Sleeping Mat Recommendation Sought...

Assuming you're wishing to carry it in a rucksack or on a bike ...

Thermarest Neoair. There are several models varying in width, length, thickness and insulating value (and price!); pick the one which fits what you want it for primarily, or what the most extreme thing you'll want it for is. I've used a fair few mats over three decades, ranging from British hills to alpine mountains, and overall these are about the best I've used.


New Member
Thermarest do some great mats, I have a Thermarest RidgeRest which is a cheap option offering insulation but not much comfort, it's essentially a luxury roll mat. I can sleep on mine just fine, but I normally have a cheap airmat thing on the top as well. The Ridgerest is more suited for hiking because of it's large size, for cycling you'd probably want a mat type thing which come just as light, warm and with more comfort, although they get expensive.

It depends what sort of space you have for it packed.
Loch side.
How does a cheapo closed cell rubber foam mat (those blue ones) compare to all these fancy mats? I have a mini thermarest on my kayak's seat and I find it not cushioning at all.

Gravity Aided

Legendary Member
Land of Lincoln
Pretty decently, as a matter of fact. They don't pack down as small as a self inflating mat, but they are good value for money. Beats the stuffings out of no mat at all. And when part of it wears out, you could easily cut it down for a kayak seat cushion.
How does a cheapo closed cell rubber foam mat (those blue ones) compare to all these fancy mats? I have a mini thermarest on my kayak's seat and I find it not cushioning at all.
Depends on what criterion you're comparing them.
- Durability and general inability to deflate: closed cell wins.
- Cheap and not worried about damage: closed cell wins.
- Warmth (insulation from the ground): closed cell can be very warm if thick/bulky, but none come close to inflatable ones with heat reflecting baffles and/or down in them.
- Comfort: varies by respective thickness, but the inflatable ones (whether or not they have down as well) are pretty much invariable more comfortable, though it does depend on the surface you're lying on to a degree.
As a general rule, the mini inflatable seat things don't work too well as the pressure of sitting on them is way higher than the pressure of lying on a similar thickness inflatable (or the pressure required to avoid squashing them is much higher, depending on how you look at it).
While I have had mixed experiences with my Exped Synmat UL 7S I would replace with another Exped or Therm-a-Rest mat in a similar design. The comfort when it is up is worth it. Having to carry an extra layer to protect from getting punctured is more of a pain but.




Who, me ?
Thanks folks. Looks like I'll be aiming for an insulated inflatable from Exped or Thermarest. I could see that they will be more comfortable but I hadn't appreciated that they might be fairly fragile. I'm pretty careful with my kit so am happy to take the risk.


[QUOTE 3549527, member: 9609"]I have a 3/4 length thermarest which I think is excellent, done loads of wild camping up in the hills winter and summer, would never go back to the traditional closed cell mats.[/QUOTE]

I use a 3/4 inflatable + a 1/4 (or 1/3) closed cell sit-mat.
I can put the closed cell under my feet at night, and use it to sit on cold, muddy ground.
If/when my inflatable develops a leak, at least I have something
The closed cell mat lives on my rack, under my tent.
+2 or is it +3 on exped, but I prefer the downmat version.

Had my current one for 4 years now used on our big tour every night for almost a year, so plenty of use. I will state that I had a problem with the valve in pump but it didn't stop me inflating the mat, it was just deflating the very last bit that was a problem until you opened the in valve which promptly let air out. Oh and it made some interesting moaning noises.:blush: Exped replaced it without issue.

I have also had the downmat 9 when it first came out as well as the synmat 7, so have had quite a lot of experience with them.
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