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During the hiking trips, lasting several days you will eventually reach the much-awaited rest time. Setting up the tent, preparing dinner and finally the precious moment when we put our oh-so-tired head to sleep to rest our exhausted bodies. However the quality of sleep and how well rested your body will feel vastly depends on the quality of the bed-of-wilderness – sleeping mat and sleeping bag.
When hiking for several days with staying overnight in the billion-star-hotel, it is very important to equip yourself with a good sleeping mat and sleeping bag that mattches a good weight to size ratio, taking into account also expected weather.
There are many different kinds of sleeping mats and each have some advantages and disadvantages. However in terms of weight-size-performance ratio the most popular sleeping mat are self-inflatable (also inflatable).
In fact self-inflatable sleeping mat got the name after a misunderstanding – because it does not mean that they will inflate themselves once you open the valve, but that you, the dear user, have to inflate your bed manually before use. Of course, some air gets into the tightly wrapped mattress when you open the valve, but that is not enough for a good night sleep – therefore you have to inflate your sleeping mat by yourself. Yet, these sleeping mats provide the greatest comfort when spending the night outdoors.
When choosing sleeping mat with a thickness of 2 to 5 centimeters it will not only ensure a comfortable and soft bed, it will also serve as thermal insulation. During warm summer, nights you can even enjoy a good night sleep when sleeping only on good sleeping mat.
Of course, the secret here lies in the quality and weight-size-performance ratio. For serious trekking and hiking adventures, we should provide ourselves with best possible equipment. A good mattress is lightweight, at least 3 cm thick with good, airtight valve and abrasion resistant, reinforced bottom part, that takes less space when rolled up. Thickness is important as it ensures thermal insulation and as a bonus, thicker mattress balances the unevenness of the ground beneath the tent.
Another important element of the good, restorative sleep recipe is the sleeping bag. Waking up in the tent in the morning, surrounded by forest, everything is good, life is simple and beautiful: all we have to do is to wipe the dreams from our eyes and jump into next adventure. However, how well rested, strong and fresh we feel depends largely on the quality of the night's sleep. Relaxing sleep counts a world during hiking tours.
During summer mid-mountain hiking, you do not need a thick down sleeping bag, however after a heavy rain the weather can cool down and the temperature might drop. Therefore, the best choice is to take a lightweight and durable sleeping bag with synthetic fill with comfort zone 5-8 degrees. Before purchasing sleeping bag examine the inside of it – sleeping bag’s lining should have cozy and soft feeling provided from cotton-like material, not shiny and synthetic. However if you feel that for some adventures you might want to have bit warmer sleeping bag or the inside of your sleeping bag is not comfy enough, you can solve these problems by supplementing it with sleeping bag inlet that gives you some extra degrees as well as provides additional comfort. In addition, it is also convenient since you do not have to wash the whole sleeping bag so often, you can wash just your inlet.
It is important to always pack your sleeping bag dry - if you possible, dry it in the morning for a few minutes by hanging it somewhere in sun. Always pack your sleeping bag by squeezing it into the sack; never fold it, as this will cause the filling to become thinner at the folds. In order to make more room in your backpack you can pack your sleeping bag in a compression sack – it will help to remove excess air, thus reducing a volume of the bag. When returning from the hiking tour, the sleeping bag must be stored out of its sack, hanged, laid out or folded loosely, in order to retain its thermal insulation much longer to offer a deep, peaceful sleep during your hikes.