What's your favourite sleeping mat?

Discussion in 'Sleep Mats' started by PhilHo, Dec 17, 2019.

  1. PhilHo

    PhilHo Thru Hiker

    I'm thinking of buying a Thermarest NeoAir XLite Regular because if will save me 450g on my current "pad". I'm not sure if this is the reight decision, would I be better going for a more insulated one like a Big Agnes AXL or Exped down filled one?

    Before I take the plunge I thought I'd ask what other member's favourity mats are. I'd be interested in what lead you to that particular one rather than a two word answer if possible.

    I want something that will take my 6'2" 95kg frame, be comfortable and "warm". 400g ish.
  2. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    The Big Agnes AXL insulation is rubbish. If you want that style of high comfort mat and functional insulation then you are better off taking the extra weight of a Sea to Summit Etherlight insulated. Alternatively, if you want the comfort of that style of mat but are less bothered about the insulation then the Big Agnes uninsulated version of the AXL or the uninsulated Sea to Summit Etherlight are great weights but you'll need to stick a radiator screen under them, which is obviously less great.

    I have the AXL insulated short/wide :redface:, which at 434g is still quite light but I wouldn't camp high with it without extra insulation. If I didn't already have it I would probably buy the uninsulated version, since I now realise that I have to carry the extra insulation for it anyway. But I mainly summer camp in the Pyrenees and cold is only an issue when high, so that mix would work out okay. I wouldn't take it for spring/autumn in the UK with or without extra insulation, which is why I also tried the Etherlight. But I am a cold sleeper. The Etherlight at 500g is a bit heavy for the Pyrenees where the warmth is rarely needed so I might take the AXL there again this year. I might turn the radiator screen into a sit mat/pillow combo by sticking it folded into a home made case of some kind and thus save a few grams on sit mat and pillow to justify a mostly useless item.

    Both mats are extremely comfortable. Whether the extra comfort is really worth it versus the weight of the XLite I'm not really sure. I'm beginning to think not. I had lots of comfort but too much weight last time. I might be willing to have less comfort - Only in theory of course. I have several mats and am not about to buy another one.

    Edit: I think the exped mats with the high side baffles are really comfortable. If I was buying again I might very well go for the synmat. Really good balance of comfort, insulation and weight.
    Cranston and PhilHo like this.
  3. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    The Thermarest NeoAir XLite Regular is narrow, really narrow. I've just bought one. :rolleyes:

    It replaced my Exped synmat which I loved, but that sprung an invisible leak

    I fell for the hype from the AT crowd and wanted to be with the cool kidz next year..


    Did I mention it's narrow? and noisy..... ah well I'll get used to it, and so will all those sleeping near me. :biggrin:
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
    PhilHo likes this.
  4. Nigelp

    Nigelp Ultralighter

    I’ve gone right off squeaky, leaky Neoairs. I’m using a Thermarest Apex now and much happier with it.
    PhilHo likes this.
  5. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    Thermarest X range of mats are narrow, if you’re a restless sleeper you might find them annoying, Expeds might be a better option

    I switch between TARs (Uber/Xtherm) Exped Synmat HL MW, a couple of Klymits and a Downmat for car camping/hot tenting.

    They all have their pluses and minuses but apart from the Downmat I’d say the Synmat was the most comfortable and the most chosen for my outings recently.

    I did the TGO and lots of trips after, on the old style square Neoair, they're good if you can find one.

