The PACMAT Solo is, to all intents and purposes, a picnic mat. Picnic mats are not very adventurous. At least, not in and of themselves. If you’re frowning at the screen thinking, “Eh? Why’s Emily reviewing a picnic mat – that isn’t adventurous.” You’d be right.
On the face of it, this review belongs to the realm of camping/glamping or family bloggers. But that’s not how we work, is it Adventure Squad? Suspend your disbelief for one minute. In the meantime, know that I haven’t regressed to 5 years old or accelerated to the middle aged crisis of carrying a sit-mat.
PACMAT Solo Features
The PACMAT Solo is a 60cm x 140cm mat, weighing just over 200g. It’s light and small. The whole range extends from Patch (60cm square) right the way up to the XXL (240cm x 300cm). Some of them come with Thinsulate fleece on them, but not the one I was testing out for PACMAT.
Basically, this is a rugged mat for people who actually live life outdoors, rather than go glamping once a year. The patterns and colours are bright, bold and often with children in mind. For example, mine has an outdoorsy Snakes and Ladders design – complete with mountains and boats. There is also an Ordnance Survey maps range.
Awesome feature number 1: it packs down into a really tiny pouch. You don’t have to try hard to get it back in the bag (we’ve all been there with inflatable mats). The holes make it light, but also allow any insects you’ve accidentally packed up to escape too.
Awesome feature number 2: it can be washed! No awkward problems with cleaning when you get it covered in mud/sand/hot chocolate.
Awesome feature number 3: button holes in each corner. The weather is not always clement. Even on a sunny day it can be really annoying trying to find things to weigh down your mat and stop it from blowing away. A button hole in each corner means, just bring four pegs along to have complete mat security!
Awesome feature number 4: did I mention it’s waterproof?
Uses (Usual and Unusual)
Okay, so here’s your context: what does your office look like? As some of you know, I work remotely (aka from home) and these days home is where the laptop is. In summer, and occasionally in other months when it’s not raining, I work outside. Although I have been known to take a table and chairs out onto the patio, it’s much more convenient to work on the grass. The floor is the biggest table you could ever ask for… and the sky the highest ceiling.
That’s where the PACMAT comes in. Put simply, this little picnic mat is perfect for putting a waterproof but comfy layer between you and the ground. Sure, you could have a one or two person picnic… or you could take your laptop and paper outside, lie on the floor and write.
It’s also really useful as a dump sheet for kit… or just whatever stuff you happen to have with you. I cannot be the only person who arrives at their campsite, for example, and within minutes the contents of my rucksack looks like it’s exploded over the grass. Not intentionally, of course. It just happens.
As with a rope rescue, if you want to keep your gear from getting lost, you want to keep it all in one place. The PACMAT is perfect for this. It even has peg-able corners like a dump sheet. It packs down small – way smaller than any other picnic mat I’ve seen. So taking it with you wherever you go doesn’t require any extra thought or effort.
PACMAT Solo Review: My View
Okay, so I haven’t been using the PACMAT solo quite for its intended use. But it has been a good companion on several trips to the hills and the beach – as well as for use in the back garden. As a mat for using a laptop on, it could do with being a bit longer. I’m just over 5 ft 6 and I feel like I’m falling off the back of it if my laptop is fully on the mat. Put my laptop off the end of the mat on my waterproof laptop case and it’s a great fit. So the Solo is person length, but not much more than that.
It is surprisingly light and definitely waterproof. I’ve often used it on soaked grass. While I don’t mind getting wet, I wouldn’t want my papers or electronics to get damp. No problems here and I have complete faith in the PACMAT. Also, I give my gear a lot of abuse and the PACMAT has come out without a scratch. Being able to sling it in the washing machine really helps too!
In terms of portability, it packs down really nice and small. I’ve popped it into bags as an after-thought when going somewhere “just in case”. It has definitely come in handy. Sure, it is possible to get by just fine without one, but when it’s that simple and easy to basically bring dry floor space with you, why wouldn’t you!