After a tent that keeps you warm and dry, protecting you from the elements above, the next requirement for a comfortable night's sleep is something to insulate you from the hard ground below.
One thing you do want after a long day's cycling is a good night's sleep!
I had an adequate sleeping bag already, so a sleeping mat was my next concern. Never having used one before - I'd used full-size airbeds, a foam mat or nothing at all in the past - I spent some time looking around for a good value mat with decent reviews.
I also took note of weight and pack size, as I still had to work out how I was going to carry everything.
I settled in the end for a full-length Vango Trek
, available from various suppliers through Amazon. Prices varied a little, but the best price for one in stock was around £18-£20. I guessed it would squeeze into my panniers or possibly in a top bag.
In the end it fitted into my pannier just fine alongside the tent, with a bit of space left over for heavier items like water bottles and food.
Inflation is easy. Just unroll and unfold the mat, undo the valve and leave it for a few minutes. Just add a couple of puffs and tighten the valve, and you have a thin but surprisingly comfortable mattress that stays that way through the night. Of course, a grassy pitch will be more comfortable than a rocky one, but I found the Vango Trek at least as good as I'd hoped.
You can easily pay £60 or more for a self-inflating mat, and you might get what you pay for, but I'd happily recommend the Vango Trek to other cycle campers and hikers, and it certainly beats a foam mat!
You can still buy the Vango Trek
through Amazon, here:
Labels: cycle camping, cycle touring, paris to venice, self-inflating sleeping mat, vango trek sleeping mat, vango trek sleeping mat review