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  1. #1
    Chesapeake's Avatar
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    Question Snugpak Antarctica mat : a NON-inflatable, synthetic insulation filled, winter sleeping "mat"

    https://www.snugpak.com/outdoor/antarctic-mat

    I'm not sure how well a synthetic insulation filled pad will work to insulate since its pretty much the opposite of an Underquilt that relies on loft, or a CCF pad that uses the density of the foam. The Snugpak Antarctica mat is drastically different. Here is a quote from the product page on the Snugpak website:

    " In freezing weather, self‐inflating, rubber‐based mats often crack when rolled, and valves can freeze, rendering them useless. The Antarctic mat uses only sleeping bag insulation to prevent heat loss, so no need to worry about anything cracking or freezing.

    The Antarctic mat utilises a layer of sleeping bag insulation to prevent convective heat loss between your body and the ground. Any perspiration that is wicked away from your sleeping bag will also wick through to the bottom of the mat, leaving your sleeping bag dry.

    The UK made Antarctic mat uses our exclusive Softie Premier insulation, the same insulation we use in all of our UK made sleeping bags. "

    I've never used a pad in temps low enough that it could possibly fail, is this a thing? When my Antarctica mat arrives I definitely plan on testing it both on the ground and in a hammock to see if maybe it's designed in such a way as to prevent the insulation from being crushed, if it's maybe a property of the Softie Premier insulation itself, or if it's totally useless and insulates little to none. It seems like it would be good to use with an inflatable pad to boost its rating maybe? Or in a hammock at temps that require minimal insulation? I mean, Snugpak isan extremely popular and well known company in the UK & EU, would they make these claims and sell this product if it didn't work? In this age of global communications, wouldn't the word get out virtually immediately if it were a failed attempt?

    IDK, what do you guys think : interesting or no way it works as advertised ? I figured that if it works I'll keep it , but if I try it and it's junk I'll send it back so it's not a waste of money either way. I'll post a video review or pics + what my conclusions are as soon as it arrives from the UK and I can try it out for a night or two in a hammock and in either my Snugpak Ionosphere 1 person tent or Snugpak Stratosphere bivy. Thoughts? Comments? Physics lesson on thermodynamics? lol.
    " The best pace is a suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die." ~ Steve Prefontaine

  2. #2
    cmc4free's Avatar
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    A synthetic insulation filled inflatable pad isn't too dissimilar from an underquilt, in terms of it's insulation mechanisms. There are many pads on the market that are made that way. A hammock-specific example would be the pads that are used with the Amok Draumr. The 3-season one has an R-value of 3 and is rated to 25°F. The new Winterlight version has an R-value of 5 and is rated to 0°F.

    An underquilt has loft, which creates a distance between the warm occupant and the colder ambient air. The down creates the loft, but it also reduces heat loss via convection currents within the quilt shells, by greatly reducing the ability for air movement.

    A synthetic insulation filled inflatable pad basically works the same way. It has thickness (same principle as loft) that creates the distance between the warm occupant and the colder ground. And the insulation fibers inside reduce heat loss via convection within the pad, in the same way the down does in a quilt. This is why pads that are just inflatable with no insulation inside, don't have very good R-value, no matter how thick they might be. They create a distance between the warm person and cold ground, but there's too much convective heat transfer taking place inside the pad that only has air inside it.

    I'm not knocking this Snugpak product though. It sounds like a synthetic insulation mat that doesn't require inflation? Is that right? If so, I wonder what prevents it from compressing, which would reduce its insulation performance in the same way that using just a sleeping bag on the ground would.

  3. #3
    Chesapeake's Avatar
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    Right, it doesn't require inflation. From what I can gather it relies solely on its synthetic insulation, which as you pointed out, would likely compress as soon as you lay on it ( if it acts like traditional synthetic insulation). However, I've got a few other Snugpak products that use their proprietary Softie and Softie Premier insulations and as far as I can tell, they both perform and insulate to specs. My curiosity to see exactly how it gets around the compression issue you brought up was a major reason I decided to try it out. I've never heard of anyone here on HF using it and I couldn't find any YouTube videos on it either.
    " The best pace is a suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die." ~ Steve Prefontaine

  4. #4
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    I'm a little perplexed on how synthetic insulation can be immune to compression. Is that possible? If so, it's a huge selling point.

    If it's not possible, then this is just crappy marketing that avoids the whole "compression" issue.
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson

  5. #5
    Chesapeake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilvrSurfr View Post
    I'm a little perplexed on how synthetic insulation can be immune to compression. Is that possible? If so, it's a huge selling point.

    If it's not possible, then this is just crappy marketing that avoids the whole "compression" issue.
    My thoughts exactly, as soon as I read the description I was puzzled. I've never had an issue with any of the other Snugpak gear I have though, other than the weight of the hammock insulation but I'm ok with that and pack accordingly. They do say that you can attach a second one via the perimeter velcro, so maybe the added thickness makes up for the compression at colder temps somehow? Having not used it yet, I would think it would make a good addition to a regular pad maybe? I'm really curious to see how it performs and will definitely test it in many different situations as soon as it comes.
    " The best pace is a suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die." ~ Steve Prefontaine

  6. #6
    Senior Member BrianWillan's Avatar
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    The Antarctic mat utilises a layer of sleeping bag insulation to prevent convective heat loss between your body and the ground.
    This has me perplexed as well. I suspect that is supposed to read conductive heat loss. As that would be the heat lost most associated with contact with the ground.

