Sleeping mats

Re: Sleeping mats

Postby Baalzamon » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:51 pm

sogood wrote:
Baalzamon wrote:Polishbiker who is on tour right now going from Alaska to Canada had his Synmat UL delaminate and had one massive bulge and had to go buy another mat and got one from the MET range I recall.

That's bad luck! I have not heard of similar and user report on Exped gears have been uniformly positive in my readings. Guess one off manufacturing/material defect can happen.


I do suggest a google to show some more results. However Polishbiker was using it months before this happened.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby snafuspyramid » Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:17 pm

Well I had half an hour to kill today, so I wandered down to investigate the Exped mattresses again. The Downmat 7 was on sale ($80 off) and after inflating one and floundering around on it for a bit, I was sufficiently impressed to part with some dosh.

I hate to say it (again) but the collective wisdom is again spot-on- when properly inflated it is superior to the Thermarest in comfort. Because I am a side sleeper and a big, heavy guy (6'4 and 90kg) even the 3.8mm Thermarest left me with sore shoulders and hips, in contrast to my petite fiance who sleeps like a dead thing on hers (which is lucky, since the Exped mats are expensive!).

As to set-up times, I found that I can easily inflate the mat in 45 seconds, provided I leave it out to self-inflate for 15 minutes first (the down lofts on its own when not compressed). Otherwise it's 90 seconds, which is hardly unbearable.

My last (negative) impression of the Exped mats was one of the Basic models, which have a different construction (sewn-through rather than baffled). I found it uncomfortable and annoying, whereas the Downmat is much more stable. I also tried the Synmat UL, but it was obviously too fragile for touring and rather small. I would have got the Synmat rather than the Downmat, as their specifications are close to identical except price, but they weren't in stock or on sale.

Hopefully I'll be able to take the Downmat out for a bit of a field test in another few weeks, hopefully in the Otways before summer heats up too much.

The Macpac Thermarest-style mattress still wins hands-down on one point, and that is durability (or at least the appearance of durability - I've hardly conducted an exhaustive test). The fabric is much thicker and much harder than the Exped, and the mat still weighs less - albeit with slightly less insulation.

If I weren't such a precious sleeper, I'd still prefer it over the inflatable, since I think that over-engineered durability is the most important thing with touring gear. On a long tour - especially in more remote places - I would want the Thermarest. But I can't justify the expense of keeping both, and since it's basically new I'll sell it on eBay (or PM if interested, of course).
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby RonK » Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:49 pm

snafuspyramid wrote:As to set-up times, I found that I can easily inflate the mat in 45 seconds, provided I leave it out to self-inflate for 15 minutes first (the down lofts on its own when not compressed). Otherwise it's 90 seconds, which is hardly unbearable.

Even easier if you get a pillow pump.

snafuspyramid wrote:I also tried the Synmat UL, but it was obviously too fragile for touring and rather small.

Not so - I'm using a Synmat 7 UL LW which is huge (there are three sizes) and is not at all fragile.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby il padrone » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:35 pm

snafuspyramid wrote:Well I had half an hour to kill today, so I wandered down to investigate the Exped mattresses again. The Downmat 7 was on sale ($80 off) and after inflating one and floundering around on it for a bit, I was sufficiently impressed to part with some dosh.

Now all you need to do is go and lounge back on a Helinox Chair One and you'll be convinced of the utility of this beauty as well. Still waiting to find the excuse to outlay on one myself.

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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby sogood » Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:59 pm

snafuspyramid wrote:As to set-up times, I found that I can easily inflate the mat in 45 seconds, provided I leave it out to self-inflate for 15 minutes first (the down lofts on its own when not compressed). Otherwise it's 90 seconds, which is hardly unbearable.

An Exped Mini Pump would be worthwhile, or one of its bigger cousins. One of the concern of oral inflation is the moisture it introduces. Not particular healthy for the down and synthetic insulation. Think of mold and others, let alone damages to the insulation material.

