synmat ul winter m
Warm, Compact, Easy to inflate
Takes up more room then the uninsulated mattress.
The Bottom Line:
Iuxury mattress that will meet the needs of cooler campers.
Ease of use: 5/5
The SynMat UL Winter M is my second Exped mattress, the first is well travelled but eventually the inner ribbing came unstuck and it was like sleeping on the Elephant Man… probably. But I have to say in all the miles and terrains it never once got a puncture.
This one is an upgrade with thermal qualities and since I keep getting cold and wet weather gear to review, I have to keep going out into the cold and wet. So with a Snug Pak sleeping bag, which is also reviewed here, I slept outside without a tent on a night of -5°C (the mattress is rated to -20°C). I was on a wooden balcony, I don’t think the wood offered much in the way of insulation and there were gaps between the planks. So the cold air came from all around, it was as close to levitation as I could get without taking a lengthy course on the subject. The point is I was toasty and the hard wooden base wasn’t a problem - I was sleeping on softness and could feel not a hint of draft. And thanks to the anti-slip GripSkin honeycomb-pattern coating I didn’t have one of those dreams where I felt like I was falling (off a balcony). The worst thing about camping, or indeed levitating, is when you want a wee. Going back to ‘bed’ with a cooled body did not necessitate the warmth generating wriggling that I had been contemplating... should have gone an hour ago.
I've since used it in the more traditional tent environment. My other mattress used to make a squelching fart noise on the ground sheet whenever I turned over, thankfully that little annoyance didn’t occur with this one.
So it’s been tested in the field, in a field by a Field, now to put it back in the bag. These insulating qualities come at the expense of volume, at 3.2 litres it takes up a bit more space than its cooler cousin but I think its benefits justify the room it requires.
It comes with a Schnozzle Pumpbag which doubles as a storage dry bag, I would recommend watching a video on how it works, this one is concise especially if you have an aversion to the obligatory and annoying ‘go ahead and like, share, subscribe.’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_O6hOdxhlA
Blowing into an Exped mattress is a big no-no as the moisture in your breath rots the down insulation inside. Previously I had a small pillow pump, 31 pumps were my preferred firmness, but with this bag once you get the knack you can inflate the mattress in 3 sacks of air.
It’s got the feel of research, technology and quality and comes with a repair kit. If you are familiar with Exped this is a step forward, if you are not, step on, you deserve this warmth and comfort. Chances are if you find yourself in an inexpensive guest house you will be laying this over a tired and corrugated old mattress.
The Schnozzle Pumpbag is basically a dry bag, I wouldn’t strap it on the outside of the panniers but it makes a great sleeping bag compression sack. At a push it has pillow possibilities too but doesn’t any bag? Bags by their very nature are versatile, you could probably collect pine cones and dry grass in it to start a fire but I'm clutching at straws here and don’t recommend it. My first thought was to use it as a dirty laundry bag, keeping your clean clothes separate but then perhaps that stale air is not an ideal filling for your mattress, tantamount to inflation by farting, and contradictory to the comfort in the cold fresh air of the wilderness that this product provides.