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A guide on choosing the best air mattress or sleeping pad for the trail

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If you’re planning an overnight hike, the essentials that can make or break it are the essential provisions (food & water) and a good night’s sleep.

Getting the former right is not so complicated – you know your needs, you know the trek you’re tackling and you plan the volume and how energy-dense your food needs to be to keep you going.

On the other hand – getting a good night’s sleep outdoors is a bit trickier and calls for a bit more planning. The paramount choices you’ll need to make are the tent, the air mattress (or sleeping pad) and an add-on like a sleeping bag.

Today, we’ll look into what you need to know to choose a good air mattress. We’ll go over some basic rules-of-thumb and then we’ll mention a few specific products that might be right, depending on your scenario.

The basic questions

Before you even look at specific products, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Are you backpacking or driving to the trail?
  • Will you be setting permanent camp or move daily?
  • How do you adjust the size of the airbed to the size & shape of your tent?

Scenario 1: You’re driving to the trail & setting up camp to get back to each day

This is a scenario that will give you the most options to choose from because you don’t have to think about the weight of the airbed, the only thing to think about is fitting it into your tent.

The one mistake people make

You look at the space you have on the tent floor, you look at the dimensions of the air mattress, do the math and if they fit you might think that you’re OK.

It might sound basic, but we’ve seen it too often to ignore it – people tend not to take the slanted sides and the height of the air bed. This part is especially important if you have one of the two most common tent types – a ridge or a dome.

The inward sloping of the sides will become a problem if you go with a high-rise blow up mattress. The higher the air bed, the more it reduces the sleeping capacity of a tent with slanted walls.

For a 2-person tent

Rule of thumb: If it’s a 2-person tent you’re “working with”, a low-rise twin airbed or pad is your safest bet. Our picks as the best air mattresses for this scenario are the SoundAsleep Camping Series & the Lightspeed Outdoors TPU.

As per the user reviews we looked at, the SoundAsleep Camping Series is the top-rated classic airbed – it comes in Twin & Queen size, inflates in just under 3 minutes (the pump is included) and comes with a 1-year warranty.

It sits at 9” and will not “waste” any significant tent space.

The Lightspeed Outdoors, on the other hand, is not what you’d call a classic model. The first thing that’s not classic about it is the material – it’s not vinyl but TPU. TPU is closer to the “feel” and characteristics of fabric than plastic.

It stretches less and, as a result, feels firmer.

The 2nd thing that’s worth mentioning is that it is an inch longer and an inch narrower than a twin airbed (usually 78 x 60 “). It sits at 8 inches high.

The SoundAsleep weighs just under 10 lbs (twin size) and the Lightspeed Outdoors is significantly lighter (just over 5 lbs).

Not only were these two models top-rated by users but they’re also labeled as best air mattress as per TheSleepStudies.com – a website that tests and reviews air beds.

For a 4-person tent

A 4-person tent will be approximately 65 feet square. These are large enough to comfortably fit in a queen size inflatable. Our pick here & the best queen size air mattress is the Coleman SupportRest.

We didn’t have to do much research because this Coleman is the official camping air bed of the National Park Foundation.

It’s raised at about 20 inches and comes in Twin & Queen size. One thing to be aware of though, is that it doesn’t come with the pump by default. If you go with the Queen size, you’ll have to get the pump separately. The combined price of the two (the bed and the pump) is just over $70.

If you need something more durable & heavy-duty, you might look into Coleman DuraRest that was one of the top picks as per the Independent.co.uk.

Scenario 2: You’re backpacking or moving camp each day

In this scenario, an inflatable mattress will simply not be an option; they are too heavy to be carried around. You’ll want to go with a sleeping pad.

The best air camping air pads are significantly pricier than the options we mentioned above. The reason behind it is the fact that more technology goes into keeping you warm with a pad that’s lighter than 1 pound.

Our top pick here is the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm. This Therm-a-Rest has been top-rated and listed as Editor’s choice as the best sleeping pad at OutDoorGearLab – a website that tests outdoor products, including sleeping pads.

What’s better about it is that the company managed to design so that it’s amazingly light and thin (just over 1 pound and 2.5 “).

They did it by using what they call triangular core baffles and ThermaCapture material. The former minimizes heat transfer between the ground and top surface of the pad, while the later reflects the body warmth of the sleeper.

