How to choose your hiking mattress?

15/09/2022 By acomputer 398 Views

How to choose your hiking mattress?


The mattress occupies an important part in the equipment of the hiker.With the sleeping bag, he is the one that allows you to recover well during the night to attack the next day.With prices ranging from € 5 to more than 200 €, it is sometimes difficult to make the right choice for its use.Dimensions, insulation, comfort ... Here is what you need to know about the hiking mattress.

Selection criteria


Three parameters: length x width x thickness to remember.

Hiking mattresses are often available in several lengths, to choose according to its size, but not only.For example, mattresses in 3/4 format are not intended for children.A short mattress offers the advantage of being lighter and more compact.Long enough to cover from the head to the knees, it is enough to have a few clothes or its empty backpack at the level of the feet to complete it.This may seem stupid, but for an identical weight, the question can arise: is it better to have a 1.80 meter 2 cm thick or 1.20 meter mattress of 3 cm?

The width of the mattresses is more or less standard, around 51 cm in order to enter a hiking tent.However, there are wider hiking mattresses (also thicker).They offer more comfort, but are much heavier and bulky.They are intended for trekking without portage (equipment carried by a 4 × 4, mules, etc.).As for the two -person mattress, they are very rare.Bulky once folded, they are little suitable for homelessness.

The thickness of the mattress is linked directly to its comfort.The thicker it is, the more comfortable it is, but also heavier.With equal thickness, whether in inflatable or self -inflating foam, the comfort remains similar.The hiking mattresses which offer the best thick/weight ratio are the inflatable, they generally measure between 5 and 7 cm.


Once folded, a mattress must be as light and compact possible to be easily transported.For lightness, the golden palm goes to the basic foam mattresses, followed by the inflatable and finally the self -inflant.For congestion, the last will be the first and vice versa.The most compact are the inflatable, followed by the self -inflanting, as for those in foam, they are very large.Note that it also depends on the range, high -end mattresses sometimes offer performance exceeding their category.


As important as that of your sleeping bag, the insulation of the mattress will protect you from the cold of the ground.She compares herself with a coefficient called R-Value, which can be corresponded to a minimum comfort temperature of use.This generally varies from 0 (no insulation) to 3 (provided for -10 ° C) sufficient for hiking, but it can go up to 8 (planned for -30 ° C).

Comment choisir son matelas de randonnée ?

The insulation of the mattresses is obtained using air pockets (honeycomb mattresses), reflective materials (type survival cover), or as for sleeping bags, by filling in synthetic fibers or down.Some brands display in the characteristics of their mattress the R-Value and the minimum recommended comfort temperature, others, just the R-Value or the temperature.If nothing is indicated, it is that there is a good chance that the mattress has no insulation.

Here is an idea on use beaches according to R-Value:

Les matelas bénéficiant d’une bonne isolation sont souvent les autogonflants, sauf pour le grand froid, là, les plus performants sont les gonflables haut de gamme (R-Value >4).

The different mattresses

Foam mattress

The most classic mattress is the rolling foam carpet.Economic and very light, it is often the first mattress that we buy.But its lack of comfort, its congestion and its low insulation end up being right for it.Other types of foam mattresses exist.Some are honeycombed, thus offering better insulation and more comfort, others fall back into accordion to limit footprint, others are very resistant to abrasion and intended for rocky ground.

The foam mattress can also be a complement of an inflatable or self -inflating mattress.If your mattress is not isolated enough for winter, you can add a foam mattress below, or even, if you have a 3/4 mattress, cut a foam mattress to extend it in bivouacs in cold weather.

Another asset of the foam mattress is that he is not afraid of much.It is resistant and even if it were to be damaged, that would not affect the mattress (unlike a puncture on an air mattress).

Use advice:


There are excellent opportunities to do good deals or even very good deals during this sales period (January 12 to February 8, 2022).In order not to give in to the unreasonable temptations of the sales, here are some rules to buy to buy manager:

Here are some offers from our partners:

Features :

Inflatable mattress

With an average thickness of 5 to 7 cm, the inflatable mattress benefits from the best comfort/weight/congestion ratio and the non -isolated models remain economical.For an inflatable with good insulation, you have to look in higher -end collections, at the higher price.This type of mattress is most suitable for winter, the R-Value can go up to 8 on certain models.

Very compact once the air is emptied, it must be inflated every night (if you are at altitude, remember to keep a little breath).For insulated mattresses with synthetic fiber or down, it is essential to use a pump (supplied with the mattress generally) so as not to send humidity inside the mattress.This could damage the thermal performance of the filling, and humidity could freeze overnight.

The inflatable mattress being the most sensitive to puncture, it is essential to have a small repair kit with you if you do not want to sleep on the ground.Remember to grope the floor before each installation of your hiking mattress to verify that no thorn drags.

Use advice:

Features :

Self -inflant mattress

Less thick than the inflatable (except for so -called "camp" models, for base camps or treks without porting), the self -inflating mattress offers the advantage of not having to swell its hiking mattress each evening.The installation is quick, just open the valve and wait a little so that the internal foam gives shape to mattress, then, give 2 or 3 insufflations to obtain the desired firmness to the mattress (it is preferable to leave itInflect yourself rather than swell it yourself to avoid sending moisture inside).

Its comfort remains correct for use on a furniture floor (earth, grass, etc.), but it becomes limited on a hard ground, like the floor of an unmarked refuge for example (parquet, cement slab, etc.).A little heavier and cumbersome than an inflatable mattress, it generally enjoys correct insulation for 3 -season use.It remains more expensive than an unissessed inflatable, but less than an isolated inflatable.

If it is a little less sensitive to puncture, it is still more prudent to have a small repair kit with you.Remember to grope the floor before each installation of your hiking mattress to verify that no thorn drags.

Use advice:

Features :

Comparative table

Avantages*Petit prixDurabilité/fiabilitéTrès légerTrès rapidité à installerTrès confortableTrès compactLégèretéConfortableCompactRapide à installer
Inconvénients*Peu confortableEncombrantPrix élevéFragilitéTemps d’installationPrix élevéPoidsFragilité
  1. Cela reste une moyenne, certains modèles haut de gamme remédient à des points d’inconvénients.
  2. L’isolation dépend des modèles d’entrée/moyenne/haut de gamme.

In addition to this article, read our hiking mattress tests.

Did you like my article?Put 5 stars

Click on a star to give it a note

Average note 4.9/5.Number of votes: 49

No votes yet.Be the first to note my article.

I'm sorry that this article was not useful to you!

Let me improve this article!

Tell me how I can improve this article

The article has you more?Share it!