Looking at getting a new sleeping pad

Looking at getting a new sleeping pad: Exped synmat 7 pump: or The Neo air. Has anyone used ether of these mats?? if so what do you think of them??

synmat 9
You get lots of CPR practice but it does not take that long for each inflation.

So far it has held up well. Does not deflate at all during the night.

Not sure of long term durability. Had it out for some 50 nights this year. I have had several backpacking air mattresses. Two Big Agnes which had leaky valves due to fabric abrasion around the valves and two MEC Kelvins whose glue between the tubes just gave out…pop…sleeping pad hernias.

So far none of those problems with the Symnat 9. Its not a cold weather air mattress though I use minicell foam workshop flooring under it below freezing in my tent and it does not do the deflation that some air mattresses do because of air cooling that causes deflation.

I recently purchased a neo
Bought it with a OR Alpine bivy, a couple of Sea to Summit e-vent compression dry bags, and some microspikes during a recent trip to KTR. Good prices were hard to resist.

The neo packs down to the size of a 1 liter water bottle and weighs practically nothing. Only used it twice but both times I was camped on snow. Slept very well. Bought the neo for $104.

My main concern with the neo will be my lack of faith in it’s durability. I guess time will tell. Too soon to judge. So far so good.

I have used both
I have used both but personally own the Exped Downmat7 and a couple of Neo Air.

I have been using the Neo Air exclusively for over a year and it’s my preferred mat (of about 7 different styles I own).

I have documented a pictorial comparison for 3 mats including Downmat (similar to Synmat) and the Neo: http://gnarlydognews.blogspot.com/2009/06/sleeping-mats-less-is-more.html

-17 C
I though the exped synmat was rated for -17 C ???

Synmat vs Neo Air
I have an old model Exped Synmat that doesn’t pack down nearly as small as the newer models. Have had it about 5 years now. No problems, no leaks, most comfortable pad I’ve ever used.

Wife had the Neo Air for 2 seasons. Bought it at REI with with an early season sale after it came out in Spring 2009. LOVE the small size and weight. At first, she didn’t the “Noise” of the mylar or whatever that material was and worried about long term durability. Also thought it would be slippery, but it’s not. She did start putting hers in a fleece sleeping bag for protection just in case.

She thought it very comfortable. I tried it for a 3 day 2 night trip and thought it was not nearly as nice as my Exped. Ultimately, she sold it because it was just too narrow, and she’s not a large person. The 20" pad just SEEMED narrower than a 20" wide pad. Maybe it’s because in the old days our 1/4 thick 20" wide foam pads didn’t raise us up off the ground high enough to NOTICE we rolled off the pad (LOL)!

We will probably replace her Neo Air with an Exped. For one thing, the Neo Air is just too expensive (IMHO) for what you get, and they don’t even throw in a cheap stuff sack for that exorbitant price. We wouldn’t have paid full price for it. If you do go with the Neo Air, I would encourage you to get the wider one. WW

Thanks for the info.

Synmat 7 Pump
I bought two of these - one for my wife - and we both really like them. The pump feature is great for two reasons - the obvious one - no breathless inflation - and the fact that the pump does not introduce moisture from your breath into the insulation.

we use these with a Western Mountainering down semi-rectangular bag and a Summer Coupler. The insulation in the mat keeps us toasty.

Highly recommended.

Haven’t had the Exped Synmat 7
but I did briefly own the Thermarest Neo Air. Ask me why briefly. Okay, I’ll tell you: Because it wasn’t worth the money. If you want light, it’s as light as you can go. But it was $150, took WAY LONGER than a normal pad to blow up, and wasn’t (in my estimate) appreciably more comfortable. So I took it back. If you’ve got money to burn and a lot bigger lungs, your opinion may vary.

My wife and I both have DAMs and we love them! Mine sprung a leak after several years and lots of use, they send me a new one for free! Gotta love a company that stands by their products.

My recommendation (after using a thermarest for years) is for Exped.

I also recommend their tents, light, storm proof, and very flexible pitching options.

