Whether you don’t own an air pump, you forgot to bring one, or it broke at the last second, here are four ways you can inflate your airbed without a pump.
A hairdryer - This may not be as effective as a pump, but it’ll do the job. If you have a hairdryer on hand, set it to the coldest setting. The hot setting can melt or damage the valve and the material of the airbed, so make sure the heat has been turned off. Place the hairdryer nozzle against the valve opening and turn it on. A hairdryer attachment can improve your accuracy, so it’s worth trying to see if it can speed up the process. You may need to pinch the valve for the air to flow, so use a peg to keep it open.
A bin bag - This process takes more time and effort but can be used if you don’t have access to electricity. Fill the bin bag with air by swooping it through the air. Quickly close the opening to prevent air from escaping and open the centre to match the size of the valve. Squeeze the air from the bin bag into the airbed while pinching the valve open. The best way to do this is to lay the airbed flat on the ground and lie on the bin bag to release the air faster. Repeat the process until it’s inflated.
A vacuum cleaner - Using the reverse function on a vacuum cleaner is a great way to inflate an airbed without a pump. Place the nozzle of the vacuum over the airbed valve to allow air to flow into the mattress. The airbed should inflate quickly with minimal effort. Alternatively, if your vacuum doesn’t have a reverse function, you can remove the bag and connect the hole where the bag would attach to your airbed valve using a pipe. This should cause the air to get sucked up through the vacuum nozzle and blown into your airbed.
Blow it up manually - This is the least effective, most time-consuming, and tiresome method, but blowing up an airbed with your lungs is doable if you have nothing else around to do it for you. Simply take a deep breath and breathe the air from your lungs into the inflatable mattress while pinching the valve open if required. Repeat this process until the bed is filled, but be careful not to overdo it — take regular breaks to reduce the risk of hyperventilation.
While these methods work, an electric or manual pump is always recommended. Or, to save the hassle of bringing a pump, choose an airbed that has a built-in pump or one that self inflates.
How to stop your airbed from deflating
Control the room temperature - Pressure is lost when it’s cold due to the air condensing and in hot temperatures due to the PVC softening, so you should keep the airbed out of direct sources of heat and control the room temperature with a thermostat.
Don’t exceed the maximum weight capacity of the mattress - Overloading the weight limit can stretch the material of the mattress, which results in a loss of air.
Avoid punctures - The thin material that airbeds are made from is prone to holes and leaks; lay the mattress in a hazard-free area and find one made with thick PVC.
Don’t overinflate - This can cause excess stress at the seams of the mattress when completely blown up, so only fill it to 90% capacity for best results.
Give the mattress time to stretch - Inflate the airbed and leave it to stretch out into its natural position for a day or two without putting weight on it.
Don’t sit on the edge of the mattress - This puts a lot of pressure on a small and specific section of the airbed, which can cause holes and tears.
Store it properly - Follow the detailed instructions that come with the airbed on how to store and fold it properly to prolong its lifespan.