The Robens Polarshield 120 camping mat is designed as a full-size camping mat for car-camping trips, aiming to offer lots of comfort, plenty of warmth, and generally a comfortable experience at night. The relative bulkiness of this mat means that it's a contender for our best camping bed ranking (if you need something lighter-weight for backpacking, our best camping mat guide is a better bet).
New for 2022, the Polarshield 120 is available now at an RRP of £197.99. Is it worth the cash? I put one to the test to see. Here's my Robens Polarshield 120 camping mat review.
Robens Polarshield 120 camping mat review: design
Robens has really thrown the autocad design book at the Robens Polarshield 120 camping mat, shoehorning in a variety of innovations to maximise your sleeping comfort, which is nice of them. The substantially-sized mat is 200 x 77 x 12 cm (LxWxH) when inflated, and packs down to a significant 39 x 28 cm, and weighs in at just under 2.5kg – no lightweight, in short.
Innovation-wise, we have a 3D shaped mat with vertical sides for full use of mat surface, and a design that avoids cold spots and features vertical, offset cutouts that reduce weight. All that might sound complex, but Robens has also painstakingly mapped the foam cutting, so that there is no foam waste from the cutout – impressive dedication. The company also claims that the TPU used in the construction is delamination-proof, and that there's no toxic PFC involved in the manufacture process.
A final note is the Robens Peak Valve, a burly design with an easy-to-flip open/closed design, but protected by one-way technology to keep things inflated when you want them to be, and deflated when you don’t.
Robens Polarshield 120 camping mat review: comfort and performance
The Robens Polarshield 120 camping mat is really all about comfort, and in this it delivers well, self-inflating to form a single-bed mattress of impressive depth. Pop the valve one-way tab into the closed position, shut the cover, and you’ve got a decent bed. The side walls are vertical, and once fully inflated there’s plenty of bounce in the mattress, giving a comfortable position no matter your sleeping preferences.
Robens claims the mat has an R-Value of 5.0, or down to minus 19 degrees, which seems – if anything – rather low for the size and thickness of the mat. This may well be because more technical mats often have various thermal barriers built in, which tend to rustle and creak if the sleeper moves, and there’s nothing like that here, the Robens Polarshield 120 camping mat is almost entirely silent overnight, which is a good thing.
The Robens Polarshield 120 camping mat is entirely self-inflating, which has its pros and cons. The benefit is you simply rock up, sling your mat in your preferred sleeping spot, open the valve and go off about your evening, then seal it up on your return. The bad news is that this inflation does take a while - an initial fast inflate gets you to about 3/4 full in quick order, but that last quarter takes much longer, thanks to the foam decompressing itself slower. It’s not a big deal when car camping in a relaxed fashion, but if you’ve arrived late at a site and just want to get to bed it could be an annoyance.
A further annoyance will occur when you leave the site, as the Robens Polarshield 120 camping mat will not go lightly back into its bag. Indeed, testing was interrupted by having to explain to a 5 year old what the phrase ‘wrestling an anaconda’ means – the Robens Polarshield 120 camping mat self inflates and fights back as you compress it, leading to a lengthy process. The compression straps do tame the beast, however, and it does eventually fit, unlike some technical sleeping bags we could name.
Robens Powershield 120 camping mat review: verdict
As a car-camping mat the Robens Polarshield 120 camping mat has a lot of positives. It’s well made, warm, silent in use and massive, giving a genuine home-from-home sleeping experience. It does take a while to fully inflate, and getting it packed back into a bag is quite a feat, but even at its substantial pack size (39 x 28 cm and 2.4kg), it’s smaller and lighter than many comparable mats, so ideal for space saving in smaller cars, for example.
Overall, it’s a good experience, and the good build quality should last for years, as well as avoid the dreaded mid-night deflations, which are the main bugbear of camping mats as a whole.