A sleeping mat and pillow is your bed away from home, and a good night’s sleep will make your adventure that much more enjoyable. Whether you’re looking for an ultralight hiking mattress and compact pillow to lighten your kit, or if luxury and comfort are your priority, we have a wide range in camping mattress and pillow designs for snow camping to summer nights sleeping under just the mesh. Our range includes cutting edge innovative baffle designs from award winning brands like Sea to Summit, to tried-and-true foam roll mats and everything in between. From one-way valve inflation for ease of use, to down-filling pillows we have a sleeping set-up to fit your needs.
How does the temperature rating system work?
Up until a couple of years ago there wasn’t an industry standard, some sleeping mats would come with an R-value, that is a measurement of a material’s resistance to heat transfer, but the vast majority just had a temperature estimate or window of degrees that the mat would be suitable in.
Recently the largest industry leading brands got together to tweak the R-value testing methods to create consistency to the previous various test methods and have established a new industry standard of temperature rating for sleeping mats - it’s called ASTM F3340-18 - more simply it means it’s now much easier to compare mats for your needs.
Do I need insulation in my sleeping mat?
Insulation in a camping sleeping mat isn’t all that noticeable in warmer climates or during summer nights, however if you’re sleeping on cold or damp ground in the shoulder season months, and certainly if the ground will be icy or snowy, it will make as much difference to your comfort and safety as your sleeping bag. The insulation beneath you prevents your body heat from being lost into the ground, the colder the ground, the quicker your body heat transfers away. In colder climates our body’s are not able to produce heat as fast as we lose it into the ground. When the outer limit of a sleeping pad’s temperature rating is reached, it will keep you alive in cold conditions, but you won’t get a wink of sleep while your body works hard to keep producing heat.
Would baffles or foam suit my trip?
Baffle hiking mats and foam hiking mats both have their benefits.
Baffle hiking mats require inflation either by breath or with a compact sack pump. The air is distributed throughout the baffle compartments raising you off the ground for comfort. Depending on the temperature rating of the mat different degrees of insulation will be included, but the majority of the fill will be air, allowing baffle mats to pack down compactly for storage. The amount of insulation your trip requires will alter the packed size slightly.
Self inflating mats have foam inside which expands and sucks air into the mat when opened to allow the mat to inflate and then can be rolled up to pack down tightly. Solid foam mats simply need to be unrolled for use - some are a flat, porous and often colourful foam, others have an egg-carton effect to help create little pockets of heat, like the Thermarest Ridge Rest SOLite mattress. Solid foam is naturally insulative, however some foam mats come with an extra insulation coating for cold weather use. Solid foam sleeping mats do not inflate, they only pack down as small as you can roll them.
What makes a Women’s sleeping mat different to Regular mats?
There are a few key differences. As the female body tends to run 3-5 degrees cooler than the male body - largely based on muscle density - the industry has recognised this and creates Women’s sleeping mats with a bit more insulation. Additionally the Regular length of a Women’s mat is shorter than the Regular length of a Men’s/Unisex mat, this provides an alternative option for anyone under 168cms who doesn’t want to carry the extra weight of a Unisex Regular sleeping mat at 183cm.
What kinds of sleeping mats does Paddy Pallin stock?
Our range is quite large and varied from a selection of industry leading brands here at Paddy Pallin. We have very lightweight hiking mats like the Thermarest NeoAir Xlite, which are ideal for ultralight campers. Thermarest and Sea to Summit make some of the warmest hiking mats that we stock for winter camping, either in Australia or colder climates. Though bear in mind the additional materials and insulation add a little more weight to keep you warm in snowy conditions.
We stock most models with a wide, long and short option as well to best fit individual needs.
We also stock a range of larger and thicker pump inflatable sleeping mats ideal for camp set-ups when not taking just a pack.
Do I need a pillow?
A pillow may seem like an extra accessory to carry, but it really comes down to weight versus comfort. Your quality of sleep will greatly impact your energy for adventuring the next day. Do you sleep without a pillow at home? Give it a try for a night. If you’re a side-sleeper your head and neck need support across the width of your shoulder to the camping mattress. The average human head weighs 5.5kgs when standing upright and looking forwards. This is a lot to lift when we wake and re-engage our neck muscles. But do you need a “pillow”? Hikers and ultralight campers are very good at repurposing everything in the pack. You could use a down jacket as a pillow, or in winter you could pop a couple pairs of spare thick socks into your camping mat stuff sack. Base layer and outer layer clothes become quite dense when folded so not the most comfortable.
At the end of the day it’s up to you what you rest your head on. But whatever your choice, look to support a good night’s sleep where you can.
What brands of camping mats and pillows does Paddy Pallin sell?
How should I store my self inflating sleeping pad?
For self inflating camping mats how you store them will significantly impact their longevity. The ideal storage method is flat and with the valve open, not rolled into the stuff sack. The foam inside a self inflating sleeping pad has a configuration of hollow pockets throughout for the air to fill to inflate the hiking mattress. When the hiking mat is rolled tightly in its stuff sack the foam is compressed, preventing air from moving through it. When foam is static for a period of time, or not in use, it begins to harden a little in its position. If your sleeping mat is stored compressed in the off-season, it will be a challenge to re-inflate when you’re ready to use it again. It will not self inflate to the same capacity that it should, and you will need to assist inflation. Storing your sleeping pad under your bed is a great option, but if you really do not have the space to store it flat and open, make sure to inflate your camping sleeping mat regularly to keep it working as it should.
What about storing other sleeping mat types?
Storage depends on what type of sleeping pad you have. Though in all cases your camping mat should be stored in a dry place away from UV light. In the garage is not ideal, as it tends to retain humidity and dampness seasonally - inside your home is best.
Inflatable trekking mattresses, without foam, can be stored rolled into their stuff sac, though keep the valve open as temperature changes over the off-season can put pressure on the valve while closed.
Solid foam hiking mats can be stored in the space you have available. If stored rolled, they will want to roll closed again when you’re ready to use them - just flip it over and sleep on the opposite side. Easy!