Perfect for lightweight adventures in the most challenging of environments, the Rab Ionosphere 5 is one of five initial sleeping pads from the Derbyshire-based outdoor experts.
Rab Ionosphere 5 sleeping mat review
- Lightweight sleeping mat with small packsize
- Unbeatable warmth-to-weight ratio
- Insulating TILT reflective film
- Great for 3 to 4-season camping
- Expensive, although difficult to beat
- Marginally heavier and larger than competitors
- Weight: Regular 550g – Long Wide 810g
- R-Value: 4.8
- Dimensions: Regular 183 x 51cm – Long Wide 196 x 5 64cm
- Packed Size: Regular 23cm x 11cm – Long Wide 28cm x 12cm
- Thickness: 8cm
Rab Ionosphere 5 Sleeping Mat Review
One of the best-established outdoor brands both in the UK and internationally, Rab really needs no introduction.
Founded in the attic of a small, terraced house in Sheffield back in 1981, Rab quickly proved itself to be a master of sleeping bags, down jackets and outdoor apparel. But, in 2023, the company enters unknown territory with the launch of five new sleeping mats to take on the reigning titans of outdoor comfort.
The Ionosphere 5 is one of two initial mats (the other being the Ionosphere 5.5) launched in this new Ionosphere range. The range is designed with alpinists, backpackers, bikepackers and wild campers in mind. Weight and packsize are minimised without compromising on a warm, comfortable night’s sleep, wherever that may be.
The Zest-coloured Ionosphere 5 is our overall top pick for inflatable sleeping mats in the UK and offers a fantastic, lightweight solution that doesn’t compromise on durability.
The Ionosphere 5 is designed with an R-value of 4.8 and is fully equipped to insulate against ground temperatures below 0. This offers a good-value sleeping bag that can be used in all 3-season conditions and some 4-season winter trips.
The inflatable sleeping mat adopts the tapered mummy-shaped design in an effort to save both weight and pack space. Longitudinal baffles with slightly larger outer chambers are used to keep users central as they sleep. This can be an issue for side sleepers and, if the mummy shape is a deal-breaker, we would recommend either the range-topping Ionosphere 5.5 or the great-all-around Stratosphere as fantastic alternatives.
Rab are true masters of materials and their sleeping mats are no exception.
The filling receives the same treatment as their award-winning sleeping bags with a mixture of air and the Stratus™ R (100% recycled) polyester insulation. To boost the R-value further, the sleeping mat uses a layer of TILT technology to reflect radiant heat loss towards the user.
The exterior of the mat is crafted from a 20D Recycled Polyester outer fabric and an internal TPU Coating and fluorocarbon-free DWR. Finally, to prevent sleeping bag slip, a graduated grip print finish is used on the upper fabric. This gives the Ionosphere its signature design.
Inflating the Rab Ionosphere 5 sleeping mat
The Rab Ionosphere 5 sleeping mats are inflated and deflated via the low-profile two-way valve.
A pump sack, resembling a cartoon elephant, is used to quickly and hygienically inflate the mat to the optimum comfort levels. By avoiding using the breath to inflate the sleeping mat, users can avoid moisture build-up and black mould from forming on the inside of the mat, prolonging the life of the equipment.
To inflate, first, attach the pump sack to the inflation point of the two-way valve. Next, open the pump sack fully to gather air before rolling the top and compressing the air into the mat. This should be repeated 3-5 times to reach the optimum mat firmness level.
To delate, both sections of the two-way valve should be opened before rolling the mat and pushing out all of the air. Once complete, reseal the valve and store the sleeping mat in its pack.
The pump sack itself can be used as a compression dry bag, perfect for storing a sleeping bag to save weight on lightweight trips.
Packsize and storage
To stow the Ionosphere 5, a small rollaway stuffsack is used to reach a packsize of 23cm x 11cm.
The stuffsack includes both the sleeping mat and the pump sack alongside a repair kit with two adhesive patches if you are unlucky enough to puncture the pad on a trip.
The Rab Ionosphere 5 is a fantastic lightweight inflatable sleeping mat that’s perfect for wild camping, mountaineering, bike packing or trekking.
This new range of Ionosphere sleeping mats from Rab offers some of the most impressive warmth-tech we’ve seen. With a small packsize, low weight, high R-value and top-level quality, it’s hard to beat the Ionosphere for fast and light adventures.
FAQ: Rab Ionosphere 5 Sleeping Mat
Have a question about the Rab Ionosphere 5 sleeping mat? Check out our FAQ below where we aim to answer the most common questions about the equipment.
The Rab Ionosphere and Stratosphere are both fantastic sleeping mats but serve slightly different purposes.
The Ionosphere 5 is fantastic for ultralightweight adventures with a smaller packsize, higher R-value and mummy shape. The Stratosphere 4 offers a slightly heavier (145g) mat but with a larger packsize and lower R-value that makes for a great 3-season all-rounder.
The Rab Ionosphere 5 sleeping mat is perfect for lightweight adventures in challenging environments.
Whether it’s wild camping, mountaineering, bike packing or trekking, the Ionosphere 5 is the best in the range from the down-specialists.
The Rab Ionosphere 5 uses a low-profile two-way valve to quickly inflate and deflate the sleeping mat.
Unlike some competitors, the mat is inflated by using a pump sack (included with every purchase). This prevents the buildup of mould on the inside of the mat, prolonging the life.
With an R-value of 4.8, the Rab Ionosphere 5 sleeping mat can be used year-round.
For winter camping we would recommend an R-value of between 4 and 6. For extreme cold temperatures, this may be increased to 6+.
In the rare and unfortunate situation that the Rab Ionosphere is punctured on a trip, the mat can be repaired by the puncture repair kit included in each stuffsack.
The repair kit uses adhesive patches to stop any air leaks to ensure a warm and comfortable night’s sleep even with damaged gear.
Still have a question that you’d like to ask the team? Reach out to us over on our socials and we’ll be happy to help!