Gelert Xtreme Lite 3/4 (self-inflating camp mat)

Height: 120 cmSelf-inflating Camping Mat
Width: 50 cm
Thickness: 4 cm
Weight: 520 g
£18 -20 (2009)

When I was preparing for my first camping cycle-tour, I took with me a foam roll-out sleeping mat, the sort you can pick up for £3 at Millets. OK it was bulky, but it weighed next to nothing and I had spent countless perfectly adequately comfortable nights camping in these mats, having used them since I was 10. However, I hadn’t properly comprehended 2 things:

1) You get really tired cycling 60+ miles a day and good sleep is essential for you to physically repair and psychologically refresh yourself. Do not underestimate the importance of sleep when you are pushing your body harder than usual.

2) The ground is strangely harder than then you were a teenager. No, really – it is.

After two really uncomfortable nights, I binned my old mat and bought the Gelert self- inflating mat from a shop in Aviemore. I am so glad I did, because it made the rest of my nights not just bearable but actually comfortable!
I bought the 3/4 length mat as I was trying to travel lightweight. I found that this was fine (it’s heavier than a foam mat, but smaller and the trade-off for comfort is very worth it). I used spare clothes to place under my lower legs to insulate them at night. I didn’t buy a Thermorest because they are disgracefully priced at over £60.
The mat packs away to 25 x 15 cm which is obviously much easier to carry than the rolled up foam mats. It came with a repair kit, 2 elastic straps and a wee nylon bag to put it in. The quality looks OK, but I haven’t used it enough to be able to say how durable it is. The twist valve never came loose and it is so easy to adjust the amount of air in the mat.

The down-side is it probably won’t last as long as a more top-of-the range mat and that it is also a little ‘slidey’ on the ground sheet of a tent compared to a foam mat. You also have to be more careful with it as using it on bare ground you could quite easily puncture the material.

But there is no way I’m going back to foam mats after having slept on this!


4 Responses

  1. Nowt wrong with Gelert, may well be cheap but if it does the job…

  2. So glad you posted this.. I was getting a little paranoid about my sleep. I get really grumpy and depressed when I have little sleep and thus I need to make sure I find good products.

    Thanks 🙂

    • Thanks Lee, I’m planning on writing some more down to earth non-biased in-depth reviews of the gear I’ve used – I know how much I research something before I commit to buying it!
      Enjoying your website – best of luck with your endeavours!

  3. What a useful post here. Very informative for me..TQ friends…

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