May 21, 2011 at 9:50 pm #1274201
Hi fellow ultra lighters,
I am intrigued by this new sleeping pad, it seems from the little reviews that I have read to be more comfortable and durable than the Neo Air, yet only a few ounces heavier. My Neo Air is nice but it is a little to narrow for me and I'm thinking about purchasing Synmat UL7 at REI to test out. Any thoughts? Thanks.May 21, 2011 at 10:08 pm #1739515
@rp3957Locale: The Sierras
Dan, there is a thread on inflatables with a few more opinions on the Exped, but I cut-and-pasted my response from that thread here:
"I just picked up the Exped Syn UL7 the other day and have been testing it a couple of nights now and I think I have a 'keeper'! This pad is way quieter than the NeoAir I returned last year and has a 'softer' feel to it' It is fairly easy to inflate and deflate and has larger tubes along the sides that help keep me on the pad. I have to use it in the field to get a better idea of durability issues, but this is a really nice pad. A bonus: Exped includes a stuff sack and repair kit."
It seems to be getting good reviews, and I can't wait to try mine out in the great outdoors. FWIW, mine weighed in at 16 ozs. on the dot.May 21, 2011 at 10:20 pm #1739521
It's 20 inches wide also isn't it. My neoair large is 17.4 oz and 25 inches wide.May 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm #1739530
Just to throw in my 2 cents, I just came back from an overnighter using one and definately think it is comfier and warmer than my neoair. I think for me at least this is largely due to the fact it is easier to blow it up harder than the neoair (different valve system). Overall very impressed.May 22, 2011 at 7:00 am #1739568
"It's 20 inches wide also isn't it."
Yup, 20" wide. After using a 25" wide NeoAir, I just don't see myself ever going back to a 20" wide pad. As others have already said, I just wish these companies would offer a 25" wide pad in regular length!May 22, 2011 at 9:18 am #1739607
Thanks for your feedback. Seems there is somewhat of a consensus with Neo Air users that the Exped is an improvement. As Neo Air users will attest to that the 20 inch width is not really accurate, in reality it's more like 19 inches. I have Exped pillow and it is great, I love the valves. Blowing up the Neo is a bit of a pain as the some air flows out when you breath in and the Exped isn't supposed to, meaning faster fill up time. Anyway I think I will give the Synmat a try, and if it isn't much of an improvement I can always return it.May 22, 2011 at 7:06 pm #1739839
@barbaraLocale: So Cal
Used mine for the first time on a 1 night trip in the San Gabriel's (LA)at 2,000 feet yesterday. Temps were forecast to be about 47 degrees, clear night, little wind. I was solo in a Fly Creek tent with a Phantom 15 bag and the Synmat UL7. I was very warm.
I have the 64 inch version and I'm 5'7" (67"). I should've put my bag under my feet. I also found the pad to be very slippery on the tent floor, but not slippery on the top. So I didn't slide off, but I did end up squished into the side of the tent due to a slight slope. If I end up keeping the pad, I'll put some seam sealer strips on it.
I did find it narrow tho. It felt narrower than my Prolite, tho both are advertised as 20 inches wide. It was annoyingly so. Maybe it is actually narrower than 20 inches once blown up, I haven't measured it exactly yet. Maybe it's a function of the vetical baffles that made it seem like that – not sure why.
I like the separate inflate and deflate valves. I didn't like blowing into the valve versus blowing nt Thermarest style sticking out valve, but it worked fine, and deflation is very easy indeed and makes the pad much easier and quicker to pack than a Prolite. Packs down smaller too, almost to the size of a hard Nalgene.
Doesn't inflate very very hard, and I was concerned that my hip or shoulder (side sleeper) might hit the ground, but once you're lying on it, versus kneeling or putting pressure just on one spot, it's fine.
So, good mat, warm, but not a fair test since it wasn't a cold night. Just not sure I'm a baffle person, and that would be the only reason I might revert to a Prolite.
Looking forward to others' opinions.May 22, 2011 at 7:33 pm #1739854
Heads and tails better than the Neoair, I own both. Just my opinion though!!May 23, 2011 at 1:39 am #1739926
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
It will be reviewed fairly soon, along with a LOT of other mats.
