A wide and comfortable air mat with more room for taller campers but portable enough to work when packing space is at a premium.
Generously large size
Packs down small
No female-specific design
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Exped Synmat UL medium wide camping mat: first impressions
Exped are known for their innovative products. The Exped Synmat UL medium wide camping mat is no exception, as is clear from the moment you first inflate it.
It comes with a smart ‘Schnozzel Pumpbag’, which you can use to blow up the mat without humidity from your breath causing mould issues or affecting the insulation. The Pumpbag also doubles as an ultra lightweight compression stuffsack. Bonus.
We reviewed the Medium Wide version of this mat in our best sleeping pads buying guide – its longer and wider width at 183cm x 65 cm is far bigger than specific women’s sleeping pads and will suit anyone taller or larger than the average, and also offers more room if you’re a restless sleeper and tend to find yourself falling off smaller designs in the night.
It is also available in various other iterations, including Medium, Large Wide, Lite Medium – and there is also an Exped SynMat HL Winter M sleeping pad, which has a much warmer R value of 5.2.
• RRP: $170 (US) / £150 (UK)
• Style: Unisex insulated air mat
• Weight (regular): 565g / 20oz
• Variants: Medium / Medium Wide / Large Wide / Lite Medium
• Dimensions (medium wide): 183 x 65 cm / 72 x 25.5in
• Thickness: 7cm / 2.75in
• Pack size: 24 x 10cm / 9.5 x 4in
• R-value: 2.9
• Compatibility: 3-season adventures
• Colors: Orange
Exped Synmat UL medium wide camping mat: in the field
The Synmat UL Medium Wide sleeping mat has proven itself to be warm and comfortable many times on test with an R-value of 2.9 (see sleeping pad R-values explained), and we have used it in various conditions across three seasons.
We really liked the comfortable firm feel of the fully inflated mat – there’s no sinking in the night, and you won’t suddenly hit the ground if you try to sleep on your side. The next-to-skin comfort of the material is good too, and although the name of this coating – GripSkin – sounds somewhat alarming, it goes help to prevent you sliding off the mat during the night.
Because of its generous size, we found it ideal for taller female campers, or just for anyone who tends to toss and turn at night. There’s no weight compromise for that bigger size, either – as this is an inflatable mat, it weighs just 565g and packs down to the size of a large water bottle.
The Synmat is reasonably quick to inflate and easy to pack down once you’ve tried it a few times, although it takes a knack to fold it tightly in three sections in order to get it back in its stuff sack.
An award-winning travel and outdoors journalist, presenter and blogger, Sian regularly writes for The Independent, Evening Standard, BBC Countryfile, Coast, Outdoor Enthusiast and Sunday Times Travel. Life as a hiking, camping, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken her around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia, climbing mountains in Africa and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. Her blog, thegirloutdoors.co.uk, champions accessible adventures.