How to Fold Up an Air Mattress

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How you fold an air mattress can determine how well-protected certain features are, potentially lengthening the life of your mattress. Fold the air mattress inside or outside a tent, on a flat, dry surface free of any pebbles or sharp debris including dry grasses or twigs. Sometimes, it is possible to get the air mattress back into its original container.

Items you will need

  • 2 towels

  • String

  • Bungee cord, plastic ends (optional)

  • Air pump with two-way valve (optional)

Release the air plug or twist open the air valve to deflate the air mattress. Speed the process by pushing down on the air mattress to force the air out.

Locate a flat surface outside of your tent if you are not able fold the air mattress inside the tent. It can be a picnic table, a patio or the ground. Take one towel and wipe off any debris. If you only have the ground to work with, make sure there are no rocks, pebbles twigs or anything else sticking up that can potentially puncture or tear your air mattress. Choose soft grass over dirt when you can.

Lay the air mattress out either in the tent or on the newly cleaned piece of flat space you've chosen. If you are using a picnic table and the air mattress is larger than a twin size, allow the excess to fall over the table.

Fold the air mattress in half lengthwise. Flatten the air mattress to make a smooth crease. If the bottom of the air mattress is wet, use the towel to dry off each section as you fold it.

Take the bottom and bring it to the top to make the ends meet each other. You should now have the air mattress folded in half so the length is now half the length it previously was.

Repeat steps 4 and 5, folding the air mattress along the length and width alternately as needed until the air mattress is nearly the size it was when you pulled it out of the box.

Wrap a towel around the outer edges and secure it with string or a bungee cord with plastic ends. You can now store the mattress away.


  • Do not deflate the air mattress on rocks or other sharp debris to avoid tearing and puncturing your mattress. The smallest hole or tear can render your air mattress useless without the proper patching.


  • Deflating the air mattress with an air pump that has reverse airflow can literally suck the air out of the mattress, simplifying your job. Pumps can suck out more air than you can manually squish out yourself. This will increase your chances of being able to fit the mattress back into its original storage container. You could also roll the air mattress up, similar to rolling up a sleeping bag instead of folding it.
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