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Camping Equipment and all Clothing Tents, sleeping bags, stoves etc. Riding clothing, boots, helmets, what to wear when not riding, etc.
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  #1  
Old 27 Apr 2008
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Thermarest or Thermalite???

Folks, I am looking for a self-inflating sleeping mat as I am planning to do a couple of months camping in Europe this Summer. I had heard of Thermarest and went to check them out. A full length one is around £60-£70. A friend said I should also look at Thermalite and when I checked it out on the web it looked very similar to Thermarest but at a third of the price. So for all you experienced campers, here is my question.....which is better? Are they similar? Will I notice a difference? Is there another brand that I should consider?

I have slept on ordinary mats in the past and they never worked for me. I have vowed not to do it again. Will an air bed make much difference? Any help is greatly appreciated.

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Chris
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  #2  
Old 27 Apr 2008
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Exped is another well worth a look.

As far as weather you will notice a difference between Thermarest "top brand" and the lower price one is up to you.... make sure have a good lay on both in the shop and see if you feel you could get a good nights rest on any of them...
I'm not familar with the other brand but try it in the shop as i said above... sometimes the difference between top end camping kit and "B" brand stuff is a big gap in quality and performance... and sometimes it's just the advertising budget and price that make the difference..

If as you say that you'll be camping for a couple of months; think long and hard about your sleeping kit... It will make or break the next days ride....
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  #3  
Old 27 Apr 2008
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Hi Steve

Yes, I reckon you are right. Im trying to do this trip on a budget and I dont want to be spending for a name alone. It could be called anything it wants to be as long as it works. I must make an effort to lie on them before making a decision.

Cheers
Chris
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  #4  
Old 27 Apr 2008
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Chris, Therma-rest are made in Co. Cork which may be a plus or a minus! IMHO they're really good kit. They're thin though, as their main advantage over other makes is they pack down to nothing. I think you'll need a thicker base by the sounds of it. There are plenty to choose from but they can get bulky to carry. I got a decent one from Aldi's a while ago but made the mistake of blowing it up too much and the internal foam seperated from the cover making it twist into some interesting shapes! Full on air beds pack up small and you can inflate them with a 12v pump, try one of those.
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  #5  
Old 27 Apr 2008
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If your planning on doing that long a trip im sure spending a little extra on comfort would not go a miss.

I have a Thermorest 3/4 mat and find it great. I didnt go for the full length one as i needed it for hiking so small as possible was needed. The 3/4 length is great you dont really need anything to hold your feet off the ground really if your in a hot enough climate, and he you do need the extra warmth use your motorbike jacket over your legs or trousers or wear a pair of socks in the sleeping bag.

as for the difference i think i remember reading about its the way the make up of the foam and air is. In the thermorest you get small pockets of air where as in other you just get one massive air pocket. Both work ok but on the one with only 1 massive air pocket if you push too hard in one place like your hips or bum will push the air/foam from here away and your body parts might even touch the ground. (depending on size and wieght of user) Where as with the other multi pocket idea the air only moves slightly from one pocket to the other still keep all body parts off hard ground.

Best way as most have said it try before you buy. Go in a shop and just tell the guy your looking at sleeping mats and need a good inflatable one for your biking hoilday, they should allow you to blow them up, lye on them etc etc
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  #6  
Old 27 Apr 2008
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I have a 3/4 therma-rest and it kills my knees when I sleep on it. I have to put something at the bottom to keep my feet level. Funny, we're all different. I sleep on my side and even that tiny amount of downward pressure gets me in the end. I just put my waterproof trousers at the bottom and it solves it. You can fold it in half longways before you roll it up and it packs down to a 11"x4" roll.

