If you're one of those people who drives up to a campsite in a car then unloads an ultra-lightweight tent and wafer-thin sleeping mat, here's a wake-up call – you don't have to suffer when you're car camping. Mats like Alpkit's new Dozer, which is new in for review, offer a super luxurious sleeping experience.
The new Dozer – just one of a whole new range of mats from Alpkit – is the direct replacement for the Fat Airic, but like the other mats in Alpkit's range, has been seriously upgraded for summer 2010 thanks to a new factory and new designs.
Ours is a pre-production version so colours and valves are different from the ones in Alpkit's shop, but the fabrics and construction are the same. First, this is strictly a car or yak-camping mat. You wouldn't even think about carrying it yourself – for one thing it weighs in at a real 2 kilos with its storage bag and for another, it's huge, as in it would take up most of your pack capacity.
Unroll and inflate the critter and it's no less bulky. Once inflated it's both wide and thick, some 7.5cm thick in fact and 60cm wide. Two valves make self-inflation faster, but you can help it on its way with some judicious mouth to mouth work.
And once inflated to optimum sag levels, it's as comfy as many beds and comfier than the old futon I ditched a couple of years back. Refinements over the old Fat Airic include a soft touch, non-slip, peachy feel polyester upper fabric teamed with a tougher under material and the foam has been cored in a lateral direction through the mid-section of the mat, which adds warmth and saves weight and die cut in other areas to save weight and speed up inflation.
What more can we tell you? Well, it's comfy, very, very, very comfy. Just the ticket after a hard day on the hill or at the crag. Or for festival going. Or dossing at a mate's place after a party or, if you're short of beds and space, it makes an excellent spare mattress for guests.
Retail price is £60, but a word of warning – if you're part of a couple, you'd better budget for two of the things, mat envy is an ugly and dangerous thing...
There are plenty of other new mats in Alpkit's range including a selection of lightweight choices and an interesting option, the Dirtbag, billed as the most comfortable mat you're ever likely to bother carrying. Proper reviews to follow.
Meanwhile more information at www.alpkit.com.