Aero approached Beyond Design to design a camping mattress with a custom storage vessel that can be used to inflate the air mattress without the use of electricity. The vessel is also designed to store and transport the mattress.
Aerobed® has long been known for their luxurious and high quality air mattresses. Most likely you’ve slept on one while staying at a family or friends, used one in college as a makeshift bed, or brought one along on a camping excursion. Aero came to Beyond Design to create a camping mattress that was portable, comfortable, and which required no electricity source to inflate. Little did they know their product would become something that is not only beneficial for outdoor enthusiasts, but also for disaster relief victims worldwide.
Understanding the Camper
Our research team brought insight to Aero by identifying user requirements when it comes to portable sleeping mattresses. We conducted interviews with a range of campers in order to understand what they use when sleeping, how they carry their belongings, and their pain points with their current method and products. We visited outdoor recreation stores to speak with employees and inquire what their customers are looking for. Further investigation included a weekend camping trip to test competitive mattresses and experience firsthand the conditions the Aero Pakmat® would need to perform under.
We discovered that campers desired a product that was compact enough to easily fit on their backpack, or that could be hand carried in place of self-inflating mat or traditional bulky airbed, without adding a lot of extra weight. Our biggest issue was finding the compromise between making the unit small and lightweight, while also being comfortable. This was achieved through continued development and testing of multiple prototypes. The final “surfboard” shape helped to reduce the weight without sacrificing comfort.
Implementing Environmentally Friendly Materials
The final design requires no need to carry a separate pump or rely on an electrical power source—the Pakmat® uses a handheld pump with human energy to inflate the bed. It is the first air pump that is specifically designed to act as a clean storage unit for the airbed it is designed to inflate.
Weighing only four pounds, the Pakmat® is designed with environmentally friendly materials, and the airbed itself is made of 100% phthalate-free materials which is lighter weight and more comfortable to use. The wide-mouth valve enables maximum airflow to allow for full inflation of the airbed in less than ninety seconds. Its simple form with ergonomic handle design communicates strength and durability.
Designing for a Cause
The Pakmat® has enabled Aero to gain entry to new markets and channels of distribution by targeting outdoor enthusiasts and growing retail stores like REI and Cabela’s. Since the conception of the Pakmat® efforts for a global initiative involve donating units to the Red Cross, FEMA and other agencies who are looking for support for disaster relief victims around the world.
2011: IDEA Finalist
2011: Product Design
2010: Spark Award
2010: Good Design