For long trips I carry my big mat as well which is 72"x25" and use the small one in my chair kit. It rolls up inside the big one so is no extra carriage. It's worth the effort for long trips. If it's raining at least you can sit up inside your tent using the chair kit, it's brilliant.
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  #7  
Old 27 Apr 2008
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decathlon

bought thermarest for myself last year but I have to admit the ones sold at Decathlon are quite good for a fraction of the price, not much difference after all.
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Old 27 Apr 2008
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I have a Thermarest 'trailcomfort' which is the slightly thicker version (5cm) which seemed a lot more comfortable on the shop floor than the 'lite' version.

I bought the full length version for comfort/thermal insulation from the ground (I have problem knees too), and as Flyingdoctor suggests, if you fold them in half lengthways before you roll them up they pack away really small... same size as my 3 season sleeping bag in a stuff sack.

One thing I would say is that Thermarests are quite narrow - it can feel like you're sleeping on a (albeit comfortable) plank... They do do a wider version (in America at least) which is nice if you sleep on your back/have big shoulders?

xxx
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Old 4 May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
I have a Thermarest 'trailcomfort' which is the slightly thicker version (5cm) which seemed a lot more comfortable on the shop floor than the 'lite' version.

I bought the full length version for comfort/thermal insulation from the ground (I have problem knees too), and as Flyingdoctor suggests, if you fold them in half lengthways before you roll them up they pack away really small... same size as my 3 season sleeping bag in a stuff sack.

One thing I would say is that Thermarests are quite narrow - it can feel like you're sleeping on a (albeit comfortable) plank... They do do a wider version (in America at least) which is nice if you sleep on your back/have big shoulders?

xxx
I noticed this 2, im a big guy and find that you can sometimes wake up half on/off the mat. Not really a big problem but can get annoying after a few days waking up mid night.

As for packing it this is where the advantages of getting a 3/4 and a thermorest come into play. The 3/4 mat is even shorter than most mats ast eh name suggests which means it doesnt make as big a size once roled up. As because its a thermorest they designed to towards a body shape (not just a big rectangle where say 10-20% of the mate doesnt really get used) there for it rolls into an even smaller size. It mighten sound much but when packing either a rucksack for hiking or a bike to touring it makes a big difference + they normally give you a wee bag with it when you buy is so once rolled up doesnt unroll everywhere like some others do.
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  #10  
Old 23 May 2008
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Just bought a 3/4 mat from Alpkit (UK) for £17.50p. Buy two and they deduct £6 - second one costing £11.50. Not bad I thought, so I did.

Haven't used it yet, but what's there to say? Blew it up tight to check for leaks and it's still ok after 6 days. Choice of colours, sizes, etc.
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  #11  
Old 23 May 2008
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exped

For me, exped is definitely the way to go.

The big advantage for me is, that the exped is, when inflated, way thicker than a Thermarest. I hate those thin Thermarest style mattresses, because I often sleep on the side, and using a Thermarest, my shoulders and hips touch the ground and start hurting pretty soon. Using a exped no problem

Size ? If you ask me, about the same. Toughness ? My dealer told me, he punctured both (The exped includes a free patch set, dont know if the Thermarests do aswell.)

Insulation on the expeds are ideal for me, never had cold (2 degrees at night in the desert. (good sleeping bag, of course))

Exped
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  #12  
Old 23 May 2008
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Try Alpkit gear, half the price of the Therm-a-rests and mine's sweet so far with 3 weeks' constant use...
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Old 23 May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teflon View Post
Just bought a 3/4 mat from Alpkit (UK) for £17.50p. Buy two and they deduct £6 - second one costing £11.50. Not bad I thought, so I did.

Haven't used it yet, but what's there to say? Blew it up tight to check for leaks and it's still ok after 6 days. Choice of colours, sizes, etc.
I forgot to mention - it's also free first class postage on anything you buy from these people.
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Old 23 May 2008
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exped

another vote for exped...

shaun
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  #15  
Old 23 May 2008
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Exped again old bean.. I'm afraid to say - way better than anything else on the market

Check out - http://youtube.com/watch?v=oOnJfECen5A

and for the best price and support get it from TravelDri Plus - Traveldri-Plus
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