Sleeping mat selection for reliability on long hike

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Re: Sleeping mat selection for reliability on long hike

Postby Warin » Mon 09 Jul, 2018 7:12 pm

lorrainey100 wrote:Why carry 2L of water?


For me .. I carry the capability of having 2l of water. Useful when in camp not to going back and forth to get water.
And probably usefull on the first day to have 2l of water ... especially if you crest Cradle Mt/Barn Bluff ... not much usable water refilling points on that first day .
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Re: Sleeping mat selection for reliability on long hike

Postby emma_melbourne » Mon 09 Jul, 2018 7:54 pm

Lot of talk about SIMs being the more 'reliable' option....got no idea where this misconception comes from.


Where I get that idea, is there are many AT thru-hikers who have used Thermarest Prolite mats for 6 years / 6 thru-hikes and the mat is still alive and working. Whereas AT thru-hikers who use Thermarest NeoAir XLite mats tend to report it blowing out on the start of their 2nd thru-hike, and they report "but it had a good innings" kind of anecdote, and they buy another of the same.

Now even getting through a single thru-hike all the way from start to finish without any incident is still a good effort on the part of a mat. But it's interesting that the Prolite mats are lasting multiple thru-hikes.

So it's based on these repeated anecdotal reports that I am basing my assumption that the Thermarest Prolite (SIM) mats last longer than the NeoAir XLite air mats.

The fabrication used for the Thermarest 40th anniversary (SIM) mat is 75d Hex Rip Poly top fabric, compressible urathene foam, and bottom fabric 70d nylon soft grip.

That fabrication is more durable than NeoAir XLite, and looks even more appealing / durable compared to say the Nemo Tensor air mat which is 20 Denier (and known / reported to be a bit fragile in respect of springing a leak).

Secondly, a flat/holed SIM offers bugger all thermal insulation. That foam is selected for its shape memory, not thermal insulation. A flat SIM is about as good as newspaper compared to CCF, so don't think SIM has an edge there.


I don't doubt that a SIM with a hole has "bugger all" thermal insulation, but it has some, albeit a small amount. Newspaper - the material you mentioned - has some insulation. (Anecdotally my great great grandparents were sewn into newspaper suits for Winter down in Queenstown as early immigrants as it was so cold and no money.) And aside from that limited thermal insulation, it is more comfortable than sleeping on nothing, or sleeping on a deflated airmat.

That said, I don't want to be the one to test out sleeping on a deflated Thermarest 40th anniversary to report on comfort and insulation, and compare to a deflated airmat. Either sounds like not much fun! Wink.
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Re: Sleeping mat selection for reliability on long hike

Postby Warin » Mon 09 Jul, 2018 8:13 pm

emma_melbourne wrote: Newspaper - the material you mentioned - has some insulation. (Anecdotally my great great grandparents were sewn into newspaper suits for Winter down in Queenstown as early immigrants as it was so cold and no money.) And aside from that limited thermal insulation, it is more comfortable than sleeping on nothing, or sleeping on a deflated airmat.

Newspaper works well as insulation after it is read .. forms air pockets between the some what crumpled sheets. Sitting on it drives out the air so it does not work so well there. So newspapers are preferred as over blankets rather than mattresses. Newspapers would work for clothing .. just not in the rain and wind .. and it does rain and blow in Queenstown. For a mattress corrugated cardboard - boxes - do better than newspaper. But back in my grandparents day it would have been cloth bags - used for flour, sugar, wool, many things.. those would have been the cardboard of that day.
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Re: Sleeping mat selection for reliability on long hike

Postby nq111 » Mon 09 Jul, 2018 8:23 pm

Moondog55 wrote: But being super cautious I have always used some sort of CCF pad under any of my other SIF mats like the T'Rest.

+1
The only downsides of CCF are bulk and comfort. There are very light for their insulation.

Get an air mat that is a bit lower in R-value than you need (so lighter) and trade the weight saving for a CCF pad (even 1/2-3/4 length). The CCF protects the inflatable pad, adds warmth when used in combination, plus is a fail safe (partial) backup if the inflatable fails.

Really don't want to be in a cold place sleeping directly on the ground.
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Re: Sleeping mat selection for reliability on long hike

Postby Zapruda » Mon 09 Jul, 2018 8:47 pm

Or you could just carry the 5 gram repair kit for the inflatable and repair it in the field in the incredibly unlikely event of a failure...

You guys really make things complicated for yourselves.
Last edited by Zapruda on Mon 09 Jul, 2018 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sleeping mat selection for reliability on long hike

Postby emma_melbourne » Mon 09 Jul, 2018 8:47 pm

Taking very seriously all your recommendations on Air mats.

