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Exped SynMat UL 7

2 reviews
5-star:   1
4-star:   1
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0
0

Like sleeping in my own bed, except I was under the…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $175

Summary

Like sleeping in my own bed, except I was under the stars, listening to the stream run over the rocks, on top of this pad.

Pros

  • Easy to inflate
  • Easy to deflate
  • Easy to pack
  • Light and compact

Cons

  • Can slip
  • Stains if wet
  • A little expensive

I struggled with choosing between a hammock or a tent for backpacking, but once I borrowed my friend's Exped it made it easy for me to go out and get my own. I had been leaning toward a tent for some time, because I wanted to be able to camp where there may not be trees, but was worried about comfort. After two nights of thinking that I was sleeping at home I knew that the SynMat UL 7 was for me.

I was lucky enough to be able to test it out before I purchased my own, so I knew the ease of inflating and deflating the pad as well as how to repack so it didn't take up much space in my pack. I personally haven't had to patch mine yet after 8 overnight and 2 two-day trips, but the person who I originally borrowed the pad from did recently have to patch his, but hasn't had any other troubles out of it.

1

Light, durable, warm and comfortable UL sleeping pad.

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $139

Summary

Light, durable, warm and comfortable UL sleeping pad.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Noisier than standard pads

Me: 

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.

Use: 

Medium size (72 x 20), 15+ nights in various sites around Arizona. Each night with my trusty Montbell #3 or #1. 

Results: 

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.

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Exped SynMat UL 7

reviewers paid:
$139.00 - $175.00

The Exped SynMat UL 7 is not available from the stores we monitor.

If you're looking for a new air-filled sleeping pad, check out the best reviewed current models.