Alpkit Whisper insulated camping mat review: despite the low R-rating, this pad performs above expectations

The Alpkit Whisper is a lightweight three-season insulated sleeping pad that's comfortable and crafted from recycled materials – ideal for backpacking

Alpkit Whisper sleeping mat on grass
(Image: © Pat Kinsella)

Advnture Verdict

The Alpkit Whisper is a decent three-season, insulated sleeping pad that – despite a relatively low official R-value – is capable of keeping most people comfortable for most of the year. The low-profile insulation keeps the weight and bulk down, and it’s ideal for backpacking and bikepacking adventures.


  • +

    Light and easy to carry

  • +

    Wide and comfortable

  • +

    Comes with a pump sack

  • +

    Made with recycled materials

  • +

    Good value

  • +



  • -

    Low R-value for a three-season mat

  • -

    Some air seepage

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Meet the reviewer

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Pat Kinsella

Pat's outdoor adventures have taken him across the world and, wherever he goes, he's usually got a tent or bivy in his backpack, with a decent camping mat in tow. These days, when he's not solo camping in the hills, he enjoys camping trips with his family. An experienced gear tester, he leaves no stone unturned and no peg unexamined when it comes to judging outdoor kit and knows well the value of a good camping mat.

Alpkit Whisper: first impressions

The Alpkit Whisper is a mummy-shaped, inflatable, insulated sleeping pad, considered suitable for use across nine months of the year. Its low weight and small packed proportions make it ideal for three-season backpacking and bikepacking.


• List price: £79.99 (UK) / not currently officially available in the US
• Style: Inflatable insulted mat
• Weight (including pump sack): 820g / 29oz
• Shape: Mummy
• Dimensions (inflated): 183cm x 65cm / 72in x 25.5in
• Thickness (inflated): 7cm / 2.75in
• Pack size: 30cm x 12cm / 12in x 5in
• R-value: 2.5
• Colors: Gray
• Compatibility: Three-season camping

The mat is adequately wide and 7cm thick, and it boasts a baffled design, with a series of deep ridges, which are comfortable for back- and side-sleepers. Unlike lots of other lightweight sleeping pads on the market, the Whisper doesn’t make any noise when you move around on it, which probably accounts for the name. 

The mat can be inflated in the traditional way, or by using pump sack, which also doubles as a stuff sack to store the mat in. 

We like to applaud good environmental conduct when we see it, and Alpkit have made a real effort with the design and construction of the Whisper. The main body of this mat is made from 100% recycled Nylon ripstop material, and the insulation is supplied by Thermolite EcoMade, a polyester-based material consisting of 35% recycled content, including fibers woven from single-use plastic bottles.

But… the R-value of this mat is just 2.5, which is very small for a three-season model (the lowest possible allowed for a three-season rating, in fact). So, would the Whisper perform well enough to join the pantheon of the best sleeping pads on the market? I took it on a range of adventures across the coldest part of the year to find out. 

Alpkit Whisper: in the field

Alpkit Whisper sleeping mat packed in stuff sack

Alpkit Whisper sleeping mat packed in its stuff sack (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

The first time used the Alpkit Whisper was on a fastpacking foray along the West Highland Way in the north of Scotland at the end of October, when conditions were rapidly skidding from late fall into early winter. So I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about how the mat might perform.

The days were wet and the nights chilly, but the Whisper quietly went about its business and, tucked up in an Alpkit Pipedream 400 three-season sleeping bag within the Alpkit Soloist three-season tent, I completely forgot about the mat’s modest R-rating. And it never gave me cause to think about that low number again, because I’ve not yet felt cold while sleeping on it, for the duration of the fastpacking escapade and on numerous outings since – including a few proper mid-winter sleepouts.

Alpkit Whisper sleeping mat valve

The Alpkit Whisper sleeping mat’s valve (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

To be quite honest, I found the pump sack a bit frustrating and time-consuming – but no more so than the pump sacks of pretty much every other camping mat I’ve used in the past. If you have the patience it is better to stick with it, though, since using the sack stops moisture from your mouth getting into the mat and encouraging mold and other nasties.

On the upside, the one-way valve on the Whisper works really well when you’re inflating it, and it’s simple to deflate the mat after use by manually opening the valve and letting the air escape. I was able to pack it down and have it rolled up and stashed in my pack within a minute or two.

At 820g, it's much heavier than something like Therm-a-Rest's NeoAir UberLite, which only weighs 250g. However, it's also much cheaper, so it's hard to gripe too much.

Occasionally, and more often now, after several months of use, I have found that I needed to top the air up part way through the night, which is going to require some further investigation. While this a little annoying, I’m not overly concerned, because the Whisper is covered by Alpkit’s three-year Alpine Bond, and the Peak District–based brand also operate repair stations where they will fix not just their own products, but also equipment made by others.

Alpkit Whisper sleeping mat being inflated with a pump sack

The Alpkit Whisper sleeping mat being inflated with the pump sack – it’s a bit of a faff but it stops spit getting into your pad (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
Pat Kinsella

Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and Instagram here.