While there are camping mattresses with built-in heating elements, they use batteries that need to be recharged frequently. The Blackcan II Pro system differs in that it uses hot water heated by a gas burner.
The Blackcan setup consists of two main parts – the roll-up mattress and the heating unit.
The latter consists of a “power pot” filled with water, including a burner, including a user-supplied butane or propane canister, including a controller. All four are linked together in a vertical column hanging from an included tripod that sits outside the tent.
As the burner heats the water in the kraft pot, it also heats a flat thermoelectric generator placed between it and the pot. This generator creates electrical current that is used to power an integrated circulation pump… and this pump, in turn, moves the hot water out of the pot, through a hose that runs into the tent and through the inside of the mattress, and then back into the pot.
As an added bonus, the thermoelectric generator can also be used to power or charge devices such as lamps or smartphones via a socket on the controller.
The multi-layer mattress is available in three sizes and is machine washable
According to the designers, the entire system can be set up in around five minutes and is capable of heating water to over 86°F (30°C) in outdoor temperatures as low as -6°C. They also state that a single 454g gas bottle should last up to 12 hours of use.
The water temperature can be adjusted by opening or closing the gas flow valve between the canister and burner. And if the heating unit overheats or runs out of water, an alarm sounds – if knocked over, it automatically closes the valve to stop the gas flow. However, we wonder if mold in the hose could be a problem.
In any case, if you’re interested, the Blackcan II Pro system is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. Pledges start at $539 for a package that includes a one-size mattress (queen and king sizes are also available). Assuming it hits production, the retail price is $819.
For more information, see the video below.