Jim Giblin Q&A Therm-A-Rest Sleep System

Behind the design series with Jim Giblin

Behind the design series with Jim Giblin

With over 40 years of research into the science of sleep, we’ve learned a thing or two about the ingredients of a restful night under the stars. We recently sat down for a little Q &A with Jim Giblin, our senior softgoods designer, to talk about some of the key considerations to be made when purchasing a sleep system for backpacking.

Q: First off, what is a sleep system?

A: For some reason, it took the outdoor industry this long to talk about your sleeping bag and mattress in the right context. You can’t really use one without the other, and if one isn’t matched properly to the other, you can see a real drop in performance. They work together as a system. Technically it could be extended to include your clothing and everything else you wear or take to bed for the purpose of sleeping well.

Q: What defines a good sleep system?

A: The best sleep system is the most efficient one. It pairs the mattress and sleeping bag based on the net warmth and comfort you desire, and does it in a way that, for backcountry use, is as light and compact as possible. The big trend now is to take advantage of the huge boost in warmth provided by ultralight, low-bulk air mattresses like the NeoAir, to reduce the fill needed in your sleeping bag. We’ve done this new bags and the overall reduction in system weight can be really impressive.

Check back next week to hear Jim’s perspective on finding the perfect sleeping bag and his secret to staying warm at night!

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