* Prices may differ from that shown
By now, most of you know my feelings about camping. Mark and the girls all love it but me, well, I like my home comforts too much. I'll admit, when I'm there I do enjoy it but this is mainly down to the fact that Mark in a camping shop is like me in Lush - any excuse to buy something, and so he tends to be on the lookout for things that will make (camping) life more comfortable for me and the kids.
His latest aquisition was this inflatable sofa bed from Bestway, which he paid around £70 for in Towsure. It's a neat idea, an inflatable bed that can fold across the middle to turn it into a sofa during the day. It comes with a pump and can be fully inflated in less than five minutes, the main bulk of the time being taken to find the various inlet nozzles as the bed is inflated in four or five different sealed sections.
Once inflated the bed has a smooth velvet feel on the area where you'll be sleeping, the bottom of the bed is a (supposedly) non-slip rubber both to stop you sliding around in the night and also to help the sofa keep it's shape after you've folded it. I say supposedly, I don't know what type of ground sheet Bestway tested their claims on but in our tent (god, I hate that word) the slightest knock as you walk past sends the bed flying a few inches across the floor - even when someone is sleeping or sitting on it!
Sleeping on it when folded out as a bed is a much more comfortable experience than lying on a camping mat, we realised over the weekend that it will inflate to whatever level of firmness you like for your mattress. Both me and Mark like a firm mattress so we inflated it pretty much as far as it would go - unfortunately this makes the edges very rounded and can lead to you rolling off the edge of the bed in the night. As Hollie found out when she dozed off on it, rolling over and hitting the floor with an unceremonious thump! It's quite a high mattress too, even when laid out as a bed it stands over six inches high (at a rough guess) and when folded into sofa-form it's actually ridiculously high. To use Hollie as an example again; she's just turned four and isn't the tallest four year old I've ever met, she literally has to clamber up to get onto the sofa - which isn't great news as little girl's buckley shoes in rough contact with an inflatable *anything* is just asking for trouble!
We've never had any leaks or problems with the bed losing air - ours didn't need blowing up again until the third night and that was only because we'd had bad weather that day so had been using the sofa more or less all day. The one 'arm' does go squishier than the rest of the bed/sofa but I can live with that and definitely wouldn't bother getting the pump out just to re-inflate it.
I actually don't think this product is great when used as a sofa, it's only really big enough for two to sit on and even then after a few minutes you'll find yourself both sinking in towards the middle and breaking into each others personal space. Not necessarily a bad thing I admit, but there are people I wouldn't want to get quite so close to and that could get embarrassing! It's also very rotund and unless you sit with your bum right to the back of the sofa you'll soon start sliding off the edge. Hollie again, several times. Honestly, I'm surprised she wants to come camping again!
At the end of your trip, deflating the bed is as easy as pinching the valve and squeezing the air out. Presumably you could use a pump which sucks as well as blows to deflate it in double quick time, but I've found leaving Mark with it while I nip to the toilet will usually do the trick! It goes back into it's original box for storage, although I've noticed the box itself is looking quite ratty now after just a few uses so we might have to look at buying a bag or something to keep it in.
I decided to buy the Bestway inflatable sofa bed for my teenage daughter to have in her snug so that when her friends came over they had somewhere comfortable to sit away from the throngs of adults who apparently are "embarrassing" most of the time!! The fact that it doubled as an inflatable bed was a bonus as from time to time she does decide to have more than one friend stay over and so another spare bed is always beneficial. So, I purchased this product from Amazon for the princely sum of £79.99 (including post and packaging) and I received it two working days later.
When the package arrived from Amazon, the box contained the unflated inflatable sofa bed, a sidewinder AC Air pump, a repair patch in case of puncture, and a carry bag for storing and packing the sofa in it if it needs to be transported.
Inflating the sofa bed is very complicated......ummmm I'm being sarcastic! Basically it involves screwing in the lead into the inflation valve (which fits easily) and then plugging the AC lead into a wall socket (or any portable generator if you're out and about). You then sit back and wait for the pump to do the rest. Although the bumf that comes with the bed says it takes 3 minutes to inflate, I would say it was actually nearer 5 minutes - but either way, it doesn't take very long and it requires no effort whatsoever on your part!
The overall sofa dimensions are 78 cm x 140 cm x 90 cm, with the actual seat dimensions being only 40cm x 110 cm x 65 cm. Although this sofa is advertised as a three-seater sofa, there is no way on earth that it comfortably sits three people......unless those three people happen to be Kylie Minogue, Cheryl Cole and Victoria Beckham! Seriously, my daughter and her friends are mostly sizes 8 - 10 and even three of them cannot fit comfortably on the sofa together without getting very intimate with each other. So, us mere mortals have no chance!! Having said that, it is amply big enough to fit two average side adults - and so really this is what it should be advertised as.
