Sleeping mats

Sleeping mats

Postby Lurkin » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:44 pm

Recently decided to have a crack at 'ultra light' style, short distance touring. Have acquired a tent and sleeping bags for same.

However, it appears a decent 'sleeping mat' is critical to a good nights sleep.

Have read a bit in other threads about thermarest, and reviewed the internet for ideas, bubble wrap being one of the more radical.

Frankly, a good nights sleep would lead to less crankyness/ better decision making and seems like the go. Because of this, I am happy to trade off weight for a better nights sleep, if that's what it will take. I'm unsure of what to go for and suspect I'm 'getting sold' every time I enter a camping store.

What do you use? why?

Has anyone tried bubble wrap? is there a trick or is this ultra light touring madness?

Is a self inflating mat the go? is thicker better? what thickness is ideal?

Is the traditional snow-foam rubbish?
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by BNA » Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:56 pm

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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby }SkOrPn--7 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:56 pm

Im done with taking minimal I now pack with comfort in mind but having said that I do use a trailer hence for my choice now. I use a Blackwolf Mega Delux it's self inflating and easy to adjust to get the right comfort level you want plus a plush thickness of 10cm. It has a foam layer both top and bottom that has all the anti fungal BS etc which keeps you warm during the cold months and cool during the hot months. It's freaking big so you can sleep on a mat not on a narrow strip of air that if you get too close to the edges you roll off. One other nice feature is when moving around on it you don't hear that horrible mattress sound that allot generate there real quite. The mat grips the tent floor so doesn't slip around while the top surface allows you to glide over in a turn real easy without getting stuck even when naked. Weight wise it sucks but that doesn't bother me whereas many would cry hauling such a big heavy luxury. It doubles as a great water mattress when you want to take a dip and relax without it folding up around you in the water so it has a fair bit of stiffness in this area. Once used in water it dries fast and when I deflate it and roll it up I can get it rolled up to 77cm wide and 20cm diameter so it takes up space for sure but the trailer aids in not caring. I'm a big guy so it gives me the sleep comfort I'm looking for plus the features I'm after so I'm happy to lug around a bag of cement I enjoy my sleep these days. I think I paid $139.00 for it 4 years ago.

http://www.blackwolf.com.au/product/Mega-Deluxe/9/category/4

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198 x 77 x 10cm
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R-Value
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby maxknott » Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:33 pm

i currently use a thermarest prolite plus, decent mat,but as soon as finances permit i will be buying one of these http://www.bogong.com.au/sleeping/sleeping-mats/exped-downmat-9-lw-197cm.html
i have laid on one in a shop, big improvement over the thermarest,but slightly heavier and more expensive.
best if you can try some mats out in a shop imo..
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby RonK » Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:41 pm

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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby il padrone » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:33 pm

Exped - the happy compromise.

Thermarest - the less-happy compromise.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby maxknott » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:03 pm

il padrone wrote:Exped - the happy compromise.

Thermarest - the less-happy compromise.

shouldn't you be enjoying the italian countryside??? :P
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby il padrone » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:18 am

Nah. Cafes in Catania :wink: :D
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby polishbiker » Fri May 17, 2013 5:06 pm

I have a downmat 9 pump but considering buying this one in US:
http://www.rei.com/product/829850/therm ... eeping-pad

Meant to be their best, lightest and 4 season, packs as small as a water bottle. much lighter and smaller.
Anyone used it?
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby Aushiker » Sat May 18, 2013 8:53 am

polishbiker wrote:I have a downmat 9 pump but considering buying this one in US:
http://www.rei.com/product/829850/therm ... eeping-pad

Meant to be their best, lightest and 4 season, packs as small as a water bottle. much lighter and smaller.
Anyone used it?


It is an XTherm variant. XTherm means warm. I guess it depends on where you plan to use it but you may find it very warm to hot to sleep on even in WA's winters. I wouldn't be keen on using it up north in the dry for example.

From Cascade Designs ...

Extremely Warm: Four layers of reflective material recycle body heat and create air pockets that reduce convective heat loss.


The NeoAir's are also known to make a fair bit of sound as you move around in your sleep so if you are light sleeper you might not appreciate this.

