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BUYING CAMPING & OUTDOOR GEAR by Damian Turner THERM-A-REST: NEOAIR MATTRESS

AEROBED Using its powerful, cordless AeroPump that can be charged both at home or in the car, the AeroBed (below) is inflated in just 60 seconds which helps setting up camp that much easier. The bed’s dual-chamber construction not only offers you individual comfort control, but its versatile design also means that it can be used as either a single or double mattress for increased practicality. Made from durable PVC, the Active Dual Zone is strong and sturdy enough to cope with the wear and tear associated with outdoor life and its advanced internal coil structure prevents the bed from sagging or bulging. At the end of the trip, AeroBed’s patented Whoosh™ valve allows for exceptionally quick and easy deflation, simply undo the valve and the bed deflates in seconds. Transporting the bed to and from the campsite is just as simple as it’s supplied with a durable carry bag for easy portability. www.aerobed.co.uk Price: £129.99

As you’ll read elsewhere on this page, I’ve been using ThermA-Rest’s NeoAir mattress with their Altair sleeping bag which, with their SynergyLink Connectors (two elasticated hoops on the back of the sleeping bag), enables the NeoAir to be fed through the bag, which ultimately eliminates sliding, twisting, rolling and cold spots. Getting technical, it has a patent-pending Triangular Core Matrix™ that creates over 100 internal cells and Reflective Barriers that trap warm air, resulting in an incredibly high R-value without the weight or bulk of conventional insulation. In other words, it’s lightweight, durable and helps to keep me very warm and cozy! Included with the NeoAir is a repair kit as well as its own pump sack and connector. This means you don’t have give it mouth to mouth in order to inflate it, simply attach the connector to its stuff sack, or any other plastic bag, fill it with air and roll it so the air enters the mattress - a cool party trick! All in all, a great mattress that compresses to the size of a pair of trainers and just as light! www.cascadedesigns.com Price: (Large) £140.00 (Medium / Regular) £125.00

THERM-A-REST: ALTAIR SLEEPING BAG

Filled with 750+ Goose Down, it’s designed to provide efficient warmth down to -18C while offering light, packable performance that

It’s fair to say that sleeping bags and me don’t usually get on. I wake up in the morning at the other side of the tent completely back to front with a cold zip on my back whilst bursting for the loo, I then can’t escape the damn thing because the zip has snagged! Arrgghh! However, it has to be said that the dozen or so times I’ve used Therm-A-Rest’s Altair Sleeping Bag recently have been a much more pleasant, and dare I say it enjoyable experience! You see, what Therm-a-Rest call their SynergyLink Connectors, I basically describe as two elasticated hoops on the back of the bag that enable Therm-A-Rest’s NeoAir mattress’ to be fed through, which ultimately eliminates sliding, twisting, rolling and cold spots.

38 LRW August 2013

makes each night in the mountains, farmers field or in the back of your Land Rover much more enjoyable. There are 2 sizes, and being 6ft 1” and the wrong side of 18 stone I opted for the long version which gives me a nice amount of free space without feeling claustrophobic as this type of ‘mummy’ bag generally do. At last, I’ve found a sleeping bag that I like! Other features include: draft tubes & collar, snag free zipper, stash pocket, sculptured hood, storage & stuff sack and something called a trapezoidal footbox. www.cascadedesigns.com Price: £350 (Regular) - £400 (Large)

www.landroverworld.co.uk


8/7/13

     

trekandrun.com - review of the Therm A Rest Neo Air All Season Mattress & Saros Sleeping Bag

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Therm A Rest Neo Air All Season Mattress & Saros Sleeping Bag  

                                                                                                                                                   

NeoAir All Season Mattress

                       

 

They Say -­ Lightweight, durable and extremely warm, the NeoAir All Season mattress is the ultimate solution to year-­round backcountry comfort. Patent-­pending Triangular Core Matrix™ technology creates over 100 internal cells and Reflective Barriers trap warm air, resulting in an incredibly high R-­value without the weight or bulk of conventional insulation. Durable fabrics and construction give the All Season mattress the strength to stand up to rugged conditions throughout the year. Pump sack and repair kit included. Year-­Round Warmth: Patent-­pending technology traps warm air to provide a high degree of warmth. Light and Compact: NeoAir technology allows the All Season mattress to be lighter and more packable than mattresses filled with conventional insulation. Extra Comfort: Stable construction and 2.5-­inch thickness offer greater comfort for a full night of sleep. Lasting Performance: The All Season mattress can be inflated directly without the worry of exhaled moisture wetting insulation and decreasing performance. Made in Ireland  

www.trekandrun.com/reviews/thermarest/neoairsaros.html

1/5


8/7/13

trekandrun.com - review of the Therm A Rest Neo Air All Season Mattress & Saros Sleeping Bag

