Over 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 Hiking.com.au.
I value my sleep so much I wouldn’t trek without my neo-air.
The two links to Kellys Basecamp and Hiking.com 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:
Please let us know your views based on your trekking experiences.