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
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.
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
"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
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.
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.
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
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.
**** 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