AITEX INTRODUCES A NEW SERVICE: THE MEASUREMENT OF THE THERMAL RESISTANCE (R-VALUE) OF CAMPING MATTRESSES

by Beatriz Domenech

INNOVATION & LABORATORIES

16th of December 2020

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Many people enjoy camping and use mattresses and sleeping bags on their holidays. For many years, sleeping bag insulation has been evaluated according to EN ISO 23537-1:2016/A1:2018, but insulation has not been evaluated for mattresses.

The new standard, ASTM 3340-18 now provides thermal resistance values for insulation against the cold that a camping mattress offers to the user. AITEX has added this new test to its portfolio of services this year.

Until last year, there was no specific test that measured the insulation capacity of camping mats during use. There were several tests to determine thermal resistance, and this led to confusion among consumers as to the insulation provided by an article, using standards that had nothing to do with its actual use. ASTM 3340-18 arose from the need of manufacturers to develop a specific standard for mattresses, which simulated real use and which they could show on the label to help consumers choose the mattress that best suits their needs.

The measurement of the thermal resistance of the mattress (called R-value) involves placing the sample between a hot plate (which simulates the user’s body temperature) and a cold plate (which simulates the floor temperature), measuring the heat exchange. The more heat transferred from the hot plate to the cold plate through the mat, the lower the thermal resistance of the mat and therefore the lower the R-value.

It is this R-value value that should guide the user in the choice of the mattress that is best suited to their requirements: if the user needs a mattress for a camping expedition in the middle of winter, he will need a mattress with a high R-value (4-6), while if the mattress is for use on a summer holiday by the sea, he will need a mattress with a low R-value (0-2).

With this new test, AITEX is among the first testing laboratories to provide this service to manufacturers of sleeping bags and mats.

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