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Relief Bed: How to Sleep on the Mongol Rally

A true story.

ReliefBed, the only way to sleep in the desert of Turkmenistan. Photo: Tabitha

Our accommodations on the Mongol Rally were varied to say the least. There was one night of couch surfing in Edirne, Turkey that saw us all on the floor of a single bedroom. There were many sketch hotel rooms with only enough beds for some of us so the others took to the floor. There were hostels where the squish factor of the mattress was highly variable. And of course, as you would assume, camping! Actually, one time bed was the desert floor.

Unusual Places We slept on a ReliefBed:

- the floor of a mafia run hotel in Macedonia

- in the loft of a yurt in Iran

- on the floor of our bugged room at the Grand Turkmen Hotel

- out in the open desert next to the Door to Hell, Turkmenistan

- in the common room of a hostel that was fully booked

- in the courtyard of a hostel that was fully booked

- on the floor of a yurt in Mongolia

- the floor of an over-priced hotel in Ulan-Bataar

Tabitha getting a ReliefBed ready in a Yurt in Iran. Photo: Blackstone Photography

Sleep is one of the three major things we needed to keep us going: water, food, and sleep. I can tell you right now that the level of happy and the amount of sleep we had were directly connected.

Team #WeLive reppin' ReliefBed somewhere on the Mongolian Steppe. Photo: Tabitha

Which is why we unanimously agree that the Relief Beds were BY FAR the favorite and most useful item we were gifted. We took them with us no matter where we were sleeping - just in case. And I (Tabitha) and SO GLAD I did.

Slept great wild camping in Kazakhstan! Photo: Tabitha

Full disclosure: I am a princess when it comes to sleeping. I REQUIRE a soft bed. I bruise like a peach and I think this whole, "A firm mattress is good for your back." is a load of crap. No way, even my pillow needs a pillow. So my Relief Bed went into every hotel and hostel with me after I quickly learned that all mattresses are NOT created equal.

Sleeping on the floor of a common room was OK because of the ReliefBed under my sleeping bag. Photo: Tabitha

I should probably tell you that we love Relief Bed for the amazing work they are doing to get these portable self-inflating mattresses to relief workers, refugees, and homeless people everywhere, but honestly I can't stop thinking about how terrible those 10 thousand miles would have been without knowing I carried a bed I was guaranteed to be able to sleep on with me.

Under the Milky Way in Turkmenistan with ReliefBed. Photo: Blackstone Photography

Scott Smalling and I got to meet at a Pirate event in Long Beach (you can't make this up) and we talked a lot about how under-estimated the power of sleep is. Obviously I'm a firm believer in it, but when it comes to rescue and relief aide there's not enough attention given to the importance of SLEEP for both victims and workers. Here, Scott can tell you about the Relief Bed mission directly:

One-take wonders, Scott and Tabitha telling you about what ReliefBed is doing to make the world better.

They're really simple:

1: Remove from zipper carrying pouch. (It has a shoulder strap!) The fact that I have to say this step is just silly.

2. Twist open the little air valves on the mattress and the pillow. You can figure out which way is "Open" on your own.

3. Let your ReliefBed self-inflate for a minute while you situate your other sleeping stuff.

4. Twist the valves closed.

5. Sit, lie, and wiggle around on your ReliefBed. Decide if you're happy with the level of squish.

6. Re-open the air valve and give it a few breaths to inflate to your happy level of firm.

7. Now inflate the pillow to your standard of pillow softness.

8. Get comfortable with all your other sleep necessities.

9. Sleep really, really well. Wake up rested and not-bruised by the floor/ground.

10. Twist open the air valves whilst on your mattress and enjoy the tiny roller-coaster. Wheeeee.

11. Convince yourself that it's time to get moving.

12: Starting at the foot of your ReliefBed roll the mattress with your hands slowly. You'll hear the air rushing out of the valve; make sure it stays open.

13. Continue rolling until it's as airless and cylindrical as it can be.

14. EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: now CLOSE the air valves to keep air OUT. This is a self-inflating mattress after all.

15. Stow it in its handy carrying case and zip it closed until your next potentially uncomfortable sleeping situation.

Ralliers who WISH they had a ReliefBed while waiting at a border crossing. Photo: Blackstone Photography

We had a few extra beds and we ended up not giving them away until the end because nothing felt right until then. This is Arron, he did the Mongol Rally on a motorcycle which is crazy. He's also crazy because he hasn't had a sleeping pad at all. Clearly he needed a ReliefBed!

You can help ReliefBed on their mission by purchasing your own super comfy sleeping pad! Just visit them here to find out more and get your own! Thank you again, ReliefBed, we couldn't have made it in one piece without you!

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