Straight out of the packaging you can see that this is a product of very high quality. The mat is incredibly compact and instantly nudges the memory back towards the bulky foam mats that would have to be strapped to the outside of your rucksack. How things have changed! Certainly some of the most innovative designs of modern lightweight trekking have to be the advancements of sleeping mats. Ultra light, comfortable, compact, hard wearing, and easy to inflate - the Exped SynMat HL M ticks all of the boxes.
Inflation is made simple with an easy-to-use valve situated on a non-intrusive area of the mat.
As an added extra piece of ingenuity, Exped includes the 'Schnozzel Pumpbag'. The inventive bag allows you to instantly inflate the mat without using your own breath. This removes the tiresome act of blowing up your mat at the end of the day, something that will appeal to many who want a comfortable nights sleep with minimal effort after a hard day on the hill. Using the bag also protects the inside of the mat from moist air, and it's a great feeling knowing that your equipment is being well maintained and looked after by using such a simple device. We love that the bag also doubles up as a lightweight dry bag, and makes an excellent extra layer of protection for your sleeping bag.
On inflation, the 20 denier anti-slip (GripSkin) fabric feels soft and inviting whilst also being remarkably tough for an airbed. The tubing follows the length of the body and hugs you in place meaning a rude awakening from a slip down the side of your mat an unlikely occurrence. Deflation was as simple as inflation. There were no issues with trying to get the last of the air out and once rolled back up the mat fit easily back into its stuff bag.
With 60 g/m² Texpedloft Microfibre giving a temperature rating down to -6, this is perfect for 3-season use. Sleeping at temperatures of -4, we combined the Exped SynMat HL M with a 3-season down sleeping bag which had a comfort rating of -4. We found ourselves to be very snug and warm. The total combined weight of our sleeping system came to just over 1000gms and we would be happy to use this set up throughout the majority of the year, the exception being the winter months.
Our Verdict: The Synmat HL is a good choice if you are looking for a comfortable, general-purpose mat that's lightweight with suitable insulation for 3+ season use. We can honestly say this is the most comfortable mat we have ever used. Super compact, easy to use, hard wearing, and even comes with its own pump bag! Combine this with a lightweight down sleeping bag and you truly have an ultra lightweight set up that will accompany you on almost all of your adventures.
Cairngorm Treks is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...