Author Topic: sleeping mats  (Read 1970 times)

in4

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sleeping mats
« on: February 20, 2018, 11:02:03 PM »
Anyone happy to give a thumbs up to sleeping mat? I'm looking for a summer use one and things appear to have moved on a bit since karrimats were the mat du jour. Thanks.

David Simpson

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Re: sleeping mats
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2018, 12:30:08 AM »
I have a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir. It is very light and comfortable.

Mine is a few years old, but here is the product info for the current model:
https://www.thermarest.com/ca/mattresses/neoair-trekker

Good:
- light: 0.6kg
- comfortable: 2.5" / 6.3cm thick

Bad:
- somewhat pricey? (US$150-200). However, as I am getting older, I find that paying for good sleeping gear (bag, pad, etc) is worth it for a good night's sleep.

- DaveS

mickeg

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Re: sleeping mats
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2018, 03:15:33 AM »
There are the self inflating pads that I think are largely open cell foam encased in air tight nylon fabric.  And there are air mattresses, which are much higher quality that the cheap plastic ones that I recall using as a kid to float on water.

Backpacking and canoeing I usually use a shorty self inflating pad, very light weight.  I have several that were made by Thermarest.  I store them fully inflated which I think makes them last essentially forever.

On a bike I usually prefer an air mattress.  Slightly heavier but much more compact to store in a pannier.  Since this is a bike forum, I assume that is why you are asking.  So I will only elaborate on air mattresses.

I am not sure what country you are in, I am in USA where REI is a major retailer.  The REI branded air mattress, Flash model (in my case the long) is my favorite.  I just looked at their site because I was going to include a link to that model, but they redesigned the mattress to be completely different.  So, I won't recommend it because the one they sell now under that model name is one I have never seen.

I also have a Neoair air mattress by Thermarest, I think my model is the Xlite.  It is lighter than my REI Flash model but only has one valve, smaller one that you can put in your mouth but the valve being smaller takes a couple minutes more to get all the air out of it when i roll it up in the morning.

A gal I used to work with was saying that her boy friend punctured his air mattress, bought a new one and punctured that too.  Then they tried to find the punctures and found they both were punctured at the same spot.  Then they looked at the tent floor and found the thorn (sharp pointing thing, not the bicycle).  My point is that you want to be careful with anything that holds air that you need for sleeping comfort.  Do not lie out on a flat rock somewhere for a nap in the sun, etc.  If you use it on the ground instead of on a fabric tent floor, I wish you luck.  You probably will not puncture it if you do, but why take the risk?

I have had good luck sealing holes with Seam Grip, a seam sealer sold in USA.


David Simpson

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Re: sleeping mats
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2018, 04:49:01 AM »
REI (the US retailer) has an article about the pros and cons of the different kinds of sleeping pads.

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/sleeping-pads.html

I have both a self-inflating pad and a blow-up pad. Once inflated, they are very similar to sleep on. The main difference is in the weight and size when they are packed. The self-inflating pads are heavier and larger because of the foam inside the pad. For self-contained camping (biking or camping), the blow-up pad is my preference because it is so much smaller and lighter. For car camping or having an extra mattress around the house, the self-inflating pad is more convenient. Just unroll it, and it self-inflates in a few minutes.

If possible, go to a store and lay on the different pads to get a feel for them. What may be comfortable for me may be uncomfortable for you. Mattresses are quite personal, like bike saddles. If anything, it will give you a feel for how thick you want your sleeping pad. A thinner pad gives less padding (obviously), but is lighter. A thicker pad may be more comfortable, but heavier. I say "may" be more comfortable, because I've found that thick air mattresses (not the sleeping pad variety, but the old style blow-up air mattresses) are too bouncy for me. My blow-up pad (Therma-a-Rest NeoAir) is 2.5" thick, which is very comfortable for me.

- DaveS

Danneaux

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Re: sleeping mats
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2018, 06:02:22 AM »
A few more data points to consider...

One factor to keep in mind on some of the premium inflatables is noise. Some are loud enough to keep you and your immediate neighbors awake at night, akin to sleeping on a bag of crisps. It can be enough of an issue to make a store tryout worthwhile.

Some of the premium inflatables contain insulation, whether synthetic or down. It is a Real Good Idea to use an inflation bag/carry sack to fill these to avoid moisture from your breath matting and flattening the insulation.

My favorite cycle-touring pad for the areas I go (3-4 season valley/mountain passes/desert) is a 1kg Nemo Tuo Standard self-inflating mattress. A tapered mummy shape, it has a cross-cored top over a solid bottom to prevent heat loss directly down through the pad. There are dual air chambers separated by a plastic membrane so even if you get a puncture in the outer chamber you can sleep through till morning. They're really good for cold weather. I've slept on exposed rock atop two stacked Nemo Tuos comfortably in temps down to -16C/3F. When I think temps will be down to about -11, I slide my closed-cell sit-pad under my bum beneath the mattress and this extends the range of the single pad.The bottom 1/3 is blown up stiff and firm to blunt the feel of rocks and pebbles while the top 2/3 is left soft for comfort. They fold in half before rolling so store compactly inside a pannier or can be left flat and rolled 'round a sleeping bag stuff sack to fit in a dry sack with little added bulk. I love mine (ehm, my "five") and the comfort/insulation/sleep quality are so good I don't care about the weight, but learned to my great dismay they have now been discontinued.

