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Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Mats - State of the Market Report 2011 Part 2: Test Results and Mini-Reviews
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Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Mats - State of the Market Report 2011 Part 2: Test Results and Mini-Reviews on 08/26/2011 23:11:29 MDT Print View

The Alpaka one is made from silnylon , the instaflator feels more like a thin plastic bag, however it does the job.
To put it in another way, I would not trust the Instaflator with an Alpaka or similar raft.

Edited by Franco on 08/26/2011 23:24:17 MDT.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Australia shipping on 08/27/2011 00:23:14 MDT Print View

Hi Franco,

Who did you purchase your instaflator from? I can't find anyone who ships to Australia.


Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Australia shipping on 08/27/2011 00:32:11 MDT Print View

$6.99 shipping to Australia

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Thanks Anna on 08/27/2011 00:49:07 MDT Print View

Any one else want one?

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
This is a reason to be a member of BPL on 08/27/2011 16:58:10 MDT Print View

In reference to the "Why are you not a member of BPL" thread this is a clear example of why people are.

White Blazes, Practical Backpacking, The Backpacking Lite Forums, really?!

Great work guys, thank you!

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Mats - State of the Market Report 2011 Part 2: Test Results and Mini-Reviews on 08/27/2011 17:22:07 MDT Print View

Mine was donated by a local forum member.
This is my video on the Instaflator :
The above was voted, by me, as the best Instaflator video of the day.

Warren Wilkinson
(icensnow) - M

Locale: New England, USA
Stephenson sack inflator on 08/29/2011 16:42:51 MDT Print View

Thank you BPL staff. The effort that you folks put in is much appreciated.

30+ years ago I purchased Stephenson sleeping bag with the DAM. I was very skeptical about the "inflating the pad with the sack" idea, and was pleasantly surprised when it worked, and worked well. There is a "knack" to capturing a full sack of air, but if you can do that, you can inflate the pad very quickly and easily.

I currently use a very similar approach with an Exped Dry sack that is fitted with one of those cheap air mattress type valves at the bottom (same as Stephenson). It is fairly large and I find that I can inflate most air mattresses with just 2 bags of air, 3 at most. I have been frustrated when using this process for the 1st time in a long time, or when in cramped quarters where I can't fill the bag with air easily, but I still find it to be a better alternative than blowing moist, micro organism filled air in by mouth. Have you ever seen the inside of an old air mat that has been blown into for years . . . gross!

Brendan S
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
pack liner as inflator for air mattresses on 08/29/2011 18:34:23 MDT Print View

It takes a little practice, but you can easily use your pack liner to inflate an air mattress which eliminates a separate piece of gear like the instaflator. My Kookabay 48" pad takes less than three bagsfull of air. Super easy once you get the hang of it.

Jim Sweeney
(swimjay) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Great review on 08/30/2011 15:51:08 MDT Print View

This is a great review. I particularly like the format of the links to the mini-reviews. It might have been a good idea to include in the main body of the article the packed size.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 09/01/2011 10:13:19 MDT Print View

Great article Roger

I'm going to have to go back and digest this some more when I have some more time.

/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Mats - State of the Market Report 2011 Part 2: Test Results and Mini-Reviews on 09/08/2011 18:47:57 MDT Print View

Thank you all for the excellent article!

As an aside, my go to winter pad is a KookaBay DAM that is 60" x 21" x 3.5" R6 mummy shape pad that is 14.9 oz. It is comparable in comfort and warmth to my Exped DownMat 7 Pump, but lighter and longer.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Thanks on 09/14/2011 16:51:46 MDT Print View

Hi all

Thanks for all the nice comments.
Sorry I could not be part of the Forum discussion: Sue and I were in Europe for 2 months, doing the Via Alpina from Trieste to Oberstdorf. We have only just got back.

re inflation and the Instaflator: hum ... interesting! In parallel I note that some of the latest mats hitting the market have built-in pumps. Especially for winter use I think we will see more of the pumps.


