A good bit of kit!
When sleeping out in the field having a sleeping mat is very important, having a good one even more so!
When I was lot younger the choice was simple, everyone had a foam roll up mat and that was that. Now as everyone who has used a roll up mat will tell you (and I imagine that’s most of you reading this!) they are not without their problems. Bulky to carry when rolled up, ‘difficult’ to lay flat – nothing like the ‘joy’ of trying to keep your roll mat flat while settling down on a damp and windy training area - we’ve all been there I’m sure!
So when I saw the German army answer – a folding mat that doubles as support for their back pack, I thought I’d have a look at other sleep mat options.
The result was the folding ‘Z mat’ from Highlander. Now this is a full length mat (185cm long) that is divided into eight sections and is jointed so that it folds up rather than having to be rolled up.
Now this simple change brings with it a few advantages. Firstly it always lays flat no matter which way/side you unfold it! It’s quick and easy to fold up and pack away and being a compact rectangle it is, or at least it seems, easier to pack into or onto your bergan.
It’s made from eight 1cm thick foam pads, is 185cm long by about 48cm wide and is covered in hard wearing nylon, mine is printed in DPM but I have seen them in an MTP type print as well. It also has two elastic loops attached at one end that you use to hold it together once folded up. It weighs about 500g and the stitching around the edge and between the pads is tight and I’ve had no issues with loose threads or the seams coming apart.
When compared to a regular roll mat I’ve found it to be comfy to sleep on, it keeps you nicely insulated from the cold and damp of the ground and I have used it in the field and when bedding down on the floor as well.
Another advantage that I have found while using it is that you can easily use it as a mat to sit on in the field, and depending on how much you unfold it you can have a small but thick padded seat or a larger but thinner seat – nice when cooking outside!
Now compared to a regular roll mat it is more expensive at around £20 but I do believe that it’s worth this for what is a good bit of kit!
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