Space and weight are always for a hiker an issue. So, when choosing what to take on your adventure you find yourself asking the question Do I really need that or is it just a luxury item? You pack it you carry it! Eventually everything adds up. 100g here, 1.5kg there and before you know it you have a pack that is ridiculously over weight, a bit like Cheryl Strayed’s in the movie ‘Wild’ so where do you draw the line on what to pack? Easy I always ask myself, do I need it or can I make do without or use something else I already have in my pack?
When you have been out hiking all day and you get to camp for the night the last thing you want is a really uncomfortable sleep. Over the many years I have been hiking I have tried numerous sleeping mats and some are great, some well let’s say the ground would be no different. Now if we could cart our own beds with us we will all be happy, but the reality is you can’t, sorry.
Let’s look at what we can take and take into consideration while you plan your equipment the weight. Every bit adds up and You Pack It You Carry It! How many times I see people pack too much and end up dumping some gear because they can’t carry it. Not only is this a waste of money on their part but a waste of gear! So, Plan, Research and get it right and hopefully save some money as well as spend wisely.
Let’s review my latest addition to my pack and as time goes on I will add some of the old tried and tested.
Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated Series
If you haven’t noticed I am a big fan of Sea to Summit. They are not the only great gear supplier out there and I will test and share other great brands as time goes on.
There are six different levels in the Comfort light series though the one I have is the Green one, Comfort Light Insulated.
- Orange– Ultra-Light Insulated,
- Blue– Comfort Light,
- Green– Comfort Light Insulated,
- Silver– Comfort Plus,
- Red– Comfort Plus Insulated.
What these mats offer-
- ‘Air Sprung Cells’ which Sea to Summit say, “operate in the same way as a pocket sprung mattress”.
- Thermo lite insulation-“engineered fibres to achieve a high CLO value with low weight. (CLO is the measure of insulation of the material to the person for level of comfort basically)
- Exkin Platinum – lightweight fabric that reflects radiant heat loss back to the body.
- 40D Nylon face fabric – this is to help prevent rips and punctures and just gives it extra strength. (What you need as nothing worse than the air coming out in the middle of the night due to a rip) also is supposed to reduce to slipperiness of the surface.
- Extra protection from TPU Lamination (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) and added to this is an anti-microbial treatment, this is to help prevent mould and fungal growth within the mattress. This can be cause due to your breath as you blow air into the mat.
- Multi-Function Valve, two-part valve – one to blow up and control air pressure and the other for quick air release.
Having used the Green mat quite a few times now as well as met a few different fellow hikers on the trail who also have used the same mat and have to say it was an outstanding thumb up for comfort and weight.
- This mat is almost like sleeping on a bed and is defiantly one of the best I have tried for comfort.
- Weight wise is good. The Green large weighs 755g. (All the mats come in small, regular and large)
- Easy to pack and carry, which is always a plus.
The Not so Good-
- Expensive, though I think if it lasts and gives you a good night sleep you can overcome this and compared to others out there not a whole lot of difference in price.
- Noisy, this was unanimous from everyone as we move around in our sleep the sound of plastic is annoying.
- Slippery, the surface of the mat is plastic like and is very slippery. Have learnt very quickly not to put my tent on a slight slope as I spent a night pulling myself up the mat.
♥ Overall I do give it a Thumbs up as a good night sleep is always good and does make for a happy hiker.
For this item I always would just use my spare clothes in my dry bag as a pillow. Never occurred to me to take a pillow, let’s face it it’s a luxury item, right? Not anymore, I don’t think, we found a pillow that is so small and light weight to pack that the guilt of the “Luxury Item” is gone! I’m talking about the Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow!
They have 3 types to choose from; Ultra lightweight Regular, Large and Aeros Premium Traveller. We have the Regular and now not only use it while hiking but for the plane, in the car (when Mark is driving and I want to snooze), when we visit and stay at friends or just chilling in the park. It is so comfortable and the size when packed is so small it even fits in your pocket!
Let’s break it down-
- Weight; 79g
- Packed Size; ø7 x 8.5cm
- Inflated size; 34 x 24 x 11cm
- Weight; 114g
- Packed size; ø8 x 8.5cm
- Inflated size; 42 x 30 x 13cm
- Weight; 85g
- Packed size; 11 x 7 x 19cm
- Inflated size; 39 x 29 x 11cm
They have a Brushed polyester stretch knit and is soft and comfortable to lay your head on and I have discovered that in the plane I only inflate a little bit and it works better. The other great thing is you can hand wash them without destroying it. The down side is they are not cheap, they can cost up to $50AU though I think for a good night’s sleep well worth the money.