These days, when you need an extra bed, you’re more likely to pull out an air mattress than open a sofa sleeper and for camping, the inflatable air mattress will be found on most packing lists.
The problem, however, is that these days they are almost universally made with PVC, which outgasses harmful chemical fumes called phthalates long after that telltale “new mattress smell” has dissipated. (Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors that can cause a variety of insidious health issues for unborn children, as well as adults. We strongly recommend avoiding them whenever possible)
A few years ago, those of us who objected to breathing in dangerous chemicals may have had little recourse other than to forgo the luxury of an air mattress and lump it—but thankfully, we now have many more options:
KingCamp 2-Person PVC-Free Ultra Light Airbed with Pump: Made of 100% polyester with TPU coating, this 2-Person PVC-Free airbed is only 6 lbs, damp-proof, comfortable, durable and very firm with 192 stabilizers between the top and bottom. The Boston valve air tap and battery operated pump provide rapid inflation and deflation. It is convenient to adjust the comfort level of this airbed. Includes compression straps, an oversized oxford carrying bag and repair kit.
BeyondHOME Odorless 18-22 Inch Air Mattress: (NEW!) Made of PVC-free polyester over a non-toxic TPU shell, this 2 person air mattress comes in 3 heights (18-22 in), and boasts a supportive oval coil system. Includes a 180w built-in pump that inflates and deflates with the touch of a button. At the time of this posting, there is also a fabulous $30 coupon available!
ALPS Mountaineering Vertex 2 Person Air Bed: Made with durable PVC-free fabric, this air bed is incredibly lightweight (the queen size weighs in at just over 4 lbs) which makes for easy transport. It utilizes a coil system for a more solid and comfortable sleeping area and comes with a carrying bag and state-of-the-art pump with multiple power options: wall outlet, car outlet or rechargeable battery. For indoor/outdoor use, it also inflates and deflates quickly and easily.
Lightspeed Outdoors Ultralight Flexform Curved Inflatable Single Air Bed: This indoor/outdoor super lightweight air bed (under 3 lbs) is made of PVC-free durable 30D stretch FlexForm polyester with TPU coating. Features a curved baffle design that cradles and conforms to body shape, a thicker 4.3 inches of inflation, built in pillow, adjustable firmness and inflates with 5-10 full bag pumps. Pump included!
Kelty Kush Queen Air Bed: (NEW!) Weighing in at just 5 lbs, this two person air bed is a plush 6 inches thick, PVC-free and made to last with abrasion-and-puncture resistant TPU laminated fabric. Comes with a battery operated air pump and carrying bag.
Sierra 2 Person Camping Air Bed Mattress: This budget-conscious queen size air mattress (Note: reviews say it’s more like a full) is made of phthalate-free TPU and is PVC-free. It features a built-in pillow, a free-flowing 2-part Boston Valve and includes an oversized storage bag and battery-operated pump.
Lightspeed Outdoors Warmth Series Self Inflating Single Sleep Pad R-Value of 4.87 to keep you warm. Lightweight (2.3 lbs) PVC-free materials eliminate harmful phthalates, plastic odors and crinkle plastic noises for a more peaceful rest. Oversized air valve for fast self inflation and quick deflation without the need for a pump. Includes integrated pillow for additional comfort, compression straps and oversize carry bag. Great for recreational backpacking or car camping. There is also a thicker option available if you prefer a bit more inflation.
Happy PVC-free sleeping!