The 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. See Sleeping Pad R-Values. 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.
Specs at a Glance:
- 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″
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
When fully inflated, remove the plastic wand and close the opening with the valve cover.
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
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.
Comparable Insulated Sleeping Pads
|Make / Model||R-Value||Weight (oz)||Dimensions (in)|
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm||5.7||15||72 x 20 x 2.5|
|REI Flash Insulated||3.7||15||72 x 20 x 2|
|REI Stratus Insulated||2.9||21||72 x 20 x 2.5|
|Sea-to-Summit Ultralight Insulated||3.3||16.9||72 x 21.5 x 2|
|Sea-to-Summit Comfort Light Insulated||4.2||21.8||72 x 21.5 x 2|
|Big Agnes Q-Core SLX||Unrated||16||72 x 20 x 4.25|
|Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra||Unrated||21||72 x 20 x 3.5|
|Big Agnes Insulated AXL||Unrated||11.9||72 x 20 x 3.75|
|Exped Downmat 9 XP||8||31.2||72 x 20.5 x 3.5|
|Exped Downmat UL Winter||7||22.2||72 x 20 x 3.5|
|Exped Synmat HL||5||15.2||72 x 20 x 3.5|
|Klymit Insulated V Ultralite SL||4.4||15.2||72 x 20 x 2.5|
|Klymit Insulated V Ultralight SL||4.4||19.5||72 x 23 x 2.5|
|Klymit Insulated Static V||4.4||24||72 x 20 x 2.5|
|NEMO Tensor Insulated||Unrated||21||72 x 20 x 3|
|NEMO Astro Insulated Lite||Unrated||19||72 x 20 x 3.5|
|NEMO Vector Insulated||Unrated||19||72 x 20 x 3|
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.
Disclosure: Exped provided Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) with a sample SynMat Winterlite sleeping pad for this review.
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
I didn’t feel that inflation really warranted extra attention since the insulation is synthetic. You can blow into this pad and a separate inflator is not required. I will be reviewing the Schnozzel inflator that Exped sent me separately because I think it’s a better stuff sack/pack liner than purely an inflation accessory however.
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.
I am a fan of the integrated pump that is found on my DM 7 for reasons mentioned below in the comments section.
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.
Where’s a Small? At 5’4″, I certainly don’t need a pad that’s 9″ longer than I am!
I don’t believe they offer a “small”
I’m also 5’4″ and find the MW to be perfect if not a tiny short due to the mummy shape.
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.
What is the thickness? The Exped site says 3.5 in, but you say 2.5 in, can you give an actual measure?
Sorry – I’ve already packed away my winter gear. You’ll have to contact REI or the manufacturer.
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?
One valve in the center. It’s really just a hole with an inner flap and cap. No fancy mechanism to freeze up.
any chance to look at the DownMat WinterLite?
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.
It happened to me aswell. Exped gave a full refund, no problemos. I also have “delaminated” 3 of exped mats, all down. Two ul vesions. No problems with getting a new mat, but ofcourse a bit of a quality problem. Had 5 mats the last 7 years. At least Im always at the newest and lightest. On the other hand, I newer punktured them. I use my mats a lot.