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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.

camper waking up in sleeping bagToday, 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.

SoundAsleep Air Mattress Queen

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.

LightSpeed Outdoors TPU airbed

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.

coleman suppor rest air mattress

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.

Therm a Rest NeoAir Xtherm sleeping pad

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

How Gaming Inspires Real-World Adventure

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Video games have gone well beyond just entertainment; they can now open doors to real-world exploration and adventure too. Their unique ability to take players to new worlds, albeit virtual ones, can motivate players to go out on their own to experience those locations, cultures, and adventures first-hand. A trend that’s gaining popularity with gamers is seeking out these virtual experiences in the real world to bridge the gap between the two realms. After all, they’ve already visited these diverse cultures virtually. In this article, we look at the impact gaming has had on our desire to explore and connect with the world around us.

The Influence of Gaming on Travel Choices

The immersive worlds of video games serve as more than just backdrops for storytelling and gameplay; they can be jumping-off points for real-world exploration. Games like Assassin’s Creed, which explores various historical settings, including cities, landscapes, and cultures in detail, and Yakuza, which unfolds the heart of Tokyo, have piqued the curiosity in gamers, motivating them to explore these destinations themselves.

These games have rich narratives and often take place in authentic settings, giving players a close-up look at the spirit of different locales, from the ancient streets of Rome to the bustling districts of modern-day Japan. This virtual tourism not only enriches the gaming experience but also influences travel choices, as players seek to experience the depth and authenticity of the cultures and places they’ve grown to admire in their digital adventures.

Las Vegas and Online Casinos

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Las Vegas is one of the best examples of how gaming—video games and online casinos—inspires real-world adventure. For those who don’t live in the Southwestern United States, getting to the entertainment capital of the world requires planning and long-distance travel. However, you can find aspects of the city’s glittering appeal in various video games and online platforms that offer a virtual taste of one of the world’s most famous cities.

These digital experiences, from the strategy of blackjack to slot machines’ virtual spins, mirror the excitement of Las Vegas, motivating gamers to experience the city in person. Titles like Fallout: New Vegas and numerous casino-themed games have significantly shaped perceptions, enticing gamers with a virtual Las Vegas adventure to seek the authentic entertainment, sounds, and sights of the Strip, boosting tourism as players pursue the excitement they’ve first encountered online.

From Virtual to Reality: Other Popular Destinations Inspired by Gaming

Within video games, distant and fictional worlds are available for us to explore with the tap of a controller or click of the mouse, which can inspire real-world curiosity among audiences. If a player explores Tokyo through the Persona series, they’ll get a vibrant, stylized glimpse into Japanese culture, fashion, and daily life, which can encourage fans to get out and explore the city’s actual streets, shrines, and districts on their next vacation.

Similarly, the Spider-Man games set in New York City allow players to swing through the different Manhattan boroughs, which can foster a desire to experience the Big Apple’s iconic landmarks in person.  One of the biggest draws of the Assassin’s Creed series is its historical settings that educate players on different eras and locations, including everything from Renaissance Italy to Ancient Egypt, making history accessible and intriguing. These games entertain while at the same time acting as interactive travel guides, encouraging cultural exploration and a deeper appreciation of the history and significance of their real-world counterparts.

The Role of Augmented Reality (AR) Games

Augmented Reality (AR) games, like Pokémon GO, have changed the way we interact with our surroundings, turning boring everyday activities into a backdrop for fun and exciting adventures. AR works by overlaying virtual elements onto the real world and these games encourage players to venture outdoors, explore new locations, and even travel far from home as they try to collect as many Pokémon as they can along the way, making it one of the most unique gaming experiences available. Pokémon GO, in particular, has had a big role in creating community events and gatherings, bringing together players of all ages in public spaces, parks, and landmarks worldwide.

The Pokémon Go phenomenon has gotten people off the couch and engaging in physical activity and exploration while also bringing together communities for a shared adventure among players. Although there hasn’t been another game as successful as Pokémon GO, its success demonstrates the potential to blend virtual gaming experiences with real-world adventures, making the act of exploration both fun and rewarding. Through these interactive experiences, AR games have the power to transform local neighborhoods and distant locales into playgrounds for the imagination, further blurring the lines between the digital and the physical worlds.

 

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Travel Tips

Swiss Serenity: Rejuvenating City Breaks in the Heart of Switzerland

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When we think of Switzerland, our minds often conjure images of breathtaking alpine landscapes, pristine lakes, and charming villages. While these natural wonders are undoubtedly a significant draw for travelers, Switzerland also offers an enticing urban experience that often goes overlooked. In this blog post, we’ll explore the concept of “Swiss Serenity” and discover how rejuvenating city breaks in the heart of Switzerland, particularly in cities like Zurich, can be a perfect blend of culture, relaxation, and adventure.

Discovering City Breaks in Switzerland

City breaks have gained immense popularity in recent years, providing travelers with the perfect opportunity to explore urban destinations without the long-term commitment of extended vacations. Switzerland, a country often celebrated for its outdoor splendor, may not be the first place that comes to mind for city breaks, but it certainly should be.

The charm of city breaks in Switzerland lies in the seamless fusion of modernity and tradition. You can savor the serenity of the Swiss Alps and still indulge in the cosmopolitan vibes of cities like Zurich. Here’s why city breaks in Switzerland, particularly Zurich, are worth considering.

Zurich: A City Break Gem

City Breaks Switzerland: Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, stands as a testament to the country’s reputation for precision and efficiency. But don’t let the business-oriented facade fool you; Zurich has a lot more to offer than just its financial prowess.