If you don’t need so much insulation

If you’re not expecting cold night on the trail, you can go with something more budget-friendly, like the Klymit Static V. It’s wider and more comfortable than most pads in its price range. You can see more reference info about types and option you have when choosing a sleeping pad on REI.com

Do bear in mind that the R-value (describes how well the pad insulates the sleeper) of this Klymit is much lower than the mentioned Therm-a-Rest NeoAir (1.5 vs. 5.7). This means that it will keep you comfortable but won’t do much in terms of keeping you warm.

We believe we got our bases covered

This guide was planned to look at the process of choosing from different angles and scenarios. We believe we’ve covered 90 % of those. If you have any questions, feel free to use the comment section and we’ll do our best to help.

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Travel Tips

The Best Gaming Genres for Travelers

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Traveling is the type of activity that every youngster wants to practice consistently. There’s no wonder about that since traveling can often represent an eye-opening experience with a long-lasting impact. However, being on a constant move can also have a few downsides, especially if you’re traveling alone.

Those lone travelers will often have to fill up large time gaps. Reading books or watching movies always represent a great option. But, for the tech-savvy ones, gaming might be an even better activity. Mobile gaming is the type of gaming that most travelers opt for. Some gaming genres can be better for travelers than others – we’re about to highlight those in this article.

Puzzle

Roughly speaking, half of all smartphone gamers opt for the puzzle niche. Female users more than male ones. Games like Tetris, Candy Crush and even Angry Birds are often preferred by casual gamers that are just looking to have a bit of fun. Puzzle games are being played by most age groups, from moms and seniors, all the way to youngsters.

These games are very easy to understand even if it might take a bit of practice to master their mechanics. You can only progress by acting fast and using your logic in the most effective way possible. They are very easy to play on mobile, and that’s their biggest upside. Unlike action-filled games like shooters, the puzzle ones require simple actions like tapping or swiping every once in a while – making them perfect for travelers in fastpacing environments.

Casino

Casino games are a great alternative to the puzzle ones if you’re looking for something more adrenaline-filled. Although more used on desktop devices, they also have mobile versions. Both of them are very resource-intensive, enabling even users with outdated devices to play games.

For example, an online casino like Gametwist would provide you with access to a countless library of casino games. Even if it acts as a single game or mobile app, an online casino consists of a multitude of top-level games designed to maximize your time and entertainment. This makes them perfect for travelers since all the games are in one place as they won’t have to waste time switching in-between apps.

Mobile casinos are great both for beginners and experienced gamblers. They have games for all skill-sets. If you play the free slots, you can lay back and relax as the gameplay is quite interactive and rather simple, ideal for beginners. But you can also play something like poker if you want a challenge that requires more skill.

Multiplayer Battle Arenas

Multiplayer Battle Arena games are a combination of strategy and action games. They are still quite easy to play on mobile but they give you a higher level of action. Usually, such games are played through the perspective of a single “champion” – users having the possibility of choosing between multiple ones.

You’re certainly familiar with this genre as games like DOTA 2 and League of Legends are huge on PC. Although still fun, mobile MOBAs are less complex with simpler mechanics. Mobile Legends, Arena of Valor and Vainglory are some of the top games from this category on mobile devices. They are very similar to Mightytips, PC MOBAs, providing you with loads of fun in a more dynamic format.

Conclusion

Traveling, although very entertaining most of the time, it can still prove a bit boring when you have to fill in time gaps. Playing mobile games can prove to be one of the best ways to do that. The three genres mentioned above are the best for mobile gaming as they provide loads of entertainment without sacrificing any mobility and performance.

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Travel Tips

3 Relaxing Holiday Ideas That Will Help You Unwind

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The start of a new year is a great time to make resolutions, change habits and, best of all, start thinking about the holidays that you will take throughout the year. Planning and booking a holiday in advance not only provides us with the time to budget and pay for them but also gives us something to look forward to later in the year. Work seems a little less stressful when we know that a holiday is within our grasp. Here are 3 relaxing holiday ideas that will help you unwind.

Take to the seas on a luxury cruise

If you want a relaxing holiday and don’t want to lift a finger then a luxury cruise might be right up your street. Not only does it give you time to unwind but you can visit and enjoy multiple locations in one trip. With vast areas to relax, swimming pools, bars, and shops, a cruise liner is pretty must a floating hotel complex. 

The food offered on a cruise is nothing short of spectacular. Succulent fruits, fresh seafood, and meats, as well as a plethora of accompaniments, line the tables throughout the day. The only issue you might experience is gaining weight! Most cruise liners have an amazing daily entertainment program as well as a host of activities for you to take part in.

