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Exped Downmat UL 7
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Dustin Smith

Locale: Bethesda, MD
Exped Downmat UL 7 on 06/21/2012 14:23:49 MDT Print View

I was just looking for insight from anyone who has experience with one of these pads. I was looking for a single pad to replace the 3-4 that I used to have for different occasions. I'm planning on doing Rainier next year and I know this pad will handle that fine. But is the pad too warm to use for summer camping? During the summer I typically just use a liner sheet instead of a bag. I sleep pretty hot so that's what worries me about whether this pad will be capable of warm weather use. Ive also been considering the Nemo Astro Insulated and NeoAir XTherm but seem to be leaning towards the Downmat. Any thoughts are appreciated.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Exped Downmat UL 7 on 06/21/2012 15:23:15 MDT Print View

Well, replacing 3 or 4 mats with one is a worthy goal. But, inless you live in the tropics or in sub-arctic regions, I don't think you will be comfortable doing so.

I suspect at least two or three will still be needed. One for very cold conditions, possibly doubled up with one of the others. One for early spring/late fall and one for summer. The temp range could run from -20F to about 100F. I believe there is no one pad that will work over similar terrain under those temps. But, that's just my opinion, maybe someone with more knowledge will have other thoughts.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Exped Downmat UL 7 on 06/21/2012 16:39:02 MDT Print View

I have a Synmat ul 7 and downmat ul7 and if it was not for the fact my wife wants to get in to Wild camping I would get rid of the Synmat.

Dustin Smith

Locale: Bethesda, MD
Get too hot? on 06/21/2012 17:59:27 MDT Print View

So you don't any issue with getting too hot with the Downmat? What are the typical warm temps that you've used it at and been fine? Sorry for all the questions but just trying to make an informed decision when it's such a costly purchase.

Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
Downmat on 06/22/2012 07:08:51 MDT Print View

I think that the heat would be easy to dissapate if you just used a top sheet. I am in the same boat as the OP. I just picked up a Downmat UL7 amd plan on using it all year. It would be easier to just not use a bag in the summer than it would to try to stay warm in the winter. We'll see how it goes though.


James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Downmat on 06/22/2012 08:30:17 MDT Print View

What do you do about bugs? I have been attacked at night on many occasions, especially when it's warm.

I use a tarp, mostly. With a slight bit of mesh over my face and hands when it gets warm. At night time temps above 85F, though, it gets too hot. I look to a thin ground pad, like a piece of mylar or the like, for some sort of comfort at these temps. One of the reasons I say that having multiple pads is likely the way to go over the course of a year. Though, I am too old for much winter camping anymore...

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: Downmat on 06/22/2012 08:57:53 MDT Print View

It has to get pretty cold before I can get my dog to stay on a mat and that says a lot to me. I know heat rises but we do radiate heat look how hot a pack can get against your back. Im sure not as bad for a side sleeper. I say the down mat is to hot for the summer

Dale Caldwell
(dalemc) - F

Locale: Coastal Georgia
length on 11/07/2012 09:24:07 MST Print View

What size are you all using for the downmat UL? I usually use the real short pads but figure it would make more sense to go with something a little longer for a winter pad. The small is a 64" which seems like a good compromise for someone 5'8".

I have down booties as well...

Edited by dalemc on 11/07/2012 09:36:41 MST.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: Downmat on 11/07/2012 10:58:05 MST Print View

@ Justin: You probably sleep on a regular mattress at home, right? So do you get overheated from the mattress on warm summer nights? (assuming no air conditioner - if you have one, turn it off for a test!).

We don't have a/c, but can get some very warm nights in the late summer. I've never been able to identify the mattress as a cause of heat discomfort! Having thick layers of down comforter on top of me on a hot night, yes! But not the 10" thick mattress!

How would it be different in camp?

Lars Laird Iversen
(larslaird) - M
Not too warm in summer, but maybe unnecessarily heavy for the task? on 11/07/2012 11:32:08 MST Print View

I agree with Stephen. How can a pad be too hot? I have the Downmat 7, and I love it for cold weather and also use it for camping in summer as long as I don´t have to carry it too far. Super comfy! The problem in summer when backpacking would be that it is heaver than necessary, and that you could be warm enough with a neoair half the weight.

Edited by larslaird on 11/07/2012 11:33:05 MST.

Dustin Smith

Locale: Bethesda, MD
Downmat UL 7 on 11/07/2012 12:07:07 MST Print View

I actually ended up getting the pad shortly after starting the thread. Initially I was worried about basically having heat radiating from below (the pad) and above (down bag) and overheating from it. I should qualify that I'm typically a pretty warm sleeper and that was one of my reasons for worrying. However, the pad has really been great so far. I've used it for several AT section hikes with temperatures ranging from 50-35 degrees and haven't noticed any problems being too hot.

I will say though, while you may question whether or not a pad can be a source of heat discomfort, there have been times I've noticed being warmer than usual when using the pad in warm temperatures. Shortly after getting the pad in the summer we had a prolonged power outage due to a wind storm and ended up staying with friends. I gave my wife their twin bed and slept on the floor on the pad and did notice heat radiating up from the pad despite only using a Sea to Summit Coolmax liner to sleep inside an air conditioned home. It wasn't uncomfortable per se but it definitely makes me question using it in high summer temps. Either way though I'm happy with the pad as I purchased it primarily for winter camping and mountaineering which it's perfect for, and if I feel like I need something else for summer I'll just pick up a different pad.

Edited by dsmith87 on 11/07/2012 12:09:00 MST.

jason quick

Locale: A tent in my backyard - Melbourne
I love it but... on 11/07/2012 15:25:09 MST Print View

I simply find the Downmat unnecessary.

I find that my NeoAir keeps we warm down to about 20-25F with a good winter bag. So, whilst my older Downmat is uber comfy (and so is my NeoAir), I simply don't need to carry around that much weight for the sake of I am finding that I have this mat at home that rarely gets used.

Mind winters are probably nowhere near as cold as your winters.

Nathan Stuart

Locale: Hunter Valley - Australia
Downmat on 11/07/2012 19:58:54 MST Print View

My vote would be for the UL downmat.

I have a neoair short and a XS downmat. Yes the downmat is 400g and the neoair 250g. Just this winter gone I gave the neoair it's final chance in below freezing weather, Once temps got below 0°C (Literally as I woke up and looked at the temp)I could feel the warmth leaking out of me from below. Now I'm a quilt user but there is no way I could take a neoair down to 20-25°F, I'd freeze and generally I find I'm a warm sleeper compared to others I know. The lowest that night got to was -3°C. I did add some 1/4 CCF over the neoair that same night and found myself comfortable. Yes the downmat is a tad heavier, But the packed size isn't much more that the neoair. For the bulk of carrying a neoair + CCF VS just the UL downmat my vote is for the downmat. The next night was spent on the downmat and it was bliss, temps also dropped to -7°. I honestly thought I'd get the neoair lower than I did due to past experience but it just didn't happen.
Now for me the neoair is used for walks down to freezing, the UL downmat for colder weather, even just the chance of cold and I'll take the downmat.

Same goes for the other side of things. I spent 6 nights sleeping on a hospital floor/carpet (After my daughter was born) and it was a constant warmish temp in the room (Shorts and tee shirt were enough). Never once did I feel that the mat was making me hot or sweaty.

Edited by forest. on 11/07/2012 20:01:12 MST.