User Review: Exped DownMat 7
Price Paid: free
(This is an update to my original review from December, 2006)
I've had the DownMat for five years and though it's a great mat, to be honest, I've spent more time in my hammock than on the ground. To me, no mat can compare to the comfort of a hammock (admittedly when the temps aren't absolutely freezing.)
As far as sleeping mats go, though, the DownMat is great pad.
I had an interesting experience I wanted to share. On a trip this past May, the availability of trees was questionable (we were cycling on the coast) so I decided to take a tent and DownMat.
The first night in, I inflated my mat and heard a loud, "pop" when I lay down on it. I thought I had punctured the mat but it held air so I didn't worry about it and got a good night's rest.
The next day, I inflated my mat, lay down on it and heard another, "pop". This time, I looked at the mat and realized that I had blown three of the longitudinal baffles. Instead of a nice flat mattress, one edge was now about five inches thick (since the baffles were blown) which made if feel like I was sleeping on a hill. Not good.
After the trip, I called the folks at Exped and they were kind enough to replace my mat with a new DownMat. Kudos for backing up their product.
I must say, though, that I'm not enamored, with the new, integrated pump. I liked, the old, stuff sack inflater. The pad packed smaller; the sack worked fine; why mess up a good thing.
I called Exped up to ask about the new design and the rep told me, in so many words, that folks couldn't figure out how to use the stuff sack inflater so Exped dumbed it down with the integrated pump.
(I must add that I broke down and bought an Exped air pillow and it's great.)
Bottom line: I'm very pleased with Exped customer service and comfort of the DownMat, but I like the older, simpler design. As the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. (And if you can't figure out how to use the stuff sack inflater, read the instructions - or stay at home!)