    There's lots of positive reviews on the Nemo Tensor, especially the regular/wide version, tough to find I hear though
    PhilHo likes this.
  6. OwenM

    OwenM Ultralighter

    I use neo airs, I had a short one which was nice, light and compact but narrow and tapered. As I'm a fidgety sleeper I kept rolling off it. So I got a long one which isn't so tapered so I stay on it more. As I'm as deaf as a post the noise doesn't bother me and as I'm strictly a solo backpack there's no one else to upset.
    PhilHo likes this.
  7. PhilHo

    PhilHo Thru Hiker

    I'm liking the sound of Exped Synmat. Having searched online for them I'm a bit confused which model to go for. Any pointers gratefully received. I think I'm looking for wider.
  8. Charlie83

    Charlie83 Section Hiker

    Neoair Xlite has done me for 4 or 5 years, until it sprung a leak, hopefully the free replacement does the same, so I suppose it's my favourite, cant say I've noticed any noise when on it. I have come off it once or twice, more so when I used a bag, dont think I have since changing to a quilt.

    have a couple of Pacific outdoors ones kicking about, think they've lasted longer than the firm.

    Wife has a thermarest Trekker, long and wide, its akin to our bed at home and weighs about the same
    PhilHo likes this.
  9. FOX160

    FOX160 Thru Hiker

    We both really like the Klymit insulated static v lite but 567g also been trying out a small Thermarest v lite mat, just for warmer months that appears to be working out and loses a chunk of weight.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
    PhilHo likes this.
  10. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    Synmat hl mw weighs the same as the sea to summit etherlight women when the inflating pumps are taken into account, both end up at 500g. The etherlight has a better r rating but the exped snozzle inflating bag can be used to store your quilt, unlike the S2S bag which is a marginal benefit. The exped is wider for the same weight. I also think there’s something about the raised baffles that stops your quilt edge tumbling off the side, if you use a quilt. I went with the etherlight for thé r value but if going again I would choose the synmat for the three reasons above.
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  11. Cranston

    Cranston Thru Hiker

    If you should go the Xlite Phil as Charlie83 says the noise is manageable or non existent (I'm fairly sure the newer material inside is quieter) and even more so if you roll it up quite hard twenty or thirty times before you use it.
    Used my large wide with a bag a dozen times -dead quiet. Now using it with a quilt in milder weather and expected more noise as my body rubbed on the fabric etc-none as far as I can tell.
    PhilHo likes this.
  12. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    My Etherlite doesn't fill me with joy, either. It's the pinnacle of mats currently, but just doesn't feel special.

    Coming from the worlds greatest mat; the GG Airbeam sleeper XL....a mat that always felt like I'd slept on a cloud, I really struggled to find anything at all. I'm still bitter they discontinued it.

    My Etherlite and Exped downmat are OK but not wide enough for me. None of the other makes appealed TBH, The TR's are noisy and clammy too.

    If I was getting again, I think it would be the STS Comforts. I've got the Comfort plus for the van and it's amazingly comfy; it's got 2 layers of air spring and feels amazing. It's a behemoth compared to the Ether though.
    PhilHo likes this.
  13. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    I went for the HL MW Phil, seemed to be a good compromise of weight and size, same as @Clare says, 65cm wide so those extra chunky side baffles hold you in nicely. Full length, wide, 7cm deep and just shy of 450g from memory
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  14. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    The Synmat is widest at the shoulders and narrows to the waist, the mens Etherlite maintains the width down to the waist and feels wider. My hands fall off it in the night.
  15. PhilHo

    PhilHo Thru Hiker

  16. Cranston

    Cranston Thru Hiker

    I would really like to try one!
    Just wondering Shewie-the taper looks to happen quick (compared to the Xlites) -not a problem at all?
    Is it 65cms where your shoulders and torso are or just at the very top.
  17. Bob-W

    Bob-W Trail Blazer

    I've the Exped Synmat Winterlite and my wife has the Synmat Hyperlite. Both are the M versions. The maximum width is at the shoulder and is a straight taper to the foot area so "just at the very top". There's also the "Ultralight" range which are rectangular rather than tapered. At the time of purchase (late 2015) the main options were Exped Syn/Downmats and the Neolites and the latter had their "crisp packet" reputation.

