UKC

/ 4 season sleeping mat recommendations please!?

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Grooler on 02 Apr 2018

Hello, 

Can you recommend a warm, comfortable, conveniently sized and reasonably priced sleeping mat? 

I'll be camping for two weeks in Thorsmork (Iceland) in May. I've bought myself a Marmot Trestle Elite 20 sleeping bag with a comfort rating of -6.5, and I have a silk liner but I need to combine it with a decent mat that's going to keep me snug. 

Thermarest is a bit out of my price range. I've been looking at Alpkit's dirtbag but it's pack size is quite big & heavy, and I can't find an R value on it. I saw ME Helium 3.8 (wmns) for £45 in Cotswolds yesterday which seems like a good deal...

Is self inflating foam core the way to go? 

Thanks in advance, 

Welsh Kate - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Grooler:

A silk liner probably won't do a huge amount to improve the thermal qualities of your sleeping bag: have a look at Sea to Summit's Thermolite Reactor series, though these are rather more expensive than a silk liner.

A closed cell mat is an excellent way of beefing up the insulation qualities of a more comfortable self-inflating sleeping mat, so if the bulk of one isn't going to be an issue, that's what I'd go for, along with a reasonably comfy SIM.

olddirtydoggy - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Grooler:

Stick a wanted request up on here in the buying and selling and a thermarest might just be yours. A member here helped us with a pair of strap on crampons at the last minute so you never know.

Big Lee - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Grooler:

I've had two ME Helium 3.8s in the fairly recent past and both broke at the valve within a year or two, which didn't seem an acceptable length of time. Wouldn't buy another. My partner in the meantime has been using the same Thermorest without problems. 

Jimboandrews. - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Big Lee:

if you had returned them to Cotswold they’d have replaced them FOC if it was under two years. Or ME will fix it for free if older, I’m on my second in about 3 years, first one was punctured (my fault) I asked Cotswold to send it to ME to be repaired, they replaced it saying it was covered under general wear and tear and even refunded me a fiver as the price had dropped.

 

Good mat’s, warm, comfy and decent pack size. 

 

estivoautumnal on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Grooler:

I use an Alpkit inflatable mat on top of an old fashioned Karrimat (yellow and purple layers) in winter and it works well. The old foam mat provides the thermal layer and the Alpkit inflatable gives a bit of comfort.

Siward on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to estivoautumnal:

Surety the old yellow and purple karrimat can't be beat? Sufficient comfort on it's own, unless one is getting old   Mine has been usefully lightened by mice having nibbled around the edge.. 

Alex Riley on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to Siward:

Bit more expensive, but I used a expedition down mat this winter and it was excellent.

In reply to Grooler:

If you can hang on a couple of weeks, we have a group test of insulated inflatable mats in production

Big Lee - on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to Jimboandrews.:

Yeah you're right I probably could have got a replacement. It's harder when the country of purchase (UK) isn't the same country that I live (Norway). I think even if I had got a replacement then I would still have had no faith in the longevity after two consecutive faulty valves. One mat valve I remember decided to break midway through a one month trip away, which is just a pain. I think for me reliability counts for more than good customer service. Ie a poor product is still a poor product however many times it's replaced. Thermorest valves seem a much more simpler and robust design. Simple screw tight, rather than push in and twist (one seized up I remember). My partner's Thermorest is about six years old with no signs of wear, so it's worked out a good value investment in the longterm. 

Andy Johnson - on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to estivoautumnal:

This combo works well for me too - neoair on a cheap closed cell mat in my case. Hard to justify buying a separate mat for winter use.

Post edited at 10:07
Dell on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to Grooler:

Yup, two mat system can't be beat. It means  you can get away with a pair of 2/3 season mats, plus you've got redundancy in the system. 

James Gordon - on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to Grooler:

Get the inflatable with the best R value you can afford and a GOOD quality closed cell mat. Most durable & reliable system for expeds on snow. Having trialled in Alps & Alaska. 

purplemonkeyelephant - on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to Grooler:

I have an Exped Synmat 7, used it happily down to sub -30 temps (outside the tent), always paired with a foam mat underneath. Aside from taking a while to pump up with it's CPR style pump I've been pretty happy with it. They are a bit out of your budget, but the cold weather insulated pad market isn't particularly competitive and I figured buy once and it will cover me for all my future trips rather than having several mat systems for warm and cold weather. My girlfriend wound up borrowing mine whilst touring through the south downs in chilly early spring after her hips were getting bruised on her foam non-inflatable mat, now she has one too. 

Grooler on 05 Apr 2018
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

> If you can hang on a couple of weeks, we have a group test of insulated inflatable mats in production

Certainly! I'm leaving in 5 weeks and it'll probably take me that long to make a decision anyway - will be keeping an eye out for this. Thanks

Grooler on 05 Apr 2018
In reply to James Gordon:

> Get the inflatable with the best R value you can afford and a GOOD quality closed cell mat. 

Thanks for the advice. I was wondering if that might be the way forward - a few other people have said the same. I'm just struggling to find the R values on some websites.

Grooler on 05 Apr 2018
In reply to Grooler:

Thanks everyone for the really helpful replies - all appreciated  I think most of you have suggested both a foam mat and inflatable to combine warmth & comfort, which was on my mind too. It seems as though it would be the most versatile option. I've got a few weeks to go so I'll be keeping an eye out for the group test review and any good deals.

 

Jonny on 05 Apr 2018
In reply to Grooler:

This page has a fairly comprehensive list of mats with corresponding R values: https://sectionhiker.com/sleeping-pad-r-values/.

jeepster - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Grooler:

I don't plan on camping anywhere near as cold as Iceland but if I did, then choice to me would be obvious...If like me, you prefer to reduce the weight in my backpack to the bare minimum, I would recommend putting a cheap "space blanket", on the floor of your tent (to reflect cold downwards, and your bodyheat upwards)...Cost a quid each on ebay and weigh next to nothing.  Put the sleeping bag on top of that that then put an ultralight Klymit Inertia X-Frame sleeping pad inside your sleeping bag for comfort.  An X-Frame is almost half the weight of a Thermarest, and almost half the price too.  Although not essential, I would buy the "recon" version if possible, which comes in "Coyote/Sand" colour as the top and bottom of the latter are made of the same heavy duty material, whereas the normal yellow/green model has thinner material on top and may not be as durable, though it is lighter and cheaper.

Alf.

Post edited at 23:22
The Ex-Engineer - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to Grooler:

> Can you recommend a warm, comfortable, conveniently sized and reasonably priced sleeping mat? 

In a word, No.

The Thermarest Neo-Air X-Therm and the DownMat UL7 are both utterly brilliant (at a price). Everything else on the market is really pretty poor in comparison as regards warmth, comfort and size/weight.

I bought an X-Therm about 5 years ago and it's been worth every penny. However, I've probably had 150+ nights use out of it by now.

As others have said, the best budget option for really cold temperatures (or extreme environments where complete mat failure could be a major issue) is doubling up two 2-3 season mats.

However, it's worth repeating, the DownMat UL7 and X-Therm are both excellent and any other option is just going to be colder, larger and heavier.

 

Post edited at 22:03

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