Gear Review : Multimat Adventure Air Mattress.
I don't like to review things until I've used them a fair bit as a rule, and I've now owned this for well over two years.
There is a bit of debate online about air mattresses. Ones like this, that have little to no specific insulation material inside divide opinion massively it seems.
As I've said before, in the 'outdoors' world there can be quite a bit of gear snobbery. Also you have the phenomenon of people having buyers remorse when they find that they've paid £400 for something they could have had the same result with, spending £100. The popular magazines don't help much. They seem to assume that every walker and camper in the UK has a disposable income of about £1000 a month, and is just chomping at the bit to spend £200 on a pair of trousers.
Yes, it is true that you often get what you pay for, but the fact that you can buy a merino wool underpant that mops up your sweat, chucks it out again, while simultaneously making your farts smell of febreeze on exit, doesn't mean that you can't go to the Lake District in your Asda Y-fronts.
After all, I bet Edmund Hillary had never dreamed of such a thing as Carbon Fibre and certainly didn't use any Goretex until at least 1969 for that matter, and he didn't do that bad.
The key with gear is always using it in appropriate situations. This mat is marketed as being appropriate for three seasons, which, on the whole I would agree with. The official tog rating is 1.7, I've used it in a comparatively mild November (I think it got to around 5 degrees) and it was absolutely fine. I am a person that gets cold quite easily, so I can quite confidently say that as far as I'm concerned, the three season rating is accurate. (So there, naysayers). Everyone has a different tolerance, it goes without saying..... even though I just said it.
The feel of the mat is surprisingly tough. It's one downside in a way, that the material feels 'hard', but that's largely irrelevant as you'd normally have some other layer between yourself and the mat such as a sleeping bag, or clothing. It helps to deflate the mat a little to add a bit of soft comfort to your sleep. With all air mats you have that niggling worry about 'midnight deflation', but the toughness puts your mind at ease a little with this. And there's a repair kit, so even if you did hear the dreaded 'pfff' in the night, you'll probably be alright.
Some people have reported falling off the mattress due to its width, but I haven't had any problems with that. I sleep on my side and don't tend to roll around much. This problem however is universal among many camping mats, so no fault of the Multimat itself.
The other downsides of the mat are ones that are shared with all air mats, £100 plus ones included, such a being more delicate that other types of mat.
Size : 1830 x 490 x 70mm (inflated)
Season Rating: 3
Tog Value: 1.7
Compactness: 240 x 80mm
The specs speak for themselves and give a lot of much more expensive mats a run for their money on all points except for the tog rating.
Of course, if you're camping in four seasons, you'd need to think about investing some more money on something warmer, but if you're a more casual 'fair weather' camper, you really can't go wrong with this.
Despite what I said about gear snobs, I would say that something like a Thermarest Neoair would be a nice thing to have, simply because of the fact that it has all the good points of this, plus you'd be confident using it in cold weather, but really, if you're THAT into camping that you go when it's likely to be heading towards freezing, you'll get something better anyway. And if you can't afford anything better, you could stick a thermal sheet or roll mat under this. There's always a way.