This mini-review is part of Part 2 of our survey of airmats. Here we have a full-length Vaude Norrsken insulated airmat.
Vaude Norrsken mat
|Length||181 cm / 71.3 in|
|Width||49 cm / 19.3 in|
|Thickness||5.6 cm / 2.2 in|
|Weight||630 g / 22.2 oz|
|R-Value||2.8 – 4.7|
|Drag Force||4/9 N|
|Larger Side Tubes||Yes|
|Material||“30d PA/PES with TPU coating”|
* The mat has a layer of ‘PES Primaloft Infinity 80g/m²’ inside it. To quote the Primaloft web site: ‘PrimaLoft INFINITY is a fine denier, high loft continuous filament insulation engineered for maximum warmth, compressibility and softness.’ What PA/PES means I don’t know. PES normally means PolyEtherSulfone, but that is a hard engineering plastic sometimes used as a replacement for polycarbonate. TPU is a fancy way of saying PolyUrethane.
The R-value for this mat is perhaps a shade low compared to some of its competition, especially when the price is taken into account. That said, it should be quite adequate for three-season use, especially with a foam overlay.
Well, this is the most slippery mat in the whole collection by far. Of course, what any smart camper will do as soon as he gets this mat is to put some good silicone sealant stripes along the underside, after which all will be well on that side. So the very slippery base is not a significant problem. The top surface is even more slippery than the underside, but that is offset by the good side-tubes on the mat, which should go a long way towards keeping you on the mat.
Comments by Roger Caffin
This is a moderately thick full-length insulated airmat. (There is also a Short version.) The Primaloft insulation material is bonded to the inside of the top surface – so don’t use the mat upside down. It’s a nice mat, but just a little heavy.
This Norrsken mat has an innovation I haven’t seen before: there seem to be eight tubes on the top side, including the large outer tubes, but there are nine tubes visible on the underside. Obviously they have some zig-zag internal dividers inside the mat. They don’t explain why they have done this: perhaps it limits the air circulation a bit more? Regardless of the why bit, the side tubes are larger than the middle tubes. In fact, they are probably essential for a good night’s sleep in the field.
The valve is different from normal: you give it a quarter turn (or a bit less) and then pull it out, to open. To close it you push it back in to shut it off, then give it that quarter-turn to lock it shut. This is rather neat. Certainly, it seems to work well, and a lot faster then the common screw-down sort when you are trying to keep all the air inside after you have blown it up. Nemo use the same thing on their Zor mats.
The larger side tubes do give this mat a bit more stability than one might expect for the slightly narrow 49-cm (19.3-in) width, so that is good. They seem to work reasonably well at keeping you on the mat. The weight is a bit high compared to some other mats, but bear in mind that this is the full-length version. The Short version weighs 550 g (19.4 oz).
This is a mini-review in the 2011 Lightweight Airmats State of the Market Report. The articles in this series are as follows (mini-reviews can be found in Part 2), and a subscription to our site is needed to read them.
- Part 1 covers the basics, testing methods, and lists all the mats in the survey.
- Part 2 examines the actual mats, and the performance of each mat tested.
Disclosure: The manufacturers provided these products to the author and/or Backpacking Light at no charge, and they are owned by the author/BPL. The author/Backpacking Light has no obligation to review these products under the terms of this agreement.