Before we talk specifically about the Exped SyncellMat 5, lets look at a little Exped history. In the early 1980’s, Exped entered the outdoor gear business, they started off selling other brands, but began to produce their own products in 1997. Exped is based in Zurich, Switzerland, and manufactures their products in Taiwan, China, Vietnam, and Korea in factories that reflect their manufacturing principles: Expertise, and respect for people. Much of the gear is manufactured by hand, in factories where working conditions and safety are respected. Worker pay is higher than the national average in each country, and independent reviewing ensures that work environments are in compliance with social standards.
Cell matrix design is more comfortable and warm than traditional designs.
Exped's team of specialized individuals are all outdoor enthusiasts who constantly tinker with designs in order to refine their products. A “less is more” concept guides the innovation process, ensuring that every feature is fine tuned to its purpose in the outdoors.
The Exped SyncellMat 5 is a great example of that innovation; the “quilt-like cell matrix” is a simple design which accommodates multiple functions. The “individual cells” seem to level out uneven ground and form to the body in different sleeping positions. The cell matrix also limits air movement inside the mattress, creating little-insulated pockets and increasing R-Value.
A higher R-Value means more insulation and therefore a warmer mat. An R value up to 3 is considered to be ideal for summer use. An R value of 3-5 is best for 3 season insulation, and 5 and up is for all seasons. The SyncellMat has an R-Value of 2.9 and features Texpedloft microfiber laminate on both the upper and lower sides of the mat. This material offers comfort as well as slip resistance, its airtight, and impervious to hydrolysis degradation. All this means durable loft and good insulation for the lifetime of the product.
The SyncellMat also features FlatValve Technology for a streamlined valve that inflates and deflates the mattress rapidly. This non-protruding valve features a one-way flap that facilitates both inflation and deflation (with the aid of the deflation pin), and is said to be more durable than a traditional valve. The flap features a small nipple, or toggle, that allows for micro-adjustments for inflation levels.
Not huge when packed down but also not the smallest.
Though it’s still smaller than the foam mat I’ve been hauling around through the bush over the past few years, the size and weight of this mat are nothing to brag about compared to others on the market. When compared to other Exped mats we’ve reviewed, it’s the heaviest mat while having the second lowest R value. Where this mat does shine is comfort, durability, and price. Have a read over our review of the Exped AirMat Hyperlite, Exped SynMat Hyperlite, Exped SynMat UL 9, Exped DownMat Lite 5, Exped DownMat XP 9 LW, and Exped DownMat UL 7 LW.
I found the FlatValve technology to be hassle free and really quick to both inflate but slow to deflate as you had to hold the valve open or slip the stopper out of the way. The valve cap is well designed and one you can trust not to pop out in the night, leaving you sleeping on the cold ground. The fact that the valve is flat means its low profile doesn’t interfere with your comfort. Folding and rolling this mat was also quite easy as there were no weird air pockets forming during deflation, and it packs up tight and fits in the stuff sack easily. It is rather bulky when packed down but for the price it's acceptable, after all you can’t have it all.
The “cell matrix” makes this a very comfortable mattress to sleep on. The cells are far more comfortable than Exped’s tube design found in most of their other mats. These cells also impede airflow which means when you move your hips your head and feet will not bounce around. A nice additional benefit. For a look at other cell matts have a read over our review of the Sea To Summit Ultra Light Mat and the Sea To Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Mat.
I found it to be quite warm. While this mat has a lower R-value (rated for summer, on the verge of 3-season), when paired with a good sleeping bag, I had no issue with the cold.
Of the mats we have reviewed, this mat is not the lightest or the warmest; but it’s very comfortable and the price is right.
Weight: 945g / 33.3oz
Packed dimensions: 15 x 24cm / 5.9 x 9.4in
Inflated dimensions: 65 x 197 x 5cm / 25.6 x 77.6 x 2in
Temperature rating: -2°C / 28°F
(all specs for the Long wide version)
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