Zurich is a city of contrasts, where the serene waters of Lake Zurich meet the hustle and bustle of a thriving metropolis. The city seamlessly blends its rich history with a vibrant contemporary scene. From the medieval old town with its narrow cobblestone streets to the cutting-edge art galleries and museums, Zurich offers a myriad of experiences for all types of travelers.

Cultural Extravaganza

One of the highlights of a city break in Zurich is the city’s thriving cultural scene. Explore the Kunsthaus Zurich, one of Switzerland’s most important art museums, housing an impressive collection of European and Swiss art. If you’re a fan of contemporary art, don’t miss the renowned Migros Museum of Contemporary Art.

For history buffs, a visit to the Swiss National Museum is a must. Immerse yourself in Switzerland’s history, culture, and traditions through a fascinating collection of artifacts and exhibitions.

Relaxation and Serenity

After a day of exploring the city’s cultural offerings, find serenity in Zurich’s green spaces. The beautiful Lake Zurich offers a peaceful retreat, where you can enjoy a leisurely boat ride or simply sit by the shore, soaking in the tranquility. The city’s parks and gardens, such as the Zurich Botanical Garden, are perfect for a rejuvenating escape from the urban hustle.

Culinary Delights

City breaks Zurich wouldn’t be complete without indulging in the city’s culinary delights. Swiss cuisine is a fusion of German, French, and Italian influences, resulting in a delectable array of dishes. From savory fondue and raclette to sweet delights like Swiss chocolate, Zurich offers a gastronomic journey like no other.

Don’t forget to explore the city’s vibrant food scene, with its trendy cafes, gourmet restaurants, and bustling markets. The bustling food markets, such as the Viadukt Markthalle, offer an opportunity to taste fresh, local produce and international delicacies.

Adventure Beyond the City

While Zurich itself is a captivating destination, it also serves as an ideal gateway to explore the rest of Switzerland. Embark on day trips to nearby destinations like Lucerne, Interlaken, or Zermatt to witness the country’s stunning natural beauty. Whether it’s hiking in the Swiss Alps or cruising on Lake Lucerne, these excursions provide a perfect balance between urban exploration and outdoor adventure.

Conclusion: Swiss Serenity Awaits

In conclusion, Swiss Serenity Awaits, beckoning travelers to embark on a journey of discovery and rejuvenation in the heart of Switzerland. While the country’s natural wonders are undoubtedly awe-inspiring, its urban gems, particularly Zurich, offer an experience that is equally captivating.

City breaks in Switzerland provide a unique opportunity to balance the serene beauty of the Swiss Alps with the vibrancy of its cities. Zurich, with its rich cultural scene, tranquil lakeside views, and delectable culinary offerings, epitomizes the perfect fusion of tradition and modernity.

As you explore Zurich’s museums, stroll through its historic streets, and savor its world-class cuisine, you’ll find yourself immersed in a city that effortlessly marries the past and the present. And when you seek respite from the urban bustle, Zurich’s parks and lakeshores provide an oasis of tranquility, allowing you to unwind and recharge your spirit.

So, whether you’re a culture enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply in search of serenity, Switzerland has it all. Swiss Serenity Awaits, inviting you to experience the perfect blend of city breaks and natural beauty in a country that never fails to enchant and rejuvenate. Embrace the Swiss way of life, where precision meets passion, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Your next city break in Switzerland promises to be an unforgettable journey into the heart of serenity and splendor.

 

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Travel Tips

What you need Before Visiting Colombia in 2024

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Colombia has always been a beautiful country with a rich culture and history. Each year many people are eager to visit. However, before you plan your trip, it’s important to be aware of the requirements and regulations for visiting the country.

First and foremost, all travelers to Cartagena Colombia safety must have a valid passport. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your planned date of departure from Colombia. It is also important to check with your country’s embassy in Colombia to see if any additional travel documents are required.

In addition to a valid passport, travelers to Colombia must also have a valid visa. The type of visa required will depend on the purpose of your trip and the length of your stay. Depending on the passport you have there are not many requirements to visit Colombia. Tourist visas are typically valid for 90 days, while business visas are valid for 180 days. If you plan to stay in Colombia for a longer period of time, you will need to apply for a different type of visa.

Before you travel to Colombia, it is also important to have travel insurance. This will help cover any medical expenses or other costs if something unexpected happens during your trip. It’s also a good idea to check if your insurance covers you in Colombia, if not, you may want to consider getting travel insurance specifically for Colombia.

When it comes to vaccinations, it is recommended that travelers to Colombia have their routine vaccinations up to date, such as measles, chickenpox, and the flu. Additionally, it is also recommended that travelers get vaccinated for yellow fever if they plan to visit areas of Colombia where the disease is present.

When it comes to packing, it’s important to be aware of the climate and culture of the country. Colombia is a tropical country, so it’s a good idea to pack lightweight clothing and sunscreen. it’s also important to bring comfortable shoes as you will do a lot of walking.

During your trip, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and to take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety. It’s a good idea to avoid walking alone at night and to avoid carrying large amounts of money with you. It’s also important to be aware of local laws and customs, and to respect them while you are in the country.

In conclusion, visiting Colombia can be an exciting and enriching experience, but it’s important to be aware of the requirements and regulations for traveling to the country. Make sure you have a valid passport and visa, travel insurance, and vaccinations, and be mindful of your safety and the local laws and customs. With proper planning and preparation, your trip to Colombia can be a memorable and enjoyable experience.

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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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