Image of the March 2018 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more articles from the
March 2018 Issue
Home / Articles / Gear Guides

2018’s best sleeping mats

Featured mattress: Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Xlite Max SV

A sleeping mat not only offers a cushy night’s rest but insulates you from the cold ground.

Fills
There are numerous fills – high-density open-cell foam, down, synthetic and plain air – wrapped in a waterproof nylon or polyester shell. Antimicrobial treatments will prevent fungus and bacteria from growing inside the mat, caused by moist breath (from inflating the mattress). Foam-filled sleeping mats are die-cut or horizontally cored to reduce their weight.

Fabrics and finishes
Fabrics are patterned and coated to provide grip so the user doesn’t slide off during the night. They are DWR-coated to provide water-resistance.

Valve
Controls the airflow in and out of the mat. Some mattresses have two valves with one used to inflate and the other to deflate. A new wide-opening valve design can inflate/deflate the mattress in seconds.

Thickness
Thickness correlates directly to warmth (measured as an R-value) – the thicker a mattress, the warmer it will be.

Shape and size
Most mats come in short, regular (or medium) and large sizes. They can be tapered to save weight, bulk and to make laying two mats side-by-side easier. Shorter, tapered models are perfect for summer camping. Winter models are full-length and insulated. Prices vary depending on size.

Inflation
Many mats are self-inflating – drawing the air in as the mat regains its shape. They only require a few puffs at the end to reach the desired firmness. Synthetic and down filled mats often require a pump sack to ensure moisture from your breath doesn’t cause mould to grow inside. Air-filled models only need your lungs to inflate.

Storage
Store the mat in a cool, dry place, unrolled, with the valve open.

R-value
Usually between 2 and 7, R-values are an important measure for sleeping mats; the higher the number, the greater its ability to keep you warm. To be truly thermo-neutral (no reduction of core temperature) at 0° on the ground, the R-value should be at least 5.

Now you know what to look for, it’s time to choose a mattress

 

 Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm $429.99 (regular)
Four-season mattress, patented reflective barrier technology, baffling system creates over 100 internal cells which trap warm air, 30D ripstop nylon fabric top, 50D polyester fabric bottom, stuff sack doubles as pump, repair kit included. R-value 5.7 Packed size 10x23cm (reg) Dimensions 51x183cm, 6.3cm thick Weight 430g. www.ampro.co.nz
 Big Agnes Q-Core Deluxe Insulated $399.99 (regular)
PrimaLoft Silver synthetic insulation, I-Beam construction for stability, quilted top, larger outer chambers prevent roll-off, high-volume valve, antimicrobial treatment, rated to -9°C. R-value 5 Packed size 11.4x20cm Dimensions 50x183cm, 10.8cm thick Weight 652g. www.gearshop.co.nz
 

Klymit Insulated V Ultralite $269.95
Lofted air pockets, side rails prevent roll-off, Klymalite lofted synthetic insulation, inflates with 7-10 breaths,  20D polyester fabric. R-value 4.4 Packed size 11.5x18cm Dimensions 51x183cm, 6.3cm thick Weight 450g. www.outfitters.net.nz

 Therm-A-Rest Neo-Air XLite Max SV $399.99 (regular)
Patented heat reflection technology, Triangular Core Matrix of 100 insulating cells provide stability, quick-inflate SpeedValve, repair kit. R-value 3.2 Packed size 11x28cm Dimensions 51x183cm, 6.3cm thick Weight 450g. www.ampro.co.nz
 

Exped Downmat HL Winter $349.99
Four-season mattress with 700-fill power goose down fill, anti-slip GripSkin coating, thicker side air cells prevent roll-off, welded seams, Schnozzel pump bag prevents moisture entering the mat, two-year warranty. R-value 7 Packed size 11x22cm Dimensions 52x183cm, 9cm thick Weight 480g (medium). www.bivouac.co.nz

 Big Agnes Q-Core SLX Insulated $339.99 (regular)
Three-season mat, offset I-Beams for stability, heat reflective, antimicrobial treatment, quilted top, larger outer chambers prevent roll-off, WRM HL synthetic insulation, double ripstop fabric, quick deflation valve. R-value 4.5 Packed size 11.5x19cm Dimensions 51x183cm, 10.8cm thick Weight 453g. www.gearshop.co.nz
 Therm-A-Rest ProLite Plus $249.99 (regular)
All-season self-inflating mattress, diagonal cut foam reduces bulk, stuff sack included. R-value 3.4 (m); 4.2 (w) Packed size 12x28cm (m), 10x28cm (w) Dimensions 51x183cm (m), 51x168cm (w), 3.8cm thick Weight 650g. www.ampro.co.nz
 

Klymit Insulated Static V Lite $229.95
Four-season use, Klymalite lofted synthetic insulation, 10-15 breaths to inflate, v-shaped body mapping design for support, side rails prevent roll-off, antimicrobial treatment, 30D polyester fabric R-value 4.4 Packed size 8x20cm Dimensions 58.4x183cm, 6.4cm thick Weight 555g. www.outfitters.net.nz

 Big Agnes Air Core Ultra Insulated $219.99 (regular)
Synthetic insulation top and bottom, double ripstop fabric, heat reflective, antimicrobial treatment, I-Beam construction, larger outer chambers prevent roll-off, rated to -9°C. R-value 4.1 Packed size 11.5x23cm Dimensions 63.5x198cm, 8.9cm thick Weight 765g. www.gearshop.co.nz

Klymit Insulated Static V $199.95

Four-season use, Klymalite lofted synthetic insulation, 10-15 breaths to inflate, v-shaped body mapping design for support, side rails prevent roll-off, antimicrobial treatment, 75D polyester fabric. R-value 4.4 Packed size 13x23cm Dimensions 58.4x183cm, 6.4cm thick Weight 709g. www.outfitters.net.nz

 Therm-A-Rest BaseCamp $179.99 (regular)
All-season self-inflating mattress, soft touch 75D polyester fabric, compressible foam core, stuff sack. R-value 5 Packed size 13x51cm Dimensions 51x183cm (m) 51x168cm (w), 5cm thick Weight 970g. www.ampro.co.nz
 Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Venture $174.99 (regular)
Wave Core construction with over 100 insulating cells, 75D polyester fabric, horizontal stability baffles, stuff sack included. R-value 1.8 Packed size 11.5x23cm Dimensions 51x183cm, 5cm thick Weight 590g. www.ampro.co.nz
 Big Agnes Air Core Ultra $179.95 (regular)
High volume valve, heat reflective, antimicrobial treatment, I-Beam construction, larger outer chambers prevent roll-off, repair kit included, rated to 1°C. R-value 1.5 Packed size 10×17.7cm Dimensions 51cm x 198cm Weight 623g. www.gearshop.co.nz
 

JR Gear Presidon Insulated $169.99 (standard)
Primaloft insulation, soft-touch stretch fabric, longitudinal design, heat reflective, all-in-one valve, repair kit. R-value 5.2 Packed size 12.5x20cm Dimensions 51x183cm, 8.9cm thick Weight 600g. www.gearshop.co.nz

Therm-A-Rest TrailLite $169.99 (regular)
Self-inflating, die-cut foam, semi-rectangular, 75D polyester fabric, stuff sack included. R-value 3.4 (m), 4.9 (w) Packed size 15x28cm Dimensions 51x183cm (m), 51x168cm (w), 3.8cm thick Weight 740g (m), 710g (w). www.ampro.co.nz

 

Get unlimited access

Browse all articles, trips, gear reviews and buyer’s guides for as little as $6.50/month.

Subscribe now

Already a subscriber? Login Now