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Reader Reviews

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Exped Downmat 7

in Sleeping Pads - Inflatable

Average Rating
4.75 / 5 (16 reviews)

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Denis Walsh
( kd7kgc )

Northern Rockies
Exped Downmat 7 on 12/21/2006 00:11:56 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

This is the best sleeping pad I've owned. I've used Thermarest for years.
In cold temps, the Downmat lets me roll from side to side and changed positions while sleeping, and nary a cold spot to warm up again. It's all but three inches thick, and quite comfortaqble. It weighs 24 oz. and the airtight stuff sack adds 8 oz. to that. That makes it the same weight
as my Thermarest (2 lb.). The weight cost is a wash. The dollar cost is quite high ($140), but for winter snow camping, I don't think it can be beat.
The hard part is the learning curve to fill the thing with air. The stuff sack doubles as a bellows, so you don't blow into the mat and wet the down with exhaled breah. You must push the bellows valve onto the mat valve quite tightly (about 1/4 in. left visible from the inside edge of the mat valve.) The bellows is something of a hassle to empty and fill. It takes about 5 minutes to fill the mat once you have the procedure down.

Tim Garner
( slowhike )

South East U.S.
exped DAM 7 on 12/22/2006 05:05:06 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

using the bag to fill it w/ air becomes 2nd nature w/ time. although i have wondered about saving weight by making my own bag out of silnylon & gluing the valve to it.
i believe the foam & the extra sleve in the bag are to give it shape & make it easier to fill w/ air, but i wonder how well it would work w/ just a silnylon bag?
i have used the exped in my hammock down to 14°f so far. it`s great!
BTW... i use mine w/ comfort in mind more than insulation, so i like it best only about 1/2 inflated. it supports from head to toe perfectly. ...tim

Andy Dixon
( sideshowandy )
Exped Downmat 7 on 12/27/2006 07:54:11 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

my experience with the mat is similar to Tim's

somewhat contrary to what one would expect of a BPL member i bought this rather heavy mat for comfort during long winter nights and it has been superb - half inflated it provides wonderful comfort and excellent insulation

relatively heavy to carry but a delight to use....

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
Exped DownMat 7 priced at: $128.95 - $218.95
Exped DownMat priced at: $129.00 - $219.00
James Pitts
( jjpitts )

Midwest US
Worth it on 01/06/2007 18:06:16 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I picked this up at "steepandcheap" or something like that, almost on a whim. I had not use for it... or did I. I took it on a "sort of" car camping expedition and it was the warmest nights sleep I have had in ages! The thing really works. I love the inflation pump/stuff sack setup. It's very innovative. I have taken it on at least two backpacking trips. It can fit if folded into 3rds into the sleeping pad slot of the Mariposa but note your back will get REALLY hot. It's not the lightest solution out there but give the level of comfort/insulation it provides there are certainly places where it's use may be warranted.

Shop Mariposa products at GearBuyer
douglas girling
( dgirling )

Comfort King on 04/20/2007 06:58:03 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

This is definitely the King of inflatable pads. If comfort is your primary goal,look no further. Unfortunately the comfort comes at a price; money and weight, it is on the heavy side. It's my number one choice for winter (but below 10 degrees I usually bring additional insulation - the Gossamer Gear 3/8 mat works well in this regard.) In summer I usally go with a lighter option and then regret my decision all night.
The stuff sack pump arrangement is outstanding. A great idea to keep harmful moisture out of the pad. I wish it worked on my big agnes pad but it doesn't. I took the foam liner out to save some packing space and it works fine wthout it.

Shop Comfort products at GearBuyer
Mitchell Keil
( mitchellkeil )

Deep in the OC
Comfort, Warmth and Light for its utility! on 04/25/2007 16:58:14 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I have used the Downmat 7 Shorty for 2 years now. I live in Southern CA and use it both here and in the Sierras. My scale indicates that the pad itself weighs 21oz and the foam lined stuff sack/inflator adds another 4oz for a total of 25oz. For that weight, one gets 2.8" of down filled comfort under you that will keep you warm into the low teens at least. Exped lists the R value at 5.9 thus outclassing just about every other pad out there with the exception of the other Downmats. The pad specs tell us that it is a 20" wide pad but it is actually 22" when inflated. It is a shorty so the length measures in at 47". This is also one tough pad. I have never had a deflation even though I have used it on Sierra lakes and accidentally run over rocks and tree limbs doing so. THe stuff sack can be used as a pillow and stuffed with a jacket or clothes or one of the inflatable pillows sold here at BPL (which I use). The stuff sack can be attached to the body of the pad using nylon strings (you provide) and looping them through the self-fabric loops at the top of the pad. This creates a pad pillow combo that is approximately 57" in length which does not separate. (I have added a 1/8" thick piece of evazote to extend the length to 72" for an additional 1.25oz.)It takes 6 inflator bags of air to inflate to an appropriate level. In other words about 3 minutes of effort.

