Adventure Kokoda Gear Guide: SLEEPING MATS

Neo Air MattressOver the years I have learned that the grumpiness index’ i.e. the look on a person’s face when they first poke their head out of the tent in the morning 🙁 is related to the quality of the sleep they had during the night. Most are happy, cheerful and full of beans – but there are always a few who look like they missed out on lotto by a single digit. This condition seems to be directly related to the quality of the mattress they have been resting on, or wrestling with, for the previous eight hours or so.

I have used everything from a groundsheet in the early days (in an attempt to lighten my backpack), to thin rubber, thicker foam and therm-a-rest self-inflating mats (more comfortable but heavier).

In recent years I have been using a Therm-a-Rest Neo Air Mattress. The Neo-Air weighs just 350 grams and rolls up to the size of a small waterbottle. You have to blow it up each night – it takes 36 good puffs – but the effort is well worth it. It’s a bit pricey at around $250 but there are less expensive versions now advertised in camping stores. You can check out current prices and specifications at Kellys Basecamp or

I value my sleep so much I wouldn’t trek without my neo-air.

The two links to Kellys Basecamp and have a range of more economical options if you are consscious of your budget and don’t expect to be spending every second weekend in the bush after you get back from Kokoda

If you decide to purchase a mattress from the Therm-a-Rest range the following link will show you how to care for it:

Check the Youtube video here to learn how to care for your therm-a-rest mattress.

Please let us know your views based on your trekking experiences.


  1. Hahaha, I can definitely attest to that “grumpiness index” that fellow campers get in the morning! I always bring my folding air mattress whenever I go on a trek, and it always brings me glee when those who spend the night in sleeping bags end up with a bad morning. I haven’t tried a therm-a-rest though; I think I’ll give it a look-see!

  2. I’ve recently bought a Therm a rest Neo air X-lite and can highly recommend it, There are 3 lengths with the Reg at 183cm, 350g and all are 6.3cm thick…. comfy! If you are a large person the large is about 10cm longer and wider. Also they have good insulation so if you use it later in colder climates it will help you stay warm. Uninsulated versions also available which are lighter again! Sea To Summit sell another excellent option.
    A Sea 2 Summit Ultra light pillow is a great investment too, 82g and will fit on top of your neo air mattress inside its bag. All the size of a 1L water bottle. Only down side is the cost of the Neo Air if this is a once only ‘bushwalk’, just keep an eye out for specials.
    Walked Kokoda track with Adventure Kokoda in 2007.

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