Exped Downmat 7 Short

I've used a Therm-a-Rest Ultralite 3/4 on backpacking trips for at least 15 years, but the world has moved on and new products have become available.  The Ultralite no longer keeps me warm enough when camping in winter and I have increasingly found myself waking up cold during the night, although I do like the small packed size and light weight.

The Holy Grail of sleeping mats is that it is lightweight, durable and above all, in winter  conditions, warm.  Unfortunately for the T-a-R NeoAir, numerous forum and blog reports about leaking valves and overnight deflation put me off buying one, although the early problems with the Neo may well have been resolved by now.

I settled on the Exped Downmat 7 Short with integral pump.  It's an interesting concept as a sleeping mat and completely different from the self-inflating foam core construction of the T-a-R range and various clones.  The mat is filled with goose down which is held in place by internal baffles. It promises warmth!

Out of the packaging, the Downmat comes with a repair kit consisting of a tube of adhesive and patches.

Shown below in it's black stuff sack alongside the Ultralite for comparison, the Downmat packs smaller than the Ultralite by 2-3cm.  The Ultralite weighs in at 490 grammes and the Downmat is 620 grammes on my kitchen scales.


Side by side comparison with the Ultralite reveals that the Downmat is a similar length, but is wider by around 10cm whilst deflated.


The pump is on the underside. Open the valve, cup the left hand over the valve and press down with both hands as per the diagram printed on the mat.  The self-inflating foam inside the pump forces air through the one way valve and the mat inflates in around a minute.  It's much easier than I expected and the system works reasonably efficiently.  The dump valve for releasing air is at the top of the mat.
The pump does require some force to operate properly, so this system is probably not to be recommended for people with weak or injured wrists and other hand/arm problems.  


Sleeping side up, the mat quickly takes shape.  The side profile is considerably deeper that the Ultralite and it is warmer and far more comfortable to lie on.   When inflated, the Term-a-Rest Ultralite and the Exped Downmat 7 are equal in width.



That extra 130g is a price well worth paying for the increased comfort and warmth that the Downmat offers.  The new Exped Downmat 7 Short is as good as it currently gets in lightweight sleeping mats.
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