What is the best roll mat

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Shewie

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Dec 15, 2005
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Exped Downmat for comfort I'd say, pack pretty small too.

I hear the Thermarest NeoAir is a good one for the lightweight crew
 

Graham_S

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Feb 27, 2005
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I'd say exped down mat too.
Toddy swears by hers, in fact everyone who has used one raves about it.
A bit pricey, but how much is a good nights sleep worth to you?
 

rik_uk3

Banned
Jun 10, 2006
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As a roll mat a cell foam mat does the job. For an inflatable mat/bed the down jobs have good rep although I've not used one. That said I sleep warm on a tradition lilo mat for UK temperatures but now use a cot bed.

If you are camping on a regular basis then spend the £100+ on the down mat, but unless you have surplus cash it seems a lot of dosh for the occasional bushcrafter to fork out, just my opinion.
 

Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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I thought the first closed cell rollmat I got was the beesknees :D They just kept getting better.
If that's the kind you want, then I reckon the concertina Vango one I have must be about as good as they get. Packs easily, can be folded up(and stays in place :) ) to give a thicker pillow or to fit a seat. It's tough, robust, lightweight, big enough for comfort and only the inflatable mats beat it :approve:

If money's not an option, go for th Exped or neoair though :D These are a whole other magnitude of good :D

cheers,
M
 

Oarsnpaddle

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May 24, 2010
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I'd say it depends on temperature, your carrying ability, intended use, how often you will use it, how much comfort you want, what you sleep in/under, and not least on budget and general economic priorities that you're the only one who can decide upon.


With that said, I have a Downmat 9 DLX, which is über comfortable, really warm and for the comfort it gives, packs pretty small. It weighs around a kilo I think, so it's not the lightest around. But boy do I sleep well on it.
 

Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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I've been googling for a mat like the folding closed cell one I have, but all I can find are sit mats :dunno:
I know I've had it a fair while, but I wouldn't have thought they'd have disappeared :(

Sorry Gaz, maybe they can't be gotten now.

cheers,
M
 

Peter_t

Native
Oct 13, 2007
1,353
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East Sussex
never been a fan of the self inflateable type. i don't like fragile kit that could get punctured/broken easily, especially if its expensive!

i use a dutch army foam mat. its 20mm thick and much firmer tham most. yes its a bit bulky but it strapes on the outside of my rucksack so doesn't bother me.
think i paid £15 for mine an it came with a tough drawstring bag to keep it in :D



pete
 

Oarsnpaddle

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May 24, 2010
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Even if it's firm, there's a long way from 2 to 9 cms especially on hard uneven ground :D

Edit: Oh, by the way, the dowmats aren't self inflating. You have to work to get them pumped.
 
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Peter_t

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Oct 13, 2007
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East Sussex
Even if it's firm, there's a long way from 2 to 9 cms especially on hard uneven ground :D

Edit: Oh, by the way, the dowmats aren't self inflating. You have to work to get them pumped.

well i try to find some ground which is flat-ish and if i have time i sometimes put brush underneath which does improve things. the more you know the less you carry :cool:
mats need to insulate you from the ground more than anything and this dutch army one does a supurb job:) unlike my old cheepo thin mat which i made the mistake of using in the snow once! i woke up (if i slept? lol) to find all the snow had melted bellow me!


im not sure about down mats but was refering to a thermarest type mat.

pete
 

Oarsnpaddle

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May 24, 2010
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We can't gather much around here. If we did, there would be nothing for the next person and so on, so we tend not cut brush or gather leaves or whatnot. Leave no trace as they say.

I don't mind carrying a little extra to give me comfort, and the time spent looking for a place that is good enough for a foamy or the time spent gathering brush is better spent drinking coffee/tea/cocoa or whatever your favourite poison is. That's how I see it.

A 9 cm (or 7 or 5 cm for that matter) Downmat or Synmat will insulate very much more than a 2 cm closed foam mat and because you can blow them hard, they will level out the ground more than a foamy the same thickness (if you want to carry such a huge block of foam around, that is).

Even the thermarest ought to insulate more than your 2 cm foamy, but of course, it won't if you don't help it the rest of the way and rely solely on the "self inflating" property.The harder it is, the more it insulates as it compress less. As you say, the more you know ... ;)
 
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Peter_t

Native
Oct 13, 2007
1,353
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East Sussex
good points, depends what you like and need i guess. i do lots of solo camping and like searching for the camping spot. i had a thermarest type mat and didn't like having to deflate and squashing all the air out of it in the morning, much rather just roll it up and make a quick get away lol.


pete
 

tenderfoot

Nomad
May 17, 2008
281
0
north west uk
Different combos for different circumstances.
ultralight i use one of those thin, folding, thermal foil backed jobbies only £2-3 and negligable weight /volume
always useful as a sitmat or to supplement another mat eg 3/4 length thermarest.
My best purchase though is a german army sleepmat which folds up tather than rolls. It can be used as a sit mat when folded but opens to be a full length mat. It doesnt provide much padding opened out but does insulate well.Folded it packs inside a rucsac ( so stays dry unlike rollmat usually stowed outside) and can act as further back padding if so placed eg. in ultralight sac with little padding. cost of army mat approx £15 fom "soldier of fortune" grade 1 used.
I find a combination can be made from these three to cover most situations.
hope this is helpful
 
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Oarsnpaddle

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May 24, 2010
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good points, depends what you like and need i guess. i do lots of solo camping and like searching for the camping spot. i had a thermarest type mat and didn't like having to deflate and squashing all the air out of it in the morning, much rather just roll it up and make a quick get away lol.