    I agree with the others about compressing the insulation in the mat and how well it performs.

    Cheers

    Brian
    Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment. - Unknown

  7. #7
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Specific to this, I don't understand how it would work as bottom insulation. Maybe I missed it but I could not find a tested R value for it.

    Some years back I spent quite a few nights at -15 to -35°F and used a 1/2" Evazote pad with a TR self-inflator on top—the two were literally glued together—and never had a problem with anything cracking or valve freezing etc.

    The Antarctic mat utilises a layer of sleeping bag insulation to prevent convective heat loss between your body and the ground. Any perspiration that is wicked away from your sleeping bag will also wick through to the bottom of the mat, leaving your sleeping bag dry.
    Really? That's a lot of ummm stuff... packed into one sentence.

    For winter ground (snow) dwellers there is a very easy test for determining bottom insulation efficiency: In the morning, look at the snow beneath where you slept last night. If there is a lot of melted snow it means that your insulation was not working well to retain heat, and it is all but certain that you slept cold despite your sleeping bag's rating. I've seen this many times, comparing my tent-mate's sleeping spot to mine, and it is plain as the nose on your face.
    Five Basic Principles of Going Lighter

    “To equip a pedestrian with shelter, bedding, utensils, food, and other necessities, in a pack so light and small that he can carry it without overstrain, is really a fine art.” ~ Horace Kephart, 1906

  8. #8
    Senior Member Danalex's Avatar
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    I'm very curious how this would work on top of the pad in my Amok XL to reduce / stop condensation on my back. Please do post your thoughts when you have a chance to try it out.

    Found a bit of a writeup .... https://mihollandphoto.com/blog/snugpak-antarctic-mat
    Last edited by Danalex; 02-21-2020 at 15:38.

  9. #9
    Chesapeake's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Danalex View Post
    I'm very curious how this would work on top of the pad in my Amok XL to reduce / stop condensation on my back. Please do post your thoughts when you have a chance to try it out.

    Found a bit of a writeup .... https://mihollandphoto.com/blog/snugpak-antarctic-mat
    It's funny you posted this today, it finally arrived from OutdoorGB today along with a pair of Snugpak insulated tent booties i.e " Snugfeet" ,and a pretty cool Snugpak tee. I decided to test it out tonight in my Ridgerunner in top of either my Ecotec Hybern8insulated pad or the Snugpak Base Camp Ops inflatable pad that arrived yesterday. It's gonna get down to about 17° tonight so I also plan on pairing it with my HG 20° Econ Burrow and the Snugpak fleece sleeping bag liner that also arrived yesterday lol.

    I just came in from setting it all up and my first impressions of the Antarctic Mat are positive. As a sort of " insulated pad topper" I think it will excel. Trying it on top of both pads, it virtually got rid of my feeling the "bumps" of the pads and added a soft, comfortable,, almost pillowy layer to sleep on. It's large enough to cover both pads with extra width on each side and long enough as well. The Snugpak pad is slightly thicker than the Ecotec and raised me up a little too much for my liking in the RR so I'm gonna use the mat and Ecotec insulated pad tonight. That said, I plan on testing it ***gulp*** in a tent, tomorrow night : either the Snugpak Ionosphere 1 person bivy tent or Snugpak Stratosphere bivy , to see how that combo does together. Once I'm healed from my kidney surgery that I've got on Monday, I'll try it in my Chameleon with the Ecotec pad, then an UQ that's rated above that nights temp to see how much extra insulation it actually provides. If all that goes well and it's still cold enough ( which it might not be considering how this winter has been going ) I will then see how it does on its own to really put it to the test!

    I've got a TON of gear to test coming up!!!! In addition to the Snugpak : Antarctic Mat, Base Camp Ops inflatable pad, Stratosphere bivy and Fleece bag liner, I've also got their Base Camp Ops Expedition 10° sleeping bag and Snugfeet insulated booties that need tested, as well as the newly designed DD Hammocks 40° TQ, Magic Carpet XL ground sheet, Large H20 proof stuff sack and if it ever gets cold enough, the HG down hood. Oh, and my OneTigris Backwoods Bungalow 2.0 tent needs taken out a few more nights to make sure it's living up to expectations, plus my new Chameleon and RSTBR Hex tarp need used much as possible lol.

    I'll post my results here in the a.m and will hopefully get a few vids up tomorrow a well. So if your interested about any of the gear I listed above stay tuned and check my YouTube channel out : Chesapeake Hammock and Outdoors. It's nothing special, but I try to go as in depth and up close as I can.
    Last edited by Chesapeake; 02-21-2020 at 20:47.
    " The best pace is a suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die." ~ Steve Prefontaine

  10. #10
    cmc4free's Avatar
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    Not knocking the setup you plan to try, but isn't it supposed to be capable of working on its own, without another pad underneath?

    With a mat on top of a pad and a 20° UQ underneath, I expect you'll be warm, but it might be hard to tell how well the "Antarctic" mat is working.

    Curious for your report though. I can't put a lot of stock into the previously linked review, since it's written by a "brand ambassador."

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