June 28, 2024 3 min read

Built from the Foam up

Good sleep isn’t born overnight. When HEST founder Aaron Ambuske set out to design the ideal sleep system for his weekend adventures, he knew the road was long, and more than a little winding. After all, he’d been in the product development space for almost two decades and had yet to see real at-home comfort make it outdoors.   

He started HEST in 2019 to answer that call, building a team that, over the last five years, has poured themselves into developing the most proven portable sleep system on the market. Spending late nights testing prototypes to develop the perfect comfort so that travelers, campers, and adventurers don’t have to, HEST has invested in experience and innovation to solve one of the biggest cruxes in our active lifestyles: where and how to rest our heads away from home, on the road or in the outdoors.    

Two layers of foam, Maximum comfort

Ask anyone in HEST camp, and they’ll tell you that solution is built from the foam up. Each HEST camping pad utilizes a specific foam construction to mimic the comfort of a traditional mattress in a portable package. To squeeze all that performance into just 3.9 inches of padding, designers have studied the human body extensively, determining pressure points, alignment, and the ideal foam balance for both support, blood flow and of course comfort.

In the early days, Ambuske remembers rolling over seven different prototypes on the floor of a Reno hotel room, tweaking constructions tirelessly to find the perfect fit. Like your memory foam bed at home, the HEST camping pad had to be inviting, but stable, a challenge HEST addressed by employing two different layers of foam: a viscoelastic memory foam top for pressure point release, and a stiffer bottom foam to keep the body aligned, but not stiff. The combination was tested with a variety of different foams, glues, and fabrics, with teams getting down to the molecular level before any mattress ever hit production.   

Details Make the Difference

Five years into its journey, HEST is still a product of its details. Some might say we’re a little obsessed, but we know even the smallest snag can lead to a big headache come morning time. HEST sleep solutions are built to address those real-life hang-ups, making sure nothing gets in the way of a good night’s sleep. While the days of knee testing may be gone (a knee-bound process to ensure the performance of each individual camping pad in our Seattle warehouse), our California facility is now testing for compression and weight to avoid any variance in our sleeping surfaces. Perfecting that right foam balance to allow camping pad to roll up into a portable package while still providing the comfort of a home mattress has been a key tenet of HEST mattresses since Day 1, a unique challenge solved over multiple waves of product testing in the mountains near our Washington home.

But our development isn't just foam deep. Where traditional air mattresses offer little in the way of temperature regulation, HEST mattresses are porous to prevent sweaty nights and chilly mornings. Even the fabric we use to line the HEST product line has been tested, and tested again, offering a dirt, water, and slip-resistant fabric material enough to deal with the realities of sleeping outside in mind, while still providing a comfortable sleep.    

Designing the best night’s rest is an evolving project, and we’re still as dedicated as ever to getting our friends outdoors in comfort. After all, getting a full night of sleep is what gets us going in the morning. Think of it as nature’s original performance enhancer. We’re happy to be a part of that sleep journey, and proud of the base we’ve built in the last half decade. With HEST, we rest.


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