Forget "self-inflating", I've yet to come across any mat with this supposed attribute that truly self-inflates; they always need a little manual intervention. Nor does the "Grip" actually refer to any increased resistance to slippage, but refers to an archipeligo and lighthousenear Kristiansund. The 2., however, does have relevance referring to the depth, or thickness of the mat, in centimetres, when inflated.
The Grip 2. is aimed firmly at the lightweight market, coming in 10g lighter than even Thermorest's much vaunted Neoair XLite at 340g (without bag). Put simply wherever there is excess material Nordisk have cut it. The body shaped mat is curved at the legs and head, as opposed to the standard rectangular shape of most mats. Using a new lightweight 20D polyester over a lightweight foam featuring vertical air holes further reduces the weight while a zoned construction concentrates insulation in the areas where bodyweight is concentrated.
The foam is designed in an innovative zone construction to optimise weight without compromising on comfort and insulation. In the areas with less pressure from the body i.e. the lower back, head and feet, the foam is perforated to reduce the weight by up to 38%. As the perforation is where the body applies less pressure, the mat still provides comfort and insulation for a good nights sleep. Furthermore the foam is a lightweight construction with vertical air tubes, which has reduced he weight by 25%. The result is a 340g mat with an R-value of 2.3 that packs down to 12 x 26cm.
At 2.5cm, or an inch, the Grip 2.5 looks disturbingly thin at first glance but in practise it's adequate. It's not luxurious, but that's not the target market, and the support is firm enough for a multi day trip; we tested it over 4 consecutive days in the Lake District and a single overnight in the Peak District. The distinctive, cut out, shape appears to be a design feature which actually has no compromise involved, with the "cut out" areas corresponding perfectly with the parts of the mat the body rarely, if ever, come into contact with. In practise it didn't require even subtle changes in body position and coped perfectly well with regular turning from lying on one side to the other. In a modern two man tent, where 2-man really means two very very good friends in reality, the little "cut out" areas, particulaly around the neck/head, are actually well positioned for stashing clothes or other essentials, but it's the weight that will sell the Grip 2.5 rather than footprint.
At 340g the Grip 2.5 is the lightest mat of its type we've tried, but surprisingly it doesn't pack down as small as the Neoair XLite (10 x 23cm). With an identical thickness and a 20D polyester fabric as opposed to a 30D Nylon fabric on the Neoair it's hard to see where the extra volume comes from but the difference is noticeable. What may swing a buyer's decision given the weight/volume battle, however, is price. With a recommended price of £80 the Grip 2.5 comes in at £50 cheaper than the Neoair. Even at street price a difference of £35-£40 means the Grip 2.5 is not only the lightest self-inflating mat we've tested but also the best value for money - and that's a rare double in the world of lightweight kit!