Side Sleeping Delight
This was a bit of a splurge purchase when I picked it up a couple years ago. REI was having their end of season sale around Labor day and I scored it for a considerable discount. At full price, having never slept on one of these in the past, I would have likely never purchased it. However, with that experience under my belt now I would gladly spend the money on this even full priced, and frequently recommend these to friends for the single best sleeping experience while camping.
Overall, brilliant product. Exped makes truly innovative stuff with a real mind towards practical usefulness through thoughtful design AND on durability. What sets this mat apart in my mind:
1. Big enough for a 6'4" side sleeper who goes about 230 pounds. With that sort of load on the mattress it keeps me off the ground, warm, and comfortable all night.
2. No blowing into it to inflate. The integrated pump is a brilliant system, albeit slightly confusing to new people. The trick is to just make sure on the down-stroke your palm completely covers (and seals) the intake valve. Inflates in about 1-2 mins.
3. Insulation from ground, now that I've experienced it, really makes a difference. Ever slept in someone's chilly house on an airbed, under what might normally be a more than adequate quilt and still been cold? Yeah, that was the lack of insulation in your generic brand airbed. Now imagine the difference if you're outside where there's no HVAC control knob. With this pad I just slept in 50 degree evening, windy, weather, with a 40 degree bag....sleeping on top, shirtless. I'm no polar-bear member, and admittedly 50 degrees isn't cold, but I never once felt like I was sleeping outside. It will DEFINITELY give your sleeping system more range, or allow you to carry a lighter bag. You can rationalize the higher cost that way!
Now the only downside I see, and the only reason why I'm looking for another Exped mat (likely the Airmat which REI doesn't sell yet, which lacks insulation) is because the mat's a bit overkill in the South where I'm camping (Texas) most of the year. Plus I can cut a pound and a half off my pack weight and have (volume wise) a lot more room in my pack with their other mat offerings. If I weren't so cheap I'd just buy the UL model which also packs down to about half the size of this mat. But let me be clear, this mat rolls up to about the same diamter as a Nerf football and still fits quite nicely in my pack.
Overall, fantastic product. Great company (Exped). Really innovative and worth the money when you consider a few days of camping can be offset by being miserable at night. If you're like me with serious back problems, you don't want to be stumbling down the trails each day on muscle relaxers and painkillers because your pad was a piece of garbage.
Get this pad.
AWESOME SLEEPING PAD! BIG MEN BUY IT NOW
I love this sleeping pad. I used it for the first time in a cabin near Chena Hot Springs. I am a big guy and I did not like camping since any pad I used always made me feel like I was sleeping on concrete. I never could find a pad that was thick enough and compact in design for storage in a kayak or back pack. This pad rules! It is soft, easy to inflate, and my friends all wanted to buy one after seeing it! Three of my friends purchased this pad and they all love it. I highly recommend this pad for you if you never want to feel the ground again while asleep.
I had reservations about the price but I had to remind myself that if I was not satisfied with my purchase, I could take it back to REI for an exchange or get my money back since I am member of REI. I will never let anyone ever borrow it and I will tell them to buy their own! :) Anyway, the baffle system makes it easy to inflate and no more passing out from blowing hot air! You have to see the self inflating system they have with this pad and it really works. I know you are reading these reviews and trying to see which one will sell you on the product or convince you to avoid it at all costs! Look, buy this pad and you will be amazed at how comfortable you will feel sleeping each night. I wish I could find a pillow that is as awesome as this pad. If you do not like it and I highly doubt that, take it back. It is REI folks! You should have no fear with ever trying products with the concern you will lose your money. I suspect you will love this pad very much. There is a more heavy duty version of this pad (black in color) but you should be fine with this one. I have hauled it in my kayak for expedition camping and used it twice for car camping. It is so small when not inflated that you could keep it in your car and forget about it! Enjoy your new sleeping pad and get ready to make some ZZZs while everyone wonders why you suddenly enjoy sleeping on the ground again!
I recently took this mat out for a weekend car camping trip. It was the first time I had used the mat. normally I use a double high queen size air mat when car camping, so I was skeptical if this would be as comfortable.
This mat was as comfortable as my double high air mattress and kept me much warmer. I slept far better this trip than I have on other trips. The tempteratures got down in the upper 30's lower 40's and I stayed warm while sleeping. I was using an REI nooksack rated to 35 degrees. Also I had on wool socks and under armor cold gear. I sleep cold and have worn this same gear in a 0 degree bag on a double high air mattress and slept cold. The added insulation in the pad helps out tremendously.
Before buying i watched video reviews for this mat and noticed people trying to inflate as fast as they could with the included pump. I honestly think you would do better to go a bit slower with the pump and let the air pocket fully inflate before you push it down. I counted and it took just over 100 pumps to get the mat inflated. the mat is easy to deflate as well. The mat doesnt get s compact as I might like for backpacking purposes, but for the thickness and comfort it gets down small and fits in my sleeping bag compartment of my pack with plenty of room to spare.
All in all I really like this mat, and will likely leave the big air mat at home from here on out.
The random guy who told me that this model was one that you would feel the quality in as soon as I felt it was spot on! Fantastic sleeping pad that does not leak through the night! Very high quality construction that gave me the confidence to buy a second, backed up by exceptional customer service through REI and Exped.
