Thursday, May 12, 2011

Exped DownMat reviewed in Seattle Times

The Seattle Times reviewed the DownMat today. Here's what they had to say:

Special to The Seattle Times

Historically, backpackers faced a hard choice about their camp beds: comfort in camp or comfort on the trail.

For a soft, comfortable bed in camp, hikers carried heavy sleeping pads. If they preferred comfort on the trail — with a lighter pack — they'd carry ultralight pads, which would help insulate from the cold ground but did little to keep a body from feeling every rock and twig.

Today, that's changed. Comfort doesn't have to come at a backbreaking weight

Campers who demand the ultimate comfort for their backcountry beds need look no further than theDownMat 7 from Exped. This thick, comfy air mattress features goose down in its many chambers, creating a wonderful layer of insulation (R-value of 5.9) within the mattress. Since down insulates only when dry, the DownMat can't be inflated by blowing it up by mouth, since the moisture in your breath would dampen the feathers. But Exped North America, headquartered in Seattle, excels at creating innovative gear that works. To make inflating the pad easy without the added weight of an external pump, the designers integrated a pump into the face of the pad. Simply place your hands over the pump chamber (clearly marked with the outline of two hands) and push down. As you rise back up, the one-way valve refills the pump chamber, and you push back down to force that fresh air into the pad. In less than two minutes, you'll have the pad plumped and ready for napping.

The DownMat 7 comes in three sizes: 47 or 72 inches long by 20 inches wide, or 77 inches long by 26 inches wide. The Medium size (72 inches) proved a favorite among both male and female testers. It weighs 31 ounces — definitely not an ultralight bed, but certainly the best combination of weight, warmth and loft you'll find on the market. Tester Donna, who has a chronic sore back, said she's never slept better in the backcountry. The DownMat sells for $139 (47-inch), $149 (72-inch) or $169 (77-inch). More information: