Exped Downmat UL 7 M (2013)

This impressive product has, until its latest ultralight (UL) incarnation, been the wrong side of practical. Earlier versions featured an integrated hand pump, which had an admirable cause – protecting the 170g of goose down inside from the moisture in your breath – but was a nuisance; bulky and woefully slow. On the new DownMat UL, the hand pump has been replaced by a superb filling system that’s superlight, super-quick and serves a dual purpose, acting both as a pump and a random drybag. It also has a great name – the Schnozzel Pump Bag – and is no extra hassle to use, though you do have to use it: there’s no manual override. The mat itself is supremely comfortable, with eight longitudinal baffles that are very supportive. The outer two are larger to prevent roll-off, and the face fabric is naturally quite tacky and slip-resistant. Available in four sizes, the down inside is designed to minimise cold spots and make the mat excel in the cold (it’s rated at -25 deg C) and may allow you to shave grams by downgrading your sleeping bag. This performance doesn’t translate to excessive pack size or weight, and the Exped Downmat UL 7 M remains tight and light(ish) when packed. It does translate to cost, though.

Dimensions (LxWxD) 183x52x7cm
Warmth range 4-season, -24 deg C
Alternative sizes XS (120cm); S (163cm); LW (197cm)
Weight (with stuffsack) 576g 594g + 62g pump)
Repair kit / pump? yes / yes
Insulation double-decked longitudinal baffles with goose down at 700 fill power
Website www.exped.de

Verdict

At the cutting edge, the Exped Downmat UL 7 M is nearly perfect; for those whom camp comfort is a priority, it’s ideal. There are slightly lighter, much cheaper, and more compact mats available – but none can match these features gram per gram. It won the ‘Best in Test accolade.

Review by Simon Ingram
First published in Trail magazine April 2013