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Choosing the right bedchair for you
Bedchairs have changed over the years but not greatly when you look more closely. My first proper bedchair was one made by JRC which I bought in the 80’s. Back then bedchairs had pretty much the same style frame that is used today but with no padding to cover the top of the frame. It was still the same heavy duty round elastic that threaded through the mattress to support it. The mattress on the early beds was just heavy duty canvas similar to what you will see lorry drivers covering their loads with on an open backed trailer.
When I bought mine they had advanced slightly by adding a thin piece of foam in the mattress and I paid an extra £25 just to have a bed with a small section of padding to cover the head end of the frame only. To me this was luxury because before this my bed I used a sunlounger as that's what most of us used because companies had only just started making beds and the main two companies back then were Fox and JRC.
I must admit Fox made the best bed and you could argue that they still do today but I couldn’t afford one. When you think the JRC bed I bought in the 80s was £225.00 and that was a lot of money then, if you think a pint of lager was about 40 pence. The same bed today would cost under one hundred pounds and that's down to the advancement of machinery that makes the beds, making it quicker and easier as well as production moving to the far east. Just like now they are offering light frames, padded skirts covering the frame, adjustable legs with mud feet and the new one, a lumbar support. Fox was offering all of this years ago with the Fox Bivvy Bed so when you look at beds now not much has changed.
So which bed is right for you? Let’s go through a few beds and find out.
Standard Beds Like the Fox EOS Bedchair, Nash Tackle Bed, Avid Ascent Recliner Bed and the Trakker RLX Flat Six, are all entry level beds that represent great value for money. We sell lots of them and the people that buy them love them. They have lovely mattresses with soft skirts that cover the top part of the frame and heavy duty round elastic securing it to the frame but still adding to the comfort.
I know lots of people that have these beds, use them for short or long sessions and are more than happy with them. All I would suggest is to spend a bit of money on a good quality sleeping bag which will add to the comfort and you will have many comfortable nights on the bank.
My only personal issue with these style of beds is there's no lumbar support and I have issues with my back. If I spend a night or two on these they obviously dip down in the middle creating like a banana effect and I sleep best on my front so they are no good for myself. This is how I learned about the old Fox Bivvy Bed when I was away fishing in France at a place called Jurassica 2 on the point swim and I put my back out. I had a Trakker bed similar to this and due to my back I couldn’t get out of it because it sagged.
There was an old boy fishing the lake who fished it quite a bit because he used to deliver the house bait that was used on the lake. He saw the state I was in and gave me some of his painkillers as he'd recently had a new knee replacement. I said about my bed and he had a Fox Bivvy Bed he did not use anymore so I swapped it for my Daiwa Weigh Tripod. This as I said earlier had a lumbar support and wow what a difference the bed made. I could lie completely flat and just roll off the side of it. Also, when sitting on it, I didn’t slouch like you do on a standard bed when you sit upright across it. My old bed I could try and roll off but due to the stretch of the elastics I had to push myself up over the frame to get off, so ever since then my bed has had to have a lumbar support.
If this is something you think you may want to have a look at, then I’d recommend either the Fox Duralite Bed or the Avid Benchmark Lite Memory Foam Beds. These beds cost more but you do get a lot more comfort and quality for your money and they are extremely light which is ideal for someone with back issues.
Sleep Systems Beds have become very popular ever since Nash first launched them in the Nash Indulgence SS3 & SS4 range that came in four or Five seasons. A sleep system bed for those of you that don’t know is a bedchair that comes with zip on top duvets to create the bed or in the case of Fox it comes with a zip on sleeping bag. As soon as Nash bought out the first sleep system other fishing manufacturers were soon to copy and follow suit.
The most popular sleep systems we sell by far are the Nash Indulgence MF60 SS3 Standard and SS4 Wide Bed both in five season. These are extremely comfortable due to the luxurious materials used and the high density MF60 Memory Foam they use in the mattress but all this luxury comes at a cost. Nash are adding another range, the Nash All Season sleep systems for 2022 which will be slightly cheaper and still offer fantastic comfort. Another sleep system that is extremely popular and was the first company to start using memory foam in the mattress is the Avid Benchmark X and Benchmark Lite Sleep Systems.
These beds offer fantastic quality and warmth but I would recommend the Benchmark Lite for the reason that it's lighter than the standard framed beds as they use a magnesium alloy which is extremely light and strong. Fox also offers a sleep system but with a slight difference. There’s come with a full zip on sleeping bags in three or five seasons. The most popular ones we sell are the Fox Duralite Range.
The feedback we’ve received from customers is that they are not only light but incredibly warm (some even say it’s too warm!) and I feel this is due to the full sleeping bag you get with it. You see the coldest part of the other sleep systems is the mattress even though they are thick, it is the closest part to the ground and cold air falls to the lowest point. It's the mattress of the bed that makes the base of the sleeping compartment. Whereas the Fox sleep systems don’t rely on the mattress as the base because you get into a fully enclosed sleeping bag as well as having the mattress helping to keep the cold from seeping up into your bed.
Don’t get me wrong though, I’ve got the Nash MF60 SS4 five seasons and I’ve never felt cold in it (and I’m someone who really feels the cold). As well as these beds, one other range to look at is the new for 2021 Shimano Tribal Sleep Systems that offer fantastic value for money. These beds have been received very well as they offer different levels of comfort and warmth at a very good price. I can’t offer a huge amount of advice on these beds as they’ve only just come out but they look very well made and I feel will be very popular due to their price.
Nash also does a Scope Ops Four Fold sleep system that folds away compactly into its own free standing bag that it comes supplied with. Please bear in mind though that this style of bed has been designed for a quick overnighter or the carper that's constantly on the move as there’s not much comfort there so don't buy them thinking they will be ideal for a loner session or heading off to France with.
I hope this has helped you, and I’ve only stuck to the beds I personally know about. There's lots of other beds on the market but as always before you buy, think of the style of fishing you do and which bed would best suit you.