This pad can also be turned into a sinfully comfortable and warm chair by purchasing either the converter kit from Exped or doing what I did and purchase the 25" converter kit from Thermarest which is only 14oz compared to the Exped kit which is more that 25oz.

All in all this is one lux item that my 58 year bones truly appreciate at the end of a long day!! Lightweight be damned.

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
Exped DownMat 7 priced at: $128.95 - $218.95
Exped DownMat priced at: $129.00 - $219.00
Shop Comfort, Shorty, Therm-a-Rest products at GearBuyer
( oiboyroi )

South West US
Downmat 7 is my new best friend. on 11/28/2007 01:21:48 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

The best sleep … Let me repeat that … The best sleep I've ever had outside. This pad is extremely comfortable. So comfortable in fact that I don’t even care how much it weighs. It’s almost devious. No more waking up achy from the day before, I actually feel well rested, recovered and ready for another full day of hiking. It provides lots of warmth too. I could definitely take a lighter quilt. I think, maybe, yeah … yeah this pad is more comfortable than my bed at home.

On the other hand I am very paranoid that it’ll eventually spring a leak, especially after a close of friend mine had a climbing partner who had it happen while on Denali. It has however, proven reliable to date.

The pad with the pump/stuff sack weighs 32.1 oz on my scale. Also, the width is 22 in. as opposed to the 20 in. listed on the mfg specs.

Edited by oiboyroi on 11/29/2007 03:59:13 MST.

Karl Keating
( KarlKeating )
Unstoppable leak on 04/19/2008 21:11:35 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

Sorry to ruin the five-star party, but I had trouble with my pad. It developed a slow leak at a seam; this wasn't a matter of a puncture. I used the repair kit multiple times but wasn't able to stop the leak.

But I have to say that, so long as the pad maintained its air, it was comfortable and certainly a big step up from closed cell pads.

Edited by KarlKeating on 04/19/2008 21:12:07 MDT.

Kevin Shuster
( drshuster )

Northern Arizona Alpine
Exped Down Mat on 04/26/2008 21:46:18 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I've used this mat three times in a doublewall tent, I could actually sleep very well on it. somewhat heavy expensive, and I found it tricky to inflate when tired. Still a good nights sleep over snow is SO worth it!

My advice; get to camp early spread it out an hour before inflating to allow it to plump up and then use the bellows to inflate. I liked the stuff sack/bellows as a neck pillow stufffed with down. Also don't inflate to turgitity but only enough to JUST keep yur hips off the ground, so it doesnt bounce you off in the night. The down seems to add to the insulation effect very competently. points off though for difficulty to set up.

Edited by drshuster on 04/26/2008 22:01:18 MDT.

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Exped Neck Pillow priced at: $45.00
Sven Klingemann
( svenklingemann )
Does what it is supposed to do! on 04/28/2008 08:50:34 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

OK - I need to boost that rating again!
I have the 72inch Exped Downmat and it has not let me down yet! :-)
It is a bit heavy, but if you are looking for a pad that is really comfortable, especially for side-sleepers, warm and reliable, this is it!
I have used the Downmat in temps around 0F
and (except for a slightly cold butt) it has kept me warm. Unlike the DAMs, which took me 1 hour to pump up in -5F temps, pry due to a very stiff valve that would not let any air through, this similar system seems much more refined and perfected, and it only takes me 10-15 "pumps" to be done (max inflation).
I have had no leaks so far and the pad does not loose any air overnight either.
In short, I have been thrilled with this pad and can highly recommend it!!!

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Exped DownMat priced at: $129.00 - $219.00
Kristen Greenaway
( KiwiBird )

North Carolina
No more hip problems on 05/28/2008 09:46:21 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

This is a must for me now. No more waking in the night with a stiff hip. Wake up in the morn and am bouncing, raring to go - summer or winter. The only downside (but I still rate it a 5) is that it's noisy when you turn over. Best spend for the benefit.

dave hollin
( backpackbrewer )

Deepest darkest Wales, boyo
awesome truly awesome on 08/30/2008 08:17:15 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I love this mat...period

Yes it isnt uber lightweight BUT I have found that because the R rating is so good I have been able to downrate/lighten up my sleepingbag so the net effect is that my sleep system of bag and mat combined is now 1.3kg for all conditions.

Comfy. OMG is it comfy. No more slipping off tiny mats. It is without doubt the most comfy mat I have ever slept on and beats some bed mattresses I have used in the past!!!