Bought one recently – didn’t do a ton of research – it was the size I wanted and was in stock locally – works fine for me, can’t speak to reliability over time. The internal pump thingy works well – of course, I’d prefer self-inflating so I could be just hanging out in camp. It was very confortable for me. It rolls up nice and small (I thought it would never fit in the stuff sack again, but it surely does!). Also rolls up quickly and easily. I can’t compare to other current ones – I’ve been using old style thermarests for years.

For What It’s Worth…
…we’re still using the Therma-Rest pads I bought 25 years ago. They are the old-fashioned slippery kind, but have given me the best night’s sleep on varied Adirondack lumpy tree-root ground & rocks in temps ranging from Really Cold to Too Damn Hot.

I’ve never even heard of what the other posters are recommending. That is a testament to my satisfaction with my old self-inflating Therma-Rest pad.

Those are good pads
but waay too bulky compared to the new air mattresses.

My 2.5" Basecamp from the 70’s or 80’s doesnt pack into a roll the size of a Nalgene.

Room in my pack is at a premium.

Any other Old Thermarest Users of Old Thermarests?

They have never leaked at all.

I still have one I bought in 1991
It is still a great pad and I still use it. Never had a leak. I think I paid $29. It is huge.

Synmat 7: best mattress ever!
Among backpackers (infamous gear fanatics) the Exped Synmats and Donwmats are considered the top air mattresses for comfort and durability. Most (not all) prefer it to the Neoair.

I’ve been using the Synmat 7 pump for the past year. It’s definitley the best mattress I’ve ever used in terms of comfort.

The next most comfortable was the Big Agness Insulated Air Core, but the Synmat is quite a bit more comfortable.

It’s not exactly convenient to inflate the Synmat, but no air mattress is. The bult-in pump works with either your hands (kneeling next to it) or your foot (standing up). It takes about two minutes to inflate and the effort is well worth it for the great comfort you will get.

The fabric feels nice on the skin—no need for a sheet if you use a sleeping bag quilt style in the summer.

I advise against storing the Synmat in the tiny stuff sack. It’s very hard to get it in there, and backpackers report that synthetic insulation, just like down, should not be compressed in storage. For kayak camping I just roll it up and secure it with a large rubber band, with no stuffsack.

One side of the mattress is insulated and one is not. Sleep on the uninsulated side in the summer. For winter use the Synmat 7 is rated to 1 degree F.

Since weight isn’t a concern for kayak/canoe camping, I would get the wider model (deluxe). Your arms tend to fall off the sides of the narrower one. The wider mattress is warmer because there is more insulated surface under you and it wraps up around your sides a bit.

Love the Neoair
Bought it for the boundary waters trip this year and paired it with the Big Agnes bag. I haven’t slept that good in years.

Bonus is it is usable in my Thermarest chair kit, though while sitting around the fire I sacrificed a fleece to cover the chair from errant sparks.

You dont kone what you are missing

I think it will be a exped,That I end up getting THANKS TO ALL.

“for winter use”
" the Synmat 7 is rated to 1 degree F" .

I have read the website and for the life of me dont understand ratings of sleeping mats to a particular temp. I do understand R value but how is R value and temp correlated?.

So far my Synmat and I have only been to ten degrees but without snow. Snow does a couple of things…to a degree it insulates but when packed down loses that insulation. My winter tent does not have a floor but rather has a wood stove. We dont keep the stove going all night.

We will see experientially about that 1 F.

Yeah, about that 1 degree
Your question about the correlation between R-values and temperature is constantly debated at backpacking forums. The conclusion is that R-values can be determined scientifically while temperature comfort ratings cannot. R-values are tested under very controlled conditions—they don’t even involve a human being or the outdoors.

In the field there are too many variables in the person, clothing, tent, sleeping bag, and weather (e.g. humidity) to figure out accurately who will be comfortable down to what temperature with what equipment. People who have a woodstove in their tent might skew the results a tiny bit. :-)))

There is a unit called the “Clo unit” that’s used to measure the insulating ability of clothing. You can read here about how R-values relate to clo ratings, and hence to comfort at different temperatures.


Beyond that, I haven’t been able to find out how manufacturers come up with a temperature rating correlating with R-values.