Some time ago we reviewed the Alpkit range of Airic self inflating mats, which we loved, so we were delighted when Alpkit asked us to take a new at their brand new range. These sleeping mattress use clever technology to be self inflating, yet easy to pack away, ideal for campers.
An airbed is heavy and takes an age to inflate. A balloon bed packs down small but like an airbed can be cold because there is nothing to stop the air circulating around the inflated chambers. Whilst closed cell foam mats are light, can't be punctured and prevent heat loss into the ground, they don't offer a great deal of comfort. Self-inflating mats aim to combine the best properties of all without the need to carry a foot pump
A self-inflating mat is basically a layer of compressable foam sandwiched inside an airtight envelope of fabric with a sealable valve. When you open the valve the foam expands, sucks air into the mat and after a couple of minutes the mat will be semi-firm. You'll then need to add a few breaths of air to make the mat firm enough to sleep on. The foam provides the insulation and a built in pump, the sealed fabric in combination with the foam provides comfort and the whole mat squeezed flat for compact storage.
There are various different mats in the range, depending on your requirements, below are details of the new range.
7.5cm thick, this is the most comfortable sleeping mat they make. It is so
fat it needs two valves to help you squeeze all of the air out of it. Dozer
is based on the Fat Airic mat with a few important improvements. They knew
people looking at this mat would be interested in maximum comfort so we have
changed the surface fabric to a heavier and luxurious soft touch, non slip
peachy feel polyester. There have also been some changes in the
construction, the foam is cored in a lateral direction through the mid
section of the mat to increase warmth and support. In other areas they have
die cut the foam to save weight, reduce pack size and decrease
Fatness: 7.5cm Length: 195cm Width: 60cm Weight: 2kg
The do anything mat, it manages to strike a balance between durability,
packed size, low weight and high thermal comfort.
Sometimes the most expensive product is not always the best, it is really a
question of suitability for purpose. Although Base is cheaper than Airo you
would be foolish to discount it as an inferior camping mat on this basis
alone. Yes Base does use heavier fabrics, a simpler construction and non
die-cut foam, it is heavier and packs down larger than Airo but it is also
warmer and the polyester fabric will be more hardwearing than the
lightweight fabrics used on the Airo. So if you are after a good solid
workhorse of a sleeping mat to accompany you on your adventures then Base is
well worth a look. Available in two sizes.
Base 120 Fatness: 2.5cm Length: 120cm Width: 50cm Weight: 520g
Base 180 Fatness: 2.5cm Length: 180cm Width: 50cm Weight: 870g
For mountain activities where weight is a concern. World travel where
space is a premium. Anything where weight and packed size out-way comfort
If your big adventure demands the lightest equipment to succeed then you
should be looking at the two Airo sleeping mats. They have used a
lightweight 33D ripstop nylon bonded to a die-cut foam core. A PU coating on
the inside of the mat bonds the mat together, this has a much higher melting
point than a TPU laminate which reduces the risk of a de-lamination in
extreme conditions such as inside a hot Landy or on your approach to Kili.
If you are going solo and you still can't fit the water filter in your pack
you should consider their 120cm length Airo, it will keep your core warm and
you can use your rucksack under your feet..
Airo 120 Fatness: 2.5cm Length: 120cm Width: 50cm Weight: 399g
Airo 180 Fatness: 2.5cm Length: 180cm Width: 50cm Weight: 582g
Wider than most mats, you can lounge and sleep how you like. The tapered
shape provides maximum comfort for minimum packed size. The mat for wide
There are more appropriate mats to choose from if you are going to be
carrying your kit around on your back, but if your adventure involves some
form of transport such as rafting, canoeing, horse-back riding or even
something with an engine you may well be lucky enough to have the extra
luggage space for a bigger and more comfortable camping mat. The Wedge is an
option here thanks to its clever tapered design which starts at a fat 5cm
under the head sliming down to 2.5 cm at the feet. This means you get the
insulation where you need it and benefit from a much reduced pack size.
Wedge has die-cut foam to further reduce the weight and speed up inflation
Fatness: 5 - 2.5cm Length: 190cm Width: 64cm Weight: 1kg
Little KippaA serious kids sleeping mat for adventurous kids and for parents who
carry every thing, this pint-sized sleeping mat should lighten your load a
Kids love camping out overnight in the hills, but sometimes their rucksacks
are bigger then they are. In these cases mum or dad are going to have to
make space in their own rucksack! Obviously these are already going to be
overflowing with other essential stuff so a cheap foam mat is just not going
to do. With this in mind they have designed the Little Kippa mat to be
lightweight and made to the same high standard as their adult mats with
die-cut foam and ripstop polyester for durability. You might find cheaper
mats around but remember you pay for what you carry.
Fatness: 2.5cm Length: 118cm Width: 40cm Weight: 396g
This is their fattest baddest mat for all those dirtbag moments in your
life. The most comfortable mat you can carry with near fat pad comfort for
those squished in to smaller tents.
Dirtbag is a sleeping mat which is hard to ignore especially if comfort is
way up there on your list of priorities. Comfort inevitably comes with a
weight penalty, but with Dirtbag you have a sleeping mat that is designed to
minimise the hit as much as possible. If you are travelling for an extended
period and sleeping primarily on the ground then carrying a few more grams
in your pack could be worth the effort. Strap it to your camel for
star-gazing in the Sahara, chuck it on the floor of your old pals house in
downtown Sydney for a few days. Perhaps take it down Mexico way, or back up
along the Pacific Coast Highway. Travel, life.
Fatness: 5cm Length: 180cm Width: 50cm Weight: 888g
What did we think?
We were supplied with a couple of mats to test and upon arrival they were
neatly packed away in their bags, strapped tight with good heavy duty
straps. Each comes complete with a puncture repair kit. The straps are a
simple quick release which meant they were open and rolled out in a matter
As with any brand new self inflating mat, the first time used they did not fully self inflate and were helped along
with a few puffs of breath to get them going. This was required
until the mat was fully inflated.
After a very comfortable nights sleep, we packed the mats away and headed
off to the next campsite. Upon arrival at the next site, this time the mats had some give in them and
started to inflate themselves. Some blowing was required, but
not much. The third and subsequent uses of the Alpkit range found that the mats
went up much easier with just removing the valves, and we found that only a few
puffs at the end got them to the required hardness.
Deflating is quite simple, rolling them up expelled the air, and we were
able to get them strapped up and back in their carry bags with only minimal
effort. Having said that, the young kids in our camp did struggle to get
them small enough to fit back in the bags, we had to help, but it's just a
The different options should make finding the perfect one for you easy,
it's just a case of considering how you want to transport them and the level
of comfort you ( or your other half ) demand! The lightweight ones are ideal
for backpackers who want to maintain a good level of comfort, whilst the
slightly heavier, bulkier ones are superb for those packing them in a car.
These are a great self inflating mat and not once did I wake after an
uncomfortable night, or suffering with back aches etc, in fact I woke most
refreshed. After using the Alpkit mats for a while now, we couldn't go back
to pump up airbeds, these mats are now an essential part of our camping kit,
indeed they often get used at home if visiting friends, or family where a
quick bed is required!
Where can I get them from?
The entire range is available from Alpkit.
to see full details of all the available self inflating mattresses, and to
buy securely online
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