Closed cell foam sleep mat for winter use?

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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,015
1,182
Berlin
I think about buying a closed cell foam mat for really cold winter conditions.

It should work well together with a Snugpak Special Forces complete sleeping bag system and some warm underwear or padded clothing at -20 *C or better -25 *C, because such temperatures we have to count in around Berlin.

I want one that I can just use on the ground in all seasons, but also can use in a double wall tent in icy wind. So twigs underneath are no good option here.
The mat alone must be able to insulate me against the cold ground, also above the tree limit for example.

What's the best option and why?

(Air mats do not interest me for such conditions.)
 
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SaraR

Full Member
Mar 25, 2017
779
478
Ceredigion
I used to use two foam mats, one thicker with bigger cells and one normal thickness with a much finer foam. Having two really helped both with confort and warmth. No brand names though, sorry.

I also like having a(n extra) groundcloth or something to add a bit of protection for the sleeping bag on either side. For a long while I had a space blanket on the floor of my tent, so it doesn't have to weigh much.
 
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TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,883
860
Vantaa, Finland
I used to use two foam mats, one thicker with bigger cells and one normal thickness with a much finer foam.
That is what I used too, a coarser PE (cheap) foam at the bottom about 15mm and finer EVA 10mm at the top. Fjällräven has 16mm thick mats with very fine foam that is also 60cm wide for winter use, when I was younger that was enough. :)
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
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I think the Snugpak Antarctic mat is an insolated airmat, isn't it?

I am looking for the best option for a closed cell foam mat. Evazote or whatever.
 

henchy3rd

Full Member
Apr 16, 2012
415
270
Derby
I think about buying a closed cell foam mat for really cold winter conditions.

It should work well together with a Snugpak Special Forces complete sleeping bag system and some warm underwear or padded clothing at -20 *C or better -25 *C, because such temperatures we have to count in around Berlin.

I want one that I can just use on the ground in all seasons, but also can use in a double wall tent in icy wind. So twigs underneath are no good option here.
The mat alone must be able to insulate me against the cold ground, also above the tree limit for example.

What's the best option and why?

(Air mats do not interest me for such conditions.)
I have used a 25mm mechanics kneeling pad, puncture proof, warm & comfy..doubles up as a kneeling pad in the canoe too.
Fits perfect in my packable thermarest camp chair.
 
I think the Snugpak Antarctic mat is an insolated airmat, isn't it?

I am looking for the best option for a closed cell foam mat. Evazote or whatever.
if i understand the description correctly it's two layers of fabric with sleeping bag insulation between them -- no valves involved...

as already stated: i've no experience with the product -- i found it recently mentioned on another website and checked it out as it caught my attention.... maybe someone with actual experience can help out?! :)
 
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Lean'n'mean

Nomad
Nov 18, 2020
416
171
France
I've been using a 1cm thick Multi-mat (almost identical to the British army foam mat) for the past 12 years & it's been sufficient combined with a good sleeping bag. There is also the Dutch army roll mat (KL M90) which is nearly 2cm thick but of course, it's heavier & bulkier.
I've never used an inflatable mat for wild camping....I don't trust them & I camp with a dog which ain't compatable with anything inflatable. :)
-25°C around Berlin ?:rolleyes: That must be exceptional rather than usual.
 
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MikeeMiracle

Full Member
Aug 2, 2019
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Northampton
Been happy with my Nemo Switchback close air pad down to around freezing temperatures, not tested it colder than -2. It's the equivalent of the Thermarest Z-Lite and has an R value of 1.9.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,015
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Berlin
Around freezing isn't my problem here. We talk about R-values higher than 5 or better 6.
Around the freezing point I still call 3 seasons conditions and use my 34 litres summer equipment.

Yes, -25*C in the night, -20*C during the day is exceptional around Berlin, we got such weather conditions a few years ago for several weeks.
But -15 *C in the night isn't unusual. That happens usually just a few days or weeks each winter but it happens pretty regularly in January and February. We simply get sometimes Russian weather delivered by wind from the east. That's different to north-western Germany where the temperatures usually stay around the freezing point. Berlin is exactly located between continental and see climate. We can get both here. And Scandinavian wind we can get here too, which also can be pretty fresh.

I doubt that it's just sleeping bag filling between two layers of fabric in the Snugpak Antarctic mat without valve, that doesn't work well as far as I am informed. It's surely a polyester thread filled airmat.
Would that work well, I also could throw my sleeping bag in it's bivvy bag right in the snow. That works of course, but not in really cold conditions.

I have seen the thick Dutch insulation mats in a surplus shop here. Do you think, that they become less effective if they are old and used or do they keep their insulation abilities? Is that foam less effective than Evazote, regarding the relation of weight and volume to the R-value?
 
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TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,883
860
Vantaa, Finland
The heat conductivity of all materials used for mats is about the same, so no difference there. It is well known that the smaller the cell size the better heat insulation also the material tends to behave better. The other important thing is how fast the material compresses, the slower the better also good mats return to shape faster. PEs in various forms are often used as is EVA and variants.
 
