Mattress advice appreciated
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I'm lining up to get a new mattress, and am having considerable angst on the subject. I've done a bit of research, watched reviews, and gone into the store to try a few out. And I've read this thread here: https://tramper.nz/forums/thread/10200?offset=1 I feel it's a contest between: - thermarest prolite - closest to what I used to have. Seems too bulky and thin. - thermarest neoair xlite - very worried about the noise. Every review seems to say it's the best, but each time a feel one I get worried. - exped synmat ul 7 - very worried about the durability (seems there are a few reports of leaks at the seams). A little worried about the vertical baffle. The noise doesn't seem to be an issue. I mainly use huts. So I started looking for something to have as an option when huts are full as well as for emergencies. I have recently learned that I rather like sleeping under the stars and away from the noise of a hut; so my use might grow. At home I am a side-sleeper, but on the trail I have tended to have to sleep on my back. The thicker air mattresses are definitely attractive, especially given how small they pack down. Advice? Thoughts? Experience? Thanks
So, you're stepping up from the 'self-inflating' 25mm honey comb mats ?. I have an exped blow-up. 7cm between me and the ground. Side sleeping for the Sasquatch physique is not a problem. No problem with mattress durability. Might be a batch or change of manufacturing issue ?.
There is no doubt that Exped have a durability issue, in particular with UL and hyperlite mats. The baffles are not well secured and, when one pops, the mat is unuseable because of the lump created. They are comfortable but the 2yr warranty reflects Exped's expectation of it's life. I've had two and both failed. I inherited an original yellow Neo-air and it too is comfortable. Initially they squeak like a banshee but that diminishes with time and use. The newer versions are better, but still squeaky initially. I also have a Prolite 4 (xsmall) and, whilst I can get some sleep on it, I don't take it very often. I don't think it's any more comfortable that my original brown (metal valve) Thermarest (which is still going). On shorter trips were I can afford the weight, I take my Exped synmat9 - a more substantial construction. BTW, don't waste money on an inflation bag - you can make you own http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=53&t=21748
There are certain things you cannot get around with a mattress, the ultralight air mattresses, with or without down, are going to be the lightest and most expensive, but when they fail you have a significant problem. Also, air mattresses are pretty terrible for your back, so if you have any type of back issues, I would steer away from them. I know people mention noise but for me this wouldn't be an issue. I still use a Prolite because I feel it's the best all around mattress ever made, it bridges the gap well between light and comfortable, and is fairly durable. If it fails there is still some foam in there, and combined with adding clothing underneath and using your pack you'll get through the night. This is especially important for insulation purposes. Before using the Prolite I used the old Thermarest Ultralight which I purchased in 2001 and put 2000kms on it. I had a single hole which I patched in 2008, it was still working fine when I retired it a few years ago. I find the key to using these mattresses is NOT filling them 100% with air, but having some play so that your back is actually being supported from the foam, not the air. Counter-intuitive but it's how they are intended to be used. For reliability nothing beats closed-cell foam, but it certainly has it's comfort limits, but that piece of mind is amazing.
I've done a bit of research into the ultralight mats too and my conclusions are that all the ultralight type mats have durability issues - I guess thats the tradeoff for the lightness. I'm personally going down the fold-up foam closed-cell mattress route. They are a bit bulky but super-light.
... and to anyone carrying closed cell foam mats on the outside of their pack, **please** put it in a bag. I see (and pick up) dozens of pieces on most tramps.
Have to say - I'm leaning back towards the neoair again. Went into a store to try it out again. Played with the deflation, and feel I can handle the noise. Thanks for your thoughts.
That noise issue was for version 1. Hasn't been an issue for years. Make sure you have the right side up! Look, when it comes to sleeping pads, there's no beating the thermarest, whatever you have. I have the NeoAir Xtherm, so I can use it 4 seasons, and it's a bit sturdier. I find them fantastic. Just as good as the mattress at home.
The inflatable mattresses are very polarising. I can’t sleep on the neoair as the edges are not stable and I roll off. Synmat UL too bouncy. Best I’ve found is the Nemo tensor large rectangular, about 600g and much more stable, for me personally....
Ive been using this for some time https://www.aliexpress.com/item/innovative-sleeping-pad-fast-filling-air-bag-super-light-inflatable-mattress-with-pillow-also-for-rescue/32735532530.html?spm=a2g0s.90423184.108.40.206424c4dfppoK5 Its wider than most other pads which does matter when you are 50mm off the ground not 20. First full matteress I had was narrow and my arms would fall off the side. I dont know its heat rating although Ive not been cold on it but then again I could sleep on frosty grass and not be cold
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