What? Another purchase? Yes it is but I have sold rather a lot of unwanted kit recently, so much so I am still in credit, even with my latest purchase.
So, why another mat and why this one…?
I have several mats currently and they all do a specific job for specific conditions. I have an exped downmat 7 LW for winter camping, a POE 2/3 elite AC for 3 season lightweight adventures and a evazote mat for uberlightweight adventures where bulk isnt an issue (or hard ground). What I feel I am missing is a lightweight “big” mat capable of coping with all but the worst winter conditions. I tend to thrash around in my sleep and the downmat being wide copes well with my movements! The POE elite doesnt cope so well with my movements however being quite narrow.
Spending some time looking at available mats, I settled on the new Exped UL synmat LW. Its R value is very close to the elite (but obviously less than the downmat) and its a BIG mat being 197cm by 65cm by 7cm (the same dimensions as the downmat I have). It claims a weight of 590g which is close to half that of the downmat and yet also claims to be ok down to -4degreesC. If the weight and temperature claims hold true I reckon this could be a real winner for me. There have been times when I have wanted to take the downmat on trips but left it at home for bulk and weight reasons (and then regretted it). The bulk is more than the elite but a lot less than the downmat or the evazote mat so again a good compromise and acceptable to me. Make sense so far?
So, decision made and I am looking forward to getting the mat and seeing if my reasons for choosing it hold true when in use. I didnt really need that long to decide as I hovered over buying the old synmat version previously which is 200g heavier than the UL version. Being less than 600g (claimed not tested yet!) clinched it for me. I could be seen as having too many mats to some but the older I get the more I need to watch my sleep and look after my back! Therefore having several mats depending on different conditions seems perfectly logical to me these days.
And yes, I still have a positive balance for buying gear too 😀