They say that you spend about one third of your life in bed. That’s 229,961 hours over the course of your lifetime—or 9,125 days. To put that in terms of something really critical, you could have watched Home Alone 105,325 times! So suffice it to say that sleeping comfortably is no trifling matter… which is why a number of companies have come out with so-called “performance sheets.” Unlike regular sheets, performance sheets take advantage of high-tech materials to help keep you dry, cool, and comfortable while you catch your zzz’s.
But do they actually outperform good old cotton percale? We put two of the latest offerings from Bedgear through their paces—er, snoozes—to find out. Bedgear offers a range of performance sheets to choose from, along with blankets, mattress pads, and other sleep accessories. Most are designed to wick away moisture during hot months so that you don’t wake up drenched. But some of their offerings go beyond that to offer unique features and textures that help keep you cool and comfy year-round.
BedGear’s main performance bedding offering is the Dri-Tec sheet set. It’s positioned as a competitor to most of the other performance sheets on the market, and offers comparable features, including technical fabric that wicks moisture away. But it also offers a few things that the competition doesn’t.
Feel: The first thing you notice about the Dri-Tec sheets is that their feel is very soft to the touch, even on first use. Its knit fabric is less crisp than a classic cotton woven sheet, requiring no break-in period, and feels more like something you’d wear to the gym. It’s made from the same type of polyester that technical athletic fabrics are, and is basically like modern workout clothing for your bed. It’s also fairly stretchy. No matter how deep your mattress is, the Dri-Tec sheets should have no problem stretching to cover it. This stretch allows them to give and move as you move during sleep, making them very comfortable. The fabric has a fairly matte texture, and it doesn’t wrinkle at all. The material is also unusual in that it takes up much less volume than typical sheet fabric. This means it occupies about half the space of standard sheets when placed in a washing machine or dryer. One caveat: if you have any slightly rough skin on your body at all, the fabric has a tendency to catch on it slightly, which can be a little annoying. (We have found this to be the case for many entries in the performance sheets category.)
Features: In addition to the Dri-Tec fabric, which is made to wick away moisture and regulate temperature, this sheet set has a few nifty features. The edge of the fitted sheet is finished with a fairly wide and sturdy elastic “Powerband” that’s almost like the waistband of a pair of athletic shorts. It keeps the sheet in place, and prevents it from riding up the mattress. The pillow cases have two Powerbands of their own that help keep the pillow inside the case and keep the cases from slipping off.
Performance: The Dri-Tec sheet set does indeed wick away moisture. When the temperature goes up, the sheets definitely stay drier than cotton sheets, which is really nice. They’re not notably cool, though, despite the wicking and breathability. The fabric seems to be designed for average temperatures and the fluctuations that come with a regular night’s sleep rather than for helping with super hot summer temperatures. But when it does get hot, we’d much rather be in a nice dry set of Dri-Tec sheets than a soaked set of cotton ones.
Pros/Cons: The Bedgear Dri-Tec sheet set definitely has a different feel from traditional sheets. And most of this is for the better. The fabric is pleasantly soft to the touch, and does a nice job of staying dry when you sweat. They’re very well made, and the Powerbands are a really great feature. But they do have a few drawbacks. For a sheet set that is supposed to regulate temperature, they’re still pretty warm. And some people won’t like the way the fabric catches on dry or rough skin (think of the bottoms of your feet).
Bottom Line: Overall, these are really nice sheets that do what they say. Their soft feel and excellent wicking make them a good all-around choice for temperate climates and the natural temperature variations that happen in the course of a night’s sleep.
The Bedgear Ver-Tex sheet set is specifically designed for hot sleepers and warm climates. Like the Dri-Tec sheets, these offer a performance fabric for moisture wicking, but they have a different set of properties and a very different feel.
Feel: The Ver-Tex sheets are made from a special rayon and nylon blend, and have a unique texture. The material is very shiny—almost like silk or satin—but stretchy. It’s quite slippery, and can cause the blanket or anything else you put directly on top to slide around (or off) quite easily. They feel quite a bit thinner than the Dri-Tec sheets, and the only way to describe them is “slinky.” They cover the body in an appealing way, almost like they’re draping themselves on you. But the unique thing about them is that they feel almost magically cool to the touch. That chilly feeling you only get in regular sheets when you first get into bed is uncannily always there each time you shift your body. Like their Dri-Tec counterparts, their stretch allows them to move with you and to easily cover even deep mattresses. They have even lower volume than the Dri-Tec version, and have less of a tendency to catch on rough skin.
Features: The Ver-Tex sheets offer the same nifty performance features seen on other Bedgear sheets, including a beefy Powerband binding the edge of the fitted sheet, and Powerband retaining straps inside the pillow cases to keep your pillows from slipping out. And they wick moisture just like other performance sheets, all while providing an instantly cool to the touch feel.
Performance: The moisture-wicking fabric delivers on the promise of keeping you dry. But the real game-changer is how cool the Ver-Tex sheets sleep. They always feel like the proverbial other side of the pillow. And not matter how hot you or your room gets, the sheets always stay mysteriously slightly cool. If you have to sleep in a hot room, these are the sheets to use. They stretch and bunch up slightly more than the Dri-Tec version due to their thinness, but overall, the performance is excellent. We did notice that the fitted sheet pilled slightly after being rubbed up against some street clothes, so you may want to avoid anything hard or sharp rubbing up against them.
Pros/Cons: The Ver-Tex sheet set is a remarkable and unique entry in the performance sheet category. They really are different, and in most ways better, than anything else we’ve seen. The coolness and breathability are next level, and make a big difference for summer sleeping. And the Powerbands and overall construction are really nice. The only real drawbacks to the Ver-Tex sheets are fairly minor. Their slippery texture may not appeal to everyone, and does sometimes allow the covers to slide around or slip off the bed more easily. Be especially careful if you have a bedmate who tends to steal the covers, as these will be like an accomplice in the theft! And they are slightly fragile, showing some slight pilling from abrasions when accidentally scraped with anything hard, like a zipper. But they’re generally very well made, and this isn’t a serious concern, as the feel stays silky and cool anyway.
Bottom Line: They say that you sleep better when your body is cool. And these are the only sheets we’ve ever felt that actually deliver on the promise of making your bed feel cooler. Not only do they wick away moisture but they make the heat feel a little less oppressive. Their silky feel and smart features make them a great sheet set despite a few minor quibbles. Just take good care of them, and they’ll let you sleep better in any weather. They also look cool in all senses of the word, and who doesn’t like that.