Thursday, 9 December 2010
Karrimor X-Lite Self Inflate Sleeping Mats
Mention Karrimor on an outdoors forum these days and you can expect to hear how the Karrimor name is only applied to rubbish. Well in my experience some current Karrimor branded kit is as good as anything else out there and the top end rucksacks as well put together as any of my 80's/90's Karrimor sacks. To get to the point I was browsing the Field & Trek website recently when I came across tapered/mummy shaped self inflate sleeping mats branded as Karrimor X-Lite. I looked at the suggested weight of both the 3/4 mat and the full mat and they seemed surprisingly light compared to my Multimat Adventure Superlite 25. The mats were priced at £29.99 and £34.99 for the 3/4 and full mat respectively and the weights were given as 325g for the 3/4 and 475g for the full length. For comparison a Thermarest Pro Lite 3/4 is 310g/£61.99 while the regular is 460g/£71.49.
Karrimor X-Lite Sleeping Mats
I posted about the X-Lite mats on OM but most people who replied seemed to be concerned that they'd weigh more than suggested or would be of poor quality. In the end I decided to give them a try myself as if they were significantly heavier than suggested I could return them. If however they were as advertised they'd offer a significant weight saving over my Multimat and rectangular 3/4 Karrimor mat bought from Sports Direct for around £10 and weighing less than my Alpkit Wee Airic.
The mats arrived a few days later and the 1st thing I did was weigh them.
Full Length - Suggested Weight 475g, Actual with/without Stuff Sack - 485g/473g
3/4 length - Suggested weight 325g, Actual with/without Stuff Sack - 346g/334g
Although both were heavier than suggested when the stuff sack was included they weren't outrageously overweight so I decided to keep both. The stuffsacks are quite a bit bigger than needed as the mats both roll up very small, I suspect I could get both mats in one stuffsack.
Full Length Mat, 473g (100g Gas Cartridge for scale)
3/4 Length Mat, 334g (100g Gas Cartridge for Scale)
What caught my attention was the fabric used and also the type of valve (my basic karrimor mat uses the same valve type), both look identical to my Multimat. As far as I know Multimat don't make a tapered mat in the Adventure Superlite range but I'd be very surprised if the Karrimor mats aren't made in the same factory from the same materials which makes them good value for money.
Karrimor X-Lite, Multimat Adventure Superlite 25
Karrimor and Multimat, Fabric Looks Identical
As I had the Vango Halo 200 pitched for the past week and a half I decided to try the full length X-Lite mat. I used a PHD Minim 500 rather than my Golite Adrenaline 0°f as I wanted to push the mat to see how it performed (I don't find the Minim 500 warm enough as I was cold using it in Scotland in May, I think it's too roomy for me) I wore a baselayer consisting of heattech L/S top and serious longjohns together with my Goosefeet down socks. I did start to feel cold in the early hours so pulled on the Uniqlo down jacket and was comfortably warm and I didn't feel any cold coming from the ground. When I checked the thermometer in the morning the minimum temperature had been -9°c outside/-4°c inside.
If you prefer self inflate mats I'd certainly recommend them although while the Thermarest Prolite mats are much more expensive and not much lighter you do get a better guarantee.