 

 

We Say -­ This mattress was tested to the max last year for three months. I was camping, using this as my only bed, almost every night from end of May until September, 2012. And now 2013 has seen me spend another 2 months in the tent, this time with my wife. It's a brilliant mattress, in our opinion, simple as that. Here's why.  

First up, the Neo Air can be packed down very small. The times are gone when you have to strap a huge foam yoga-­style mat to the outside of your pack, this mattress roles up so small it fits nicely in the pack beside my sleeping bag, leaving that bit more space to fit clothes/tent/cooking kit in. The sack that the mattress comes in can also be used like a pump to inflate the mat, although I've never done this, preferring to use my breath (it takes about 15 to 20 breaths to fully inflate the mat).  

 

 

So, 15 or 20 breaths of air and it's ready to use. And it stays that way. I generally only have to re-­inflate after a week's solid use.  

Comfort; I always sleep well with this mattress. In the old days, when I slept on another mattress, I would usually wake up after a night in the tent with a stiff back, but not any more. It's long enough to take my whole body -­ I'm 6 foot 1 tall -­ and wide enough, just. I mean, when I'm lying on my back my arms have to rest on the ground either side of the mat, but that's ok by me, I was comfy enough.  

I've slept out under a bivvy in the depth of winter using this mattress as my base and been warm enough, I just laid on my side and then all my body was off the ground.  

The coldest temperature I used it in was minus 15 degrees. I was in my tent and a sleeping bag that is good to minus 5, and I was able to stay warm enough that night. What I mean is, I was able to stay in the bag and tent and catch a few minutes of sleep here and there, whilst my friend had to sit by the campfire all night shivering as to stay in his bag might well have proved fatal. The mat had a lot to do with that, insulating me from the freezing cold ground, even though my sleeping bag was out of its depth temperature wise.   The Neo Air has been as good this year as when I first got it, so I can say with confidence that it's robust enough and has lasted well. I often pulled it out of the tent and used it as a mat to lay on around camp, so it came into contact regularly with rough ground yet, fingers crossed, there have been no punctures to date (in all those 160-­odd days of use).  

 

It's a real bonus that Therm A Rest have developed a way of preventing the moisture you breathe into the mattress as you inflate it from rotting it from the inside out. My last mattress had to be thrown as it suffered from mould; with the Neo Air this doesn't look like it's going to be an issue. In Summary -­ This Therm A Rest Neo Air All Season Mattress has allowed me to stay warm and comfy over 160 days of sleeping outdoors these past 2 years. It's robust, comfy, lightweight and easy to inflate, all in all it's a perfect air mattress. We say...if you haven't already got one and you need a camping mattress, get yourself a Neo Air now.  

 

To learn more about the Neo Air All Season Mattress, please check out -­

http://cascadedesigns.com/en/therm-­a-­rest/mattresses/trek-­and-­travel/neoair-­all-­season/product

www.trekandrun.com/reviews/thermarest/neoairsaros.html

2/5


8/7/13

trekandrun.com - review of the Therm A Rest Neo Air All Season Mattress & Saros Sleeping Bag

http://cascadedesigns.com/en/therm-­a-­rest/mattresses/trek-­and-­travel/neoair-­all-­season/product Saros™ 20F | -­7C | Synthetic sleeping bag

     

 

 

They Say -­ New for 2013! The Saros sleeping bag is the perfect choice for backcountry trips that start with a shaky forecast. EraLoft™ synthetic insulation offers warmth and weather resistance that's ideal for backpacking and mountaineering in wet weather and temperatures down to 20F (-­7C). A direct connection to your mattress, created with SynergyLink Connectors, ensures you stay warm and comfortable all night long. Sleep Securely: SynergyLink Connectors bring your sleeping bag and mattress together for uninterrupted sleep. Sleep Warmer: Zoned Insulation puts fill where you need it most, for efficient warmth. Move Freely: Our Efficient Comfort design gives you room to move where you need it, without creating too much space to heat efficiently. All-­Weather Warmth: Proprietary eraLoft™ synthetic insulation is light, compressible and performs in wet conditions. FEATURES: Draft Tubes & Collar, Snag Free Zipper, Stash Pocket, Sculptured Hood, Trapezoidal Footbox, Storage & Stuff Sack  