When its put together, the sofa you end up with is a kind of charcoal black and it feels fairly soft and looks sturdy enough. Its not posh.....but then if its posh you're looking for, I guess you're not going to opt for an inflatable sofa!!
Using the sofa is "okay" for short periods. Its comfortable to begin with, but after 10 minutes or so you start to realise how unsupportive the sofa structure actually is. In particular, the back rest is quite low and is probably the least sturdy part of the sofa, and to be honest, that's where you need sturdiness!! My daughter usually rests the sofa against a wall and so that gives it a little bit more support - but it could be better. We also find that after a while you seem to start falling into the gaps - although obviously this is worse when the sofa needs pumping up a little bit more - which we generally need to do a couple of times a week if its in regular use, which inevitably it is.
The sofa does fold out into an inflatable bed double bed with the dimensions of
20 cm x 160 cm x 110 cm. It is big enough to sleep two adults without them having to be squished together and uncomfortably entwined. People have commented that when using this as a bed, during the course of the night, air obviously escapes from somewhere because as the night goes on, people inevitably end up in the centre of the bed with their bum touching the floor! However, I've yet to come across an inflatable bed that doesn't do this.
I can't comment on the ease of letting down this sofa bed as ours is permanently erected.
I do find that the material is that kind of material that attracts every conceivable particle of dust and so I do need to hoover it regularly - although bits cling to it and can be a bit stubborn to remove. We have counteracted this by having the sofa covered in a throw - which also makes it look more homey anyway.
Overall, I would recommend this for someone who wants a cheap sofa for occasional use.
We bought this bed a while ago for my brother's flat so I'd have a place to sleep when I visited other than on the floor! It's a lovely big bed and a comfortable sofa by day. It's very easy to inflate in 3 minutes automatically but more of a pain to deflate. It comes in a large cardboard box and is simply plugged into the wall to inflate it.
It will inflate in 180 seconds (3 minutes), which is very good going, as it's quite large. It does this via the air pump, which is included. Not only is it a double sofa but a double bed too. I severely doubt you can fit three people on it at any time unless they are very skinny. It has quite a soft and tough texture so it shouldn't break unless you come at it with a huge knife. It's black and looks pretty neat. There is one part where the sofa folds over, which shows on the front when it is in 'sofa form', which sort of spoils the look. It's a flexible flap and has a shiny black bit facing outwards, which looks different to the material of the rest of the item.
The sofa has a backrest and two round arm rests on each side. These are quite comfortable and the backrest is at a good height and supports the back well. If it's not inflated well enough, my back tends to fall backwards and it's probably not good for it! This bed is great as once you've done watching a movie or whatever, you can just whip out the cushions, pillows and duvets and fold it out into a good size double bed.
I tend to sleep with my head at the backrest end as I feel a lot more enclosed, which I like. I'd say it's certainly big enough for 2 people. The material makes it quite hot to sit on sometimes. It's not the kind of thing you can buy fitted sheets for however so you have to put up with this. It can feel really hot on bare skin after a while lying on it! It's quite soft however and your weight is spread out rather evenly and it's certainly comfortable.
To deflate the bed, you must basically undo the valve and squash it down! It can be quite tiresome and the last bits of air are often hard to get out. With a bit of trampling on and skill, you can deflate it pretty well.
Besides in the house, I'm sure you can use this for things such as camping, as it's not overly large. The bed has a 700 lb weight capacity, which is a lot! However beware, as I certainly wouldn't want this popping with me on it. As the second half of the bed folds underneath, it seems slightly unsafe. Any large swinging movements whilst on the sofa may cause it to just roll over, as although it's pretty sturdy, it's not the sturdiest structure! It also depends how you sit, which has ot be pretty much in the middle or it will lean to one side. There are no issues with this when it's in the form of a double bed. It's very comfortable and for £79.99 I'd say it's worth getting. It's certainly much cheaper than a proper bed and has two functions! It's quite comfortable for the price!
Thanks for reading!
Being a bit of an avid camper I have ammassed a range of items over the years intended to boost my camping experience. Some have been worthwhile investments which have enhance my camping trips, others have been costly nightmares that have been used once and in some cases left on site! After seeing the Bestway Inflatable sofa bed advertised in a magazine I decided to give it a try hoping for some comfort seating on the site.