Simon Gershon
(simongershon) - F - MLife
Puncture resistance? on 09/15/2011 01:36:25 MDT Print View

As someone who has experienced punctures in the field with ThermaRest and others, and found them very hard to repair, this is a significant issue for me (so I now use 2 regular blown foam mats - KISS). This can happen when packed due to something sharp in your pack or falling over etc. Could you include puncture resistance and field repairability as test factors in future reviews? Very comprehensive otherwise - many thanks.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Puncture resistance? on 09/15/2011 18:14:30 MDT Print View

Hi Simon

> puncture resistance and field repairability
Yeah, good idea, but tricky. My experience is limited: the way I pack gear and use gear has not led to many punctures over the years.
I did test the repair kit for the BPL review of the NeoAir mat some time ago and found that the repair patch worked very well, but that was at home taking my time. It used heat to set the adhesive: a pot of boiling water used as an iron.
I have also patched the knit fabric surface of my old TaR Deluxe with PU adhesive, which was more tricky owing to the porous fabric surface. I had to rub the adhesive right into the fabric. But that repair has also withstood the test of time (like 10 years?).
I suspect that the results might be very dependent on the situation, with 'in the middle of a howling storm' being less easy to get right.
Anyhow, we will keep it in mind. Thanks.


Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Exped Synmat UL7 on 10/24/2011 23:16:24 MDT Print View

The graph in the mini-review of the Synmat UL7 is wrong; it shows a maximum inflation of only 45mm. This mat will inflate to 70mm and even deflated somewhat for comfort should still be above 45mm. Not sure if this is just a typographical error, although if not an additional 10-15mm of inflation might yield a higher Rmax.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Exped Synmat UL7 on 10/25/2011 03:49:13 MDT Print View

Hi Scott

The data table in part 2 shows the thickness as 70 mm, per the web site.

However, when you lie on the mat is is not that thick unless you inflate really hard, and inflating really hard makes it rather uncomfortable. So the numbers for the Synmat in the graph only go up to about 45 mm, but these are very realistic numbers.

It may be that the graphs for some of the other mats should not display data at peak thickness, just to be consistent. After all, they are never at peak thickness in the field. Mea Culpa.

EDIT: OOPS! the data table in the mini-review shows 35 mm thickness - that is WRONG! I will ask addie to correct it asap. I cannot check my original copy at present as a series of disk crashes (lightning) has temporarily rendered 15-20 years of files inaccessible. Designs, photos, track logs, BPL files, etc. Sigh.

For what it is worth - we have one Synmat UL7. Well, my wife Sue has it. I am seriously considering BUYING a second one for myself.


Edited by rcaffin on 10/25/2011 03:56:10 MDT.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Re: Re: Exped Synmat UL7 on 10/25/2011 04:38:51 MDT Print View

'For what it is worth - we have one Synmat UL7'

That's me sorted then!!

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Prolite Plus? on 02/07/2012 09:00:19 MST Print View

Any estimate of the Prolite Plus insulating value vs. Prolite? They're rather cheap right now!

Spec is R2.2 on the Prolite and R3.8 on Prolite +

Published SPECIFICATIONS for Regular:
Dimensions: 51 x 183 cm. / 20 x 72 in. (both same)
Weight: PL= 460 g / 1 lb PL+= 680 g / 1 lb 8 oz.
Thickness: PL= 2.5 cm. / 1 in. PL+= 3.8 cm. / 1.5 in.
R-value: PL= 2.2 PL+= 3.8
Fabric: 70d Nylon with Grip Dots (both same)

In the BPL Prolite test the findings were approx R2.4 with the pad at its spec. 25mm thickness. It dropped to R2.2 (Thermarest spec) at 20 mm thickness. I'm wondering if the PL+ would similarly retain spec. R-value with light compression?

Any more my legs want to be level and cushioned equally with the rest of my body- so I'm thinking of going to a full-length pad. For winter I have been using either a 1.5" nominal REI self-inflator or my trusty Thermarest LE (2"nominal) on top of a ridge rest- but they're each 4' long and my hips and knees don't like the dropoff when side-sleeping.

Edited by jimqpublic on 02/07/2012 09:42:54 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Prolite Plus? on 02/07/2012 15:24:50 MST Print View

Not tested, sorry.


jung hwan yoon
(yoon3838) - MLife
R-value on 12/16/2012 06:34:01 MST Print View

R- value. That's not all.