The Holy grail of Sleeping Pads
THIS iS the Holy Grail of Sleeping Pads - for me at the very least. I have tried nearly every decent pad on the market and they are either too narrow, not supportive enough, loose air before morning, fold up like an accordion, so why is this the Holy Grail of pads: (I have had lower back surgery with hardware added, so I am looking for support in a light weight package for my backpacking, scout leadership duties), a pad that is able to handle cold weather as well as warm, won't loose air by morning, wide enough to allow me to go from rollover if necessary, LIGHT, and easy to inflate, durable, and has anti slip but not like sandpaper: Enter the Exped SynMat UL 7 Air Pad.
This pad is light, and depending on length, less then a pound - it is wide enough to support my sleeping needs, and with the 3 glorious inches of lift my hips never touched the ground, plus it has just the right amount of anti slip. The NEOAir in comparison DOESN'T even come close in the air retention requirement, also the NeoAir is very noisy (5x)next to this pad. Oh, for all you all who say the air condenses as it gets colder to justify why the Neo looses air in the middle of the night requiring to re- inflate it are should try the REI EXPad NEVER, NEVER, lost air and I just completed two nights in 34 degree weather, never had to reinflate it. This pad is the holy Grail in light weight all weather, weight conscious backpacker. I am not the hardcore minimalist, but because of my back, lighter is better, yet I enjoy being comfortable, a backpack lighter then say 33 pounds for 4 to 5 days is perfect for me, and this pad along with the new Plasma sleeping bag, make this a rockin combo. Less then 3 pounds for pad and sleeping bag, now were talking.
I own the following pads, NeoAir, Prolite self inflating, TrailPro, Z-Pad, etc... None of them come close to this pad, the Expad is worth ever penny for those of us that spend more then 40 nights in the mountains.
Oh one last thought, the REI product comes with the stuff sack, and repair kits, Therm-a-Rest well it doesn't thus raising the cost even further.
Princess and the Pea should get this pad
So, while in REI in Anchorage, AK I was looking at sleeping pads. I knew that I wanted the wide and long, as my husband is 6' 3" and my twin brother is 6' 4" and they steal my gear so longer is better. I sometimes roll around at night, so I knew I wanted it wider. Honestly, for the price, you may as well get the extra inches. First off, it was pretty easy to inflate. I liked the bright yellow color, because in a survival situation you need as many bright obnoxious color as you can get. The first night I didn't inflate it all the way, thinking it would be too firm, but when my hips * almost * touched the ground, the next night I inflated it more. My butt would just barley touch the ground when I would sit up, but when laying down my boney hips and shoulders were comfortable off the ground. We used a Big Agnes tent, and I was able to have my extended-trip size backpack at the foot of the pad without the pad curling up at the other end of the tent. So that was nice that the pad and my pack fit. I am happy that my tent-mate has almost as many years of adventuring under her belt as I am old, as it was a little frustrating to get it rolled up so it would fit back in its sleeve. She showed me that first you need to fold it in half and roll out all the air, then lay it flat and fold it in thirds then roll it again to the last bit of air out and have it be the right size to fit in its sleeve. I was super proud of myself when I was able to pack it on my own (yep, at 25 it's the little things in life that make you proud of yourself). Also, with my Marmot sleeping bag in its compression sack and then in a dry bag, I was able to put my sleeping bag and this pad in the compartment at the bottom of my pack. So it was nice they could be stored together. Totally worth the price. I look forward to deer and moose hunting this fall/winter with this pad – because I'll be sleeping like the adventure princess I am. ;)
Best Sleeping Pad Yet
My list of sleep pads used include Pacific Outdoors Insul Mat, Big Agnes Insulated core mat, Neoair mat, and now the Synmat UL 7 by Exped. Of all the mats I've used, the Synmat UL 7 is the most comfortable, quiet, easy to inflate, and almost the lightest. It weighs 1 oz heavier than the NeoAir, when you add a stuff bag to the Neo because it doesn't come with any. But the Synmat UL7 is wider, quiet, more insulated and more comfortable than the NeoAir pad.
I picked up a Exped Shrink bag and schnozzle from Outdoor Research store (REI doesn't carry them unfortunately),and I can inflate the mat in under 10 seconds with the 40 liter Shrink bag which is used for either a waterproof packliner, or a compression sack for my sleeping bag. Truly amazing. Exped had hit a homerun with this new UL pad. Best purchase made in a long time. Well worth the price.
The flat valves at first seemed strange and not as useful. But then when I found that they coupled with an Exped Pillow pump (also a great piece of 6 oz gear), or a Exped mini-pump (at a mere 3 oz), or any Exped stuff sack or compression bag with a purge valve it became a clear win-win situation. The inflate valve even has a check flap that allows air in, but not out. So you lose nothing between breaths, or pumps, or when closing the valve. And even cooler is blow it up firm, and lay on it and then open the inflate value and then simply take the check flap to let a little air out at a time until it feels perfect.
