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Self-Inflating Mats - What and How?

In the below section we cover the technical details behind the construction, material and performance of our self-inflating mats, to help you choose the right product and understand how to get the most out of your purchase.


Self-Inflating Mats – contain an open-cell foam that expands to draw in air when the valve is opened. This foam can feature a series of vertical cut-outs (cores) to reduced bulk, weight and packing effort.

EVA-Foam - Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate polymer has tough rubber-like flexibility with good resistance to stress fractures and low temperatures. The closed cell nature is non-absorbent and stops the insulating trapped air from forming convection currents that wick away body heat.

TPU coated polyester/nylon - Thermoplastic Polyurethane which is used in our Air Impact self-inflating mats, provides a tough, highly abrasion resistant waterproof/airproof coating that retains flexibility and elasticity through a wide temperature spectrum without using plasticizers. The material is highly resistant to delamination. 

Stretch polyester – provides next-to-skin comfort and support.

Pongee Peach finish – Soft thin cloth with a soft fuzz for next-to-skin comfort.

Prima loft illustration


Zigzag- Our foam mats use quality EVA for long life and comfort. It packs small thanks to the half dome dot design that folds in on itself and also provides depressions in which sleeping bag insulation can loft for enhanced warmth and comfort.

Primaloft – This construction is featured in the Prima Core and the new Rapturous ranges. Convection currents set up in the trapped air within an airbed can soon sap body heat. We bond a layer of PrimaLoft insulation to the inside face of the upper fabric to prevent the temperature differential that forms the currents.

Brass valves – brass provides superb cold weather performance and anti-corrosion properties.

Flat valve – this high capacity valve provides an effective link between airbed and our Pump Sack for quick inflation and deflation.

Robens R-Value for Mats and SIMs Robens Self-inflating Mats now carry an icon showing its R-value to make it easier to select the right mat for any adventure. R-value is a standard measure of a material’s thermal resistance under uniform conditions - the higher its R-Value, the better insulation it provides. 

While R-value is a standard industry measurement, currently there is no single international test procedure. So we have worked with specialists to create values that aid the purchasing process. The R-value for Robens SIMs has been obtained by an independent test company that has developed a method to obtain an accurate rating as a comparison guide between products. 

In order to obtain the most accurate figures our mattresses are inflated to a uniform pressure and placed horizontally between two plates in a stable environment. A current is passed through one plate to create a constant heat and the power required to maintain this temperature is used to calculate the R-Value – the less energy required to keep that plate warm then the higher the insulation properties of the material and it’s R-Value.

To maximise self-inflation time unroll your SIM and open the valve as soon as you have your tent pitched.

When ready for bed bow in more air if required to get the necessary firmness before closing the valve.

Lie on the SIM and if too hard slightly crack open the valve to let out a little air.

Always open the valve during the day if using a SIM for base camp. This will prevent possible over-inflation as the trapped air warms up with the sun.

Storage and maintenance
Never keep self-inflating mats (SIMs) rolled up for any length of time but always store open in a dry place with the valve open – a good place is standing upright behind a wardrobe. This will preserve the foam memory that provides the ability to self-inflate and also help prevent mould from forming internally.

After prolonged storage rolled up you can restore a SIM’s properties by inflating it by mouth.

Use a sponge dipped in lukewarm water and a residue-free detergent to wipe dirt off a SIM.


The Robens Peak Valve has been developed to address slow inflation/deflation speeds and
to make it easier to adjust firmness. 

Open the cover to reveal the valve assembly that includes a diaphragm disc with a central shaft. Push the shaft down to open the valve for the two-way free flow of air. This provides superfast and carefree
inflation and deflation.

Pull the central shaft up to re-seat the diaphragm disc. In this one-way position air can only be blown into the air bed or SIM – perfect for effortless inflation and fine-tuning firmness.