Home / Gear Reviews / Exped SynMat Winterlite Sleeping Pad Review

Exped SynMat Winterlite Sleeping Pad Review

Insulated Sleeping Pad:
Philip Werner, SectionHiker.com
Version:
1
Price:
189.00

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On March 17, 2015
Last modified:September 17, 2016

Summary:

The Exped SynMat Winterlite is a very nice inflatable sleeping pad, that is suitable for four season use, and should be on your short list if you are looking to upgrade your sleeping pad.

Camping with the Exped Synmat Winterlite Sleeping Pad
Camping with the Exped Synmat Winterlite Sleeping Pad

The long-awaited Exped SynMat Winterlite insulated sleeping pad is a very lightweight, high R-value sleeping pad (R-Value = 4.9) that is warm enough for camping on snow, in addition to three season use.

Mummy-shaped, the SynMat Winterlite is filled with a synthetic microfiber insulation which is bonded to the top and bottom interior of the pad, with baffled chambers, running lengthwise, that trap warm air heated by your body in between. In fact, I can feel warmth radiating from the sleeping pad into my back when I sleep on it. The outer fabric has a very soft hand that’s very warm and comfortable, and not at all crinkly sounding when you move around.

The SynMat Winterlite is available in three sizes, including one very lightweight model which is a seven-tenths of an ounce lighter than its chief rival, the 15 ounce Therm-a-Rest XTherm insulated sleeping pad.

  • Size ‘M’, weighing 14.3 ounces that is 71″ x 20″ at the chest
  • Size ‘M Wide’, weighing 18.3 ounces that is 71″ x 25.5″ at the chest
  • Size ‘L Wide’, weighing 20.3 ounces that is 77.6″ x 25.6″ at the chest

Mummy-shaped, the width measurements listed above are given for the chest width only, although the pads also taper towards the legs. On the ‘M Wide’ size, that I’ve been sleeping on since last autumn, the width at mid-thigh is 18″ (while the chest width is 25.5″, as listed above).

The 25 inch wide Exped SynMat Winterlite Sleeping Pad is very warm and comfortable to sleep on
The 25 inch wide Exped SynMat Winterlite Sleeping Pad is very warm and comfortable to sleep on, particularly in winter when you have a larger sleeping bag and spend much more time in your tent.

Despite weighing a few extra ounces, having a 25″ wide pad in winter is much more comfortable than a narrower pad and worth the added weight, especially when my giant winter sleeping bag is full of hot water bottles and boot liners, to keep them freezing at night!

Valves Matter

The SynMat Winterlite, like all of Exped’s other sleeping pads and inflatable pillows has a flat valve without any mechanical parts because most sleeping pad failures occur when the valve breaks, freezes in place, or detaches from the main body of the sleeping pad. Tubular, twist-open style valves that stick out from the body of a sleeping pad are particularly prone to this kind of gear failure.

The inflation valve on the SynMat Winterlite lies flush with the pad when full.
The inflation valve cover on the SynMat Winterlite lies flush with the bottom of the pad when full.

To inflate, lift the outer valve cover exposing the air valve. There’s a piece of green plastic inside the valve which closes the hole and prevents air inside the pad from escaping.

There's a small piece of plastic attached to the valve cover.
There’s a small piece of plastic attached to the valve cover.

Find the small plastic wand attached to the valve cover on a string, and push it against the side of the green flap, propping it open so you can blow more air inside it. Deflation is similar: you prop open the green flap with the plastic want and compress the pad to force air out through the valve.

Prop open the green "door" using the plastic wand.
Prop open the green “door” using the plastic wand.

When fully inflated, remove the plastic wand and close the opening with the valve cover.

