Gear Review: MARPAD Thermarest

Several years ago I was waking down the lines at a local car boot, scouting for MTP clothing (which at the time commanded a pretty decent price tag), not a hard thing to find at any car boot… living less than 10 miles from a Royal Marine camp I would generally go home with an empty wallet from the local car boot and make a hefty profit on eBay or even selling direct to Airsofters on site.

One of the items (or rather 2) I stumbled across was a pair of rollmats, nestled amongst a bunch of MTP Goretex and some old gym equipment. I had a closer look and realised that these were something special indeed, unfurling the roll mat I realised that the pattern on top (which had been obscured) was MARPAT woodland. It’s a pattern I’ve liked for a long time (and one I’m eager to use again soon).

Now I’m not a massive expert when it comes to gear, but I knew even then that these would be worth a fair amount. Summing up my best uninterested browsing voice I nonchalantly asked “how much for those roll mat things?” The response was “£10?” Excited and being cheeky I replied “£10 for two? If you chuck in those waterproofs I’ll give you £20” and so that day became immortalised in my memory as the day I made £300 profit in under ten seconds.

I promptly sold on the goretex, 4 full sets… 3 of which we’re still in the wrapper. At that time they commanded a massive price and I sold each set for £75 within a matter of hours once home. The two roll mats I chucked in the loft until my next camping trip.

The time I used this thermarest that really sticks out is with Infiltration Airsoft at Battlelakes (Op Uncharted if I remember rightly)

It started out as a pretty average British weekend, sunny in places and then pouring with rain all the way through the night. The following day was probably the heaviest rain I’ve ever seen in the UK, to say it was torrential would be an understatement and the site buildings were actually flooded as a result of the weather.

During this weekend I slept under a basha, with only this rollmat as a ground layer, I remained pretty warm and there’s enough padding to take the edge off any uneven ground you put it on.. it’s also rugged as hell, The exterior is a tough 75d Polyester/70d Nylon, Plenty enough to deal with the Harsh Afghan terrain, Let alone the Somerset countryside.

One side of the mat is plain coyote brown, A staple colour within the USMC inventory, The other is woodland MARPAT… A pattern I’ve always liked and will probably be adding to my collection again soon.

The valve is atop the mat on the head end… the Mat being designed to self inflate once the valve is released. I often blow a little extra air into the mat to keep it nice and buoyant, although this isn’t needed.

Comfort wise it’s a big step up from a conventional mat, I do often use it as a liner for my hammock but it’s perfect no matter where it’s used.

To roll the mat up, Simply open the valve and start rolling from the bottom end, pulling both shock cord loops around the mat to secure it and then tighten up he valve to keep the mat devoid of air.

It’s a tough choice to review this, I doubt it’s something many people will have the fortune to happen upon, but just know this… If you find one at a random car boot sale, Put on your best poker face and offer a fiver… you never know your luck! And if your y walk away with one for a price your happy with you’ll have a very nice and somewhat exclusive sleeping accessory on to take to weekend fashion shows… I mean Milsims 😉

2 thoughts on “Gear Review: MARPAD Thermarest

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  1. I first encountered the Thermarest mattress in 1995 when I was on a project in Alaska. I found them to work far better than any ordinary foam or rubber mat, my only suggestion would be that it was about a foot wider.

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    1. A good shout… I think the narrowness of this one is due to having to be stuck on a ruck as part of a long patrol loadout it needs to be as narrow as possible

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