August 10, 2023 6 min read
Your name: Xavier Bravo
Location: Colorado to Wyoming and back!
Consecutive Nights on a HEST: 10+ nights
What is your dominant sleeping position?
I usually start on my right side and slowly, but surely, become a starfish by the time I wake up
Early bird or night owl?
When I am outside on my adventures, definitely an early bird! The natural cycle of the sun helps me wake up earlier than I do back in the city. Once I’m back home, I slowly shift back into night owl mode.
Where’d you sleep?
I slept in the back of my built out 2006 Ford Explorer (aka Dora the Explora)
What did you fill your days with?
I spent the better part of two weeks climbing in the beautiful destinations of Tensleep and Wild Iris, Wyoming! Because of the heat in the summertime, the usual circuit is a morning climbing project, mid-day siesta, and evening climbing project; quite literally eat-sleep-climb-repeat.
When I retreated back to my trusty Dora, I loved popping the trunk open to view the beautiful river streams, jagged mountains, or lush forests for a quick nap or good read of “Gathering Moss” by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
Take us through your sleep journey night by night: How was your sleep? Did you wake up at all?
Typically while traveling it takes a day or two for my body to feel comfortable sleeping in a new place (one would think after 3 years of guiding and constantly moving around this habit would die away). Thankfully, active trips like this leave my body utterly exhausted and ready to hit the hay as soon as I’ve eaten dinner and said goodnight to friends. As I lay down in my Foamy-Wide, my body sinks into the memory foam. With my sore muscles finally able to relax, my body gets the rest it needs to wake up and repeat the cycle over again.
People say I am a deep sleeper, but this heavenly combination of HEST mattress and pillow makes me think I would be able to sleep through an earthquake. The only time I woke up before my alarm went off was because ranchers were moving cattle up Tensleep Canyon looking for cooler weather. Even after 20+ minutes of watching the baby calves, cattle dogs, and ranchers with whips walk on by, I retreated back to my sleep system for the remaining hour of my shut-eye time.
How did your sleep affect how you felt during the day? Did you feel energetic? Rested?
Sleep is crucial for a good climbing day for me. Especially when the first challenge of the day is waking up early enough to beat the heat or the crowds at crags. Approaches (the hike in) to climbing can be anywhere from 20-40 minutes and although it is a good wake-up call, if I’ve had a poor night's sleep, I usually spend the first hour at the crag laying on my bag, making every excuse to let my body rest just a little more. With a good night's sleep, I can warm up right away and make the most of the time I have to climb the best I can!
How was your temperature regulation/body temp during the test?
Anyone who’s lived in a high-desert climate can attest to the extreme fluctuation you get between warm days and cold nights, which can make packing for a trip like this a headache and a half. I have a smaller build than most climbers and typically run pretty cold when the temperature drops, but even my zero degree sleeping bag from my Rocky Mountain backpacking days can be too much in the summertime. Thankfully, the Goldie Locks zone capabilities of the HEST Foamy & Pillow left me “just right” for a full night's sleep.
Was there anything that you noticed about your sleep that changed once you were a couple nights in on the HEST?
I think the biggest surprise was that there weren’t many changes! My body felt comfortable enough to fall asleep relatively quickly, and throughout the night which doesn’t happen when I’m away from home for a while.
How does sleeping on a HEST camping pad compare to the sleeping pad you were using before?
Before my current gig, I did a lot of backpacking guiding. I knew I would be out in the backcountry for weeks on end for most of the spring, summer, and fall so I bought the highest-end sleeping gear on the market. Even with all of that, I would constantly roll off my sleeping pad, it would not hold air by the end of the season, and my mummy sleeping bag made it cramped and claustrophobic to really feel like I was getting the sleep my body needed. As I shifted into climbing, most of the community opted for car camping rather than carrying 50 lbs+ on their backs (and I don't blame them). I can’t say my thin mattress topper laid over my crashpad and cooler was the best solution to my new sleeping arrangement but it got the job done. But why settle for less, when you deserve a good night's sleep? This HEST combo is the best thing I could have done for my body after years of neglect!
How does sleeping on a HEST compare to sleeping on your bed at home?
It's pretty wild to me that I could get as good of a night's sleep in the back of my car as I could from my bed at home! I’m seriously contemplating getting rid of my home mattress that I bought off of FB marketplace (that has god-knows how many previous owners) so I could use my Foamy every night!
Do you have any pinch points in your sleeping habits that can greatly affect your comfort/rest?
Because I am a side-sleeper, I need to have my pillow at just the right angle for my neck not to feel cranked in any one direction. I LOVE the fact that I can adjust the loft of the HEST pillow to fit what I need for that night.
Do you have any pain or injuries that affect your sleep? How did your nights on a HEST impact your body/pain?
I consider it a good climbing day when I come back a little more beat up than when I started. Challenging myself mentally and physically on the rock is something I pride myself on and strive for on every trip. When I’m on an extended trip like this though, I need to pace myself to not burn out before the week is up. Still, that is easier said than done - battered and bruised, I often find myself twisting and turning at night to not tweak already sore muscles. With the HEST Foamy - I enjoyed a sound night of stillness as the memory foam conformed to my body, and allowed my mind to imagine that this must be what it feels like to sleep on a cloud.
Before bed routine on the trip?
Brush the teeth and floss while gazing at the night sky hoping to see at least one shooting star before laying down for bed. I take out my contacts and throw on my reading glasses to flip through the pages of my favorite books before my eyelids get heavy. Once I lay down, I close my eyes and do a somatic exercise where I scan my body toe to head and think about every sensation I am feeling: the sleeping bag lightly brushing my toes, my heals pressed against the mattress, my legs heavy from walking around all day, all the way up to the tips of hair on my head. To be honest, I’ve never scanned the whole body - I usually fall asleep by the time I’ve gotten around my shoulders.