Packed Size

Once deflated the Exped SynMat Winterlite rolls up slightly larger than a Nalgene bottle, but 1/3 of the size of Exped’s old DownMat 7 sleeping pad which used to be state of the art six years ago. The difference in size and weight is pretty incredible

When rolled up and packed the Exped Synmat Winterlite is slightly larger than a Nalgene water bottle in size
When rolled up and packed the Exped Synmat Winterlite is slightly larger than a Nalgene water bottle in size and easy to pack in a winter backpack

If you use the stuff sack provided with the SynMat Winterlite, it’s best to deflate the pad and fold it up into thirds, length-wise, before rolling it up, so it will fit into the stuff sack.

Recommendation

The Exped SynMat Winterlite sleeping pad is a very comfortable and warm insulated sleeping pad with a high R-value, suitable for winter camping. Mummy shaped, it is available in narrow and wider widths depending on your comfort preferences, including a long 77″ version for taller individuals. With a non-mechanical inflation valve, the Synmat Winterlite is not susceptible to the inflation valve failures that are common on tube-like inflation values, and is immune to freezing, which can sometimes occur on stick shaped valves you blow into, a serious consideration for winter use. While deflation requires a little practice, the SynMat Winterlite folds up into a compact package for winter travel when pack space is at a premium. The Exped SynMat Winterlite is a very nice inflatable sleeping pad, that is suitable for four season use, and should be on your short list if you are looking to upgrade your sleeping pad.

Manufacturer Specs

Color: Red
R-Value: 4.9
Size tested: M Wide
Weight: 18.3 oz (18.9 oz tested)
Width: 25.5″
Length: 71″
Thickness: 2.5 in
Packed dimension: 4.5″ x 10″

Disclosure: Exped provided Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) with a sample SynMat Winterlite sleeping pad for this review. This post contains affiliate links. 

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15 comments

  1. You didn’t mention the inflation process. Nor maintenance.
    While you can blow it up bu mouth, this will introduce a relatively large amount of moisture in the system. You are better off with some sort of inflator: Microburst, Instaflator, etc. This will help maintain the R value.

    Maintenance can be an issue. When you get back you want hang the pad, inside at least as long as you were out. Again this is to allow moisture to dissipate from the interior (retaining R value) and through the valve. Periodic fluffing will also help dry it

  2. Yeah, the Schnozzel works as well as others to keep the moisture out. Condensation will have a serious effect on any insulation used for backpacking. It destroys down loft even faster, even if it is treated with DriDown. You didn’t mention using some sort of inflator for any insulation lined winter pad so I thought I would mention it.

    Enjoy!

  3. I am a fan of the integrated pump that is found on my DM 7 for reasons mentioned below in the comments section.

  4. I have been using an Exped UL7 for the past year for both my hammock and ground camping. Been very happy with the quality of the product. This looks like a good option for those colder nights without adding any weight.

  5. Where’s a Small? At 5’4″, I certainly don’t need a pad that’s 9″ longer than I am!

  6. Philip, thanks for the review. How does this compare with the TaR Xtherm, both warmth and fabric/durability? My Xtherm seems bulletproof, but I like the Med/Wide option on this. Have you also used the new Downmat Winterlite?

    • The SynMat Winterlite feels softer than the Xtherm and the cover fabric is much nicer. I think it comes down to whether you like length wise baffles or horizontal ones (on the Xtherm) in terms of comfort. I also like the wide option on this and enjoyed having it over winter when I use a much bigger sleeping bag full of boot liners and hot water bottles. Haven’t used the DownMat Winterlite yet. It probably has a higher R-Value.

  7. What is the thickness? The Exped site says 3.5 in, but you say 2.5 in, can you give an actual measure?

  8. It’s hard to tell from the picture but it appears that there is only a single valve now instead of two (inflating and deflating). Is that correct?

  9. any chance to look at the DownMat WinterLite?

  10. Sherri Richardson

    Had mine for 7 months and used it 4 times. The green plastic piece on the inside of the valve fell off. Cannot stop the air from escaping while inflating. Thank goodness purchased from REI and I can return to them for replacement.

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