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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby polishbiker » Sat May 18, 2013 2:44 pm

Its for my Alaska-Canada tour in 3 weeks time.
May just get to Alaska and compare the 2 and decide then. Big REI shop in Anchorage.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby Aushiker » Mon May 20, 2013 9:53 am

For those that follow and interested in these mats, there is quite a good discussion comparing the options at Bushwalking Australia.

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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby Aushiker » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:12 pm

CyclingAbout has posted a short review of the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite sleeping pad. For those interested the review can be found at http://cyclingabout.com/index.php/2013/ ... eping-pad/

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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby RonK » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:43 pm

Aushiker wrote:CyclingAbout has posted a short review of the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite sleeping pad. For those interested the review can be found at http://cyclingabout.com/index.php/2013/ ... eping-pad/

I see people are still complaining about it being noisy...
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby petie » Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:58 pm

Has anyone got a thermarest/luxurylite cot? I have a black wolf mega deluxe that I am currently living on while car camping, but can't bear the inevitable taunts if I try to take it on the bike. Love my comfy mat and was thinking the cot may be an option?
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby snafuspyramid » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:15 am

I haven't used the cot, but would be inclined against it because it's quite heavy - about 1.2kg.

Also, I guess that it would have little insulative value, although I suppose it would keep you off the cold ground. Still, an insulated Downmat/Synmat or Therm-a-Rest will be more versatile in cold conditions.

Space is a big issue in lighter backpacking tents usually used for touring. For instance, I wouldn't even be able to use an Exped inflatable mat without my feet hitting the ceiling at the foot, which causes issues with condensation (although admittedly I'm a big guy). I think you'd struggle to get a cot into one.

Apparently it takes three minutes to set up. Manufacturer set up times tend to be based upon a well-practised, well-organised person in a bit of a hurry (not me on the best of days). So it seems like a lot of fiddling around, which for me is a deal breaker. You'd be surprised how much the extra five minutes of effort will cost you once you reach camp too exhausted to walk properly, as I often seem to.

As far as I understand it most here are split between the Thermarest type mats (open cell foam self-inflatable) and Exped inflatable mats, although I'm sure there are masochists here who sleep on an ultralight bed of bubble wrap and suffering.

My vote is for the thicker, heavier Thermarest type mat (mine is a high-quality Macpac clone of the Trail Lite model). This weighs in at 800g - which is a lot - and takes up a lot of pack space, but is 4mm thick, fairly warm (R value of 3.4) and very large, accomodating my 6'4 frame and wide shoulders. It feels like sleeping on foam rather than on an air mattress - I tried out an Exped Downmat recently in store and was a bit disappointed, I don't really like air mattresses. (More testing might be required to establish which is really more comfortable though - most forum members with more experience than I prefer the Exped inflatable types). If I ever needed a super warm pad, I'd add another 200g of closed-cell foam on top.

One thing that is really important to me is set-up time. Last week I found myself setting up camp three times in succession, in the middle of the night, after an exhausting ride straight up the Dandenong ranges in a hailstorm. (Had to move because of a bunch of amazing ferals at the campsite, Upper Yarra Reservoir). I could get tent, pillow, mattress, sleeping bag and whatnot set up in less than five minutes. With the Thermarest, you can just throw it down in the tent when you start setting up and it will be inflated when you're done - just top off to the required firmness with two breaths and close the valve. I really don't know how my state of calm would have survived having to manually inflate a mattress three times in one night at that state of exhaustion.

Also, I think the Thermarest mats are more durable. The outer material certainly looks and feels much thicker and tougher, and I've read quite a few worrying accounts of pinhole leaks and delaminating internal baffles.

Did I mention they cost half as much?
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby petie » Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:02 pm

Well I bit the bullet and ordered one, so will have to review it once I test it out! I do agree with the thermarest sentiment, but after being on a 10cm thick self inflating mat I could never go back to anything less! I plan on having it under the tent if it won't fit inside, will see how that pans out. Packed size wise, I think it might be OK. Any self inflating mat I would consider would be just as big, maybe slightly lighter. Anyway, well see!
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby sogood » Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:19 pm

il padrone wrote:Exped - the happy compromise.

+1.

My SynMat UL rolls into the size of a tiny roll. Can't beat unless you are rough and like to puncture things.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby RonK » Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:29 pm

sogood wrote:
il padrone wrote:Exped - the happy compromise.

+1.

My SynMat UL rolls into the size of a tiny roll. Can't beat unless you are rough and like to puncture things.

