Mar 10, 2013 at 7:54 pm #1300294
Hello. I recently picked up an Exped Downmat UL 7 at REI but I'm considering returning it for a NeoAir XLite or Xtherm or maybe even an Exped SynMat UL 7 Air Pad.
I found lots of threads on the XLite or Xtherm. Some people have complained about the noise. I'm a side sleeper that rotates several times per night. I would love to hear feedback from people that transitioned from the Exped Downmat UL 7 to the XLite or Xtherm. I sleep in a WM Versalite and live in Northern California. I may not need the extra R value but I do feel comfortable knowing that I have the ability to reach lower temperatures.
Separate note, I'm actively trying to interest my girlfriend in backpacking. I'm planning on purchasing another bag and pad for her (when I have the $$), so I'm considering whether the XLite or Xtherm would work well paired together in a situation where I'm "coupling" sleeping bags. I could also potentially keep the Exped Downmat and add a SynMat UL 7 Air Pad. She is a (very) cold sleeper and could use the WM Versalite while I use a lighter weight bag like the SummerLite.
Thank you.Mar 10, 2013 at 7:58 pm #1964073
I moved from a normal Neoair to an Symnat/down mat UL and found the Exped far more comfortable, the side beams on the Exped also stop me rolling off the pad.Mar 10, 2013 at 8:05 pm #1964075
Thanks, Stephen. Makes me a bit uneasy and wonder if I should stick with Exped and buy a Synmat UL7 to compliment my Downmat. I don't like having extra gear and spending more money, but IF I end up buying extra equipment for my girlfriend, it may give me good flexibility and comfort for some weight penalty. (However, I do like the fact that NeoAir is made in the U.S.)Mar 10, 2013 at 8:07 pm #1964076
I have a XTherm and like it a lot. I sleep on the side and moved about before falling asleep. I don't actually remember hearing noise after the first night. I think the sound went away. Or I just filtered it out.
If you want to pair mats, keep the Downmat though. Due to the mummy cut of the XTherm I would expect that you won't have much fun with trying to somehow stay on XTherms and mind the gap. That said: If I hike with my girlfriend I prefer having separate sleeping bags and mats 90% of the time but YMMV of course.Mar 10, 2013 at 8:10 pm #1964077
If I was to have only one pad it woud be the down mat as there is not a massive weight difference between the two, but I have the two as my wife uses one of them on 3 season trips.
Having the two would give you flexibility for bringing your girlfriend on trips, ask her if she is definitely going to come along :-)Mar 10, 2013 at 8:17 pm #1964083
Haha fair point, I was using the "coupling bags" as a sales pitch to get her to go backpacking. Not a hard requirement, separate bags and pads may make more sense.
Is there a rule of thumb for matching the R-value of pads with the temperature rating of bags? My experience so far has been that the combination of the Downmat (+5 R value) and Versalite (10 degrees) is pretty toasty in +35 degree weather. I'm wondering if purchasing a SummerLite and a Synmat would allow me to mix and match for different conditions.Mar 10, 2013 at 8:27 pm #1964085
Without knowing anything about you or your girlfriend I'd expect you'd both be warm in summer and late spring/early autumn, if you use the Summerlite and the Synmat and she uses the Versalite and the Downmat. Also less for you to carry that way ;)Mar 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm #1964326
@redpointLocale: British Columbia
I think the EXPED UL7 would be a more comfortable mat than the Xtherm. I have the Xtherm and it's very warm, but it's a narrow cut. I sleep directly on snow at least once a week and it's been great. My original Neoair only has an R-value of 2.5 and that was too freaking cold so it's only used in the summer. As for the crinkling, it sounds loud in the store, but in real-life use, I haven't found it to be an issue. The UL7 would be quieter. Most of my winter camping is now done with the Xtherm and a WM Alpinlite – it's a very sweet lightweight set-up. I decided to go with the Xtherm over the UL7 only b/c it was lighter and substantially cheaper. So far, I've been very impressed. The inc. pump sack works very well as well, once you get the hang of it. I also have an EXPED DM 9 which I occasionally use. It's ridiculously comfortable and warm, but it's expensive, bulky, and heavy. I purchased it more for base camp type camping.
Pros Xtherm: lightweight, low bulk, warm, cheaper than UL7
Cons Xtherm: narrow cut, probably delicate compared to others in this category, noisier [though I haven't found this to be an issue]
Pros UL7: wider, slightly warmer than Xtherm, very comfortable given the weight
Cons UL7: expensive, heavier, bulkier, more finicky.
Both companies have excellent warranty/customer service. I've had to replace an EXPED DM 9 and they were excellent. I've never had a Therm-a-rest product fail on me [and I've owned 5 different models], but I have dealt with Cascade Designs in the past.
If the price doesn't matter, I'd go with the UL7.Mar 11, 2013 at 1:52 pm #1964354
I've had the same experience as Stephen M: I went from the NeoAir to the Exped, and haven't looked back. I continued to be bothered by the crinkling of the NeoAir even after a week of using it every night. I also didn't like my tendency to roll off the wretched thing.
The Exped UL 7 is as warm or warmer, more comfortable, and the side tubes keep me centered on the pad. As a frequently turning side sleeper, the Exped wins easily, in spite of the extra ounces.
FWIW, one of my daughters is a very cold sleeper. You're on the right direction with getting her a warmer bag, and I would recommend a warmer pad as well.Mar 11, 2013 at 3:03 pm #1964381
One thing I did notice was sleeping on snow with the Down mat I got cold spots, putting a half Ridge rest under the pad really helped.
I think I was putting too much pressure on the pad sleeping on my side.Mar 11, 2013 at 5:24 pm #1964442
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
Sean why do you want to get rid of the downmat?Mar 11, 2013 at 5:48 pm #1964450
@mikuLocale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
nmMar 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm #1964453
Thanks for all of the feedback. My main motivator for changing pads is weight savings, but it seems like the weight saved may not be worthwhile.
I'm thinking that a better way for me to save weight is to buy the Synmat if I decide to purchase another pad for my girlfriend.
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