Sleeping set ups

What set ups are people using?

With best laid plans of a few overnighters to test out my gear before my trip in May not eventuating I decided to sleep out last night… in the back yard!

Set up weighs just under 2kg for the tent and footprint, sleeping mat and quilt.

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 incl footprint - 1051g
Enlightened Equipment -1 degree quilt - 550g
Klymit X Frame Recon mat- 340g

Once I got settled I had a pretty good nights sleep. Still in two minds about the mat longterm in regards to comfort and lack of insulation, but for its packability and weight / price it seems okay.

I gotta Big Anus Copper Spur UL2 and a thermarest, works good, dunno what it weights

With them J stakes, I’d tie a pull tab through the holes to make em easier to yank out, you don’t wanna spend half an hour pulling pegs outta blue metal with multi-tool pliers, ask me how I know.

Like this

Have you gotta pillow or using clothes x stuff sack collabo?

Down jacket in a stuff sack = best pillow ever.

Also good in a dry bag, that way you can add a bit of air to stop it compressing too much.

I use a pump up mattress, the pump uses 4 D cells and comes in an 8cm x 8cm x 8cm box, and the mattress folds up flat and small - weight usually doesn’t bug me much, but sleeping on a sleeping mat costs me the next day.

Clothes x stuff sack for me. Could be an issue on colder nights though… Last night I was just wearing merino longs so had a merino jersey and Altica® 100 fleece pullover for a pillow; if I have to wear these plus my down jacket I’ll have to resort to using my smelly riding gear!

  • Tarptent Contrail
  • Sea to summit Spark SP2 bag
  • Big Agnes mat (180cm, mummy)
  • Sea to summit pillow (essential)

Super luxurious and fairly lightweight.

I am 196cm tall and the 180cm mat does not bother me cos I sleep on my side/at an obtuse angle. I fucking love the vents around the sides of the contrail - under the right conditions it feels amazing… Not concerned about having such a lightweight sleeping bag. No plans (yet) to go on any bikepacking trips this winter - but I can always experiment with a liner etc.

Only negative is that the mat is super hard to pump up via mouth at the end of a fucked days riding.

Setup @ Sedgemeres

I use a combination of the items listed below. Taken it down to -5 and was uncomfortable but I got some sleep. If I had $$ I would swap to a quilt and get a mid shelter or shaped tarp (MLD or Zpacks) and a nicer bivy (TiGoat?). A pillow is next on the list. I had to set up early the other night and had a shit time trying to fall asleep, definitely prefer ride - have dinner - keep riding and then set up camp late.

-Stoic Somnus -1 Sleeping bag + RAB silk liner
-Bunnings Blue tarp (usually diamond pitch)
-AlpiKit kids mat
-SOL escape Bivy
-SOL emergency bivy (usually just used as a ground sheet)

Pretty much same old combo for me. No longer super duper light, but pretty rock solid:
Terra nova laser competition 1 (1100g or so with new ti nail pegs)
thermarest prolite regular (480g)
Golite 40F or 20F ultralight long quilt, depending on season (630g or 770g)
Sea to summit aeros ultralight pillow large (2014 best purchase, 70g)
Old holey silk liner most of the time (some g)
I don’t put all of that into my medium diameter sweet roll, or if i do, I cant get two rolls each end. But its that close.
I feel like I can rely on all of it and I can sleep well on it.

I don’t have a photo of my setup but it is as follows:

  • OR Helium Bivy (450g) - very light, spacious, breathable. By far the most comfortable bivy I’ve used. Almost as comfortable as a tent.
  • 2 season synthetic sleeping bag or 3 season down bag (both 800g, both same packed volume) - I prefer synthetic because it insulates when wet and can be easily cleaned in a washing machine. The compromise is with a bit of added weight and volume - but they’re getting better all the time. Down for colder weather obviously (you cant get a warm synthetic that packs down small enough the space allowed in bike bags.
  • an OG 3/4 UL Thermarest (350g IIRC) - cos it was cheap, I’m old school and its comfortable enough.
  • Pillow - the stuffsack from my sleeping bag filled with junk, and the drybag from my terrapin goes under my feet (very important IMHO).

don’t under estimate the importance of your sleeping clothes (as I did on the Kiwi Brevet this year). My first night was very uncomfortable as it was freezing and I didn’t pack any long johns and my top wasn’t quite warm enough.
clothes that I think are necessary:

  • UL synthetic quilt jacket
  • longjohns
  • dry wool socks
  • woollen hat

Deep Heat is also good. :stuck_out_tongue:

Don’t forget a hot water bottle for super cold nights - lexan nalgene bottle, boiling water, sock - and put it in your sleeping bag 10 minutes before you go to bed. Something I’ve always done in the mountains.

