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I travel to a lot of comic and gaming conventions, and cramming as many people as possible into a single hotel room is a great way to save money. But I also hate sleeping on the floor, which is why I’ve started including a good air mattress in my conventioneering kit. Light and easy to pack in my suitcase, they’re surprisingly comfortable and easy to sleep on after a long day of geeking out.

Modern air mattresses include internal chambers to help distribute the sleeper’s weight and prevent sagging—and the next morning’s achey backs. Many come with built-in motors for quick inflation and deflation. Rugged construction and a variety of sizes—from twin to king—hold large adults and couples with ease. Smart design features, like flocked tops and contoured sides, help keep sheets in place.

And they’re not just for conventions: I’ve used air mattresses when guests visit my small apartment, and they’re great when camping, out on a boat, or when you’ve moved to a new home and haven’t had time to buy furniture.

Top choice: SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress

Holds Up To 500 Pounds

Double-height construction for getting in and out of bed easily. Amazon

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After a few years of failed air mattresses, I settled on the SoundAsleep Dream series—in Twin XL—because of its double-height and the 40 comfortable, internal air chambers in the top of the mattress that do a good job of simulating the individual coils of a traditional mattress. The internal, motorized pump achieves full inflation in about four minutes, and the mattress only needs occasional topping off over a period of three or four days. It weighs 14 pounds, which is a bit heavier than I like, but it folds up tightly and I don’t have any trouble putting it in a suitcase for travel.

Great for campers: Coleman Air Mattress

Fitting Upgrade For Your Tent

The valve helps prevent leaks. Amazon

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Internal, motorized pumps are convenient—but only if you’ve got an outlet handy. But when you find yourself camping, for instance, you’ll appreciate that Coleman’s SupportRest series can be inflated with an external airbed pump, which can run on regular batteries, rechargeable batteries, or an outlet (if you happen to find one). Available in queen and twin sizes, and designed for indoor and outdoor use, this double-height air mattress features a coil-support system for comfort, and a double-lock valve to keep air tightly contained. The twin mattress supports up to 300 pounds, and the queen can hold 600.

A place for your head: AeroBed Air Mattress with Built-in Pump & Headboard

Be Too Comfortable To Get Up

Stays firm through the night. Amazon

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Available in twin and queen sizes, this AeroBed air mattress Is 20-inches high—not the tallest double-height air mattress— but it still makes getting in and out of bed easy. What’s nice about this model, is the built-in headboard. Use it as a pillow, or let it keep your pillows from falling off the mattress.

Closer to the ground: Coleman Quick Bed Single High Airbed Mattress

Antimicrobial Surface

For tight spaces and tight budgets. Amazon

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This single-height mattress is great when space is at a premium and your budget is tight. Available in twin, full, and queen sizes, it uses an external air mattress pump that can be powered by batteries or an outlet, making it handy not only indoors, but also on camping trips or traveling in a boat or RV. Internal air chambers simulate traditional coils, and a double-lock valve helps keep air from escaping.

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