This uber-plush air sleeping mat’s deluxe dimensions and ample thickness ought to guarantee a great night’s sleep for all your summer camps.
Lightweight and packable
Not very warm
No pump sack
Some concerns over long-term durability
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The Trekology UL80 sleeping pad is a relative newcomer to the camping and backpacking market. If you haven't heard of it, Trekology is a small start-up that began life as a group of outdoorsy PhD engineers who wanted to make affordable outdoor lifestyle kit.
The UL80 is one of the brand’s flagship products, and this mat caught our attention after getting numerous recommendations in a number of online wild camping and hiking groups.
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When it turned up, we were immediately impressed by the mat’s plush 10cm thickness – which certainly looked like it would absorb all sorts of uneven terrain, as well as helping to cushion hip bones and shoulders from rocky, hard ground. The mat also has a curved construction, designed to cradle your body and prevent you from rolling off the mat overnight.
Although it is only available in one size, the dimensions are also very generous, with a longer length than most mats – ideal for taller adventurers. Overall weight and pack size are both similarly impressive, particularly in this price bracket. We were keen to get it out on test and see how it performed.
• RRP: $100 (US) / £50 (UK)
• Style: Non-insulated air mat
• Weight: 560g / 1lb 3.75oz
• Variants: one size
• Dimensions [regular]: 191cm x 57cm / 75in x 22.5in
• Thickness: 10cm / 4in
• Pack size: 18.5cm x 12cm / 7.3in x 4.7in
• R-value: 1.6 – 2
• Compatibility: 2-season
In the field
It proved to be easy to set the UL80 up for the night in the tent, and pack it away the next morning too, largely thanks to a handy dual one- or two-way valve that makes inflation and deflation easy, though the mat’s sheer size means it takes a little longer to blow up than some rivals.
This isn’t helped by the fact that there’s no pump bag supplied with the mat, and though it is entirely possible to inflate it with lung power alone, the flat, low-profile valve design (otherwise a positive feature) makes it ever so slightly tricky.
But we did subsequently find that Exped’s Schnozzel pump sack (which is supplied as standard with Exped mats but can also be purchased separately) actually fits the Trekology UL80’s valve perfectly.
The mat itself is made from 40-denier ripstop nylon fabric, which ought to be very durable. Build quality also seemed solid, and the mat didn’t leak air during the night. It is of course difficult to judge long-term durability, and we had heard one or two customer stories of mats failing, but it’s worth noting that Trekology offers a limited one-year warranty against materials and workmanship.
It proved comfortable, with plenty of lofty thickness to take care of lumps and bumps. It feels a little bouncy, but that is to be expected. And unlike many mats with a transverse baffle design, the UL80 is fairly stable and doesn’t collapse at the edges unless you really put a lot of weight there – which we think is down to the thicker edges that produce a slightly curved mat. The shape isn’t all that pronounced though, and in reality we didn’t notice much in the way of a cradling effect arising from the design.
The sleeping mat’s only major drawback is its limited warmth – it is not insulated, so is only really suitable for camping in the warmer months. For summer use, however, or on warmer spring and autumn nights, it offers comparative luxury and cracking value.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.