Sleep Systems

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K1100T
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Sleep Systems

Post by K1100T » Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:11 pm

It's payday, so obviously I've spent too much time pondering what to spend my meagre free cash on. After last weekends BaM, I'd decided to upgrade my sleeping mat, as I felt it was the weakest link. I never did find that Ultralight Thermarest comfy, so I'm not surprised it's first on the chopping block. My son is doing his DoE, so it wont be going to landfill quite yet.

I'd been thinking about buying an Alpkit Numo before my next BaM; lighter weight, smaller pack size, but way more depth. However, I thought that I should take my entire sleep system into account, before I buy anything, so I got to reading lots of old posts on here and am now thoroughly befuddled. 😕

I was thinking, that as I have a bivvy bag, sleeping bag and mat, I just need to get a tarp and I'm done. I could possibly do with a lighter, more packable bag, or quilt, for the summer, but I'll cross that bridge in a few months. There's the rub, I don't want to buy a mat that would then mean I have to buy another insulated one, if I decide to go down the quilt route at a later date.

There's probably a very good reason that EXPED SynMats and Cumulus quilts feature in lots of replies when searching on sleeping systems. However, they are rather expensive if you're on a limited budget. If I was considering a quilt in the future, would it be more sensible to save up for a SynMat, than spend on a Numo? With the new 10% super boost code till Sunday, the Numo price is rather hard to beat though...
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whitestone
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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by whitestone » Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:20 pm

Does the Numo have any insulation? Can't see that there is any from the description on their site.

Unlike sleeping bags there's no upper temp limit with sleeping mats so you might as well get one that will deal with the coldest temperatures you think you will encounter. Actually depending on your sleeping bag you can use them at considerably colder temps - my wife has used her Synmat at -16C which is way below its rated temperature.

However if you are on a really tight budget then it looks fine for the money, you can always sit a CCF mat under it.
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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by RIP » Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:22 pm

Just get the Exped Winterlite and eat beans on toast for the rest of the month - sorted!
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Bearbonesnorm
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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:23 pm

Okay - first thing to remember is the Numo IS NOT INSULATED, I've put it in capitals because it's probably one of the things that I find myself saying most often. Any non-insulated air mat has an R rating (US) of 0.7, snow has an R rating of 1. To remain warm throught the year in the UK, I always think a mat needs to be 3.5 or greater. A quilt makes a decent insulated mat even more important.

Save a few quid more and buy something insulated. A Synmat can generally be had for between £70-£80 and is worth every penny.
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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by lune ranger » Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:37 pm

I had a Numo for a little while. It was cold ( see Stu above) and uncomfortable.
To put it in context, last night I slept out on a standard Thermarest that had a puncture and was completely defeated. It was warmer and more comfy than the Numo...
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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:43 pm

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ScotRoutes
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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by ScotRoutes » Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:49 pm

Nothing much to add to the above. Synmats get so much attention on here because they really are the answer.

You're right consider it as a "system" too. For instance I find that even a thin bivvy bag makes a huge difference when using a quilt, just to cut drafts. If you regularly sleep in full length clothing, this is likely to matter less.

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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by middleagedmadness » Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:24 pm

Got one of those down mat lite what stu linked to , it was the first mat I bought a few years back , then in infinite wisdom I thought I’d treat myself to a syn mat ul7 , even though the down mat is heavier and a little more bulky it’s my preferred mat , it’s 2cm thinner than the synmat but for my hefty frame I find it more comfortable, don’t think you can go wrong with that one (I also use a cumulus 250 quilt with both mats for 10months of the year)

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Ray Young
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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by Ray Young » Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:29 pm

I too am on a limited budget. I saved up and bought an exped downmat and have never regretted it as I use it all year round. A Vango venom 400 down sleeping bag (again saved for) gets used for 6-8 months a year with budget additions for serious winter use. In summer I use a lightweight synthetic bag.
Buying decent gear in the first place will save you money on the long run.

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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by htrider » Fri Jan 31, 2020 10:04 pm

More dosh but Thermo rest neo air has been good to me. I started with a 2/3rds length one but went to a full length one last year and its been great.

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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by stevenshand » Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:43 pm

I spent way to much on my sleep system but after years of always feeling like my trips could have been better without the niggling little sleep issues, I don't regret any of what I spent and wish I'd done it much earlier. I should add that I'm a *very* light sleeper so being able to get back to sleep after being roused a few times makes a massive difference to me.

I pondered a quilt for ages before going for it and don't regret it at all. I tried to get as comfortable/warm and versatile a system as I could while still keeping packable size as low as possible. I ended up with a Thermarest NeoAir Xlite and a Thermarest Vesper quilt. Depending on conditions/time of year, I pair these with either a TrekkerTent Stealth tent or an old Hunka.

I can get all of this tucked under my saddle :

https://www.instagram.com/p/B3ebwh-Fydd/

Less than 1500g with the tent option.

