One of the key components of a comfortable and safe rest in the field is a tourist mat - a dense layer that is laid under a sleeping bag. This is really an important part of the equipment: even the warmest sleeping bag will be useless when in direct contact with a cold surface - earth, snow. A shield is also needed for softness - it smoothes stones, helps to relax, fully restore strength.
Basic criteria for choosing a tourist rug
The operational capabilities of products are determined by such characteristics as thickness and weight, the structure of the materials from which they are made. It is necessary to take into account the size of the rulers, their ability to retain heat.Travel mat
The most typical example is classic foams, they are affordable, unpretentious, but they are bulky and cannot boast of high heat-insulating abilities.
Self-inflating rulers are much more comfortable, even if they are capricious in handling and care, yet their main advantage is compactness.
Inflatable models with a downy or synthetic “filling” are the most ergonomic and comfortable, they are lightweight, and when folded they take up a minimum of space.
Standard foams have parameters 180x60 cm. Self-inflating and inflatable tourist boards are a little longer in length - up to 185 cm, but already narrower than 52 cm wide. Brand modifications can have a more personalized design - this is manifested in the “intermediate” marking in length and width .
Dense foams in this aspect do not exceed 12 mm. Self-inflating variations (namely walking, not camping) can reach 6 cm. The thickest tourist rugs are 5-10 cm thick. We must not forget that this figure directly affects the weight of the product.
Specificity of the filler
Inflatable rulers are made using synthetics and fluff; self-inflatable rulers are insulated with foam rubber. If we consider the ratio of the quality of thermal insulation and weight, the leaders are models filled with fluff. Foam rubber is cheaper, but not so advisable in terms of efficiency.
It is important here what the rug is made of, the weight depends on the thickness, level of thermal conductivity and strength of the materials used. As practice shows, the lightest (and useful) rulers are sold at high prices.
The mass of inflatable variations rarely exceeds 500 g, self-inflating specimens weigh a little more, within 400-600 g. A standard polyurethane travel mat weighs no more than 800 grams, it is easier to buy the cheapest Izhevsk rug than to make it yourself from improvised materials.
Also, when choosing, you should take into account the shape of the product (there are narrowed to the legs), the minimum temperature at which it can be used, density, strength of the base material and dimensions when folded.
Overview of popular design solutionsTravel mats
To choose the best option, you should find out the strengths and weaknesses of the most popular models.
Foam and double layer travel rugs
The products of the Izhevsk Plastic Plant are the most common - the products are quite durable, light, dents on them quickly restore shape. They can be laid out on any surface and replaced as new wear. The only significant minus is the large transportation volume.Double layer travel mat
Double-layer tourist rugs strengthened by a metallized coating better retain heat. There is also a subclass of equipment, which is a combination of two synthetic canvases of bright colors - thicker and warmer than the classic version.
Self-inflating touring mat
It looks like a sealed shell of a given shape, filled with foam. The filler is easily compressed, when pressure ceases, it quickly restores shape. Therefore, with an open valve, when air enters inside, the foam rubber, sucking it, straightens. At the end of the process, you need to pump the carpet with a couple of exhalations through the valve and plug it. After use, open the valve and squeeze the litter to the desired size with force.Self-inflating mat
This category is compact, comfortable during sleep. The weakness is considered to be a high risk of puncture, so you can not jeopardize the tightness of the product by throwing it near a fire, on grass, stones. It is recommended to use it only inside the tent.
During periods of inactivity, the model is stored flattened so that it always returns to its original state. The valve should be left open: the foam rubber needs ventilation, the removal of moisture that enters when pumping.
Self-inflating tourist rugs are optimal for those who prefer active travel with a not-so-large backpack. They are carried with them on any means of transport.
