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A camping or bivouac mattress, an inflatable, self-inflating or foam mattress? Are you confused by the choice? Read our guide which will help you make the right choice and find the right mattress so you can enjoy a good night's sleep during your rural getaway.
There are 3 main criteria for choosing a mattress: weight, type of mattress and insulation. Transporting and installing a super thick, inflatable mattress in your tent is completely different to setting off bivouacking with your home on your back, going wherever adventure takes you. Whether you prefer camping or trekking, we'll guide you in your choice, helping you find a mattress that gives you that sleeping-on-a-cloud feeling.
The first criterion when choosing your mattress is weight.
In fact, if you're planning on going trekking with your mattress in your backpack, it's essential to choose a model that is as light and compact as possible. The low weight will help minimize the weight of your backpack and the compact size will reduce the amount of space taken up by the mattress. A trekking mattress also fits more easily into a bivouac tent compared to a thick, inflatable camping mattress which may rub against the tent wall. Some mattress models are, for example, narrower at the bottom to make them even more compact. And there's no need for a pump for this type of mattress. They're either made from foam or self-inflating. Everything is carefully calculated to avoid extra weight or unnecessary bulk !
Conversely, if you're going camping or are looking for a mattress for sleeping indoors, you can opt for a camping mattress where weight doesn't really matter too much. These mattresses are generally thicker, wider, and more comfortable, like a real bed! Normally they need a pump to inflate them. They are rectangular in shape and offer enough space for people who tend to move around a lot in their sleep ;). They are ideal for large camping tents. Some models are available in different widths: 70, 120 or 140 cm.
Foam, self-inflating or inflatable: there are several different kinds of mattress for camping or bivouacking. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of bulk and comfort but also installation time (to inflate or not to inflate...that is the question!)
Is there a difference between floor mats and mattresses for camp beds?
Are you wondering if you need to invest in two different mattresses because you're going camping with your family as well as going bivouacking on your own or with friends (or vice versa)? your garage will quickly start to resemble the storeroom of an outdoor equipment store if, on top of a compact mattress and another softer, thicker mattress, you also have to invest in various other mattresses depending on whether you're sleeping on the floor or a camp bed!
If you also want a camp bed and a mattress, it's important to pay attention to the length and width of the mattress which mustn't exceed the size of the camp bed. The thickness depends on your personal preference (but be careful that you don't turn into the princess (or prince!) and the pea!) Some atypically-shaped trekking mattresses (not rectangular) may not fit certain camp beds so check the dimensions carefully.
Finally, if you want a comfort level similar to that of home bedding (I nominate the mattress/bed base combination), Quechua has an inflatable bed base that goes perfectly with the comfort mattress from the same range. An added advantage: they can be joined together easily, converting from a single to a double bed. They also make a great extra bed when you have guests to stay.
You can find out how much insulation your mattress provides by checking its R-Value. To find out the R-value of a Decathlon mattress, you just need to go to the "Product advantages" section on the appropriate product page.
The "R-Value" is the measure of thermal resistance. It measures the capacity of a mattress to retain body heat or prevent heat transfer to a cold floor. The higher the R-Value, the better the insulation provided by the mattress.
It's important to note that your sleeping bag has no effect whatsoever on the R-value. Bear in mind that R-Values can be combined; this means that you can use two mattresses and add their R-Values.
All our mattresses are tested in accordance with the ASTM F3340-18 testing standard. This standard allows you to measure the r-value and, therefore, the insulation performance of the mattress. It's used by all manufacturers so gives you the option to compare different brands of mattresses.
What is the R-Value used for?
• R-value from 0 to 1.9: Hot season (summer) only
• R-value from 2 to 3: 2 or 3-seasons (spring-summer-autumn)
• R-value from 3 to 4: 4-seasons
• R-value of 4.5 +: 4-seasons and extreme conditions (glaciers, Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, and high altitude).
Did you know? Camping mattresses often have a higher R value than an equivalently priced trekking mattress.
Additional advice to increase the R-value
Place a survival blanket under your mattress to optimize the thermal insulation of your camping or trekking mattress.
Which materials are the most comfortable?
We don't all react in the same way to materials. Some people really don't feel comfortable lying on top of a plastic-topped mattress rubbing against a polyester sleeping bag. Others aren't particularly bothered by this. If this kind of detail is important to you, opt for a high-end sensory experience with a mattress covered in a velvet effect fabric, for a soft feel that will make all the difference. We also recommend trying out mattresses if there's a showroom. Forget the absurdity of the situation and go with friends; lie down on the mattress and, most importantly, roll over to check if it "squeaks", makes "creaking noises" or if it's quiet. In fact, in addition to the sense of touch, sound will also affect your user experience, and the experience of campers in neighbouring tents.
The level of inflation affects the comfort
So, don't over-inflate your mattress! For your comfort and to make your mattress last longer, it is important to inflate it to a moderate pressure. When you are sitting on the inflated mattress, you should feel the floor near your buttocks. Once you lie down, the air will disperse beneath your body, providing optimal comfort. What's more, an over-inflated mattress will feel too "hard" and in the end you'll feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, an under-inflated mattress won't provide adequate support for your body and you won't sleep as well. If, when sitting on your mattress, your bottom feels too close to the ground, inflate it a little more.
Did you know?The length of your mattress can vary by around 10% depending on how much you inflate it! So, don't panic if your mattress seems a couple of inches too short; it's just a small variation caused by over-inflating and is not a manufacturing defect.