Survival starts with us: the way we prepare for difficult times indicates the chances we have to outlast in challenging situations. Tough circumstances usually bring forward the hidden human strength which sometimes we don’t even know we have. In times of harsh necessity, like wars or natural disasters, people are capable of doing amazing things, and we should all be aware of the fact that the human capacity for endurance and survival is outstanding. I had many opportunities of seeing this ability emerge and it is astonishing and almost unbelievable how people react, mainly if they are well-prepared for dealing with a tragedy.
One indispensable part of a well-thought survival plan regards the sleeping and resting arrangements we need to make for ourselves. The reason I insist upon this is that a good, refreshing rest is vital in critical situations: countless studies have shown that sleep deprivation is one of the worst enemies we may stumble upon when fighting for survival. Since we can’t rely on having a bed in desperate times, we’d better have the next best thing: an item easy to carry which we could sleep on anywhere we might be. The choice is between a sleeping pad and an air mattress; they both have pros and cons as well, so I put together a short list meant to help you make an informed decision.
This category usually offers two types of products: the “roll mats” which are made of dense foam filled with tiny closed air cells and the self-inflating pads.
These items are the most economical choice: they are light and easy to use. When you need to rest, you just unroll your pad, and when you need to get going, you roll it back. It can also be used as protection for inflatable mattresses. This kind of padding is resistant and reliable (almost indestructible), but it is not as warm and comfortable as a mattress. Also, when packed, it needs to be strapped to the outside of your backpack because it doesn’t pack small.
They usually come in a vinyl and nylon shell and have soft open-cell foam on the inside. These pads are light, easy to pack and very comfortable. They only need a couple of breaths of air to inflate; they are warmer and more comfortable than the simple foam mats. A significant advantage is their small pack size, which makes them easy to transport. However, they have their downsides: the risk of puncture, which is not to be disregarded and the price, which is significantly higher, especially if you want a reliable brand.
They are by far the most comfortable choice of all: they are much thicker than the foam or self-inflating pad and warmer; they offer the best insulation, and they take little space when deflated, which makes them very practical and easy to transport. The main downsides are the possibility of puncture and the effort required to inflate them. Since you may not be around a power source, the best option is to get an air mattress which can be inflated with a leg pump or on batteries. The price for such items can be high, but it is, after all, a long-term investment in your comfort and health. If you have back pains or any medical issue (or you just need a particular sleeping position to get a good rest), a mattress will be, beyond question, the best choice for you.
Remember that the thicker the mat, the more comfortable it will be. Try Mattress advises that the newest models on the market are incredibly light, so you can get a warm, thick and luxurious airbed that weighs less than a pound. Another good thing about these items is that manufacturers now use fumes-free materials, which diminishes the safety concerns regarding the chemicals in these products.
To wrap it up: airbeds are an excellent option for any doomsday scenario because they present many valuable advantages. Consider the fact that you’ll probably be sleeping on the ground or the hard floor of a shelter, so thick, warm and comfortable is what you need. You only have to be careful not to puncture your mattress, because it won’t be of much help after that. To leave nothing to chance, I think having a backup sleeping pad would be a brilliant idea. Just in case. You never know when it may be a life savior for you or someone else in need.
Michael Crowder enjoys testing new gadgets for survival and the outdoors is his second home. His father was the reason why Michael got into prepping and learning how to stay off the grid.