The R value of 3.1 is truly enough for all but snow and ice camping. In that case, bring along a closed foam pad to place underneath the Synmat and you are good to go. The weight is right as advertised 16.2 oz including stuff sack for the 72x20 size (M). It includes both a repair kit and a stuff sack, something that thermarest is NOT doing lately.
Exped is really making some quality products and the Synmat UL 7 mat is one fine example.
. Here are my comments on the UL7 after a week of backpacking.Over the night the temp dropped down to about 40 degrees, and even with the rain fly on the tent was left open all night I never got cold or felt any cold radiating from under me. This morning I put my hand under my sleeping bag to see if I could feel any cold, and I could feel a definite warmth under the bag where I had been laying.I filled the pad completely while it was still warm outside and had to add a puff of air to it after it cooled off, but it held the firmness all night. For the first time EVER, I got a good night's sleep on the trail! I usually toss and turn all night, even at home, but I slept 11 hours straight through on this mat. I woke up refreshed and feeling like I had slept in a good bed. In fact, my wife and I both felt like it was more comfortable than the mattress in the cabin where we had stayed the night before.I did notice that the solution from my contacts lenses seemed to leave a kind of "watermark" on the pad where I spilled a little, but it looks like it may have come out when I got home and wiped the mat down with some clean water. I'm not too concerned about staining on the pad as long as it's durable and I'm comfortable, so that's not nearly a deal breaker for me.As for durability, I don't have any serious concerns as long as it's not abused our used for much other than as a sleeping pad in a tent or at least on top of a footprint, but I wouldn't throw it down on a wooden shelter floor without something under it.I hiked with 17 other people this weekend, and I think several of them are looking at getting this pad after taking a look at it. Well worth the cost for a good night's sleep.
Light, comfy, and durable sleeping pad
This sleep pad is far better than any thing else available on the market! In the process of upgrading our gear to reduce weight, my husband and I purchased the Exped ultralight pads. We were surprised that not only did they weigh a fraction of other pads and packed down smaller than a water bottle, but they were super comfortable and warm.
We also purchased the Schnozzel pumpbag. No more standing around huffing and puffing into your air matress when you get off the trail and just want to get camp set up so you can relax. I love how the Schnozzel is a light weight dry sack but also works as a pump for my pad. Just attach the bag to your pad, open the dry sack, let it catch some air, then roll and push the air into your pad. Simple and it usually takes only two bags to fill my pad.
The pad is very thick and comfortable. We have used our pads in several environments from car camping to week long backpacking trips and these pads are great everywhere. Roots and rocks do not seem to exist when you are on your exped. Cold granite and wet ground will not seep through durring the night.
You will want to top the pad off with a puff or two of air just before bed. Any air pad containing over 2 inches of air has problems with air compression. As air cools it compresses so if you inflate your pad while it is warm, then the temp drops it will seem like you have lost some air. Just top it off and it should be good to go for the rest of the night. I also like to let out a little air if the pad stays inflated all day to accomodate air expansion as it heats up.
When used correctly these pads preform better than any air matress we have ever used, especially when paired up with a Schnozzel.
Awesome compact mat.
I have this and the synmat 7. The synmat 7 will get used in car camping, and as a loaner to friends. This one is going to be used when I need room in my backpack, as it takes up half as much room in my pack, even with the pump pillow that I got for inflating this.My last trip I went to the desert for a week and I brought both mats with me. I was on a slight slope(likely the only slope in the entire flat desert...) and with this mat I found myself adjusting throughout the night because I kept sliding down the mat. Maybe it's because the bottom of my sleeping bag has a coating that makes it rugged and waterproof, but slick. If you have a bag that isn't like that, you may not have the same problem. I used the synmat most of the time because it gave me traction.Also, this appears to be made of a thinner material that would seem to be more fragile than the synmat 7. It hasn't failed on me, but I take care of it because It seems fragile. If you camp on rocks, get a different mat. If you can take care of your gear(and you should) then this will save you weight, but more importantly, room in your pack so you can bring more gear with you. If you're a car camper, then you don't need this mat, you can get something bigger, heavier, and more durable. If you're a backpacker, than you just might need this. I'm glad I got it.Also, the one-way valve makes it super easy to pack when you're done, you don't have to have 4 arms to fight the air trying to get back in as you're rolling it up. Every mat should be that way.
Passed the Dog test
This pad is among the best that I have used or tested. It's weight is accurately reported. It is warm to the stated temp. rating. It is SO much easier to inflate than..... any other pad I've ever used. The valve system is exactly how I would have designed it!
