How to Blow Up an Air Mattress Without a Pump – 5 Effective Ways

This article shows creative but risky ways to inflate your air mattress whenever your pump is messing up or unavailable for use.
Romeo Vitelli
Romeo Vitelli
Expert Writer
Received his doctorate in Psychology in 1987, spent fifteen years as a staff psychologist in Millbrook Correctional Centre. In 2003 went into full-time private practice. read more
Reviewed By
Medical Advisory Team
Medical Advisory Team
Includes well-known professionals, who together provide decades of sleep medicine experience that enables Talk About Sleep to fulfill its mission of creating access to high- read more
Last updated: September 06, 2023
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When you speak of mattresses, air mattresses stand out from the other regular kind of mattresses you’ll find around because they’re pretty fit for those who love to rough it in the great outdoors and the level of rest they offer is second to none. However, despite the undeniable comfort and relaxation provided by these mattresses, most people who possess an air mattress tend to forget their pump, which explains why one must be mindful of how to blow up an air mattress without a pump. Let’s imagine that you get caught up in the frenzy of packing all your items for your camping activity, and you left your pump behind, or your air mattress at home got deflated, and you just lost your pump, or it got broken down in the process of using it, what will you do? What options do you have?

Electric vs Analogue Methods

You’ll enjoy a couple of options if you have a source of electricity as you’re staying off the ground on a camping trip with your air mattress. If you’re someone who loves camping a lot Trusted Source Seven health benefits of camping - OurAuckland Make the most of your summer and discover the health benefits of camping here in Tāmaki Makaurau. , you must know that it’s very uncommon for you to find the tools you can make use of to inflate your air mattress during your trips. However, if you have portable generators or solar, you’re likely to find them quite handy. Be informed that, out of the possible methods you can make use of to inflate your airbed, there are some “conditions” or “circumstances” per se that may stand in your way of using the method.

For example, out of the methods that will be later explained in the course of this article, a hairdryer is one of the creative options you can use as a substitute to get your air mattress pumped. But, what are the chances that you’ll have your hairdryer packed with your items when you’re planning to camp out? You never anticipated that your pump would mess up, and this alone may make you encounter some challenges.

More so, you’ll need an electricity source before you can take advantage of some of these methods. That is not all; if you plan to take your airbed on a camping trip in the backcountry, you’ll find the three analog methods to be very useful. And, if you’ll be at a place with modern conveniences, at a cabin, or just somewhere around the house, you’ll find the other 2 options to be very helpful and satisfactory.

Creative but Risky Ways to Inflate Air Mattresses Without a Pump

This saying that buying a quality air mattress is less a hassle; getting it pumped exactly when necessary is the trouble. And, this is super true. If you own an air mattress, there’s a possibility that one day, you’ll find yourself in a situation where your air mattress pump won’t be available for use when you need to inflate your airbed.

However, you can now bid goodbye to such unpleasant dilemmas and learn to inflate your air mattress by using some creative strategies that will help you sleep more comfortably Trusted Source 7 Surprising Health Benefits to Getting More Sleep - WebMD Skimping on sleep can mess up more than just your morning mood. Give your body the sleep it needs for these seven key benefits. Careful not to sleep too much though. Find out why at WebMD. . It’s funny that many tend to doubt the possibility of inflating a mattress without a pump, but the truth of the matter is that it’s possible, and you’ll, of course, get to know more about this in the course of this guide.

Vacuum Cleaner

How to Blow Up an Air Mattress Without a Pump – 5 Effective Ways
Insert the vacuum cleaner hose into the hole for inflating the mattress and wait until it is filled with air.

If you’re looking for an easy way to inflate your air mattress, your vacuum is a viable option to opt-in for, and it’s a smooth method to oblige to if you’re close to any electrical outlet or you’re at home. However, you’ll have to ensure that the inflatable bed can take in the hose of the vacuum cleaner. So, for this, you must get an adapter. You should be able to get air into the mattress if your vacuum has a reverse or exhaust mode. But, to prevent air from escaping into the air while you’re trying to get the mattress pumped, you may want to create a tight seal by using duct tape — this is pretty essential for a more DIY method. And, if you need an adapter for this specific activity, you should be able to purchase a suitable one that will serve you well.

