Every commercial and advertisement ends with a company’s name and their tagline. The tagline is vague or general and usually goes unexplained.
We don’t want our promise of “Rest Better. Play Better.” to go unexplained.
In this edition of Therm-a-Rest Gearshed, we walk you through our design philosophies and how Therm-a-Rest’s products are helping our community prepare for tomorrow’s adventure.
We’ve all had restless nights. Tossing and turning, praying for just a few hours of shut eye. Quickly your annoyance turns to anxiety. This anxiety doesn’t just stem from an expectation that we should go to sleep every night. The grogginess, trouble focusing, low energy and moodiness that come with a rough night of sleep is something we are all too familiar with.
Especially when tomorrow holds a 20+ mile day on the trail… or a big day of ascending and descending prime single track… or 12 pitches of vertical rock to the summit…or an alpine start to get first tracks… or a beautiful hike with that special someone. Then sleep becomes very, very important and an uncomfortable night becomes a very, very big problem.
Back in the ‘70s, our founders sat down to try and solve this problem. More specifically, how to make sleeping under the stars and on the hard ground more comfortable. After tinkering with an old sandwich press and gardening mat, they created the first self-inflating camping mattress. Most of you know how the rest of the story goes. Therm-a-Rest has used our experience and resources to change the way that you camp ever since.
As our tagline says we are here to help our community of adventurers “Rest Better. Play Better”. This tagline isn’t just three buzz words we put together or a brief explanation of what we do. It’s our trajectory. It’s our promise to you. Those three words are what make us the leaders in camp.
A long day on the trail or in the hills leaves most of us wiped out and ready to crash. Creating ultralight and durable products is essential, but comfort is always the priority. Nobody wants a mattress that can’t protect you from the cold, hard ground and it doesn’t matter how light a sleeping bag is if it can’t protect you from the cold. Whether it’s summer at a campground or a late season bivy in the alpine, the products you use to camp must provide comfort.
Our designers and engineers are always looking for ways to increase your comfort at camp. One of our most recent innovations has been our AirFrame construction, which uses alternating channels of foam and air. The lightweight air channels paired with the stable and supportive foam channels provide a best-of-both-worlds benefit to adventurers. Once you climb into your Therm-a-Rest sleeping bag, our SynergyLink connectors keep you securely on your pad while preventing compressed fill from creating cold spots while you rest.
While sleeping bags and pads are the major components, we know that the little details can make all the difference. Our hammocks, pillows, chairs, quilts and blankets all go through the same intensive design process to create products that enhance your comfort and rest at camp. We even made a handy infographic to make sure you are sleeping well in the outdoors.
We love a good night’s sleep, but we live for playing in the great outdoors. When you wake up at camp, you need to feel rejuvenated, not sapped of your energy. Once we have created a camp product that provides comfort, we start looking at how that product can maximize your play.
Each product is built for the needs of individual adventurers. The needs of the basecamping fisherman are different than the needs of the minimalist mountaineer whose needs are different from the week-long backpacker. We offer a product that suits the needs of each, a plush thick mattress for the basecamper and a pad that weighs as little as 8 oz. (370 g) for the minimalist, while never sacrificing comfort. Even our featherlight NeoAir XLite provides alpinists and thru hikers with 2.5 in (6.3 cm) of cushy, yet stable air to sleep on.
To even further minimize weight and increase comfort, we use technologies like ThermaCapture and Zoned Insulation to get the most out of your gear. While you are sleeping your body is still creating heat to carry out vital functions and keep your body warm. Our reflective ThermaCapture material reflects that heat back towards your body, keeping you warm while adding minimal weight. Zoned Insulation takes the fill in your sleeping bag and places it where you need it most. Less fill is taken from the back, where it’s compressed by your pad, and placed on the top of your bag, where you need the most insulation. Your pad keeps your back warm and, in the morning, you have a smarter and lighter bag to place in your pack. We also created a new valve that helps cut inflation time in half. Our revolutionary SpeedValve pulls in surrounding air during inflation so that you can save time and energy when setting up your camp for the night. More time and less pack weight give you the ability to enjoy your days in the wild and extra energy to charge your objectives.
A warmer night and a light pack means more energy to do what you love. That’s what we think camp is all about. Waking up with a smile, stepping out into a beautiful setting and charging the day.
The commitment to pursue lighter, more compact, more durable and comfier camp products are not the only things we are trying to “better”. We are looking to better the way you camp. We are looking at better materials and better ways to source that material. We are looking to better the trails, parks and community of people that we value so highly.
Camping isn’t just about having the right sleeping pad combined with the right sleeping bag. It’s about how the two work together. Using our onsite cold chamber we can make real time adjustments during our product development to make sure our products are working together. After field testing our gear, we make sure that it’s equipped with features to integrate together like our SynergyLink connectors or loops for quilts and blankets. We’ve started using our cold chamber to start getting data for different sleep systems that can help campers make educated decisions when buying or packing gear.
We also have a commitment to using better materials. Whether it’s developing new foams that are lighter and more supportive or partnering with organizations like the Responsible Down Standard to source our materials responsibly, we know that these changes to small parts of our products have a big impact.
Our impact also goes beyond the products that we make. Every year, we contribute financially and volunteer our time to work with organizations like Big City Mountaineers, The Access Fund and The Conservation Alliance. Our relationship with our community is symbiotic. It has given us so much and we are committed to giving back and working together to make our community and wild spaces better.
So next time you catch us saying “Rest Better. Play Better.”, you’ll know what we mean.