I just got back from a 3 night/4 day trip in the Gila. The first morning was 22f (lots of humidity; ice all over the inside and heavy frost on the outside of the tent). I was using my Marmot Pinnacle 15 and wearing a complete base layer (with socks and beanie). I was just beginning to become cooler lying there talking myself out of the bag that morning. (I would definitely go back to my BA Insulated Air core if it were to be any colder.) I have owned the BA Insulated Air Core, the BA ClearView, the BA REI Sand Mountain Insulated Air Pad (same as the BA Insulated AC but with only 6 cambers instead of 7.)
As far as sleeping comfort, I find the SynMat UL7 at least as comfortable as the BA pads... possibly a litte more comfortable. The UL7 is just not as warm as the BA insulated Air cores.
If it weren't for the ridiculous expense of this pad I would, hands down, say buy this one..... but this is crazzzyy (say it like Nacho Libre would) to ask this much. AT this price, Exped should include turn-down service! I would like this pad to have a true R-value of at least 4.1 at this price.
Durability: My dog (60lb Lab/Pit cross) is pretty hard on anything in the tent. This pad made it through three nights of him clawing at it.
Very happy so far!
Just got back from a 5-day summer backpacking trip in Yosemite NP (7,000-8,000') - this was my first time out with the Air Pad. I own a number of Thermarests of varying weight, length, and thickness, and I have tried (and returned) the Neopad (see review); thus far, the Air Pad has provided me with the best (i.e. most comfortable) nights' sleep yet!
I'm a 5'5", 130# woman and try to go as light as possible. I have found every light weight Thermarest fails to provide enough cushion to keep my hips (and often shoulders) from aching. This often wakes me up and I end up changing positions multiple times during the night. With the Air Pad, which is very light, I don't remember feeling achy once; I slept soundly throughout the entire night. I actually felt cozy!! Another plus - although the Pad's depth is consistent from head to toe, I found my head/neck felt more supported than with flat inflatable sleeping pads. Therefore, by adding a thin down jacket, I had plenty of pillow.
The Air Pad was relatively quick to inflate and easy to pack down (no more labor intensive than getting all the air out of my full length women's ProLite Thermarest). Also, my sleeping bag didn't slip on the surface and I like the designated inflate/deflate valves. My only complaint is that I woke up feeling my lower back hadn't had enough support... I don't know that this is something I can expect from a light weight sleeping pad, but I'm not holding out hope (and a 5th star)!
In all, I'm thrilled with my Air Pad. It ain't cheap, but I feel it's one of the very best gear investments I've made. Strongly recommended!
The Ultimate Ultralight Pad!
Simply put, this is one amazing pad. Exped has really done their homework. I've always had Thermarest pads in the past, and had considered the Neo Air, but after reading all the reviews about problems with it, decided to look elsewhere. Boy, am I glad I did, and found the Synmat UL 7. The fabric is great, non-slip and has a nice feel. It feels like fabric, not plastic. I purchased the Exped Mini Pump for $20. This item itself has great value for; 1. Keeping lung moisture out of the pad, which can cause mold to grow over time, especially with the insulation inside and 2. It puts air into the mat which is ambient temperature, not 98 degrees. This prevents the mat from going flat when the air inside cools. Oh yeah, it also saves my lungs. The Mini Pump works excellent and weighs only 1.4 ounces, not 3 ounces, as another review states. I've weighed it. I can fit the Mini Pump in the same stuff sack as the pad. The whole package is less than 18 ounces. The mat has an R value of 3.1, thanks to the synthetic insulation laminated into the inside of the chambers, both top and bottom. It is incredibly comfortable! The outside chambers are slightly larger that the middle ones, helping keep you on the mat. Very clever. Finally, it comes with a stuff sack AND repair kit, as it should. I highly recommend this pad; it's everything you want and nothing you don't.
Like a Sleep Number Without the Number
Once the pad is filled you can used the one valve to release just the right amount of air to make the firmness just how you like it, like the expensive infomercial bed. I cant believe that something this comfortable packs down so small and is so lightweight. A friend raved about how good this pad was but I was a thermarest fan, until I ended up laying across the bottom while we were resting on the Lost Coast and fell asleep before I knew it. I bought one during the sale when I saw how small they packed down. I usually put my pad in my pack so this saves tons of rooom compared to my thermarest prolight 3 or prolight 4 or Trail pro. The Exped is much more comfortable than any of these also. I hear the other brands version of this pad isnt nearly as good as the Exped.
I thought it would be harder to blow up than it is. It only takes me a min to fill it with about 20 breaths and it doesnt seem worse than filling my prolite 4. If you do 10 breaths 2 times a few min apart its well worth the min to fill it when you get hours of great sleep. The pad comes with a sweet stuff sack that it actually fits back inside, it includes a repair kit, whereas the other company charges extra for both. Great pad that has great reviews.