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Air mattress or sleeping bag mat

This will be my first RAGBRAI, and I’m wondering which one to bring along.   Going with PBV if I can, with the tent service and don’t think they supply any thing but the tent.

50 Replies

verylastrider, January 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm

I use a 9″ Coleman queen air mattress with a small battery power pump and a Coleman tent ceiling fan. Batteries last all week in both. Actually last two years. I have my own sag so the extra weight is not an issue but my  comfort is…….. Use two sheets and bring an extra light blanket.  Sleeping bag is usually too much!


gordie, January 18, 2012 at 6:07 pm

All good comments, I have an air mattress with a battery operated pump.  Batteries have always lasted all week.  the only complain i have is at nite you can get cold as nite temps go down.  Even last year with the heat.  And, if you are fortunate enough to sleep in someone’s basement,  I put long johns on to help stay warm.  Never tried a sleeping bag because of space.  Hard to believe one can get cold as hot as it was last summer. 


giantron, January 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm

For what it’s worth. the Big Agnes insulated air pad needs no pump. You blow it up yourself. I thought I could use the bike pump to fill it, but the valve doesn’t allow it. But it only took about 2 minutes to blow up myself which wasn’t bad at all. I haven’t tested how insulating it is yet though.


Michrider !!!, January 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm

iceman said:

madison5302 said: If you do the air mattress, you must consider how it will be inflated.  Will you use tons of batteries that ultimately end in a land fill or will you drag the mattress to an outlet, or will you carry the bulky hand pump?

Oh please – lets not drag landfills into my decision to use four D cell batteries to blow up my air mattress (and they last well beyond a week in the air pump).   Next you’ll start on the indiscriminate use of aluminum cans on RAGBRAI for Mich’s Budweisers.

What da H.ell?????


Gypsy Rose, January 19, 2012 at 7:41 pm

iceman said:Oh please – lets not drag landfills into my decision to use four D cell batteries to blow up my air mattress . . .

Why not consider the impact of those excesses? 4 D cells to blow up the mattress, 8 D cells to power the Walmart-purchased fans, generators running throughout the night to charge all the “gotta have” electronic gizmos . . .

I believe that many of us who ride a bike do so as part of a larger commitment to reducing our demands on the planet. I, for one, appreciate choices that minimize disposables, natural resource consumption, etc. Thanks to Madison for suggesting that choices are much more complex than simply price or personal comfort.

~ Kevin


Mike Murphy, January 19, 2012 at 11:20 pm

I bought a queen size air mattress at Sam’s a few year back.  It unzips and makes two twin size mattresses.  I take one and take both rechargable batteries that comes with it.  Each battery last for 4 days so I never have a problem with having to recharge it.  I sleep great and wouldn’t think of using just a mat.


beastmom, January 21, 2012 at 8:33 am

You’ll see me strapped to my bike sitting upright propped up against a tree. saves time!! sweet dreams.


Gypsy Rose, January 21, 2012 at 10:43 am

iceman said:

iceman said:Oh please – lets not drag landfills into my decision to use four D cell batteries to blow up my air mattress . . .

My four (4) C cells last all week in my fan.  My four (4) D cellls last all week in my fan.  I take them home and use them till they die and then I dispose of them in the recycle bin.  Good enough for you?  Perhaps St. Obama will come to the rescue and outlaw all batteries if it isn’t.
No. Household batteries may contain toxic metals and should never be put in your trash or recycle bin. (In many states it is illegal to put batteries or other e-waste in the landfills.) Batteries can be recycled, though, but this is usually through a special “e-waste” drop-off available at many recycling centers.

Here’s a link to a short film about the hazards of e-waste:
The Story of Electronics

~ Kevin

~ Kevin


madison5302, January 22, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Sheesh.  Who knew the turn this would take. 


ddbii, January 24, 2012 at 8:04 am

Look at it this way. If you ride all day you can sleep on a rock. Thermarest is much less hassle but not as over all comfortable as a mattress until the mattress leaks all of the air out. K.I.S.S. Try before you go and pick what best for you. Don’t worry about batteries if you go with a mattress. A six-pack of adult beverages will hire you a human air pump.


mentor58, January 24, 2012 at 10:48 am

I know that I’ve always been more than comfortable on a 1.5 inch therma-rest style self inflating mattress.  I’ve used it on solo self supported tours and group supported tours.  Very durable, light, never had a problem with it going flat.  (The one time it developed a slow leak, the foam kept me up off the ground).  I wouldn’t disparage anybody because they chose to bring a 6 inch air mattress, but for me it’s just over-kill.

Your mileage may vary,


Michrider !!!, January 24, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Iceman, when I read something that I disagree with, I just pop open another beverage!!!


Gypsy Rose, January 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm

iceman said:

madison5302 said: Sheesh.  Who knew the turn this would take. 

I did.  I never let [miss] a chance to call out the “I know better than you” people and their sanctimonious attitudes. 

As I read it (above), you sit ready to pounce with the personal attacks, which you did early on in this thread and continue to escalate. It would seem that your posts would be better received if you’d stick to the issues.

~ Kevin


Phil1961, January 24, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Two Ragbrai’s and only one set of 4D battery’s for my air pump. I like comfort while I am cycling. I listen to my ipod and charge my phone as needed to stay connected. I also like my carbon fiber road bike and drinking several bottled waters and Gatoraide all week, not once did I recycle any of the plastic bottles. Ragbrai is a vacation do what you want and have fun.


TJ Juskiewicz, January 25, 2012 at 9:40 am

Let’s keep it civil and respect people’s opinions


Viewing 15 replies - 16 through 30 (of 50 total)

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