Like many of the smart innovations we use while exploring New Zealand’s outdoors, Thermarest was borne out of necessity. In this case, we’re talking about the need to rest and relax in comfort while we’re camping and tramping.
A good night’s sleep was the aim of three American climbers - Jim Lea, Neil Anderson and John Burroughs - in the early 1970s. The three men found that their energy was sapped after tossing and turning through yet another uncomfortable night in the mountains, and this affected their overall experience. To get the most out of every day, they realised they needed to get as much as sleep as they could every night. Thankfully, Jim, Neil and John were engineers with the savvy and skills to come up with a practical solution. They spent hours in the workshop and just as much back in the mountains and invented the world's first self-inflating air mattress. The rest, as they say, is history.
From those humble beginnings, Thermarest was born and they’ve been specialising in outdoor equipment with an emphasis on comfort ever since. Their range has expanded beyond camping mattresses and now includes sleeping bags, camp chairs, hammocks, cots and pillows. The quality is exceptional, based no small part on the company’s founding philosophy: to make what they sell.
By being in charge of the production process, Thermarest is able to retain complete control of their products, and to achieve this they have their own manufacturing facilities and have even built their own machines! Outsourcing to another company in a far off factory is not in the Thermarest playbook.
There’s no better example of this than Thermarest’s expansion to meet growing demand in Europe in the 1980s. The easy way out would have been to outsource to a contracted manufacturer, but co-founder John Burroughs had other ideas. He personally went on a scouting mission and came across an old and disused wool factory in the Irish town of Midleton. The building was set up into a fully operational space and it became the European headquarters for Thermarest.
When people ask us why we recommend Thermarest so highly, we point to that Irish factory as an example of how the company keeps control of what it does to ensure the quality levels never fall. Remember, we’re don’t just sell outdoor gear - we use it! Every Thermarest product meets our highest expectations and we sell it with confidence. That’s why we’re happy for you to contact us and discuss any item in their range.