One of the downsides of full-time travel is that you often end up staying in noisy apartments or noisy neighbourhoods, and so a decent pair of earplugs (or a Hibermate sleeping mask) is an essential item to bring with you.
I once spent a week above a bar in Cais do Sodré in Lisbon. The noise there didn’t stop till well after 3 am, and then at around 6 am the bar staff would empty all of the bottles into the bins. Then, just as I started to dose off again, the bin lorries would come. I didn’t sleep much that week.
In Spain, most apartments don’t have proper sound insulation and so if your upstairs neighbour wears high heels (and that is often the case in Spain), you will hear every one of their movements.
In Germany, I lived below a couple who liked to let everyone in the four-floor building know how much they loved each other. It wasn’t a big deal if it happened during the day, but it was an issue if they got the urge midway through the night.
In parts of Asia, it’s not uncommon for people to keep roosters in their back gardens. This isn’t just the case in the countryside, but also big cities. I stayed in a hotel room in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam that had this exact problem, and was promptly woken up at dawn every morning.
Needless to say, I’m always on the lookout for a great pair of earplugs. My favourite pair (and I’ve tried quite a few) is Howard Leight by Honeywell MAX Corded Disposable Foam Earplugs. These have a good noise reduction rating (NRR) of 33, and tend to fit my ears well. I also like the chord as it makes them easy to find during the night if they fall out.
They’re not perfect, though. Although they have one of the highest noise reduction ratings, they don’t block out as much noise as I’d like. They do also fall out during the night, which can lead to me getting woken up by my amorous German neighbours.
So, as you can imagine, I was very excited to discover Hibermate. I’ve researched all kinds of sleeping solutions including noise cancelling headphones, white noise machines, over ear muffs, you name it. It was time to give Hibermate’s sleep mask a go.
Hibermate Sleeping Mask: The Pros and Cons
- It blocks out noise: Yes, it does block out quite a lot of noise.
- Doesn’t fall off during the night: Unlike earplugs, which tend to fall out during the night, this tends to stay on. If you can get the straps properly adjusted, it’s very comfortable as well.
- Great customer service: The customer service from Chris and his team is fantastic and, from a quick peek at Hibermate’s reviews, it seems like I’m not the only one who has experienced this.
- The ear muffs can’t be used without the eye mask: This is a shame, as I’d quite like to be able to use a different eye mask, or to use the earmuffs during the day and there’s DIY going on outside. You can take the ear muffs off, but you’ll need to concoct your own straps to hold them in place.
- The eye mask is warm: The material used to make the eye mask can feel quite warm, and doesn’t lend itself well to hot summer nights.
- Straps are difficult to adjust: Perhaps it’s just me, but I find the straps difficult to adjust. They stay in place once they have been adjusted, it’s just getting that first adjustment right.
- Cost: At $49.91 this isn’t a cheap product, especially when you consider how cheap most earplugs are.
- Noise reduction is lower than regular earplugs: In terms of like-for-like noise reduction, many earplugs do a better job. They’re not perfect, though, particularly when it comes to staying in.
I did know that the noise reduction would be lower than my regular earplugs – I had seen the noise reduction stats on Hibermate’s website. What I wanted to know was could I wear them both at the same time and, if I did, what would the noise cancellation be like?
It’s definitely an improvement. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to block out all external noise, but the combination of the two things reduces most background noise to the mildest of muffles. Perhaps, combined with something else like a travel-friendly white noise machine, I’ll be able to get that perfect night’s sleep!
How to Order
There are a couple of ways to get your hands on one of these. The first is to order directly at Hibermate.com. Ordering this way ensures you get your hands on the latest Hibermate model, which is is a big pro as Hibermate is constantly updating its product and implementing suggestions from its customers.
The downside is that the order is shipped from Singapore, which means it’s going to have a longer shipping time and could get stuck in customs. I actually ordered from Hibermate twice; once while living in Spain and once while living in Germany.
The order to Spain took over a month to arrive, and by then I’d already left that apartment. Thankfully, Chris at Hibermate was kind enough to refund me.
The order to Germany took around 14 days in total, which includes the time it spent sitting in customs (I didn’t pay anything to import it, it just sat there).
You can also purchase Hibermate’s sleeping mask through Amazon and eBay. On Amazon, the order is fulfilled by Amazon (US) so Prime shipping is available. eBay has sellers who stock the product in the US, UK, France, and Canada, however, neither Amazon or eBay had the absolute latest model when I checked.
So, if you want the latest model, order directly from Hibermate. If you need it fast, and are happy with a previous model, order from Amazon or eBay.