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Topic - Comfort: Inflatable mats vs Closed Cell

funsized on 04 Jun 2013
Hello UKC.

Once again I call on your repository of dubious knowledge and experience.

I am basically sick of 'thermarest-style' inflatable sleeping mats. My first, a Karrimor (I shudder to mention this used carcass of a brand) developed a shoddy valve within 6 months and proved impossible to fix despite copious amounts of glue, plastic cement, duck tape and tears.

The second, a Mountain Equipment Helium 3.8 (how did they arrive at the figure 3.8?) was even more frustrating given thats it was supposedly from a bomber brand.

First the valve. For 12 months the sodding valve teased my feeble fingers by becoming shut iron fast at the slightest whim. When I wanted to open and inflate it at 2 am, half cut in some god forsaken scout hut in sheffield it would remain clam like forcing me to collapse prostrate on this 70 quid uninflated plastic rug. In albarracin, it refused to open to allow deinflation, EVERY MORNING FOR A FORTNIGHT, meaning I had to shove it in our already bursting car given I couldn't leave it in our dust bowl of a refugio for some crusty climber to nick. I am very much a feeble punter and cannot afford to pop a finger ligament or waste an ounce of my precious almost non existant finger strength before a days bouldering. Yet, it cant even be blamed on my puny fingers. Even the iron grip of two V9/10 boulders couldn't best it.

Then miraciously two months ago, it started working. Now a month later, over the space of a fortnight it has started mistariously deinflating around 2 hours after inflating. I slow puncture I assumed. 'I'll get an iron on patch' I assumed. Wrong. Upon placing it in the sink, it appears the underside has given up being a roll mat and now would prefer to spend its twilight years as a sieve. Dozens of tiny leaks have appeared Completely irreparable.

However. I love the comfort of an inflatable roll mat. It feels like pure luxury. Yet I cant face splashing out another 70 quid just for something thats gonna break. I have seen grim faced, gnarly alpine sorts with this thing: The Sol Z lite Thermatrest http://www.rei.com/product/829826/therm-a-rest-z-lite-sol-sleeping-pad

My questions:

1. How does the comfort of this closed cell pad compare to inflatable pads?

or

2. Do I just need to spend even more money on a better inflatable mat.

PS - Obviously, I assume the closed cell pad is not going to be AS comfortable, yet does it verge into the territory of 'fast and light' comfort? (for this read: 'unbearable pain but stops you dying')
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