Shamus wrote (see)
....looking for a sleeping mat for backpacking has anyone got any recommendations for type of mat manufacturer...
As posted above, that's not really enough info on which to base a considered opinion. It depends on what your preferences are, how you sleep, what weight and/or bulk you're prepared to carry, what your budget is, what seasons you will be out and about and so on.
If you provide a bit more detail people will be better placed to advise and recomend.
The basic choice is between self-inflating mats (SIMs), closed cell foam mats (aka 'rollmats' or 'karrimats') or a combination of the two, and air-mats (a bit like a hi-tech Lilo - the NeoAir is one of the best known). There is also Thermarest's Z-lite folding mat to consider.
I've not had any first-hand experience of air-mats but no doubt other OM-ers can give you chapter and verse on them.
The main advantage of CCF mats ('rollmats') is light weight and low cost. They are also water-resistant in that the closed cell foam doesn't absorb water - if it gets wet, just wipe it dry - so you can carry them outside your pack. Another plus point is that, unlike a SIM or air-mat, you can't puncture a rollmat. The main drawbacks are that rollmats give little cushioning and, if carried as a roll, can be awkwardly bulky.
IME, you will sleep comfortably (and, probably, warmly) on a SIM. The main advantage of a SIM (and also of an air-mat) is comparitively good cushioning - that's particularly important if you sleep on your side. SIMs also provide very good insulation from ground chill (though air-mats are less effective insulators).
A sleeping system is a very personal thing. Everyone has their own preferences. I sleep very comfortably on a SIM (although I can't get on with three-quarter length where one's legs hang off the end.
I use a full-length Mountain Equipment Helium 3.8 and I've had no problems with it so far. (I also have an Alpkit Wedge for car-camping but it's much too bulky for backpacking).
I find the combination of the SIM and a down sleeping bag warm enough for most temperatures but when it gets near freezing I also carry a cut-down rollmat to provide additional insulation.
Therm-A-Rest is one of the best-known manufacturers of SIMs and air-mats but there are plenty of other makes. Nearer home, for example, you might consider the Alpkit range. And here's the link to Exped .
For more possibilities type 'camping +sleeping mats' into Google.
(All the above IMHO, of course)
lots of good info here
if a side sleeper then you'll probably want a self inflating mat
I most typically sleep on my side. I find my NeoAir more comfortable than my T-Rest Ultralite (a precursor of the Prolite). Not much in it compared to my old T-Rest Standard (about equal to the TR Trail Lite from the current lineup), but that's a lot heavier than the NeoAir.
Most impressed with the NeoAir, but it's not cheap. The sprogs use Alpkit (Wee) Airics which are excellent value, though not as good in comfort terms from the top of the line T-Rests.
Include a little history in your walks. Pecsaetan - Ancient Derbyshire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire - http://pecsaetan.weebly.com/
I've tried many mats over the years, I'm as 'toss and turn' sleeper, my choice at the moment is any of the Exped range.
Depending on the expected conditions depends on what one I take.
Down 7, Syn 7 or Syn U/L, the U/L is used most.
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