Author Topic: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?  (Read 18319 times)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« on: July 19, 2012, 02:13:34 pm »
I've tried Thermarest and Exped. Exped were definitely the better for sleeping on, but, along with a number of others on teh forum, mine leaked goose down. Today I've been told that my money is being refunded, even though it was almost 3 years ago that I bought it. So I'm going to buy something to replace it.

However, it seems that the Downmat with integrated pump has a limited shelf-life and of course, whereas it seemed to be all the rage two or three years ago, something else may well have been developed.

What does the panel believe is the best mattress for cycle camping?
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2012, 02:22:29 pm »
Must admit, I've been thinking about the synmats for when this current crop of downmats fail.   Not sure about how they are filled though.   

Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2012, 02:30:51 pm »
I’ve got a synmat ultralite. It doesn’t have an integral pump so I blow it up using the Pillow Pump bought separately which does the job quite quickly – I like a decent pillow regardless so might as well have one that does double duty. You can blow it up by mouth but I’d rather keep moisture out of its innards.

It’s early days (it has only been on two trips for a few nights so far), but it’s light (around 400g I think) and is the size of a 500ml bottle of water. I find it very comfy but then I never had a Downmat to compare it to - just a Blacks thermarestalike. It does only have a 2-year guarantee, but it is made out of ultralight material so I am trying to be a bit careful with it.

The only thing that is a bit disappointing is it doesn't deflate as easily as I hoped it might - after years of forcing the air out of my thermarestalike when rolling it up, I still find myself spending around the same amount of time getting all the air out of the synmat in order to make it fit in its stuffsac.


Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2012, 03:14:48 pm »
http://cascadedesigns.com/therm-a-rest/mattresses/fast-and-light/z-lite/product . Lighter and cheaper than any self-inflating mattress, never leaks, no pumping or inflating required. I also use mine as a knee pad for any camp chores that require kneeling, and as a pad to sit on. The only downside is that it does not pack down nearly as compactly as a self-inflating mattress, which can be an issue if your tour involves air travel.

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2012, 03:26:17 pm »
We have a Synmat 7 DLX.  It's great.
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Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2012, 05:23:22 pm »
I've just ordered one of these:

http://www.theoutdoorshop.com/showPart.asp?part=PN20453

That's one that uses the stuffsack as an inflating device. Hopefully it will arrive in time for this weekend's jaunt to Great Malvern
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2012, 06:44:58 pm »
I've just ordered one of these:

http://www.theoutdoorshop.com/showPart.asp?part=PN20453

That's one that uses the stuffsack as an inflating device. Hopefully it will arrive in time for this weekend's jaunt to Great Malvern

Is it the Blues Festival at Upton you are heading for?

If you need to borrow a thermarest or a short Downmat I can help I am very close to Malvern.
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Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2012, 08:06:18 pm »
I've just ordered one of these:

http://www.theoutdoorshop.com/showPart.asp?part=PN20453

That's one that uses the stuffsack as an inflating device. Hopefully it will arrive in time for this weekend's jaunt to Great Malvern

Is it the Blues Festival at Upton you are heading for?

If you need to borrow a thermarest or a short Downmat I can help I am very close to Malvern.

No, Jane & I are just off to do a bit of Elgar research. I've got a spare Downmat, thanks. I bought one for me and one for Mrs. Wow.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.


Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2012, 08:31:49 pm »
He lived for a while in a house just across the common from me at Napleton or so the blue plaque on the wall proclaims.

Pauline had the book of his rides and we did a few of them, unfortunately she loaned it someone and it was never returned.

Where are you camping at Blackmore? The butchers up the road from there at Handley Swan do a really nice pork pie.
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Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2012, 11:34:54 pm »
Book: Elgar The Cyclist
You almost made me have an accident there! Then I realised that rather than pay postage, it might be more enjoyable to pay for a train ticket.  :thumbsup:
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2012, 03:08:09 am »
Much better idea. :thumbsup:
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Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2012, 02:36:21 pm »
Hmmm.  Looking at the Thermarest Xtherm.   Interesting.   No feathers and the greater number of baffles probably means less pressure on each one leading to, perhaps, less chance of failures.

Hope I don't need one for a few years yet though.
 

Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2012, 02:44:50 pm »
I thought about the Xtherm or Xlite. Couldn't find anything about the Xtherm on line, but a few reports of the Xlite leaking on 1st use.
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plum

Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2012, 03:48:55 pm »
So many people talking about built in pumps and inflation devices, why on earth haven't these companies come up with a mainstream bike pump compatible inflatable mat? How hard can it be to fit a suitable valve to these things?


Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2012, 03:50:22 pm »
Market for an adapter methinks...    :)

Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2012, 04:30:22 pm »
So many people talking about built in pumps and inflation devices, why on earth haven't these companies come up with a mainstream bike pump compatible inflatable mat? How hard can it be to fit a suitable valve to these things?

According to an Exped rep it is two fold. First is volume, the mat requires high volume and it would mean pumping for a long time to fill the mat. Second is pressure, they fear that once the mat is filled some would continue pumping and over-inflate the mat and cause damage to the seams. I have known a case of the second part someone pumping one up to 40psi to find a leak and busting the seam.
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Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
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Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2012, 05:11:46 pm »
That's the point about mattresses: they a high-volume low-pressure devices whereas a bike pump is designed to provide for low volume and high pressure.

There's possibly the added issue that most bike pumps will seal their washers with grease. Is it possible that tiny oily particles might find their way in to contaminate the down?
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

plum

Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2012, 05:53:04 pm »
...First is volume, the mat requires high volume and it would mean pumping for a long time to fill the mat...
My word that rep had never tried inflating one of his own mats using the built in pump then. About a thimble full of air with every stroke, takes forever. Not to mention that every stroke involves whole mid and upper body movement, it's like doing a pilates workout. I might get good detailing on my pecs using the built in pump and maybe tone up my six pack but I could do it quicker and with less calories burned with a bike pump, fact.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2012, 07:11:11 pm »
You can use one hand only and it's probably quicker. Support your body weight on your left hand and pump with the right. More pumping strokes but it does not involve 2 minutes of press-ups.

I took a bit of amusing video of Charlotte pumping up an Exped downmat once but it was really too dark to be properly useable. Besides, the following morning she took some photos of me emerging from the water after skinny-dipping, on the occasion that she asked, with a raised eyebrow "Cold, Peter?"

I can't think what she meant.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2012, 07:12:27 pm »
Are we still on the subject of camping mats?
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Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2012, 07:17:36 pm »
...First is volume, the mat requires high volume and it would mean pumping for a long time to fill the mat...
My word that rep had never tried inflating one of his own mats using the built in pump then. About a thimble full of air with every stroke, takes forever. Not to mention that every stroke involves whole mid and upper body movement, it's like doing a pilates workout. I might get good detailing on my pecs using the built in pump and maybe tone up my six pack but I could do it quicker and with less calories burned with a bike pump, fact.

The rep in question did it in 28 seconds as a demonstration at the Outdoor Trades Show.
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Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2012, 05:16:19 pm »
I'd like to jump in here and ask a more general question about camping mattresses. I've never had one and am finding the variety a bit baffling, not to mention that some of them are rather expensive to my mind. But I need to get one by, well, Monday!
So I see three basic types:
Foam mats which simply unroll, like those which might be used for yoga, say. Cheap, light, pack small, but perhaps not too comfy?
Self-inflating mats of various lengths and thicknesses. Bit more expensive but still affordable, pack small but not as light as foam rolls. Claim to inflate automatically with an automagical valve ???
Inflatable ones you need to pump up.

As far as I'm aware these are all filled with air (where they are not solid foam) but now I hear of down-filled mats. And I see prices into three figures. Could someone give me a quick guide without salesman-spiel? TIA!
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Which is the best mattress for cycle camping?
« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2012, 06:52:53 pm »
So I see three basic types:
Foam mats which simply unroll, like those which might be used for yoga, say. Cheap, light, pack small, but perhaps not too comfy?
Foam mats don't pack small, they are rather bulky. But they are very lightweight, so you can just strap them onto the top of your bag without worrying about them getting wet or punctured etc.
Though as you say, maybe not comfy. And maybe not very warm - they don't insulate you from the cold ground much.

Quote
Self-inflating mats of various lengths and thicknesses. Bit more expensive but still affordable, pack small but not as light as foam rolls. Claim to inflate automatically with an automagical valve ???
Self-inflating mats have a kind of compressed foam inside them, usually the valve isn't very magical. When you unroll them and open the valve this foam will expand/inflate a bit. But they probably won't inflate completely, you will have to blow into it a bit to get it firm enough.

FWIW I'm happy with my Thermarest Prolite self-inflating mat. Comfy and warm enough for me, and packs pretty small. And maybe more robust than some of the lighter weight mats.