And, as a couple have already mentioned, a silk liner. Not for insulation, but as a barrier between your sleeping bag and your filthy body. You really don’t want to be climbing into a fancy down sleeping bag without one after a hard day or few days riding.

I picked up a nemo astro insulated mat for my 11 day trek, it was one of the best purchases I made. Very comfortable, light (450g~) and has a raised section to negate the need for a pillow. The material appeared to be quite thin and I was worried about a puncture so I used a groundsheet each day. In the end I had no issues.

Looking for some advice on a new sleeping mat/or sleeping bag.

I have a Macpac 150 fill sleeping bag, rated to 2°C (lowest), silk liner, and a cheapo Kathmandu sleeping mat (figured just to stay off the ground in summer). Just bought a S2S thermal liner that apparently “increases performance” by 8°C.

Never thought i’d be camping in winter but I want to now - what should I replace? Get a better sleeping mat? Or invest in a better sleeping bag?

Last time I was out it was -2, I had my current setup and wore two thermals and a wool jumper and was cosy. It’s only going to get colder in Canberra though.


If you must only choose one I’d choose a better sleeping bag. For Australian winter I find a 500g or 600g fill down bag does the job pretty much everywhere. Buy the best bag you can afford because if looked after it will basically last forever (if you stick around the 750-800 loft mark, 900+ loft will not last quite so well).

I’ve slept a bunch of nights sleeping on snow or on top of a glacier with just my Thermarest Prolite 3 short length - not the warmest or comfiest mat, and when on snow you can feel the cold rising through it, but with a good bag it’s fine, and I’ve never liked carrying a bulky mat. That said, I’ve been using a Prolite 3 short for over ten years and technology has changed.

Hmmm. I’m inclined to disagree, with a bit of hesitation.

I think a well insulated mat would make quite a difference to your setup. I’d look at Exped Syn/Downmats. Downmats are super warm, but a bit bulkier/heavier and more expensive. Way less than a flash new bag though, and a good long term investment. S2S mats are supposed to be good but I don’t know much about them.

I’m pretty smitten with my Enlightened Equipment quilt, but it needs a good mat. A -6 with your liner would be pretty much unbeatable I reckon.

Nagesh… I have the Exped Synmat, but haven’t tested it out in the wild yet. Mont out at Fyshwick stock them.
My EE quilt is on it’s way as well! Pretty excited that everything is coming together in my long journey to get my shit together… I went for a ride on the weekend to scope out potential urban overnighters, the spot I had in mind is a no go due to rabbit shooting from 12-7am. Will have to find somewhere else.

If it’s fairly mild (as in not really below or far below zero outside and not stormy) and when cycling Pete’s probably right. It’s certainly far cheaper to upgrade your mat - and if you can afford a top mat but not a top sleeping bag, that’s probably a good idea.

My experience is coming more from climbing/trekking in the mountains than cycling, and there I would always skimp on a mat before a sleeping bag. For example, when you puncture your Exped downmat or drop it in a river with the valve not closed (which happens) you get close to zero warmth from it (the Synmat is better if that happens, as is a regular self-inflating mat). But you’ll be fine if cycling - you’re not going to die.

I find that an air mat with no insulation is too cold in the Canberra winter (eg. BA Aircore).

Having said that a super fancy down filled mat might be over kill. I’m on a AlpKit Kids mat at the moment and find it way better than my BA even though it only has basic insulation.

There’s quite a lot of that at the moment. A spot I take the girls bushwalking is closed from 5pm-7am for the next few weeks

I was approximately 500m from my office the other day and thought it looked an awesome spot for an overnighter. Couldnt see a single person/car/thing other than grass and trees. I’d want to give it a go with mates before hitting it solo though. Walking in to work the next day would be nice :slight_smile: