Exped DownMat 9 Review

Exped DownMat 9...

Exped DownMat 9…

I’ve owned an Exped DownMat 9 for 3 or 4 years now with ~80-90 nights of sleeping on it. This sleeping pad is designed for winter camping so it’s very warm. To keep you warm it’s quite thick and filled with down. The result is a very comfortable night’s sleep in pretty much any temperature.

Specs:

  • length 197cm/77.6″
  • width 65cm/25.6″
  • thickness 9cm/3.5″
  • packed size 38cm/15″  long x 16cm/6.3″  diameter
  • weight 1.25kg/0.57lb
  • cost $285 @ MEC
  • durability = high
  • stuff sack is a pump for my pad with newer models having integrated pump
Stuff sack is a pump...

Stuff sack is a pump…

Due to its weight and size I use this pad mostly for car camping. It takes a lot of air to fill it and getting the right pressure can be fiddly. Too much air and it’s hard like a rock. Too little and it sags where you are heavy – in my case my butt hits the ground! I like it best when I am base-camping for a few days and I can set it up once then use it for a while without having to mess with it.

Pumping...

Pumping…

For car camping the size/weight/comfort is amazing. It’s light and small in a vehicle, but when deployed you get a very nice pad to sleep on. My previous car camping pads were bulky even when packed away. This pad is too bulky/heavy for me to carry on a bike tour – plus I don’t need this much pad for my human powered trips.

Fabric close up...

Fabric close up…

I’m happy to report that it has never let me down on a trip. No leaks or holes. This style of air filled pad becomes totally useless if it has a hole since there is nothing inside it you can sleep on if the air comes out. On the plus side it can be fixed easily once you locate the leak. I’m hopeful that with the rugged construction fixing a leak won’t be necessary anytime soon.

One of two large easy to use valves...

One of two large easy to use valves…

Despite being very warm in cold temperatures I do not find it particularly hot if I’m using it on a warm summer night. The thickness means it’s quite tall and that can put you much higher than your tent-mate if they are using a conventional foam/air filled pad. So it’s not ideal for cuddling unless you both have these pads. OTOH the thickness means rocks and roots under you are of no concern when setting up your bed.

Nice and thick...

Nice and thick…

My pad’s stuff sack works as a pump so I don’t get lightheaded filling it with air nor do I put lots of moisture inside from my breathe. This system works well and you can mouth inflate if you needed to. The newer versions have a built in pump.

Pad in stuff sack...

Pad in stuff sack…

At nearly $300 the DownMat 9 is expensive. I got this pad on sale at REI for about 50% of retail including my annual rebate credit.. I would buy another if I was starting over again, but I probably would buy a thinner lighter duty version as I don’t winter camp. This is my only Exped product, but based on this experience I would be happy to own more of their stuff although I would probably hold out for another sale.

Replacement Exped pad...

Replacement Exped pad…

Update – 21 Nov2013

I suddenly noticed my Exped pad was no longer holding air all night. It was a slow leak so I was able to keep using it until I had time to repair it. When I tried to fix the leak it turned out I had a ton of tiny leaks. So many I couldn’t fix them and it suggested to me that my pad was having some sort of materials breakdown. I contacted the Canadian distributor for Exped and they accepted by defective pad back without any question. I received a new DownMat 9 for the cost of shipping the old pad back. That seemed fair and I am quite happy with the service I received. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another Exped product.