My recent camping item purchase, a Coleman Sunrise Single Airbed, surprised many a fellow hiker. When camping overnight, the de rigueur method to sleep was to either place a sleeping mat under the sleeping bag. I tried this for quite a few major hikes, amongst them Gunung Tahan, Gunung Mulu & Gunung Nuang. For most people, they sleep comfortably enough with such a system. Sadly, I did not, I kept waking up, my sacrum sore, and had to keep rolling around to spread the pressure to other bony prominences, such as the greater trochanter of the femur. Naturally, I did not sleep well. As such, before my Gunung Chamah trip, I decided to up the ante, and purchased a Coleman Sunrise Single Airbed, costing RM99 from my local Carrefour.
It came in a box measuring 30 x 30 x 7cm. Fully inflated, it measures 185 x 74 x 13cm. When rolled up to be stuffed into a pack, becomes about 30 – 40% bulkier than a sleeping bag. You do need to bring along a pump of sorts to inflate it though, of which I use a bellows foot pump, purchased for RM19 also at the same Carrefour.
Once fully inflated, you can be guaranteed a nice soft mattress to sleep on. In fact, there was no shortage of volunteers who wanted to help me “try” the mattress during my Gunung Chamah hike. Cleaning the PVC sides is simple, as you just need a damp cloth to wipe it down, while the soft flocked to can be brushed cleaned or vacuumed.
The main advantages of the Coleman Sunrise Single Airbed is that it is more comfortable than the sleeping pad/sleeping bag combo by several gazillion miles. In addition, should you be sleeping in a leaky tent, the sheer height of the airbed means that you’ll be high and dry. It also renders all the irritating uneven floor, twigs, tree roots, pebbles, rocks, etc that make sleeping on the forest floor a thing of the past. The price you have to pay though, is the significant weight and bulk of the mattress and bellows foot pump, which adds 2kg to your pack weight.
Was it worth it though, lugging and extra 2kgs up Gunung Chamah? You bet!! No need to worry about the chilly forest floor, no damp & wet sleeping bag, and a soft, fluffy mattress with no twigs, stones and such stabbing me in the back. This my friend, is luxury sleeping in the forest.