Detailed Exped Synmat UL Review | 2020

Exped Synmat

The Exped Synmat UL Pad is a great option when it comes to ultralight sleeping pads. In this review we look at the Synmat UL M insulated pad from Exped and how it performed in the field in various conditions for us over the last year. Coming in at just 16.8 ounces and a super comfortable 2.8 inches thick, the Exped Synmat UL comes in multiple sizes, including both mummy and rectangular so you can choose what size and shape fits your needs best.

Don’t forget to check out our other Sleeping Pad Review for more ultralight (and comfort) pads! Pair that with one of the tents from our backpacking tent reviews and ultralight pillows from our backpacking pillow review, and you’ll be ready to hit the trail!

Not quite sure what tent you want and what some of the different materials, features and types are? Check out this article on how to choose a backpacking tent.

Exped Synmat UL Review: Edge-To-Edge Stability

Ultralight sleeping pad

The Exped Synmat UL gives you great edge-to-edge stability with its long vertical baffles. These long vertical baffles seem to provide extra edge stability over some of the other styles out there that we’ve tried. In our other sleeping pad review we identify some that didn’t fare quite as well in this department, but the Exped Synmat UL pad provides great stability, especially for a nice thick pad.

the Exped Synmat UL Review: feel

Exped Synmat

The Exped Synmat UL gives you hands down the softest feel and quietest night’s rest of all the pads I’ve tested. While not quite as thick as something like the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT, it still gives you plenty of thickness to keep you off the ground, even if you are a side sleeper (like I am). These features mean a great night’s sleep in the backcountry. The vertical baffles give the pad a much different feel than one with horizontal baffles or the Sea to Summit Air Sprung cells, but it comes down to personal preference.

Exped Synmat UL Review: Noise Level

One of the questions many people ask about ultralight sleeping pads is, are they noisy to sleep on? In a lot of cases, the answer is a resounding yes. However, with this Exped sleeping pad you get a super quiet, super comfortable night’s sleep with the benefit of an incredibly soft face material that quiets the pad down really well. The Synmat UL is hands down the quietest ultralight pad I’ve tested to date. Considering that you still get an extremely comfortable, thick pad, the Synmat UL Exped mat is all around tough to beat.

Inflating An Exped Sleeping pad

Exped Synmat valves

The included with every Exped sleeping pad is the Clever Pumpsack. This makes filling the Exped Synmat pad a breeze with a few puffs of air. Each Exped mat has two valves, one for inflation and one for deflation. This took some getting used to, especially when trying to adjust the firmness after getting into bed. I mistakenly pulled the deflate valve the first time I used it and had to reinflate the pad, a minor annoyance and a problem you won’t have once you became familiar with the valve system. Later I realized that the inflate valve has a pull tab attached which would have saved me from pulling the deflate valve by mistake.

I personally like just one valve so it’s less confusing when it’s dark and you are making a small adjustment to the firmness of your pad. That’s really my only complaint about this Exped mat.

Exped Synmat UL Review: Warmth

Exped Synmat

The Exped Synmat UL Pad has an R-Value of 2.9 and a temperature rating of 24.8 degrees Fahrenheit. I love that you get both an R-Value AND an estimated temperature rating with an Exped sleeping pad! Better yet, the Synmat UL ACTUALLY keeps you warm down to its stated temperature rating in a sleeping bag! I had this pad out one night when the temps dropped down to 24 degrees, and I was still toasty warm. So with this Exped sleeping pad, the “comfort” rating of 24.8 degrees was an actual comfort temp for me.

Now, if you are one who uses a quilt, I found the “comfort” temperature to be in the lower 30’s. Once the temps hit around 34-35 degrees, I began to feel a little coolness coming from the ground. If you use a quilt in colder weather, I’d pick up a pad with a higher R-Value to make sure you stay comfortable.

Thanks Exped for making it easier for us to know what pad to pick. Given its weight and thickness, this is an impressive ultralight sleeping pad. I’ve had this pad out down into the 20’s and been really warm, so in my experience the stated R-Value and temperature rating proved to be accurate.

Exped Synmat UL Review: Conclusion

The Exped Synmat UL is one of my favorite ultralight pads, especially if I’m using a quilt and the temps will be mild. The super soft texture of the face fabric makes this a no-brainer with a quilt. I do wish the valve setup was different, but that’s a minor annoyance I can live with for such a comfortable pad. The Exped Synmat UL mat deserves a good long look if you want an ultralight pad that also gives you comfort and warmth in a compact lightweight package.

Buy the Exped Synmat UL

Subscribe to Backwoods Pursuit to get our FREE Backcountry Gear Worksheet!!!

Dial in your gear list, calculate your pack weight, and lighten up your pack with this handy tool!

Leave a Comment