I liked it well enough to make the thicker "camp" version my permanent bed at home. Instead of a standards mattress and box springs/mattress, I sleep on one of these atop a 3/4in sheet of plywood on conventional bed rails with a head and footboard; the pad is covered by a thin blanket and the bed is made conventionally. Best home bed I've ever had, going on eight years now. Sadly, this model has been recently discontinued also. Like the lighter model, the camp model is also silent to sleep on.

For my ultralight "summer" pad, I like my Klymit O-Zone pretty well:
https://www.amazon.com/Klymit-Inertia-Ultralight-Sleeping-Pillow/dp/B00GK4LUXQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1519188188&sr=1-1&keywords=klymit+ozone 
It is fairly thin, uninsulated, skeleton-shaped and can be used inside my sleeping bag, underneath it, or atop another pad. The idea is the sleeping bag's insulation can herniate up through the holes in the O-Zone mattress and provide some insulation, useful in a down bag where the underside fill is often fully compressed under body weight. I'd say it is useful/warm enough for me down to just above freezing depending on the bag. The attached pillow can be inflated or not or folded over the pad to provide better head support for side-sleepers. It is small. For photos and description here on the Forum, see:
http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=11787.msg85865#msg85865
It's primary appeal for me are the small packed size and light weight for use in warmer weather. I've sometimes used it inside my sleeping bag over my Nemo Tuo standard with good results in cooler weather. It is most certainly not a cold-weather air mattress.

I'd suggest weighing your requirements to get the best balance between comfort, warmth, and packed bulk/weight to meet your needs. There's no perfect pad or mat, but the one that provides the best night's sleep is worth a little compromise on weight and bulk. Lost sleep is insidious and additive and can quickly suck the fun out of a tour and leave you feeling miserable and under-performing.

All the best,

Dan.

in4

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Re: sleeping mats
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2018, 08:54:06 AM »
Thanks for the very helpful comments and suggestions everyone, much appreciated. I was leaning towards a neoair of some sort but see there are a lot of alternatives about. I found lots here: https://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/equipment-c3/sleeping-mats-c58/all-sleeping-mats-c146
I'm intending to camp during the summer season, in a tent. The Klymit range is intriguing and I do like the built in pillow. That said there are other considerations involved, not least my preference for a quiet, crisp-free sleep.
Many thanks again.

PH

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Re: sleeping mats
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2018, 12:38:33 PM »
Insulated air mattresses are the most comfortable thing I've slept on camping, indeed the only way I can be sure of getting a good nights.  I'm a side sleeper and no lightweight, none of the other types stop my hips from being uncomfortable on the ground.
BUT - and it is a big but, there are problems with the construction method that leads to a fairly high failure rate, it's commonly called delamination, a quick google will show that none of them are immune from it, Exped, Thermorest, Big Agnes...
I'm on my third!  Though that's over 12 years, one Big Agnes and two Exped (Replaced under warranty) all failed in a similar way.  When they go the baffles holding their shape come undone, it'll usually still hold air but the shape makes it hard to sleep on, in both my failures I've managed to still use it for a few nights till the end of the tour. The other issue is that if they leak, that's it, you're basically sleeping on the ground, unlike with a foam or self inflator.
Inflation is also something to consider, my BA inflated by mouth, it was hard work at the end of the day, Exped have several inflating methods, I have the stuff sack pump and it's quick and easy.
All my touring is quite short term, never more than two weeks and more commonly 2-4 nights, I'm never likely to be more than a few hours away from a camping shop should I ever need a replacement, so I'll continue using them for the comfort advantage.  If I was doing an extended tour in a more remote region, I might think again.
 
« Last Edit: February 21, 2018, 12:42:39 PM by PH »

leftpoole

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Re: sleeping mats
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2018, 01:21:41 PM »
Hello,
Any Thermarest will suit you, according to you available budget.
John

mickeg

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Re: sleeping mats
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2018, 04:27:57 PM »
Additional comments:

To clarify, I said that the self inflating pads are lighter and Dave S said heavier, but I should add that all my self inflating pads are shorty models, these only extend from head to hips.  Thus these are much smaller in length and that is why my self inflating pads are lighter.  I think that Dave S and I agree, a full length self inflating pad probably is heavier than an air mattress.  And my self inflating pads are generally about half the thickness of most air mattresses.

One more point, a thin self inflating pad is not very soft on a hard floor or hard ground.  I usually do not mind these pads on ground but I usually try to camp on grassy soil which has some cushioning.  But on a floor, I will always take an air mattress.

