Sleeping in Comfort: A Step-by-Step Guide With Expert Tips to Using a Self-Inflating Mat

A sleeping mat

If you love camping but hate sleeping on the hard ground, a self-inflating mat might be the perfect solution for you. A self-inflating mat is a type of sleeping pad that uses air and foam to provide cushioning and insulation. Unlike an air mattress, a self-inflating mat doesn’t need a pump to inflate. They also roll up into a compact size for easy storage and transport.

How do they work?

The inside of the self-inflating mat is open-cell foam; in essence, it is just like a kitchen sponge. If you were to squeeze a kitchen sponge in your hand, it would draw itself full of air once you released your grip. Exactly the same thing happens in a self-inflating mat, except that the ‘sponge’ has an airtight skin around it with a valve. Once the valve is opened, the foam core will draw air into the mat.

It is important to know that a self-inflating mat (regardless of brand) will not self-inflate to the degree of firmness necessary for sleeping on – you will always need to add a little extra air (either via mouth inflation or with a manual pump) to bring the mat up to the pressure you will want.

But how do you use a self-inflating mat? Here’s some simple tips and steps to follow:

Unpack your mat

The sleeping mats are vacuum-packed at the factory to save on space and thus on shipping costs. This sometimes causes the individual cells of the foam to stick together, so that when the valve is opened for the first time, the mat may not fully inflate, the best thing to do here, is let the mattress inflate as much as it can, and then top it up manually using your mouth or a manual pump to blow air into the valve.

Or if time is an issue, you can manually inflate your mat (either by mouth or using a manual pump), the cells inside will unstick, and the mat will self-inflate the next time you use it. this can happen after being stored for extended periods. The more a mat is used the better and faster it gets.

Inflate your mat

To inflate your mat, open the valve(s) at one end of the mat. The valve(s) may be twist-and-pull, push-and-lock, or modern high flow flip valves types, depending on the model. Once the valve(s) are open, air will start to enter the mat and expand the foam inside. Depending on the thickness and size of your mat, it may take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes to fully inflate. Note: the inflation speed will improve over time with increased use as the foam will get its memory back the more its used.

Adjust your mat

Once your mat is inflated, you can adjust the firmness and comfort level by adding or releasing air. To add air, you can blow into the valve(s) with your mouth or use a hand pump. To release air, you can press down on the mat or open the valve(s) slightly. You can also roll up one end of the mat to squeeze out excess air, then unroll it and close the valve(s). Experiment with different amounts of air until you find your preferred level of comfort.

Enjoy your mat

Now that your mat is ready, you can place it inside your tent or under your sleeping bag and enjoy a cozy night’s sleep. A self-inflating mat will not only cushion your body from the ground, but also insulate you from the cold and dampness. You may even forget that you’re sleeping outdoors!

Deflate and pack your mat

When it’s time to pack up, you need to deflate and roll up your mat. To deflate your mat, open the valve(s) and let the air escape. You can speed up the process by folding or rolling the mat from the opposite end of the valve(s), pushing out as much air as possible. High flow flip valves allow air out only, and not back in, so you can roll your mat up more than once for better compression. Once your mat is flat and deflated, close the valve(s). Secure it with straps or elastic bands and put it back in its bag.

Storage

Dry your mattress outside and inside: Inflating your mattress and letting it air dry will take care of exterior drying. Don’t leave your mattress where direct sunlight can hit it, though, because UV rays will degrade the material.

Moisture that accumulates inside foam in mattresses can lead to unwanted mould growth on the inside. After your trip, you can lower the moisture level in your mattress by inflating it, then deflating it a few times. Use a source other than your lungs. Setting a hair dryer on low (NOT hot) and holding it directly against or over your pad’s valve is an easy way to do this type of inflation—partially inflating the mattress each time is fine for this step.

Where to store your mattress at home: Moisture and temperature extremes are hard on your mattress, so avoid damp places and unheated (and uncooled) spaces like garages and attics. Susceptibility to temperature extremes also makes car boots a no-no. Find a dedicated position in a wardrobe or under your bed instead.

