U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Last week my daughter and I went backpacking in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area. Any trip of that magnitude takes some preparation. We wanted to test some new gear on this trip and if you’ve ever backpacked then you know that the two enemies that you are always fighting are:
Over the years I’ve used a lot of Alps Mountaineering gear and had good luck with it. I’ve used their sleeping pads in the past. They were stout pads and durable but bulky and a little heavy. Great if you were camping out of your truck or packing in on horses but too bulky & heavy for backpacking.
Suddenly that all changed and they’re now leading the pack in lightweight and packable sleeping pads with the advent of their new Alps Mountaineering Nimble Air Mat. We noticed the Nimble Air Mat and thought we’d test it out on this trip so we got a couple of them.
I had a few articles to get submitted so we didn’t get away until a little later than I had originally planned. By the time we’d hiked down to where we were going to be camping, it was getting past dusk so we slapped up our tents, and while I was gathering firewood to cook on and for light my daughter was pumping up the Nimble Air Mats.
As everyone knows, real men don’t ask for, or read, instructions so luckily she was the one in charge of inflating the mats. I got the wood gathered and then helped her. Upon getting there she excitedly said, “Dad, you have to check out these mats”.
Alps really got creative with the design on their Nimble Air Mats. When blown up, they are nearly 4” thick, which as you can imagine would be a major pain to inflate. But have no fear, the carrying bag has the dual purpose of acting not only as a carrying bag but also as a pump of sorts. As stated above it was a good deal that she was in charge of inflating the mats because she actually read the instructions and noticed the clause about using the bag as a pump.
Here’s how it works. The bag has a spout that fits into the flat valve on the pad. The connection on the pad allows for inflation & deflation. After connecting the two, you open the bag which allows it to fill with air. When full you then pull the drawstring to capture/hold the air. Next, you roll the bag up which forces the air into the mat.
As you can imagine, since the bag is nearly 4” thick it takes a few minutes to fill the Nimble Mat but without the bag, it would take a boatload of lungs full of air to fill it. What an ingenious idea.
I learned years ago not to fill a sleeping pad to bursting capacity. This then allows the bag to conform to your hips and back which makes sleeping more comfortable. On super thin pads, you can’t do this or your hip would be against the ground. Due to the shape of my back, I have always needed two pads. No mas’ (if you don’t know Spanish that means no more bucko). I also like that it is 80” long, so they didn’t short change us on the length.
So, if you’re a backpacker or just need a compact pad for hunting or camping in general, then you need to check out the Alps Mountaineering Nimble Air Mat. The MSRP on the Alps Nimble Air Mat is $79.99 and as is usual, we will close with the specs.
- Contoured surface helps keep you on the mat
- Included stuff sack doubles as a pump sack
- Lightweight packs small
- Flat valve allows easy inflation and deflation
- 40D nylon ripstop fabric
- Repair kit included
- Dimensions: 80″ x 24″ x 3.5″–4.5″
- Packed size: 12″ x 6″
- Weight: 1 lb. 12 oz.
- General use: Backpacking
About Tom Claycomb
Tom Claycomb has been an avid hunter/fisherman throughout his life as well as an outdoors writer with outdoor columns in the magazine Hunt Alaska, Bass Pro Shops, Bowhunter.net, and freelances for numerous magazines and newspapers. “To properly skin your animal, you will need a sharp knife. I have an e-article on Amazon Kindle titled Knife Sharpening for $.99 if you're having trouble.”