I have not yet used this enough to speak to it's long term durability, however, I am impressed with how comfortable this pad is. I have used a couple different kinds of Thermarests: the Prolite and an older basic model, along with the RidgeRest (sp?) foam pad, and was never so comfortable as I was the few nights that I spent on this pad in cold weather. The very first night I used it was unexpectedly cold because we planned poorly and didn't watch the weather. We had planned on 35 to 40 degree F temps but when we woke up our full Nalgene bottle was frozen solid and my in-pack Camelback was slushy. Later we learned the temps were about 22 deg F. I was in a sleeping bag which should have been only comfortable down to about 30 deg F based on previous usage, but was undoubtably helped by this pad to keep me comfortably warm to well below freezing. The following couple of nights it wasn't as cold, but still below freezing. Because it was the only piece of equipment that was different from previous trips I am sure that this pad helped my trip to be comfortable.
It takes up about as much room as a Nalgene bottle, weighs very little, comes with a nice repair kit in case of puncture, inflates quickly by blowing it up (MUCH faster than a so-called self-inflating Thermarest,) and appears to be much more durable than the NeoAir.
Not only that, but this is the first pad I have ever slept on where I have awoken with no tingling or soreness from lack of circulation. It was so comfortable to sleep on it that I actually overslept. I hope that this pad proves to be as durable as it appears and lasts forever. I really love it.
The only downsides I have identified are (1) the cost, and (2) the problem that some people have complained about where their sleeping bag slides around too easily on it. I haven't had the sliding issue, but then again I was on mostly level ground the nights I used it. There are a couple of loops on it where you can lash your bag to the top of it, but I didn't have to do that.
I have become a huge Exped fan. They really seem to produce top quality lightweight equipment. I also have their inflatable pillow and have nothing bad to say about it either.
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.
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!
This pad is among the best that I have used or tested. It's stated weight is spot on. It is warm to the stated temp. rating. 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 fine 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! Oh, forgot to talk about durability: My dog is pretty hard on anything in the tent. This pad made it through three days of him clawing at it.
Update : During late summer of 2012 on the CDT (many nights on it by this point), I lost the check flap of the valve on the inflate side. Exped replaced this mat with a new one. Thanks Exped!
Awesome lightweight pad thats comfy!
I have used a variety of sleeping pads over the years, from a piece of closed cell foam when I was younger and tougher to the fat Exped downmat 9 (which I still use in winter camping). This new pad from Exped is perfect for backpacking and mountaineering. It offers the comfort that I have now become used to, but also packs into a very small package! It's plenty warm enough, easy to inflate with the two flat valves (I like that they do not stick out the end of the pad) and small and lightweight so it's really easy to carry, even if going super lightweight. One of the best things is that they did not make it just look small by squeezing it into it's stuffsack in some never to be repeated manner. It just slides right back into the stuffsack, even if I fold it lazily. Infact, I can make it even smaller. I've used a similar pad from another company prior to this, and found it was not as warm and a little crinkly sounding when sleeping on it. I also prefer the baffels going lengthways on the Exped pad, just seems more comfy to me and allow me to move the air easily and get super comfortable.
Many of my friends have commented that Exped pads are great, but they wanted something smaller and lighter. A few of them have now also bought the Synmat UL after seeing mine. So yes, I'd definitley reccomend this a friend.