For base camps
I'm after a sleeping mat to use when car camping or when at Scout camp as a leader. It doesn't have to be light or compact as I won't be carrying it far, but it would be good if it was warm and comfortable.
Has anyone got any recommendations? It would be good if it wasn't too pricey. Are the ones made by Vango, Gelert, Hi Gear, etc worth a look, or should I look at something a bit more expensive? Thanks.
If bulk isn't an issue, CostCo (the cash'n'carry place) used to sell a really thick SIM for about twenty quid. I had one for car-camping; it was bulky and heavy but provided very effective cushioning and insulation.
My personal favourite is the Alpkit Wedge (the thickness tapers from approx 50mm to 30mm from head to toe). It is also wider than the average SIM and, personally, I find it is very comfortable.
Vango and Gelert do mats that cost less and Hi-Gear (Go Outdoors' own-brand) is cheaper still. If you're after a bargain basement SIM keep an eye open at your local supermarket too. But, remember, you only get what you pay for so for comfort and durability it may be better to stick to better quality brands.
For a bit of added insulation from ground chill, buy a cheap CCF mat (also known as a 'rollmat' or 'karrimat') and put it under the SIM. You can pick these up for under a fiver. It's not really necessary this time of year but it will keep you a bit warmer in late autumn and winter.
Wot Skip said - I take a Vango Trek, long, and put a cheap rollmat under the groundsheet for extra warmth and to protect both groundsheet and mat. Also keeps the tent tidier. Both mats roll up together and I've even backpacked it on odd occasions. The Trek is quite old now and must have put up with some rough handling.
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