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Vital Information

This short section is not designed to stop you buying a permaflate, but to save your time. Instead of staring at the screen you could be out camping. The header says the permaflate will not suit everybody, and you should be given a chance to quickly check if it will suit you.

A standard 1200 millimetre permaflate with six tubes and stoppers, but without a winter insulation insert, weighs 525 grams, or about one pound two ounces.

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The rubber stopper system

A low-tech rubber stopper system is used for the tubes. One reviewer has described them as 'awkward', but he did not say the tubes leaked air. We have yet to find a high-tech system where each and every stopper or valve seals perfectly. The stoppers are available loose, which are hard to find, and easier to use, or held captive near the inflation holes, so they are always there when you want them, but more fiddly to put in.

The first time they blow up the permaflate, a common customer complaint is:

"I can't push the stoppers in hard enough. When I lie down on the airbed or move it around inflated, stoppers start popping out."

There is a 'knack' to putting in most airbed stoppers and the permaflate is no exception. If you were inserting a tight cork into a wine bottle, you would have no luck until you twisted the cork as you pushed it in. Twist the permaflate bung as you push it in, so you are 'screwing' it into the hole. If you want it easier still, moisten the bung. The bung should steadily insert as it is screwed in. Once you start to worry how you are ever going to get it out again (unscrew or lever side-to-side with the fingers) the bung is definitely in far enough, and will resist sleeping or sitting pressures for weeks if required.

For more information, there is a whole section on permaflate inflation and related topics.

If you want to get to grips with a real permaflate tube and stopper before committing yourself, there is an 'Amazing not-quite-free offer' at the end of this section.

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The permaflate is a tailored system

The inflated tubes and sleeve of the permaflate come in a standard 1200 millimetre length, unless you are short, and want a 'special' to reduce weight. On this standard length is sewn the top section you can see in the header picture. This has pillow and buttock support areas, and the distance apart is set for one particular user, normally you. Design progress has reduced adjusting the distance to unpicking one sewn line across the top section, before sewing it back where it suits you, but this airbed is a one-user device, so it is no use buying one for general use by a family, or buying a batch if you make your living escorting dudes through the great outdoors.

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The permaflate is incomplete

Any short mattress leaves your feet on the floor, which may be snow. The best place for your feet is your empty backpack, which is fine if you are carrying one. Clothes and cloth you do not use at night (Anorak, trousers, gaiters, compression bags, spare socks etc) are loaded into the pillow and buttock support pads. If you wear all your clothes overnight, and only carry one spare handkerchief, we cannot help you.

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Any airbed is for summer use

A permaflate without additions will keep you warm and comfortable down to an overnight minimum of about 5 degrees Celsius. Below that temperature you can insert a short piece of closed-cell foam between the top section of the permaflate and the tube sleeve. The header picture actually has a half-inch thick foam pad inserted in the centre, which keeps the writer warm on snow down to minus 20 degrees Celsius. Below this figure you are in unknown territory.

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**** Amazing not-quite-free offer !!! ****

There is no reason to believe anything a seller says about his product, particularly a line such as that above. We all see better examples every day. When a small operation remote from you offers an airbed which is not cheap, and warns you the stoppers may be tricky, it takes a great deal of faith to outlay the requested amount and hope a usable product turns up, if it turns up at all.

We cannot offer free samples, since that is an invitation to great numbers of folk who will take the air-mailed sample and happily turn it into ten cent polythene bags. After all it is free, isn't it?

What we can do is offer a spare tube for the permaflate in the standard 1200 millimetre length, with stopper, completely tested and full spec. We will do that for $US 5-00 including air mail. You can blow it up, familiarise yourself with the stopper, bounce up and down on it, then leave it blown up for weeks. If it performs as required, and you like it, buy the rest. If not, make it into polythene bags ...

E-mail us if you want one, at

breck@permaflate.com