Sleeping matts

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
2free15
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Sleeping matts

Postby 2free15 » 23 Aug 2019, 3:04pm

I purchased the NeoAir XTherm for comfort and insulation a year ago and was thoroughly impressed with pack down size , weight and comfort . I was using it this week and whilst laying on it there was a loud pop and now when it inflates it develops a large bubble at the top and does not inflate to its full capacity anywhere else . having spent £140 on it a am thoroughly gutted , I have signed into this forum to find out if this has happened to anyone else and is there anything I can do. Now considering purchasing the Klymit Insulated Static V LITE Camping Sleeping Mat (Flip Valve) (2019). Insulation is a major factor for me as is weight , pack down size and weight as alpine ascents and high altitude camps is the desire . It comes with a lifetime warranty and is only £100 , think I am sold unless there is a better option or a reason not to ?

nirakaro
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Re: Sleeping matts

Postby nirakaro » 23 Aug 2019, 3:40pm

Thermarest have a reputation for being very good about warranties – they replaced my first thermarest without question when it failed after five or six years – so it's worth going down that route initially if you can.
I had two Thermarest Prolites, that both failed in exactly the way you describe, after less than a month's use. I then got an Exped Synmat, which I really liked, except that it tended to be half-deflated by morning. Now got a Sea-to-Summit Ultralight which – so far – I'm very happy with. It's not insulated, but I think they do an insulated version.

gregoryoftours
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Re: Sleeping matts

Postby gregoryoftours » 26 Aug 2019, 6:47pm

I've given up on buying expensive mats- even if the guarantee is good you'll still have to buy another one if you're half way through a trip. The ones I've had that failed were expensive ones. The most reliable ones so far have been the old style thermarest ( self inflating with foam inside, fairly thin but quite heavy and doesn't pack down small ) types. They are not as comfortable as the newer fatter air chamber mats, but the latter are far less reliable in my experience. Having said that my £18 Lidl air chamber mat has been going strong for a good while now. I've just bought a very comfortable mat that's a rip off of a therm a rest neo air for £35, so we'll see how that goes. It's a trekology hl80. Bought a good pillow of the same brand too. If going on a really long trip I'd probably get one of those folding egg box pattern solid foam therm a rest mats. Not as comfortable, bulky and a little heavy but good insulation and zero reliability worries

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freiston
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Re: Sleeping matts

Postby freiston » 26 Aug 2019, 9:17pm

Sorry - I've no experience of the thermarest mat. After only having a closed cell mat of the Karrimat type for years, I recently bought a Multimat Adventure 38 self-inflating matress. It's not an expensive mat in relative terms (but shop around to get a good price)and it hasn't had a lot of use yet but still functions as when I bought it. Folds/rolls up to a similar size to a breadloaf and does a good job of insulating me from the ground as well as being comfy and hiding the feel of the ground. I do splay out beyond its limits but then again, I struggle to stay on a double bed all to myself (when I was younger, I would wake up exactly as I fell asleep - often still holding the book or whatever that I fell asleep holding). It is described as "4 season 5.3 tog with an operating temperature of -20oC to +50oC. Rolled size: 265mm x 170mm. Open size: 1830 x 510 x 38mm. Weight: 835g. Colour: MoD Green" on https://www.cadetdirect.com/multimat-adventure-38-self-inflating-mattress.
Disclaimer: Treat what I say with caution and if possible, wait for someone with more knowledge and experience to contribute. ;)

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andrew_s
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Re: Sleeping matts

Postby andrew_s » 26 Aug 2019, 9:34pm

All inflatable mats can fail.
With self-inflating mats, the foam core delaminates from the shell and all the air goes into a big bubble.
With air-bed style mats (Neoair, Downmat etc), the problem is baffle failure, as experienced by the OP.
Neither of these are fixable, unlike punctures, which are also a possibility.

To minimise the chance of failure, don't leave an inflated mat inside a tent on a hot day. With a bit of sun, the inside temperature can increase enough to pressurise the air in the mat an amount equivalent to several people lying on the mat (on top of each other). With a self-inflating mat, you can just leave the valve open, but with an air bed you should let half the air out and reinflate in the evening.