It's still looking very tempting to try and take my Thermarest 40th anniversary in REGULAR size, at 680 grams, because here's the comparison specs:

Brand mat Size Thickness Pack size R value Weight Cost

Thermarest NeoAir XLite (Large) 196 x 63 cm 6.3 cm 28 x 11 cm diam 3.2 480 grams $221 or +

Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insul (Large) 201 x 64 cm 6.3 cm 26 x 11 cm diam 4.2 755 grams $199 or +

Thermarest 40th Annivesary SIM (regular) 183 x 50 cm 5 cm 28 x 12 cm diam 4 680 grams FREE AS I OWN ONE ALREADY


Really the only pain is in sleeping on a narrower 50 cm wide mat. But on the other factors, the R value is good, the comfort is good, the pack down size is good, and I think the weight is acceptable at 680 grams.

As otherwise it's expensive spending more than $200 to save 200 grams.

And I think the Thermarest 40th Anniversary SIM is likely to be marginally more durable than the NeoAir XLite. It's 70 denier compared to 30 denier. One of the reasons I got it in the first place was the Prolite Plus was recommended for having toddlers bouncing on the mats, as it's more durable than an air mat apparently for toddler literally jumping on them like trampoline.

But longer term, I will look at Thermarest NeoAir XLite or what S2S has to offer, which may be 2 years down the track.

It's reassuring to hear you've all had pretty good experiences with the NeoAir XLite mats and the S2S Comfort Light mats. (And not Exped Synmat 7s, as I hear)
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Re: Sleeping mat selection for reliability on long hike

Postby nq111 » Mon 09 Jul, 2018 9:01 pm

Zapruda wrote:Or you could just carry the 5 gram repair kit for the inflatable and repair it in the field in the incredibly unlikely event of a failure...


Ever tried to find a pinhole in an airmat by torch in a 2-man tent with two big fellas inside?

And what if you suffer a catastrophic failure - big rip or burn or delamination?

Not saying it is likely but is likely enough with big enough consequences when in cold places to not prepare for. Especially since the weight penalty of a slightly less insulated air mat plus a CCF is bugger all - indeed in some combinations may be weight neutral.
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Re: Sleeping mat selection for reliability on long hike

Postby Zapruda » Mon 09 Jul, 2018 9:16 pm

nq111 wrote:
Zapruda wrote:Or you could just carry the 5 gram repair kit for the inflatable and repair it in the field in the incredibly unlikely event of a failure...


Ever tried to find a pinhole in an airmat by torch in a 2-man tent with two big fellas inside?

And what if you suffer a catastrophic failure - big rip or burn or delamination?

Not saying it is likely but is likely enough with big enough consequences when in cold places to not prepare for. Especially since the weight penalty of a slightly less insulated air mat plus a CCF is bugger all - indeed in some combinations may be weight neutral.


Not another bloke but with my partner, yes. You must be really good mates if you can squeeze two extra big fellas in your 2 person tent with you. Cosy.

In my experience, if the hole is letting out enough air that the mat is deflating quickly you can find the hole easily enough. If it is a slow leak then you can usually get by blowing it up a few times during the night until you can find it in the morning.

Big rip? Repair tape and repair kit. Mats shouldnt rip though. How would you rip it?

Burn? I would ask myself why I was being an idiot and keeping my important gear near open flames.

Delamination? Don’t buy an exped.

I’m not saying your method is wrong. I’m just playing devils advocate here.

What if you burnt your tent? What if you ripped your rain jacket? What if your sleeping bag got wet. What if? What if? What if? Do you see were im going with this?
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Re: Sleeping mat selection for reliability on long hike

Postby jdeks » Mon 09 Jul, 2018 9:24 pm

Emma,

Did you know they make a "womens" x lite? It has an extra layer of thermal insulation (R=4) but still weighs about half what your SIM does. It does this by being shorter, about 168cm. Packs around half the size of my old 3/4 length promote 4 SIM.

Even though I'm not the intended user demographic, and am much longer than it, I've been using this mat myself for nearly 3 years. My opinion is that there's not much else offering the warmth to weight ratio, and the extra length can be made up using your pillow or a jacket. Of course if you're <170cm this isn't even going to be an issue


Appalchian thruhikers aren't the only ones using NeoAirs, and while I don't doubt their reports, they aren't the be all and end all of durability reports. I'd be interested to seen where you're reading these trends..

For what it's worth - my womens xlite has dne easily 200 nights over 3 years, never on ccf underlay, often with no groundsheet, and lots on bare snow. Ive lived on it for months at a time. It has holes, all of which were patched, on site, often half asleep, and have never given further issues. I have not been gentle to it and regularly over inflate it, and have only.just now started to get some pinhole seam leaks ( easily fixed with sil seam sealant). Sure outlived my exped...

The 340g difference between this and your SIM may not seem like much on paper but when you realize that's the equivalent of a can of coke you have to lug for 8 days and never get to drink.

I'm getting another for my partner. I'll get another if/when mine dies. If the price is an issue, pm me, I can help with that.

Mats are one of the "big three" for long term base kit. I'd invest on it for the long run.
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