I purchased an Exped Downmat 9 for use on longer trips in severe conditions.  I wanted something that would ensure high quality sleep over trips of duration more than a week.  I only plan on using this when the temperatures at night are expected to be well below 0F and the sleep surfaces may include things like rock and ice.  Snow is a surprisingly good sleep surface and doesn’t conduct heat too readily compared to rock and glacier ice.

I have spent about two weeks using the Downmat under initial safe test conditions; nice weather, normal situations where I would usually be using something like a Ridgerest pad.  I want to get the kinks out of the system and understand the pros and cons of the pad before I start to rely on it in conditions that could kill me.

Here are my preliminary observations:

1. It is certainly warm.  I’m a warm sleeper anyway, and this pad really does not let any of my own body heat escape.  During warmer weather (night time temps probably in the 50 to 70 range) I find it uncomfortably warm.  This is a good sign for cold weather use, but perhaps not ideal if someone is planning on using it simply for additional comfort against hard ground.

2. I have a version with a pump stuff sack rather than the newer integrated pump version.  I understand why they changed the system.  The interface between the valves and the pump sack needs to be watched carefully, as it is a major leak point during pumping.  If you have not secured the joint well, air will rush out as you pump.  I suggest pumping slowly as well.

3. I don’t find it to be the most comfortable pad I’ve ever used.  The pad is baffled, and I find the non-flat surface to be somewhat distracting while trying to sleep.  I’ve used flat pads like Thermarest and Ridgerest for years and years, so perhaps this is just a case of me needing to get used to something new and different.

I will post longer term information as I continue to use and abuse this sleeping pad.

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