How to store your mattress at home: Your mattresses and storage sack should be thoroughly dry inside and out before you store them. Leave it inflated with the valve open. That’s good for both the foam’s long-term resiliency and for air circulation inside the pad.

That’s it! You’ve learned the expert tips to successfully using a self-inflating mat for camping. By following these steps, you can enjoy sleeping in comfort wherever you go.

See our range of Aussie designed self-inflating mats here.

Harnessing the Power of Guy Ropes to Better Weatherproof Your Tent

Man adjusting the tensioner on a guy rope

Camping is always a great adventure which is why it’s essential to be prepared for all weather conditions. The best way to toughen up your tent against inclement weather is by using guy ropes properly. These often-overlooked accessories significantly enhance the stability and resilience of your tent, ensuring a comfortable camping experience no matter the weather. In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of guy ropes and give you some practical tips on how to use them to more effectively weatherproof your tent.

Man hammering in a tent peg for with guy rope attached

What are Guy Ropes?

Guy ropes are an integral part of tent setup, designed to provide additional support and stability. They help distribute tension around tent evenly, preventing the tent from swaying or collapsing during strong winds or heavy rain. By securing your tent with guy ropes, you can mitigate the risks associated with unpredictable weather conditions.

Choose the Right Guy Ropes

Investing in high-quality guy ropes is crucial if you want optimal performance. Most tents these days will come with the guy ropes pre-attached. Nevertheless, it’s still important to make sure the tent you’re considering includes quality guy ropes. Look for ropes made of durable materials like nylon or polyester that are both lightweight and strong. Opt for reflective ropes, or even better, reflective attachment points as well. Guy ropes should be easily visible in low-light conditions to reduce the risk of tripping.

Make sure your guy ropes have adjustable tensioners, as they allow for easy customisation based on conditions and terrain. Remember, some sliders are better than others, so look for something like our ‘lockjaw’ sliders which are easy to use and stay locked. All Quest guy ropes are 2-1. Two attachment points in the one guy rope makes Quest tents twice as stable and secure than tents without them.

Proper Guy Rope Placement

Proper placement of guy ropes is essential to maximise their effectiveness. Begin by attaching the guy ropes to the designated anchor points on your tent, usually found at the corners and along the sides. Ensure each rope is extended at a 45-degree angle from the tent, creating a stable and balanced configuration. Avoid placing ropes too close to the tent, as this can cause the fabric to rub against the rope, potentially compromising its integrity. Try to ensure they’re pegged at least 1.5 metres out from the edges of the tent floor.

Tension and Secure Your Guy Ropes

Achieving the right tension in your guy ropes is crucial. Begin by securing the rope firmly to the anchor point on the tent (they’re pre-attached on most tents these days). Then, move away from the tent and gently tighten the rope, eliminating any slack. Be cautious not to overtighten, as this can strain the tent fabric. Finally, secure the guy rope to the ground using stakes or pegs, ensuring a firm grip on the soil. Your pegs should go firmly into the ground at a 45° angle away from the tent.

Man adjusting the tensioner on a guy rope

Secure the Fly to the Frame

Attach the tent fly to the poles using the velcro loops or ties. Most tents have these on the inside of the fly sheet – directly opposite where the guy ropes are.

Adjust Guy Ropes in Changing Weather

Weather conditions can change rapidly while camping, requiring you to adapt the tension and positioning of your guy ropes. In high winds, increase the tension to provide additional stability. If heavy rain is expected, lower the angle of the guy ropes to prevent pooling of water on the tent’s rainfly. Keep an eye on your guy ropes during your camping trip, and make adjustments as needed to maintain optimal performance.

Finally…

When it comes to weatherproofing your tent, using the guy ropes properly makes a world of difference. By investing in quality ropes and understanding how to use them, you can significantly enhance your tent’s stability and resilience in adverse weather conditions. A well-secured tent ensures a more enjoyable camping experience, allowing you to escape, explore, and enjoy your time outdoors.

The Air Advantage: Unveiling the Benefits of Air Tents for Modern Camping

An air framed tent in a clearing
An air framed tent in a clearing
QUEST Air 12

Are you looking for a new family sized tent for your family camping adventures but sick of the setup? Air tents have so many benefits compared with your traditional style tent and we’re going to run you through them right now!