CheersMay 23, 2011 at 7:30 am #1739973
I just did an overnighter using my Synmat UL 7 this weekend. Very comfortable: same as my Downmat 7, but a pound lighter. It's now my main pad, replaced only by the Downmat 7 when the temp gets below 25 F.May 23, 2011 at 8:14 am #1739995
I only have a couple of nights on it in low 40's but it is a keeper. It feels warmer than R-3.1 to me. With a closed cell pad underneath it could be a nice combo for winter as well. I will have it out on some snow later this week and should be able to test it a bit better. I bought this pad to augment the downmat I have from Kookabay in warmer temps. I also have a Katabatic Chisos coming this week (first one I believe) that I will be using with the Exped UL7 and pushing it into the upper 20's – weather permitting.May 23, 2011 at 10:19 am #1740047
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
I am going to have to wait for the large size (longer) to come out next spring- They will have a down version at that time also which should have an even better R value.
Doug- I talked to the Exped guys and as of right now they don't have plans to make the Medium-Wide (as he called it). But they have heard some people requesting it.
They have listened to the women and will be coming out with a shorter version next spring also, as far as I know.May 23, 2011 at 10:34 am #1740052
Thanks for the info Tad!May 23, 2011 at 11:09 am #1740077
Chalk up another person who would love to see a medium-wide. The long version coming out next year- that will be wide as well as long, right?May 23, 2011 at 1:00 pm #1740138
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
Derek, I think the guy from Exped said the Large would be a wide version.May 23, 2011 at 5:29 pm #1740257
Are most folks inflating their mats all the way to firm, and if so, is this the condition in which you're comparing the Neoair to the UL7?
I just bought the small Neoair and found it to be extremely comfortable – once I let out about a quarter of the air. Of course all these posts about "the next big thing" have piqued my interested in the UL7. Really though, is it worth 6.5 more ounces? (Not apples to apples since they don't offer a 47in)
ThanksMay 23, 2011 at 5:40 pm #1740262
Jared: I inflate my UL7 to firm because I think it's most comfortable that way. I haven't tried a Neoair.May 23, 2011 at 8:22 pm #1740337
Hi guys and gals,
Just pulled the trigger on the Synmat today, used my REI discount. Will be comparing the Neo Air and Synmat as soon as possible.
My main problem with the Neo Air is that it is a little to narrow for me and my arms always want to fall off the mat. It is definitely more comfortable than the standard prolite pads. I was thinking about purchasing a large wide version, but than I heard about the Synmat.
Just wondering if the Synmat users find it to be wider than the Neo Air. Also if anybody is using the Exped mini-pump to inflate their pads, and how is it working for them. Thanks.May 23, 2011 at 8:54 pm #1740345
@dondoLocale: Colorado Rockies
I posted my first impressions of the Exped Synmat UL7 on my blog about a month ago. Take a look.May 23, 2011 at 9:49 pm #1740363
Thanks for reviewing the Synmat UL7 on your blog, I recommend anyone reading this thread to check it out. It is probably the best review out there. Anyway from reading your review I would have to say your a big fan of the Synmat, when compared to the Neo Air. I found the Neo AIr to be comfortable, but just a little too narrow. From your review, the Synmat's use of the vertical baffles helps achieve a wider pad, which is what I'm looking for.
Also I plan on purchasing the mini-pump to use with the Synmat, because I don't want the long term condensation to cause the interior insulation to mold. Just wondering how many people are going to blow air in with lung power or are going to use the mini-pump or pillow pump. Thanks.May 24, 2011 at 7:43 am #1740442
FWIW I have the mini pump and the pillow pump. The mini pump makes an okay pump but is very small in capacity. It is a useful pump, but it is useless as anything else. The pillow pump has a lot more air capacity, and depending upon how you sleep is an okay pillow. If it doesn't work for you as a pillow then it is just extra weight. I would suggest that you look into one of the inflation bags that Exped sells. Just about everyone can use a dry bag and the inflation dry bags that Exped sells are top notch (I have two different kinds).
On another note, I spoke with a sales rep for Big Agnes at my local REI over the weekend and I asked him when they were going to get into the ultralight pad market. He told me to look for a new product next season. It will be similar in construction to the Exped. Since I have to wait for the large anyway, I am anxious to see what develops. In the meantime I am comfortably relegated to a heavy POE Thermo 9 or a Prolite Plus.May 24, 2011 at 8:25 am #1740455
Dan: I plan to continue to use lung inflation. It's just too easy. :)May 24, 2011 at 9:26 am #1740486
I am using the BA pumpsack and a short piece of PVC tubing that came with my Kookabay pad. I had to add a little foam tape to build up the outside diameter of the tubing, but it now works for both pads and is much easier to inflate.May 24, 2011 at 9:55 am #1740514
@abhittLocale: southern appalachians or desert SW
What do the pumps, pump sacks etc. weigh?May 24, 2011 at 10:17 am #1740524
As I recall, the pumpsack is 1.5oz and the PVC is less than a half oz.
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