sleeping mat for canoe camping

looking for something lightweight but comfortable and insulating for a few nights sleep.

Any recommendations? Maybe one of those self inflatable mats?

you using a sleeping bag & tent, or just sleeping under the stars with a bag? I just use a camping pad-can get em at wal-mart or any sporting goods store for $10-$15. Light weight, but won’t do anything for you as far as insulation. Guess it depends on where / what time of year you want to camp, & what’s most important- comfort, warmth, weight, price.

yep, sleeping bag in tent.
yep, sleeping bag in tent.

It’s in Quebec in the summer but can get cold at night.

Need some sort of insulation from the ground and the cheap mats don;t seem to be comfortable.

Jack L

Sleeping pad from Exped
We have been using Synmat 7’s for three years and retired the Thermarests.

They are OK for cool weather…down to about freezing. We used them on canoe trips to the Yukon, Utah, Quebec and Ontario.

Top two mattresses:
1) Exped Synmat 7, highest rated by backpackers for comfort. Will fit in any kayak or canoe. I don’t know of a Thermarest that equals the Synmat in comfort. Insulated for winter (rated to one degree F).

2) REI Camp Bed 3.5, a self-inflatable. Won’t fit in a kayak, but would be okay in a canoe. This is the most comfort you can get from a camping mattress, short of a full-size airbed. A bit more comfortable than the Synmat 7. Easier to inflate (the Synmat is a pain to inflate).

those mats look great but they’re both over $100 and then some.

I was figuring I could get away with something for $50 but it sounds like the comfort won;t be that good.

Comfort is in the eyes of the beholder…
and his wallet

Get a thermorest. Mine is nice and comfy and within budget

Jack L

luxurylite cot
It is out of your price range, but I bought one despite it being expensive and I’ll never use another sleep mat.

It breaks down as small as my thermarest pad and is as light. Never have to worry about going flat in the night, and gets you off the ground and any possible bumps.

We’re using REI 2.5s. I tried the 3.5
but even at my weight and with my protruding hip sockets, the 3.5 wasn’t better than the 2.5.

Sleeping on the bare ground or on inadequate padding may cause one’s restorative sleep (stages 3 and 4 if you care) to be repeatedly interrupted. Research done long ago showed that when stage 3/4 was repeatedly interrupted in a sleep lab, normal subjects felt in daytime as if they had fibromyalgia. Interrupting REM sleep did not produce that effect, though it left subjects sleepy.

So a good sleeping pad is a place where extra money may be well spent. I also suggest a small pillow filled with buckwheat, to keep your head from scrunching when you sleep on your side.

ever stayed at a $100 hotel
and had to sleep on a crappy uncomfortable mattress?

Exped is worth it.

Big fan
of the Thermorest pads. They are quite comfortable, not heavy relative to the comfort and they last forever if you take reasonable care of them. Alternative brands (lie EMS) are poorly made and will not hold up. You get what you pay for.

The correct answer to your question
may also depend on the underlying ground. Thermarests of a canoe camping and portaging size that roll up into a small bundle are inadequate in the Canadian Shield. And god save you if you try to sleep on the tundra on one!

They work fine on sandy beaches or forest floor duff that has no underlying rocks an inch down.

Going cheap
The Foam pads like the Ridge-Rest are not as comfortable as the self-inflating ones, but much cheaper. You can double up the Ridge-rest or the Walmart equivalent and still be around $50. The foam pads eliminate the worry about sticks or sharp rocks deflating your bed under load.


Actually on that queen size mattress
in my travel trailer beats them all.

Now if only I could figure a way to tow it behind the canoe.

Jack L

Luxury at a Bargain Price

I highly recommend Exped. I have two, one over 10 years old, one about 5 years old. Tell you what. If you buy this pad and DON’T like it, I’ll buy it from you for what you pay!


Therm-a-Rest Fan

I’ve used various forms of sleeping pads over the years, including just about every model of Therm-a-Rest. To date, I’ve been the most satisfied with the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Camper Sleeping Pad.

I still have my original 3/4 Standard Therm-a-Rest purchased in 1982! I’ve used Therm-a-Rest pads in the BWCAW, Quetico, and various other tripping locations, as well as winter camping for over thirty years.

I know there’s a loyal following for the Exped brand, probably for a good reason, but I’ll stick with my Therm-a-Rest(s). If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

I can’t help but wonder…

– Last Updated: Dec-30-13 11:30 PM EST –

if this is a size issue much like selecting a kayak for touring. Would a sleeping mat for a 5' 125# back sleeper work for a 6' 5" 245# side sleeper? Not at all.
A data base of size, position, gender and preferred mat would be a very interesting project.
FWIW, I'm 6' 200# male side sleeper, and I like the Exped Synmat 9LW. Further, I live in a warm climate.

Try to borrow from friends and find out
before buying or shop the thrift stores or second hand outdoor gear to reduce the price risk. With Christmas over with, people will be unloading “old” gear. maybe check Craigslist.

therm a rest pro lite

– Last Updated: Jan-05-14 10:57 AM EST –

I have a therm a rest prolite large. It is 25 inches wide for my old body and it is full length. It folds in half and rolls into a very small stuff sack - 13" x 4.5" inches and it is quite light. It is one inch thick. I use it for all seasons and weather except the dead of winter. I have used it a lot in the Maine northwoods in the shoulder seasons and in summer. Also used it in Canada on the shield and in the far north on the tundra as well. It has never failed me except one time when we were pinned down over night in an emergency campsite in cold terrible weather on Chesuncook Lake one time and stupidly we were making dinner in the tent (something I never do) and my partner sliced it with a knife. That was an uncomfortable night. I repaired it and it has been fine since. Yes, it has kept me warm and comfortable all over Canada, including on the tundra, including on rocky ground, etc. Guess god was helping me! Highly recommended.