Exped Synmat 7

WHW Kit Review

The Exped site here has a stack of useful information on the mat. What it all comes down to is how is it when you’re out and about with it?

Brilliant to sleep on is the answer. Very warm indeed, the Primaloft fill works just as you’d expect. I like the fatness of it when it’s inflated, it smooths out pretty much anything you’re lying on short of a house brick. It’s a good snug fit in the Rab AR top bag and a good match for length. It folds down pretty flat although the pump bit inside does take a bit of persuasion to go down. The internal pump thing (it feels not unlike a pair of socks stuck inside the tube) which you squash with each hand alternately to pump the mat up is actually superfluous, life’s too short to use it and blowing the mat up with your old fashioned lungs is quicker and easier.

It comes with a wee repair kit as does the plain AirMat I’ve been using for a good while. The Synmat 7 is heavy at 900g, but for cold camps it’s spot on and as always the small pack size plus the performance means it finds itself very far away from the Triangle of Despair™ which lurks on the graph of kit worthiness.

11 thoughts on “Exped Synmat 7”

  1. I wondered why you’d gone for a Synmat rather than a Downmat? But in fact like-for-like sizes the Synmat is fractionally lighter once you add in the Downmat pumpsack. I guess it swings back the other way (just) if two of you go and only carry a single pumpsack :)

    And the Downmat 7 Short is a little gem. No Synmat 7 Short!! :(

  2. To be honest, that’s just the one they sent me Matt :o) I liked the look of it when I saw the range though and it worked out really well in action. The weight of the down mats has always horrified me, the Synmat is the same. But it’s well worth it for the warmth. Fantastic in a top bag.

    I like Exped, they’ve got some neat kit. It seems to be well copied or, should I say they have inspired other brands?

  3. Hi Pete,

    like Matt, I went for the downmat 7 (er….. after seeing his in action in The Lakes in Feb). For winter camping it really is the perfect solution for a good nights sleep even if it is a little heavy (although the trade off is that I can get away with a much lighter sleeping bag…)

    I know I shouldnt but I also blow directly into the mat to inflate….I wonder how long it will be before I cause it to go mouldy inside??????

    anyway, great mats and nice website btw Pete

    cheers, Dave

  4. Hey Dave, thanks.

    The sample version of the downmat that Exped circulate is about the size of a sitmat and clear on one side to let you see that it’s real down inside.
    So, having seen what colour the down goes after a while I think it’s best not to think about it. Just don’t breathe in when you’re inflating it.
    All the mats are the same though, the foam and Primaloft will trap all manner of breeding horrors inside.

    Ach, as long as they work it’s all good :o)


  5. fair enough….but now you have filled my head with visions of green lurking horrors………
    still if it works….. :->

  6. Been meaning to ask – have you ever been cold on a Synmat (during a Scottish winter), or is it worth shelling out the extra £20+ and 20g for a Downmat?

  7. I was on the new-style Synmat a few weeks back on frozen ground and it was fine and warm.
    The only downside is the “stitch-through” seams between the channels which may or may not bleed a bit of heat out.

  8. I think the new synmat basic doesn’t have baffles between the tubes, so it is ‘only’ rated down to -11, for the 200g weight saving (I wish my old Thermarests were only rated down to -11!).

    However, that’s pretty similar to my POE Etho Thermo 6 (which is a wee bit lighter but not quite as warm), so I am thinking of getting the old skool, full fat pump version for winter (as I can’t really justify shelling out for a dowmat if, in reality, I’ll never explore the performance difference between -17 and -24).

    But it doesn’t sound like you’ve found the lower temp limit of the Synmats, which is good (I’m a middling to warm sleeper so I’m unlikely to as well).

  9. I like them, fat mats in general are brilliant, I haven’t used a slimline mat for a couple of years.
    I should though to update my point of reference!

    The Synmats fold smaller that they roll as well, I make a square that sits at the bottom of my pack oot the road.

  10. Hi Pete,
    Just read your review for this and noticed you got it into an AR Topbag. They’re the ones with a pocket to accept your mat. I have been thinking of getting a downmat7 short or the synmat to go inside a Rab survival zone bivvy to use with a quilt. Is this feasible for such a thick mat? I am thinking I’d give winter bivvying a go and like to go without a groundsheet so the current Thermarest prolite 3 std goes in but its thinner and not wrm enough for winter. I think the exped mats are a little tougher in their fabric than TAR mats but I wouldn’t want to have them direct on the ground. Seen a downmat 7 short for £50 from a good online company too. Worth a punt?

    Cheers for producing such a good site. It gives me ideas for improving my kit as I am still going from lightweight to UL.

  11. I tried to get a fat sleepmat into my Terra Nova bivi bag, it’s the simple one, Discovery Lite I think? And it wasn’t happening at all as the down was getting compressed in the bag. I think the Rab bivi is more 3D shaped so it should be better?
    The topbag is fine with the Exped mats, it does squeeze the mat a little at the foot end but I think it’ll be okay as long as the mat’s not inflated to the max, with a short mat it’ll no problem at all.
    £50? I’d get it and see how it works out!


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