Why don't we use R values with our sleeping mats?

By Alice Peyredieu

Why don’t Alpkit use R values?

Currently, we don’t use R values to help you compare the thermal resistance of different sleeping mats. This is because there is currently no internationally agreed standard for testing or rating how warm a camping mattress is. Until a standard is introduced, we reckon good, old-fashioned advice and experience is generally the best way to choose your sleeping mat.

Why do we need an internationally agreed standard?

Currently there is no standardised method of testing R values which means each brand might have their own method of testing which yields its own results. These results can be misleading, and as customers this makes it hard to compare mats manufactured by different brands.

That’s not to say that R-values aren’t helpful: if you’re looking at a huge range of mats made by one company (for example, Thermorest), R values are a helpful tool for deciding which mat within the range is best for the conditions that you’ll be facing. It’s just that if you’re comparing mats across a range of manufacturers, the R value holds less stock.

When will there be a standard?

We are part of the European Outdoor Group (EOG) working group for the new international standard for R values, and are eagerly awaiting its introduction. This standard will most likely be the 19-ASTM WK35667_Standard Test Method for Thermal Resistance of Camping Mattresses. Once introduced, this standard will produce a much more accurate reflection of the thermal resistance of sleeping mats manufactured by different companies.

So how do we choose an Alpkit Sleeping mat without the help of R values?

Our range of sleeping mats is simple and purposeful, so we prefer to use our experience and knowledge to help you get the right mat for the conditions you’ll be facing.

We, our Alpkiteers, and our customers have been using our sleeping mats across the world for over a decade, in the coldest, dampest and most miserable conditions that the UK could throw at us, and our self-inflating mats can handle these conditions. Remember, a lot of sleeping comfortably comes down to how you set up your sleep system, read our SLEEP better Spotlight for more.

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