Product Type: Outwell Camping
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Outwell Flock Excellent Double Inflatable Mattress
Member Name: Stephiej
Outwell Flock Excellent Double Inflatable Mattress
Date: 07/05/11, updated on 05/01/12 (241 review reads)
Advantages: Supremely comfortable, robust and relaible
Disadvantages: Big and heavy
Outwell is one of three brands produced by Oase Outdoors Aps, a family owned and operated Danish company. They started in 1984, and today are widely regarded throughout Europe as the leaders in family camping, consistently winning awards for their outstanding products. They are regularly at the forefront of camping innovations, some of the concepts Outwell introduced were luminous reflective guylines, skylights, carpets and footprints for tents, as well as a variety of camping accessories such as beds, chairs and cooking equipment. Although Outwell camping equipment is never the cheapest, because I own several Outwell products I know the quality is good, and I don't mind paying a little extra for a well made product that I can be confident will last.
I bought my Outwell Luxury Flock Double Airbed last year from an online camping store, for £54.99, which may seem expensive for what is basically a posh Lilo, but in my opinion it is worth every penny. Outwell have produced a new version this year, called Deluxe, which appears to be exactly the same as the Luxury apart from the colour, being brown rather than the black/grey version I have. The benefit of this to anyone thinking of purchasing an Outwell Luxury Flock Airbed now is that the price has reduced significantly with the introduction of the newer version, and the Luxury Airbed can now be found for just £37.95 on Amazon.
As with most airbeds it is made from PVC, which is considerably thicker and stronger than I have found on other makes of airbed. The PVC is black, with a pale grey velour fabric on the top of the bed. This velour is a great idea, as I found the shiny PVC surface on previous beds caused me to roll off when I turned over in my sleeping bag (of course, having a double rather than a single helps with this as well!). The only disadvantage of this velour top, is that it tends to attract and trap fluff and small pieces of cotton, which I have only been able to remove by going over the surface with a strip of sellotape wrapped around my hand sticky side out. However, I have only needed to do this once so far, and having used it many times over the past year this isn't too much of an inconvenience for me. Obviously, being a fluff-magnet doesn't affect the beds' performance in any way; it just doesn't look as smart as it once did. Because of the material, there was a slight smell when this bed was new. It smelled a little like rubber to me, but a friend commented the smell reminded her of the dentist! This smell wore off after one or two uses.
One of the major advantages of this bed is its' height. When fully inflated it is nearly 30cms high, and having a bed raised this far off the floor means that the cold dampness that comes from the ground overnight in a tent doesn't reach me, it also makes it feel more like a real bed, and is easier and more comfortable to get in and out of. The construction of the air pockets in this bed means that the edges are stabilised, so if I sit on the edge of the bed it does not collapse completely down to the floor. The other dimensions are 205cms long, by 135cms wide, so it really is worth checking whether the sleeping area of your tent can accommodate this airbed, because it is larger than most.
I have a bit of a Goldilocks complex when it comes to camping beds. I don't like a bed to be too soft, but if they're too firm they can be overly bouncy, which is a guaranteed way of disturbing a good nights' sleep. I was delighted to find that when fully inflated this airbed is neither so soft that I sink into it like a marshmallow, nor so firm that the slightest movement propels me several inches into the air, in fact, it is just right.
Due to its' size, this airbed does take a while to inflate. I inflate it using a hand pump, and it takes me just under 10 minutes to inflate fully, with a rest of a minute or so halfway through. It is also possible to inflate this bed using a battery or electric pump if you want to reduce the effort required. The valve has a large aperture which helps to speed up the time it takes to inflate, and a double-seal closure feature which reassures me that it is less likely to leak air overnight. It involves securing an attached plastic tab over the valve, and then pressing the entire valve unit inside the bed, which creates a further seal. The only difficulty I have experienced with this valve is that it can be a little fiddly to pop the valve unit back out when I am ready to deflate the bed. After a little trial and error I have perfected the technique, and it's worth a little fiddling to know I won't wake up in the middle of the night to find all the air has leaked out and left me lying on the ground. I have slept on this airbed many times for a night or two, and once for 8 nights. Over that longer period, I found I had to top up the air after 5 nights, which is pretty good going for an airbed.
It is easy and quick to deflate, simply opening the valve and rolling around on the bed to push the air out until it is fully deflated does the job for me. I the fold it lengthways several times, starting from the side furthest from the valve to ensure every last bit of air is squeezed out, and then folding in half twice. I find I can then easily pack it away. There is no carry bag supplied with this airbed. Instead it comes in a nylon 'sleeve', which does a good job of keeping it together, but doesn't provide the convenience of carrying handles.
This is the best airbed I have found, and it has been a very worthwhile investment for me. Now I look forward to snuggling down in my sleeping bag on my luxurious camping bed, which is a far cry from the old days when I hoped I would have drunk enough alcohol to be able to ignore the discomfort!
I have hesitation in recommending it to regular campers, but it may not be worth the cost for those who only camp occasionally. This bed could also be very useful indoors if you have more guests than beds, and I find it far more comfortable than those folding guest beds, with matresses as thick as a postage stamp, when I can feel the springs digging into my back all night. It is a very large bed, and weighs half as much as some of my tents, at just over 4kgs, so it is certainly not suitable for backpacking or wild camping, but if you are going to be parking your car next to your tent and you want a little luxury, this is definitely the bed for you.
Summary: Brilliant blow-up bed without excessive bounce.
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