Air tents are quick and easy to setup

Air frame tents are ready to go in just a few minutes, thanks to their inflatable frame. Instead of assembling, sorting, and inserting multi-coloured poles, you just pump up the frame using an air pump. It saves heaps of time and effort, especially compared to the laborious job of setting up traditional pole tents. Quest air tents the fly and inner all go up at the same time and that’s the key. No more putting the fly on separately – which makes for a massive time saving.

Air tents are lightweight and easy to carry

Air tents are more often much lighter than traditional tents because they don’t have heavy poles. It makes them heaps easier to store, carry, and transport, which is pretty handy when space in the family car is tight.

Inflatable frames are stable and more durable

The inflatable tube frames in air tents are designed to be tough and stable. The beams or tubes are made from robust PVC or TPU. Once pegged out, inflated and then pegged down properly, the air frames create a superbly rigid & solid structure that can withstand wind and harsh weather conditions. When the frames are pumped up to around 7 psi, they aren’t like an airbed – they’re rock hard and rigid.

Air frames are versatile

Air tents come plenty of different shapes and sizes to accommodate different camping needs. You’ll find single-person tents, family-sized tents, and even large group tents, giving you the choice to pick a tent that suits you and your family. Air tents don’t just have to be boring tubes anymore.

Air tents have a smaller pack size

When deflated, air tents pack down small into a small carrying bag. Great for storage and transportation – they take up less space compared to traditional tents with poles.

Air tents have less moving parts

Air tents have a simpler design than pole tents. They have less parts and fewer components, reducing the chance of losing or misplacing something during setup or packdown. Such a straightforward setup process makes them a great choice for beginners or those just learning all about the camping experience. Most air frames these days are integrated into the tent.

Air tents can handle the weather

Inflatable tents often feature integrated weatherproof features, such as taped seams, durable fly sheets. These help to keep you dry and protected from rain and other elements. Some tents go further with extra reinforcement in the corners of the floor and flaps over the fly sheet zips. Plus, the beauty of air tent is that it’s forgiving. If the weather is that bad that the tent flattens out in the wind, it will pop right back up, where traditional tents flatten out when something breaks and it won’t pop back up – you’re done!

Potential drawbacks

It’s important to note that while air tents offer many advantages, they also have some potential drawbacks.

  • You’ll need a pump to inflate the air frame. Quest Air tents and shelters all come with a high volume double action pump.
  • You’ll need to peg your tent down with guy ropes before use.
  • Pole repairs can be more challenging compared to fixing poles.

For many campers, the overall benefits that air tents provide will outweigh these concerns. Handily, the air pumps are fairly universal and replacement air tubes are available. If you’ve ever tried repairing a fibreglass pole then you’ll know that’s not easy either. Air tents are the modern solution to so many old school tent camping problems. You’ll be the first and fastest on site to setup and reading a book with a beer under the awning before the others have finished fretting over their poles and pegs.

The experts at Quest Outdoors know everything there is to know about tents, particularly air frame tents. Get in touch with us anytime if you have any kind of question. Browse our range of air tents here or see our tents in action on YouTube.

Camping Tables – Ask The Experts

A camp kitchen table

Between the team at Quest Outdoors Australia, there’s nothing we don’t know about camping tables. In this article, we want to lay out a few of our thoughts on camping tables, the materials they’re made from, and why we design ours the way we do.

Camping tables have come a long way in recent years. I’m sure we all remember sitting around the old vinyl wrapped card tables – at least we do. Although they were portable, they weren’t suited to the outdoors. You might be surprised to learn that many big-name brands still use materials that aren’t suited to the outdoors.

At Quest, our vision has always been to improve the outdoor experience for our customers. To do this, we ensure our products do what they’re supposed to do – work outside! We designed all of our products with the outdoors in mind – that doesn’t mean that our tables can stay outside all the time – but they will withstand the elements when required and are easy to pack up, transport, and store.

