Alpkit.com – Slim Airic Mat: How I Faired!

Alpkit.com's - Slim Airic

Alpkit.com's - Slim Airic

Alpkit.com Slim Airic Sleeping Mat

The pair of sleeping mats I ordered from http://www.alpkit.com arrived on the second day after I ordered them. Wrapped well in minimal packaging I even found a handwritten note inside thanking me for my purchase. How’s that for a personal touch!

Alpkit even offer a special whereby if you buy one mat for £25 you can get a second for £7.50 less. We bought two mats and took them off this weekend for a trial run.

The Slim Airic measures 180 x 51.5 x 3mm – long enough to accomodate Wil who is 6’2″ and wide enough for my starfish sleeping antics.

The mats roll up fairly small to the width of the mat, 51.5 by about 10cm, that is, if you roll from the bottom squeezing the air out as you go and screwing the air valve at the top closed at the last second. The weight stated on the website is 743g.

We found if you roll the mat up once to expell the air and screw the valve closed you can then fold it in half lengthways and roll it to be around 25.5cm wide by 20cm. It still fits inside it’s carry sack which can be twisted and then pushed back over itself for transport. This worked well for me as it attached perfectly under my mountain bike seat with a bungee as you can see in the photo.

Although I’m not sure how good this will be for the mat if repeatedly folded in this way or stored like it for a long time. I imagine some breakdown of the material would occur at the fold.

Slim Airic Mat under my seat

Slim Airic Mat under my seat

The website says these are self inflating mats. I’ve never owned a sleeping mat before mainly because we’d usually drive somewhere which afforded the luxury of being able to take a heavy old battery operated self inflating air bed to put on the floor of the tent. On another occasion when I hiked around Pompeii, Italy I made use of an old blow up swimming pool air bed which was great until I camped at the base of Mount Vesuvius where volcanic rock took it’s toll and promptly burst it (in the middle of the night of course). I did the same in Morocco and on this occasion it was chilly on the night my mat deflated and I froze rapidly learning that all the heat your body possesses goes straight into the ground even if you are in a sleeping bag. So the sleeping mat and the self inflating function are new to me. I know when you unscrew the valve it sucks a load of air in and I guess then you have to blow into it a little bit to get it to your level of comfort.At least, that’s what I found I needed to do.

We put two mats into our two man tent and found because of the shape of our tent – being wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, the mats overlapped. The good bit was there wasn’t much space in the tent where one of us would end up laying directly on the ground sheet.

The first thing I noticed was how warm the mat was. So warm, that laying there with a thin technical shirt and thin running trousers I wasn’t able to use my Tescos sleeping bag right away! It wasn’t until I ended up breaking into a sweat which then got cold enough on my skin that I needed to pull the sleeping bag over. Bearing in mind that outside of our tent it’d been cold enough to require 2 thin shirts, a windbreaker and a fleece. I was impressed with how warm the mat kept that side of my body.

I slept comfortably on the mat all night and woke in the morning without any aches and pains you’d normally have if you’d hit the ground while sleeping.

We bought our mats in the Kelp (olive green) colour which is the darkest one they offer. Because we’d laid on our mats without any sleeping bag initially the transfer of oils/sweat from our faces and hands stained the mats really badly. On one patch on my mat you can actually make out the shape of my hands and all of my fingers which had been fanned out under my leg in one big grubby sweaty looking patch (and I can assure you I’m not a big grubby sweaty person!!) Looks rather disgusting and I’m not sure how well they clean or how to clean them. The Alpkit site could do with providing a bit more information on inflating these mats and the care/cleaning of them for the not so sleeping mat savvy amongst us! On that note I’d recommend getting the lightest colour available which hopefully won’t show up marks like the dark one does!

Good points:

Lightweight
Warm and comfortable
Great Price

Not so good:

Fabric covering easily stained
Lack of use/care/cleaning instructions

NOTE (06 AUG 08: Nick from Alpkit has kindly left a comment pointing the way to information on these Sleeping Mats which, as he states, does answer some of the problems I had. How good is Alpkit.com I ask you?. Just pop over there and buy something just for the sake of it – go on!

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5 Comments »

  1. We try to minimise printed material as much as possible.

    There is a support section on the site which does answer some of your questions

    http://www.alpkit.com/support/stickies/category/sleeping-mats/

    Loved “the hour in a car”

    Take it easy

    Nick

  2. foxsden said

    Fantastic Nick! That’s really helpful. Thanks a lot for taking the time to comment (and look around)

  3. Sarah said

    I’m still using an eight year old 3/4 length Thermarest. It is quite horribly stained now, but when I first had it I Scotchguarded it which seemed to work.

    Would the man from Alpkit approve of that for their mats?

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