This inflatable sleeping accessory is one of the new and updated Snugpak Basecamp mat range, writes Mike Gormley.
I had one of the early versions of this sleeping mat and, although I liked it very much, it was a tad small for my large frame. This new variant from Snugpak is now wider, so you are less likely to fall off the side in the middle of a good kip. Added to this, the new mat now has a inflator pump built in.Like me you will probably have spent time blowing up mats and it is not the best way to spend five minutes or so, especially crouched in a small tent at the end of a long hard day in possibly less than ideal climatic conditions. If using your lungs to inflate you also introduce a lot of moisture to the air mat which is not such a good thing.
The simple built-in pump can be operated by foot or hand leaving the mouth free to talk or to sip a brew. You can also do other things which are not possible to do while blowing (my mind is boggling, Ed.).As this mat has no inbuilt insulation it packs down very small, probably a third the size of a standard kip mat, and it is light weight. There are pros and cons to this type of mat; if it gets punctured, you are sleeping on the floor. This said modern ones are lot more reliable than the originals and the material is more sturdy. The mat is also not really suitable for more general use, such as a seat or kneeling mat.
For me the ideal combination, and one I normally use these days, is a smaller foam mat in conjunction with an air mat. With this you have yourself covered for all situations and get a much more comfortable, insulated sleep.
Currently available in blue or olive, the Snugpak Air Mat With Built-In Foot Pump can be bought online through snugpak.com/outdoor/basecamp-mat-range and is also stocked by a number of retailers who can be searched through the snugpak.com/outdoor/retailer page.