The first pad I bought, I did lie on the pad for several minutes on the pad in the store before I bought it.  Dave S made a good suggestion.

I camp with someone that has a Neo Air, and I thought it was very noisy the first few nights we shared a tent.  But it took almost no time at all to get used to it.  My Neo Air, I slept on it for a week in December indoors and hardly noticed the noise at all.

I mentioned above that I like my older design REI Flash air mattress best of my air mattresses.  One of the advantages of it is that it is constructed of several tubes that run lengthwise.  The tubes on the edges are slightly larger in diameter, that makes it easier to stay on the pad during the night instead of falling off of it as I move around.  That is a feature that my Neo Air lacks. 

This link is not to my older Flash model, but it shows what I am talking about when I say the edge tubes are sightly larger to hold you in the middle better.
https://www.rei.com/product/895084/rei-co-op-stratus-insulated-air-sleeping-pad


PH

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Re: sleeping mats
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2018, 05:08:40 PM »
One factor to keep in mind on some of the premium inflatables is noise. Some are loud enough to keep you and your immediate neighbors awake at night, akin to sleeping on a bag of crisps. It can be enough of an issue to make a store tryout worthwhile.

I camp with someone that has a Neo Air, and I thought it was very noisy the first few nights we shared a tent.  But it took almost no time at all to get used to it.  My Neo Air, I slept on it for a week in December indoors and hardly noticed the noise at all.
I put mine inside a lightweight cover (A modified sleeping bag liner) it eliminates the noise, offers a little more protection from the ground and a nicer surface to sleep on (I use a quilt rather than a sleeping bag)

StuntPilot

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Re: sleeping mats
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2018, 05:47:10 PM »
I was a huge Thermarest Pro Lite fan (which I still like) but have since discovered the Exped Downmat 7 good for down to 24 Deg C. Getting older I wanted a bit more comfort.

http://www.exped.com/usa/en/product-category/mats/downmat-7-m

I have used it on two three month cycle tours and its as good as new. Even in hot weather it's low temperature rating is not a problem as the down filling seems to shields you from hot as well as cold ground. Great quality and long guarantee.

Coupled with the Snozzle bag it is quick to inflate. Not noisy either.

http://www.exped.com/usa/en/product-category/mats/schnozzel-pumpbag-ul-l

I have read quite a few blogs where multi month or multi year cyclists have had great success with them, and any problems such as delamitation have been quickly resolved with replacements from Exped.

There are a multitude of similar models from Exped varying is weight and compacted size.

I would not use any other mat now!

P.S. I don't work for the company!
« Last Edit: February 21, 2018, 05:51:11 PM by StuntPilot »

jags

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Re: sleeping mats
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2018, 06:16:24 PM »
i have Exped mat comfy but man it sure is noisy  ::)

anto.

David Simpson

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Re: sleeping mats
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2018, 06:45:40 PM »
To clarify, I said that the self inflating pads are lighter and Dave S said heavier, but I should add that all my self inflating pads are shorty models, these only extend from head to hips.  Thus these are much smaller in length and that is why my self inflating pads are lighter.  I think that Dave S and I agree, a full length self inflating pad probably is heavier than an air mattress.

Yes, I agree. When comparing weight, I was assuming the pads are the same size.

Which raises another point to consider: the size and shape of the pad.
- Length: regular, long, or short. I am 6" tall, and like a full-length pad, so I have a long pad. To save weight, you could get a shorter pad that only goes down to your hips (like George "mickeg"  has done). Again, it is a matter of personal preference.
- Width: I find that I tend to roll off a standard-width pad, so I have a wider pad. I think it's 25" wide.
- Shape: rounded pads (shaped like mummy sleeping bags) save weight. I prefer a rectangular pad.
- Thickness: thinner is lighter, but you need to be comfortable.

So many options. :) As you can tell from my choices, I prefer a larger pad, at the expense of more weight.

As far as noise... I tried one of the Therma-a-Rest NeoAir models in the store, and it was rather loud. "Crinkly" is the word I would use. I don't remember the model, but it was a grey colour and had good thermal insulation. I ended up buying a second-hand mid-range NeoAir, which has slightly less thermal insulation, but is only barely crinkly.

- DaveS

rualexander

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Re: sleeping mats
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2018, 07:59:25 PM »
Long time self-inflating Thermarest user, have had about six over the past 28 years, several have eventually delaminated at the head end resulting in a large bubble, but still useable to some extent when deflated, Thermarest have replaced them without question under their lifetime warranty.
Tempted to try some of the newer lighter weight options though.
Anyone used the Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated mat? https://www.seatosummit.co.uk/products/sleeping-mats/ultralight-insulated-mat/

DAntrim

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Re: sleeping mats
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2018, 09:18:36 PM »
I've used the Exped downmat 7 for the last 3 years, can't say I've noticed and noise from it, very comfortable and comes with it's own pump. Would buy one again if it ever gets ruined

http://www.exped.com/usa/en/product-category/mats/downmat-7-m