While using your vacuum, you have to be careful. Foremost, do well to avoid filling your airbed with dust and dirt by ensuring that the vacuum is clean and clear.

Confirm that the hose is empty by running the vacuum for 25 seconds or thereabout after you’ve removed the bag or canister. For air to get into the mattress easily, a thin and long hose should be attached to the vacuum. And, you can set the vacuum cleaner to exhaust after you’ve ensured that there’s even inflation. But, how can you confirm this? All you have to do is to unfold the mattress completely. Most households do have access to a vacuum cleaner, and even though this method may not be the most viable option for your intriguing outdoor trips, you’ll still find it quite helpful if you need some help pumping your airbed while you’re indoor.

Hair Dryer

How to Blow Up an Air Mattress Without a Pump – 5 Effective Ways
Set the cold air settings in your hairdryer to inflate the mattress.

One could have said ladies would find this option more interesting, but even guys do use a hairdryer too, so this method would be quite pleasing to both genders. No cheating. Sounds fun, right? Well, the hairdryer, just like the vacuum cleaner, is a super chill option to go for if you have electrical outlets nearby. Using a hairdryer as an alternative for your pump has been made easier as you will now find cordless battery-powered models available for sale on different reliable shopping platforms. And, if you’re someone who loves traveling and camping a lot, it will do you a lot of good if you can get your hands on one of those because it will serve as an ad hoc electric air pump that can travel anywhere with you and what you have to bring with you to enjoy using it is an extra set of batteries. Isn’t that cool?

Nevertheless, you may not always find it too cool when you’re about to use this hairdryer because it can get somewhat tricky when you’re trying to get the valve of your air mattress connected to your hairdryer. And, this is because of the disparity in models — some models will fit in just fine without any hassle, and some may trouble you a bit. However, if you have any trouble, you can get air to flow into the bed and get enough of a seal by tying a knot around or using duct tape. As the mattress inflates, you can prevent air from escaping with a small cone tip, and you can always make a cone out of paper.

More so, to avoid giving room for bacteria to flourish and leaving the material of your mattress prone to getting damaged, don’t inflate your airbed with hot air. Most hairdryers have cold air settings, and this is what you should use to inflate your airbed. While you’re using your hairdryer, be sure that it can operate on high power for a long duration. And, this explains that you should have enough batteries and use a good model because, before enough air can get into your mattress with your hairdryer, it must be used at almost its highest setting.

Leaf Blower

How to Blow Up an Air Mattress Without a Pump – 5 Effective Ways
When inflating the mattress with a leaf blower, start with the lowest setting to avoid overinflating.

In one way or the other, a leaf blower has always proven to be a useful tool — you can use it to clear campsites, stoke campfires, and it can be used to inflate air mattresses more quickly, although it may require lugging around a heavier fuel source. If you fancy a combo of the portability of a hairdryer and the power of a vacuum cleaner, you should try out a leaf blower. You won’t be disappointed.

If you seek a close alternative to pump your airbed without a pump, you may as well try out a snowblower, for it’s as effective as a leaf blower too.

However, using a leaf blower also comes with its pros and cons. And, one of the downsides is that channeling air into the bed with the created adapter can be somewhat tricky because the valve on airbeds tends to not easily fit into the leaf blower due to the size of most leaf blowers. And as a result of this, you may have to subscribe to some DIY approach to find your way around.

Another downside about using a leaf blower is that in most cases, when you may find it needful to pump your bed with this object, you may not have access to it, unlike hairdryers and vacuums that are common household items. Be that as it may, if you’ll be using a snowblower or a leaf blower to pump your mattress, it’s advised that you start with the lowest setting. Leaf blowers and snowblowers can easily overinflate mattresses, and if you start at a high-power setting, you may wreak havoc to the seams on your air mattress because these machines are very powerful.

Manual Pumps

How to Blow Up an Air Mattress Without a Pump – 5 Effective Ways
Connect the pump to the inflating valve of your mattress and pump the air using your hands.

Manual pumps are usually an exciting option to opt-in for because you can use them without worrying about finding a source of electricity. For all your camping trips, you can easily use them to inflate your airbeds. Investing in small pumps is an ideal thing to do if you’re a regular camper, and you should also know that these pumps come in several varieties, and you have the pleasure of “fishing” for whichever size and model you find most pleasing.

