Sleeping Bag and Carrymat
Down filled sleeping bags may offer advantages in weight and bulk, but synthetic bags are better for our wet climate because their performance is less affected should the insulation become damp. Synthetics also tend to have a faster drying time, can cope with rougher handling and are more easily cleaned. Having said this, it is vitally important to keep your sleeping bag dry and it must always be kept sealed in a dry bag or heavy duty plastic sack inside your rucksack.
Sleeping bags are graded according to the number of seasons for which they are comfortable. Three season bags are suitable for most people camping in the British Isles from April through to October. If you are a cold sleeper you should consider a four seasons bag or maybe a fleece liner. The bag ideally should include an integral hood, a baffle with draw cord around the shoulders to prevent heat loss and a full length baffled zip. For a more detailed information about sleeping bags, have a look at this Cotswold "The Knowledge" article.
The use of a sleeping bag liner allows the sleeping bag to be kept cleaner and will also make a difference to the warmth of your bag. A silk liner is best for warmth and lightness, and takes up little space in your rucksack.
Heat loss through the ground is greater than through the air, so a insulating mat is essential. Various types are available. The closed cell foam 'Karrimat' type is light, waterproof and durable. Lightweight, compressible self inflating mats are now also available, they are more comfortable but more expensive then the 'Karrimat' type. You need to pack a small repair kit with inflatable mats as a puncture will render it useless. Check out this Cotswold video about sleeping mats, which explains the pros and cons of different types.