I also tried the Synmat UL, but it was obviously too fragile for touring and rather small.
[/quote][/quote]
SynMat UL was designed for weight saving. Whilst it is more fragile, but I have found it to stand up well for backpack bushwalking where things can get quite rough. Yet, we all know how products last in our own hands so YMMV.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby il padrone » Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:29 pm

sogood wrote:An Exped Mini Pump would be worthwhile, or one of its bigger cousins. One of the concern of oral inflation is the moisture it introduces. Not particular healthy for the down and synthetic insulation. Think of mold and others, let alone damages to the insulation material.

:o :?

The Exped mattress that I use has its own built-in hand pump. Oral inflation is a thing of the long distant past.

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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby sogood » Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:52 pm

il padrone wrote:The Exped mattress that I use has its own built-in hand pump. Oral inflation is a thing of the long distant past.

Yeah, only on some of the heavier models. On the SynMat UL, it's not an option.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby Aushiker » Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:34 am

sogood wrote:
il padrone wrote:The Exped mattress that I use has its own built-in hand pump. Oral inflation is a thing of the long distant past.

Yeah, only on some of the heavier models. On the SynMat UL, it's not an option.


Yep which is why I have a Exped Pillow Pump. Kills two birds with one stone. Inflates my Exped Synmat UL7S and gives me a nice pillow as well :)

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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby sogood » Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:39 am

Aushiker wrote:Yep which is why I have a Exped Pillow Pump. Kills two birds with one stone. Inflates my Exped Synmat UL7S and gives me a nice pillow as well :)

Yes, I considered that but I ended up deciding on a separate pump and Exped pillow but can't remember now if it was because of the price or combined volume/weight advantage.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby snafuspyramid » Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:45 pm

Mine is the heavier version - in fact it's even heavier than my existing mat by about 50g. It does include the internal pump, which works amazingly well for what it is.

I guess that the UL version would probably work just fine. After all, you are only using it inside your tent, which is a fairly protected environment - especially if you go to some lengths to keep the inside clean and to remove sticks and stones (one of the many things I love about my new Venus II is that you can reach under the bottom of the tent, while still inside it, to remove any offending irregularities you missed setting up - a lifesaver at night in bad weather). However, a fair bit of the weight saving comes from the thinner, more delicate fabrics, so I would still fret about durability (and much decreased warranty).

I think sogood's comment above is spot on - we all know how equipment fares in our own hands. I don't know why, but I am one of those people for whom, if it can break, I will break it. The UL just looked delicate. I have to admit I was a bit tempted while hefting around a tiny 450g package the size of a drink bottle but the lower R value was a deal breaker.

As always with discussions about equipment, it's horses for courses. The heavier Downmat 7 makes good sense to me, since it is more durable and extremely warm. I also put weight fairly low on my list of priorities - I have cyled up the ranges quite a few times now with enough gear to supply Alexander's journey to India and not felt enormously inconvenienced. I just take my sweet time.

My sleeping temperature appears to be so low that I'm probably technically dead most nights - for example, I was recently a bit chilly in a 4-season tent, on a 3.8 R value pad, wearing a woollen shirt and hiking pants, using a bag with a low rating of -10 degrees. It was about 6 degrees outside! (Admittedly I went to bed late and hungry, always a no-no). So the Downmat makes sense for me. I think the UL mat would be a good choice for my fiance, but she sleeps well on her Macpac and won't part with it. When we tour together she carries mainly the extra that's required for her, which isn't much.

The pillow looks like a really nice idea, but again, unnecessary for the regular Downmat I bought. The internal pump does work amazingly well, although I do worry that it is more complex stuff to break.

I guess that, if I could sleep comfortably on the thick Macpac mat, it would be the winner hands down. It seems very durable, is very quick and easy to set up, and weighs the same as the Downmat (although is less insulative). It is also cheaper. But the prospect of waking up without being stiff and sore is too good to pass up.

Planning a trip for a fortnight to actually test the thing in the field...

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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby il padrone » Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:30 pm

snafuspyramid wrote:The pillow looks like a really nice idea, but again, unnecessary for the regular Downmat I bought.