 

   

     

We Say -­ The clever thing about this sleeping bag is the way it connects -­ and stays connected -­ to the sleeping mattress thanks to the two straps (or SynergyLink Connectors as Therm A Rest call them) attached to the back of the bag. The photos below show how the bag is attached to the already inflated Neo Air Mattress. It's an easy five minute job to set it up. All you do is slip the straps over one end of the mattress and slide the bag down over the ridges until the bag covers the entire mattress.  

www.trekandrun.com/reviews/thermarest/neoairsaros.html

3/5


8/7/13

trekandrun.com - review of the Therm A Rest Neo Air All Season Mattress & Saros Sleeping Bag

 

Thanks to these straps, gone are the times when you slip off your mattress during the middle of the night. I'm not a wimp but waking up on the morning of a big hike with a sore hip or shoulder because you've slipped off your mat but not woken up so you've been resting on hard ground half the night is a hassle I could do without. And thankfully now I don't have to deal with that scenario at all.   It's worth noting though that if you use the bag without a mattress you'll probably get very, very cold. My wife took possession of the Saros as soon as I got it, fitted it over her own Neo Air Mattress, and enjoyed sleeping in it for a week. She said it was a very comfy and warm bag. But then I got sent a portable Thermarest cradle to check out, so she took her bag off the mattress and laid it on the cradle instead, thinking that she'd have an even better nights sleep. This wasn't to be. She woke up totally freezing at midnight. You see, the back of the bag, where it snuggles up to the air mattress, is very thin, it has no padding at all, so whilst it is fantastic when used in conjunction with a mattress, it lets in the cold when you use it with a cradle, or just straight onto the ground. Here's a snap of the Neo Air Mattress on the left and the cradle on the right.  

www.trekandrun.com/reviews/thermarest/neoairsaros.html

4/5


8/7/13

trekandrun.com - review of the Therm A Rest Neo Air All Season Mattress & Saros Sleeping Bag

 

So after my wife got another sleeping bag so she could keep using the cradle (it raised her off the ground so she was able to avoid the bugs, she said, which was a major plus point for her) I took charge of the Saros plus air mattress, and for the month that I used them together I never had any problems or causes for complaint. The bag suited me as well as it had done her (regardless of our different shapes and sizes -­ I'm 6 1, she's 5 5). Even when we were camped on uneven, sloping ground that would usually have me rolling to the side, which was pretty frequent, the straps kept me on the mattress.  

There's a snag free zipper, although I did find it snagged now and again when I pulled it up quickly. When I stretched my legs out so the bag was taught and pulled the zipper up or down carefully, there was no snagging.  

The stuff sack provided compresses the bag down to a handy size as you can see below. It fitted in the bottom compartment of my 70 litre rucksack alongside my camp clothes easily.  

In Summary -­ I've slept up to an altitude of about 800 metres in this bag -­ to a temperature low of around -­1, and it's coped easily with that, as it should do. You absolutely must use it with an inflatable mattress such as the Neo Air (without a mattress you'll be uncomfortable and very cold). If used correctly though it'll keep you fixed firmly to your mattress and enjoying a very comfy night.  

 

To learn more about the Saros Sleeping Bag, please see -­

http://cascadedesigns.com/en/therm-­a-­rest/sleeping-­bags/saros-­20-­sleeping-­bag/product

   

www.trekandrun.com/reviews/thermarest/neoairsaros.html

5/5


8/7/13

     

trekandrun.com - review of the Therm A Rest LuxuryLite® UltraLite Cot™ by Lamia Hossain

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Therm A Rest LuxuryLite® UltraLite Cot™ by Lamia Hossain  

                                                                                                                                                   

                       

 