I agree. That is much easier with a foamy.

I have found I have a better day if I know I can sleep well at night without much fuss. The morning "clean up" is a cross I'll happily carry.

Another good thing about having something to lie on which isn't too fussy about small stubs and what not is that you can place the tent or tarp much better for the prevailing winds. It's much quicker, and much easier, and I care about the placement of the tent more than about the ground. If it's not sloping and not extremely uneven, it's doable in the angle best suited to the wind and weather.

It has to be said, that I don't hill walk as such as I have a club foot which I've had operated 16 times plus the "extra" operations to take the screws and nails out again. Instead I use my row boat to go places (lakes and coastal, mostly), so although it gives a very big degree of freedom for me, it also means I don't walk ten kilometers onto a moor or the same distance into a forest.
 
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Ray Britton

Nomad
Jun 2, 2010
320
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Bristol
gsfgaz

Can you give any more info on where you want to use the mat. Also, do you want a roll mat (as in a foam mat) or a sleeping mat (all kinds)?

For example:
What temperatures are you going to use it.
Are you bothered about its weight
Are you bothered about its size (compact, three quarter, or full length)

Just a few questions so we can narrow down the suggestions for you :)

Oarsnpaddle.

"Even the thermarest ought to insulate more than your 2 cm foamy, but of course, it won't if you don't help it the rest of the way and rely solely on the "self inflating" property.The harder it is, the more it insulates as it compress less. As you say, the more you know ..."

I think you may find that the opposite of this is true,which is why there is a trend for foam layer filled 'air mats' lately, to counteract the reduction in efficiency when large air volumes produce thermal currents in the mat which dissipate warmth. The POE ether lite is a good example of this theory, and is much warmer than an ordinary lilo due to having less open space (which is the case with an over inflated thermarest, as the foam inner becomes less efficient). This is not to say that it is a good idea to add a little air (even though this contains moisture, which reduces efficiency), but an over hard mat will be colder in use.
A simple way to add volume to your thermarest is simply to leave the valve open for longer, and let the foam expand to its max size.
 
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Oarsnpaddle

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May 24, 2010
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Greater Copenhagen
I think you may find that the opposite of this is true,which is why there is a trend for foam layer filled 'air mats' lately, to counteract the reduction in efficiency when large air volumes produce thermal currents in the mat which dissipate warmth.

I think you misunderstand me. I am talking about synmats, downmats and thermarests. All three have material inside to stop the air moving about. In the case of the downmat, it is not surprisingly down, and as all three types don't actually ballon but you adjust the firmness of them, and thus - inversely - the compression, the harder it is the more it will insulate. I am of course not talking about those air matresses which is just a big balloon made to shape.

The POE ether lite is a good example of this theory, and is much warmer than an ordinary lilo due to having less open space (which is the case with an over inflated thermarest, as the foam inner becomes less efficient). This is not to say that it is a good idea to add a little air (even though this contains moisture, which reduces efficiency), but an over hard mat will be colder in use.

I don't know the POE ether lite, to be honest, and I wasn't talking about an overinflated thermarest. In fact, I didn't even know it was possible to overinflate them. I have only inflated them to the firmness needed and that was better than when it was so soft it was compressed. My downmat, and I take it also the synmat, cannot balloon, so the harder it is, the better the insulation. Of course, it will pop at some point or at least be hard as rock.


A simple way to add volume to your thermarest is simply to leave the valve open for longer, and let the foam expand to its max size.

Not in my experience. In my experience, although it has been some years by now, I always seemed to have to help it to give it a little more firmness than it was capable of on its own. And the people I have talked to about it, also did the last bit with the mouth to get better firmness.
There is no doubt that if a thermarest, downmat, synmat or similar is not firm enough, it will simply not insulate as well as it should. It's the exact same principle as loft in a sleeping bag. And foam in itself works the same way. If compressed too much (i.e. it's too soft, or you lay on the side with boney bones) it will not isolate as well as the one that resist compression better.
 

Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
36,876
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S. Lanarkshire
I must admit I like my down mat almost as full as it will go, and it is warm :D Even very firm it is comfortable. Beats the thermarest type anyday :D
If I could only carry one, mat or sleeping bag, I'd take the mat. I can always wear my clothes to sleep, but the insulation from the cold is brilliant.

cheers,
Toddy
 

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