If failure is not an option, the answer is the old style closed cell foam mat. These are pretty much indestructible, fire aside, but on the other hand they aren't as comfortable, and they are very bulky to pack.

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freiston
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Re: Sleeping matts

Postby freiston » 26 Aug 2019, 9:40pm

andrew_s wrote:All inflatable mats can fail.
With self-inflating mats, the foam core delaminates from the shell and all the air goes into a big bubble.
With air-bed style mats (Neoair, Downmat etc), the problem is baffle failure, as experienced by the OP.
Neither of these are fixable, unlike punctures, which are also a possibility.

To minimise the chance of failure, don't leave an inflated mat inside a tent on a hot day. With a bit of sun, the inside temperature can increase enough to pressurise the air in the mat an amount equivalent to several people lying on the mat (on top of each other). With a self-inflating mat, you can just leave the valve open, but with an air bed you should let half the air out and reinflate in the evening.

If failure is not an option, the answer is the old style closed cell foam mat. These are pretty much indestructible, fire aside, but on the other hand they aren't as comfortable, and they are very bulky to pack.

I have noticed, following long distance tourers on social media, that many long distance/away from civilisation tourers carry the zig-zag/concertina-fold closed cell foam mats - maybe that is an endorsement (albeit anecdotal)?
Disclaimer: Treat what I say with caution and if possible, wait for someone with more knowledge and experience to contribute. ;)

landsurfer
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Re: Sleeping matts

Postby landsurfer » 26 Aug 2019, 9:53pm

One t in mats ...
I am 73 inches tall i have a 48 inch piece of closed cell 10mm foam which i use to insulate myself from the ground in my tent or bivi.
The foam allows my shoulders and hips to keep my heat within my sleeping bag and myself.
Have never understood the need for full length inflated or self-inflating mats ..
Or the hassle they seem to cause to all users.
I am the owner and supplier of 3 self inflating mats for my children ... they love them ... 15, 9 and 8 ....
Recently a young lady Doctor won a very long race sleeping just in her bivi ....
What inflatable mat did she use ...?

(Genuine question, not a trap, .. )
The Road Goes On Forever ...

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freiston
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Re: Sleeping matts

Postby freiston » 26 Aug 2019, 10:25pm

landsurfer wrote:One t in mats ...
I am 73 inches tall i have a 48 inch piece of closed cell 10mm foam which i use to insulate myself from the ground in my tent or bivi.
The foam allows my shoulders and hips to keep my heat within my sleeping bag and myself.
Have never understood the need for full length inflated or self-inflating mats ..
Or the hassle they seem to cause to all users.
I am the owner and supplier of 3 self inflating mats for my children ... they love them ... 15, 9 and 8 ....
Recently a young lady Doctor won a very long race sleeping just in her bivi ....
What inflatable mat did she use ...?

(Genuine question, not a trap, .. )

Even with my 1337 interweb skillz, I soon gave up on that challenge via search engines. So I will take a guess (but I feel that you have led me there) - not an inflatable but a half or three-quarter length closed cell foam mat?
Disclaimer: Treat what I say with caution and if possible, wait for someone with more knowledge and experience to contribute. ;)

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Sleeping matts

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 26 Aug 2019, 11:14pm

Hi,
Did my first ten tors (35M) in early seventies no mat, karrimor had ones out at about £8 IIRC, one of my team had one I think.
My gear was all borrowed.
I have several matts today all closed cell foam.
Would never trust a blow up pneumatic at all.
I suffer from back problems but they seem to disappear when I camp :)
Colder weather I use a thicker foam mat, and I don't normally sleep on concrete floor.
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Postboxer
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Re: Sleeping matts

Postby Postboxer » 26 Aug 2019, 11:22pm

Think I lost mine in a house move, think it was tucked behind a wardrobe, inflated for storage as per the instructions.

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andrew_s
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Re: Sleeping matts

Postby andrew_s » 27 Aug 2019, 10:13am

freiston wrote:I have noticed, following long distance tourers on social media, that many long distance/away from civilisation tourers carry the zig-zag/concertina-fold closed cell foam mats - maybe that is an endorsement (albeit anecdotal)?

