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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Pads and Air Mattresses > Exped 7.5 AirMat DLX > Owner Review by Brian Mikels

November 09, 2007


NAME: Brian Mikels
AGE: 36
LOCATION: Knoxville, Tennessee USA
HEIGHT: 6' 6" (1.98 m)
WEIGHT: 229 lb (104.00 kg)

Backpacking Background: I started backpacking when I was 10 and picked it back up about 4 years ago. My backcountry companions are my wife & our two 8 year old twins. I'm obsessed with light gear; however I tend to err on the side of safety, being well fed, and keeping everyone reasonably comfortable. I do the bulk of my backpacking March thru November in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park doing 1-3 nighters at 6-12 miles (10-19 km) per day.


Manufacturer: Exped
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Manufacturer's Website:

Listed Product Specs:
Weight: 31 oz (895 g)
Pack Sack: 0.5 oz (16 g)
Length: 72" (182 cm)
Width: 26" (65 cm)
Thickness: 3" (7.5 cm)
Packed Dimensions: 10" x 6" (25 cm x 16 cm)
Temperature: 52 F (11 C)

As Shipped:
Weight: 32.8 oz (931 g)
Pad: 31.6 oz (896 g)
Pack Sack: 0.7 oz (19 g)
Repair Kit: 0.6 oz (16 g)
Length: 74" (188 cm)
Width: 24.5" (62 cm)
Thickness: 3.5" (9 cm)
Packed Dimensions: 10" long X 5" diameter (25 cm x 13 cm)

Product Description:

The pad comes shipped in its stuff sack complete with a repair kit and is constructed of a polyester fabric that is similar to ripstop nylon in appearance, minus the slippery surface. The pad has a total of eight baffles approximately 3.5" (9 cm) in diameter divided into 2 separate air chambers. Two plastic deflation/inflation twist lock valves are located at the foot of the pad. The integrated pump has an open cell foam pad in its center and 2 flexible inflation valves on the under side of the pad. There are two small sleeping bag attachment loops at the foot of the pad, each 3" (7.6 cm) off of the centerline for the pad. The stuff sack is constructed of ripstop nylon and has a simple drawstring and cord lock closure with a 1.5" (3.8 cm) wide handle on the bottom of the sack. The repair kit comes in a small resealable bag and contains a 0.2 oz (5 g) aluminum tube of adhesive & two 3.5" (9 cm) by 5" (13 cm) patches.


Inflating the pad using the integrated pump took me a few tries to figure out. The deflation valves must first be closed and the inflation valve stops opened. Covering the inflation valve with my foot and pressing downward forces the air trapped within the pump through a one-way valve into the air chamber. Removing my foot from the opening allows the foam to expand and the pump is ready for another stomp. Describing the pump as a pillow is misleading as it doesn't protrude much (if any) beyond the top plane of the pad. It's really a pump that's integrated into the pad. Once I got the hang of it, I could inflate the pad with very little effort in less than a minute. I also have inflated the pad by blowing air into it and found the effort required to be minimal and was able to fully inflate the pad in just slightly over a minute. Although I think the integrated pump design is quite clever, I believe it to be an unnecessary luxury and the additional weight this feature adds isn't worth the convenience.

Field Use:

I'm a warm sleeper and carry a 30 F (-1 C) Marmot Arroyo long sleeping bag. When the low temps are above 55 F (13 C), I sleep directly on the pad utilizing my unzipped bag as a blanket and have experienced no discomfort due to a cold pad. I have used the pad down to 25 F (-4 C) with my bag fully zipped, my Capilene 3s on, and a sock hat with very little discomfort from the cold.

I'm a side sleeper and tend to sleep in what could be loosely described as the fetal position with a wadded up jacket in between my knees. The pad is plenty wide enough to accommodate this position and I have found it very easy to keep on the pad throughout the night. Sleeping comfortably is a priority for me and I am pleased with this pad. On soft ground I have slept well with no soreness. On hard rocky soil I learned the importance of getting the pad inflation adjusted correctly. The adjustment valves are located at the foot of the pad and my wife was quite annoyed by my "adjusting" during the night. I now sleep with the foot of the pad by my head to allow for quick and quiet adjustment. I have also experienced one of the two air chambers going flat during the night. It turned out that the deflation valve wasn't closed quite tight enough allowing a very slow leak to ensue. I was too lazy to figure that out at 2 AM, so I slept on the half of the mat that was still inflated. It took quite a bit of care to not slip off it during the night but it wasn't too burdensome. Overall I think the pad is pretty comfortable for a backpacking air mattress although I do get sore shoulders & hips when using it. My wife (112 lb / 51 kg) finds the pad to be almost as good as a regular mattress and experiences no soreness. If I were designing this pad I would narrow it up, make it a mummy shape, and put all of the weight savings into making the pad thicker. My quest for a stripped down pad made of the lightest available materials yet thick enough to keep me from getting sore shoulders & hips unfortunately continues on.

Deflation of the pad is easy. I just open both deflation valves at the foot of the pad, fold the mat along the long axis into quarters and roll it up. I do have to put some effort in keeping the folds of correct proportion while rolling it up. After I have it rolled up, it slips easily into the stuff sack. I carry the pad on the outside bottom of my pack; however it would pack easily on the inside.


All things considered, this pad is pretty comfortable given the available alternatives; however I think the width is a little excessive. I have recently purchased the Exped 7.5 AirMat which is 19" (48 cm) wide.

Things I like:

1. The piece of mind that comes with two separate air chambers
2. Anti slip fabric
3. Easy to inflate

Things I don't like:

1. Pad does not prevent my shoulders & hips from getting sore
2. The added weight from the pump
3. Pad width was wider than what I need

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

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