The economics of sleeping on cardboard are trickier than you think.

Cardboard beds became big news last year when the Olympics came to Tokyo and everyone thought they were some sort of enforced abstinence measure. Actually, they’ve been around for quite a while in Japan, mainly for use at evacuation centers because they are quick and easy to mass produce, transport, and dispose of when finished.

However, it is also important to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep, which is especially hard when factoring in the innate prejudice people tend to have of sleeping on cardboard boxes. This creates a difficult balancing act of cost and comfort. Obviously, sleeping on a regular sheet of cardboard that one might use for breakdancing would represent the ultimate in thriftiness. However, the cardboard experts at Aasu Danboru (“Earth Cardboard”) in Saitama Prefecture feel that all too often cardboard bed producers go too far the other way and over-engineer their designs. This requires completely new manufacturing techniques that just end up driving up the cost.

So Earth Cardboard went back to basics and crafted what they call “the industry’s cheapest cardboard bed.” To accomplish this, they kept the design limited to components of regularly shaped cardboard boxes. This keeps production cheap, easy, and – most importantly in an emergency – fast.

It measures 183 by 99 by 31.6 centimeters (72 by 39 by 12 inches) and uses moving-box material topped with two eight-millimeter double wall cardboard sheets for an even surface that is actually slightly thicker than other, more expensive beds. And in order to reduce waste to zero, the cardboard box that these cardboard boxes ironically come in can also be converted into a handy partition.

This bed was designed to last at least seven days, as stipulated by the Disaster Relief Act, and when tested by a man 175 centimeters (5 feet 9 inches) tall and weighing 80 kilograms (176 pounds), no problems occurred during a week of regular use.

Aasu Danboru is also making these beds available to everyone through the Japanese online retail site Rakuten for 5,940 yen (US$50) each. That might seem steep for a bed made of cardboard boxes, but what price can you put on not having to worrying that your bed might implode on you in the middle of the night? Also, for comparison’s sake, the specially designed cardboard desk that was released by another company sold for 26,400 yen ($230).

Even though this bed is designed with disaster relief in mind, there’s no reason that it can’t find its niche among people who just like cardboard stuff too. In fact, we have an inkling our own Mr. Sato may pick one up to go with his cardboard toilet and house.

Source: Rakuten, PR Times
Images: PR Times
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