Gear Reviews

Gear Review | Relief Bed – Changing lives around the world one great nights sleep at a time!

Revolutionary new sleep pad not only great for backcountry camping but is set to change lives around the world

May 2016, Gear Review by Sierra REC Staff –  Ok remember back to that first camping trip when mom and dad rolled out the egg crate mattress pad in the tent and you thought your world of camping was just upgraded to the Hilton standards? From cold hard ground to lap of luxury, right? Or maybe you’re part of the new generation that has always had new tech sleeping pads or sleeping bags with built-in padding to make that cold Sierra night bearable while camping. Well let us introduce you to a new company and a sleeping pad that just “simply rocks” in comfort, but is not intended for us outdoor lovers as much as it is for changing a world that would think an egg crate mattress would be the definition of luxury. INTRODUCING RELIEF BED® a roll up self-inflating sleep pad built in partnership with Therm-a-Rest® to not only provide a durable comfortable source of outdoor sleep but also to help provide an innovative solution for impoverished people in emerging countries, disaster relief, aid workers and the homeless in North America.

First Impressions:

The RELIEF BED® comes in a zip top polyester carry case with a shoulder sling  and logo branded on its side.  Once opened it reveals a great color combo of orangereliefbdside roll and blue wrapped tightly in plastic.  The RELIEF BED® rolls out to showcase a 72″ long pad about 20″ wide with a high strength, durable, and hydrophobic polyester and is UV-resistant and easy to clean.  What makes the RELIEF BED® so unique to other Therm-a-Rest® self-inflating mattress pads is the addition of the first ever self-inflating pillow included in this pad.  Being a guy who often used his stinky sweatshirt as his pillow for the evening, this is a huge plus for me on the Relief Bed.
The RELIEF BED® when rolled up, easily fits on my pack rolled to about 7″ in diameter, and the 20″ width is very easy to carry behind me.  I would not use the carry bag on a pack trip as the bag has about 2″ of play in it for a pad that maybe is not deflated all the way. But for packing it in with me I would keep it pretty tight and not want the extra bulk.  Now if I was just throwing this in my car  and going to  sleep out of the bed of my truck, a quick dry camp experience along one of the Sierra scenic by-ways for example, then the bag is a great feature to protect your pad and to throw over the shoulder for easy carry. (I’ll cover this a little later in the article for additional benefits.)
reliefbd crop
Each bed comes with two dual relief valves, one for the body and one for the pillow, allowing for custom control of each element for individual desired level of comfort. Once inflated, the pad is approximately 2″ thick, and the air flow is supported by Thermarests typical foam comfort.

The Test:

My favorite places for a quick camp are still covered in snow in the Sierra, so I ruled out a high Sierra campout and instead settled in for a high desert Pinenut experience. The Test ground cover is  a mix of sand, stone and normal desert debris, where I will place the tent and use the Pad for the evening. This was a great place to not only test the comfort but also test any additional warmth that this pad would give as the Central Sierra Region is still getting down in the 40’s at night.  Inflating the pillow and pad is super simple, just undo the release valve and it starts inflating by itself. A little blow into the valve to adjust the thickness and then a little release on the valve to get the pad thickness to just the right spot for my 240lb frame.   Being a large guy, 6’3 240# with wide shoulders, this pad has the length I needed but was a bit small on width; however, from a standpoint of “pad” or “no pad”, 20″ was great. Also, I am confident that my wife and sons would easily feel comfortable on the 20″.
The addition of the pillow was my favorite part.  I found real comfort in the lift it provided without feeling over adjusted laying on my back and on my side.  Being a larger guy, laying on my back was great and laying on my shoulders it provided  solid relief at the pressure points of my shoulders and hips. Over the course of the evening, I found that I did seem to sleep a bit better and warmer with the RELIEF BED® pad and will plan on taking this out on many adventures this summer in the Sierra. I can’t wait to try it on the granite rocks in Yosemite or up near Lake Winnemucca in Alpine County.
Overall I really like the RELIEF BED® and think the quality of the material will be very durable; the air pillow and mattress combination is extremely friendly to a great nights sleep in the outdoors, and it is easy to pack in and out on a short backcountry trip.

Relief-Bed-White-Backdrop-Marsh-39-720x463Why is RELIEF BED® something you should consider:

Going beyond basic needs for outdoor adventure and sleeping that make the RELIEF BED® a nice addition to your gear supply, RELIEF BED® is on a mission that I found very appealing in reviewing this company and the product. RELIEF BED® was designed by Scott Smalling, a former executive and engineer in the mattress world, with the passion and desire to fix a world problem: lack of sleep and comfort for homeless, disaster victims, and impoverished people around the world.
A couple facts found on RELIEF BED® site: 

  • Sleep is Essential – Sleep is the #3 biological need to sustain life, right behind water and food. Proper sleep is critical to a thriving life.
  • Beds are needed – Mattresses are the #1 requested item by personnel working in the field.  Many organizations provide goods and services, but quality beds are often an afterthought.
  • Good Sleep = Good Health – Better Sleep equals better function. Improving sleep health in impoverished countries may indeed be a step in breaking the cycle of poverty.

When I spoke with Scott by phone, I was curious just how he wanted this to play out in the outdoor adventure world.  Was he looking for us to come alongside the mission with donations, did he just want us to buy a bed to help fund the mission that his company is driven to accomplish or was he trying to create an environment where you buy one bed for yourself and donate a second bed to the cause? “Yes”, said Scott pointing out that to date they have sold over 1500 beds Relief-Bed-White-Backdrop-Marsh-32-720x463mostly through the mattress industry partners he already knew and that the mission was moving forward rapidly as people start to discover the self-inflating pillow and the feel-good mission. ” I think overall we would be happy in any way that someone feels so compelled to act.  However, best case scenario would be if someone would buy a pad for their own pleasure and then help support the mission by adding on a second pad for someone in need.  We feel we have set up a very attractive plan for that exact idea through the pricing online where you can buy one pad for $129 or buy two pads for $179 with one being shipped to you and the second donated to an agency of your choice.” RELIEF BED® ultimately not only wants to provide better sleep and health to those who use their sleep pad, but additionally provide added HOPE to people living and working in fragile and difficult areas around the world.
To discover more about the mission of RELIEF BED® or to consider donations or purchases check ou the complete story at

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the RELIEF BED®  for free as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review in our publication.
Sierra REC Magazine is dedicated to sharing the events, news and adventure opportunities that exist in The Sierra Mountains. From Lassen Volcanic National Park to the North down through the Central Sierra and the Lake Tahoe Basin through the rugged eastern slopes of the Mono county and Yosemite National park to the southern tips near Sequoia National Park and the PCT trail. We invite you to share stories, trips and photos from your adventures in the  Sierra. Please join us on Facebook, Twitter Google +  and You-Tube or email us your events and photos at  #goexplore

About the author

Charlie REC magazine - Charlie Pankey ~ Publisher

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