There’s no price you can put on a good night’s sleep when camping.
This rings even more true when you’re camping solo and are invariably dossing down in either a small tent, a swag or under a tarp. To that end, what you sleep on is nearly as important as what you’re sleeping in.
Swags come with comfy mattresses, but these tend to make the whole thing bulky when packed up. However, if you’re bush accommodation of choice is a tent, then you need to make doubly sure your ‘bush bed’ ensures both comfort and warmth.
Opinion: Don't ignore driver fatigue
With this in mind, for our recent outback NSW jaunt for 4X4 Of The Year, I opted for a Sea To Summit Comfort Deluxe SI (Self Inflating) mat. This Australian outdoor company has been making tough outdoor and camping gear for decades now, and this new mat reflects the company’s experience.
The Comfort Deluxe SI is bloody comfy; at 100mm tall and with a 30-denier soft stretch-knit fabric, it offers plenty of cushioning and a decent amount of warmth. 100mm side walls help keep the full surface of the mat dead flat, so you’re not battling to stay on the mat, as can be the case with flimsier mats.
The mat uses Sea To Summit’s Delta Core tech, which is based around the removal (or ‘coring’) of up to 40 per cent of the PU foam core in the mattress. This lightens the mat considerably, without sacrificing support and comfort.
Sea To Summit says, “this coring technique has the additional benefit of keeping the top and bottom surface of the PU foam intact”. This means that, unlike some other mats, there are no ‘gaps’ between each core, so no warmth is lost downwards (body heat is lost toward the ground when sleeping on mats/beds).
The end result is a mat that is able to be used in all but the coldest (sub-Antarctic) conditions. This technique also minimises any chance of the PU foam separating from the top or bottom of the mat.
It all sounds high tech, but there’s more: the SI mat uses Sea To Summit’s new multifunction valve, which allows for self-inflation by simply opening it up.
However, the trick is when deflating, where you simply twist or reverse the one-way valve and plug it back in; so when you’re rolling the mat up it ensures air can only flow one way (out) of the mat. This averts the hassle of constantly struggling against the mat, trying to reinflate as you’re rolling it up.
More Product Test reviews on Gear
The mat was used for the week of testing and proved comfortable and quick to inflate and pack up when moving camp. Plus, it offered a very comfortable night’s sleep. Packed up, it measures 280mm x 640mm, so it takes up minimal space in your vehicle – roll it up in your swag and you’ve suddenly halved the space you usually need for the swag.
I top out at six feet in height and found the Regular Wide size (1830mm x 640mm x 100mm) to be more than enough. The Large Wide measures 2010mm x 760mm x 10mm, while the Double is 2010mm x 1320mm x 100mm.
This mat ain’t cheap, but its comfort, compact size when packed, and robust build make it pretty good bang for your sleeping bucks.
Available from: www.seatosummit.com.au
RRP: $299.95 (Regular Wide)
We Say: Very comfortable, easy to use and ideal for all types of camping.