I've been using a Thermorest Z Lite SOL for alpine use for a number of years, like a lot of people I guess, because I don't have to worry about a puncture from anything sharp. Problem is I'm sleeping terribly due to the lack of padding. I am very bony! I constanstly need to roll into different positions through the night, which is probably affecting my partners' sleep as well.
I'd say the mat is warm enough with the sleeping bag I use though, and I like that it's not too wide, meaning I keep to my 50% of the floor space when using the BD First Light tent or bivi bag.
Any recommendations for a mat that will offer a bit more comfort? Anybody dared to use inflatable mats in the loose presence of axes/crampons/ice screws with a bit of discipline? What about down mats? I'd ideally want it for everything from winter mountaineering in Norway to use in the greater ranges. The Z Lite SOL has been warm enough though as I say, but I wouldn't want anything with even less insulation (more is always nice of course). I could carry a mat that was a little heavier if it packed down to a smaller volume, and I don't mind splashing out if it's going to do the job.
I've been through a few mats. Xtherms are good and warm and I've never punctured one with crampons etc but of the 3 I've had 2 have got slow leaks I haven't been able to find. They also suck to inflate by mouth as they are big, especially at altitude or in a cramped tent.
Down mats are warm too but again, had 3 and all three blew inner baffles to turn into useless large tubes. Friends have had same. I won't waste more money on them. Also a pain in the ass to inflate as above.
These days I use a mash up of a very thin Nemo Zor sandwiched between a layer of foam from my packs frame and a layer of silvered bubble insulation (that may or may not insulate any better than the foam). As warm as the Xtherm, contingent if i puncture it, takes 3 lung fulls to inflate. Have slept on it directly onto ice and rock at about -18c ambient. The Zor rolls up tiny and as the foam is already part of my pack, takes up minimal pack space.
A piece of bubble foil insulation from Screwfix underneath an old fashioned thermarest ridgerest. I know how long an inflatable mattress would last in my "care". Probably get snagged on something queuing for the telepherique before even started.
Hmmm I had been considering down. It's mainly pressure over the hips that keeps me awake and fidgeting during the night. Think the best option might be to stick with the Z sol lite for the time being and try stuffing some extra loose padding down the underwear over the hips. Got plenty of silicone offcuts at work that I can try.
I have used 3/4 length inflatable mats with no problem in the alps and greater ranges; just avoid bivvy spots with that sharp glacial gravel around and be disciplined with pointy things.
If I don't know the bivvy spot I'd take the Sol that you use, usually trimmed down somewhat. Have you considered getting a second either cheap mat ( possibly second hand ) or even a sol and cutting a section just to go under your hips?
Consider sending the ones with slow leaks back to Thermarest. I sent one back last year with a slow leak (6 years old) and they replaced it with a new one. Top customer service!!!
I've been impressed with the Zor. Light as hell, and as it's a foam core it spreads weight a bit better. Combined with your current mat should be 3-4cm of padding.
FWIW I wasn't enthralled by the Z sol myself. I don't think the egg cup structure does anything once flattened by a 75kg human laying on it, making it just a 2-3mm mat, and the cups collecting snow and gravel dives me insane. T'rest do (did?) a military mat that was just flat foam, crimped to fold in sections that seemed warmer, available in a nice fecal brown colour.
> Consider sending the ones with slow leaks back to Thermarest. I sent one back last year with a slow leak (6 years old) and they replaced it with a new one. Top customer service!!!
Yes good call. I'd heard of their excellent warranty but never made the connection of actually using it. I may not be the sharpest tool in the box...
Our wee man loves his Z lite and you can't really puncture it. Then again, he only ways 30+ kilos, maybe 35 . I was lying on my thermarest (inflatable) last night, and I think it punctured....rubbish. Not comfortable , I was happy to roll over onto his Z lite on occasion (particularly as the wind blew the tent into my face. But seriously, I think the inflatable ones are better for adults and offer great insulation. We have had many Thermarests over the years and they are great (from thin alpine ones to thick - and even the thin ones are good). And they have really good customer service!
how about doubling up with one of these? If the issue is pressure around your hips then offers sufficient support for only about 150g you even get a pillow of sorts too. Probably would need to experiment with the right level of inflation for a mat on a mat.