Go on a yachting holiday

If you love the idea of taking to the seas but a cruise doesn’t appeal, then a yachting holiday might be a good alternative. Many people find cruise ships too vast and busy. Yachts come in various sizes and can accommodate smaller groups of people. You don’t have to be an experienced sailor either. 12 knots yachting club offers a variety of different packages to both experienced sailors and those who just love relaxing on the water. If you are the latter, you can charter a cabin and an experienced crew will take the reins. A chef will also be provided to tend to your culinary needs. If yachting is your thing then you can charter your own. It is an amazing way to unwind and enjoy some of the world’s most breath-taking scenery.

Have a break in the countryside

If you love the outdoors, enjoy walking and want beautiful scenery, a holiday in the countryside may be difficult to beat. Whether you would prefer to stay in a country hotel or B&B or self-catering is more your thing, there are lots of options to choose from. After a hearty breakfast, you can take off and explore. There is nothing quite like a picturesque walk in the countryside, taking in the views as well as the fresh air and getting exercise too. Unwind in the evening in front of an open fire or have a barbeque in the garden overlooking lush green landscapes and hills. If it is peace and tranquillity you are looking for then this may just be the perfect choice. 

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Travel Tips

SmartBuyGlasses – Goggles

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Snow is one of the most reflective surfaces when it comes to light, so wearing sunglasses for winter sports is absolutely essential to avoid harmful UV rays, even without direct sunlight. Snow blindness (when bright light reflected from snow affects vision) is a real threat when skiing or snowboarding, particularly at high altitudes and travelling at high speeds. Hitting the slopes this winter? Make sure your ski goggles or ski glasses lenses provide 100% UV protection to ensure the best experiences.

To make choosing the ideal pair of winter sports eyewear easy, SmartBuyGlasses provides you with a list of the top recommended products which are worth to be invested in before heading to the mountains.

Top recommended Goggles

If you’re planning on skiing or snowboarding down the slopes this winter, consider equipping yourself with some quality ski goggles; they are your best choice for comfort, visibility and eye protection.

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In low-light and fogging conditions, yellow, gold and amber lenses filter out blue light. Shadows are emphasized to see better the contours in the snow. They also work well in moderate and variable light conditions. Check out the Bloc Evolution E014 or the Bloc Small Fit Moon JM01.

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When in bright and reflective snow conditions, darker lens tints such as dark brown, dark grey and dark green will increase contrast with the whites. Gray lenses are also good to reveal the true colours. Check out the Smith I/O7 IE7BKISA17, the Smith RIOT RO2BKECW17 and the Bolle Tsar.

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Mirror coating enhances the effectiveness of tinted lenses by reflecting sunlight so it does not penetrate the lenses, making it a great choice for bright and sunny days. Check out the UVEX S40.

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Clear lenses are undoubtedly the best option for sunset and nighttime as they have the highest visible light transmission (VLT), increasing wearers’’ visibility on the slopes. Check out the Salice 609.

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Photochromic lenses or transition lenses are designed to automatically adapt to surrounding light, making them perfect to ensure optimal vision and UV ray protection in every situation. Check out the Salice 618 ITA Speed Polarized BKIT/TECH and the Smith Goggles Smith I/OX.

Top recommended Sunglasses

If you prefer opting for sunglasses over goggles, consider getting some 100% UV protecting sports sunglasses like these.

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Sports sunglasses with a wrap-around frame minimize light reaching the eyes from all sides and allows better peripheral vision. Mirror coatings such as on this model are perfect for very bright conditions as they can block an additional 10 per cent to 60 per cent of visible light for greater comfort in highly reflective sunny environments. Check out the Smith RIDGEWELL ChromaPop Polarized and the UVEX SPORTSTYLE 223.

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Polarized lenses selectively blocks light reflecting from horizontal surfaces, eliminating glare. Polarized lenses are especially helpful in blocking glare from light reflecting off water, sand, snow and concrete. This model is also made of highly durable polycarbonate made to withstand harsh conditions. Check out the Oakley OO9102 HOLBROOK.

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Photochromic or transition lenses are not just found in the goggles, and provide the same optimal protection from unpredictable light conditions. By reacting to the surrounding light, they are perfect for every light condition, from low light to bright light on a sunny day. Check out the Oakley OO9290 JAWBREAKER.

All of these models are available on SmartBuyGlasses website, discover their website for more information and lots more products.

 

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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