Smallpacksize. This beats an evo-foam mat handsdown (no pun intended). It rolls up really small and doesnt take over the rucksack.

Overall i love it.



Richard Lyon
( richardglyon )

Bridger Mountains
Backcountry life changer on 10/04/2008 21:37:47 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Drawbacks - You need to inflate it with its bellows, and (1) the bellows will slip off the port for inflation very easily; (2) it's tough to close the port after inflating without losing some inflation; (3) it's all too easy for a port to open slightly from movement, leading to an unnecessary leak; and (4) it takes twice as long as the manufacturer's rating to inflate.
BUT this pad has added fifteen degrees F to every bag I've used it with and gives the most comfortable sleeping surface ever in the backcountry. A product that's changed nights in a tent for me.
UPDATE October 2009 - The new Pump version eliminates the inflation problem, much simplifying use of this great product.

Edited by richardglyon on 10/06/2009 16:00:55 MDT.

George L Privett
( gprivett )

Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
-35 Celcius Test with Exped on 01/02/2009 20:14:50 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

It seems like it has been around minus 30 C for weeks, and I have been reluctant to go winter hiking and camping except of a couple of day hikes on snowshoes. Cabin fever was starting to rear its head. It was -35 this afternoon and I decided on the spur of the moment to test some gear.

Clothing: (not my regular hiking gear) light wool long johns, cotton polyester pants, cotton t-shirt, polyester pullover, breathable shell, fleece vest, poly insulated inner, leather 'street boots' with thin insulation and thin wool dress sock.

Pad: 7XL Exped down mat

Sleeping bag: 30 year old down rectangular bag, lots of miles, 4.25 lbs total. No tags with specs - just some nylon tape covering holes.

Location: outside deck with poly-tarp shed to keep out snow.

Test 1
1. I took a fully inflated Exped outside in the cold. In a couple of minutes the air in the Exped seemed to shrink by half and it sounded and felt like waxed paper. I added more air with the pump/bag by rolling the bag shut rather than pressing it on the floor. It was not 'hard' full.
2. Covered it with the sleeping bag in quilt fashion.
3. Lay on the mat under the quilt for a few minutes - felt a bit cool but not cold. Could probably slept if tired.

Test 2
1. Put a 16" x 50" foil bubble wrap down centre of mat. (It is used to wrap hot water tanks and pipes. Put a cheap sleeping bag with 1/2" polyfill lined with a mylar space blanket under the down sleeping bag.
2. Lay down for about 30 minutes - didn't feel cool, even with the jacket unzipped. Would have stayed longer but had to pick up some folks downtown.

Conclusion: I would probably feel confident winter camping in a tent or tarp at -25 C with a 7XL Exped and a down sleeping bag. I would probably take take an extra foil bubble wrap or thick foam pad as a precaution. It might make sense to take a pulk or toboggan for the additional weight and bulk.

George - Whitehorse, Yukon

Shop Exped, Yukon products at GearBuyer
Sharon Bingham
( lithandriel )

I'd rather be on my Downmat... on 01/21/2009 16:29:13 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I don't have quite the level of experience as other reviewers here, BUT I do know comfy...

This is far and away the best ground "pad" I've ever used - so much so that it seems inadequate to even put it in the same class.

Most of the other reviews have mentioned all the good stuff, so I won't bother repeating, except to say that I second their comments.

But to address difficulty inflating, I would add that I ended up purchasing one of OR's pumps, rather than using the sack to inflate. They offer a Pillow Pump (6oz penalty) and a Mini Pump (2oz penalty). The pump made inflating the mat a BREEZE. AND, you could probably ditch the stuff sack entirely (if you don't have pokey items in your pack that could damage the pad) and end up SAVING some weight if you carried just the pad and the 2oz Mini Pump.

The only other comment I have to add: this pad is so comfortable that I slept on it for two-months, rather than bothering to assemble my bed when I moved last time. And 6 months later, I still curse myself for bothering to switch. It's WAY more comfortable than my bed - which is saying something, 'cause the bed is fancy (Swissflex)...

Just goes to show - sometimes less is more.

But a good night's sleep is priceless, and worth every extra ounce, imo...

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Outdoor Research Stuff Sack priced at: $8.50 - $17.50
Daniel Rushton
( DanTheMan )
ZZZzzzZZZzzz on 08/23/2009 05:08:56 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

heavy but inflatable mattresses tend to be anyway, if your not going foam, go exped, worth every cent.

I have the new version, you inflate it my pressing down with your hands, takes about a minute, no blowing, no pumps, brilliant design.

Edited by DanTheMan on 08/23/2009 05:11:46 MDT.

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