Comfort at night when venturing away from home is taken to a new level with the Trekmates Air Lite Sleep Mat, writes Mike Gormley.
Over the years I have slept on many surfaces ~ from grass to sand to aircraft to boat decks to even a pile of wet bergens ~ but there is nothing like getting a bit of comfort for a decent night’s kip, however inventive one gets when needs must. While away from the cosiness of your own bed there are many ways of taking some comfort with you. These have evolved a great deal, and still do, from the good old foam ‘kip mat’ that we are probably all familiar with.
At the OTS 2023 event earlier this year I came across the Trek Mates Air Lite, which really caught my attention. Something a bit different. I have tried many of the ‘self inflating’ (which seldom really do) mats and found some suffer from reliability, though some others are part-insulated to protect a bit from this. So my search continued for the perfect solution for a lightweight compact, reliable way of getting a good night’s sleep when camping.
This one from Trekmates looks a good bit different and perhaps might not initially appear convincing. However, in practice out on Dartmoor on a particularly unpleasant night ‘under canvas’, I did get a decent and comfortable night sleeping on the Air Lite. With air mats I do have concerns about reliability as I have been let down by quite a few over the years and so far I have not had a chance to try this one out over time under varying conditions, but it is made of a robust TPU-coated 40D nylon ripstop material and seems sturdy enough. There is also some inbuilt microfibre insulation added to the top side of the mat to aid comfort. The seams have a good wide area of sealing and perhaps, importantly, the valve is integrated with the main body of the mat and not bonded into the edge sealing, where many others I have used seemed to fail. So, life expectancy bodes well.
Included with the mat is an inflater bag, which is more or less a roll-up ‘dry bag’ with a valve. It works but, to be honest, I found it just as easy to blow the mat up the old-fashioned way as the volume required is not that large. I did think the pump bag with clothes in might make a pillow but as the material is nylon and slippery it was not great, though it might work okay under a fleece or similar.
All-in-all, I like this mat and look forward to further opportunities to try it out. For those who look at weights, this tips the scales at 760g and the mat is shaped so reduced a bit at the foot end.
[images © Mike Gormley]