Exped Downmat 9 is the top level winter camping sleeping pad. There are several versions available, such as an ultraLight version, synthetic and even a slight less warm version of this Downmat 7. We will focus on the DownMat 9 and all its features for this review.
The DownMat is filled with 700 fill down that is treated to repel water (down’s natural enemy). Using high quality down as insulation is great as it saves weight (over synthetic) is not noisy (like other mats that use foil for reflective insulation) and it packs up nicely. On top of the positives above, down keeps you warm – very warm in this case! This winter sleeping pad is rated to -36 degrees. Yes, 36 degrees below 0! We hope you never have to sleep somewhere that cold, but if you do, Exped has you covered. Also you are one tough person and we owe you some scotch. (Ed. Note – We’ll share our whiskey, but we’re not buying you any.)
We had plenty of opportunities to test the sleeping pad in cold temps as well as mid-cold temps and found the pad kept us warm but did not roast us when the heat of the day crept in. Down is good at being a natural thermoregulator. The equivalent R value is 8, meaning this will help you survive the worst conditions out there.
The DownMat uses a built in hand pump to inflate the pad. We found that it took us 100-120 compressions to fill the long wide version. Exped also offers the Downmat 9 XP, which uses an external pump bag. You can adjust how from you would like it, but the 3.5 “ will treat your body nicely. The build quality is outstanding as always with Exped, carrying a 5 year warranty. This particularly mat uses 75D polyester TPU fabric. There are other versions of this mat that use much thinner materials to save weight. Speaking of weight, this pad comes in at 2lb 12 oz for the long wide version and packs down to 10.5 x 6.5”. Not the lightest, nor the smallest pad out there, but there are other versions of the pad that offer less weight, or less cost (synthetic).
If you are looking for the best winter sleeping pad out there, weight not being that big of an issue, then this is the best pad for you! MSRP Exped DownMat 9LW $269, 9M $239.
If you want all the same build, but just a bit lighter weight (1lb 10oz LW version) packs down smaller and still good down to -12 degrees. Then the Exped DownMat 7 is the pad for you. Honestly, this pad would probably be sufficient most anyone and their winter camping! MSRP $268
If you really want to save some weight and still have a legit winter pad with an R value of 7 and superlight weight of 1lb 7oz (LW version) Then the Exped DownMat Winterlite is for you. You do give up a bit of gruffness when you go down to the 20D material and you loose a bit of the luxury of having a full size pad, but heck – you’re used to making due if you are an UL backpacker. MSRP $249
If the thought of down in the winter scares you, then go for the SynMat series and rest (and sleep) well knowing the synthetic insulation will keep you warm. Synmat 7 is good to 1 degree, weights 2lb 6oz and packs down to 10.5×6. The Synmat 9 is good down to -13 degrees, is slightly heavier at 2lb 8oz and packed size of 11×6.
We have used the SynMat 7 for years and found it has always kept us warm and comfortable camping year round in Colorado. The DownMat is just a bit better in every way and worth the extra $ if you will be camping in very cold conditions.