I need to replace my old thermarest sleeping mat.
Ideally I would like an all round mat that will be OK for UK camping (maybe in the winter too) and also for European alpine bivy so weight / pack size will be a consideration.
I'm not the best sleeper so would like some comfort!
What have you got an does it work - any suggestions / comments welcome.
I have an Exped Synmat Hyperlite and love it. Packs down to the size of a coke can, very easily fits in its stuff sack without having to pay meticulous attention to deflating and folding it, and is very comfortable. The only worry is puncturing it if bivying on rock - but if you're concerned you can always flake the rope under it or something to keep it off any sharp rock.
I always use an air mattress inside a tent and a concertina ridge rest in the alps or as a bivi mat.
if you really are a bad sleeper you could always put a bit of tyvek sheet under an air mattress whilst bivying as it amazingly puncture proof and light.
Ive had good field repairs to air mattresses with both self sticking inner tube patches and tenacious tape.
sorry I did not really answer your question but a bit of food for thought.
Thanks - I have been looking at the Exped range and this steers me more towards them. I'm considering the synmat UL in and also the winter version for extra comfort for an extra 100g. Have you used the Exped Synmat Hyperlite in cold conditions?
Only down to bothying in winter and a ~2700m bivi out of the snow in the Alps in summer, but based on its performance so far I don't think I'd have any concerns about it in colder temperatures - certainly nothing that a summer alpine bivi could throw at it. Scottish winter? Not enough experience of trying to camp in Scottish winter to comment, but I'd be confident enough to be willing to try it. Lowland UK winter? Yes, absolutely, tried and tested many times now.
I've just gone to find it and find out - my poorly-rolled one is about double the size of a coke can (actually a Brewdog can), so yes, you're right, that's a bit of an exaggeration. If you were more careful packing it though, it wouldn't be all that much bigger.
For alpine summer I find a 3/4 length Thermarest fine using rucksack and ropes for head / feet. If the bivvy is more gritty I will use a Z Lite. Tend to use one on top of the other or an air bed for valley camping.
Reading around seems quite a few people use 2 mats - it this because the inflatable mats are quite prone to damage and hence become useless, would have thought they would use a tough material for the bottom of the mat.
I already have a foam mat which I could use with a new inflatable mat for comfort / protection. I'm concerned with a thin mat I wont sleep well and it will ruin the trip!
It all depends on where you are choosing to bivvy. On clean rock I've never had a problem with an inflatable personally, though I know others that have. Snow likewise. Sometimes though there is a coarse rock powder / gravel around or gravel in ice. So I sometimes take a very thin foam mat to go under the inflatable or just use the Z Lite for a more serious bivvy. If my bivvy is not too far from transport and I'm there for a couple of nights or more I will sometimes enjoy the luxury of both the inflatable and a foam mat underneath.
I suggest you borrow some options and try them out before your trip so you know what is comfortable for you. Remember that if you are anything like me you will be knackered at the end of the day so sleep comes easily. You can also put spare clothing underneath you for further comfort...
"So I sometimes take a very thin foam mat to go under the inflatable "
Yes, this. I use an Exped Synmat UL and if I am concerned I might have to camp on a rough surface I'll take a piece of very thin closed cell mat with me to pop under. I guess it might add a tiny bit of insulation as well, but the main thing is the protection it offers.
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