Many brands use lightweight and cost effective MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) – it’s cheaper for them, not you. Similarly, many big brands use vacuum-formed tables. They’re light but provide a much lower weight capacity and can suffer from delamination due to water penetrating the seam in the tabletop.

Our range of camping tables starts with two blow-moulded designs. This innovative moulding process ensures maximum strength and durability while keeping the table light. Blow moulded tables have no seams, hold a ton of weight (well up to 150kgs anyway), are super easy to clean, and are super versatile. The plastic is made with high density virgin polyethylene material which is more durable than recycled polyethylene. Interestingly, it’s more environmentally friendly too because it uses less resources to manufacture than recycle. All our camp table frames are made from powder coated high tensile steel, so they won’t rust, and they’ll stay sturdy basically forever.

We’ve got two camping tables currently in our range. The Camp Table 1 is a three-position height-adjustable table that’s easy to use for one person. The Camp Table 4 folds in half for easy transport and has multiple height positions from a low coffee table height right through to a prep table height. The innovative one-handed height adjustment means you don’t even have to put your drink down to change the table height. The inbuilt storage hammock, side pockets, and a built-in bottle opener, all stay on the table so you can be set up and packed down in no time at all.

Bamboo has become a popular material for camping tables. It’s sustainable and adds a touch of wooden ambience to the campsite. It’s a great material for the outdoors and needs no maintenance. It’s not the lightest tabletop material around – but we team that up with an alloy frame to ensure it’s still easy to pack and carry.

Clever square design means the Quest Bamboo Tables (available in two sizes) tabletop folds down super small due to its 4 leaves all hinged together under the table. We know it’s rough out there so it’s easy to level the bamboo tables on uneven ground and set your preferred height with independent height adjustment on each leg. Camping table legs need to be sturdy and stable, so we set the legs on the bamboo tables at a slight angle to spread the load and make sure you’ve got a rock-solid tabletop surface. Not only does this ensure stability but it gives you plenty of room to get your legs in under it for ease of use and access.

Camping table bottle opener
Handy bottle opener

When you make an investment in a quality camping table, a heavy duty padded carry bag is necessary. The carry bags for our bamboo camping tables will outlast many others – we know it’s frustrating when straps break and seams burst when you’re on the road.

A camping table folded into a carry bag
Durable carry bags

So that’s it! Thanks for reading. We know what a camping table needs to do in the outdoors, and we know what’s possible. We’re improving our designs all the time. We know all the corners we could cut – but we don’t. We want you to have the best camping table your money can buy. Head on over to our camp tables pages and check them out in detail, including 360-degree photo views.

Stay tuned for more in-depth articles on camp furniture, camp bedding, tents, and camp lighting. There’s so much more we have to show you!

Sitting in Style: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing and Maximising the Comfort of Camp Chairs

A camp chair in the bush

Folding camp chairs have been around for a long time. The expert team behind Quest Outdoors Australia have also been around for a long time. The oldest known folding chair appeared 4500 years ago and the camping chair as we know it grew popular just after WWII.

Col JV White with an army camp chair
Folding camp chairs were not for fun for a long time.

Quest Outdoors Australia hasn’t been around as long as the old army camp chairs have been – but the team behind it have been designing and manufacturing folding chairs for decades. In that time, we’ve sold over 3 million of them in Australia. So we definitely know what we’re talking about.

In this article, we’ll share our approach to folding camp chair design. By going into the level of detail only experts with deep experience (or with no lives) would know or care about, we’ll show you just how much thought goes into each camping chair we make, so you can be certain you’re getting the very best camp chair your money can buy.

We found that many people think all camp chairs are the same – that it doesn’t matter if it’s a $5 chair from the hardware store or a fancy $150 chair from a fancy brand. We get it, people just want to sit down. We know it’s on us to spend time researching, planning, and designing different chairs for different purposes and budgets. We spend countless hours working on our chair designs making sure they’ll last for countless hours of use. Quest camp chairs are not the same as the others.

The biggest thing we think about at Quest is the end result. The best end result we can think of is – our customers enjoying doing whatever it is they’re doing and forgetting about the chair. You won’t notice some of the features and specifications we’re obsessed about, and that’s great. Ultimately what we do is all about you enjoying your life outdoors more easily.

