Mats & Stoves


So I'm going to shortly embark on my first cycle camping weekend(s).

I already have a decent bike, rack & panniers (Ultra Galaxy, Tubus Cargo rack & Ortlieb back rollers).

Got a cheap tent - Vango Alpha 200 (Might eventually upgrade if I enjoy it and venture further afield for longer than a weekend).

I'm now looking at sleeping mats and stove / cooking utensils.


What's the score with these self inflating matresses? When Mr Plax and I went tent shopping most places seemed to stock loads of self inflating mattresses and hardly any or none of the traditional foam mats. Some were surprisingly light but surely not easy to repack and how do you use them more than once?


What is considered a decent weight for one of these?
I've seem this;

77kg, but then I expect you'll have to consider carrying a few gas cartridges. I expect I'll be using it for tea, soup, beans, porridge, super noodles etc

Pans/cooking utensils

Again what is considered a decent weight for these?

Although I expect 1 pot and a kettle would be more my forte.

Any advice welcomed. I'll be staying 1 night in Harlech in a few weeks with my old man who has a tent the size of a house and all the gear so I shan't suffer too much if I forget anything and he is the BBQ king so I'll not need to lug any food with me (I'll be cycling down to join him, only about 30 miles from mine so thought it would be a good trial run).

I'll then be going to the Welsh Festival of Cycling end of July. 2 nights there and I'll be driving down Fri after work so will have the car then.

Finally I'll be going to Bala for the weekend, cycling down, will be just under 50 miles from mine. So a few "mini tours" to get myself settled.

PS I have an old 2 season mummy bag that weighs 1.5kg so that will also have to do for now, I expect you can get much lighter sleeping bags nowadays.


Europe Endless
With the self inflating ones, you undo a valve, they inflate, then you do the valve up. To deflate, you undo the valve, roll them up and do the valve up again. They're not all that tricky.

I've got an army cookset with a trangia knock-off meths stove, a billy and a windshield, like this one. A snip at £8 or so off Ebay. Not as light as some, but at that price I can live with that.


Legendary Member
Nr Cambridge
I've a 3/4 length Thermarest inflating mat. He's not heavy (he's my brother). Easy to inflate/deflate and easily rolls up small. I think it weighs about 600-700g maybe less. It's in the loft at the mo.

Stoves - 77kg . Blimey :evil:! Is it a full on range cooker? What are you cooking a banquet for 30 :evil:? I manage with just one camping stove - the burner and then the detachable arms that act as the support on which to place a pan/saucepan that then just screws into the top of a camping Gaz canister which has extendable feet so it doesn't topple. It was really cheap and has served me well. I would get another cheap one of these. I think it was less than a tenner.

Cutlery just take some from home. You are only going for a few days and if like most cutlery it isn't that heavy ....... Plastic bowls and plates from Blacks are cheap, cheerful and more than adequate. But if you are feeling like splashing the cash look for any untensils and plates, etc. made from titanium. Penknife with corkscrew and a tin opener. Small chopping board. A small amount of washing up liquid.

Don't forget mozzie repellent, a pair of thick jeans and socks. A mozzie/fly head net just in case they are oppressive.

Torch with spare batteries.

Have fun.


I am again going to champion the Kelly Kettle as the best camping stove.

I have large Aluminum Kelly kettle and cooking set. It has been more than adequate for Lois & I during the music festivals last year, and the week long camping tour that we did of Wales. I have also successfully boiled all the water and completed all the required cooking for 4 adults over a 3 night weekend on the North Norfolk coast. Having cooked with dried grass and few twigs as fuel, along with festival litter, wood chips and saw mill off-cuts. i am a very experienced outdoors-man and the Kelly Kettle is my preferred choice each and every time. Basically, if it burns you can use it in the Kelly Kettle.

Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
IIRC, Alpkit do some decent sleeping mats. They're easy to use (after rolling I suck the eir out of mine to compact it a bit more) and they're much more comfortable than Karrimats of yore.
Cooking wise we favoured a Trangia (we also carried a back-up small Gaz burner as well in case we wanted to have severall things on the go at once). Trangia's are fab though.
Then some cheap light plates/bowls and cutlery. Corkscrew and Bottle opener are de-riguer of course!


Cycling in the sun
Tried out my new Alpkit mat just yesterday ...whilst I prefer an airbed ... size and weight wise they win hands down. Alpkit are just in the process of changing their mats.

I think volume may be more important than weight in some cases ... certainly my old sleeping bag is very large ... and I still want to go smaller yet .. but its trying to find the right compromise between size/weight/being cold! I've bought a lovely warm liner though I forgot to take it with me - luckily it was warm enough anyway.


Sorry Crank I meant 77g!
Thanks for the advice so far.Self inflating may be the way togo then. I'll have a look at the various cookware listed.
I have used a thermarst for the past 15years - had it now - but it has worked well even on the coldest of nights - will be replacing pretty much like with like

stove I use a relatively heavy freestanding gas stove for most things - again about 15 years use and still going strong - I like gas - clean and convienient

rich p

ridiculous old lush
I've abandoned my thermarest and gone for the luxury of an Exped 7 downmat. It's infinitely more comfortable, full length not 3/4 and weighs 880g as opposed to 600g.
The size difference when packed is negligible.


New Member
Totally agree, Exped Downmat is the way to go. They are also splendid used with a chairkit sitting inside a tent and reading.

Sadly they are expensive, so a Downmat may have to be a long term goal.

In the short term the self inflating mats are good and much better than the old closed cell foam ones. Alpkit are hard to beat for price.
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