Why sleeping bags and mats designed and built for women actually help women to sleep better.
You may have wondered why it is so difficult to find sleeping bags, sleeping mats and liners that truly take account of your shape and physiology. You may have gritted your teeth and put up with the ‘one size fits all’ mentality behind sleep products built primarily for men (and put up with less-than-ideal sleep as a result).
If any of the above describes your experience, don’t worry - we’ve got your back.
As our Lead Designer for Sleep Systems, Brendan Sando says: “Some women will be so used to making compromises that they can’t imagine how much better the ‘perfect sleep system’ can feel and how much good sleep can add to their performance”.
Instead of building a “women’s version” of men’s products, Brendan and his team have taken a very different approach to creating women’s sleep system products. They knew that a new perspective was needed; and this was exactly what the design team got. The closer they looked, the more things they found that could be tailored to women. A combination of consultation and biometric data revealed how to better cater for a woman’s size and weight distribution, the way they store heat and the way they sleep (on their side, mostly). Then, they put their designs to the test with their female ambassadors.
First, What do we mean by ‘sleep system’
In order to get a good night’s sleep, think of the gear you will need in the same way you think of a layered clothing system.
- The Sleeping Pad is the first component as your ground insulation and comfort layer. This layer has to provide adequate insulation in the conditions you will be camping in, or the warmth for your sleeping bag will be lost to the ground.
- The Sleeping Bag is the second component for insulation around your body. The shape, construction and placement of insulation within the bag are going to to be key, or your warmth will be lost into the air.
- The Sleeping Bag Liner is the third component as the next-to-skin layer. This has the same function as a clothing base layer, wicking moisture and retaining warmth.
What makes it a Women's Specific Sleep System?
How our design and construction truly make each of these layers ‘women’s specific’
- All Women’s sleeping mats are shorter, have narrower shoulders, and are wider between the hips and knees than unisex versions. Why carry extra weight you don’t need? The wider cut allows women to sleep in whatever position is comfortable while remaining centered on the mat.
- The air-filled Air Sprung Cell sleeping mats have extra Thermolite® insulation compared to the unisex versions. Different models exist depending on the specific needs of the end-user.
- The Self-Inflating sleeping mats have different patterns in which foam has been removed (called Delta Coring) compared to unisex versions. This creates Comfort Warmth Zones in the hip and foot areas – which is where women need increased insulation and support.
- All Women’s sleeping bags are shorter, have narrower shoulders, and are wider between the hips and knees than unisex versions. The wider cut allows you to sleep in a natural position – on your back, on your side, in a ‘figure four’ without your knees or hips flattening the insulation. This is far more comfortable and warmer than narrow mummy designs.
- All of the Women’s sleeping bags have extra insulation (compared to unisex models), placed according to women’s-specific body-mapping to create extra Comfort Warmth Zones in the foot and torso areas. Some down models also have a layer of Thermolite® in the footbox for instant warmth. And – most models feature class-leading ventilation, including the Free-Flow zipper system, so they work over a much broader temperature range than conventional bags.
Sleeping Bag Liner
- The Compact Plus Reactor Liner is the perfect next-to-skin layer for a woman sleeper. Panels of mid-weight Thermolite® in the torso and footbox make this the only liner available with Comfort Warmth Zones.
Women end-users can combine any of the six women’s specific mat models and five women’s specific sleeping bag models with a liner of their choice to create the perfect system. And – please note that we specified mat and bag models – there are size and temperature rating variations within these. The new Ultralight Flame sleeping bag model is available in five variants.
And the reason that Sea to Summit has made such a massive investment in developing Women’s Sleep Systems? Maybe the best way to answer that question is to quote from two of the female ambassadors who were so instrumental in shaping the design ethos, internationally-renowned climbers Colette McInerney and Liv Sansoz:
“Sleeping well is probably the most important part of the equation with the types of climbing trips I take – you need to feel rested so you can perform your best.”
“When you spend 18 hours a day trekking through the mountains at altitude, in the cold and the wind, you need sleep to recover for the next day.”
Whether you're a climber, traveler, thru-hiker, family camper, paddler or fly fisher, the right sleep system will help you enormously in getting a good night’s sleep.