I did say that I would do a comparsion of non inflatable pads and here it is. I make lots of apologies upfront as the rating system I have used is purely down to my personal experiences and therefore not necessarily the same for other people.
What I have tried to do is rate the pads I use with a set of 5 criteria. These 5 criteria are thengiven a score of 1-5. The total “score” for each pad is then a function of the 5 ratings multiplied by each other. For me this gives a ranking order that favours good all-round scores and penalises the worst scores. For example hypothetically a mat that scores a middle 3 in all its ratings will give an overall score way in excess of one that has a couple of 1’s and a couple of 5’s and a 3 even though the total added score would be the same. As I said, you may disagree with the method, the application of the ratings and the results but it is a starter for discussion if nothing else
So, the candidates:
- Laminate flooring foam underlay
- Radiator reflective material
- Gossamer Gear Torso Pad
- Gossamer Gear Thinlight mat
- OMM duolight pad (from the “back” of the OMM classic rucksack)
And for those of you who dont know what they look like, here they are in glorious technicolour
|length (cm)||width (cm)||thickness (mm)||Area (m2)||volume (Litres)||weight (g)|
|OMM duo mat||79.5||47.5||3||0.38||1.13||150|
|GG torso pad||72||45||16||0.32||5.18||96|
|notes on volume|
|1 litre = 1000cm3 (therefore relates to rucksack space)|
|volume in pack (1-5)||comfort (1-5)||warmth (1-5)||Robustness (1-5)||Area (1-5)||Total rating|
|OMM duo mat||5||1||1||5||2||50|
|GG torso pad||2||4||5||4||1||160|
So, what do the results tell us?
For me, the best overall pad is the GG Thinlight and I would have said that from the off before doing the measurements and ratings thing. It combines real warmth with a good size area, reasonable robustness and excellent comfort. The second placed torso pad is also an excellent mat but I would hasten to add that due to its size is not really suitable for winter use on its own, being too small. However combine this with another thin body-length pad it really works in the winter. My surprise package is the laminate floor underlay foam coming in a respectable third. If it wasnt for the robustness rating (which is relative to the others), it would possibly be the best. It is amazingly warm for something so thin and light and packs down easily (can be slotted into the back of my OMM 32L sack). The radiator reflective material isnt bad either although it is more difficult to fold and for some reason not as comfy or warm. Coming in last was the duolight. Its just too thin and unsupportive to compete. Having said that I have used this in summer on springy grass very successfully and its virtually indestructable!
I really rate the GG thinlight and have used it in the depths of winter with no issues and as said above, combine it with the torso-pad as well and it is an excellent all year round “system” (-7deg C is the lowest temp I have used this combination with along with an Alpkit PD400 sleeping bag and been really toasty). I do like the underlay as well mind and the other good thing is that you can take an oversize piece of it and it doubles as a sleep pad and ground sheet. From memory you can get widths of around 150cm which is a very decent size. The only downside is that you have to be a little gentle with it. Its not tissue paper but because it grips really well, you can jag holes in it if ungentle with booted feet.
Pick over the bones of this article and ask away any questions you have. Dont forget this is only a like for like comparison and I havent attempted to include inflatable mats which in my mind are a different animal altogether.
There you have it, feeding time at the gear nerd zoo again