Yep - after years of restless, fitful sleep on Thermarests, I was astonished that I sleep like a log on the Exped. I will be sticking with it, if it leaks I'll patch it, if it falls to bits I'll get another.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby Baalzamon » Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:51 pm

sogood wrote:
il padrone wrote:Exped - the happy compromise.

+1.

My SynMat UL rolls into the size of a tiny roll. Can't beat unless you are rough and like to puncture things.


Polishbiker who is on tour right now going from Alaska to Canada had his Synmat UL delaminate and had one massive bulge and had to go buy another mat and got one from the MET range I recall.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby il padrone » Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:18 pm

petie wrote:Has anyone got a thermarest/luxurylite cot? I have a black wolf mega deluxe that I am currently living on while car camping, but can't bear the inevitable taunts if I try to take it on the bike. Love my comfy mat and was thinking the cot may be an option?

Fancy ultralght stretcher-bed.

We use stretchers for car campimg. After one series of cold nights in January I had to go home to get the Thermarest. Stretchers do insulate you from the ground, but the compression of your sleeping bag under your body means you are not nsulated from the cold air. Despite a good bag we were getting cold from beneath. Now with our stretchers we put a Thermarest on top as a standard kit.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby il padrone » Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:35 pm

snafuspyramid wrote:It feels like sleeping on foam rather than on an air mattress - I tried out an Exped Downmat recently in store and was a bit disappointed, I don't really like air mattresses. (More testing might be required to establish which is really more comfortable though - most forum members with more experience than I prefer the Exped inflatable types). If I ever needed a super warm pad, I'd add another 200g of closed-cell foam on top.

Try the Exped out more carefully. When correctly inflated sitting on it will see your bum on the ground, but lying on it you should be very comfy and off the hard. It is also possible to inflate it too much (at least for me) such that the mattress is too hard for a good night's sleep.

snafuspyramid wrote:One thing that is really important to me is set-up time.....
.....I really don't know how my state of calm would have survived having to manually inflate a mattress three times in one night at that state of exhaustion.

The Exped inflates easily in 90 seconds - I've timed it. The "long wait" thing is a bit of a furphy.

snafuspyramid wrote:Also, I think the Thermarest mats are more durable. The outer material certainly looks and feels much thicker and tougher, and I've read quite a few worrying accounts of pinhole leaks and delaminating internal baffles.

I've heard at least as many stories of peirced Thermarests. I've had the Exped now for 3 years. It has done 3 months of camping riding to Oodnadatta, 5 weeks in Central Australia, 3 weeks in Tasmania and several other long weekend and Easter tours. So far it's working very well, and I have taken care of it - but no different really from the care for my old Thermarest.

snafuspyramid wrote:costs half as much

Exped just like mine. Whereabouts do you get a Thermarest for $70 ??
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby snafuspyramid » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:15 pm

Hi Il Padrone,

You may well be right about the comfort issue, I might try one again some time partly deflated as you suggested. The only reason I can think of for upgrading my current mattress is comfort, as I still end up with sore shoulders (being a side sleeper and a heavy, bony guy). I'm not too sure that the Exped would fix that though.

And I take back what I said about the price, that is a good deal lower than I have seen elsewhere (retail).

I'm still hung up on the durability point, I've heard many anecdotes less favorable than yours and the Macpac in particular seems to have very thick outer (thicker than the actual Thermarest model, hence the increased weight). Still, when budget permits I might have another look...
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby sogood » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:38 pm

Baalzamon wrote:Polishbiker who is on tour right now going from Alaska to Canada had his Synmat UL delaminate and had one massive bulge and had to go buy another mat and got one from the MET range I recall.

That's bad luck! I have not heard of similar and user report on Exped gears have been uniformly positive in my readings. Guess one off manufacturing/material defect can happen.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby sogood » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:41 pm

Definitely don't fully inflate those Exped SynMats. Back off on the pressure and the cushioning will be just right. Further, I like the fact that they are well supported on the two sides. There's a bit of resistance and a lip that stops me from rolling off. Otherwise I picked up mine for just under $100 during a sale (local online store).
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby il padrone » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:24 pm

RonK wrote:after years of restless, fitful sleep on Thermarests, I was astonished that I sleep like a log on the Exped.

+1

This is the winner about the Exped.
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