Inflatable travel mat
This is a special category of equipment in which there is no such thing as surface cooling due to internal air circulation (it is often found in inflatable mattresses similar in design). In some instances, natural fluff prevents such movement, in others a complex network of internal partitions. Like the previous version, inflatable solutions need careful handling.Inflatable Travel Rugs
Packed models are very compact - some fit in your pocket, they are lightweight and very ergonomic. The density of inflation, respectively, and the thickness can be adjusted. Experienced tourists praise the supplied mini-pumps - small covers that pump litter by squeezing-unclenching. Rulers are expensive, but because of the high thermal insulation, they are in demand among climbers and adherents of extreme sports.
Folding Travel Rugs
They are also called camp cots. Folding mats really look like a temporary single bed: they are assembled according to the accordion principle, folded up and placed in a compact canvas cover. Two-layer, in most cases, the canvas is stretched on the logs or crossbars, the bed is placed at a certain height from the ground. This effect is achieved with the help of improvised legs, support rings, crossbars.Folding Travel Mat
Products belong to the premium class of equipment, but the price will pay off - products differ:
- high quality
- full compliance with anatomical needs,
- reasonableness of each element.
Among the minuses - a significant weight, they are not as compact as the two previous variations.
How to choose equipment for winter hiking?
When the temperature of the earth does not exceed the mark of + 9 ° C, it is necessary to focus on the insulating characteristics of the mat. There is a scale of thermal resistance, its indicators are marked on the product labeling as R-value. The higher the value, the colder it can be outside when using a specific shield. For example: R-value from 5 to 9 covers the air temperature from -18 ° C to -45 ° C.
To make the rest on the ground or snow in winter conditions comfortable, you can combine 2 inexpensive and insufficiently insulating (when they are separate) specimens, in particular foam ones. It will be warmer if you independently use either a self-inflating or a downy inflatable mat designed for the indicated weather conditions. Examples of brands in these categories are Terma-Rest BaseCamp and Exped DownMat 7.
Therefore, it makes sense to provide for tourism in freezing temperatures either a two-layer "sandwich" of carpets, or a spare inflated shield.
Models of equipment for different types of recreation
For hiking, traditional foams are optimal - this is a reasonable saving, which will not affect the quality of leisure. In this segment, it is better to buy expensive boots designed for intensive walking than investing in a tech rug.
Trekking and mountain hiking suggest an increased load, here the equipment should be as light as possible, and sleep - full, comfortable. The priority should be inflatable and self-inflating models of durable material, thick enough to smooth the rocky base. A good example is THERM-A-REST NeoAir Trekker: average weight - 500 g, 2.2 l of transport volume, made of dense polyester and nylon, internal partitions coated with aluminum prevent air convection.
The main characteristics of rulers designed for mountaineering are the ability to use at low temperatures, low dead weight, high strength. Inflatable products prevail with a surface that does not absorb moisture. Here you will need high-quality foam, which, located in the first layer, will protect the capricious inflatable "brother" from contact with sharp rocks.
For cycling, you should choose the most compact and lightweight models. World brands offer products weighing 300-400 g, a transport volume of not more than 1.5 liters, and a lower temperature threshold of -6 ° С.
Those tourists who take their children or spend the night together in a cramped tent, camping, double tourist rug is useful. On a wide shield, it is much more convenient to sleep with an active child, because there will be no gap in the gap. Here the width, on average, starts from 100 cm. Inflatable variations are equipped with a partition that divides the internal volume into 2 parts: each side can be inflated with individual stiffness parameters, as a result, sleep comfort is noticeably increased, since the activity of the other person is not felt.Double tourist rug
The profile market of tourist equipment in this segment is quite wide. Such world-famous brands as Therm-a-Rest (the leader in this niche), practical Big Agnes, technological Exped, authentic Mammut strive to improve even budget-friendly products. For example, foams with a convex surface resembling a honeycomb are very popular; they fold compactly into an accordion. Among Russian manufacturers, Tramp and RedFox brands with loyal prices, original outwardly and undoubtedly high-quality Nemo products have proven themselves well.