What sleeping mat is best for cycle touring?
What sleeping mat is best for cycle touring?

This summer I’m going cycle touring in Europe but I’m missing some camping gear. So I’m off to see our partners at Cotswold Outdoor for some advice. There are so many different types of sleeping mats – what are the main things you want to think about? Your three main considerations are going to be price, weight and comfort. For cycle touring in Europe – weight. So in terms of the lightweight sleeping
mats, how much should I budget for that? You can get a decent enough mat that’s going to serve you well for around £45-£50. I wouldn’t go too far below that because you’re going to get starter stuff. You don’t want something unreliable. So if I show you these three first – these two are both going to have foam linings in them so they are all self-inflating. The thermal light here is something quite different – this is completely air so it requires a bit more inflation, but it is a lot lighter and because it’s an air pocket as well it keeps you a little further off the ground, it’s a little bit more insulated. Whereas with them, they tend to
rely on the foam a bit more to provide that insulation, it’s not quite as effective. Can we have a look at them? So we’re going to preference here from cheapest to most expensive. I’ve got two foam ones here – this one is a layer of foam and a layer of air, this one is air pockets along the sort of foam rib cage and that one is solely air with some insulation in the air pockets – so that’s going to be the lightest and the warmest, but with a price tag to match. And this one you have to fully inflate yourself? Yeah that one will need a pump, but they do stuff like pump sacks – so
it’s like a dry sack and then when you stop and clamp you can use it as a pump as well. Nice and handy. If I just want something lightweight that, you know, I’m not worried about being hugely comfortable and I’m not going anywhere really cold, then I suppose the standard Mountain Equipment one will probably do me fine? Yeah excellent choice.

2 thoughts on “What sleeping mat is best for cycle touring?”

  1. finbat says:

    Do not get a self inflating mat – they are too short for most people. They are heavier and much more bulky. I have used a Hikenture Inflatable Sleeping Mat for 2 years. 8 breaths to inflate. £32

  2. Sally Kertzman says:

    Try the Alpkit Cloudbase mat. Only £45 and very effective. We used ours for a 6 week tour in New Zealand and a week in the Outer Hebrides. Worked well and takes up very little space.

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