Gear Review: Exped SynMat UL 7 Air Mattress

Exped SynMat UL 7

Air Mattress
Exped SynMat UL 7
$155, 1 lb. (medium), plus 2-oz. mini pump (both weights exclude stuff sacks)
Sizes: S 64x20x2.8 inches, M 20x72x2.8 inches

Campsites on hard-packed dirt and stones in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains felt like a feather bed with this inflatable mattress, which has nearly three inches (seven centimeters) of cushion, but still weighs less than many competitors and packs down to the size of a liter bottle. It takes me about 18 puffs to blow it up, and with separate valves for inflating and deflating, there’s no leakage when inflating and it deflates in seconds. The synthetic microfiber insulation translates to warmth even in temperatures several degrees below freezing (assuming an adequate bag, of course). I found the mini-pump made for the pad—useful to avoid blowing moisture into the pad, which can freeze on cold nights—to be slow. It’s pricey, but nails perfect scores for comfort, insulation, low weight, and compactness.

See my review of the Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite air mattress and Z Lite Sol foam pad. And I never sleep outside without my Cocoon Ultralight AirCore Pillow.

See also my related Pro Tips articles “How to Choose a Sleeping Bag” and “Staying Warm in a Sleeping Bag.”

—Michael Lanza


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