When we think of survival certain movies or books, come to mind. Maybe we might think of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe or Cast Away with Tom Hanks. But in essence, when we want to get in touch with nature that level of survival does not come to the fore. We want to make our walkabout in the great outdoors as pleasant and as accident-free as possible.
The first things that we think of in a survival situation are whether we have enough water and food. Depending on the temperature, clothing might be a significant issue. The right footwear is a biggie. And last but not least, finding or having the proper shelter for the night is essential.
What have we forgotten? It’s something that in many cases is last on the to-do-list. The right sleeping surface. Yep, you heard me; getting quality sleep is right up there with good nutrition and hydration. Not getting enough ZZZ’s can be detrimental to your health and when confronted with a challenging situation, your alertness and emotional calm will be affected.
You have two choices when deciding what to sleep on. You can either go for the air mattress or the sleeping pad. Both options have their good and less advantageous sides. Together, we are going to take a look at them so that you can make an informed decision the next time you head out there into the ‘wild.’
The air mattress
- As the name suggests, you fill the mattress with air. The benefit here is that your body is elevated from the ground which can be handy if you are not all that keen on the nocturnal critters that will most likely share your temporary habitat.
- Another thing that I like about the mattress is the level of comfort it provides. It is good for the back and you can adjust the firmness accordingly.
- This type of sleeping surface is ideal when you have a more permanent abode. In other words, if you have decided to remain in one place, then an air mattress is the ideal choice.
- On the flip side, the air mattress can suffer from wear-and-tear, rendering it unusable. Sure, you can patch up the holes but repairs only go so far. In addition, in time, the valve will start to leak air further reducing the efficacy.
- The mattress, although foldable, is bulkier than a sleeping pad. Furthermore, in order to pump it up faster, you will have to lug a pump along with you.
- The air inside of the air mattress does tend to cool down at night. You will also need a base for insulation purposes to counter this.
- This option is perfect when sleeping in a tent. It takes up less space.
- The sleeping pad is very convenient when you are on the move. You roll it up and attach it to your backpack and you are ready to go.
- As it is filled with foam and other insulating materials, the sleeping pad is a sure thing when it comes to staying warm.
- As with most things, the sleeping pad does suffer from constant usage damage. However, unlike the air mattress, it is still serviceable with a few minor impairments.
- What you gain in practicality you lose in comfort and support. The sleeping pad is in no way as supportive to the back as a mattress.
Both options are good in a survival situation. It all depends on what you plan on doing. If a lot of moving about is on the cards, then I suggest the sleeping pad due to its packing properties. However, if you aim to explore your surroundings from a more permanent base why forfeit comfort for practicality? In essence, it is a matter of preference. My tip – try them both.
My name is Jake Mitchell & the great outdoors is my thing. It is a passion my father taught me when I was a boy so I have been hiking, camping and surviving in the wild for as long as I can remember.
I am also really into pursuing a healthy lifestyle and getting the right amount of quality sleep is a crucial component. Along with a few other hacks such as routine and the right diet, I make sure I have the perfect sleeping surface. Topmattress.com has helped me find what I need when determining the right mattress for me.