British Army Self-Inflating Mats

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Jan 6, 2017
Here There & Everywhere
Am I being a bit of an old tart?
I want to get a self-inflating mat, but I don't want to spend shed loads on it.
This is because it won't be used to sleep on, so much as to sit on and just chill out whilst out occasionally.
So I was looking at a British army self-inflating mat - bushcraft-friendly green, three quarter length, should be able to take a bit of rough treatment.
Best of all, nice and cheap - just a tenner at the local surplus store.


I know from experience that self-inflating mats need a few extra puffs to get them inflated. That's OK.
But am I being a tart in worrying about what dirty old squaddie has had his lips around that valve as well?

Mind you, Soldier of Fortune sell a new self-inflater, also green, also three quarter length, for £16 (plus postage - so about £20 all in?).
£20 still seems cheap, and at least it's new with an un-sullied valve. But I'd have to wait for it, whilst I could go into town and have one now. Not that I need it now, but you know what it's like.

With my beige trousers on I suppose I'd do the sensible thing and order from SoF. But with my funky trousers on I'd rush into town and get one NOW and have it for the weekend (again, I don't actually need it this weekend).


Full Member
Feb 18, 2010
I think you are worrying to much tbh. Just give it a wipe over and clean when you first get it and crack on.

If you are that worried just stump up the tiny bit extra for a new one.

I use a sit mat regularly, wouldn’t be without it tbh


Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
Knowing squaddies it wouldn't have been a challenge to use their mouths to inflate the mats... it would be other air expelling orifices.
Last edited:
Apr 8, 2009
Ashdown Forest
The British army ones are really good - i've got two of the slghtly newer style (the multimat ones that are dark green, and have the double urethane coating so that they are coated on the outside as well) - they do take a few puffs to get them firm enough, but are pretty light, super comfy and very robust. i've had mine direct on the ground a fair few times, and no dramas. In contrast i also have a full length Highlander brand mat which is adequate, but is always soft by the morning (from new) and is certainly nowhere near the quality of the issue one.

Many years ago i purchased atr a bargain price a genuine US army issue thermarest - very second hand of course - seemed to inflate ok in the shop but turned out there were so many pinprick holes over it, i could never hope to repair them all and i had to bin it. So if you do go second hand - inflate in the shop and sit on it for 5 mins+ to check for slow leaks!

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
I love Multimat quality and used various of their mats over my Expeditioning time.
I have used an ex MOD mat - but it soon died from wear around the valve causing a slow leak.
These days I use a down filled air mat if I am on the ground (a rare event in the past few years) or just a closed cell mat if I am hammocking.
I still have a couple of Multimat self inflaters but last used one in the back of the car a couple of years ago....


Jan 1, 2014
Can’t blame you for putting safety first.

I had an expensive Exped and somehow it got damaged so this time opted for the three quart length British Army may and an really pleases with it. Only need a couple of extra puffs of air to get it inflated and is surprisingly comfortable

Very hard to beat for its price, packed size, and weight!

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