If you are camping outside, then your camping mattress will form an essential part of your gear. It can protect you from the biting cold, avoid aches and pains as well as protect you from stone, rocks and other crawlies and creepies!
You cannot afford to be careless about your mattress before or after camping because mattresses are designed to last quite a few years if you take good care and caution when using and also storing them.
Here is a complete lowdown on how you must inflate and deflate your camping mattress to ensure it retains both its functionality and its appearance for many years.
How to inflate your newly bought mattress?
When you are inflating your store-bought mattress for the first time, it is recommended that you unroll it and let it self-inflate for about half an hour. Make sure to check that the valves are open. Once it is self-inflated entirely, self-blow into the valves by mouth and then close the valves.
Remember always to let your mattress self-inflate first
Here is how you must deflate the mattress after use
Open the valves in the mattress and let it self-deflate. You could apply light pressure on the mattress by sitting to force the remaining air out. Lightly roll the mattress towards the valve so that the remaining air also leaves.
Close the valves. Now begin by folding the mattress with light hands towards the valves. Make sure that you do not fold it tightly to crease it. When you are getting close to them, open the valves to let out the remaining air till you finish rolling. Close the valves tight. The mattress will remain folded in that position.
Folding of the mattress is only a stop-gap arrangement till you reach home
Storing your camping mattress rolled up over a more extended period can potentially damage the mattress. The mattress needs to be stored flat in a cool, dark, and dry place. Once you reach home, make sure to self-inflate the mattress again and store it flat.
Inspect the mattress for stains and damage
Your mattress may have stains from the floor or your body fluids. It is a good idea to wipe the mattress with a damp cloth before airing it entirely and storing it away. In case there are stubborn stains, you could even consider washing it with your hands in the bathtub by using a soft sponge and a cap full of anti-bacterial soap working up a lather and then rinsing it away with a generous amount of water.
If there is a need to wash the mattress, then it should be done with it inflated. It is easier to clean the stains off a firmer mattress. After washing it, you must pat dry it with a towel and remove the air and air dry by hanging it on a line or the backrest of some sturdy furniture.
Make sure that there is no moisture at all before storing it because even little moisture can encourage the growth of molds and other bacteria spoiling your mattress and putting you to risks such as infections and allergies.
Here is a list of further dos and don’ts for your mattress
- Check for punctures and mend them immediately. Have a patch kit handy in your camping gear;
- The mattress should never be substituted for a floatation device. Ever;
- The mattress should not be used anywhere near a fire
- It should be kept away from direct sunlight because continuous UV exposure can wear away it is a protective coating
- The mattress must not be inflated with electronic and non-electronic devices such as air pumps or blowers. It should not be tumble dried or thrown into the dryer. Hairdryer or other devices should not be used to dry it.
- Harsh chemicals such as those containing chlorine and insect repellents must not be sprayed directly on to it.
- Pets should not be allowed on it because they can damage it with their sharp claws.
There are a wide range of camping mattresses on the market today, all with different pros and cons. Check our guide to the best camping mattresses if you are thinking about investing in one for your next camping trip. If you are not a fan of air mattresses or new style camping mats, then a camping stretcher may be more your style. There are plenty of quality products on offer, both lightweight and comfortable.