Product Type: Hi Gear Camping
Newest Review: ... much identical to my Argos one, but the product description for this mat seemed to suggest that it had a lot more benefits. My experienc... more
A camping mat mistake
Hi Gear Camper Sleeping Mat
Member Name: BitterFusion
Hi Gear Camper Sleeping Mat
Advantages: Easy to carry and pack up
Disadvantages: Uncomfortable, self-inflating feature is disappointing
In terms of carrying this mat around when rolled up, it can't be faulted. It rolls up neatly into a stuff sack, and has two elasticated straps in order to keep the mattress in a compact rolled up state. Weighing around 1.23kg, it is light enough to be carried in a backpack, and thus is ideal for being carried on hikes. Measuring 183 x 51 cm, the mat is generous enough both in width and length to accommodate a person lying upon it. To put it in other words, I'm 5'9 and found that the length was plenty enough so that my feet were not dangling over the end of the mat.
Anyone who's had to pump an air bed will testify to how annoying and tiring (for me at least) using a manual pump to inflate your air bed can be. I find putting up a tent hassle enough! So, being the lazy being I am, a self-inflating device sounded very appealing. When I first rolled out the mat on the floor of the tent, I realised that there was a valve at the end of the mat which, presumably, would allow the mat to be self-inflated. However, no instructions on how the self-inflatable part of the mat worked were included. Therefore, when I unscrewed the valve, and waited for the mat to self-inflate, I was disappointed and worried that I had done something wrong when I realised that not much had happened with regard to air inflating the mat. It appeared that the mat had inflated somewhat, but not noticeably in my opinion. Granted, the depth of the mat only claims to be 5cm. However, prodding the mat, I was not satisfied with the way my finger sank into the mat, without there seeming to be any significant resistance. Immediately I became worried that the mat would not offer me enough support on my back and sides for a good night's sleep, and so I blew into the valve to try and give it a bit of extra inflation. However, the way the mat is designed meant that the air I was blowing into the mat was almost immediately escaping once I'd stopped blowing. My initial optimism for this product was dwindling fast with the approaching night.
Unfortunately, in terms of comfortability, my worst fears were realised. I found the mat to be little different to sleeping on a standard mat, and could not honestly say that the 5cm of depth gave any real support to my body. I woke up many times during the night to find that my shoulders would be in agony from having slept on my sides with little support. Needless to say, I was achy and grouchy from my restless night the next day. What had appeared initially to have been a great product in the store was little more than an overpriced disappointment.
I paid about £25 for the mat from Go Outdoors (I had an 'Up to 50% off' voucher, so it may be more expensive now). While this not be on of the pricier mats on the market, I cannot help but feel I'd parted with too much money for a product that essentially did not live up to its claims. I would have rather have paid £5 for a foam mat, as I'm sure I'd have found little difference.
If you've read this far, then I think you will have realised by now that this is not a product I would recommend. I was thoroughly disappointed with the self-inflating feature, as I do not feel that it was effective enough to provide a sturdy base on which to sleep without a bit of manual help from my part. That aside, the quality of sleep I got from the mat was the most important aspect to me, and it let me down completely. This is definitely not for those who would spend a week or so on a camping holiday, as you would be in agony by the end of the week. I would also not recommend it for a casual one night camping event, as there are far cheaper options on the market, which would probably give you an equally bad night's sleep. Bottom line - avoid!
Summary: Not recommended
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