Over many years and after having many friends recommending them, I have thought about getting a self inflating mattress. Thankfully, the folks at SurvivalHax.com were gracious enough to let me review theirs.
To begin with, I needed to learn more about how they work in order to properly review the product. After understanding the foam structure mixed with the fact the chamber has to be airtight, I started grasping the concept and was ready to start reviewing the mat.
I pulled the mattress pad out of the included stuff sack and a little bag fell out that contained a repair kit. That was nice of them but I wondered how soon after inflating the mattress would I need the kit. I put the kit back inside with the instructions.
After opening the valve and hearing the airflow, I really understood how they worked because I watched the process intensely along with the time to fill. It is best to open the valve and go do your other tasks so as not to sit idly and watch the pad fill even though it didn’t take more than about three minutes to completely fill the first time. Additionally, after inflating, I let it sit for two days while inflated. This lets the foam fill completely and stretch to its full ability. Keep in mind, it is recommended to store a self inflating mattress open and inflated.
Now came the tests. I took the mattress outdoors and put it on the uncleaned rock and stick ridden clay ground where the grass had died due to another test. Because I wanted to simulate me being tired and laying down without having to get completely undressed, I kept my sidearm and knife with a pocket clip exposed on my person. This included keeping my boots on. After literally rolling around on the mattress for ten minutes, it was time to inspect the results.
While there were a few scratches and dirt on the 75D Polyester Pongee mattress, there were no holes or creases that could possibly wear into holes. Fair enough. Time for the second test.
I took a few rocks, not smooth stones, and laid them where my back and hips would normally be. I then walked on them while the mattress was inflated and then checked the results. While I could start seeing a little stress there was nothing to be concerned about.
Fair enough. The third test was simple normal usage in two situations; one on the ground without a ground cover and one in the hammock with no underquilt. It tested as expected. I added a little more air by gently blowing into it in order to make the mattress firm. This is acceptable practice and even mentioned on the SurvivalHax.com Self Inflating Mattress site.
I slept well on both accounts for about an hour in each scenario. Yes, it was nap time. My shoulders got a little cold because there was nothing to fully protect me from conduction or convection. This was a clear indicator that the self inflating mattress was a keeper.
The only thing not done in testing was run a knife through the mattress because it would not simulate normal use. The exception may be if it were true survival and I had another need for the polyester or foam.
Just the facts:
- Weight: 1.7 lbs
- Dimensions Packed: 10.6″ x 5.9″
- Dimensions Inflated: 70.8″ x 19.6″ x 1.6″
- MSRP: $50 (as of today on sale now for $39.99)
Folks, I think I have tested this to the fullest ability without being abusive to the product. That being said, the price point is great for someone who wants to try one and the service I have dealt with has been very responsive.
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