Exped Synmat 7 UL (S) Sleeping Mat review

We were recently in the market for new sleeping mats.

For a few years we have been happily using Thermarest Prolite 4’s – the 3/4 length ones.

The main issue with these is, on a trip into cold climates, our legs were getting a bit cold and the insulation between the ground and our bodies was really only 2.5. cm (1″). They were  loyal companions for several years but it was time to upgrade.

Sue did a lot or research (in conjunction with her mate Anne – Overland Track March 2011) and came up with the Exped Synmat 7 UL (S) Sleeping Mat. It is marketed as light, warm and comfortable.  Definitely worth checking out.

The best deal she could find  in Australia was via Mountain Equipment.  We did not have time to get it from overseas, but in reality the price was very competitive when freight was taken into consideration.

The mat  arrived almost overnight with some additional instructions regarding care handwritten with a note. This was most appreciated.

Rather than write up a long and complex review we decided to film it from opening the packet for the first time through to a follow up after using them in the Western Arthurs.

If you don’t have time to watch the video, the short summary is we loved them.

If you would like to read the full product specification check it out on the Mountain Equipment site.

Have you tried out the Exped Synmat 7 UL ?

What do you think of them?

Comments

    • Frank says

      Hi Stan,
      Thanks for dropping by. We really loved that mat. Best one we have ever slept on.

      How do you find the durability? pretty good?

      Frank

      • Diane says

        Goodness, Stan missed a chance for a plug.
        He runs Adventure Seekers and if they are the ones he uses, I found them comfortable and warm.

        • Frank says

          Diane, you are a dynamo! We gave Stan a chance, I forgot to tell him he should have put his name in as “Stan – Adventure Seekers” .

          If you click on his name you go to his site….Plus, he has written an article for Cradle Mountain.net about guided walks which we will publish next week…..

          Frank

  1. Steve Cockburn says

    Hi Frank , My Exped Downmat has let me down big time ( see my post on BWT forum ) and I needed to replace mine and struggled with the decision between this one and the Neo air. In the end I went with the exped based on a few things . My main issue with the neo is it seems to too vulnerable to puncture but I recon they both have this weakness. Went with Exped in the end in the hope they have a slightly stronger make up.
    Saw your Your tube when first came out as well and that helped with the decision too.
    Steve

    • Karla Harding says

      Hi Steve
      Just wanting to check out your post as I’ve just purchased an Exped Downmat but couldn’t locate it on BTW….
      what date did you post?
      Many thanks!
      Karla

    • Frank says

      Hi Steve,
      We were a bit dubious about the strength of the mat (even when it arrived) After using it for a few nights it showed no sign of folding under the pressure. Stans comments are interesting (below) Six months every night on a mat is a HUGE test. then he decided to use them for his guided business. pretty good recommendation I reckon.
      Take it easy Steve,
      Frank

  2. Steve W says

    Hi Frank,
    We have Exped Synmats with the inbuilt pump. Not quite as light as yours but still quite compact. The insulation in these mats is fantastic. We used them on the OT in winter and use them on top of a stretcher bed when camping. Very comfy and warm on a cold night. Highly recommended.

    Steve

    • Frank says

      Good one Steve,
      It is really nice to have a good layer of insulation under you, especially on cold nights.
      Thanks for the feedback

  3. Simone says

    Hi Frank & Sue,

    These were the mats I chose for us when I did all my research to gear up for our Overland walk in March next year. Then I saw you were going to use them in Tasmania so I decided to wait until your review. I’m glad they worked out so well. Yay! I’m off shopping!

    Cheers,
    Simone

    • Frank says

      Hi Simone,
      I really think you will be happy. It is sort of like sleeping on a li-lo.
      Crossing our fingers you are happy with them, the size and weight are brilliant!
      nothing like a good shop, Sue is an expert 😉

  4. says

    Hi Frank,
    I’ve just bought one on your recommendation, hope to try it out in the next couple of weeks. First impressions are favourable!
    Thanks for the video demo! :)
    Paul

    • Frank says

      Ah Paul,
      Stuff like that makes me stressed.

      I’m thinking 3am, middle of storm somewhere in the middle of the Downs or Scotland and the plug opens or seam splits.
      You spend the night on the cold wet ground cursing us……
      Thankfully we live a LONG way away!

      Good luck with it….. I should be getting commission for all these… Duh!

  5. Peter says

    Just wondering if your selection process considered the recently released NeoAir All Season – claimed Thermal Resistance R4.9 and 540g cf R3.1 and 470g for the Exped Synmat UL7. Packs slightly larger. $US costs similar – but add A$100! for local purchase.

