When buying new products, we like to do a fair chunk of research and buy something that is going to last, but also not break the bank. A couple of years ago we were looking for a new caravan mat, and kept hearing everyone rave about the Cgear Mat.
After a heap of research we picked one up, and have been using it ever since. We believe you should know that we paid full, retail price for this and our opinion is not influenced by it being gifted, or sponsored or anything like that.
What is a Cgear mat?
If you haven’t heard of Cgear before, they make a range of camping and beach mats that are designed to allow sand to fall through them, and not come back up. They are one of the more premium options, and you’ll see that reflected in their pricing.
The intention is simple; any sand you bring onto your mat should fall through, and disappear. Of course, this sounds amazing, but does it actually work?
What size did we get?
We ended up with a 2.4m x 4.3m mat (8 x 14ft), which is enough to cover the kitchen all the way to the camper door and fridge, and really is big enough for what we need.
What is good about the Cgear mat?
We are extremely conscious of weight in our 4WD and camper trailer. Its just too easy to be overweight, and that’s not a good place to be. The Cgear mat is substantially lighter than our previous mats, and although its not the lightest out there its a pretty good balance overall.
Good in sand
In fine sand, you wont get a better mat. You can kick sand on it, and with a quick rub of your feet over the sand it just falls down between the holes, and disappears. Its actually quite interesting to watch. If you grab a cup of sand and tip it slowly onto the mat, a significant portion of it falls straight through without doing anything at all, and that’s pretty incredible.
The even better part though, is that sand doesn’t come back up through the mat. You can literally camp on the beach and not have any sand come up through the mat. It does this by having two layers, and it works very well.
Weighs enough not to blow around
There’s a lot of other caravan mats on the market, and some of them are significantly cheaper. If they are a shade cloth material, you need to make sure that they are heavy enough not to blow around. Often the seams are too light weight, and this allows every gust of wind to pick the mat up and move it around, or fold the corners over.
My folks have one of the Camec Caravan Mats which works well, but its so light that the slightest gust of wind picks one side up and sends it flying.
The solution of course is to peg it down, but having a mat that is heavy enough not to blow around without pegging it is even better.
You cannot deny these are a quality product. The sewing is great, they feel heavy duty and they’ll take a punishment for years. The outer rib is strong as, and they are clearly built to a very high standard.
What don’t we like about the Cgear mat?
Not as comfortable to walk on
You can spend a fair bit of time standing on your caravan mat, and we often don’t wear shoes when camping so you feel every single bit. The mat is comfortable enough, but its not nearly as nice as our old rubbery mat, like we had in the past. Of course, the trade off is weight, and as that was significantly heavier.
Large sand does not fall through it
We have a Cgear beach mat, along with the Cgear caravan mat, and have tested it at a heap of different places. On beaches where the sand is nice and fine they are excellent. However, if the sand is wet, gritty or has shells in it, the mats don’t allow the sand to fall through and that’s a bit of a let down.
We have seen this time and time again where the sand is damp, chunky or full of shell matter, which means it works on a lot of beaches, but not all.
It can be slippery
One thing that can be a bit annoying with the Cgear mat is it can make your feet skid a bit when you aren’t expecting it. This seems to happen when the top layer slides on the bottom layer (and you are standing on the top). I’ve had my feet move forward a few times on our Cgear mat when I wasn’t expecting it, and Sarah has had the same.
If you peg it out this would be impossible to happen, but who wants to be putting pegs into the ground every time you pull up? We literally moved away from using as many pegs as possible when we got the hybrid camper trailer.
Cgear started making mats for helicopters to land on, which would stop the sand, dirt and dust flying everywhere and doing expensive damage. Since then, they moved into the outdoor world and began making caravan mats and general beach mats.
Are the Cgear mats really worth the money?
We paid about $230 for our Cgear mat, and you can absolutely buy alternatives for under half the price, which begs the question about whether its really worth the extra money.
I’ve used a number of other mats, and feel the Cgear is probably worth the extra in terms of how well they are made, the huge number of peg down points, the perfect balance of weight and the fact that on many beaches in Australia they are the ultimate thing to have outside your caravan or camper trailer.
Cgear mat review
I don’t like buying the most expensive items out there. Historically that would mean you get the best, but that’s not always the case today. The Cgear mat is a solid, quality product that we are really happy with. Ours has copped a hammering over the last few years and is still in fantastic condition. Nothing is worse than sand in your van, and even with the extra cost I think they are a fantastic option.
If you weren’t planning on using the mat as much (or your camping trips were more irregular) there are certainly other options out there that work too.
Do you use a Cgear mat? What do you think of it?