Exped SynMat UL 7
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $139
Light, durable, warm and comfortable UL sleeping pad.
- Light - 16.2 oz for Medium size
- R value (3.2) seems accurate
- Durable material
- Slightly sticky top material
- Separate inflate / deflate valves
- Outer baffles slightly taller than middle to help you stay on the pad
- Noisier than standard pads
I'm not exactly a UL hiker - 5' 10" and 220 pounds. I move throughout the night sleeping on my back and both sides. I am a cold sleeper.
Medium size (72 x 20), 15+ nights in various sites around Arizona. Each night with my trusty Montbell #3 or #1.
There are four things I look for in a sleeping pad:
- durability — the desert in Arizona is tough on gear — rocky ground and many pointy things at ground level
- warmth - I sleep cold, so I want to make sure that I won't be cold
- good for a side sleeper
- light weight
The Exped Synmat UL 7 is all of these things.
I have used Exped pads for years for base camping, but never considered them light enough for backpacking. I have owned a DownMat 7 and a SynMat 7 for several years and have many nights sleeping on each.
I purchased the Exped pad about a year ago after spending 2 cold nights on my Big Agnes "insulated" pad.
Detailed thoughts in no particular order:
The Exped UL 7 is easy to pack, basically the size of a Nalgene when deflated. Inflation is easy - the wide, one way inflation value usually only takes a few minutes to blow up. Deflation is equally easy -- there is a dedicated deflation valve. I generally reach up and open the deflation valve once I'm awake in the morning and it takes only a minute or so to empty most of the air out of the pad. Once most of the air is out, you can easily roll the rest of the air out in one pass -- the deflation valve is in the middle of the pad, so you don't run into a problem if you fold the pad into 3rds when you roll it up.
The material feels more delicate than some of the more heavy duty pads, but I have not had any issues with durability. The pad material also has a slight "stickiness" to it that holds my bag in place while I'm moving from my back to my side.
The feature I most appreciate is that the outer baffles (which run the length of the pad) are slightly taller than the middle baffles. This helps keep me on the pad when I roll onto my side. I had a problem with the baffles on the Therm-a-Rest X-Therm because the pad seemed to have no defined edges. Perhaps this is a personal preference, but as someone who moves frequently throughout the night and sifts from side to back to side, the Exped pad worked best for me.
The only downside to this pad is the noisiness. As with most UL inflatable pads, the lightweight material is more noisy than heavier inflatables. It hasn't been a problem for me or my tent partners, but your mileage may vary. IMHO, if the noise of a pad keeps you awake at night, you might not have hiked far enough during the day <g>.
Overall, this has been a great purchase. This pad is highly recommended.
Where to Buy
The Exped SynMat UL 7 is not available from the stores we monitor.
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