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Exped Downmat UL 7 -> NeoAir XLite / XTherm
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Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Exped Downmat UL 7 -> NeoAir XLite / XTherm on 03/10/2013 20:54:28 MDT Print View

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.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Exped Downmat UL 7 -> NeoAir XLite / XTherm on 03/10/2013 20:58:53 MDT Print View

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.

Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Re: Re: Exped Downmat UL 7 -> NeoAir XLite / XTherm on 03/10/2013 21:05:29 MDT Print View

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.)

Jan S
Re: Exped Downmat UL 7 -> NeoAir XLite / XTherm on 03/10/2013 21:07:15 MDT Print View

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.

Edited by karl-ton on 03/10/2013 21:09:10 MDT.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Re: Re: Exped Downmat UL 7 -> NeoAir XLite / XTherm on 03/10/2013 21:10:24 MDT Print View

Hi Sean,

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 :-)

Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Exped Downmat UL 7 -> NeoAir XLite / XTherm on 03/10/2013 21:17:59 MDT Print View

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.

Jan S
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Exped Downmat UL 7 -> NeoAir XLite / XTherm on 03/10/2013 21:27:25 MDT Print View

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 ;)

Mike R
(redpoint) - F

Locale: British Columbia
I have an EXPED DownMat 9 and Xtherm ... on 03/11/2013 13:24:04 MDT Print View

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.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: Exped Downmat UL 7 -> NeoAir XLite / XTherm on 03/11/2013 14:52:24 MDT Print View

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.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: re: Exped Downmat UL 7 -> NeoAir XLite / XTherm on 03/11/2013 16:03:04 MDT Print View

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.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
What's wrong with the downmat?? on 03/11/2013 18:24:11 MDT Print View

Sean why do you want to get rid of the downmat?

Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
Exped UL 7 v XTherm on 03/11/2013 18:48:43 MDT Print View


Edited by miku on 07/08/2013 09:12:51 MDT.

Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Re: What's wrong with the downmat?? on 03/11/2013 18:56:50 MDT Print View

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.