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Sleeping pad: Exped SynMat UL 7 or BA Q-Core SL or...?
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William S.

Locale: East Coast
Ancient Therm-a-rest on 04/11/2013 14:31:12 MDT Print View

"Remember how much better the Thermarest was than ensolite?"

Heck, yeah! Way more comfy. Very cutting-edge, too. But then again the ensolite was a big step up from a cotton sleeping bag with no pad at all!

Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
Exped on 04/11/2013 15:06:45 MDT Print View

Funny I actually ordered the synmat this morning after returning a differnt piece of gear I decided I did not want to proceed with this year. But those were the two I was looking at also. I chose exped. I already have a downmat Long and wide and I love that thing. It is by far the most comfortable pad "I" have ever tried to "me". So I got the small version of the synmat ul 7. I tried the xtherm in REI and I did not like it. and the guy working there said he get more of those returned than any other mat. (I dont know if that is a statistically provable fact im just relaying information.)

One thing you might consider if your thinking about the BA pad is that in your system it will go in a sleeve attachedd to the pad. So the bag might keep your arms up. I sleep in a quilt so my arms would essentially on the ground. And I found this to be true for the original BA insulated pad but bought that one at an REI used gear sale so I could not return it.

Bottom line is these two mats are not very different and if you get it from REI, as you say, you can just return it if you dont like it. But I would lay on them both in the store, pick one, spend the night on it, and decide if you love it. If not try the other one.

Joe S
+1 UL 7 on 04/11/2013 15:26:17 MDT Print View

Worth the weight, very comfortable.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: +1 UL 7 on 04/11/2013 15:52:20 MDT Print View

The UL7 is the most comfortable pad I have ever used.

Casey Jones
what about the lite 5? on 04/12/2013 10:25:15 MDT Print View

I've just noticed the Downmat Lite 5, but I see no one talking about it. Seems to be a good option is price is a major concern. R=4.1, 22 oz, a bit thinner at 2", but can be grabbed for $60 with the right coupon/sale.

William S.

Locale: East Coast
Downmat Lite 5 on 04/12/2013 13:49:38 MDT Print View

That does indeed look like a good option. Nice price too!

Megan P
(meganpetruccelli) - F

Locale: San Francisco
I say Exped! on 04/12/2013 14:53:19 MDT Print View

I debated all last season between these to pads. Was the extra warmth of the Q-Core worth the weight, which was more confortable. Yet EVERY single time i went in and actually laid on them both I picked the Exped pad EVERY time. Then this season when they came out with the new Q-Core light weight pad, I did it all over again. I sleep on my side, granted im only 5'6 but the Exped is the best night sleep I've ever had in the back country.

Also the new Q-Core is substantially more narrow then any of the Exped mats. I actually bought the new Q-Core for a girlfriend bc it's supposed to be the MOST comfortable mat out there and she returned it for an exped bc it was too narrow.

I say exped, all the way.

William S.

Locale: East Coast
RE: " I say Exped!" on 04/12/2013 16:18:41 MDT Print View

Megan - Did you and your girlfriend both go with the SynMat UL 7?

Rudy Hassall
(WindedBowhunter) - F

Locale: MidAtlantic
+2 on the Exped SynMat UL 7 on 04/12/2013 18:09:20 MDT Print View

I have using Exped for 5 years now without issue or complaint.

I bought the Exped SynMat UL 7 last spring and was very pleased with its weight, sleeping comfort and lack of real estate that it absorbed in my pack.

You will be happy with your purchase of Exped, no question!

William S.

Locale: East Coast
Exped vs Exped on 04/13/2013 07:28:03 MDT Print View

OK; I'm still conflicted! These two seem like a coin-flip.

Exped SynMat UL 7: R-3.1; 16.2 oz; two valves; packed size 9"x3.5"; no pump; $165

Exped DownMat Lite 5: R-4; 22.6 oz; one valve; packed size 9"x4.3"; pump included; $99

Reading various on-line descriptions, I can't tell whether there's a difference in construction of the air chambers (as, for example, with the SynMat Basic 7.5).

On the whole, I'm leaning toward the SynMat UL 7, but the R-value difference is nagging at me. I doubt I'll ever do serious winter camping, but it gets pretty cold in the Rockies at high elevation, even in the summer, and my BA bag is uninsulated on the bottom.


Joel Benford
(Morte66) - M

Locale: Surrey flatlands, England
Re: Exped vs Exped on 04/13/2013 15:21:40 MDT Print View

I'd get the thicker one. You're buying an inflatable for comfort.

William S.

Locale: East Coast
Follow-up on 04/15/2013 12:08:02 MDT Print View

Just bought the Synmat UL7 Med off eBay - a buy-it-now arrangement for $125.99 with free shipping. Not bad! REI is selling it for $165 + my state's sales tax. Same seller has two more for sale if you want to check it out.

Since I had been looking at the BA Q-Core SL, I thought I'd ask one of the eBay sellers if it was *really* 20 inches wide, as indicated on the person's listing. He/she got back to me and said "I just measured it and it's 17.5 inches." That was yesterday, and the listing still says 20 inches today. So it goes.

Rudy Hassall
(WindedBowhunter) - F

Locale: MidAtlantic
Clarification on SynMat UL 7 & DownMat Lite 5 on 04/19/2013 12:11:24 MDT Print View

The SynMat UL mats have I-beam baffles, allowing for a very high R-value in a synthetically insulated mat (insulation has more room to expand within the baffle).

The DownMat Lite mats utilize welded-through baffles, just like the old SynMat Basic 7.5. Welded through baffles make for smaller baffles, and thus, less thermic value in comparable mats.

However, due to the down insulation, the DownMat Lite mats come out with a higher R-value than the SynMat UL 7 (4.1 vs. 3.1).

I hope this helps to clear things up, but let me know if you have additional questions.