Whilst I have been very happy with my Thermarest Prolite mat, I was seduced by the prospect of further weight reduction and importantly smaller pack size after reading some initial reviews of the product by several fellow bloggers.
Here is a quick rundown of the statistics :
Size : 51 x 183x 6.3 cm (20 x 72 x 2.5 inches)
Claimed weight: 396g (14oz)
Actual weight of purchased product: 318g (11.2oz) with stuff sack and repair kit 341g (12oz)
R – value : 2.5-4.4
Temperature > -10C (15F)
Cost: £69.98 for regular size. Purchased from Ultralight Outdoor Gear http://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/poe_peak_elite_ac.html
The product is a well designed and made sleeping mat in black and packs down to a substantially smaller size than the Prolite mat.
The Peak Elite is made from 33 dernier nylon fabric, which feels soft to the touch, but reasonably substantial in construction. There is reflective material inside the mat, that claims to reflect the heat back. In addition there is a so called bio mapped insulation around the torso area giving increased insulation of 4.4 compared to 2.5 around the leg area. This set up should ensure thermal efficiency with the minimum of weight.
The mat is an air bed style and has to be blown up, rather than the self inflating type found with Thermarest mats. Although you have to use more puff with air beds, I find that I cannot get all the air out of my Prolite and therefore does not roll up as small – no problem with the Peak Elite. The valve is well made out of aluminum and seems to screw up and down easily.
As you can see below the Peak Elite is the same length as the Prolite, but it is more tapered with oversized outside tubes keeping you from shifting off the mat at night.
Over the last weekend, I spent two nights in our field testing the mat in association with my new Exped air pillow (separate post) and a Alpkit Pipe Dream 400 sleeping bag. I used my Vaude Power Lizard UL tent.
Lying on the mat, it feels quite different compared to The Prolite, but it is comfortable, most comfortable on my side or front rather than lying on my back. I found that when I was sitting on the mat using my stove, I could feel the ground in the area between the horizontal chambers and this may be a problem in cold weather, but this is a minor issue. All in all, I had two night’s comfortable sleep and the mat did not move on the groundsheet.
The second night I used the sleeping bag as a quilt by slipping the mat into the bottom of the bag and opening the bag up. Sleeping directly on the mat was still comfortable and the bottom of the mat is narrow enough to be used with quilts.
I often find in reviews, that there is little photo reference on how to pack up products, so I have included this below , to give potential purchasers an insight.
Deflate mat, by unscrewing valve, start rolling up mat from the bottom towards the valve to push the air out.
Once the air has been expelled, fold the sides of the mat into the centre as shown below.
Simply roll up the mat and secure with the handy velcro strap which comes with mat
Shown above is the rolled up mat with stuff sack and repair kit.
Below is a photo showing the size of the mat in comparison with a 650ml Travel Tap bottle.
The next photo shows the comparison with the Travel tap end on.
My other half looked at me while I unpacked my POE Peak Elite AC she said they sell them at poundland for a £*. I got the short one but I wish got the regular one I couldn’t believe how comfortable it was to a army foam mat. Great pictures and a good right up Mark
Hi Carl, I sort of see what your other half meant by the Poundland jibe !! But it is strong. Thanks for your kind remarks.
nice review and even before I had read it I too was tempted by the lightweight splendour of the Peak Elite. Mine is on order and hopefully will be with me today and so in time for the overnighter I am doing over this weekend 🙂
Unlike you I have gone for the short mat. The reasoning being that in winter I will still use the full length Exped downmat and I have a variety of evazoate mats to slip under the Elite if it needs boosting.
I think the mat looks a cracker and cant wait to get my hands on mine!
Hi Dave, I don’t have a evazote, so went for the regular. What is the combined weight of the two mats? The Exped downmat is great as well
the Gossamer Gear thinlight full torso pad is 158g extra but if I use just the GG torsopad its 98g extra
or in the summer just put my rucksack under my legs. The only thing I looked at with the full size regular mat is that I dont reckon I would keep my legs on it anyway as it looks a bit narrow at the bottom?
bit of a wriggler if truth be known 😀
Dave, I found that my legs were OK as I tend to sleep on my side, I don’t think it will be a problem with the tapering at the bottom of the mat.
Endorse what you say about the mat. Good stuff, does go flat when kneeling etc or cooking.
Sorry to go off topic, but Ive just bought a Power Lizard, did you have to seem seal it?
I aim to try it out soon and havent done so.
Hi Greg. I have not seam sealed the Power Lizard, I think it was done at the factory. It is not been a problem so far. I will re-post some comments about some small mods that Bob at backpackinglight suggested on the Power Lizard
No need to seam-seal Lizzie. It’s all done for you.
The small packed size and the weight are appealing! Hope you can do another review at the end of the summer (how you have liked it in use).
Maria, I like to do an update on all new purchases. What I find to start with, is not always what I find in the long run.
I get to try mine out at the weekend as it turned up with the post today! 🙂
Excellent. Had a good sleep on your new mat.
The tubes on my Neo Air are the opposite way to the POE. I have never been thrilled with the mat and it would be interesting to hear how yourselves or others have found the difference between the two styles.
I would like to try it myself but its too expensive just to keep changing mats.
A good review Mark.
Thanks Alan, I have never used a Neo -air, so I cannot help you with this. I think Robin or Martin may be able answer that question.
It’s a very good mat. An all-rounder for winter, autumn and spring use. Think you can get something lighter for the summer but a great mat nonetheless. Glad you like it Mark and welcome back.
Hi Maz, good to hear from you. Looking to go out for a few days in early June, so will see how good it is !
I got the POE Ether Elite last autumn after a couple of recommendations and I find it very comfortable – as does hubby, Neil. And much more easily carried than two full-size Thermarests! (The way we packed our sacks I usually carried Neil’s mat too) I’m a side sleeper and even with the tapered sides I found the POE was a good fit. My only worry is I’m hopeless at inflating the mat (I even struggled to give the Thermarest the final few puffs) and Neil inflates my POE. What will I do if I go solo backpacking?
I’m glad I didn’t buy two NeoAirs the previous year (at silly money prices) when they first were seen as The Big Thing, in place of Thermarests.
Yes, you are right regarding the Neo Airs. These mats do seem to be Neo Air killers. Regarding going on a solo backpack, -if it is a real problem for you and you cannot inflate the mattress, I guess you could purchase (I know its another mat) an Exped Syn 7 Utralight. You can use a small hand operated pump that packs up very small with the Exped mat. See the video on the Exped site Here is the address http://www.exped.com/exped/web/exped_homepage_int.nsf You may need to navigate your way around a bit to find the video.
@Swanscot… no worries about inflating your pad. Just purchase the Exped Mini Pump. It weighs just 2.2 oz with stuff sack, packs small and will let you inflate Exped pads, as well as your air pad with the included adapter. I use it to fully inflate my NeoAir Large (25″ x 77″ x 2.5″) in about 45 seconds. It is a great piece of gear.
Here is a link so you can see what I’m speaking of: http://www.backcountrygear.com/catalog/accessdetail.cfm?PRODUCTS__ProductID=EXP670&code=GF10&gclid=CKe46uv5oqkCFQM6gwodVCMhuA
David, thank you for this information. I didn’t know that the Exped mini will pump up other mats. Will it pump up the Peak Elite as well ?