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K1100T
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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by K1100T » Sat Feb 01, 2020 1:08 am

It took me all afternoon to post that, rewrote it about seven times, quite glad I asked now! 🤣 Based on the glowing recommendations, I think I'll have to take a closer look at the DownMat Lite 5 M.

Thanks everyone, it's seriously appreciated.
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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by whitestone » Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:37 am

The old adage "Buy cheap, buy twice" applies here. There's a reason Cumulus, Exped and the like get mentioned a lot :wink:

We were on a training camp in Norway and when talking about down equipment one of the presenters/instructors said to check out Cumulus for high quality, reasonable price (reasonable is a relative term when talking about down products). The guy was Dutch and interestingly most of his bikepacking bags were Alpkit (this seemed to be the case for the other Dutch riders doing the race later in the week as well).

The Alpkit Cloud Cover is £105, the Cumulus 150 is £150. I've the latter and it's seen nearly 120 nights' usage (I paid £125) so that's £1/night. I use it as an outer to a PHD summer bag for the cooler months so it gets a lot of use, I've had it four years. Depending on how warm/cold you sleep the Cumulus 250 may be a better bet. Here's a link to the thread when I was considering what to do viewtopic.php?f=7&t=6217, do an advanced search for Cumulus with me as the author and you'll find more.

Tarps: The Alpkit tarps used to be really good value but they've gone up quite a bit in recent years, I think I paid £35 for my Rig3.5. That tarp is comparable to the one you link to but it has a lot more tie-outs giving you more pitching options.
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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by FLV » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:15 am

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:23 pm
To remain warm throught the year in the UK, I always think a mat needs to be 3.5 or greater. A quilt makes a decent insulated mat even more important.
Interesting, I had always preferred a mat with insulation.

Synmat HL MW - R3.3 Packed vol 1.6L
Symat HL Winter - R5 Packed Vol 2.4L

I was almost settled on the lighter / smaller packed but now you tempt me to a higher R value...

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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:20 am

was almost settled on the lighter / smaller packed but now you tempt me to a higher R value...
You'll likely find that the lighter mat would be fine Dave. A Synmat UL7 has an R of 3.3 and I've used those with a quilt on frozen ground / stone bothy floors and remained warm and I'm a cold sleeper.
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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by ScotRoutes » Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:49 am

Yeah, I'd echo that. I guess it'll depend on how what other clothes you are wearing though, and though I have a quilt, I do prefer a full bag in winter, just for the draughts. Not that a compressed bag is adding much to the insulation value...

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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by FLV » Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:09 pm

Thanks :grin:

Also going to look at cumulus quilts too

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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:44 pm

Also going to look at cumulus quilts too
i've got a 350 Dave. Warm enough for most of the year - again, I sleep cold.
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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by FLV » Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:04 pm

Cheers, I have a UK hammocks quilt that has served me well. Its tired now though, and damaged slightly.

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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by voodoo_simon » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:59 pm

Code GREAT20 knocks 20% off the top mat (didn't try the second one), so £58.80... :-bd

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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by voodoo_simon » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:01 pm

Not sure what happened there :lol:

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K1100T
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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by K1100T » Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:05 pm

It feels a bit daft to be thinking about such things at times like these, but I need to distract myself from screaming into the existential void. So...

I've now had two bivvies with the Exped DownMat and I've been toasty warm both times. However, February's bivvy was in a hide with no door and this months was in an art installation with three access openings. Both were windy, this months especially, which has got me thinking again. The problem was the wind noisily ripping over the sleeping bag, over my face and on Saturday night, inflating the sleeping bag hood, which was cinched down. I didn't sleep much either night.

I'm now wondering if my original plan of getting a tarp is the right thing to do, or if I should look at a lightweight tent. My reasoning is that a tarp will be more prone to gusts blowing over my face, where as a tent should stop that kind of thing from happening. I've never slept under a tarp before, so am unsure how much of an issue this would actually be.

Just looking for a bit of advice, thoughts, reassurance if you will, about which option I should invest more research in.
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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:12 pm

Having the wind blow over your face is really par for the course with a tarp. If it's something that bothers you then a tent is probably the answer ... although shaped tarps like Gatewood cape etc can reduce the potential by a large margin over a flat tarp.
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K1100T
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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by K1100T » Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:24 pm

It wasn't so much the wind over the face, as that didn't bother me in the bird hide with no door. It was the sudden inflation of the sleeping bag hood and noise of the wind on the sleeping bag material, that was off putting. I was mainly interested in a tarp as they seem a lot cheaper than a lightweight tent, cheap Chinese jobs aside.

I have an old Scout dinning shelter in the shed, it's massive so no use for actual bikepacking, but I'm wondering if I could experiment with it and try sleeping under it in the garden. 🤔
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Re: Sleep Systems

Post by Mariner » Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:34 pm

I was going to raise the two types of R value for SI and US equipment but just found out that there is another new system from 2020 onwards.
Don't know if its unified or they started again but it appears to be an industry standard and not too far removed from what we already have.
https://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk ... ained-i206

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