It’s handy to have a manual pump available when there’s the unavailability of electric outlets, and you don’t want to miss out on all the fun of your camping trip. When it’s impossible to find an electric pump or perhaps, another pumping method, common tools used to inflate airbeds are bicycle pumps, foot pumps, and hand pumps. These three common kinds of manual pumps also have their pros and cons.

For example, you will have to get into an awkward position to use hand pumps because they’re usually relatively small, particularly the specifically purposed types for camping and backpacking. But on the other hand, you won’t have to go through the stress of kneeling or bending down awkwardly when you’re using foot pumps because they’re way easier to use. A motion similar to tapping your feet is what you need to engage in to inflate your air mattress with a foot pump, and with all made so well, the inclined shape of some models makes them easier and more convenient to use. Connect the hose to the mattress valve, and you continue pumping.

Speaking of bike pumps, most backpackers prefer to use foot pumps or hand pumps because of how bulky bike pumps can be. And even though you’ll have a reasonably high air output using a bike pump, you may get stressed out easily because bike pumps require a more involved action.

Generally speaking, manual pumps have cheap replacements, and they’re low maintenance. And, if you do take your airbed into the backcountry, you’ll find manual pumps to be a much better option, even though they can take a bit more effort compared to electric pumps.

Plastic Bag

This method is the least well-known of all the alternative methods of inflating your air mattress without a pump. If you happen to find yourself in a situation where it never occurred to anyone to bring a manual pump, and there’s no electricity, this method may be your best shot. If you inflate your airbed via this method and want the process to be faster, make sure you use a more oversized bag. Bringing a garbage bag along to your camping trip is a great way to prepare for this method.

Upgrade to Self-Inflating Air Mattresses

If you’ve perused the five methods carefully, you’ll see that they all have their upsides and downsides. While they are effective methods that can save you during an emergency due to the unavailability of your pump, they also have a couple of downsides that make them risky. And, due to this, it’s best advised that you consider investing in a self-inflating airbed, especially if you don’t want to keep stressing over taking your pump everywhere.

Maybe you seek an air mattress that will be super comfy for your pets, you have an airbed already, or you’ve yet to decide on a suitable one to purchase for you and your kids; note that an investment in a self-inflating air mattress is always a worthwhile buy. And, if you seek an oh-so-comfy, quiet, portable, and travel bed for your kids, the prestigious Inflatable Toddler Bed is an excellent recommendation for you because most reviews have confirmed and affirmed its quality and durability.

More so, if you seek an air mattress that offers superior sleep experience, raised height for comfort, upgraded enhanced coil technology, and a built-in automatic pump, experts recommend that you go for the King Koil Queen Air Mattress with Built-in Pump because it has it all — it’s built for maximum comfort and features enhanced queen airbed technology. These models offer you the convenience that you may not enjoy from other models.

How to Blow Up an Air Mattress Without a Pump – 5 Effective Ways
A self-inflating mattress can make it easier for you to rest on a hike.

Final Thoughts

The importance of air mattresses cannot be underemphasized. One cannot deny the valuable benefits of owning an air mattress, from serving as a makeshift space during an emergency and convenient for visitors to offering some comfort to a camping trip. However, despite all the benefits these airbeds offer, they can be as useless as wet matches when they’re deflated. With this, it becomes quite pertinent for one to be abreast of some strategies and methods to pump air mattresses, especially when a pump isn’t available, and you need to make use of your lovely, cozy air mattress. Without a doubt, learning how to blow up an air mattress without a pump can be super beneficial, but for those who want to avoid the cons that come from inflating an airbed with these discussed methods, upgrading to a self-inflating air mattress would be a preferable option.



Seven health benefits of camping - OurAuckland
Make the most of your summer and discover the health benefits of camping here in Tāmaki Makaurau.
7 Surprising Health Benefits to Getting More Sleep - WebMD
Skimping on sleep can mess up more than just your morning mood. Give your body the sleep it needs for these seven key benefits. Careful not to sleep too much though. Find out why at WebMD.
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