Do you remember that trip to Ireland that I told you about…
I’d bought a Thermarest sleeping mat but then couldn’t repack it! So I bought something similar to the roll mat that you see in the top left of the photo above. In fact, it was probably that I bought… duh! Anyway, when my friend arrived at my house, he pointed out how I probably couldn’t take it on the plane as it didn’t fit into my bag. Which is how I ended up sleeping on extremely wet and cold Irish soil with only the bottom (Not really a groundsheet) of my tent beneath me. A lesson was learned!
On the left of the above photo is the abandoned roll mat. Referring back to the photo at the top, it originally rolled up a little tighter but has spent years with my wife’s smaller mat rolled up inside it and so has stretched. These are of course a cheap option but bulky. Whilst my wife and I got by for a few years with them… this all brings me to my more recent camping adventures!
Jumping to the third mat in each photo, the Levin pad has a built in pump… but is a bloody nightmare! Maybe I’m doing it wrong but I press and press but it takes a good 120 or more energy sapping goes. It’s not too heavy, cost about £22 and I did fold it down a bit better after taking the above photo. It’s also extremely comfortable and has a built in pillow as you can see… it’s just hard work!
The fourth one (On the right) is a Berghaus item. This cost me £70(!). I walked out of the shop thinking that it would somehow miraculously inflate itself. It doesn’t! It does have anti-slip stickers though! As you can see, it folds down to almost nothing and is light as a feather. Like the Levin pad, it’s easy to pack away.
Moving back to the mat in position number two of each photo, is an £11.99 Adventuridge self-inflating mat from ALDI. Boy was I relieved to buy something that even I could blow up! You turn the valve, it inflates a bit and… yes it needs a few lung puffs but voila, you have an inflated sleeping mat. A rock hard one but a sleeping mat none the less! I may be doing something wrong when I’m folding it down but it seems like it’s trying to inflate when I’m rolling it up! I’ve turned the valve though and I think (?!) that’s just how it is. Then you quickly lock the valve once you’ve rolled it up completely. Cheap, easy to inflate but bulky and less comfortable than both the Levin and the Berghaus.
I need to mention that I’m also using a foil sheet which though flatter, is about the same length as the roll mat. That goes below whatever mat I’m using. When I didn’t use this, the part of my tent that sticks out beyond the groundsheet got damp and left my book extremely sodden!
Back to the mats/pads themselves. Fortunately, I don’t have to spend five minutes plus hand pumping my Levin mat or butcher my lungs blowing up my potential waste of £70 Berghaus pad… Come back tomorrow to find out why!