The Vango Trek Pro 3 Standard sleep mat is a Duke of Edinburgh Award recommended item, which immediately implies that it’s robust, decent, well-priced but not particularly technical. With a variety of ecologically-sound elements to boot, the Vango Trek Pro 3 Standard Sleep Mat is available now at a UK RRP of £44. It might not be super svelte, but considering the comfort level it offers and its modest cost, we do think it can be included among the best camping mats available. Read on for our full review.
Vango Trek Pro 3 Standard Sleep Mat Review: Design and Build
The Vango Trek Pro 3 Standard Sleep Mat is of an immediately familiar build in many ways - a sandwich of outer, airtight fabric with a foam core. Once unrolled and the valve opened, the foam expands, inflating the mat (at least, in theory). The packed dimensions are 26.0 x 15.0cm, which is about average for a self-inflating mat of this style, and the weight is 860g, which is on the chunker side - portable, but not lightweight. The weight is minimised by Vango’s ‘Core Cutting Design’ which consists of cutting holes in the foam, a scheme that doesn’t impact on insulation values - the Vango Trek Pro 3 Standard Sleep Mat is rated at an R-value of 4.0.
In other good news, it’s a substantial pad once inflated, 51.0cm wide and 183.0cm long, and a depth of 3cm, which should prove large enough for most. The outer skin is made from recycled TrekEco Fabric, which Vango claims amounts to nine plastic bottles being recycled in the mat.
The Fast-Flow Valve design is slightly unusual, a click-in-click-out arrangement that works perfectly well, but does take a minute to get the hang of. A twist to lock function prevents the sleeper from accidentally deflating their own mat, which is a sensible addition.
Vango Trek Pro 3 Standard Sleep Mat Review: Comfort and Performance
To be fair to the Vango Trek Pro 3 Standard Sleep Mat, comfort levels are good. Like older Thermarest models, this ‘self inflating’ mat needs to be left to chillax for a while - indeed, in testing it became known as the ‘pub mat’, as there’s plenty of time to walk to the nearest hostelry and back while it semi-inflates (this assumes you’re not in Knoydart). Once relaxed (a process that takes a couple of hours), a handful of breaths inflate it fully, and it’s ready for snoozing. Although it’s only 3cm deep when inflated, you’ll get a surprisingly decent kip on it, and the R-value of 4.0 is perfectly reasonable for three-season use (a foam mat would bump it up to four seasons).
The non-slip embossing helps restrain slipperiness, although there is still some slickness, and the provided straps and bag work as they should. A puncture kit is supplied, and it’d be wise to keep it handy, although testing threw up no issues on this front, cheaper mats can develop issues over time.
The big weirdness with the Vango Trek Pro 3 Standard Sleep Mat is the valve, which operates a push to open, push to close system that’s sort of fine, and sort of completely unnecessary, and does initially leave you wondering if it’s open or shut. The twist to lock is a highly-necessary addition, and that does work well, but the push concept seems a little bit different for the sake of it - but it’s easily surmounted with practice.
Vango Trek Pro 3 Standard Sleep Mat Review: Verdict
The Vango Trek Pro 3 Standard Sleep Mat has a lot of positives, not least the keen pricing and solid R-value. The valve is slightly annoying, but you’d get used to it, and the mat is a good size for all grades of human shapes. An oft-forgotten benefit of this type of mat design is that it’s not noisy to sleep on, unlike more technical mats that incorporate foil heatsheilding to ramp up their insulation values.
The big criticism really is the weight, which is on the chunky side. For example, a Thermarest Prolite Three mat - identical in most aspects, as well as the size - weighs in more than 300 grams lighter. That’s nearly a third lighter than the Vango Trek Pro 3 Standard Sleep Mat, although you’d be paying nearly double for the Thermarest, and losing a chunk of warmth too (an R-rating of 2.4 vs the Vango’s 4.0). The R-Rating is a key factor here, as a good insulating mat will make a less-warm sleeping bag feel better, while a colder mat will make even the best sleeping bag feel nippy.
Overall the Vango Trek Pro 3 Standard Sleep Mat is a decent mat on any level, and when factoring in the price, an excellent one - just consider the weight-to cost ratio carefully before setting out on a multi-day hike.