A review of the new-season Robens Icefall Pro sleeping bag and Iceshield 55 sleeping pad.
Over the last few months, I’ve been testing out a new camping sleep system thanks to my friends at Robens. They were kind enough to gift me their Green Cone tipi-style tent back in 2019, which you know I love. At the start of the season, they sent me their new Icefall Pro 600 synthetic fill sleeping bag, and Iceshield 55 air and foam sleeping pad, to keep me comfortable on this year’s camping trips.
The Short Review
The best thing about this set-up is how super lofty the sleeping bag is. It simulates down more than any other synthetic bag I’ve come across, and is like wrapping myself in a cosy duvet.
The shape is close without being constricting, and as I’ve mentioned over on Instagram a couple of times, that centre zip is complete genius – no cold zip touching my side, and easy to sit up whilst keeping warm.
The mat is thick (5.5cm) and has foam that’s been cut in long channels so there’s more insulation without added weight (it weighs a bit less than my Alpkit Dirtbag). Those long channels also mean there’s less foam waste during manufacture, because it’s cut in a more usable way.
All in, the sleeping bag and sleeping mat combo makes for a very-comfortable-indeed three-season set up that’s small and light enough for motorcycle camping or even backpacking (I carried something a little heavier when I hiked the West Highland Way).
Robens Icefall Pro Sleeping Bag
The rather snazzy gold-coloured Icefall Pro series sleeping bags make use of a new MicroThermo Ball insulation that closely mimics down. In my experience, synthetic bags are nowhere near as lofty or duvet-like as their down counterparts – but Robens have done something great here. It’s made from lightweight polyester clusters which provide compression and loft, trapping large volumes of air for enhanced insulation and comfort, while ensuring a compact pack size.
And it really works. Yes, it is still a bit heavier than the down equivalent, but the way that it fluffs up when I shake it is just wonderful. As someone who chooses synthetic over down due to allergies, it’s been so nice to curl up and get cosy in this at night. I think I love it.
One key benefit of synthetic over down is that is provides better moisture management; it still works when it’s damp, and doesn’t attract quite as much condensation. Robens have coupled this new insulation with a brushed lining material which is lovely against the skin.
It’s a figure-shaped bag with a hood that’s big enough to house my Thermarest Compressible Pillow (my camping luxury, won’t go without it), a shark-fin foot box with extra insulation which gives my feet some wiggle room and means I’ve not had to wear socks in bed since I got this bag, and insulated baffles over the zip and around the waist and neck.
It’s probably a bit long for me, there’s no short length version of this bag, but the draw cords mean I can cinch it in to hold it in place if the weather requires it – but in all honesty, I like having the room.
The most obvious feature of this bag when looking at it, is that centre zip. I never realised how inconvenient a side zip was until I tried the centre zip – it’s much easier to get in and out of when in a small tent like my Vango Banshee, and makes sitting up half in the bag a lot more comfortable. Not only that, but as a side sleeper, I appreciate that I now never end up laying on the zip. It’s a revelation!
This two-to-three season bag is rated down to -1C, with a comfort temperature of 6C (for women). I’ve not tested it to its limits yet, but I’ve definitely gone a little below that comfort rating, and I’m very happy with it. Despite the published ratings being higher on my OEX Fathom EV 300, I would say this is warmer, and it’s definitely more cosy.
It packs down reasonably small, good enough to pack on my motorbike or in my backpack, and weighs 1075g. I also like that it comes with a mesh storage sack; you’re not supposed to store sleeping bags in their compression sacks for any length of time, as it causes the fibres to crease and lose their loft.
At £160 it’s priced as I would expect – not cheap (I am very fortunate to have been gifted it as it is out of my price range really), but this does seem to be the price for the technology.
Robens Iceshield 55 Sleeping Pad
The second part of my new Robens sleep system is this Iceshield 55 sleeping pad. This self-inflating mat (SIM) is the result of investment in research and tooling which allows Robens to cut new foam core profiles which both enhance the performance of the product as well as reducing waste in the manufacturing process.
The Iceshield range uses an offset foam construction. These horizontal channels cut across the top and bottom surfaces of the foam ensure an even thickness of insulation across the whole mat to increase comfort and eliminate cold spots. It also means that performance is maintained while removing more foam from the profile to offer a reduction in weight and packed size.
The environmental benefit comes from the fact that each mat is cut from a slab of insulation and nests with the one below thanks to its offset profile, just like an egg box. This substantially reduces manufacturing waste to near zero – which can only be a good thing.
I am fully aware that the outdoor industry has a long way to go to be confidently sustainable, but this is a decent step in the right direction.
The Iceshield 55 is a 5.5cm thick, anatomically shaped, self-inflating mat. It has an R value of 4.2 (equivalent to -12C), and comes in at 180cm tall and 53cm at its widest point. I’ve slept on it for a dozen nights or so, and I’m a fan.
I prefer a SIM to a simple air pad because it is so much more comfortable. The foam provides cushioning on hard ground, and heaps of extra warmth – they are also less noisy (I guess the foam dampens the annoying rustle), and take less puff to blow up.
Of course, the downside is that a SIM such as this one is that it’s more bulky and much heavier than a simple air pad. But it’s size and weight I’m willing to carry for the comfort factor. The Iceshield 55 comes in at 775g (100g lighter than my old and trusted Alpkit Dirtbag), and packs down to approximately 26cm x 14cm (a little smaller than the Dirtbag) – I can definitely find room for that.
Priced at £80, while again acknowledging that this isn’t a cheap product, I would say it’s about right for what you are getting. Robens make very good quality gear; this pad has delamination-proof TPU construction for extreme durability, you should be able to trust it not to fail.
I admit I have struggled a little with the Peak valve on the sleeping mat; great for inflation, and for keeping the air in place (no midnight deflations to speak of), but I’m yet to work out a decent way to deflate and roll up the mat without needing an extra hand to keep the valve open. The videos suggest I should be able to “lock” it open by pushing down, but I haven’t been able to make that work.
On my most recent outing (to the Adventure Bike Rider Festival), I tried getting all the air out by folding the pad and kneeling on it while holding the valve open with one hand, closing the valve up and then rolling it, which did seem a little easier, but I’m not sure I’ve quite got the technique right. Practice makes perfect!
But that (almost certainly user error) aside, this is a great sleeping pad, with plenty of padding to keep this side-sleeper comfortable.
The Set In Practice
As I mentioned right at the top of this review post, I am a fan of my new camping bed setup. Sleeping with Robens in the form of the Icefall Pro sleeping bag and Iceshield 55 sleeping mat gives me heaps of warmth and comfort for a cosy night under canvas.
After a dozen or so nights using this pairing, including in Spain and Portugal where campsites aren’t situated on lovely soft fields covered in grass, I am pleased to say this pairing performs very well. This combination from Robens makes for a very-comfortable-indeed three-season set up that’s small and light enough for motorcycle camping or even backpacking.
It gets my approval, and I am already looking forward to my next night under canvas.
Thanks a bunch to Robens for sending me the gear. These items (including the tent) were gifted, but this is not a sponsored post or advertorial.