Gear Mini: Exped

I said something recently about the “sleepmat arms race” and it’s definitely raging away, mats are getting ever lighter and warmer and Exped have have pushed themselves to be near the front for next year by the looks of things.
Although, they’re dropping that Canadian Goose from their logo, how much weight this will save is as yet unconfirmed.

The Downmats (above) which many swear by have new lightweight stablemates, the Ultralite 7 series. They come in XS, S, M & LW sizes which take you from 420g to 750g pack weights. This is a huge weight saving over the current range for a similar set of sizes, if they prove as warm as they say, -24°C, and durable we’re all laughing.

Below is the Synmat Ultralite 7 , sizes S, M & LW for 439g, 469g and 600g pack weights with a rating to -4°C. The insulation is bonded inside to give a full loft, it packs small and the roll-top stuff sack acts as both an inflating device and a huge big soft pillow like the one you’ve got at home, not by design though, that bit’s a happy accident. I’m liking the look of this one.

I’ve used an Air Pillow Lite (the red stuffsack) for ages, the shape is great and it stays put most of the time. There’s now an Ultralite version in yellow, chose from 50g for medium or 80g for large.
Yes, yes, you can sleep with your head on your jumper or shoes or whatever if you want to crease your napper overnight, but I want a pillow, I don’t see folk throwing their pillows on their bedroom floors at home because they’re not “lightweight”.
Anyway, the blue stuffsack is an AirSeat, which is bigger than the pillow and at 120g also qualifies it as a luxury pillow. Hurrah.

Nice and green is the SIM Lite Ultralite (all those lite’s aren’t a typo), a self-inflating mat in the usual four sizes and pack weights going from 320g to 780g. That bold Exped branding is what we’ll see now that the goose has been cooked. The ratings are 2°C for the smaller two sizes and -5°C for the larger two.
The slimline self-inflater has been sidelined of late with the new wave of fat mats taking the limelight, but in these days of ever smaller tents a slimmer mat is looking ever more attractive to get our toes and noses further away from the flysheet, so newness when it brings lightness and warmness in this area is a good thing.

19 thoughts on “Gear Mini: Exped”

  1. Pete, not only is there an arms race with sleeping mats. The models all sound the same. I have the Exped Down mat with built in pump & and recently I purchased the Exped Synmat 7 UL after 2 leaks in the POE Peak Elite I had. Is the Synmat Ultralite 7 an update of this mat(very similar sounding name) or a brand new model? Like the ideal of the stuff sack come pillow.

    New winter NeoAirs as well – really hotting in the sleeping mat wars!!

  2. Nice looking kit there from Exped. I’m a big fan (since last autumn). Love the pillow pump and Exped Synmat UL. Much comfier and warmer than the NeoAir et al in my opinion.

    So, this new Synmat 7 UL – is it a carbon copy of previous version then Pete? I had issues within 3 months heavy use on mine. Inflate valve had come away – though I’ve managed to get that sorted now.

    And my winter Synmat got sent back within 3 months too – tube had buckled and ballooned out to the size of a small elephant. Wasn’t happy to say the least. But Exped were bloody prompt in replacing it.

    Despite the above comments – I do love the gear :)

  3. Lightweight air pillows very good news :)

    So much outright war that Thermarest have seemingly obseleted that all seasons before its even been fully released. Scary.

  4. I’ve been trying to get hold of the Synmat 7 UL for months, it seems to be out of stock everywhere in the UK with more expected to arrive in October. I’ll stick to my 7.5 Basic through the winter, then maybe pick one up for the spring I think.

  5. Exped do need some work on the names to split the ranges up a bit, it’s way too samey, the workbook reads like a phonebook. Apparently the logo change is part of a shift in presentation of the brand, so hopefully we’ll see a different logic applied to the models at some point.
    I suppose because Exped are still independant they do things they way they like, haven’t diluted the vision yet!

    The new Synmat has a different construction, the fill will loft more and the fabric is definitely lighter feeling. There’s all sorts of patents covering sythetic fill inside sleep mats, that’s one of the reasons we keep seeing so many changes, designers getting clever and working through the loopholes.

    Thermarest got caught out by just how much an impact Neoair made in the market and got left behind. The Neoair is still a brilliant mat and the benchmark, but every body else is elbowing them out of the way.

    The Synmat 7 UL above is for next spring, so there might a gap in supply. The Synmat basic is a cracker, I love a mat that will freeze into ice while I sleep oblivious on the other side :o)

  6. Interesting info that Pete.

    Agree with folk elbowing the NeoAir out the way. Flogged mine some time ago. Much prefer the comfort and warmth offered by Exped – especially the UL Synmat. For a tiny weight penalty you get a larger, warmer mat.

    Will keep an eye out on the new model then next Spring

  7. The workbook specs do look the same as what’s in the shops now, the only all-new model seems to be the bigger size.
    So at the price on that link it looks like a winner.

  8. Talking of sizes, I do wish Exped and/or Thermarest believed in L as well as LW sizes! 30g for a full length mat I’d be happy with but >100?

  9. Well plain L would do it :) The mats are certainly getting good enough to easily justify full length, but not with all that added width!

  10. So is it a ‘bide my time’ moment? Really want a full length mat as I’ve been using my downmat short 7 for the last couple of years, I’d sort of decided a day back that that link above for 70 odd notes for the UL synth was gonna be my choice… don’t mind waiting if I need to?

  11. I bought the short mat that I linked to above. It’s a great size for me as I’m 5′ 7″.

    It blew up by mouth in about 12 puffs, which was a lot easier than I expected. I was intrigued by your comment about using the stuff sack as an inflator, but I think the new one you looked at must be different as the sack mine came in is one with a cord tie, but its so easy to blow up I don’t mind.

    Only weighs 415 grams and rolls up tiny. Happy with the purchase so far…now to test it!! :)

  12. Well the (known!) potential sources of regret would be the down mat UL and neo air Xtherm. Preview info on both on the net so check and decide :)

  13. Seen some other new mats at OTS.
    You know what, get the one you like when you see it, the way it’s going just now next season is alwats going to have something a little lighter or warmer.
    It was a topic of conversation as well, are customers just going to get pissed off with their kit constantly getting improved upon while it’s still new? It was a different point to colour changes each season which everybody hates :o)

  14. I like the idea of slipping that in a top bag or inside the bag to keep your down off the tent floor.
    Still, think I like a mat with no holes for winter :o)

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