Friday, 3 May 2013

Sleeping Mat Refresh - the Nemo Zor

Thanks to blogpackinglight for bringing the Nemo Zor to my attention!

After several years of using cheap foam mats I finally graduated to (ie. felt rich enough to afford) a thermarest mat. I've never looked back. Even a 1in self-inflating mat provides all the comfort I need to get a good nights sleep and they're generally small enough and light enough to fit somewhere in a cycle camper's luggage.

Last week I rode  (a very short) leg of Glyde Around Britain (and yes, I'm owing a blog post on it). Weymouth to Dawlish was hilly - 86 miles with 6300ft of climb hilly. Kate has low gears but even so it felt like a hard ride. When I saw the blogpackinglight post mentioning a lighter mat it didn't immediately catch my attention. Then I noticed how much ligher - nearly half a pound... Ok, that starts to be noticeable. So new mat has been ordered and here is the initial comparison - my old Thermarest Prolite3 in Orange, the Nemo Zor in yellow. I don't remember how much I paid for my original Thermarest but the Prolite was a warranty replacement for that. I picked the Zor up for £60 from Epicentre this week.

I've tried short mats - yes they save weight but at the end of a day riding it's my legs that need the comfort and rest. Cold muscles don't recover as well overnight so a full length mat it is for me. As you can see from these two the Zor is marginally more tightly shaped than the Prolite3 but there is very little in it.

With both mats firmly inflated there is no noticable comfort difference between them. The Zor is made of noticeably lighter/thinner fabric. I'm usually pretty careful with my gear so this doesn't worry me. Anyone who's a bit heavy handed might want to be careful or go for something heavier.

The valves are different and both work just fine.

I'm not sure the Zor will fit in the supplied bag when rolled like this, but I deliberately opted to roll it the same length as the Prolite3 for easier comparision - as you can see the Zor is rolling much smaller than the Prolite. That's an old-school 500ml drinks bottle being used for comparison.
The size difference alone looks like a useful update when it comes to packing Kate. I have a place for my tent and another for the sleeping bag. Most everything else including the mat goes in the general luggage area so any saved bulk is a benefit.

And the real tell - the Zor comes in at 385g (8g velcro strap used in photo, claimed weight 405g), Prolite3 at 601g (5g velcro strap used in photo, claimed weight 570g). The 5g strap came included with the Zor.
There is a newer version of the Prolite available at a claimed 460g but I figured that if I was bothering to change I may as well go for the biggest practical weight saving. I'm looking forward to my next camping trip (likely to be June now) to see how this mat works out.