Winter sleeping mats

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  • Any fans of winter camping here?
    It is pretty much accepted I think that even with a good sleeping bag a lot of body heat is lost to the cold ground and that therefore you need a better mat.
    So what do any winter cyclecampers on here use?

  • It's a good topic winter camping. I reckon you have to get fully off the ground, so probably a Thermarest inflatable type of thing. Seen others use bivvy too, to help with bag dampness. I have done a little cold weather camping, but tend to just suffer a bit and see it as part of the deal. Good bag is key for any weather camping, then you can layer up if needed, but it gives you confidence to be toasty.

  • Squaredisk
    It's a good topic winter camping. I reckon you have to get fully off the ground, so probably a Thermarest inflatable type of thing. Seen others use bivvy too, to help with bag dampness. I have done a little cold weather camping, but tend to just suffer a bit and see it as part of the deal. Good bag is key for any weather camping, then you can layer up if needed, but it gives you confidence to be toasty.

    Well yep off the ground a must of course. A normal thermarest (self inflatable rather than just air) won't cut it at 0 or below. A bivvy won't provide any insulation either. "suffering a bit" not really what am looking for - unlikely to freeze to death but I like to sleep so that I can face the next day for some good cycling.
    so looking for tips on mats and systems.

  • Alpkit Numo would do the job.

  • hanford

    Alpkit Numo would do the job

    have you used it in winter?
    I very much doubt that it would do the job - it's just full of air - very little thermal insulation indeed.
    I have one, nice mat, but I wouldn't dream of using it in winter.
    If i wanted to sleep and dream

  • We have insulated mats for winter camping, but they are considerably more expensive.

    Maybe combine a foam mat like a thermarest sol ?

  • Kurai

    We have insulated mats for winter camping, but they are considerably more expensive.

    Maybe combine a foam mat like a thermarest sol ?

    Many thanks for reply.

    Good suggestion.

    I WAS doing a test camp the other night in what was supposed to be minus 2.

    With a zig-zag karrimor foam mat and a standard (old style) thermarest on top of it, but this combo didn't seem to be quite up to it.

    I know that decathlon do a zig-zag foam thing with a silver coated layer -maybe that's better?

    I take your valid point about dedicated winter mats being more pricey - a specialist need/market for sure - can I ask what yours is?

    I stress that I am not aiming to camp in truly low low conditions - I am after all a cyclist/cycle camper and won't be dragging my bike and ton of junk up a trackless mountain, nor like riding across ice, but just want to sleep easy on a night that MAY dip to minus 2 or 3, then after a good sleep and biding my time in the tent in the morning, fortified by espresso and snacks, venturing out for a cycle/onwards journey in temps at least plus zero.

  • I’m hoping to get away in the next week for a night or two but don’t own any winter specific gear. It’s around 0 degrees at night here.
    I’m thinking about using two mats inside a bivvy, mainly to stop them sliding around. My warmest bag, which is only 2 season and a blanket.
    Any other tips?

  • I'm on an Synmat UL7, but we upgraded my partner's mat at Xmas to a Sea to Summit Etherlite Extreme insulated. She's a side sleeper and didn't get on with the Synmat that well.

  • I've used a little bit of that Tyvek insulation roll stuff before to add a warm layer above a cheapo matt. Really helps.

    Fleece bag liners also help (though not with the specific issue you're outlining).

    Serious suggestion: a hot water bottle is a total game changer for bikepacking, particularly the long ones. Not appropriate for go-fast bikepacking but I've taken them on be-panniered tours.

    Or there are always bothies!

  • I’ve got this as a cheap/cheerful option to add a bit of warmth to an inflatable mattress: https://www.decathlon.co.uk/p/foam-trekk­ing-mattress-mt100-180-x-50-cm-1-person/­_/R-p-13259?mc=5591048&c=GREY

    Let things are to limit convention as well as conduction with the ground, so out your best reflective layer on top of your inflatable mat, not underneath to stop heat escaping through the mat.l in the first place.

    Second, especially if in a bivy bag. Make sure you leave enough space for your bag to loft. Insulation is there to trap the air, if it can’t loft then no insulation. Ditto with mats in bags, if needed move to the outside.

    Then think clothing, you probably have enough already, but wearing so many layers that you end up squashing the bag from the inside and compressing it will still leave you feeling cold. If you have a down jacket better to unzip it and lay it over the top of the bag vs wearing it to trap more air without compromising bag loft

  • Than you so much. That’s really useful information, makes me feel better about going. Just waiting for my local shop to fit a new chainset then I’m off.

  • Also think about the wind. Sometimes a mini tarp or choosing the right side of a hedge or wall can make a huge difference to warmth if you don’t have a cold draught blowing over you. I’ve also found sleeping on the eastern side so you get the sun first thing makes getting up so much easier as it’s slightly warm! Most Importantly enjoy!

  • hot water bottle

    hot water in a klean kanteen in a wool sock does this job

  • I have also been a faithful user of one of these for the last 6-7 years but in the summer last year this happened:
    Properly inflated mat + very hot tent =

    (This isn't a winter issue but an expensive mistake so I thought I'd share)


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  • Impressive! We always tend to open the valves if we are doing some campsite camping, out of fear of that happening, glad to see I'm not just being paranoid.

    Ours are getting a bit battered these days from wet Dartmoor and coast path camping.

    C4r1s has good advice about pitching as well, but it's not a perceived temperature difference, it's an actual difference.

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Winter sleeping mats

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