A comfy night's sleep

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Mercia Man
Posts: 866
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 15:31 pm

A comfy night's sleep

Postby Mercia Man » Sat Aug 04, 2012 14:45 pm

I've recently returned from a 19-day tour from Gloucester to south west France with a load of new camping kit and thought I'd pass on a recommendation for something which has transformed my sleeping comfort.

The older I get (I'm now 59), the harder it is to have a comfortable night's sleep in my tent. I find the best way is to drink a whole bottle of wine in the evening! But I still wake up with a stiff back.

Oer the years I've progressed from sleeping directly on the ground sheet to a foam pad and then to various Thermarests, most recently the Prolite 4.

But my new Exped Synmat UL 7 S is a huge improvement. It's twice as thick as the Thermarest and it's virtually as comfortable as my bed at home. Even though I've got the short version, it's easily long enough for a 6ft man yet it's lighter than my three-quarter length Thermarest Prolite 4 and packs up into a tiny stuffsack - much smaller than the Thermarest. The Synmat has thin strips of synthetic down stuck to the inside of the inflatable tubes which provide a fair bit of insulation and the two side tubes are bigger to stop you rolling off. With a bit of fiddling, it will fit a Thermarest chairkit, although not as well as a proper Thermarest.

It has two valves - one for inlation and one for deflation - and it's not too hard to blow up using your lungs. That does, however, introduce moist air to the mat, which is not ideal. I've got an Exped pillow pump which snaps onto the valve and makes inflation a doddle. It then doubles as a pillow with a fleece wrapped round it.

You do have to remember that the Synmat is a very lightweight piece of kit and treat it with care. You get a puncture repair kit with it. The little plastic flap in the inflation valve has popped out two or three times but it's easy enough to relocate it inside the mat and pop it back into place.

I heard about the Synmat on a CTC forum and am so glad I splashed out to buy one. Best bit of kit I've bought for years.

Incidentally, Alpkit.com (who have a great range of good cheap stuff) do a similar mat for £40 (around half the price of Exped) but you have to blow it up by mouth.

I hope fellow cycle campers find this post useful

Posts: 474
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 16:19 pm

Re: A comfy night's sleep

Postby gloomyandy » Sat Aug 04, 2012 22:34 pm

I also have one of these and find it pretty comfy (much better than my thermarest). The only small issue I have with it is that it can be noisy when you move around on it. Maybe it is just me though!


Mercia Man
Posts: 866
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 15:31 pm

Re: A comfy night's sleep

Postby Mercia Man » Sun Aug 05, 2012 13:53 pm

Yeah, I agree, Andy. The Synmat is noisy when you move around. I also find it hotter and stickier to sleep on than my Thermarest on warm nights when I use my sleeping bag unzipped as a quilt. Solved that by sleeping in shorts. But the extra comfort is definitely worth it for me.

Posts: 2207
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:49 pm

Re: A comfy night's sleep

Postby dilemna » Sun Aug 12, 2012 16:50 pm

I use a Mountain Equipment Helium 3.8cm mat which is real comfortable. I do have 2 which I can strap side by side to make a double or alternatively one on top of each other which makes sleeping just as comfortable at home in bed.
Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
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half of them are even more stupid than you first thought.

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