The problem, however, is that these days they are almost universally made with PVC, which outgasses harmful fumes long after that telltale “new mattress smell” has dissipated and can contain lead.
A few years ago, those of us who objected to breathing in toxic fumes may have had little recourse other than to forgo the luxury of an air mattress and lump it—but we now have many more options:
ALPS Mountaineering Velocity Air Bed: (Added May 2016) Made with durable PVC-free fabric, this air bed is incredibly lightweight which makes for easy transport. It utilizes a coil system for a more solid and comfortable sleeping area and comes with a state-of-the-art rechargeable pump inflates and deflates quickly and easily.
Lightspeed Outdoors Airbed: Made from eco-friendlier TPU, this PVC-free and phthalate-free two person air mattress comes with a battery operated pump + FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.
The Aerobed Pakmat: It’s PVC and phthalate-free and made of 100% eco-friendly materials. Uses a hand pump instead of batteries or electricity to inflate and only takes about 60 seconds plus it weighs only 5 lbs and stores right inside it’s pump case. FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.com.
The Aerobed Ecolite: Made from eco-friendlier TPU instead of PVC, the Ecolite is phthalate-free and comes with a rechargeable pump. Unlike the Pakmat, it comes in twin and queen sizes and is 40% lighter than PVC air mattresses. Personally, I’d still go for the Pakmat because I’ve had several air mattress pumps die on me over the years.
Kelty Sleep Eazy: Made of 70D nylon with a TPU laminate, and includes a standard coil for support. The PVC-free Sleep Eazy is also a breeze to inflate thanks to the 6-volt rechargeable pump, which includes both a car and wall charger for versatile use. And to ensure compact storage, the airbed comes with a Kelty Binto storage bin.
Lake Timber Top Rubberized Fabric Air Mattress: Back before PVC was so ubiquitous, air mattresses were made of rubberized fabric and were reputedly super durable, in addition to being far more eco-friendly than their PVC counterparts. This rubberized fabric air mattress is the equivalent of a twin or single air mattress at 30″ X 72″ and can also be used in the water. Comes with a repair kit and is eligible for FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.com
I also found companies in the UK and Australia that carry rubberized cotton air mattresses. I will link to them for our non-American readers and anyone who might be interested in placing an international order:
Discount Camping: This Australian store carries three different sizes of rubberized cotton air mattresses.
Happy PVC-free sleeping!