Snugpak Basecamp Airmat
Snugpak are renowned for building solid, military grade, shelters and sleeping bags and in this new offering, the Basecamp air mat with footpump they combine the best of both worlds with the military background with a hardy mat but at a low cost for all to enjoy. Lighter than most mats and considerably cheaper making it perfect for experienced backpackers or those just starting out.
What Snugpak say:
Built in foot pump
Available in olive or blue
Dimensions: 183cm x 62cm x 5cm / 72" x 24" x 2"
Packsize: 28cm x 12cm / 11" x 5"
Outer fabric: 240T/75D pongee
Inner fabric: TPU
Filling: no filling
I've taken the air mat with me since the beginning of May and used it extensively in all the conditions summer has had to offer. Typically, I opt for the more expensive models from the likes of Exped or Thermarest to name some brands but have had some teething problems with inflation so I was little hesitant about the cheaper Snugpak offering but only time would tell if it was any good.
I typically use the more expensive air mats which are suited for Winter use and come in at the £100 plus. I found the first few camps out with them were perfect but with use and rolling them up inside the rucksack they wouldn't stay inflated through the night and the pumps supplied with them would either get lost, damaged or just lose their kick.
I'm yet to use the new airmat from Snugpak in Winter but expect it should hold up well however no temperature specs are given on this new mat which would certainly help and sway a lot of people in to buying the product. The product is already favourable due to it's lightweight and compact fit.
Weighing in at 630g it’s a very light option. To compare my Exped Downmat 7M weighs 850g and the new Exped mats with integrated pumps are around the 800-1000g and both cost double if not three times the cost in comparison but are perfect in colder conditions as these are made for use down to -10 degrees.
So Snugpak's offering of a lighter option at 630g with a built-inpump and costs only £60 it's a steal at the price for anyone who wants to get started in backpacking or looking for extra comfort at campsites.
The integrated pump is very easy to use with both your feet as intended or by hand. Inflating the mat with your feet is easier and the mat inflates a lot quicker. I haven't timed myself but it's below 3 minutes to inflate. By hand takes a little longer but if its wet or you have been hiking all day and your legs are sore this is easy to do with a coffee in one hand and setting up camp in the other.
I would advise not using the footpump with shoes still on, this will led to damaging the mat or making it wet if you've been out hiking all day.
The mat is perfect to stay inflated and just sit about on in the morning or evening. Using the Snugpak Stasha ground mat underneath I could set up a nice little outside porch/view in the mountains and enjoy a dry and comfortable seat whilst eating dinner. With kit and myself sat on the mat I couldn't feel the ground underneath. Disappointingly I have been able to feel on my other mats when I've sat up on them.
Who said backpacking and camping had to be difficult.
At 6ft2 the mat is the ideal length for me, my head nor feet were hanging off the edge and the mat is wide enough to roll over without any issues or falling off during the night.
Even pitched on a gradient I didn't slide of the mat or had any issues with the mat.
In some of the storms we've had or locations where camping wasn't permitted I've ended up sleeping in the car and I've set up the mat as added comfort and I'm so glad I did!
It stays inflated through the night and is very comfy and not noisy either when you do roll around. Between this mat and a good sleeping bag you'll have no issues, so it is definitely a great starting point for those stating out in backpacking and even the experienced looking for a lighter option in Summer.
When packed down it rolls up smaller than a 500ml flask so size its perfect and takes up very little space, if anything you'll have problems finding it in your pack because it is so small.
With the integrated footpump there is a method to rolling up.
I found starting with the footpump first and roll out was the easiest method as it keeps the pump on the inside and avoided the mat unrolling or making awkward shapes when packed in to its bag.
Following on from rolling up the mat - Deflating, how easy is this? Very easy I have to say, with two caps on the mat. One on the footpump itself, however this doesn't let any air out but is worth leaving uncapped when rolling up to make it more compact.
The second cap is at the base of the mat, simply untwist the cap and the air comes out. I would do this first then go make breakfast and every time I've come back to pack up the tent and contents the mat has been deflated and easy to roll up. Starting at the footpump you can squeeze out any excess air still in the mat, again I would leave this cap unlocked to help compact further and stops any trapped air in the mat from causing a problem when packed away.
The temperature test didn't take long to experience but it's not a Winter camp still. The last visit to the Brecon Beacons on Pen y Fan was a bitterly cold night with wind temperatures and the clear night plunging the mercury to above freezing. The relief of climbing in to the tent and in to the sleeping bag was a dream and I quickly warmed up.
Our spot had a lot of long grass and not the most even of terrain but with the mat I experienced no discomfort or an awkward night’s sleep. It was a great night’s sleep and very comfortable and warm.
This mat could be used all year round, including in Winter but a down filled mat might keep you warmer. The most important thing is to have a mat regardless the time of the year.
If you didn’t know you loss some 70% of your body height when lying on the ground so even if it’s a roam mat, air mat like this or down filled it eliminates this heat loss.
So it’s not just for added creature comforts out camping.
I've been super impressed with the airmat, multiple uses later in a variety of conditions and locations and the mat remains inflated through the night and is as comfortable as the first use as till my last at the weekend just gone. It's very lightweight, durable and super compact and this mat has happily replaced my Exped Downmats for the past few months and I haven't missed the more expensive mats.
Knowing the price and the quality from this mat it's a brilliant trade both for comfort and the bank account.
Whether you are an experienced backpacker looking for a lightweight option without compromise of quality and comfort or whether you are new to camping and backpacking and want a cost-effective method to get you started that won't break the bank and offers the same quality as the more expensive mats then Snugpaks new offering is the perfect place to start. I for one have been extremely happy with the mat will continue to use in to Winter.
Additional comments post review
I’ve continued using the mat now in to Autumn and the mat is still delivering. The past few wild camps due to dire weather and scrambling to get in to the shelter for some respite from wind and rain I have actually been lazy and not blown the mat up and simply used it as a means to stop heat loss. Although obviously not as comfortable as when blown up the mat still delivers in keeping my core temperature as it should be and not worrying about the cold.
Transparency Notice: Please note that I am a Snugpak brand ambassador and receive the products for free to review from Snugpak. The review is no guarantee of endorsement. I receive no monetary gain from Snugpak from the reviews.