Exped have been making sleeping mats for quite some time. Since 1997 in fact – that’s when they produced their first ever self-inflating model. Today, their sleeping mat collection is not only expansive but also very good. We’ve tested a lot of their range, including the SynMat Basic 7.5, the Synmat UL 7, the FlexMat and more and we’ve always been left impressed.
This, the Exped Ultra 5R might be our favourite so far. It’s a winter sleeping mat that provides an impressive amount of insulation, that’s easy to inflate and deflate and that’s light and packable to boot.
Pros: Comfortable and stable, excellent warmth-to-weight
Cons: Not a winter mat for those who sleep cold, quite expensive
The Ultra 5R is available in three mummy and three rectangular sizes, including a regular width, a wide width and as a long and wide pad. So much choice. We tested out the rectangular, medium model.
This has vertical baffles and while this type of construction might make it look like a swimming pool lilo, it brings a lot of stability, particularly at the edges. If you move around a bit at night, this type of construction will suit you.
“It stays nice and quiet when you move around on it.”
It’s inflated via airflow through a one-way valve. Where this airflow comes from is up to you, you can either blow into it (if you’ve got the lungs for it) or you can use the pump sack that comes with it. Handily, the pump sack is waterproof and is designed to double as the sleeping mat’s stuff sack – you do get a more conventional stuff sack with it though as well. To deflate it, you simply open up the ‘out’ valve and Bob’s your uncle.
Packed up, it’s reasonably small. There are lighter and more compact mats out there, but not many (if any) we can think of with the winter warmth this one has.