Exped Downmat 7 Sleeping Pad


The Exped Downmat 7 is a sinfully luxurious sleeping pad for cold weather camping when you need extra insulation below your sleeping bag to stay warm. Almost all sleeping bags, no matter their temperature rating, have one fundamental flaw. When you get into your bag, you compress the insulation underneath you limiting its ability to retain loft and trap warm air. In winter, when the ground is very cold, you need to compensate for this by sleeping on more insulation and it is common for winter backpackers to carry 2 pads for cold weather camping.

The Downmat 7 eliminates the need to carry two pads by providing you with one very warm insulation layer that resists compression.  The Downmat is an air mattress segmented into multiple chambers each containing 700 fill goose down, much like a regular sleeping bag. When you lie on it, the air in the mattress maintains the loft of the down, absorbing the heat you radiate toward the ground, and trapping it in the down chambers. It’s a simple, yet ingenious design.

With an R-value of 5.9, the Downmat 7 is rated for camping in temperatures down to minus 11 degrees F. For comparison, a Therm-a-rest Prolite 4 has an R-value of 3.4 and a Therm-a-rest Z-lite has an R-value of 2.2.

When inflated, the Downmat is 2.75 inches thick yet compresses very well due to to the down fill. A synthetic version of the pad is also available but there is no reason not to get the down fill since there is little risk of it getting wet in the watertight air mattress.

The Downmat 7 is a very hefty 34 oz, including its stuff sack/pump, but you can often get away with taking a lighter bag on a cold weather trip, say a 0 or 20 degree bag, than you would otherwise, since the air mattress is so thermally efficient for cold weather conditions. There are several other variants of the Downmat 7 available including a 3/4 size and an extra long. The Downmat 9 series is also available with an incredible R-value of 8.0.

Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.

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3 comments

  1. will the 2.5" air mat have better support as the self inflating ones? or sleep just like another floating bed?

    and if the feet will hang in the air for a guy of 5'10?

  2. Much better. I'm 5.11 and my feet don't hang over the edge.

  3. I have purchased four Exped down mats all of which deflated overnight and delaminated. Two were replaced under warranty and the other two were used once before being stored but Exped refused to replace them. I wrote to Exped to ask if they would replace them and how long they think their mats should last and I received this quite strange reply which indicates they too do not think their mats should be expected to last longer than the warranty:

    We’re sorry if one of our products worries you.

    Probably the glueing has come loose with the material aging inside. Unfortunately, this happens also if the material is not used often. cannot be repaired because the material is probably brittle.

    We at Exped are all outdoor enthusiasts and have high expectations of the durability of our products. However, the outdoor industry in particular is keen to comply with new environmental and health guidelines, which is why most of the “particularly durable” materials and composites that were used 15 years ago are now a no go – because they cause even longer damage to the environment or health. For the same reason one should also replace a bicycle helmet today for safety reasons after at the latest 10 years, even if one had no fall with it. Together with new findings, we are constantly improving our know-how and are very open to new innovative materials. And since we are a rather small manufacturer, the paths from customer feedback to product designer are very short. Nevertheless, we consider it ironic that nowadays so great demands are made on outdoor products, while it is normal for most of people that certain electronic devices with a much larger environmental footprint simply have to be replaced after 2 years.
    Therefore, the most sustainable option is really to buy only what you really use frequently.
    We’re sorry that we can’t give you a better answer in this case.

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