The Neoair changed the game, a very light, small-packing, fat mat with a bit of insulation. But, it’s on the limit on cold ground. So while Thermarest faff around not bringing out a proper winter version there’s a host of other brands happy to fill the gap.
I was slow off the mark getting this in for test after seeing it last year, but here in the nick of time for warding off the chill of late winter and spring ground is the Norssken from Vaude.
The Norssken stakes it’s claim for cold camping joy with some flashy moves. The inner section is filled with Primaloft Infinity, which you can feel is in there when the mat’s deflated, while the outer tubes are just a little fatter with the intention of keeping your sleeping form centred on the insulation. The baffles are offset to minimise cold spots, end-on it looks like a big fat continuous S-wave.
I’ve got the regular size which keeps head and feet off the snow and comes in at 604g for my sample, which is pretty much the same weight of my Neoair+Duomat winter combo, but warmer as it turns out, so the increase in pack size means nothing to me. In fact after a couple of inflations the Norssken seems to settle down and it only 2/3 fills its stuffsack which brings much rejoicing when packing.
The valve is the only worry for me, as long as you know it’s a push-pull design you’re going to be fine, your occasional ham-fisted valve twister who didn’t read the instructions could be all over the forums and helpdesks claiming it wasn’t their fault they broke it.
The valve is restriction-free though, for its size it feels like fewer lungfuls than you were expecting were needed to get it inflated, and and it flumps back down easy too. A joy at camp.
I’m going to use this for another few trips yet, summer’s not here yet, it’s looking like its a good mat and I like the warmth at something like 20g over my usual rig for this time of year.