    I'm 1.80m tall, 105cm chest (5'11" and 42") and the mat is fine in length but perhaps a little narrow, I don't toss and turn very much but if I did then it would be too narrow but it's a close run thing. I think that the wider versions add a baffle. If you fully/over inflate then you do get the feeling that you are perched on top of the mat rather than sinking into it slightly so I fully inflate then let a little air out. This also has the effect of reducing strain on the internal RF welded baffles - my first mat lasted just 14 nights before one of the side welds split. Partly my fault - I'd fully inflated then slumped down on it. The replacement has been good for 60+ nights now. My Winterlite weighs 425g and my wife's Hyperlite weighs 350g

    We've used them in the Arctic at temperatures well below the rating for the Hyperlite but as ever when talking about temperatures what is comfortable for one person may not be for the next. For UK use I'd be happy with the Synmat Hyperlite except maybe somewhere like the Cairngorms in full winter conditions.

    One point to note: if you use a quilt then it's worth wearing some form of "pyjamas" as the material can feel quite clammy next to the skin especially on mild to warm nights.
  18. PhilHo

    PhilHo Thru Hiker

    Many thanks for all of the extremely useful input on this question. I have just ordered this:

    https://www.outdoorgb.com/p/Exped_SynMat_HL_LW_Sleeping_Mat/

    My current mat is an Alpkit Dumo at 850g so I have reduced my base weight by 400g if the Schnozzel replaces a dry bag I would have carried anyway.
    cathyjc likes this.
  19. Nevis

    Nevis Section Hiker

    Big Agnes Q core slx for me :) Was out last week and it was well below freezing and was plenty warm enough and very comfortable. Tried the Exped downmat but after a few days its really uncomfortable on my hips. Have a static V insulated as well but find that a tad too narrow but strangely comfortable as you would think that you would fall between the V shapes but don't :)
    PhilHo likes this.
  20. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    I have only ever used Exped mats so cannot compare with other brands.
    I'm a petite female and have the regular width in Hyperlite and Winterlite. I think you are wise to get the 'wide' :thumbsup:.
    I sometimes wish I'd got that with the Winterlite as my legs sometimes 'drift' off the mat. The extra height does somehow make the mat feel narrower.
    PhilHo likes this.
  21. benp1

    benp1 Trail Blazer

    I've been a thermarest user for years, and had a large neoair for many of those. first the original one, in large. Now the xtherm in large. Lighter and warmer than the original. It's heavier than the summer ones but I tend to use it year round, it's excellent. I use the little battery powered pump as well, no effort camping! Thought about an xlite but it's a small weight saving, an uberlite is a good weight saving but i've heard mixed things about their robustness.

    The large is longer, which is helpful as I'm tall, but it's also wider so I don't have a problem with the width either
    PhilHo likes this.
  22. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Exped synmat

    Have a NeoAir XLite, use every couple of years but then it gets stuffed in a cupboard till i forget it's nowhere near as comfortable as my synmat
    PhilHo likes this.
  23. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

    I started off with a closed cell foam mat, which didn't last long, in any sense of the phrase (though I think it's still being used as an exercise/yoga mat, though not by me). Then a Mountain Equipment Helium 3.8, because apart from being cheap it was everything the CCF wasn't: thick, reasonably compact when not in use and easy to carry, cushiony. But it wasn't that compact and more importantly, it was too thick and not wide enough. I'm a squirmer and I like a wide mat! So I replaced it with an extra wide Thermarest. Can't remember the model name, if there is one, but I had to get it specially as apparently only Americans normally want something that wide! (Ulps!) It's not as "thick" as the ME but it's plenty thick enough for me. Also unlike the ME it doesn't claim to be semi-self-inflating, but as that was a meaningless claim, it really doesn't matter. And despite being signifcantly wider, it packs smaller.

    I see Expeds get a lot of mention. I've never used one but everyone I know with a downmat says it ends up leaking down. But apparently the customer support is great...
  24. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    We have 2 downmats in our house - the original heavyweight and an UL model - neither has ever shed down.
    PhilHo likes this.
  25. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

    Maybe my friends are too... abrasive? !!!

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