Exped Synmat 7 Air Pad
If you are backpacking or doing ultralight camping of any kind, you want to maximize your sleeping comfort while minimizing weight and bulk in your pack. I was never a big fan of the self inflating flat pads, they just don’t get cushy enough for me. I want it all–comfort and light weight packability and I also want the pad to do most of the inflation work. Well here it is, in the Exped Synmat 7 Air Pad with Pump.
The pad is light weight (though Exped has an even lighter one without the pump) at 31 ounces and has a good R value of 4.9, so it’s warm. The sides are slightly raised, helping to keep you on the mat and more comfortable. There is a smaller and larger size, so if you’re not a tall person, you can shave off some extra weight.
It packs down close to the size of a Nalgene bottle and is simple to inflate and deflate and get back into its stuff sack. I think the packing down is as important as set up, even more important for me because that’s the part I don’t like. Set up is fun, tearing down, not so much, so I want it to go smoothly. The quality is excellent, there’s no annoying crinkling sound that you can find in light weight pads, and it just feels substantial.
I fell in love with Exped’s Mega Mat last year and swear it is the most comfortable camping pad on earth. It’s ridiculously off the charts comfortable and if you are car camping, I’d go for that one over all others. Having said that, the Synmat 7 would still work great for car camping if, say, you were limited on space.