A compact, eco-friendly inflatable mattress and pump unit, the Aerobed® mattress is stored in a unique plastic cylinder, which is instantly transformed into an air pump to fully inflate the mattress in 90 seconds, making it ideal for campers, as well for emergency use in disaster relief.

Aero approached Beyond Design with the idea of storing a mattress inside the pump chamber. The Chicago design team then launched into conducting research into the concept, considering such factors as ergonomics and pump-size parameters.

The engineering and design of the mattress had to be closely considered in order to allow for maximum support yet minimum overall size and weight. The airbed had to be large enough to accommodate an adult male, while also being small and light enough to be suitable for hikers and campers to carry.

As such, the biggest challenge the designers faced was in finding the balance between size and weight, as well as comfort. In addition, the product had to be durable enough to withstand extreme outdoor conditions. This was achieved through the development and testing of multiple prototypes.

Field-testing was done to trial the size and shape of the mattress, as well as other factors such as ease-of-use in inflating and deflating the bed, and comfort level. Compromises had to be made in order to find that balance, which meant a reduction in the size of the mattress in order to make it small enough to fit inside the desired pump configuration.

The result, finalised with input from real users, was a shorter and narrower mattress (198 x 66 centimetres) to allow for a very compact design, and a ‘surfboard’ shape that reduces product weight, without sacrificing comfort. The Aerobed supports up to 158 kilograms.

Developed to comply with environmental demands, the Pakmat is designed with eco-friendly materials. The container was created using a blow-molded polypropylene to provide a sealed vessel.

Polypropylene is also widely available, the least expensive to produce and can easily be recycled. The airbed is made of 100 per cent phthalate-free materials, selected for flexibility and resilience, and it is reinforced with heavy-duty polyester. In addition, the material has self-lubricating properties that are ideal for the container’s telescoping function and assist the hand-pump action that provides air inflation.

Further weight and cost reduction features were integrated to the blow-molded parts, including the ergonomically designed carrying/pump handle, twist-lock, speed bumps and snap valve.

Weighing a mere 1.8 kg, the Pakmat is ideal for hikers, campers and other outdoor enthusiasts as it’s light enough to be strapped to a backpack or hand-carried. The compact plastic container allows for clean, dry storage and transportation of the airbed – the first of its kind – to protect it from the elements when not in use.

The Pakmat is also ideal for disaster relief victims in crisis areas, as it’s reusable, tear resistant and able to withstand extreme temperatures in harsh conditions. Additionally, the built-in pump means no electrical outlet or batteries are required to pump up the mattress. Compact and lightweight, it can easily be shipped anywhere in the world.

As such, since it’s creation, efforts for a global initiative involve donating it to the Red Cross, FEMA and other agencies. 

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