Long distance tourers tend to be fairly young, and not have lots of disposable cash for luxuries. They also spend a lot longer out of reach of a replacement.
Those of us restricted to 2 weeks leave from work tend to have more money available, and by the time you've got yourself accustomed to sleeping on something fairly hard, it's a fair chunk of bad sleep out of the 2 weeks. Then you go home, and revert to sleeping on something soft so you have to acclimatise all over again next holiday.

Concertina/zigzag vs roll up doesn't make any functional difference - it's purely down to how you pack. Myself, I'd go for roll up, and carry it longways on top of the rack, rolled round the outside of the tent.

LollyKat
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Re: Sleeping matts

Postby LollyKat » 27 Aug 2019, 10:56am

We used to use the original yellow closed cell Karrimats. They kept us warm but weren't very comfortable - after a long day's cycling we didn't get the decent night's rest that we needed. The last time I cycle-camped I used a cheap plastic Lilo with some 3mm Karrimat on top for insulation. It weighed a bit more but the pack size was less, and was blissfully comfortable. Later we got a couple of the original Thermarests in 3/4 length which we found very good. They were relatively heavy and bulky, but by then we had kids and were using a car.

Oldjohnw
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Re: Sleeping matts

Postby Oldjohnw » 27 Aug 2019, 11:24am

This 70 year old (as in next week) has backpacked for decades and now cake tours. Having tried many solutions the best so far has been my modestly priced 3/4 length OEX self-inflating mat. In volcano weather I also use a cut down cellular foam mat. Always a good night.

No mat has addressed the other nocturnal p-problem.
John

Cycling and recycling

philsknees
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Re: Sleeping matts

Postby philsknees » 27 Aug 2019, 11:32am

Just a few pointers gained from almost 50 years of (usually lightweight for the era) camping on thin foam, via self inflating to modern style airbeds.
Firstly I've found that with advancing years I need more comfort if I'm to get the sleep I need to sustain me for the next day's exertions. My hips and knees can no longer tolerate nights on closed cell foam and I find a modern inflatable airbed much more suited to my current needs rather than a self inflating mattress. The only truly foolproof mats are the higher quality thin foam ones but only if they allow you to sleep!
Secondly the comfort level of a modern airbed is very dependant on fine tuning of the level of inflation. I'd strongly agree with comments up-post about not leaving fully inflated mattresses in hot tents. I'd also warn against using the lightweight ones in chair kits if you want them to last.
I've had two of the original NeoAirs both of which are still perfectly usable after plenty of hard use, winter and summer, with no sign of baffle failure and without a single p*nc**re despite their reputation for supposed fragility.
Both of the Exped UL's I've owned have suffered internal baffle failure sufficient to make them unusable - "Like sleeping on Quasimodo"
It has become obvious to me that inflating by mouth introduces warm moisture air into the mattress which eventually condenses affecting the glued internal baffles, leading to their failure. My experiences point to this being more of a problem if the interior insulation is constructed from wadded material (Exped) rather than a reflective layer (NeoAir). That said, it's much better to use an electric inflation device, pump bag or similar with either.
I found the larger diameter outer tubes on the Exped mats prevented "roll-off" which has always been a problem for me with standard width NeoAirs. Now I'm cycling rather than lightweight backpacking I'm using the wider versions of the cheaper NeoAir models to address that problem and which I highly favour despite their slightly heavier weight. These models seem to be built of tougher, lower-tech materials but I have much more confidence in their durability. I'm sure they'll see me out.....
Having spent a good deal of time paralleling a much lighter backpacking/cycling partner's similar experiences I've come to the conclusion that big people tend to have more problems with air mattress delamination than skinny ones, which is what you'd expect. So your weight is a relevant factor to be considered when deciding to choose a more delicate hi-tech lighter model.

DaveLewis
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Re: Sleeping matts

Postby DaveLewis » 30 Aug 2019, 11:37am

I've got one of these - https://amzn.to/34cjqIf - great mat, folds up quite small and easy to blow up in a few mins. :)