Mmmm.... pillow :D

Having stuffed clothes into sacks and rolled up jumpers for over 30 years I finally discovered the joys of an inflatable pillow on my tour to Adelaide, the Flinders Ranges and Oodnadatta three years ago. Not only the pillow but also a pillow slip :o . Now I don't go on a tour without them - a big part of the reason why I now sleep in the tent just as confortably as at home.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby sogood » Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:26 pm

il padrone wrote:Now I don't go on a tour without them - a big part of the reason why I now sleep in the tent just as confortably as at home.

Ummm... I think you should buy a new pillow for home! For me, nothing beats my bed at home... :oops:
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby the_real_jimbob » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:29 am

Recently got a Mountain Designs Somnus Light (Standard Size) like this one but longer at half price about $60 http://www.mountaindesigns.com/store/eq ... -3-8-small

Was able to sleep in a tent over concrete with an additional 1cm cheap blue foam mat like those yoga mats. Actually the concrete was comfortable as it was nice and flat.

Something for new buyers is regarding compactness the original packing is not a good guide. That thing was very compact in its new wrapping but after initial inflation no way was it going back that small again.

Also on the label there's a warning about DEET products protential damaging the material. Thought this was stupid for a camping mat I would have thought many campers would need insect repellent and they'd find materials to suit.

Lastly there's a warning about extra inflation by mouth causing a "small but negative effect inside" - I guess bacteria. Did try with a bike pump but it didnt seal properly. So next time I will try find one or an adapter that can connect to the bike pump to get that extra inflation.

It was comfortable enough to sleep for a week but I think for anything longer I will be looking for something a little thicker.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby RonK » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:11 am

the_real_jimbob wrote:Also on the label there's a warning about DEET products protential damaging the material. Thought this was stupid for a camping mat I would have thought many campers would need insect repellent and they'd find materials to suit.


DEET is capable of damaging many fabrics used to make outdoor gear. Tents in particular.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby snafuspyramid » Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:10 am

the_real_jimbob wrote:Lastly there's a warning about extra inflation by mouth causing a "small but negative effect inside" - I guess bacteria.

It was comfortable enough to sleep for a week but I think for anything longer I will be looking for something a little thicker.


The moisture from your breath can cause the growth of micro-organisms which can, eventually, eat the glues and resins used to assemble the mat. Except with down mattresses, I gather this is a fairly academic problem.

My guess would be that you'll retire the mat long before you notice any issue, especially since the design of the Thermarest-type mats (like this one) is so simple - just a bit of open-cell foam sandwiched between two pieces of airtight fabric. (No baffles or whatnot to fail).

I still see the trade-off for the Downmat's additional comfort as durability:

http://travellingtwo.com/resources/expe ... mat-review
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby sogood » Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:58 am

Just chew some gums and rinse out with Listerine before you blow. I thought that's pretty well known. ;)
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby il padrone » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:54 am

More than that. The moisture in your breath can transfer into the mat and remain there. Over time this moisture can build up, reducing the mat's insulating properties and adding to its weight. Neither are desirable things.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby clackers » Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:07 am

il padrone wrote:Now all you need to do is go and lounge back on a Helinox Chair One and you'll be convinced of the utility of this beauty as well.


I love mine and have ordered the matching table - a new product:

http://www.helinox.com.au/helinox-ultralight-camp-table.php
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby rifraf » Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:38 pm

I finally make up my mind to try an Exped Synmat 7 UL LW and nobody appears to have any locally. :shock:
Mainpeak have suggested a shipment close to the end of Nov (if I understood correctly), I'm hopeful someone will have them in Xmas sales. :)
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Sleeping mats

Postby RonK » Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:29 pm

rifraf wrote:I finally make up my mind to try an Exped Synmat 7 UL LW and nobody appears to have any locally. :shock:
Mainpeak have suggested a shipment close to the end of Nov (if I understood correctly), I'm hopeful someone will have them in Xmas sales. :)

You probably don't really need an LW. It is huge, and more expensive too. Just get an M or MW.

You can compare sizes easily on the Exped site.

