport. Campers need only lift it in and out of the vehicle and, depending on terrain, roll it the rest of the way.

Carry weights are seldom listed for these frames, so assume 20 - 30 lbs or 10 to 15 kg.

Usage tips for twin air mattress frames

Should the mattress of a twin-air-bed-and-cot combo fail, campers can still sleep on the cot and repair the mattress in the morning.

A standard, twin air mattress will probably be at least 36" to 39" wide and too large to use as a replacement air mattress on a twin air-bed-and-cot combo, which is 30" or less in width.

Custom twin mattresses are sold with the bed frames. If the original fails and cannot be repaired, it may be difficult to source a replacement outside of the manufacturer's factory.

Cabelas offers a stand-alone, accordion, twin bed frame that accommodates a standard twin air mattress (39" wide).

Tent campers can also use a standard, twin air mattress on a wide cot, but have a look at the Campetent cot mattresses page for ideas on how to keep the air mattress from shifting on the cot frame.

Tips for full and queen air mattress frames

It may be difficult to insert a fully inflated queen mattress into the frame sleeve. Try first inserting the deflated mattress fabric inside the sleeve and then inflating the mattress.

With accordion frames, the center rows of leg posts can stress a queen air mattress. Although the fabric deck should stretch taut, when the frame legs are fully extended, the deck fabric can stretch under the weight of campers and allow the leg posts to poke and stress the mattress fabric.

Perhaps a folded tarp under the center of the air mattress can alleviate some of the stress.

If the air mattress fails, air-bed frames usually have support straps underneath the fabric deck. The straps will make the frames uncomfortable for sleeping without an inflated air mattress above. Test the mattress carefully before camping and have a backup air mattress in case the original fails.

If the air mattress loses too much air, campers may feel straps or leg posts through the partially deflated mattress. Make sure the mattress is in good condition at the beginning of the season and before a long camping trip.

Some campers have noted that the straps can rub against the mattress when they shift, and the noise can interrupt sleep. Some unscented talcum powder or silicone spray on the straps should alleviate this. Talcum powder is a mineral powder and will not attract animals. Apply it lightly with a cloth to keep from making a mess.

Due to the cross-bracing of the accordion-style frame, the space underneath is only available for storing small items.

Raised air mattress frames usually require a large to x-large tent, especially if more than two people will occupy the tent. Since an elevated bed cannot be placed at the edge of the floor, it can easily take up much of the prime headroom space in the middle of the tent.

Vinyl air mattresses should be aired out for a few days before campers sleep on them. Vinyl can release strong odors, and campers may not want to be cooped up in a tent with a new vinyl mattress that has just been unwrapped.


Conclusion

An air bed frame and mattress combo is the most comfortable sleeping gear available to leisure tent campers. Campers who would like to tent camp, but are uncomfortable with sleeping on the ground, can have their cake and eat it, too.

Air bed and cot combo brands include Cabelas and Coleman.

Accordion air-mattress stands include the brands Cabelas, Columbia, North Pole, Ozark Trail, REI, and Wenzel