My first foray into the world of inflatable air beds came the second year I camped out in a rock quarry in Mexico. Yes, the second. The first year, I was stupid enough to cross the border, set up camp and call it a night on padding that had all of the thickness of a yoga mat. After a week of tossing and turning (not to mention knots in my back the size of rocks), I decided I had to get an inflatable mattress for my next trip.

After doing some research, I decided to get a camping air bed and backpack combo in pink! The AeroBed overnighter ended up being the perfect solution and I looked pretty damn stylish in sleeping in my pink bed with matching backpack. While normal air mattresses are stored in a bulky box, this one can simply be folded up and placed in the backpack it comes with. I was able to simply sling it over my shoulder as I made my way to the campsite, while I laughed inside at everyone else struggling with his or her oversized bulky air mattresses. This mattress also came with a super quick, battery-operated pump that allows inflation in minutes. Believe it or not, there were definitely people on the trip struggling with foot pumps, and a few blowing out their lungs trying to fill it up via their own airway. Within minutes, I was napping, amid the sounds of struggles and grunts of my fellow campers as they wrestled with their own air mattresses.

The second time the air mattress and I met happened to be in the urban jungle, a far cry from a desert rock quarry. Living in a tiny apartment in New York City, with a lot of broke friends needing a place to crash, I simply didn’t have the extra money or room for a couch. I decided to upgrade to a larger full size raised air bed, which turned out to be a total lifesaver. Not only was it comfortable (I may have slept on it myself a night or two), but also rose high enough that my guests felt like they were on an actual bed instead of camping out.

Suffice to say, whether I’m camping or in the urban sprawl, my trusty air bed mattresses have been a total lifesiver.

-Anna Scanlon