What Makes a Good Sleep System
author: dominic trimboli

How to sleep better when you’re camping

A quality night’s sleep is key to a great camping trip whether you’re headed on an extended hiking trip or simply headed to the woods for a weekend with friends and family. Fortunately, the crew at ust are camping gurus with decades of experience sleeping under the stars and our affordable sleep systems are designed with that in mind.

Keep reading to learn about R-value, quality mattress materials and why self-inflating sleep gear is so useful.

What to look for in a sleep system for camping

When choosing a sleep system there are three key features to look for: Comfort level, insulation capability and ease-of-use.

What is R-value in sleep systems?

When choosing a sleep system for camping you want to make sure it keeps you warm at night and insulated from the cold, hard ground. R-value is the way we measure how effective your mattress is at insulating you from the elements, the higher the number the better level of insulation. You can be sure if the company doesn’t tell you the R-value of their sleep system, it’s not going to be good at keeping you warm.

When it comes to sleep systems, you’ll want a different level of insulation depending on the conditions you’ll be camping in. In the Summer or anytime you’re camping in warm weather, an R-value of 1-2 will be more than enough to keep you warm. In the Spring and Fall you’ll want to look for an R-value of at least 3. Finally, if you’re planning to do some camping in the snow then you’ll want an R-value of 5 or higher.

How to choose a comfortable camping mattress?

No one wants to wake up feeling like they just spent the night sleeping on a gravel driveway, so make sure the sleep system you choose is made from durable, comfortable material. There are dozens of different styles for everything from extended hiking trips to quick trips to deer camp. Take a quick look at some of the most common sleep systems, and see the pros and cons.

1. Air Mattresses

a. These are generally the most comfortable sleep system but unfortunately, they also come with some of the biggest downsides. These sleep systems are generally too big and bulky to be used other than on a family camping trip. They often require an electric pump to fill them with air, which adds another thing you need to bring with your camping gear. While there are some smaller air mats that only require a manual pump and fold small enough for hiking, these are often less comfortable and warm than alternative options.

2. Closed Cell Foam Mats

a.These are the old style of sleep systems for camping, but they still get the job done. These types of mats are made completely from foam and don’t require any inflation to work. They’re flexible, durable and comfortable but often heavier and more bulky than other options. One of the best things about these sleep systems is that they are very well insulated, keeping you warm in the coldest conditions.

3. Self-Inflating Mats

a.These are our favorite kind of sleep systems as they combine the best of both the previously mentioned mats. These use a type of foam that’s capable of being inflated for maximum comfort, insulation and storability. As their name implies, these sleep systems don’t require any extra equipment to inflate and will do so in just a few short minutes. While these mats are great, they are a bit less durable than their closed cell counterparts and they tend to be a bit more expensive due to the extra technology built in.

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