With the price difference you can probably get a pillow pump. :)
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby snafuspyramid » Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:07 pm

RonK wrote:
rifraf wrote:I finally make up my mind to try an Exped Synmat 7 UL LW and nobody appears to have any locally. :shock:
Mainpeak have suggested a shipment close to the end of Nov (if I understood correctly), I'm hopeful someone will have them in Xmas sales. :)

You probably don't really need an LW. It is huge, and more expensive too. Just get an M or MW.

You can compare sizes easily on the Exped site.

With the price difference you can probably get a pillow pump. :)


Agreed. For what it's worth, I'm 6'4" and a fairly mobile sleeper and I still have no need for a LW model. I think it would only be necessary if you are a very tall back sleeper?
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby rifraf » Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:58 pm

Well part of my interest in the LW is due to often utilising a bivybag as opposed to a tent.
You tend to move a bit whilst asleep both sideways as well as up and down.
My concern is mostly keeping my foot area on a pad and not in the dirt at the bottom.
This was one of the reasons I was asking about footprints in another thread.
Once off a sleeping pad my feet tend to do a lot of moving around.

I also cant sleep in a bed utilising flannelette sheets.
My feet will twist and turn all night.
Any flannelette sheets end up torn at my feet by morning much to any householders dismay.
I dont want this result with my sleeping bag due to foot discomfort or sensation in the wee hours.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby RonK » Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:46 pm

rifraf wrote:Well part of my interest in the LW is due to often utilising a bivybag as opposed to a tent.
You tend to move a bit whilst asleep both sideways as well as up and down.
My concern is mostly keeping my foot area on a pad and not in the dirt at the bottom.

But will the long one fit in your Macpac tent - it's 197cm long and just fits in mine once inflated...
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby rifraf » Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:01 pm

RonK wrote:
rifraf wrote:Well part of my interest in the LW is due to often utilising a bivybag as opposed to a tent.
You tend to move a bit whilst asleep both sideways as well as up and down.
My concern is mostly keeping my foot area on a pad and not in the dirt at the bottom.

But will the long one fit in your Macpac tent - it's 197cm long and just fits in mine once inflated...

Its a quandary all right.
I'm sure the Minaret would be no issue but I think it'd be a squeeze in the Microlight......
I'd prefer not to have to buy two if I could help it.
I'll do some more research tomorrow.
I've got a meeting tonight to attend and need to rush off now.
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Re: Sleeping mats

Postby rifraf » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:10 am

RonK wrote:
rifraf wrote:Well part of my interest in the LW is due to often utilising a bivybag as opposed to a tent.
You tend to move a bit whilst asleep both sideways as well as up and down.
My concern is mostly keeping my foot area on a pad and not in the dirt at the bottom.

But will the long one fit in your Macpac tent - it's 197cm long and just fits in mine once inflated...

I've just had a chance to check the Microlight specs and they include:

Weight (minimum) 1.4kg
Weight (total) 1.6kg
Fabric Fly / Floor UV30TMSI / TorrentwearTM XP
Persons 1
Floor area (l x w) 2.2m x 0.75/1.3m - Height 1.0m
Vestibule area (l x w) 1.9m x 0.75m triangular
Rolled size 41 x 14cm
Poles 1 - DAC Featherlite NSL / 9.0mm
http://www.macpac.com.au/tents/trekking ... Hqtrz.dpuf

The roomier Minaret:

Weight (minimum) 2.1kg
Weight (total) 2.4kg
Fabric Fly / Floor UV30TMSI / TorrentwearTM XP
Persons 2 Floor area (l x w) 2.0/2.5m x 1.15m - Height 1.0m
Vestibule area (l x w) 0.5m x 1.15m
Rolled size 43 x 14cm
Poles 2 - DAC Featherlite NSL / 9.6mm
http://www.macpac.com.au/tents/trekking ... ckpe6.dpuf

I think I'll await Mainpeaks Exped delivery and see how they feel about me darting over the road to Macpac to see what they look like in the flesh inside the display tents (me having left enough cash to cover them of course).

I rung them again yesterday and they have no sizes except a couple of their short ones left.
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