by Diane Spicer
This Thermarest Relief Bed review is going to introduce you to a new twist on an old backpacking theme: sleeping comfort.
Many hikers who car camp or backpack know the name Thermarest. This American gear company makes some great sleeping pads.
You might own one yourself!
A Relief Bed is a little different, though. I'm guessing you've never heard of this innovative concept, or the folks behind this humanitarian effort to deliver a good night's sleep to those sorely in need of it.
That's the simple motivation behind this Thermarest Relief Bed Review: to share a great idea with you.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Hiking For Her received a Thermarest Relief Bed for free from Relief Bed as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication.
There is no financial relationship between Relief Bed and Hiking For Her. There is also no financial relationship between Outdoor PR and Hiking For Her.
As always, this review was written with you, an avid hiker, in mind. It's an unusual review, so let's get right to it.
So what exactly is a Relief Bed?
Let's start off with the short answer: It's an inflatable mattress built with Thermarest quality and features.
Follow up question: When do people need the relief that sleeping on an insulated, padded surface brings?
That's part of the long answer.
Disaster victims probably came to mind. Anyone who lives in earthquake or fire prone areas, or in the path of violent storms, or in war torn areas, are good candidates for some sleepless nights.
What about homeless folks? Sleeping under a bridge on cold ground resembles camping, but only in a superficial sense. Campers get to go home to their warm beds, while the homeless continue to "camp" outdoors in all seasons.
Sleep health is important in impoverished areas as well. A good night's sleep brings good health, which in turn brings the ability to work, raise children, and contribute to a community's struggle to break the poverty cycle.
Realizing that the connection between sleep and stress wasn't being addressed when assistance was offered to people living in turmoil, Scott Smalling crafted a partnership in 2015 with experts in designing portable, comfortable mattresses: Thermarest.
Did you know that mattresses are the top item on wish lists created by organizations providing relief in the field?
To quote Scott:
"Relief Bed was created to help provide strength, better health and ultimately hope to people living and working in fragile areas around the world."
Over 1500 of these beds have been distributed thus far (May 2016) to humanitarian organizations like World Vision and homeless shelters.
The simple, wordless usage instructions can be used worldwide.
Hikers who car camp rely on a good night's sleep to tackle a long day hike.
Backpackers know that having a dry, padded surface leads to deeper sleep cycles, which translates into more trail endurance.
So hikers will agree when Scott declares sleep an essential part of conquering a challenging scenario.
While Thermarest isn't the only option for hikers, it's a very well known company with a long history of delivering quality products in the hiking gear marketplace.
So it's likely that you own one of their pads, or have seen one in use.
Let's compare a camping/backpacking Thermarest with a Relief Bed.
At first glance, you'll notice two big differences.
1. There are two valves, dividing the bed into a head rest and a mattress.
2. This bed has generous proportions:
A few other differences to point out in this Thermarest Relief Bed review:
Compared with your own trusty Thermarest, what's the same?
To me, this is a classic case of tweaking an idea that already works well in one sphere (comfortable sleep while camping and backpacking) to solve a problem in a different sphere (lack of mattresses for relief aid).
What do you think?
One man saw a need, and took action.
After reading this review, here are actions you can take:
Relief Bed puts it a little closer, though.
Thermarest Relief Bed Review
About the author
Diane is the founder of Hiking For Her.
She's been on a hiking trail somewhere in the world for 5+ decades & loves to share her best hiking tips right here.
All rights reserved.
Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer except where noted.
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