I was almost put off by the price of £80 but decided that if it was as useful as it sounded Id get to use it all across the summer and thus would prove value for money. To be honest it has not been worth the money but its still a decent product and its all going to depend on personal preference.
Out of the box, its easy to assemble and goes up in around 3 minutes using the automatic air pump which is included. Its hassle free and once inflated will stay up without the need to reinflate for some time. The switch between bed and sofa bed is quick and easy which is ideal for those late nights when all you want to do is get into bed without faffing around with the sleeping beds.
In terms of comfort its actually pretty comfy and much comfier than I expected and at times I actually forgot I was sitting on what is basically a fancy air bed. It fits two adults and maybe at a squeeze a child as well being a bit smaller than a normal double bed in both width and length but its big enough. So therefore you will need a decent size tent to get use out of this. It goes well with a double quilt and the bed has a velvet covering which adds to comfort and support giving for a nice nights sleep.
I found it best used outside, far comfier than deck chairs and easy to relax in. Its easily stored, but as I said when used as a bed you need a decent size tent.
All in all its one of those products that has been used in my camping life a lot, its added comfort as a seat both in and out of the tent and gave a nice nights sleep. There is not a massive difference in comfort though and even though its hassle free I find the sheer size of it can make the inside of the tent cramped. It's a good product but be wary of paying £80 for something you might not use or be able to use as much as you wish!
Both of my daughters' have camper vans so we've decided to have a few weekends away over the summer exploring Wales, somewhere none of us have spent much time in the past. We've been twice already this year (well, I've been to Wales three times but only twice camping) and I volunteered to buy a double air bed for one of the vans as my days of camp beds are sadly over yet it hardly seemed fair to expect anyone else to have the expense when it was only my poor old bones complaining!
When I saw this product from Bestway I was immediately sold, it seemed such a very good idea to invent a double airbed that easily turns into a sofa and I'd never seen it anywhere before coming across it in my local camping shop. I happily paid the asking price of £35, which ended up being a bit of a bargain actually as the cheapest I can find the same product online is £43.99 at the time of writing.
The bed comes with an AC 240V air pump which inflates the bed to full capacity in around 2 minutes, the pump fits well into the valves in the bed with the on/off switch being smoothly operated and conveniently located on the top side of the pump.
Once fully inflated I found the bed to be extremely comfortable when both in the bed and sofa position. It's very simple to swap and change between the two as the bed is made up of two inflatable panels which are joined by a flexible strip of rubber, you only need to tuck the bottom inflated panel underneath and this will raise the bed into the sofa height. This isn't easy on your own though, that was the problem I found. You have to lift the whole thing practically off the floor each time you want to change the position, and when I said it was very simple earlier I meant it's simple in theory but it does take a little brawn and height (both of which I am unfortunately lacking) to flip the bed between it's positions.
The dimensions of the bed are 193cm x 152cm x 64cm, which I believe is slightly smaller than a standard double bed but I can tell you than I shared the bed with my ten year old granddaughter and there was plenty of room. My double quilt fitted the bed perfectly too with a little overhang on all sides, all the better for keeping the warmth in when you're sleeping outdoors though so I'm not complaining. My son in law had the good idea of deflating the sofa headrests a bit so that me and my granddaughter could squish them down to use as pillows, this turned out wonderfully and saved the need for using towels as a pillow as I can't sleep on a perfectly flat bed at all.
The bed is covered in a soft and velvety fabric which was comfortable to both sit and sleep on, despite the fact that the camper van got warm during the night the bed didn't make me sweat which can be an unfortunate problem when it comes to cheaper or generally not as well made air beds. It provides plenty of support when in the bed position, although it does slowly lose a little air during the time it's being used as a sofa so it's worth using the pump for a few seconds before setting it out for bed so that you get optimum support while you're asleep.
This is perfect for sitting outside the van when it's folded into the sofa position, my mobility problems mean I can't sit on the floor and have problems when it comes to sitting in traditional camping chairs as there is just not enough support. The sofa bed is durable enough to be placed on grass so me and my daughter had a comfy seat while the men got the BBQ going, it was just the right height for us actually being not far off the height of a household settee which was perfect for my poor old joints and just as perfect for my daughter to get the baby to sleep in her arms before depositing her in her brand new (and wholly disliked) In The Night Garden Ready Bed.
I'm very happy with this sofa bed and honestly believe it will make camping all the more bearable, I do enjoy camping and always have but now I'm getting older I certainly appreciate the luxuries!
Bestway Sidewinder AC 220-240V Air Pump Included. Couch inflates in 180 seconds. It can be unfolded as a double bed or folded up as a couch.