Yes, it is heavier and bulkier than the Thermarest, but at this point, it is worth not having to wake up in the middle of the night to blow air back into a leaking/deflated 1" Thermarest pad so my shoulder isn't touching the ground. I put up with it for over 10 years, but this pad makes sleeping in nature worth the extra pound for me.
Complaints: Inflation is great - no problem. Deflation takes twice as long as the fiancee's Thermarest due to the need to sit on it to get the air out, roll it up to get the rest of the air out, and finally unroll and reroll it up so that it will fit in the bag.
It is still worth it to me to have a great, warm night's sleep. I will drop the weight by leaving behind a can of chili and grabbing dehydrated food or something. If not for the minor weight/size/decompression nuances, it would get a perfect score.
Soooo comfy. Easy to inflate.
I bought four of these for our family to camp with. I grew up in Wisconsin and I know what cold feels like but for the last 24 years I have lived in SW FL and have grown to loathe the cold. We used these for two weeks in Grand Teton and Yellowstone in the end of June to early July. The nights were very chilly if you ask me. I could see my breath. I was bundled up with several layers and never was cold. We had the occasional pebble that felt like a boulder under the tent. Of course the mat never allowed me to feel those little devils. The tent even leaked from a rain and a bit of water was on the tent floor. I was high and dry and oh so comfy. The kids were able to inflate and deflat their own mats and they are 12 and 6. My two neices were along and I had them use some other mats we had in our camping gear. The one found her way every night from her Thermarest to sharing my 6yo's Synmat.
Pricey but if comfort is a requirement I highly recommend.
Heavy, but very comfortable
I have the earlier version of this pad that does not have the built-in pump. You can blow it up with your mouth, but it takes a good while. I bought their pillow pump, and that makes short work of inflating it, plus I can use it as a pillow.
I do bicycle touring, and since I don't do it that often, I am usually uncomfortable sleeping at night. Getting really tired and not sleeping well is a bad combination, so I got this pad. It is very comfortable. I set it up on our wood floor and laid on it for a while to determine if it was going to be comfortable. Next thing I knew, I was waking up about an hour later. It insulates quite well, noticably better than my 2" thermarest, which is interesting because I thought my thermarest insulated just fine. Since I am a side sleeper, I have always desired thicker and thicker sleeping pads. After getting this pad, I don't have to look any more. If they had a mummy version of this pad, I'd probably spring for that to reduce weight. Of course, its way lighter than the 3" (or whatever) thermarest.
Best cooler weather pad for Big Agnes.
Have used this in conjunction with a Big Agnes Summit Park bag. Decided to go with this because it had a slightly higher R-value, was an inch thicker, and weighed a bit less than the equivalent BA dual core. Both pads have a 0 degree rating but with any BA bag I would say that is VERY optimistic. A good mummy bag with a 0 degree rating with this pad would be more than adequate in cold weather, however with the Summit Park, a fleece liner and a layer of Capilene 4 I've found it good for warmth only to about 35 or so.
Just spent 2 nights on cold wet ground surrounded by snow with temps in the mid to upper 20's. Even with the fleece liner and Capilene I could still feel some slight cold seeping up through.
Comfort wise this thing gets a 5. Way better than my Prolite 4. Packs small and doesn't weight too much. Self inflating pump works well. In any weather over 35 or so this is a great pad for the larger BA bags.
Great for side sleepers
I am a side sleeper and I have not found a sleeping pad that worked for me - including self-inflating pads - until this one. Just used this for 8 days in South Dakota, split between camping in the Badlands and at a Boy Scout camp - very comfortable as far as camping pads are concerned and no aches and pains . Built-in pump works well once you get the hang of it (read the instructions and watch the videos available - that takes the mystery out of it). Packs down to fairly compact size which was important to me b/c I want to use it for backpack camping as well. I am a little over 6 ft and ~180 lbs, and the size was just right. The pad surface can be a bit slippery when combined with a sleeping bag, but not a big issue. Weather at night was cool (high 40's / low 50's F), so I cannot comment on how it works in cold weather yet. Very pleased with the purchase.
As a Boy Scout leader I've tried several types of pads and air mattresses and this is by far the most convenient, light weight and comfortable air mat I've had the pleasure to rest my tired bones upon. The fact that this is easy to take backpacking (it packs down to half my sleeping bag's size) and can take my weight(260 lbs) rates this right up to the top. This is a bit pricy, but if your comfort is a priority your money is well spent. I have had mine for 1-1/2 years with no complaint. I have found that not completely filling makes for a softer bed and a really comfortable night. We camp every month, even in 15-20 degree weather and I cannot complain. All of the other leaders and scouts drool over this when they find out that you don't need a seperate pump or to blow this up manually and by how light it is.
Ordered this to upgrade my sleeping pad for camping with my boys who are cub scouts. I pumped it up last night at home to test it out. The pump takes a few trys to get used to but when you figure it out it works quite well. Once inflated it was very comfortable and easy to adjust the air pressure for the perfect fit. The fabric on top is very smooth and comfortable. And it felt warm (not hot but definately not cool) while I was lying on it. I think one could easily use this with a blanket and be perfectly comfortable. It packs up to less than 1/2 the size of my self inflaters and weighs less as well.
I can't wait to try it in the field. For me this was an excellent upgrade from self inflating pads!