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Exped Synmat UL7 LW or Big Agnes Q-Core LW?
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Steven Davis

Locale: SF Bay Area
Exped Synmat UL7 LW or Big Agnes Q-Core LW? on 09/20/2013 17:03:02 MDT Print View

I bought both of these from REI. I'm gonna return on of em. They feel of similiar comfort. The BA has a higher R value and is 0.7 inches thicker, but is 2 oz heavier, 1 inch shorter in width, and 2 inches bigger in diameter when rolled up.

Please no suggestions for other pads. Just wanna choose one of these 2. I've heard the Exped can have valve/leakage issues.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Exped Synmat UL7 LW or Big Agnes Q-Core LW?" on 09/20/2013 20:17:02 MDT Print View

I have no experience with the Exped, so can't offer a comparison. I have the BA Q-Core SL LW and haven't had any valve issues (or any other issue) with it. Seems to be a good pad, I sleep comfortably on both my back and my side and it's quiet. I bought it for the width and thickness- it's ridiculously long for me (I'm 5'5") but my dog likes to sleep at my feet so it works out.

Edited by EagleRiverDee on 09/20/2013 20:17:33 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

My Vote on 09/21/2013 08:36:33 MDT Print View

My vote is for the Synmat. As you mention, it's lighter, wider and packs smaller.

The two advantages of the Q-Core are that it's thicker and more insulative. However, I'm not sure being thicker will translate into an overall more comfortable pad, because once you're thicker than 2.5" I find a little extra width to be nicer than a little extra thickness. 3.5" is sweet, but it seems pretty darn narrow to be that thick.

The Q-Core is more insulating, but going from R-3 to R-4.5 kinda falls into no-mans land. Obviously more insulation is a good thing, but pragmatically there's not much you can do with an R-4.5 pad that you can't do with an R-3. What I mean is that an R-3 pad is good for 3-season use, and if you want to get into true winter use then you want about R-6. So there's a pretty narrow window of time where R-3 is insufficient but R-4.5 does the trick. It's still a good thing, but not a huge deal. You want a DownMat UL 7 if you want to use it year round (R-5.9).

Ken Miller

Locale: Colorado
Exped's leak on 09/21/2013 13:28:01 MDT Print View

I purchased a UL7 from REI, leaked the second night. Took it back and exchanged for another one. It leaked in my living room before the next trip. I took it into my swimming pool, but was unable to find anything. Took it back and picked up a TR Neo all season.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Exped's leak on 09/21/2013 13:38:19 MDT Print View

2 original NeoAirs made leaked by the first or third trip, respectively. Exped Synmat UL7 2 years, 14 trips, over 40 nights. No leaks.

I think you will find opinions to the opposite with any inflatable.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Exped's leak on 09/21/2013 16:08:39 MDT Print View

I do know their valve is a bit tricky if you aren't familiar with it...I had the same thoughts when I got my first would leak slowly all night...

Turns out if those little flaps inside the valves are not seated correctly (and once you realize this it's a super easy thing to look at when you inflate the mat and you can't miss it) then the caps won't hold the air as well.

I've had several expeds over the past few years (finally settled on a downmat UL7 short) and think they're the bees knees. I returned my q-core because it just wasn't worth the weight. I also found I liked the exped material a bit better.

Sunny Waller
(dancer) - M

Locale: Southeast USA
Exped Synmat UL7 LW on 09/22/2013 08:56:05 MDT Print View

My back prefers to sleep on an inflatable mattress that has the long tubes that run the length of the mattress. It does not like a flat mattress or pads with the short tubes that run across the width of the pads. I use the EXPED Synmat LW and the Stephens Warmlight DAM if it is really cold.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Bigger pad, longer setup! on 09/22/2013 12:16:42 MDT Print View

Keep in mind, the substantially thicker pad will take longer to blow up. I find that becomes pretty tedious. I actually am planning on using a combination of a Z-Lite foam pad and a Thermarest X-Therm torso pad in my hammock this winter instead of a full-length air pad just so I don't have to blow it up. My legs don't get that cold.

Ken Miller

Locale: Colorado
RE RE Expeds leak on 09/22/2013 12:20:11 MDT Print View

Not trying for a Ford vs Chevy debate, but I took the partially deflated pad into my swimming pool. After fully submersing the pad section by section there were no visible leaks.

I've owned BA, TR and Stoic pads with good results. The Exped was a 25" wide version I wanted to use with my quilt.

Any inflatable is subject to leaks after prolonged use, just not out of the box.

I told the REI people they should call corporate, purge all their stock and return it to Exped for re-testing.

Regardless of how light, how expensive or how comfortable a pad is in the store, it doesn't matter at 3 am when you're getting poked in the back by rocks.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: RE RE Expeds leak on 09/22/2013 12:25:32 MDT Print View


Edited by FamilyGuy on 02/02/2014 08:27:55 MST.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Bigger pad, longer setup! on 09/22/2013 13:03:22 MDT Print View

More than one way to fill a pad. A restful nights sleep is worth an additional 20 seconds of effort. Or less...

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Exped Synmat UL7 LW or Big Agnes Q-Core LW?" on 09/23/2013 11:22:06 MDT Print View

If you use a Pump Sack (or something like it) inflating even a thick inflatable doesn't take very long. There's no way I'd try to blow up my BA QCore SL LW by mouth, but it goes pretty fast with my Pump Sack.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: Re: RE RE Expeds leak on 09/23/2013 12:19:16 MDT Print View

Like Dave said, you can get multiple reports of failing inflatables.

In my case, I've had multiple problems with NeoAirs, and not a single problem with my Exped UL Synmat or Downmat. Thus I love my warm comfortable Expeds and can't even look at a NeoAir.

Different folk have different tales to tell of inflatable mats. I won't say your tales didn't happen; don't tell me mine are false!

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Exped Synmat UL7 LW or Big Agnes Q-Core LW?" on 09/23/2013 13:35:25 MDT Print View

My synmat ul7 hasn't leaked over two seasons. I actually prefer the synmat valves to a nozzle, once you figure out the insert-thing, as Jennifer mentioned. They seem more simple, robust and less likely to leak over time than a twist nozzle. Plus, you can use the invaluable Schnozzle! which doubles as a dry sack.