    I’ve just used a NeoAir R2.5 and 410g + 3mm CCF tent carpet (R value=0.75?) and 140g on snow recently and found the result satisfactory – overall I felt warm enough but skin areas bearing weight -conduction zones- felt the cold around dawn.

    By the way, at a given location, what is warmer- sleeping on damp soggy ground or dry crusty snow? Even 1″ of snow has an R value of 1.

    • Frank says

      Hi Peter,
      Thanks for the comprehensive information. No, we did not look at the Neo Air. We sort of honed in on this one as a friend of Sue’s had done a lot of research and we were in a bit of a rush to get something before the trip.

      We used them on mud and on timber platforms and were really warm.

      Never put it straight on snow.

      Like your tip on the R rating of snow.

  6. says

    Frank, that’s a good video and the Exped mat you have looks a million times better than the two I’ve had from them in the past. I had one of Synmat 7 pump mats, but it’s well and truly crapped itself! It was very comfortable though which was the main thing while it lasted :) It looks like Exped have fixed the problems of the past and your model certainly sounds more durable. I’ve got some photos in this blog entry which shows what happened to my two Exped mats…

    http://www.hikingfiasco.com/2011/07/exped-misery-2001-space-odyssey-and.html

    • Frank says

      Good one Greg,
      I had a cheap mat from Snowgum that did that blow out thing once. Mind you I did leave it in a tent, zipped up on a 43 degree day in full sun…..

  7. says

    Gyday;

    OK, IF you go for exped or neo air there is 1 thing you have to do…..

    you put the mat between you and the interior of the sleeping bag…you actually have it inside your fart sack..not outside on the ground.

    the put your sleeping bag inside a bivvy bag or hydranaute bag…

    no better way to use these….if you are going to freak out at the thought of getting a puncture then go for a ridgerest and a neo air together….very very warm combo……weighs less than 1500g. feels great….sleep like a drugged baby…

    zero anxiety..great warmth and comfort…wake up refreshed….not exhausted….its worth the weight!

    you dont sit on them…..you take a very cheap piece of closed foam about the size of your bum plus a bit more to sit on…not the exped or neo air.

  8. corrie says

    We are about to go 4×4 wheel driving for a month in Namibia and Botswana,sleeping on top of our hired hilux, under a canvas tent and I was wondering,–that as the weather will be warm– do we need the Exped down mat or would the synthetic be alright?Weather wiil be very warm-high 30’s during the day and drop down to about 15-20 overnight.
    Thanking you Corrie

    • Frank says

      hi Corrie,
      Probably too late for this one, hope the trip is going well. I reckon the heavier duty mat i.e. the synthetisc would be good for a 4WD trip. The Ultra light one is great for hiking but not necessarily for throwing in and out of a 4WD.
      Enjoy!
      Frank

  9. says

    Hi Frank,

    After all the research and viewing your review a while back I bought myself a synmat. Used it a couple of weekends ago and I’ve got to say it is the bee’s knees.

    Have to admit I used it in my swag, but never a better night in a swag had been had before. Zeph I think is on the right track regarding putting the synmat in your sleeping bag. Never thought of that one. Good idea. Will give it a try as soon as I can.

    Couple of Outdoor Ed fellas at work are ordering synmats for themselves too.

    All good stuff.

    Cheers

    Gary

  10. Lane says

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks so much for the above info! I was just wondering if there was any reason that you went with the small as opposed to the medium? There does not seem to be a great deal of difference between the two in weight, packed dimensions or price but the medium gives you and extra 20cm’s in length when inflated.

    I just wanted to ask as I thought there might be something I had missed, that Sue had noticed!

    Cheers,
    Lane

  11. Georgie says

    Hi Frank and OHBers.
    We want to buy Outdoor Ed groupleader son a new sleeping mat for his birthday in April, as he is still using my Thermarest 4 nights a week, every week. I remembered you and Sue used Exped Synmats, and your and others’ reviews were great. I am also looking at the Inertia X Frame, also used inside your sleeping bag. I like the way the gaps in the frame allow the loft to stay lofty, but it is only 3 seasons, and Dave sleeps on snow. Does anyone have experience of this skeletal looking mat? Would appreciate advice. Thanks. Georgie

  12. Tania says

    Hi – I am looking at purchasing an exped sleep mat for a trip I have booked in Africa from Nov – Jan ’14 from Nairobi to Cape Town. Trying to work out which one would be best. Down? SynMat? Will a down mat be too warm for the summer months? I have heard the temperature can drop significantly in the northern part. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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