Before you all rush off and switch on the test card, the post IS titled Karrimor.
Now like all of you of a certain age group you will remember when Karrimor were at the top end of outdoor gear and they made stuff to last. Designed and made in good old Lancashire by people who knew their stuff.
Having a Karrimor rucksack was as good as it got and who's still got one in the loft!
Nowaday's Karrimor is synonymous with cheap and pretty nasty low end of the market stuff having been relegated from Lancashire to God knows where in the far east. Over the years it's been quite hard to keep up with the licence agreements and who is using the name under licence or just using it anyway.
Shying away from Karrimor branded products has been quite easy. Sports Direct/Field and Trek are the stockists in the UK.
However, this last few months i have noticed a change, albeit a small change but a change non the less. Better quality items have been seen alongside the tat.
Now i've heard say that in Japan the quality of Karrimor gear is up there with the best and expensive. So i can only assume that some of this better quality gear is percolating down to us.
One of the items i have picked up recently are the drybags. They are equally as good as Expeds dry bags for about half the price. I cannot fault them.
I looked at the new boot and shoe range and although i havn't purchased any they look a step in the right direction. (No pun intended).
They are selling an eVent jacket for £99 in store or £89 on the web. It has a water resistant zip without a storm flap, so it's not for me unfortunately. But i tried it on and it's a nice jacket.
I liked the design although a little on the short side but a good fit otherwise. Weight is around 400 - 450gr i suspect, nothing was printed on the tag for the weight so this is purely a guess.
It goes to show though that you can design, manufacture and sell eVent waterproofs at a reasonable price.
But this post was about the sleeping mat the Karrimor x-lite Inflate.
I had to look twice when i saw this. A full length mat, 70mm thick, 6 tubes, £29.99. (Not the RRP on the tag £59.99)
My first thought was, yes but it weighs a Kilo.
I had a look at the tag and the weight was stated was an impressive 300grams. Was this true i thought after all it is Karrimor? Anyway i took the plunge and bought it.
Getting home and weighing it, yes 300grams, as stated. Now the tag also says 3-4 season! Who are they kidding the Tog rating is 1.6.
Ok, you could use it in 3 - 4 seasons but not on it's own. You would need more insulation, but i can live with that.
The material is 20denier fabric and feels just like most other inflatable mats, slippery. But no complains when cost and weight are most important to me.
So having slept on it now for 10 nights what do i think. Well it retains air pressure as good as my Exped UL7 lite and better than my Neo-air. It moves around the tent like any other mat. The valve, although not as neat as Expeds is certainly industry standard and look the same as my ThermArests.
The tubes (6) are all the same diameter.
I would have preffered the outer one to be bigger diameter but don't forget the price.
It's comfy, easy to inflate. Deflating seems a little slow but not ridiculously so, just slow in comparion to my Exped.
It packs up remarkably small for a full size mat and stays neatly that way. It doesn't try and unravel itself.
Would i recommend it. Yes, absolutely, with 10 nights usage, so far so good.