They Say -­ The UltraLite Cot™ is lighter and packs smaller than any cot on the market. At only 2lbs. 12 oz., this cot will open up new opportunities for comfortable nights in the outdoors. Whether you’re out fishing for the weekend or riding a dual sport across the continent, the UltraLite Cot™ offers the comfort you need at a weight and packed size that’s impossible to beat. BowFrame™ Technology: Our patented technology eliminates the painful crossbars, squeaky joints and broken hardware found in other cots. Ultra Lightweight: The lightest cot on the market – so light even backpackers carry it. Super Packable: Compact design fits easily in a pannier, portage bag or backpack. Durable Construction: Laminated nylon cover is waterproof and stretch-­free; anodized aluminum poles and durable nylon feet stand up to heavy use. Three-­Minute Set Up: Assembles quickly and easily – no tools required. Made in USA  

 

 

We Say -­ The first usage this cot got was with our 4 year old nephew whilst we stayed in a cottage for a week. He needed to sleep in his parents double room and since there was only a double bed for the 3 of them this cot provided the solution. He loved it, and it was actually no problem getting him to go to bed every night (which it usually is) as he really enjoyed using it.  

Then it was my turn to use it, for two weeks straight while we were camped out in the Lake District in England.

www.trekandrun.com/reviews/thermarest/ThermaRestLuxuryLiteUltraLiteCot/page.html

1/3


8/7/13

trekandrun.com - review of the Therm A Rest LuxuryLite® UltraLite Cot™ by Lamia Hossain

 

It is very simple to erect. Instructions come included on a piece of paper, which I appreciated (I don't like it when I have to go online to search out instructions) and they were straight-­forward to follow. You just insert the poles either side, then make up the cross-­poles and, whilst standing on the outside poles to stretch them apart, you hook the cross poles under them so as to create the tension. That actually sounds more complicated than it was, as it was very easy and quick to do indeed. You can see a 'how to set up' video on the website here -­ http://cascadedesigns.com/en/therm-­a-­rest/cots/luxurylite-­ultralite-­cot/product  

The cot comes in a stuff sack that's very compact...

www.trekandrun.com/reviews/thermarest/ThermaRestLuxuryLiteUltraLiteCot/page.html

2/3


8/7/13

trekandrun.com - review of the Therm A Rest LuxuryLite® UltraLite Cot™ by Lamia Hossain

It's super light so it was easy to decide to bring it on our trip as it added hardly any extra weight to my backpack. Most importantly though it was very comfortable to sleep on inside the tent. I wanted a raised surface to sleep on because 9 times out of 10 our tent is pitched on a bit of a slope and I always slide down from the centre of the tent during the night. I also wanted to have a little distance from all the little critters that scuttled around in the tent at night. Dave suggested the cot, and once I had the sleeping bag on it it was very comfortable and fun to sleep on. It didn’t slide away on the slope at any time during the 2 weeks so the grip on metal stands was fair enough. The cot was also long and wide enough for me to sleep nicely on (I’m 5 ft 5"). Dave also had a go on it and it fitted him as well, and he's 6ft 1". My arms did hang of the sides of the cot but I didn’t mind that.  

One thing I didn’t like about the cot is where the metal bits connect to the sides of the cot. If I banged my knee on it or sat on it by accident, it really hurt or was very uncomfortable. The sides of the cot weren’t padded or anything so basically it’s just metal covered by a strong but thin layer of material. I guess this is a small price to pay though as lack of padding means it's very lightweight.  

The cot was waterproof and durable throughout my use of it. It didn’t really get exposed to rain but if I did spill water or any liquid on it, I could just wipe it off with a cloth and it’d be good as new. It was durable too – I’m not saying I jumped on the cot repeatedly, but I wasn’t very gentle with it either and sometimes I had a slight worry that it might tear through or I might poke a hole in it. But nothing of the sort happened and it felt very strong under both mine and Dave’s weight.   In Summary -­ Lightweight, durable and easy to set up, the cot suited me really well during my stay in the Lake District. I felt a bit privileged, like I was sleeping in much luxury even though I was in a tent. With the addition of a good sleeping bag, it makes for very a comfortable and warm night.

 

To learn more about the UltraLite Cot™, please check out -­

http://cascadedesigns.com/en/therm-­a-­rest/cots/luxurylite-­ultralite-­cot/product  

www.trekandrun.com/reviews/thermarest/ThermaRestLuxuryLiteUltraLiteCot/page.html

 

3/3



August 2013 Therm-a-Rest Media UKIRL