AirBedz is an inflatable mattress specifically for the truck beds business started by James Pittman, who was already heading Pittman Outdoors. He was struck with the idea because he himself often found himself sleeping uncomfortably on a regular air mattress when he went camping. Naturally, he couldn’t be the only one facing the problem, so he set out to find a solution.
The AirBedz are different from regular air mattresses in that they are made specifically for truck beds, where regular air mattresses don’t quite manage to get the right level of comfort. They come with cutouts in the sides that let the mattresses fit around the wheel wells, and come in different sizes so they can fit all types of truck beds.
The air system inside allows for a very even distribution of weight across the mattress. Because the AirBedz were made with comfort in mind, their primary offering is comfort.
Is AirBedz Still Active?
AirBedz is still active, though it operates under ‘The Original AirBedz: Truck Bed Air Mattress’ on the internet…AirBedz for short. They have an estimated annual revenue of about $1.7 million, and have a number of other accessories like backseat mattresses, tents, etc. They also sell AirBedz accessories like air pumps and inserts.
How Did The Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Jim Pittman came on Shark Tank, asking for $250,000 as an investment in return for 15% of the company. He started his pitch with the statement that the camping industry is a huge business (about $56 billion!) and that his product could take a bite out of it. Because he was already the owner of Pittman Outdoors and had a few successes under his belt, he knew what he was doing.
In fact, he’d already made $110,000 worth of sales the previous year, with the current year prediction standing at $120,000. He’d sold about 3300 AirBedz over the past two years and had quite a bit in his inventory.
Pittman had also managed to secure 4 patents on his product so far, making it clear that the product was a pretty big one.
Four of the five sharks, not being outdoorsy types, decided to back out. Barbara Corcoran makes an offer for the $250,000 Pittman was looking for, but in return for 50% of the business. After some back and forth, Corcoran also decided to back out.
Pittman left the show without a deal, but as it turns out, he didn’t need one to be as successful as he is now.
Our Review of AirBedz
AirBedz are 12-inch thick patented air mattresses that fit on the truck bed with cutouts for wheel wells so that the mattress covers the bed completely. Most other brands of truck bed mattresses are not thin enough to allow you to sleep comfortably, or do not have cutouts to allow the mattress to fit in properly.
The AirBedz also comes with wheel well inserts that are sold separately so you can use the same mattress like a regular one at home, or in a tent if you’re out camping.
The AirBedz uses up the entire space of your truck bed, rather than just a portion, and it also comes with a portable air pump to let you inflate it easily, as well as a patch kit and glue to let you carry out minor repairs on your own. It’s made of heavy duty PVC material that makes it tough and durable, so you don’t have to worry about too much damage.
The AirBedz mattress comes with a storage bag so you can carry it along on your trips easily. It’s small enough to carry around without worrying about space, and works perfectly for planned trips as well as emergencies.
There is also an AirBedz Lite mattress which is smaller than the original AirBedz, and more affordable than the regular version.
The downsides to this mattress is that the air pump can be a bit noisy and operates off a battery so if the battery isn’t working you will have trouble with the entire setup.
Setting up the air mattress can also take quite some time since the mattress is quite thick, and may also be large depending on the size you buy.
Pros and Cons of AirBedz
Pros of AirBedz
- Comfortable to sleep on
- Comes with wheel wells & inserts
- Comes with patch kit for quick fixes
- Durable PVC material
- AirBedz Lite is more affordable
Cons of AirBedz
- Wheel well inserts are sold separately
- Noisy pump
- Assembly takes time
Who is AirBedz For?
AirBedz is an excellent option for people who love the outdoors and go camping often. Not all grounds are suitable for sleeping on, so a mattress that fits into the truck bed is very useful and keeps you safe from creepy crawlies.
It’s also a great buy for people who may own a truck and want to keep an air mattress with them in case of emergencies.
Are There Any Alternatives?
There are a number of alternatives when it comes to air mattresses. The concept of ‘air mattress’ isn’t necessarily new, but AirBedz is the first to focus on fitting into the truck bed with wheel well cutouts. It’s also got a patented air coil technology.
Other options for air mattresses may include the Therm-A-Rest products, Intex, Coleman and EnerPlex – all of which are well-known names when it comes to the outdoors.
Our Final Thoughts
If you go camping often or love the outdoors, you’d know how difficult it is to really sleep on the cold, hard ground for a few days. Not to mention the ground could be muddy and have dangerous bugs. The AirBedz mattresses are perfect for setting up camp in a safe place (your own truck bed) without feeling like you’re sleeping on the hard truck bed itself.
The AirBedz has a very niche market, but it definitely manages to serve its market well enough to make a name for itself.