Alpkit is always a good stop for reasonably priced, well made and smartly designed outdoor kit and this Airo 180 sleep mat is no exception. Small and light enough for bikepacking, it made overnight bike adventures that little more comfortable.
The Airo is a full-length mat that's lightweight and compact when rolled. Built from an open-cell foam that expands when you unroll the mat, it's then topped up with the valve to your desired pressure. I found I’d lay it out and leave it for a while until the air pressure was the same as outside to save myself some work before topping it up. It claims to self inflate, this is a little stretch of the truth, but takes minimal inflation to top up.
The mat is tapered and easily fitted inside my (AlpKit) bivi bag, with a sleeping bag over the top. The tapered design saves some weight and makes it easier to fit into a bivi bag. The circa 2.5cm thickness was enough for a good single night's sleep, even on shingle beaches, but I think for extended use, it may feel a little thin. I found the mat strikes a good balance between size, weight and comfort - the full length helps, and at 180cm it should be fine for most people.
It packs down nice and tight and doesn’t take long to roll up at all. The fabric is pretty hard wearing and there is a supplied patch repair kit with it. I wouldn’t want to catch it often on sharp ground or undergrowth, but its taken some uncareful use over the summer.
The bag it comes in is plenty big enough, so you don’t need to compress it hugely, and the two elasticated bands keep it rolled nicely, so its simple to get into the bag. I also found its a good shape to stuff in bag bags, and the smooth surface of the bag makes it easy to push into carry bags.
With the size, and relative thinness the overall weight is low, which is a bonus. The mat is definitely a spring/summer/autumn mat, as its predominate function is comfort rather than insulation. It's not one for below freezing, and I suspect that most riders will use this in milder temperatures anyway and if going cooler, would look for something that is warmer.
For bike packing bivi rides, the Airo strikes a balance between weight, size and comfort. It's a no-frills piece of kit that's a good price to boot.
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