You can spend big money on an insulated inflatable camping mat, but for a lot of users something more basic and affordable would be plenty, says Dan Bailey. From car camping to occasional backpacking, this model from Trekmates hits a sweet spot between price, warmth, and packability.
£80 for the same insulative performance as a foam mat which is almost half the weight, costs £20 and will last far longer. I can never understand the attraction of inflatable mats.
Half the weight and very affordable, but far larger and a fraction of the comfort of an inflatable mat... foam mats may have their place on something like the Cuillin (even then I'm in two minds) but for most uses they're far inferior. I've had the same Karrimat for over 30 years, so it wins on longevity, but it's a beast of an object on a pack and I've rarely carried it since getting my first inflatable and realising how much better I feel after actually sleeping through the night!
They do look very similar don't they. It's possible they may both be made by the same manufacturer (in China presumably) and re-badged, however I don't know this for sure so I've saved it for the comments, not the review. Stating the obvious, the Cloudbase is cheaper and lighter, but lacks the insulation of the Air Lite so it's not going to be as warm. I suspect this would make the Air Lite a better buy overall since it's going to be better for UK use outside warm summer.
I've used the cloud base a bit this Summer. Great value but I was surprised by how chilly I felt using it on the first night (Arran in July) and so had more on to sleep on the second night than I usually would in Summer.
Down filled vs fibre filled sleep mat?? North of £100!!! #Typo. Having said that I got a bargain Thermorest at £12 on eBay and repaired it with silicone filler and I wouldn't hesitate to spend north of £50 on one should I lose it. Total convert and karrimats are nowhere near.
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