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Thread: Suggestions for hiking mat

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Mid North Coast

    Suggestions for hiking mat

    I've just returned from an overnight hike in the Gibraltar Range. I've been using one of those thin foam mattresses from Big W for hiking but borrowed a 15 year old Thermarest for this hike.

    I'm converted.

    However my wallet isn't so easily converted ($180 - $200 mark at the local camping store) - anybody got good or bad experiences about other brands they want to share?

    Will need be dual purpose - will spend most of its life in the swag but needs to be light weight for hiking and also needs to be comfortable, durable and more affordable than the Thermarest - or are they just worth it?! I'd only be using it about 6 or 7 camps a year but will take it overseas hiking next year so needs to be reliable.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Launceston, Tasmania

    Re: Suggestions for hiking mat

    Hi Denlee,

    I work as an outdoor education instructor and use my gear regularly and see many other makes and models of gear on programs.

    I have had a thermarest for the past 6 years and haven't had a problem with it at all apart from it getting moldy inside from having to blow it up to desired firmness as they never fully self inflate. This would happen to any similar style mat. I stored it correctly, leaving it unrolled and valve open in a dry spot, but I guess it came down to amount if use.

    I have since bought an Exped equipment down mat 7, 7cms of down filled plush-ness.. better nights sleep than my bed at home! Similarly priced to certain thermarest models.. have had a few friends have issues with baffles blowing out but all were replaced under warranty as it was a know issue to the company.

    The mountain design branded mats seem to be ok, had a few issues with some of our hire fleet mats leaking due to de-laminating fabric. MD's replaced them under warranty and the replacements have been good. Mountain designs often have good sales, so you might save yourself a few bob.

    Check out a few online sites as well such as,, and a few others that slip my mind.

    At the end of the day I guess it comes down to the best that you can afford and warrant, but I can vouch for thermarest being premium quality.

    Hope this is of some help and feel free to throw me any questions.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013

    Suggestions for hiking mat

    Thermarest is the way to go. I have tried another brand and it failed me twice and everyone I know ends up with a thermarest, even after trying something else.

    Neo Airs are pretty comfy but don't self inflate if that is an issue. Otherwise a prolite 3 is a good choice.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    NSW far north coast
    Sounds like O is the man.

    FWIW I bought a cheap Summit 3/4 mat years and years ago as I couldn't go the $ for a Thermarest and it's served me well.

    Getting a little long in the tooth now, I think the foam mightn't be as cushy as it once was (the advancing age of the restee has no bearing in this whatsoever )

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Another vote for Thermarest from me. I do use a half length of the cheap closed cell foam mat as well these days, because I'm getting old

    Thomas - 1955 Series 1 107" Truck Cab
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Sydney NB
    Quote Originally Posted by orionb View Post
    I have had a thermarest for the past 6 years and haven't had a problem with it at all apart from it getting moldy inside from having to blow it up to desired firmness as they never fully self inflate.
    Use a shopping bag. swing it around to fill it with air, gently gather the top, then push the Thermarest valve into the gathered top of the shopping bag holding your hand around the bag and valve to minimise air leakage. Then squash down the shopping bag to pump air into the mattress. You may need to do it a couple of times for larger mattresses.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    North East Victoria
    I have an Exped down mat for camping in the snow. Previously used a Thermarest, which are good but the Exped stops the cold coming up from the ground, which is where most of the cold comes from. Combined with a down sleeping bag and thermals, I'm as warm as toast!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Near Seven Hills, Sydney
    Ideally you should store a self inflating mattress unrolled with the valve open. If mine has been rolled up for even a week then it takes so much longer to re-inflate and needs a good lung puff to finish inflation. Storage can be a pain but it lives under a bed so no real problem...except that there are 6 thermarests to store in this household...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Heart in the Deep Nth of FNQ,Body in the Deep Nth of Brisneyland
    I have given up on ground sleeping now, but have used a few mats and the Neo-Air is freaking awesome!
    Not cheap, bought on special it was still ~$160 but light and warm!! I couldn't believe how insulating it is. You need a ground sheet as it is so thin.
    If money is an issue, you could do a LOT worse than a $10hammock and a cheapy down bag from an op shop as an under blanket.
    Once you've had hammock, ypu'll never go back!
    After many years of scrimping and excuse making, i now have a Hennesy ASym, swweeet!
    Cheers, BDave.
    Replace "You are...!", with "Are you...?"

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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Yarrawonga, Vic
    I bought 2 x Exped down mats on the recommendation of O. As stated, a better sleep than the bed at home ! The mats don't go mouldy inside because you can't blow them up with your mouth, they have a nifty hand pump in the side, same action as giving CPR . Not that I plan to but you can sleep on snow and not get cold, they are good to -25c.

    Dave, I like the idea of those Hammocks, but what do you do if there is only one tree ??

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