If you’re still reading and consider yourself a bit of a camping chair guru (like us – welcome to the club) it’s time for some expert information. We’ll talk about the frame, the ‘skin’ (well, that’s we call the fabric in the game), and the features that work together to make the perfect folding camp chair for any purpose and budget.

Camping chair frames

Let’s start with our frames. Camp chairs can have as low as 14.5mm diameter metal frames but our range is where we believe the sweet spot is between 17.5mm and 19mm as it’s a balance between weight and strength. We combine this with tough joining knuckles and extra vertical supports to calculate the final weight rating of the chair. These vertical supports are what makes our higher weight rated chairs feel so sturdy. Virgin ABS plastic (it’s much tougher when it’s new) knuckles around the key stress points on the frame dramatically increase the reinforcement so we use them a lot on our higher end chairs.

But wait there’s more! Look behind the chair at the top of the frame. Does your chair have a frame mounted vertical support? What’s stopping the frame from eventually tearing through the fabric? No worries with our chairs.

Last but certainly not least, we’re mixing the quad-fold camp chair with the classic folding directors’ chair to bring you a hard-armed quad-fold camp chair. The sturdy hard arms offer a touch of non-camp chair comfort and make it so much easier to get in and out of for those who need a little help. Remember, we don’t want you to think about the frame of you chair too much – so we made it as supportive and unbreakable as we could.

Camping chair fabrics

Now for the bit you sit on – the ‘skin’. Our chairs use a 600D polyester face fabric. What’s 600D? The D stands for ‘denier’ and it means there’s 600 yarns per thread in the fabric. 600 denier polyester is the right balance between durability and weight anything over that becomes too bulky and hard to manage. We want you to open and close our chairs many times over the years and not even think about the fabric yarns.

When it comes to padding, we think there’s really only two varieties. PE (polyurethane) foam and polyester wadding. We use the wadding – not only does it give our chairs a more comfortable loft and look – wadding dries out much quicker when wet. Our camp chairs will still be resilient and comfortable when your mates are already thinking about replacing theirs.

Lumbar support isn’t something you’ll see on a camp chair every day. Which is why most of our higher end chairs have it. A thick side strap on each side lets you choose your lower back level of support. You’ll wonder why you never thought about until you try it!

Australian-designed camp chair features for Australians

Our obsession with making the best camp chairs in Australia had us thinking – what do Aussies do the most when sitting in their camp chair? Many of us are watching the kids sport on a Saturday, or a concert in the park, enjoying a family picnic, or spending lazy days and nights around a campfire somewhere in the country. The truth is, all of those things involve having a space for beverages, and a space to store other bits and pieces, like snacks, keys, devices, books, spare jumpers… you know… all the important stuff.

We built a fully insulated six-can side cooler into one of the arms that’ll even hold your ice! We also insulated the drink holder in the other arm on most of our range so the summer campers, cricket fans, and our northern mates can always keep things cold. We knew there was no point having all this insulated storage without a bottle opener, so we added a fixed bottle opener to some of our chairs while offering an innovative retractable bottle opener on our big chairs. Our chair range comes with progressively better and bigger side organiser pockets as you move up the range and most have a mesh storage pocket on the back of the chair. It’s a handy spot for when the day warms up and you just want to stash the kids’ jumpers somewhere without thinking about it.

So that’s it! We’ve done the design work, we’ve fine-tuned every detail, and we’ve finessed the fabrics. We camped, we watched sport, we picnicked, we travelled, and we learned. We also learned that price is super important, and we’ll always offer as much as we can to as many people as we can. That’s why the features in our camp chairs vary a bit. We’ll always be tweaking things to balance the range in terms of price, functionality, and longevity.

Got questions about folding camp chairs? Ask the experts! The camping gear gurus from Quest Outdoors Australia are always on hand and keen to hear from you. Drop us a line any time or keep an eye out for the next article in our ‘Ask the Experts’ series.

Click here to learn more about Quest Outdoors Australia’s camp chair range.