shelter - sleeping mat

The old cheapy closed cell foam sleeping mat has a couple of issues: bulk, and night after night it’s just not so comfy. Maybe if you’re young.

Thin self inflators, make that blow up, are the way to go. Lightweight and able to be rolled up tight.

An inch, (25mm), of squishiness helps with a comfortable night’s rest.

Most long time travellers insist on a Thermorest. Look after them and they can last as long as the guarantee.

The big issue is to keep them well away from anything sharp. This can be tricky as you make your way through the spinifex country. This grass has needle sharp, umm, needles, that will go straight through even Ortlieb panniers and whatever’s beyond.

Take a patch kit to avoid that let down feeling in the middle of the night. Finding a hole can take a while. You can’t use the traditional method of a bath out in the sticks but there is the occasional waterhole, or lacking that, some of that precious water and a touch of soap to patiently watch for expanding bubbles. Once the mat has fully dried use the glue provided if you can be bothered following the preparation procedure, but a quick (and permanent) fix can be achieved with superglue on the patch.

A thornproof groundsheet is a good insurance policy for your mat. Use a small waterproof picnic rug that can double as the lunchtime perch.

You have to value a decent night’s sleep.