Sleeping pads . . . ?

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by Kent Lufkin, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. The last sleeping pad I bought was a cheap import I found at REI almost 20 years ago. It's bulky and hard to inflate/deflate and despite being only an inch thick, getting it back in its stuff sack is like trying to put a condom on an elephant.

    I recently heard about a line of high-tech Swiss pads and pillows from a company called Exped. They're not cheap but they're lightweight, tough and roll down to about the size of a Nalgene bottle.

    Anybody have any experience with them?

    Dan Nelson likes this.
  2. They don't work to good in the cold
  3. Lots of experience with them. Exped's US headquarters is in Seattle -- run by a couple guys that have worked in the outdoor industry for decades (previously, they worked at MSR, Swallows Nest retailers -- remember them? -- and other quality companies). The people behind Exped are some of the best in the business.

    What's more, their products are the finest in the marketplace, too. Donna loves the down-filled Eped pad for backpacking -- 3.5 inches of WARM padding for about same weight as a standard thermarest. I like the Synmat UL (bits of synthetic fill in an ultralight mattress. Good insulation, about 1 pound total weight for a 20x72 inch pad). Some pads come with integrated pumps, but the best now use big ultralight stuff sacks as 'pump bags'-- two bags of air fill the pad easily).

    Let me know exactly what you are looking for and I can provide more specifics -- I've field tested most of their line (including some new 2014 beta models that just arrived at my door this week).

    Derek Young and Kent Lufkin like this.
  4. You must have used the wrong model. Their 4-season DownMat has proven to be the warmest single pad I -- and a dozen other backcountry skiers and climbers –- have ever used.
  5. Kent, as Dan said, Exped makes awesome pads! The Swiss couple that own the company have an incredible commitment to building quality, innovative products. You'd be hard-pressed to find business owners with more integrity. I may be biased as they are friends but like their US staff, they are simply wonderful people who take great pride in making awesome gear.
    Kent Lufkin and Dan Nelson like this.
  6. They have some incredible tents too!!
  7. Hmmmmmmm, I'm looking at new pads too. Tired of cheap, going to invest in nice pads this time. May have to look into them.
  8. The Exped pads sound great, though I have no first hand knowledge. I've been very happy with my Thermarest Expedition pads.
    That being said, I'm ready for a camper!:D
    Steve Call likes this.
  9. Thanks all. Time for a lie down at my local REI.

    Gary Knowels likes this.
  10. Kent, which model are you talking about? I'm also in the market for a new pad, but as a wilderness bowhunter, I have to pack out my deer on the back, so I'm after the absolute lightest/most comfortable pad there is. It looks like the small SynMat UL is 15.2 oz compared with the NeoAir XLite small at half that weight, and the regular size is only 4 oz more. I wouldn't bother with the Klymit inertia, it has plenty of bad reviews. Seems the built in "down pockets" don't work as intended, an there's lots of cold spots.
  11. I have the Exped downmat 7 and the Synmat UL. Besides being super comfortable they are both very warm pads. I've used the DM7 as a stand alone pad in single digits on snow and you can feel the heat radiating back up to you. The Synmat is a great 3 season pad, works well for me down to 25* or so. Match either with a blue pad and it's all the mattress you'll ever need.
    Several years ago I had a section of my DM7 start to delaminate. Called up the Seattle office and had a new pad in a day or two with the promise I'd destroy the old one. Can't beat that!
  12. Alex, I don't need the lightest or the warmest pad so I'm looking at the SynMat 7 ( At just under 3" thick with an R-value of nearly 5, it should be just fine for my needs. I'm looking forward to testing one out. BTW, the wide/long model is on sale at REI now for just $115, regularly $150.

  13. I had the original version of the Downmat and didn't like dealing with the bag to inflate the damn pad. Their new version has a pump built in, not sure if/how that affects the total weight.

    I've been rocking the Big Agnes insulated Q-core the past year and I've never slept better in the backcountry. I like that the outer tubes are bigger than the inner, keeps my sprawling ass from rolling off the mat all night long! It also rolls up smaller than my gen1 Downmat, about the size of a Nalgene bottle, which is nice as I can do backcountry split overniters with a 35L pack now. I will say that when it was probably windy and probably 10-15 degrees up on St. Helens this winter I could feel the cool temps from below (not cold by any means but definitely could notice the cool spots), but I just shoved my jacket between my pad/bag and problem was solved. This was with a zero degree bag (MH Phantom) and just boxers on. If you're a cold sleeper and expect to get into temps lower than that may want to look elsewhere, though if you're getting into temps colder than that you're likely bringing a foam roll up as well.
  14. Kent,

    I bought an Exped SynMat UL7 last year for my Dean trip. I have used Thermarests previously, but my shoulder issues require a thicker sleeping pad. I can't stay on my back all night. The Exped is 2.8" thick and 72x20, and that worked well for me to keep my shoulder off the ground. It's lightweight at 16.2 oz, comparable to my backpacking Thermarest that was shorter length. I like the Exped, but it does seem delicate, kind of like how an Alpacka or Curtis raft seems delicate. Anyway, the Exped is now my backpacking and float tripping sleeping pad because of its light weight, low bulk, and comfort. Man, this gettin' old stuff ain't easy.

    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  15. Just got back from REI with a SynMat7 LW. The regular is about twice as heavy as the same-sized ultralight, (39oz vs. 16oz for the UL) and packs to a much larger footprint. Since I'll use it mostly car camping, the size and weight aren't deal busters for me.

    More significantly though, the regular is considerably warmer with an R-value of 4.9 vs. just 3.1 for the ultralight. The regular is a whopping $60.00 less at $114.00 vs. $175.00.

    Both are nearly 3 times thicker and MUCH more comfy than my old piece of shit pad, something my old shoulders and hips will really appreciate.

  16. The old, original pump-bag setup was inefficient -- the bag was too small and too hard to fill. The integrated pump works great but has its own drawbacks (somewhat slow, difficult to use efficiently if your hands are small). The new "schnozzel" bag pump is the best option yet -- big, ultralight stuff sack works as a pump bag. Two, or at most three, bags full will inflate the pad completely. Fast, easy, efficient.
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  17. I was seriously thinking about a NeoAir, but guess I'll have to look into one of these. Next season I'm planning on a backpack hunt for mule deer somewhere in Idaho. Don't need a huge trophy, but lugging out just about anything on top of a 30lb loadout is pushing the endurance envelope, especially if the rig's more than a couple of miles away!
  18. I just pumped up my new pad for the first time. The integrated pump is indeed a bit slow and inefficient, but the good news is that it doesn't add moisture as using lung power would. The large valves allow rapid deflation and the rolled up pad easily fit into its tiny stuff sack on the first try.

    The pad is quite comfortable, even on my hardwood floor, and amazingly warm thanks to its 4.9 R value. Its real test will be a 6 night trip to northern Idaho in about 9 weeks.

  19. I have a neoair, like it so far. Did I go the wrong route?

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