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Erbswurst

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Mar 5, 2018
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Berlin
So, If I understand you right it doesn't matter if I choose PE or Evazote, as long as it is a NATO issued roll mat or well known quality brand?

Do you think the used Dutch army surplus mat works well if it looks OK from outside, or can the foam degrade somehow undetected by aging and use?
 

Kaktusfin

Full Member
Jan 21, 2021
20
37
Finland
Savotta finnish defence forces sleeping mat is really good for 3-season use alone. But for -20 temperatures, r value isn't enough. I think it's somewhere 2-2.5 on that pad. Put fjällräven ground mat under it or thermarest ridge rest on top of it and you will be close to 5. Thickness is the key.

But if you need a good quality foam cell mat, savotta is a good choise. It will handle civilian life easily. :)

Personally I use combination of cheap foam cell mat and quality inflatable sleeping pad, but it's a different story.
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,015
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Berlin
Thank you!

So, I guess I will simply try out the Dutch one at first, because it's pretty cheap and easily available for me. I need to visit the surplus shop anyway to buy something else.
It's as thick as small. 18 mm thick, but only 180x48 cm.

That's a Dutch shop here, by the way, even if the translation looks a bit Chinese...

 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,015
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Berlin
With an R-value of 3 it surely isn't the best idea for -25*C.
That's obviously a 3 seasons mat like most others.
 

Tiley

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Oct 19, 2006
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You might be better off using a combination of a closed-cell foam mat and then something like an Exped mattress on top. I've found the Savotta mat to be excellent in all seasons, as it protects the different 'comfy' mat on top of it, which I choose according to the prevailing temperature. It's probably a more flexible set-up than choosing a single mat for particular conditions.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,015
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Berlin
Yes, that's surely the usual experienced civil answer, and as far as I see also current NATO standard. A good compromise between security and comfort.

I use such a combination in 3 seasons conditions too, the very thin German army folding mat and a Klymit Inertia O-Zone Recon Sand air mat. The closed cell foam mat protects the comfortable and relatively expensive airmat against the ground and functions as a life boat should the airmat give up.

But I have to tell you, that it depends on the ground hardness and temperature if I use the airmat. I often leave it in the rucksack. I am used to sleep on hard ground because I did it all my life. I bought the airmat mainly for French camping grounds that I use very often on my professional journeys. There I find very often disgusting little stones on a surface that's hard like concrete. Wild camping I don't need an airmat for comfort. Because the German army mat is pretty thin I need the airmat sometimes as additional protection against the cold ground, especially on touristic camping grounds where twigs are no option.

Another point is, that we have nearly exclusively pine forests around Berlin, often one can't find hardwood for the fire.
So the risk to destroy an airmat with sparks is relatively high if one sleeps next to the fire. A long lasting selfinflating airmat isn't cheap as you know.

And the third point is, that I currently try to construct a rucksack in rucksack equipment.
I try to put my 34 litres rucksack equipment, 6 kg base weight, usable for me down to the freezing point on several month long journeys, into a 110 litres rucksack with the additional winter equipment.
I would have Defcon 5 military poncho, Snugpak Special Forces 1 sleeping and bivvy bag, German army folding mat (as sit pad too) and Klymit airmat with me in the 34 litres 3 seasons rucksack, that I try to fit packed into the 110 litres rucksack that contains Snugpak SF2 sleeping bag, Hilleberg Nallo 2 tent and probably the Dutch army roll mat together with some winter clothing.
No idea if this will be still portable in the end, but I think so. I guess I just have to figure out how that can be done exactly.

Like this I could leave the large rucksack with the winter equipment somewhere during a long journey and spend the summer just with the small one, than pick up the large one, put the small one into it and continue in colder weather conditions. My journeys aren't linear, I travel more in figure 8 shape around Cologne where is located the office of my concert agency. And there I could leave my large rucksack during the summer.

As you see, that's more my personal minimalistic and nomadic lifestyle than a shorter recreational hiking tour. And apart from the fact that I keep my stuff easily portable, I don't really plan to walk really long distances with the heavy version.
Let's say I am a free time hiker but a professional backpacker.

And here comes point No4 into the game:
I destroy even pretty long lasting civil stuff in a relatively short time, because I use it every day without intermission.
One doesn't need to sleep on an airmat to set it under stress, it's surely enough to carry it around every day.

The German Army boots that usual soldiers can use for 2 years last only 6 month in my use. Before the Corona lockdown I really walked and travelled a lot, nearly all the year round.

I need nearly the most long lasting equipment that exists, because even equipment of well known high quality brands falls in pieces within a few month in my use. After I replaced a lot of my old military equipment with modern lightweight equipment, I binned most of it and digged out my old stuff.

I slowly get the impression that equipment without NATO stock number is no good idea for me.
 

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